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An American Affidavit

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Report from Iron Mountain Section 9: from Educate Yourself

Report from Iron Mountain Section 9: from Educate Yourself

Footnote Section
1. The Economic and Social Consequences of Disarmament: U.S. Reply to the Inquiry of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (Washington, D.C.: USGPO, June 1964), pp. 8-9.

2. Herman Kahn, Thinking About the Unthinkable (New York: Horizon, 1962), p. 35.

3. Robert S. McNamara, in an address before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Montreal, P.Q., Canada, 18 May 1966.

4. Alfred North Whitehead, in "The Anatomy of Some Scientific Ideas," included in The Aims of Education (New York: Macmillan, 1929).

5. At Ann Arbor, Michigan, 16 June 1962.

6. Louis J. Halle, "Peace in Our Time? Nuclear Weapons as a Stabilizer," The New Republic (28 December 1963).

7. Kenneth E. Boulding, "The World War Industry as an Economic Problem," in Emile Benoit and Kenneth E. Boulding (eds.), Disarmament and the Economy New York: Harper and Row, 1963).

8. McNamara, in ASNE Montreal address cited.

9. Report of the Committee on the Economic Impact of Defense and Disarmament (Washington: USGPO, July 1965).

10. Sumner M. Rosen, "Disarmament and the Economy," War/Peace Report (March 1966).

11. Vide William D. Grampp, "False Fears of Disarmament," Harvard Business Review (Jan.-Feb. 1964) for a concise example of this reasoning.

12. Seymour Melman, "The Cost of Inspection for Disarmament," in Benoit and Boulding, op. cit.

13. Arthur I. Waskow, Toward the Unarmed Forces of the United States (Washington: Institute for Policy Studies, 1966), p. 9. (This is the unabridged edition of the text of a report and proposal prepared for a seminar of strategists and Congressmen in 1965; it was later given limited distribution among other persons engaged in related projects.)

14. David T. Bazelon, "The Politics of the Paper Economy," Commentary (November 1962), p. 409.

15. The Economic Impact of Disarmament (Washington: USGPO, January 1962).

16. David T. Bazelon, "The Scarcity Makers," Commentary (October 1962), p. 298.

17. Frank Pace, Jr., in an address before the American Bankers’ Association, September 1957.

18. A random example, taken in this case from a story by David Deitch in the New York Herald Tribune (9 February 1966).

19. Vide L. Gumplowicz, in Geschichte der Staatstheorien (Innsbruck: Wagner, 1905) and earlier writings.

20. K. Fischer, Das Militaer (Zurich: Steinmetz Verlag, 1932), pp. 42-43.

21. The obverse of this phenomenon is responsible for the principal combat problem of present-day infantry officers: the unwillingness of otherwise "trained" troops to fire at an enemy close enough to be recognizable as an individual rather than simply as a target.

22. Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1960), p. 42.

23. John D. Williams, "The Nonsense about Safe Driving," Fortune (September 1958).

24. Vide most recently K. Lorenz, in Das Sogenannte Boese: zur Naturgeschichte der Aggression (Vienna: G. Borotha-Schoeler Verlag, 1964).

25. Beginning with Herbert Spencer and his contemporaries, but largely ignored for nearly a century.

26. As in recent draft-law controversy, in which the issue of selective deferment of the culturally privileged is often carelessly equated with the preservation of the biologically "fittest."

27. G. Bouthoul, in La Guerre (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1953) and many other more detailed studies. The useful concept of "polemology," for the study of war as an independent discipline, is his, as is the notion of "demographic relaxation," the sudden temporary decline in the rate of population increase after major wars.

28. This seemingly premature statement is supported by one of our own test studies. But it hypothecates both the stabilizing of world population growth and the institution of fully adequate environmental controls. Under these two conditions, the probability of the permanent elimination of involuntary global famine is 68 percent by 1976 and 95 percent by 1981.

29. This round figure is the median taken from our computations, which cover varying contingencies, but it is sufficient for the purpose of general discussion.

30. But less misleading than the more elegant traditional metaphor, in which war expenditures are referred to as the "ballast" of the economy but which suggests incorrect quantitative relationships.

31. Typical in generality, scope, and rhetoric. We have not used any published program as a model; similarities are unavoidably coincidental rather than tendentious.

32. Vide the reception of a "Freedom Budget for all Americans," proposed by A. Philip Randolph et al; it is a ten-year plan, estimated by its sponsors to cost $185 billion.

33. Waskow, op. cit.

34. By several current theorists, most extensively and effectively by Robert R. Harris in The Real Enemy, an unpublished doctoral dissertation made available to this study.

