- Paperback: 263 pages
- Publisher: The New Press (April 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1565847407
- ISBN-13: 978-1565847408
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,324,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The New Nuclear Danger: George W. Bush's Military-Industrial Complex
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From Publishers Weekly
Since September 11, it has become clear that the United States is headed for more military funding to fight the "war on terrorism." But as longtime antinuclear activist, author and pediatrician Caldicott (Nuclear Madness: What You Can Do) shows, this buildup is nothing new with the exception of the first President Bush, U.S. policy has generally favored military spending. But spending on nuclear weapons is ineffective in fighting terrorists holed up in caves, Caldicott contends. Using a medical model, she focuses on what she calls the "disease" before she launches into her "remedy." She is strongest focusing on the ties between the American nuclear arsenal and large corporations, which have only their own interests at heart a point that should resonate in the post-Enron era. In impressive detail, she describes how hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on questionable defense projects such as Star Wars. To her credit, this book also serves as a defense primer: she lays out the various weapons projects in terms accessible to the average reader an accessibility she argues that the government wants to deny citizens. But her remedies for the problem she describes diverting millions of dollars from the defense budget for health care and the environment seem nave and unrealistic. In addition, her strident tone ("the Pentagon thinks about nuclear strategy in a strange and pathological way") might turn some readers off to the book's important message.
From Library Journal
This book by the well-known political activist Caldicott (Nuclear Madness: What You Can Do) is not a direct attack on the existence of the military but rather on the way that the military and industry are so deeply intertwined. Caldicott argues that there is immense financial waste for unneeded weapons programs, that America's foreign and military policies seem designed for world domination, and that this is a betrayal of the best interests of U.S. citizens. Included are short descriptions of many weapons and research projects, which contain cost figures, information on which big contractors benefit, and an evaluation of the program. As a physician, Caldicott puts more emphasis on the long-term medical implications of some of the modern weapons than one usually finds in books on this topic. Most readers will have already made up their minds on this subject one way or another; nevertheless, this book should be made available in libraries for those looking for counterarguments to the Establishment line. The book lacks illustrations and an index, but there are reference notes at the end. Suitable for the circulating collections of public libraries. Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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I greatly applaud Dr. Helen and helpers for compiling, writing and publishing this great reference to inner details of Euro Russian war industry located in North America. It is like an X-ray of a major malignant cancer. If You can use it to destroy that cancer then please do so, before it destroys Planet Earth.
Also I recommend ANY public talk, or recording of a public talk, given by Dr. Caldicott.
She is a fine speaker backed up by a lifetime of conscience-driven thinking and caring for those who are victims of nuclear madness, and especially military nuclear madness.
Helen herself could be a victim of the mass cancer clusters and cancer waves that swept across Australia after many British nuclear weapon detonations in the 1950's.
The last time I listened to her, she mentioned that she was experiencing some symptoms of cancer or diagnosed cancer, the probable result of living downwind of that British nuclear testing in South Australia in the 1950's.
Shame on the Nuclear Nightmare. Shame Shame Shame...
For the answers read Caldicott's book. Did you ever wonder why, for example, Bill Clinton expanded NATO into eastern Europe? What Americans need to understand is that it had nothing to do with national security. Acccording to Caldicott Geo Bush Sr. made a deal with Gorbachev at the end of the Cold War. Bush promised not to expand NATO into eastern Europe if Russia (USSR) allowed the reunification of Germany, and abided by the SALT agreements. Russia held up its end of the deal, but Clinton renegged.
Why? Simple: The big arms manfacturers like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dyamics, TRW etc viewed eastern Europe as a huge new market -- and spent millions lobbying for an expanded NATO. The US arms industry is the world's largest. (The only thing more profitable than selling arms is drug smuggling.)
In the 1990s America and Clinton had a historic opportunity to chart a new direction after the Cold War. Clinton should have given the Pentagon firm direction to disarm. He should also have given the national weapons labs (Los Alamos, Sandia. Lawrence etc) a new mission, namely, to solve the energy crisis in order to wean us away from oil into a new era of clean and abundant solar and other energy alternatives. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.
Here real leadership would have made the difference -- but Clinton failed to rise to the challenge. Caldicott's brutal assessment will make Democrats uncomfortable but it has the ring of truth. She says Clinton was weak and she has it right. I would go even further: I fault Bill for having no principles. (And now Hillary aspires to the same role. Give me a break! Haven't we been there already and done that?)
