"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.


Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:58 am


As we have indicated, the preeminence of the concept of war as the principal organizing force in most societies has been insufficiently appreciated. This is also true of its extensive effects throughout the many nonmilitary activities of society. These effects are less apparent in complex industrial societies like our own than in primitive cultures, the activities of which can be more easily and fully comprehended.

We propose in this section to examine these nonmilitary, implied, and usually invisible functions of war, to the extent that they bear on the problems of transition to peace for our society. The military, or ostensible, function of the war system requires no elaboration; it serves simply to defend or advance the "national interest" by means of organized violence. It is often necessary for a national military establishment to create a need for its unique powers -- to maintain the franchise, so to speak. And a healthy military apparatus requires "exercise," by whatever rationale seems expedient, to prevent its atrophy.

The nonmilitary functions of the war system are more basic. They exist not merely to justify themselves but to serve broader social purposes. If and when war is eliminated, the military functions it has served will end with it. But its nonmilitary functions will not. It is essential, therefore, that we understand their significance before we can reasonably expect to evaluate whatever institutions may be proposed to replace them.


The production of weapons of mass destruction has always been associated with economic "waste." The term is pejorative, since it implies a failure of function. But no human activity can properly be considered wasteful if it achieves its contextual objective. The phrase "wasteful but necessary," applied not only to war expenditures but to most of the "unproductive" commercial activities of our society, is a contradiction in terms. "...The attacks that have since the time of Samuel's criticism of King Saul been leveled against military expenditures as waste may well have concealed or misunderstood the point that some kinds of waste may have a larger social utility."

In the case of military "waste," there is indeed a larger social utility. It derives from the fact that the "wastefulness" of war production is exercised entirely outside the framework of the economy of supply and demand. As such, it provides the only critically large segment of the total economy that is subject to complete and arbitrary central control. If modern industrial societies can be defined as those which have developed the capacity to produce more than is required for their economic survival (regardless of the equities of distribution of goods within them), military spending can be said to furnish the only balance wheel with sufficient inertia to stabilize the advance of their economies. The fact that war is "wasteful" is what enables it to serve this function. And the faster the economy advances, the heavier this balance wheel must be.

This function is often viewed, oversimply, as a device for the control of surpluses. One writer on the subject puts it this way: "Why is war so wonderful? Because it creates artificial demand...the only kind of artificial demand, moreover, that does not raise any political issues: war, and only war, solves the problem of inventory." The reference here is to shooting war, but it applies equally to the general war economy as well. "It is generally agreed," concludes, more cautiously, the report of a panel set up by the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, "that the greatly expanded public sector since World War II, resulting from heavy defense expenditures, has provided additional protection against depressions, since this sector is not responsive to contraction in the private sector and has provided a sort of buffer or balance wheel in the economy."

The principal economic function of war, in our view, is that it provides just such a flywheel. It is not to be confused in function with the various forms of fiscal control, none of which directly engages vast numbers of control, none of which directly engages vast numbers of men and units of production. It is not to be confused with massive government expenditures in social welfare programs; once initiated, such programs normally become integral parts of the general economy and are no longer subject to arbitrary control.

But even in the context of the general civilian economy war cannot be considered wholly "wasteful." Without a long-established war economy, and without its frequent eruption into large-scale shooting war, most of the major industrial advances known to history, beginning with the development of iron, could never have taken place. Weapons technology structures the economy. According to the writer cited above, "Nothing is more ironic or revealing about our society than the fact that hugely destructive war is a very progressive force in it. ... War production is progressive because it is production that would not otherwise have taken place. (It is not so widely appreciated, for example, that the civilian standard of living rose during World War II.)" This is not "ironic or revealing," but essentially a simple statement of fact.

It should also be noted that the war production has a dependably stimulating effect outside itself. Far from constituting a "wasteful" drain on the economy, war spending, considered pragmatically, has been a consistently positive factor in the rise of gross national product and of individual productivity. A former Secretary of the Army has carefully phrased it for public consumption thus: "If there is, as I suspect there is, a direct relation between the stimulus of large defense spending and a substantially increased rate of growth of gross national product, it quite simply follows that defense spending per se might be countenanced on economic grounds alone [emphasis added] as a stimulator of the national metabolism." Actually, the fundamental nonmilitary utility of war in the economy is far more widely acknowledged than the scarcity of such affirmations as that quoted above would suggest.

But negatively phrased public recognitions of the importance of war to the general economy abound. The most familiar example is the effect of "peace threats" on the stock market, e.g., "Wall Street was shaken yesterday by news of an apparent peace feeler from North Vietnam, but swiftly recovered its composure after about an hour of sometimes indiscriminate selling." Savings banks solicit deposits with similar cautionary slogans, e.g., "If peace breaks out, will you be ready for it?" A more subtle case in point was the recent refusal of the Department of Defense to permit the West German government to substitute nonmilitary goods for unwanted armaments in its purchase commitments from the United States; the decisive consideration was that the German purchases should not affect the general (nonmilitary) economy. Other incidental examples are to be found in the pressures brought to bear on the Department when it announces plans to close down an obsolete facility (as a "wasteful" form of "waste"). and in the usual coordination of stepped-up military activities (as in Vietnam in 1965) with dangerously rising unemployment rates.

Although we do not imply that a substitute for war in the economy cannot be devised, no combination of techniques for controlling employment, production, and consumption has yet been tested that can remotely compare to it in effectiveness. It is, and has been, the essential economic stabilizer of modern societies.


The political functions of war have been up to now even more critical to social stability. It is not surprising, nevertheless, that discussions of economic conversion for peace tend to fall silent on the matter of political implementation, and that disarmament scenarios, often sophisticated in their weighing of international political factors, tend to disregard the political functions of the war system within individual societies.

These functions are essentially organizational. First of all, the existence of a society as a political "nation" requires as part of its definition an attitude of relationship toward other "nations." This is what we usually call a foreign policy. But a nation's foreign policy can have no substance if it lacks the means of enforcing its attitude toward other nations. It can do this in a credible manner only if it implies the threat of maximum political organization for this purpose -- which is to say that it is organized to some degree for war. War, then, as we have defined it to include all national activities that recognize the possibility of armed conflict, is itself the defining element of any nation's existence vis-a-vis any other nation. Since it is historically axiomatic that the existence of any form of weaponry insures its use, we have used the word "peace" as virtually synonymous with disarmament. By the same token, "war" is virtually synonymous with nationhood. The elimination of war implies the inevitable elimination of national sovereignty and the traditional nation-state.

The war system not only has been essential to the existence of nations as independent political entities, but has been equally indispensable to their stable internal political structure. Without it, no government has ever been able to obtain acquiescence in its "legitimacy," or right to rule its society. The possibility of war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power. The historical record reveals one instance after another where the failure of a regime to maintain the credibility of a war threat led to its dissolution, by the forces of private interest, or reactions to social injustice, or of other disintegrative elements. The organization of a society for the possibility of war is its principal political stabilizer. It is ironic that this primary function of war has been generally recognized by historians only where it has been expressly acknowledged -- in the pirate societies of the great conquerors.

The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. (There is, in fact, good reason to believe that codified law had its origins in the rules of conduct established by military victors for dealing with the defeated enemy, which were later adapted to apply to all subject populations.) On a day-to-day basis, it is represented by the institution of police, armed organizations charged expressly with dealing with "internal enemies" in a military manner. Like the conventional "external" military, the police are also substantially exempt from many civilian legal restraints on their social behavior. In some countries, the artificial distinction between police and other military forces does not exist. On the long-term basis, a government's emergency war powers -- inherent in the structure of even the most libertarian of nations -- define the most significant aspect of the relation between state and citizen.

In advanced modern democratic societies, the war system has provided political leaders with another political-economic function of increasing importance: it has served as the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary social classes. As economic productivity increases to a level further and further above that of minimum subsistence, it becomes more and more difficult for a society to maintain distribution patterns insuring the existence of "hewers of wood and drawers of water". The further progress of automation can be expected to differentiate still more sharply between "superior" workers and what Ricardo called "menials," while simultaneously aggravating the problem of maintaining an unskilled labor supply.

The arbitrary nature of war expenditures and of other military activities make them ideally suited to control these essential class relationships. Obviously, if the war system were to be discarded, new political machinery would be needed at once to serve this vital subfunction. Until it is developed, the continuance of the war system must be assured, if for no other reason, among others, than to preserve whatever quality and degree of poverty a society requires as an incentive, as well as to maintain the stability of its internal organization of power.


Under this heading, we will examine a nexus of functions served by the war system that affect human behavior in society. In general, they are broader in application and less susceptible to direct observation than the economic and political factors previously considered.