35. In ASNE Montreal address cited.

36. The Tenth Victim.

37. For an examination of some of its social implications, see Seymour Rubenfeld, Family of Outcasts: A New Theory of Delinquency (New York: Free Press, 1965).

38. As in Nazi Germany; this type of "ideological" ethnic repression, directed to specific sociological ends, should not be confused with traditional economic exploitation, as of Negroes in the U.S., South Africa, etc.

39. By teams of experimental biologists in Massachusetts, Michigan, and California, as well as in Mexico and the U.S.S.R. Preliminary test applications are scheduled in Southeast Asia, in countries not yet announced.

40. Expressed in the writings of H. Marshall McLuhan, in Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964) and elsewhere.

41. This rather optimistic estimate was derived by plotting a three-dimensional distribution of three arbitrarily defined variables; the macro-structural, relating to the extension of knowledge beyond the capacity of conscious experience; the organic, dealing with the manifestations of terrestrial life as inherently comprehensible; and the infra-particular, covering the subconceptual requirements of natural phenomena. Values were assigned to the known and unknown in each parameter, tested against data from earlier chronologies, and modified heuristically until predictable correlations reached a useful level of accuracy. "Two decades" means, in this case, 20.6 years, with a standard deviation of only 1.8 years. (An incidental finding, not pursued to the same degree of accuracy, suggests a greatly accelerated resolution of issues in the biological sciences after 1972.)

42. Since they represent an examination of too small a percentage of the eventual options, in terms of "multiple mating," the subsystem we developed for this application. But an example will indicate how one of the most frequently recurring correlation problems - chronological phasing - was brought to light in this way. One of the first combinations tested showed remarkably high coefficients of compatibility, on a post hoc static basis, but no variations of timing, using a thirty-year transition module, permitted even marginal synchronization. The combination was thus disqualified. This would not rule out the possible adequacy of combinations using modifications of the same factors, however, since minor variations in a proposed final condition may have disproportionate effects on phasing.

43. Edward Teller, quoted in War/Peace Report (December 1964).

44. E.g., the highly publicized "Delphi technique" and other, more sophisticated procedures. A new system, especially suitable for institutional analysis, was developed during the course of this study in order to hypothecate mensurable "peace games"; a manual of this system is being prepared and will be submitted for general distribution among appropriate agencies. For older, but still useful, techniques, see Norman C. Dalkey’s Games and Simulations (Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand, 1964).

45. A primer-level example of the obvious and long overdue need for such translation is furnished by Kahn (in Thinking About the Unthinkable, p. 102). Under the heading "Some Awkward Choices" he compares four hypothetical policies: a certain loss of $3,000; a .1 chance of loss of $300,000; a .01 chance of loss of $30,000,000; and a .001 chance of loss of $3,000,000,000. A government decision-maker would "very likely" choose in that order. But what if "lives are at stake rather than dollars"? Kahn suggests that the order of choice would be reversed, although current experience does not support this opinion. Rational war research can and must make it possible to express, without ambiguity, lives in terms of dollars and vice versa; the choices need not be, and cannot be, "awkward."

46. Again, an overdue extension of an obvious application of techniques up to now limited to such circumscribed purposes as improving kill-ammunition ratios determining local choice between precision and saturation bombing, and other minor tactical, and occasionally strategic, ends. The slowness of Rand, I.D.A., and other responsible analytic organizations to extend cost-effectiveness and related concepts beyond early-phase applications has already been widely remarked on and criticized elsewhere.

47. The inclusion of institutional factors in war-game techniques has been given some rudimentary consideration in the Hudson Institute’s Study for Hypothetical Narratives for Use in Command and Control Systems Planning (by William Pfaff and Edmund Stillman; Final report published 1963). But here, as with other war and peace studies to date, what has blocked the logical extension of new analytic techniques has been a general failure to understand and properly evaluate the nonmilitary functions of war.


"Report From Iron Mountain"
'The Guest Word'
by Leonard Lewin
New York Times Book Review
March 19, 1972

The book came out in November, 1967, and generated controversy as soon as it appeared.
It purported to be the secret report of an anonymous "Special Study Group," set up, presumably at a very high level of government, to determine the consequences to American society of a "permanent" peace, and to draft a program to deal with them.
Its conclusions seemed shocking.

This commission found:
·       that even in the unlikely event that a lasting peace should prove "attainable," it would almost surely be undesirable
·       that the "war system" is essential to the functioning of a stable society
·       that until adequate replacement for it might be developed, wars and an "optimum" annual number of war deaths must be methodically planned and budgeted
And much more.
Most of the Report deals with the "basic" functions of war (economic, political, sociological, ecological, etc.) and with possible substitutes to serve them, which were examined and found wanting.
The text is preceded by my foreword, along with other background furnished by the "John Doe" who made the Report available.

