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Member since: Wed Oct 13, 2004, 05:42 PM
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The generals were obviously trying to provoke the Soviets into a massive retaliation!

This idea of "a survivable nuclear war" has been a recurring theme since the 50s; it arose again during the Reagan / Bush I years, and I think, in a more subtle form in the Project for a New American Century document.

Along with that has been the continuing drive to gain a First Strike Capability by American hawks, always fed by the story that the Soviets were about to gain First Strike capability. One of the leaders of this was Gen. Danny Graham, member of the Team B project in the 70s and 80s. General Daniel O.Graham was also the driving force behind Strategic Defense ('Star Wars'), which still survives as Ballistic Missile Defense.

Graham and company attempted to sell this to the American public as an alternative to the McNamara's Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine. Admittedly, it was a seductive argument to the generations that had lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation for decades. To the Soviets, and to a lot of people in this country, it looked more like an attempt to gain First Strike capability over the Soviet Union.

A backstory of this was Danny Graham's attempt to co-opt the popular pro-space movement built up around the work of Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill of Princeton University. Dr. O'Neill's book: The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space inspired the formation of a popular movement to settle the solar system. I was a member of the largest of the L-5 Society, the largest organization inspired by Gerry O'Neill's work.

Graham began co-opting Dr. O'Neill's work by naming his SDI organization High Frontier Inc.; and naming his book High Frontier.

I was one of the people writing to Graham to complain of the use of a title which had already become synonymous with Gerard K. O'Neill's space settlement concepts.. Graham's reply was that, "A book title cannot be copyrighted" (True!). Somehow, in the process, I ended up buying a copy of Graham's book and video (I did say his argument was seductive!).

A pro-Graham, pro-SDI faction led by science fiction writer, essayist and conservative activist Jerry Pournelle took over leadership of the L-5 Society, attempting to turn it into a vehicle to promote Strategic Defense. L-5 lost a major portion of its membership in the debate that followed. The greatly diminished organization merged with Wernher Von Braun's National Space Institute to form the National Space Society.

The L-5 Society had a local chapter network that was international in scope. The National Space Society soon became the PR arm of the Aerospace Industries Association. Local chapters were allowed; but their voices were muted.

This post got away from me; I really just intended to point out Gen. Graham's role in maintaining the Cold War at a high level, with a constant attempt to build a First Strike capability, which led to his advocacy of Strategic Defense. His destruction of the peaceful, pro-space movement is a subtext to this.

Someday, I need to work up a more coherent post on this. If I could ever discipline myself, it should be a book on the tension between space for peace and space for military conquest.

I still believe that settlement of space is necessary to the long-term survival of the human race.

"The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space--each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision." ---XKCD

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