The most obvious of these functions is the time-honored use of military institutions to provide antisocial elements with an acceptable role in the social structure. The disintegrative, unstable social movements loosely described as "fascist" have traditionally taken root in societies that have lacked adequate military or paramilitary outlets to meet the needs of these elements. This function has been critical in periods of rapid change. The danger signals are easy to recognize, even though the stigmata bear different names at different times. The current euphemistic clichés -- "juvenile delinquency" and "alienation" -- have had their counterparts in every age. In earlier days these conditions were dealt with directly by the military without the complications of due process, usually through press gangs or outright enslavement. But it is not hard to visualize, for example, the degree of social disruption that might have taken place in the United States during the last two decades if the problem of the socially disaffected of the post-World War II period had been foreseen and effectively met. The younger, and more dangerous, of these hostile social groupings have been kept under control by the Selective Service System.

This system and its analogues elsewhere furnish remarkably clear examples of disguised military utility. Informed persons in this country have never accepted the official rationale for a peacetime draft -- military necessity, preparedness, etc. -- as worthy of serious consideration. But what has gained credence among thoughtful men is the rarely voiced, less easily refuted, proposition that the institution of military service has a "patriotic" priority in our society that must be maintained for its own sake. Ironically, the simplistic official justification for selective service comes closer to the mark, once the non-military functions of military institutions are understood. As a control device over the hostile, nihilistic, and potentially unsettling elements of a society in transition, the draft can again be defended, and quite convincingly, as a "military" necessity.

Nor can it be considered a coincidence that overt military activity, and thus the level of draft calls, tend to follow the major fluctuations in the unemployment rate in the lower age groups. This rate, in turn, is a time-tested herald of social discontent. It must be noted also that the armed forces in every civilization have provided the principal state-supported haven for what we now call the "unemployable." The typical European standing army (of fifty years ago) consisted of "...troops unfit for employment in commerce, industry, or agriculture, led by officers unfit to practice any legitimate profession or to conduct a business enterprise."This is still largely true, if less apparent. In a sense, this function of the military as the custodian of the economically or culturally deprived was the forerunner of most contemporary civilian social-welfare programs, from the W.P.A. to various forms of "socialized" medicine and social security. It is interesting that liberal sociologists currently proposing to use the Selective Service System as a medium of cultural upgrading of the poor consider this a novel application of military practice.

Although it cannot be said absolutely that such critical measures of social control as the draft require a military rationale, no modern society has yet been willing to risk experimentation with any other kind. Even during such periods of comparatively simple social crisis as the so-called Great Depression of the 1930s, it was deemed prudent by the government to invest minor make-work projects, like the "Civilian" Conservation Corps, with a military character, and to place the more ambitious National Recovery Administration under the direction of a professional army officer at its inception. Today, at least one small Northern European country, plagued with uncontrollable unrest among its "alienated youth," is considering the expansion of its armed forces, despite the problem of making credible the expansion of a non-existent external threat.

Sporadic efforts have been made to promote general recognition of broad national values free of military connotation, but they have been ineffective. For example, to enlist public support of even such modest programs of social adjustment as "fighting inflation" or "maintaining physical fitness" it has been necessary for the government to utilize a patriotic (i.e. military) incentive. It sells "defense" bonds and it equates health with military preparedness. This is not surprising; since the concept of "nationhood" implies readiness for war, a "national" program must do likewise.

So, since they no longer want us to be healthy, they no longer want us to be a nation.

-- Anonymous

In general, the war system provides the basic motivation for primary social organization. In so doing, it reflects on the societal level the incentives of individual human behavior. The most important of these, for social purposes, is the individual psychological rationale for allegiance to a society and its values. Allegiance requires a cause; a cause requires an enemy. This much is obvious; the critical point is that the enemy that defines the cause must seem genuinely formidable. Roughly speaking, the presumed power of the "enemy" sufficient to warrant an individual sense of allegiance to a society must be proportionate to the size and complexity of the society. Today, of course, that power must be one of unprecedented magnitude and frightfulness.

It follows, from the patterns of human behavior, that the credibility of a social "enemy" demands similarly a readiness of response in proportion to its menace. In a broad social context, "an eye for an eye" still characterizes the only acceptable attitude toward a presumed threat of aggression, despite contrary religious and moral precepts governing personal conduct. The remoteness of personal decision from social consequence in a modern society makes it easy for its members to maintain this attitude without being aware of it. A recent example is the war in Vietnam; a less recent one was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In each case, the extent and gratuitousness of the slaughter were abstracted into political formulae by most Americans, once the proposition that the victims were "enemies" was established. The war system makes such an abstracted response possible in nonmilitary contexts as well. A conventional example of this mechanism is the inability of most people to connect, let us say, the starvation of millions in India with their own past conscious political decision-making. Yet the sequential logic linking a decision to restrict grain production in America with an eventual famine in Asia is obvious, unambiguous, and unconcealed.

What gives the war system its preeminent role in social organization, as elsewhere, is its unmatched authority over life and death. It must be emphasized again that the war system is not a mere social extension of the presumed need for individual human violence, but itself in turn serves to rationalize most nonmilitary killing. It also provides the precedent for the collective willingness of members of a society to pay a blood price for institutions far less central to social organization than war. To take a handy example..."rather than accept speed limits of twenty miles an hour we prefer to let automobiles kill forty thousand people a year." A Rand analyst puts it in more general terms and less rhetorically: "I am sure that there is, in effect, a desirable level of automobile accidents -- desirable, that is, from a broad point of view; in the sense that it is a necessary concomitant of things of greater value to society." The point may seem too obvious for iteration, but it is essential to an understanding of the important motivational function of war as a model for collective sacrifice.

A brief look at some defunct premodern societies is instructive. One of the most noteworthy features common to the larger, more complex, and more successful of ancient civilizations was their widespread use of the blood sacrifice. If one were to limit consideration to those cultures whose regional hegemony was so complete that the prospect of "war" had become virtually inconceivable --- as was the case with several of the great pre-Columbian societies of the Western Hemisphere -- it would be found that some form of ritual killing occupied a position of paramount social importance in each. Invariably, the ritual was invested with mythic or religious significance; as will all religious and totemic practice, however, the ritual masked a broader and more important social function.

In these societies, the blood sacrifice served the purpose of maintaining a vestigial "earnest" of the society's capability and willingness to make war -- i.e., kill and be killed -- in the event that some mystical -- i.e., unforeseen -- circumstance were to give rise to the possibility. That the "earnest" was not an adequate substitute for genuine military organization when the unthinkable enemy, such as the Spanish conquistadores, actually appeared on the scene in no way negates the function of the ritual. It was primarily, if not exclusively, a symbolic reminder that war had once been the central organizing force of the society, and that this condition might recur.

It does not follow that a transition to total peace in modern societies would require the use of this model, even in less "barbaric" guise. But the historical analogy serves as a reminder that a viable substitute for war as a social system cannot be a mere symbolic charade. It must involve risk of real personal destruction, and on a scale consistent with the size and complexity of modern social systems. Credibility is the key. Whether the substitute is ritual in nature or functionally substantive, unless it provides a believable life- and-death threat it will not serve the socially organizing function of war.

The existence of an accepted external menace, then, is essential to social cohesiveness as well as to the acceptance of political authority. The menace must be believable, it must be of a magnitude consistent with the complexity of the society threatened, and it must appear, at least, to affect the entire society.

Psychosocial Consequences

WHO consultants additionally predicted grave psychosocial consequences of such an escape, including mass hysteria:

"They thus present a real danger that is conducive to both anxiety and fear. Anxiety in particular may result from the fact that many chemical and all biological agents are undetectable by the senses, so that there are no warning signs to enable people to defend themselves. In addition, with biological agents, there is the latent period between infection and illness and the fact that the extent to which an infection may spread through a community is unpredictable. As a result, an exposed person cannot be sure whether he has been infected or know how ill he will be or when the danger has passed. A further confusing factor is that many of the symptoms of illness are also symptoms of emotional stress." [15]

-- Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola: Nature, Accident or Intentional?, by Leonard G. Horowitz, DMD, MA, MPH


Men, like all other animals, is subject to the continuing process of adapting to the limitations of his environment. But the principal mechanism he has utilized for this purpose is unique among living creatures. To forestall the inevitable historical cycles of inadequate food supply, post-Neolithic man destroys surplus members of his own species by organized warfare.

Ethologists have often observed that the organized slaughter of members of their own species is virtually unknown among other animals. Man's special propensity to kill his own kind (shared to a limited degree with rats) may be attributed to his inability to adapt anachronistic patterns of survival (like primitive hunting) to his development of "civilizations" in which these patterns cannot be effectively sublimated. It may be attributed to other causes that have been suggested, such as a maladapted "territorial instinct," etc. Nevertheless, it exists and its social expression in war constitutes a biological control of his relationship to his natural environment that is peculiar to man alone.

War has served to help assure the survival of the human species. But as an evolutionary device to improve it, war is almost unbelievably inefficient. With few exceptions, the selective processes of other living creatures promote both specific survival and genetic improvement. When a conventionally adaptive animal faces one of its periodic crises of insufficiency, it is the "inferior" members of the species that normally disappear. An animal's social response to such a crisis may take the form of a mass migration, during which the weak fall by the wayside. Or it may follow the dramatic and more efficient pattern of lemming societies, in which the weaker members voluntarily disperse, leaving available food supplies for the stronger. In either case, the strong survive and the weak fall. In human societies, those who fight and die in wars for survival are in general its biologically stronger members. This is natural selection in reverse.