Bill Clinton thus allowed the expansion of NATO into eastern Europe -- not for national security reasons but to line the pockets of a very few. Nor was it in the interest of Europe or the world. The poor nations of eastern Europe needed to spend what little capital they had on rebuilding their infrastructure and improving the lives of their people. But we pressured them to buy Amercan weapons (we promised in return to support their bid to join the EU).
It was clearly the devil's bargain and set ther stage for Bush Jr and everything that has happened, since. Even as I write Geo W. prepares to install star wars radar and other related facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic. One can't read Caldicott'sbook without a feeling of "I told you so."
Which brings me to the bottom line. The US Constitution gives Congress the authority over commerce but today Wall Street bankers and the arms industry have done an end run around our founding document. Today they dictate both US Foreign and domestic policy. The result is a destabilized world that is increasingly armed to the teeth. What brings this home is knowing that every time a US soldier dies in Iraq our current leaders (such as they are) and their cronies in the arms industry are profitting. Obviously, they have no incentive to create the conditions for a more peaceful world. In fact, just the opposite is the case. We prepare for war to fight the next one -- not to build peace. Meawhile, the doomsday clock is ticking.
Will Americans wake up and take back their country before it is too late? That is for us to decide. By all means, READ THIS BOOK!
With the Soviet Union dissolved, one would think that the U.S. would be scaling back its arsenal. But Dr. Caldicott alerts us to the reality that the U.S. is significantly upgrading its capabilities, revealing to us the major taxpayer-funded research projects that are currently developing the next-generation of deadly nuclear weapons.
Dr. Caldicott offers the reader many unsettling facts. For example, it was appalling to learn that NASA regularly launches nuclear-powered space vehicles and that the department is playing a substantial supporting role in the militarization of space through the Star Wars program. The author warns about the very real possibility of an accident during launch or re-entry of one of these spaceships and she describes the horrifying health consequences of mass exposure to plutonium that could ensue.
In another revealing passage, Dr. Caldicott contends that Gulf War Syndrome was caused by the deployment of depleted uranium (DU) munitions. Thousands of rounds of DU was spent during the conflict, creating a radioactive battelfield. The area will remain contaminated forever unless it is cleaned up; meanwhile, soldiers and innocents alike will continue to suffer from exposure long into the future.
Analyzing the root causes of U.S. militarism, Dr. Caldicott contends that there are structural problems in the U.S. system of government that urgently need correction. Chief among them is the influence that large corporations such as Lockheed-Martin have in shaping government policy. Simply put, when defense contractors pay for political campaigns and otherwise get their cronies appointed to key positions, decision making is no longer in the hands of the people. Another critical problem pertains to the unaccountable Pentagon careerists who crave the power that ever-more lethal weapons systems purportedly give them.
On that point, Dr. Caldicott details the current Bush administration's deep ties to the defense industry and their allies in the Pentagon. Their collective gung-ho attitude is costing taxpayers dearly as literally hundreds of billions is being spent on wasteful new weapons systems. The author also criticizes the Clinton administration's feeble attempts to significantly roll back the military/industrial complex, suggesting that Clinton probably wasted a historic opportunity to cut the nuclear program to an appropriate post-cold war level.
Dr. Caldicott also discusses the important role that propaganda plays. Corporate-funded think tanks persuade the public that advanced weapons are needed to protect us from terrorists, communists, and other strawmen. One such think tanks wrote the Republican Party's foreign policy platform for the 2000 campaign; subsequent to gaining power, the Bush administration has been actively pursuing these policies. For example, its political confrontations with China and North Korea had been recommended in order to frighten the public into accepting otherwise unwarranted increases in defense spending, which in turn has richly rewarded the think tank sponsors.
Dr. Caldicott reasons that security could be achieved by simply rethinking our foreign policy. The author suggests that the money spent on defense could be better spent on curing poverty and disease, improving education, and restoring the environment; in other words, on programs that would make the world a more humane and peaceful place. In my view, this is not merely a naive hope, as some suggest; it is our only alternative.
Some extremists have called Dr. Caldicott's statements "anti-American". But Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower are just a few Americans who warned about the dangers of unchecked corporate power on the functioning of a healthy democracy. (The Lincoln quote cited in the book is from a letter he wrote to Colonel William F. Elkins on Nov. 21, 1864 -- other reviewers had called into question Dr. Caldicott's research.) But surely no one would accuse these people of not being pro-American. Iin my view, Dr. Caldicott is likewise reminding us of our responsibilities of living in the most powerful democracy the world has ever known. As citizens, we cannot reclaim power from the merchants of death until we better understand the truth, no matter how difficult or painful that may be for some of us to accept.
To that end, I give this book the highest possible rating. I strongly encourage you to read it and pass it on to someone you care about.
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