The first question raised, of course, was that of its authenticity. But government spokesmen were oddly cautious in phrasing their denials, and for a short time, at least in Washington, more speculation was addressed to the Group’s members and of their sponsorship than to whether the Report was an actual quasi-official document. (The editors of Trans-action magazine, which ran an extensive round-up of opinion on the book, noted that government officials, as a class, were those most likely to accept it as the real thing.)

Eventually, however, in the absence of definitive confirmation either way, commentators tended to agree that it must be a political satire. In that case, who could have written it? Among the dozens of names mentioned, those of J. K. Galbraith and myself appeared most often, along with a mix of academics, politicians, think-tank drop-outs, and writers.

Most reviewers, relatively uncontaminated by overexposure to real-politik, were generous to what they saw as the author’s intentions:
to expose a kind of thinking in high places that was all too authentic, influential, and dangerous, and to stimulate more public discussion of some of the harder questions of war and peace.
But those who felt their own oxen gored-who could identify themselves in some way with the government, the military, "systems analysis", the established order of power-were not.
They attacked, variously, the substance of the Report; the competence of those who praised its effectiveness; and the motives of whomever they assigned the obloquy of authorship, often charging him with an disingenuous sympathy for the Report’s point of view.
The more important think-tankers, not unreasonably seeing the book as an indictment of their own collective moral sensibilities and intellectual pretensions, proffered literary as well as political judgments: very bad satire, declared Herman Kahn; lacking in bite, wrote Henry Rowen, of Rand. Whoever wrote it is an idiot, said Henry Kissinger. A handful of far-right zealots and eccentrics predictably applauded the Report’s conclusions.

That’s as much background as I have room for, before destroying whatever residuum of suspense may still persist about the book’s authorship. I wrote the "Report," all of it. (How it came about and who was privy to the plot I’ll have to discuss elsewhere.) But why as a hoax?

What I intended was simply to pose the issues of war and peace in a provocative way. To deal with the essential absurdity of the fact that the war system, however much deplored, is nevertheless accepted as part of the necessary order of things. To caricature the bankruptcy of the think-tank mentality by pursuing its style of scientistic thinking to its logical ends. And perhaps, with luck, to extend the scope of public discussion of "peace planning" beyond its usual, stodgy limits.

Several sympathetic critics of the book felt that the guessing-games it set off tended to deflect attention from those objectives, and thus to dilute its effects. To be sure. Yet if the "argument" of the Report had not been hyped up by its ambiguous authenticity-is it just possibly for real?-its serious implications wouldn’t have been discussed either. At all.
This may be a brutal commentary on what it sometimes takes to get conspicuous exposure in the supermarket of political ideas, or it may only exemplify how an oblique approach may work when directed engagement fails. At any rate, the who-done-it aspect of the book was eventually superseded by sober critiques.

At this point it became clear that whatever surviving utility the Report might have, if any, would be as a point-of-departure book-for the questions it raises, not for the specious "answers" it purports to offer. And it seemed to me that unless a minimum of uncertainty about its origins could be sustained-i.e., so long as I didn’t explicitly acknowledge writing it-its value as a model for this kind of "policy analysis" might soon be dissipated.
So I continued to play the no-comment game.

Until now. The charade is over, whatever is left of it. For the satirical conceit of Iron Mountain, like so many others, has been overtaken by the political phenomena it attacked. I’m referring to those other documents-real ones, and verifiable-that have appeared in print. The Pentagon papers were not written by someone like me.
Neither was the Defense Department’s Pax Americana study (how to take over Latin America). Nor was the script of Mr. Kissinger’s "Special Action Group," reported by Jack Anderson (how to help Pakistan against India while pretending to be neutral).

So far as I know, no one has challenged the authenticity of these examples of high-level strategic thinking. I believe a disinterested reader would agree that sections of them are as outrageous, morally, and intellectually, as any of the Iron Mountain inventions.
No, the revelations lay rather in the style of the reasoning-the profound cynicism, the contempt for public opinion. Some of the documents read like parodies of Iron Mountain, rather than the reverse.

These new developments may have helped fuel the debates the book continues to ignite, but they raised a new problem for me.
It was that the balance of uncertainty about the book’s authorship could "tilt," as Kissinger might say, the other way. (Was that Defense order for 5,000-odd paperbacks, someone might ask, really for routine distribution to overseas libraries-or was it for another, more sinister, purpose?)
I’m glad my own Special Defense Contingency Plan included planting two nonexistent references in the book’s footnotes to help me prove, if I ever have to, that the work is fictitious.

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