The regressive genetic effect of war has been often noted and equally often deplored, even when it confuses biological and cultural factors. The disproportionate loss of the biologically stronger remains inherent in traditional warfare. It serves to underscore the fact that survival of the species, rather than its improvement, is the fundamental purpose of natural selection, if it can be said to have a purpose, just as it is the basic premise of this study.

But as the polemologist Gaston Bouthoul has pointed out, other institutions that were developed to serve this ecological function have proved even less satisfactory. (They include such established forms as these: infanticide, practiced chiefly in ancient and primitive societies; sexual mutilation; monasticism; forced emigration; extensive capital punishment, as in old China and eighteenth-century England; and other similar, usually localized, practices.)

Man's ability to increase his productivity of the essentials of physical life suggests that the need for protection against cyclical famine may be nearly obsolete. It has thus tended to reduce the apparent importance of the basic ecological function of war, which is generally disregarded by peace theorists. Two aspects of it remain especially relevant, however. The first is obvious: current rates of population growth, compounded by environmental threat to chemical and other contaminants, may well bring about a new crisis of insufficiency. If so, it is likely to be one of unprecedented global magnitude, not merely regional or temporary. Conventional methods of warfare would almost surely prove inadequate, in this event, to reduce the consuming population to a level consistent with survival of the species.

The second relevant factor is the efficiency of modern methods of mass destruction. Even if their use is not required to meet a world population crisis, they offer, perhaps paradoxically, the first opportunity in the history of man to halt the regressive genetic effects of natural selection by war. Nuclear weapons are indiscriminate. Their application would bring to an end the disproportionate destruction of the physically stronger members of the species (the "warriors") in periods of war. Whether this prospect of genetic gain would offset the unfavorable mutations anticipated from post-nuclear radioactivity we have not yet determined. What gives the question a bearing on our study is the possibility that the determination may yet have to be made.

Another secondary ecological trend bearing on projected population growth is the regressive effect of certain medical advances. Pestilence, for example, is no longer an important factor in population control. The problem of increased life expectancy has been aggravated. These advances also pose a potentially more sinister problem, in that undesirable genetic traits that were formerly self-liquidating are now medically maintained. Many diseases that were once fatal at pre-procreational ages are now cured; the effect of this development is to perpetuate undesirable susceptibilities and mutations. It seems clear that a new quasi-eugenic function of war is now in process of formation that will have to be taken into account in any transition plan. For the time being, the Department of Defense appears to have recognized such factors, as has been demonstrated by the planning under way by the Rand Corporation to cope with the breakdown in the ecological balance anticipated after a thermonuclear war. The Department has also begun to stockpile birds, for example, against the expected proliferation of radiation-resistant insects, etc.


The declared order of values in modern societies gives a high place to the so-called "creative" activities, and an even higher one to those associated with the advance of scientific knowledge. Widely held social values can be translated into political equivalents, which in turn may bear on the nature of a transition to peace. The attitudes of those who hold these values must be taken into account in the planning of the transition. The dependence, therefore, of cultural and scientific achievement on the war system would be an important consideration in a transition plan even if such achievement had no inherently necessary social function.

Of all the countless dichotomies invented by scholars to account for the major differences in art styles and cycles, only one has been consistently unambiguous in its application to a variety of forms and cultures. However it may be verbalized, the basic distinction is this: Is the work war-oriented or is it not? Among primitive peoples, the war dance is the most important art form. Elsewhere, literature, music, painting, sculpture, and architecture that has won lasting acceptance has invariably dealt with a theme of war, expressly or implicitly, and has expressed the centricity of war to society. The war in question may be national conflict, as in Shakespeare plays, Beethoven's music, or Goya's paintings, or it may be reflected in the form of religious, social, or moral struggle, as in the work of Dante, Rembrandt, and Bach. Art that cannot be classified as war-oriented is usually described as "sterile," "decadent," and so on. Application of the "war standard" to works of art may often leave room for debate in individual cases, but there is no question of its role as the fundamental determinant of cultural values. Aesthetic and moral standards have a common anthropological origin, in the exaltation of bravery, the willingness to kill and risk death in tribal warfare.

It is also instructive to note that the character of a society's culture has borne a close relationship to its war-making potential, in the context of its times. It is no accident that the current "cultural explosion" in the United States is taking place during an era marked by an unusually rapid advance in weaponry. This relationship is more generally recognized than the literature on the subject would suggest. For example, many artists and writers are now beginning to express concern over the limited creative options they envisage in the warless world they think, or hope, may be soon upon us. They are currently preparing for this possibility by unprecedented experimentation with meaningless forms; their interest in recent years has been increasingly engaged by the abstract pattern, the gratuitous emotion, the random happening, and the unrelated sequence.

The relationship of war to scientific research and discovery is more explicit. War is the principal motivational force for the development of science at every level, from the abstractly conceptual to the narrowly technological. Modern society places a high value on "pure" science, but it is historically inescapable that all the significant discoveries that have been made about the natural world have been inspired by the real or imaginary military necessities of their epochs. The consequences of the discoveries have indeed gone far afield, but war has always provided the basic incentive.

Beginning with the development of iron and steel, and proceeding through the discoveries of the laws of motion and thermodynamics to the age of the atomic particle, the synthetic polymer, and the space capsule, no important scientific advance has not been at least indirectly initiated by an implicit requirement of weaponry. More prosaic examples include the transistor radio (an outgrowth of military communications requirements), the assembly line (from Civil War firearms needs), the steel-frame building (from the steel battleship), the canal lock, and so on. A typical adaptation can be seen in a device as modest as the common lawnmower; it developed from the revolving scythe devised by Leonardo da Vinci to precede a horse-powered vehicle into enemy ranks.

The most direct relationship can be found in medical technology. For example, a giant "walking machine," and amplifier of body motions invented for military use in difficult terrain, is now making it possible for many previously confined to wheelchairs to walk. The Vietnam war alone has led to spectacular improvements in amputation procedures, blood-handling techniques, and surgical logistics. It has stimulated new large-scale research on malaria and other typical parasite diseases; it is hard to estimate how long this would otherwise have been delayed, despite its enormous nonmilitary importance to nearly half the world's population.


We have elected to omit from our discussion of the nonmilitary functions of war those we do not consider critical to a transition program. This is not to say they are unimportant, however, but only that they appear to present no special problems for the organization of a peace-oriented social system. They include the following:

War as a general social release. This is a psychosocial function, serving the same purpose for a society as do the holiday, the celebration, and the orgy for the individual -- the release and redistribution of undifferentiated tensions.

More importantly, Fowles's explanation of violent television's place in mood management is flawed, as he believes that viewing the same violent content can lead to either increased or decreased levels of arousal depending largely on the immediate needs of the viewer. Apparently, one gets whatever one needs from violent television content.

Surprisingly, Fowles not only does not recognize these holes in his theorizing, he also does not seem to recognize the obvious contradiction between one view that media violence reduces aggression by arousing people, and another view advocating that watching violent television provides a catharsis effect, whereby the aggressive or stressed viewer is calmed. To support this catharsis hypothesis, he first cites research in which stressed men and aggressive teens were shown to select more violent television content than their less stressed or aggressive peers. To take this as evidence for a catharsis effect, of course, is not justified, since there is no indication that these stressed and angry folk were any less stressed or angry after viewing violence than they were before; it only demonstrates that stressed people are watching more violence. Claiming a causal relationship here seems unwarranted by Fowles's own standards for evaluating research, for, as he reminds us, "The great vexation about correlations is that they cannot in and of themselves specify causes" (p. 22).

A more important response to Fowles's claims for a catharsis effect, however, can be found in the aggregate body of scientific research into the phenomenon. Overall, research indicates that rehearsing or acting out aggression leads to an increase, rather than a decrease, in aggression. This is true when such rehearsal consists of watching violence (Doob & Wood, 1972) and when it is more actively carried out through physical behavior such as punching a punching bag (Bushman, 2002). The research demonstrating the antithesis of a catharsis effect is also amply documented elsewhere (e.g., Strasburger & Wilson, chapter 4, this volume). Catharsis simply doesn't occur.

-- The Case Against the Case Against Media Violence, by L. Rowell Huesmann and Laramie D. Taylor

War provides for the periodic necessary readjustment of standards of social behavior (the "moral climate") and for the dissipation of general boredom, one of the most consistently undervalued and unrecognized of social phenomena.

War as a generational stabilizer. This psychological function, served by other behavior patterns in other animals, enables the physically deteriorating older generation to maintain its control of the younger, destroying it if necessary.

