Defense strategy

“Defense is based on a premise of aggresive killing of those whose governments hold opinions differing from ours,” said Ms. Raney in a letter to the editor advocating U.S demilitarization.

The alternative to having an adequate national defense would be to subject ourselves to what might be termed “passive killing,” rather than “aggresive killing.” Totalitarian governments, whether communistic or facist, disallow their citizens the freedoms we enjoy. Rather than tolerate criticisms, these governments intern dissidents in labor camps, passively killing them with poor nutrition and bitter working conditions, or, dissident citizens may simply be imprisoned with no recourse other than to ponder their “crimes” against the state, in seclusion from family and friends.

Two studies will help illustrate why an adequate defense is necessary to preserve our freedom.

Osgood (1979) proposed his Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-reduction (GRIT) strategy as a means by which the United States and the Soviet Union would decrease their nuclear arsenals. According to this plan, the U.S. would announce a small, unilateral concession and invite the USSR to reciprocate until the supply of weapons was depleted. This, Osgood believed, would promote trust between the superpowers.

The GRIT strategy has not been accepted, however, because the critical issue is verifiability, not trust. Limitations agreed upon in peace accords are worth no more than the paper upon which they are written without the certainty provided by mutual verification. Osgood’s method lacks this.

Pacifism is sometimes promoted as the means by which we can achieve peace. Shure, Meeker and Hansford (1965) demonstrated that passive resistance is quite ineffective. In this study, participants were blocked from their goal by passive resistance. Of the 143 participants who met with pacifism, 129 (90 percent) exploited the pacifist. Too many conditions must be met in order for pacifism to be consistently effective strategy.

I desire to live in a world free from violence and the threat of annihilation. The means to obtain this goal is not pacifism, as Shure, Meeker and Hansford indicate, nor is it unilateral disarmament. Negotiations which include measures for the verifiability of compliance with the accords offer a level of certainty to both superpowers which is unobtainable by pacifism or unilateral disarmament.

Michael Nielsen