War as an ideological clarifier. The dualism that characterized the traditional dialectic of all branches of philosophy and of stable political relationships stems from war as the prototype of conflict. Except for secondary considerations, there cannot be, to put it as simply as possible, more than two sides to a question because there cannot be more than two sides to a war.

War as the basis for the international understanding. Before the development of modern communications, the strategic requirements of war provided the only substantial incentive for the enrichment of one national culture with the achievements of another. Although this is still the case in many international relationships, the function is obsolescent.

We have also forgone extended characterization of those functions we assume to be widely and explicitly recognized. An obvious example is the role of war as controller of the quality and degree of unemployment. This is more than an economic and political subfunction; its sociological, cultural, and ecological aspects are also important, although often teleonomic. But none affect the general problem of substitution. The same is true of certain other functions; those we have included are sufficient to define the scope of the problem.
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Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:58 am


By now it should be clear that the most detailed and comprehensive master plan for a transition to world peace will remain academic if it fails to deal forthrightly with the problem of the critical nonmilitary functions of war. The social needs they serve are essential; if the war system no longer exists to meet them, substitute institutions will have to be established for the purpose. These surrogates must be "realistic," which is to say of a scope and nature that can be conceived and implemented in the context of present-day social capabilities. This is not the truism it may appear to be; the requirements of radical social change often reveal the distinction between a most conservative projection and a wildly utopian scheme to be fine indeed.

In this section we will consider some possible substitutes for these functions. Only in rare instances have they been put forth for the purposes which concern us here, but we see no reason to limit ourselves to proposals that address themselves explicitly to the problem as we have outlined it. We will disregard the ostensible, or military, functions of war; it is a premise of this study that the transition to peace implies absolutely that they will no longer exist in any relevant sense. We will also disregard the noncritical functions exemplified at the end of the preceding section.


Economic surrogates for war must meet two principal criteria. They must be "wasteful," in the common sense of the word, and they must operate outside the normal supply-demand system. A corollary that should be obvious is that the magnitude of the waste must be sufficient to meet the needs of a particular society. An economy as advanced and complex as our own requires the planned average annual destruction of not less than 10 percent of gross national product if it is effectively to fulfill its stabilizing function. When the mass of a balance wheel is inadequate to the power it is intended to control, its effect can be self-defeating, as with a runaway locomotive. The analogy, though crude, is especially apt for the American economy, as our record of cyclical depressions shows. All have taken place during periods of grossly inadequate military spending.

Those few economic conversion programs which by implication acknowledge the nonmilitary economic function of war (at least to some extent) tend to assume that so-called social-welfare expenditures will fill the vacuum created by the disappearance of military spending. When one considers the backlog of unfinished business -- proposed but still unexecuted --- in this field, the assumption seems plausible. Let us examine briefly the following list, which is more or less typical of general social welfare programs.

HEALTH. Drastic expansion of medical research, education, and training facilities; hospital and clinic construction; the general objective of complete government-guaranteed health care for all, at a level consistent with current developments in medical technology.

EDUCATION. The equivalent of the foregoing in teacher training; schools and libraries; the drastic upgrading of standards, with the general objective of making available for all an attainable educational goal equivalent to what is now considered a professional degree.

HOUSING. Clean, comfortable, safe, and spacious living space for all, at the level now enjoyed by about 15 percent of the population in this country (less in most others).

TRANSPORTATION. The establishment of a system of mass public transportation making it possible for all to travel to and from areas of work and recreation quickly, comfortably, and conveniently, and to travel privately for pleasure rather than necessity.

PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT. The development and protection of water supplies, forests, parks, and other natural resources; the elimination of chemical and bacterial contaminants from air, water, and soil.

POVERTY. The genuine elimination of poverty, defined by a standard consistent with current economic productivity, by means of a guaranteed annual income or whatever system of distribution will best assure its achievement.

This is only a sampler of the more obvious domestic social welfare items, and we have listed it in a deliberately broad, perhaps extravagant, manner. In the past, such a vague and ambitious-sounding "program" would have been dismissed out of hand, without serious consideration; it would clearly have been, prima facie, far too costly, quite apart from its political implications. Our objection to it, on the other hand, could hardly be more contradictory. As an economic substitute for war, it is inadequate because it would be far too cheap.

If this seems paradoxical, it must be remembered that up to now all proposed social-welfare expenditures have had to be measured within the war economy, not as a replacement for it. The old slogan about a battleship or an ICBM costing as much as x hospitals or y schools or z homes takes on a very different meaning if there are to be more battleships or ICBM's.

Since the list is general, we have elected to forestall the tangential controversy that surrounds arbitrary cost projections by offering no individual cost estimates. But the maximum program that could be physically effected along the lines indicated could approach the established level of military spending only for a limited time -- in our opinion, subject to a detailed cost-and-feasibility analysis, less than ten years. In this short period, at this rate, the major goals of the program would have been achieved. Its capital-investment phase would have been completed, and it would have established a permanent comparatively modest level of annual operating cost -- within the framework of the general economy.

Here is the basic weakness of the social-welfare surrogate. On the short-term basis, a maximum program of this sort could replace a normal military spending program, provided it was designed, like the military model, to be subject to arbitrary control. Public housing starts, for example, or the development of modern medical centers might be accelerated or halted from time to time, as the requirements of a stable economy might dictate. But on the long-term basis, social-welfare spending, no matter how often redefined, would necessarily become an integral, accepted part of the economy, of no more value as a stabilizer than the automobile industry or old age and survivors' insurance. Apart from whatever merit social-welfare programs are deemed to have for their own sake, their function as a substitute for war in the economy would thus be self-liquidating. They might serve, however, as expedients pending the development of more durable substitute measures.

Another economic surrogate that has been proposed is a series of giant "space research" programs. These have already demonstrated their utility in more modest scale within the military economy. What has been implied, although not yet expressly put forth, is the development of a long-range sequence of space-research projects with largely unattainable goals. This kind of program offers several advantages lacking in the social welfare model. First, it is unlikely to phase itself out, regardless of the predictable "surprises" science has in store for us: the universe is too big. In the event some individual project unexpectedly succeeds there would be no dearth of substitute problems. For example, if colonization of the moon proceeds on schedule, it could then become "necessary" to establish a beachhead on Mars or Jupiter, and so on. Second, it need be no more dependent on the general supply-demand economy than its military prototype. Third, it lends itself extraordinarily well to arbitrary control.

Space research can be viewed as the nearest modern equivalent yet devised to the pyramid-building, and similar ritualistic enterprises, of ancient societies. It is true that the scientific value of the space program, even of what has already been accomplished, is substantial on its own terms. But current programs are absurdly obviously disproportionate, in the relationship of the knowledge sought to the expenditures committed. All but a small fraction of the space budget, measured by the standards of comparable scientific objectives, must be charged de facto to the military economy. Future space research, projected as a war surrogate, would further research, projected as a war surrogate, would further reduce the "scientific" rationale of its budget to a minuscule percentage indeed. As a purely economic substitute for war, therefore, extension of the space program warrants serious consideration.

In Section 3 we pointed out that certain disarmament models, which we called conservative, postulated extremely expensive and elaborate inspection systems. Would it be possible to extend and institutionalize such systems to the point where they might serve as economic surrogates for war spending? The organization of failsafe inspection machinery could well be ritualized in a manner similar to that of established military processes. "Inspection teams" might be very like weapons. Inflating the inspection budget to military scale presents no difficulty. The appeal of this kind of scheme lies in the comparative ease of transition between two parallel systems.

The "elaborate inspection" surrogate is fundamentally fallacious, however. Although it might be economically useful, as well as politically necessary, during the disarmament transition, it would fail as a substitute for the economic function of war for one simple reason. Peace-keeping inspection is part of a war system, not of a peace system. It implies the possibility of weapons maintenance or manufacture, which could not exist in a world at peace as here defined. Massive inspection also implies sanctions, and thus war-readiness.

The same fallacy is more obvious in plans to create a patently useless "defense conversion" apparatus. The long-discredited proposal to build "total" civil defense facilities is one example; another is the plan to establish a giant antimissile missile complex (Nike-X, et al.). These programs, of course, are economic rather than strategic. Nevertheless, they are not substitutes for military spending but merely different forms of it.

[b]A more sophisticated variant is the proposal to establish the "Unarmed Forces" of the United States. This would conveniently maintain the entire institutional military structure, redirecting it essentially toward social-welfare activities on a global scale. It would be, in effect, a giant military Peace Corps. There is nothing inherently unworkable about this plan, and using the existing military system to effectuate its own demise is both ingenious and convenient. But even on a greatly magnified world basis, social-welfare expenditures must sooner or later reenter the atmosphere of the normal economy. The practical transitional virtues of such a scheme would thus be eventually negated by its inadequacy as a permanent economic stabilizer.


The war system makes the stable government of societies possible. It does this essentially by providing an external necessity for a society to accept political rule. In so doing, it establishes the basis for nationhood and the authority of government to control its constituents. What other institution or combination of programs might serve these functions in its place?

We have already pointed out that the end of the war means the end of national sovereignty, and thus the end of nationhood as we know it today. But this does not necessarily mean the end of nations in the administrative sense, and internal political power will remain essential to a stable society. The emerging "nations" of the peace epoch must continue to draw political authority from some source.

A number of proposals have been made governing the relations between nations after total disarmament; all are basically juridical in nature. They contemplate institutions more or less like a World Court, or a United Nations, but vested with real authority. They may or may not serve their ostensible post-military purpose of settling international disputes, but we need not discuss that here. None would offer effective external pressure on a peace-world nation to organize itself politically.

It might be argued that a well-armed international police force, operating under the authority of such a supranational "court," could well serve the function of external enemy. This, however, would constitute a military operation, like the inspection schemes mentioned, and, like them, would be inconsistent with the premise of an end to the war system. It is possible that a variant of the "Unarmed Forces" idea might be developed in such a way that its "constructive" (i.e., social welfare) activities could be combined with an economic "threat" of sufficient size and credibility to warrant political organization. Would this kind of threat also be contradictory to our basic premise? -- that is, would it be inevitably military? Not necessarily, in our view, but we are skeptical of its capacity to evoke credibility. Also, the obvious destabilizing effect of any global social welfare surrogate on politically necessary class relationships would create an entirely new set of transition problems at least equal in magnitude.

Credibility, in fact, lies at the heart of the problem of developing a political substitute for war. This is where the space-race proposals, in many ways so well suited as economic substitutes for war, fall short. The most ambitious and unrealistic space project cannot of itself generate a believable external menace. It has been hotly argued that such a menace would offer the "last, best hope of peace," etc., by uniting mankind against the danger of destruction by "creatures" from other planets or from outer space. Experiments have been proposed to test the credibility of an out-of-our-world invasion threat; it is possible that a few of the more difficult-to-explain "flying saucer" incidents of recent years were in fact early experiments of this kind. If so, they could hardly have been judged encouraging. We anticipate no difficulties in making a "need" for a giant super space program credible for economic purposes, even were there not ample precedent; extending it, for political purposes, to include features unfortunately associated with science fiction would obviously be a more dubious undertaking.

Nevertheless, an effective political substitute for war would require "alternate enemies," some of which might seem equally farfetched in the context of the current war system. It may be, for instance, that gross pollution of the environment can eventually replace the possibility of mass destruction by nuclear weapons as the principal apparent threat to the survival of the species. Poisoning of the air, and of the principal sources of food and water supply, is already well advanced, and at first glance would seem promising in this respect; it constitutes a threat that can be dealt with only through social organization and political power. But from present indications it will be a generation to a generation and a half before environmental pollution, however severe, will be sufficiently menacing, on a global scale, to offer a possible basis for a solution.

It is true that the rate of pollution could be increased selectively for this purpose; in fact, the mere modifying of existing programs for the deterrence of pollution could speed up the process enough to make the threat credible much sooner. But the pollution problem has been so widely publicized in recent years that it seems highly improbably that a program of deliberate environmental poisoning could be implemented in a politically acceptable manner.

However unlikely some of the possible alternate enemies we have mentioned may seem, we must emphasize that one must be found, of credible quality and magnitude, if a transition to peace is ever to come about without social disintegration. It is more probably, in our judgement, that such a threat will have to be invented, rather than developed from unknown conditions. For this reason, we believe further speculation about its putative nature ill-advised in this context. Since there is considerable doubt, in our minds, that any viable political surrogate can be devised, we are reluctant to compromise, by premature discussion, any possible option that may eventually lie open to our government.


Of the many functions of war we have found convenient to group together in this classification, two are critical. In a world of peace, the continuing stability of society will require: 1) an effective substitute for military institutions that can neutralize destabilizing social elements and 2) a credible motivational surrogate for war that can insure social cohesiveness. The first is an essential element of social control; the second is the basic mechanism for adapting individual human drives to the needs of society.

Most proposals that address themselves, explicitly or otherwise, to the postwar problem of controlling the socially alienated turn to some variant of the Peace Corps or the so-called Job Corps for a solution. The socially disaffected, the economically unprepared, the psychologically unconformable, the hard-core "delinquents," the incorrigible "subversives," and the rest of the unemployable are seen as somehow transformed by the disciplines of a service modeled on military precedent into more or less dedicated social service workers. This presumption also informs the otherwise hardheaded ratiocination of the "Unarmed Forces" plan.

The problem has been addressed, in the language of popular sociology, by Secretary McNamara. "Even in our abundant societies, we have reason enough to worry over the tensions that coil and tighten among underprivileged young people, and finally flail out in delinquency and crime. What are we to expect where mounting frustrations are likely to fester into eruptions of violence and extremism?" In a seemingly unrelated passage, he continues: "It seems to me that we could move toward remedying that inequity [of the Selective Service System] by asking every young person in the United States to give two years of service to his country -- whether in one of the military services, in the Peace Corps, or in some other volunteer developmental program at home or abroad. We could encourage other countries to do the same." Here, as elsewhere throughout this significant speech, Mr. McNamara has focused, indirectly but unmistakably, on one of the key issues bearing on a possible transition to peace, and has later indicated, also indirectly, a rough approach to its resolution, again phrased in the language of the current war system.

It seems clear that Mr. McNamara and other proponents of the peace-corps surrogate for this war function lean heavily on the success of the paramilitary Depression programs mentioned in the last section. We find the precedent wholly inadequate in degree. Neither the lack of relevant precedent, however, nor the dubious social welfare sentimentality characterizing this approach warrant its rejection without careful study. It may be viable -- provided, first, that the military origin of the Corps format be effectively rendered out of its operational activity, and second, that the transition from paramilitary activities to "developmental programs" can be effected without regard to the attitudes of the Corps personnel or to the "value" of the work it is expected to perform.

Another possible surrogate for the control of potential enemies of society is the reintroduction, in some form consistent with modern technology and political processes, of slavery. Up to now, this has been suggested only in fiction, notably in the works of Wells, Huxley, Orwell, and others engaged in the imaginative anticipation of the sociology of the future.

But the fantasies projected in Brave New World and 1984 have seemed less and less implausible over the years since their publication. The traditional association of slavery with ancient preindustrial cultures should not blind us to its adaptability to advanced forms of social organization, nor should its equally traditional incompatibility with Western moral and economic values. It is entirely possible that the development of a sophisticated form of slavery may be an absolute prerequisite for social control in a world at peace. As a practical matter, conversion of the code of military discipline to a euphemized form of enslavement would entail surprisingly little revision; the logical first step would be the adoption of some form of "universal" military service.

When it comes to postulating a credible substitute for war capable of directing human behavior patterns in behalf of social organization, few options suggest themselves. Like its political function, the motivational function of war requires the existence of a genuinely menacing social enemy. The principal difference is that for purposes of motivating basic allegiance, as distinct from accepting political authority, the "alternate enemy" must imply a more immediate, tangible, and directly felt threat of destruction. It must justify the need for taking and paying a "blood price" in wide areas of human concern.

In this respect, the possible enemies noted earlier would be insufficient. One exception might be the environmental-pollution model, if the danger to society it posed was genuinely imminent. The fictive models would have to carry the weight of extraordinary conviction, underscored with a not inconsiderable actual sacrifice of life; the construction of an up-to-date mythological or religious structure for this purpose would present difficulties in our era, but must certainly be considered.

Games theorists have suggested, in other contexts, the development of "blood games" for the effective control of individual aggressive impulses. It is an ironic commentary on the current state of war and peace studies that it was left not to scientists but to the makers of a commercial film to develop a model for this notion, on the implausible level of popular melodrama, as a ritualized manhunt. More realistically, such a ritual might be socialized, in the manner of the Spanish Inquisition and the less formal witch trials of other periods, for purposes of "social purification," "state security," or other rationale both acceptable and credible to postwar societies. The feasibility of such an updated version of still another ancient institution, though doubtful, is considerably less fanciful than the wishful notion of many peace planners that a lasting condition of peace can be brought about without the most painstaking examination of every possible surrogate for the essential functions of war. What is involved here, in a sense, is the quest for William James' "moral equivalent of war."

It is also possible that the two functions considered under this heading may be jointly served, in the sense of establishing the antisocial, for whom a control institution is needed, as the "alternate enemy" needed to hold society together. The relentless and irreversible advance of unemployability at all levels of society, and the similar extension of generalized alienation from accepted values may make some such program necessary even as an adjunct to the war system. As before, we will not speculate on the specific forms this kind of program might take, except to note that there is again ample precedent, in the treatment meted out to disfavored, allegedly menacing, ethnic groups in certain societies during certain historical periods.


Considering the shortcomings of war as a mechanism of selective population control, it might appear that devising substitutes for this function should be comparatively simple. Schematically this is so, but the problem of timing the transition to a new ecological balancing device makes the feasibility of substitution less certain.

It must be remembered that the limitation of war in this function is entirely eugenic. War has not been genetically progressive. But as a system of gross population control to preserve the species it cannot fairly be faulted. And, as has been pointed out, the nature of war is itself in transition. Current trends in warfare -- the increased strategic bombing of civilians and the greater military importance now attached to the destruction of sources of supply (as opposed to purely "military" bases and personnel) -- strongly suggest that a truly qualitative improvement is in the making. Assuming the war system is to continue, it is more than probably that the regressively selective quality of war will have been reversed, as its victims become more genetically representative of their societies.

There is no question but that a universal requirement that procreation be limited to the products of artificial insemination would provide a fully adequate substitute control for population levels. Such a reproductive system would, of course, have the added advantage of being susceptible of direct eugenic management. Its predictable further development -- conception and embryonic growth taking place wholly under laboratory conditions -- would extend these controls to their logical conclusion. The ecological function of war under these circumstances would not only be superseded but surpassed in effectiveness.

The indicated intermediate step -- total control of conception with a variant of the ubiquitous "pill," via water supplies or certain essential foodstuffs, offset by a controlled "antidote" -- is already under development. There would appear to be no foreseeable need to revert to any of the outmoded practices referred to in the previous section (infanticide, etc.) as there might have been if the possibility of transition to peace had arisen two generations ago.

The real question here, therefore, does not concern the viability of this war substitute, but the political problems involved in bringing it about. It cannot be established while the war system is still in effect. The reason for this is simple: excess population is war material. As long as any society must contemplate even a remote possibility of war, it must maintain a maximum supportable population, even when so doing critically aggravates an economic liability. This is paradoxical, in view of war's role in reducing excess population, but it is readily understood. War controls the general population level, but the ecological interest of any single society lies in maintaining its hegemony vis-a-vis other societies. The obvious analogy can be seen in any free-enterprise economy. Practices damaging to the society as a whole -- both competitive and monopolistic -- are abetted by the conflicting economic motives of individual capital interests. The obvious precedent can be found in the seemingly irrational political difficulties which have blocked universal adoption of simple birth-control methods. Nations desperately in need of increasing unfavorable production-consumption ratios are nevertheless unwilling to gamble their possible military requirements of twenty years hence for this purpose. Unilateral population control, as practiced in ancient Japan and in other isolated societies, is out of the question in today's world.

Since the eugenic solution cannot be achieved until the transition to the peace system takes place, why not wait? One must qualify the inclination to agree. As we noted earlier, a real possibility of an unprecedented global crisis of insufficiency exists today, which the war system may not be able to forestall. If this should come to pass before an agreed-upon transition to peace were completed, the result might be irrevocably disastrous. There is clearly no solution to this dilemma; it is a risk which must be taken. But it tends to support the view that if a decision is made to eliminate the war system, it were better done sooner than later.


Strictly speaking, the function of war as the determinant of cultural values and as the prime mover of scientific progress may not be critical in a world without war. Our criterion for the basic nonmilitary functions of war has been: Are they necessary to the survival and stability of society? The absolute need for substitute cultural value-determinants and for the continued advance of scientific knowledge is not established. We believe it important, however, in behalf of those for whom these functions hold subjective significance, that it be known what they can reasonably expect in culture and science after a transition to peace.

So far as the creative arts are concerned, there is no reason to believe they would disappear, but only that they would change in character and relative social importance. The elimination of war would in due course deprive them of their principal conative force, but it would necessarily take some time for the transition, and perhaps for a generation thereafter, themes of sociomoral conflict inspired by the war system would be increasingly transferred to the idiom of purely personal sensibility. At the same time, a new aesthetic would have to develop. Whatever its name, form, or rationale, its function would be to express, in language appropriate to the new period, the once discredited philosophy that art exists for its own sake. This aesthetic would reject unequivocally the classic requirement of paramilitary conflict as the substantive content of great art. The eventual effect of the peace-world philosophy of art would be democratizing in the extreme, in the sense that a generally acknowledged subjectivity of artistic standards would equalize their new, content-free "values."

The governors and the scientists alike (not to mention the commercial world) see human affairs as patterned upon purpose, means and ends, connation and satisfaction.

-- Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, evolution and Epistemology, by Gregory Bateson

What may be expected to happen is that art would be reassigned the role it once played in a few primitive peace-oriented social systems. This was the function of pure decoration, entertainment, or play, entirely free of the burden of expressing the sociomoral values and conflicts of a war-oriented society. It is interesting that the groundwork for such a value-free aesthetic is already being laid today, in growing experimentation in art without content, perhaps in anticipation of a world without conflict. A cult has developed around a new kind of cultural determinism, which proposes that the technological form of a cultural expression determines its values rather than does its ostensibly meaningful content. Its clear implication is that there is no "good" or "bad" art, only that which is appropriate to its (technological) times and that which is not. Its cultural effect has been to promote circumstantial constructions and unplanned expressions; it denies to art the relevance of sequential logic. Its significance in this context is that it provides a working model of one kind of value-free culture we might reasonably anticipate in a world at peace.

So far as science is concerned, it might appear at first glance that a giant space-research program, the most promising among the proposed economic surrogates for war, might also serve as the basic stimulator of scientific research. The lack of fundamental organized social conflict inherent in space work, however, would rule it out as an adequate motivational substitute for war when applied to "pure" science. But it could no doubt sustain the broad range of technological activity that a space budget of military dimensions would require. A similarly scaled social-welfare program could provide a comparable impetus to low-keyed technological advances, especially in medicine, rationalized construction methods, educational psychology, etc. The eugenic substitute for the ecological function of war would also require continuing research in certain areas of the life sciences.

Apart from these partial substitutes for war, it must be kept in mind that the momentum given to scientific progress by the great wars of the past century, and even more by the anticipation of World War III, is intellectually and materially enormous. It is our finding that if the war system were to end tomorrow this momentum is so great that the pursuit of scientific knowledge could reasonably be expected to go forward without noticeable diminution for perhaps two decades. It would then continue, at a progressively decreasing tempo, for at least another two decades before the "bank account" of today's unresolved problems would become exhausted. By the standards of the questions we have learned to ask today, there would no longer be anything worth knowing still unknown; we cannot conceive, by definition, of the scientific questions to ask once those we can now comprehend are answered.

This leads unavoidably to another matter: the intrinsic value of the unlimited search for knowledge. We of course offer no independent value judgments here, but it is germane to point out that a substantial minority of scientific opinion feels that search to be circumscribed in any case. This opinion is itself a factor in considering the need for a substitute for the scientific function of war. For the record, we must also take note of the precedent that during long periods of human history, often covering thousands of years, in which no intrinsic social value was assigned to scientific progress, stable societies did survive and flourish. Although this could not have been possible in the modern industrial world, we cannot be certain it may not again be true in a future world at peace.
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War is not, as is widely assumed, primarily an instrument of policy utilized by nations to extend or defend their expressed political values or their economic interests. On the contrary, it is itself the principal basis of organization on which all modern societies are constructed. The common proximate cause of war is the apparent interference of one nation with the aspirations of another. But at the root of all ostensible differences of national interest lie the dynamic requirements of the war system itself for periodic armed conflict. Readiness for war characterizes contemporary social systems more broadly than their economic and political structures, which it subsumes.

Economic analyses of the anticipated problems of transition to peace have not recognized the broad preeminence of war in the definition of social systems. The same is true, with rare and only partial exceptions, of model disarmament "scenarios." For this reason, the value of this previous work is limited to the mechanical aspects of transition. Certain features of these models may perhaps be applicable to a real situation of conversion to peace; this will depend on their compatibility with a substantive, rather than a procedural, peace plan. Such a plan can be developed only from the premise of full understanding of the nature of the war system it proposes to abolish, which in turn presupposes detailed comprehension of the functions the war system performs for society. It will require the construction of a detailed and feasible system of substitutes for those functions that are necessary to the stability and survival of human societies.


The visible, military function of war requires no elucidation; it is not only obvious but also irrelevant to a transition to the condition of peace, in which it will by definition be superfluous. It is also subsidiary in social significance to the implied, nonmilitary functions of war; those critical to transition can be summarized in five principal groupings.

ECONOMIC. War has provided both ancient and modern societies with a dependable system for stabilizing and controlling national economies. No alternate method of control has yet been tested in a complex modern economy that has shown itself remotely comparable in scope or effectiveness.

POLITICAL. The permanent possibility of war is the foundation for stable government; it supplies the basis for general acceptance of political authority. It has enabled societies to maintain necessary class distinctions, and it has ensured the subordination of the citizen to the state, by virtue of the residual war powers inherent in the concept of nationhood. No modern political ruling group has successfully controlled its constituency after failing to sustain the continuing credibility of an external threat of war.

SOCIOLOGICAL. War, through the medium of military institutions, has uniquely served societies, throughout the course of known history, as an indispensable controller of dangerous social dissidence and destructive antisocial tendencies. As the most formidable of threats to life itself, and as the only one susceptible to mitigation by social organization alone, it has played another equally fundamental role: the war system has provided the machinery through which the motivational forces governing human behavior have been translated into binding social allegiance. It has thus ensured the degree of social cohesion necessary to the viability of nations. No other institution, or groups of institutions, in modern societies, has successfully served these functions.

ECOLOGICAL. War has been the principal evolutionary device for maintaining a satisfactory ecological balance between gross human population and supplies available for its survival. It is unique to the human species.

CULTURAL AND SCIENTIFIC. War-orientation has determined the basic standards of value in the creative arts, and has provided the fundamental motivational source of scientific and technological progress. The concepts that the arts express values independent of their own forms and that the successful pursuit of knowledge has intrinsic social value have long been accepted in modern societies; the development of the arts and sciences during this period has been corollary to the parallel development of weaponry.


The foregoing functions of war are essential to the survival of the social systems we know today. With two possible exceptions they are also essential to any kind of stable social organization that might survive in a warless world. Discussion of the ways and means of transition to such a world are meaningless unless a) substitute institutions can be devised to fill these functions, or b) it can reasonably be hypothecated that the loss or partial loss of any one function need not destroy the viability of future societies.

Such substitute institutions and hypotheses must meet varying criteria. In general, they must be technically feasible, politically acceptable, and potentially credible to the members of the societies that adopt them. Specifically, they must be characterized as follows:

ECONOMIC. An acceptable economic surrogate for the war system will require the expenditure of resources for completely nonproductive purposes at a level comparable to that of the military expenditures otherwise demanded by the size and complexity of each society. Such a substitute system of apparent "waste" must be of a nature that will permit it to remain independent of the normal supply-demand economy; it must be subject to arbitrary political control.

POLITICAL. A viable political substitute for war must posit a generalized external menace to each society of a nature and degree sufficient to require the organization and acceptance of political authority.

SOCIOLOGICAL. First, in the permanent absence of war, new institutions must be developed that will effectively control the socially destructive segments of societies. Second, for purposes of adapting the physical and psychological dynamics of human behavior to the needs of social organization, a credible substitute for war must generate an omnipresent and readily understood fear of personal destruction. This fear must be of a nature and degree sufficient to ensure adherence to societal values to the full extent that they are acknowledged to transcend the value of individual human life.

ECOLOGICAL. A substitute for war in its function as the uniquely human system of population control must ensure the survival, if not necessarily the improvement, of the species, in terms of its relations to environmental supply.

CULTURAL AND SCIENTIFIC. A surrogate for the function of war as the determinant of cultural values must establish a basis of sociomoral conflict of equally compelling force and scope. A substitute motivational basis for the quest for scientific knowledge must be similarly informed by a comparable sense of internal necessity.


The following substitute institutions, among others, have been proposed for consideration as replacements for the nonmilitary functions of war. That they may not have been originally set forth for that purpose does not preclude or invalidate their possible application here.

ECONOMIC. a) A comprehensive social-welfare program, directed toward maximum improvement of general conditions of human life. b) A giant open-end space research program, aimed at unreachable targets. c) A permanent, ritualized, ultra-elaborate disarmament inspection system, and variants of such a system.

POLITICAL a) An omnipresent, virtually omnipotent international police force. b) An established and recognized extraterrestrial menace. c) Massive global environmental pollution. d) Fictitious alternate enemies.

SOCIOLOGICAL: CONTROL FUNCTION. a) Programs generally derived from the Peace Corps model. b) A modern, sophisticated form of slavery. MOTIVATIONAL FUNCTION. a) Intensified environmental pollution. b) New religions or other mythologies. c) Socially oriented blood games. d) Combination forms.

ECOLOGICAL. A comprehensive program of applied eugenics.

CULTURAL. No replacement institution offered.

SCIENTIFIC. The secondary requirements of the space research, social welfare, and / or eugenics programs.


The models listed above reflect only the beginning of the quest for substitute institutions for the functions of war, rather than a recapitulation of alternatives. It would be both premature and inappropriate, therefore, to offer final judgments on their applicability to a transition to peace and after. Furthermore, since the necessary but complex project of correlating the compatibility of proposed surrogates for different functions could be treated only in exemplary fashion at this time, we have elected to withhold such hypothetical correlations as were tested as statistically inadequate.

Nevertheless, some tentative and cursory comments on these proposed functional "solutions" will indicate the scope of the difficulties involved in this area of peace planning.

ECONOMIC. The social-welfare model cannot be expected to remain outside the normal economy after the conclusion of its predominantly capital-investment phase; its value in this function can therefore be only temporary.

The space-research substitute appears to meet both major criteria, and should be examined in greater detail, especially in respect to its probable effects on other war functions. "Elaborate inspection" schemes, although superficially attractive, are inconsistent with the basic premise of a transition to peace. The "unarmed forces" variant, logistically similar, is subject to the same functional criticism as the general social-welfare model.

POLITICAL. Like the inspection-scheme surrogates, proposals for plenipotentiary international police are inherently incompatible with the ending of the war system. The "unarmed forces" variant, amended to include unlimited powers of economic sanction, might conceivably be expanded to constitute a credible external menace. Development of an acceptable threat from "outer space," presumably in conjunction with a space-research surrogate for economic control, appears unpromising in terms of credibility. The environmental-pollution model does not seem sufficiently responsive to immediate social control, except through arbitrary acceleration of current pollution trends; this in turn raises questions of political acceptability. New, less regressive, approaches to the creation of fictitious global "enemies" invite further investigation.

SOCIOLOGICAL: CONTROL FUNCTION. Although the various substitutes proposed for this function that are modeled roughly on the Peace Corps appear grossly inadequate in potential scope, they should not be ruled out without further study. Slavery, in a technologically modern and conceptually euphemized form, may prove a more efficient and flexible institution in this area. MOTIVATIONAL FUNCTION. Although none of the proposed substitutes for war as the guarantor of social allegiance can be dismissed out of hand, each presents serious and special difficulties. Intensified environmental threats may raise ecological dangers; mythmaking dissociated from war may no longer be politically feasible; purposeful blood games and rituals can far more readily be devised than implemented. An institution combining this function with the preceding one, based on, but not necessarily imitative of, the precedent of organized ethnic repression, warrants careful consideration.

ECOLOGICAL. The only apparent problem in the application of an adequate eugenic substitute for war is that of timing; it cannot be effectuated until the transition to peace has been completed, which involved a serious temporary risk of ecological failure.

CULTURAL. No plausible substitute for this function of war has yet been proposed. It may be, however, that a basic cultural value-determinant is not necessary to the survival of a stable society.

SCIENTIFIC. The same might be said for the function of war as the prime mover of the search for knowledge. However, adoption of either a giant space-research program, a comprehensive social-welfare program, or a master program of eugenic control would provide motivation for limited technologies.


It is apparent, from the foregoing, that no program or combination of programs yet proposed for a transition to peace has remotely approached meeting the comprehensive functional requirements of a world without war. Although one projected system for filling the economic function of war seems promising, similar optimism cannot be expressed in the equally essential political and sociological areas.

The other major nonmilitary functions of war -- ecological, cultural, scientific -- raise very different problems, but it is least possible that detailed programming of substitutes in these areas is not prerequisite to transition. More important, it is not enough to develop adequate but separate surrogates for the major war functions; they must be fully compatible and in no degree self-canceling.

Until such a unified program is developed, at least hypothetically, it is impossible for this or any other group to furnish meaningful answers to the questions originally presented to us. When asked how best to prepare for the advent of peace, we must first reply, as strongly as we can, that the war system cannot responsibly be allowed to disappear until 1) we know exactly what it is we plan to put in its place, and 2) we are certain, beyond reasonable doubt, that these substitute institutions will serve their purposes in terms of the survival and stability of society. It will then be time enough to develop methods for effectuating the transition; procedural programming must follow, not precede, substantive solutions.

Such solutions, if indeed they exist, will not be arrived at without a revolutionary revision of the modes of thought heretofore considered appropriate to peace research. That we have examined the fundamental questions involved from a dispassionate, value-free point of view should not imply that we do not appreciate the intellectual and emotional difficulties that must be overcome on all decision-making levels before these questions are generally acknowledged by others for what they are. They reflect, on an intellectual level, traditional emotional resistance to new (more lethal and thus more "shocking") forms of weaponry. The understated comment of then- Senator Hubert Humphrey on the publication of ON THERMONUCLEAR WAR is still very much to the point: "New Thoughts, particularly those which appear to contradict current assumptions, are always painful for the mind to contemplate."

Nor, simply because we have not discussed them, do we minimize the massive reconciliation of conflicting interests with domestic as well as international agreement on proceeding toward genuine peace presupposes. This factor was excluded from the purview of our assignment, but we would be remiss if we failed to take it into account. Although no insuperable obstacle lies in the path of reaching such general agreements, formidable short-term private-group and general-class interest in maintaining the war system is well established and widely recognized. The resistance to peace stemming from such interest is only tangential, in the long run, to the basic functions of war, but it will not be easily overcome, in this country or elsewhere. Some observers, in fact, believe that it cannot be overcome at all in our time, that the price of peace is, simply, too high. This bears on our overall conclusions to the extent that timing in the transference to substitute institutions may often be the critical factor in their political feasibility.

This is only a sampler of the more obvious domestic social welfare items, and we have listed it in a deliberately broad, perhaps extravagant, manner. In the past, such a vague and ambitious-sounding "program" would have been dismissed out of hand, without serious consideration; it would clearly have been, prima facie, far too costly, quite apart from its political implications. Our objection to it, on the other hand, could hardly be more contradictory. As an economic substitute for war, it is inadequate because it would be far too cheap.

-- Report From Iron Mountain: On the Possibility and Desirability of Peace, by The Special Study Group, with introductory material by Leonard C. Lewin

It is uncertain, at this time, whether peace will ever be possible. It is far more questionable, by the objective standard of continued social survival rather than that of emotional pacifism, that it would be desirable even if it were demonstrably attainable. The war system, for all its subjective repugnance to important sections of "public opinion" has demonstrated its effectiveness since the beginning of recorded history; it has provided the basis for the development of many impressively durable civilizations, including that which is dominant today. It has consistently provided unambiguous social priorities. It is, on the whole, a known quantity. A viable system of peace, assuming that the great and complex questions of substitute institutions raised in this Report are both solvable and solved, would still constitute a venture into the unknown, with the inevitable risks attendant on the unforeseen, however small and however well hedged.

Government decision-makers tend to choose peace over war whenever a real option exists, because it usually appears to be the "safer" choice. Under most immediate circumstances they are likely to be right. But in terms of long-range social stability, the opposite is true. At our present state of knowledge and reasonable inference, it is the war system that must be identified with stability, the peace system that must be identified with social speculation, however justifiable the speculation may appear, in terms of subjective moral or emotional values. A nuclear physicist once remarked, in respect to a possible disarmament agreement: "If we could change the world into a world in which no weapons could be made, that would be stabilizing. But agreements we can expect with the Soviets would be destabilizing." The qualification and the bias are equally irrelevant; any condition of genuine total peace, however achieved, would be destabilizing until proved otherwise.

If it were necessary at this moment to opt irrevocably for the retention or for the dissolution of the war system, common prudence would dictate the former course. But it is not yet necessary, late as the hour appears. And more factors must eventually enter the war-peace equation than even the most determined search for alternative institutions for the functions of war can be expected to reveal. One group of such factors has been given only passing mention in this Report; it centers around the possible obsolescence of the war system itself. We have noted, for instance, the limitations of the war system in filling its ecological function and the declining importance of this aspect of war. It by no means stretches the imagination to visualize comparable developments which may compromise the efficacy of war as, for example, an economic controller or as an organizer of social allegiance. This kind of possibility, however remote, serves as a reminder that all calculations of contingency not only involve the weighing of one group of risks against another, but require a respectful allowance for error on both sides of the scale.

"The great communism vs. capitalism, politico-economic world stand-off assumes a fundamental inadequacy of life support to exist on our planet. So too do the four major religions assume that it must be you or us, never enough for both. Jointly the two political camps have spent $6.5 trillion in the last thirty-three years to buy the capability to kill all humanity in one hour. Jointly, we Earthians have always had adequate physical resources to take care of all humanity but lacked the metaphysical know-how resources with which to employ effectively the Earth's physical wealth. Adequate know how could only accrue through trial-and-error experience combined with synergetically acquired wisdom, altogether employed with absolute faith in the intellectual integrity omni-lovingly governing regenerative Universe. However, in 1970 our cornucopia of ever more swiftly accruing know-how overflowed and its content integrated synergetically, so that we may now care for each Earthian individual at a sustainable billionaire's level of affluence while living exclusively on less than 1 percent of our planet's daily energy income from our cosmically designed nuclear reactor, the Sun, optimally located 92 million safe miles away from us and safely interlinked with us by photosynthesis, wind, rain, wave, and all other weather behaviors."

-- The Grunch of Giants, by Buckminster Fuller

More expedient reason for pursuing the investigation of alternate ways and means to serve the current functions of war is narrowly political. It is possible that one or more major sovereign nations may arrive, through ambiguous leadership, at a position in which a ruling administrative class may lose control of basic public opinion or of its ability to rationalize a desired war. It is not hard to imagine, in such circumstances, a situation in which such governments may feel forced to initiate serious full-scale disarmament proceedings (perhaps provoked by "accidental" nuclear explosions), and that such negotiations may lead to the actual disestablishment of military institutions. As our Report has made clear, this could be catastrophic. It seems evident that, in the event an important part of the world is suddenly plunged without sufficient warning into an inadvertent peace, even partial and inadequate preparation for the possibility may be better than none. The difference could even be critical. The models considered in the preceding chapter, both those that seem promising and those that do not, have one positive feature in common -- an inherent flexibility of phasing. And despite our strictures against knowingly proceeding into peace-transition procedures without thorough substantive preparation, our government must nevertheless be ready to move in this direction with whatever limited resources of planning are on hand at the time -- if circumstances so require. An arbitrary all-or-nothing approach is no more realistic in the development of contingency peace programming than it is anywhere else.

But the principal cause for concern over the continuing effectiveness of the war system, and the more important reason for hedging with peace planning, lies in the backwardness of current war-system programming. Its controls have not kept pace with the technological advances it has made possible. Despite its unarguable success to date, even in this era of unprecedented potential in mass destruction, it continues to operate largely on a laissez-faire basis. To the best of our knowledge, no serious quantified studies have even been conducted to determine, for example:

-- optimum levels of armament production, for purposes of economic control, at any given relationship between civilian production and consumption patterns:

-- correlation factors between draft recruitment policies and mensurable social dissidence;

-- minimum levels of population destruction necessary to maintain war-threat credibility under varying political conditions;

-- optimum cyclical frequency of "shooting" wars under varying circumstances of historical relationship.

These and other war-function factors are fully susceptible to analysis by today's computer-based systems, but they have not been so treated; modern analytical techniques have up to now been relegated to such aspects of the ostensible functions of war as procurement, personnel deployment, weapons analysis, and the like. We do not disparage these types of application, but only deplore their lack of utilization to greater capacity in attacking problems of broader scope. Our concern for efficiency in this context is not aesthetic, economic, or humanistic. It stems from the axiom that no system can long survive at either input or output levels that consistently or substantially deviate from an optimum range. As their data grow increasingly sophisticated, the war system and its functions are increasingly endangered by such deviations.

Our final conclusion, therefore, is that it will be necessary for our government to plan in depth for two general contingencies. The first, and lesser, is the possibility of a viable general peace; the second is the successful continuation of the war system. In our view, careful preparation for the possibility of peace should be extended, not because we take the position that the end of war would necessarily be desirable, if it is in fact possible, but because it may be thrust upon us in some form whether we are ready for it or not. Planning for rationalizing and quantifying the war system, on the other hand, to ensure the effectiveness of its major stabilizing functions, is not only more promising in respect to anticipated results, but is essential;. we can no longer take for granted that it will continue to serve our purposes well merely because it always has. The objective of government policy in regard to war and peace, in this period of uncertainty, must be to preserve maximum options. The recommendations which follow are directed to this end.
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Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:59 am



We propose the establishment, under executive order of the President, of a permanent WAR/PEACE Research Agency, empowered and mandated to execute the programs described in (2) and (3) below. This agency (a) will be provided with nonaccountable funds sufficient to implement its responsibilities and decisions at its own discretion, and (b) will have authority to preempt and utilize, without restriction, any and all facilities of the executive branch of the government in pursuit of its objectives. It will be organized along the lines of the National Security Council, except that none of its governing, executive, or operating personnel will hold other public office or governmental responsibility. Its directorate will be drawn from the broadest practicable spectrum of scientific disciplines, humanistic studies, applied creative arts, operating technologies, and otherwise unclassified professional occupations. It will be responsible solely to the President, or to other officers of government temporarily deputized by him. Its operations will be governed entirely by its own rules of procedure. Its authority will expressly include the unlimited right to withhold information on its activities and its decisions, from anyone except the President, whenever it deems such secrecy to be in the public interest.

The first of the War/Peace Research Agency's two principal responsibilities will be to determine all that can be known, including what can reasonably be inferred in terms of relevant statistical probabilities, that may bear on an eventual transition to a general condition of peace. The findings in this Report may be considered to constitute the beginning of this study and to indicate its orientation; detailed records of the investigations and findings of the Special Study Group on which this Report is based, will be furnished the agency, along with whatever clarifying data the agency deems necessary. This aspect of the agency's work will hereinafter be referred to as "Peace Research."

The Agency's Peace Research activities will necessarily include, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) The creative development of possible substitute institutions for the principal nonmilitary functions of war.

(b) The careful matching of such institutions against the criteria summarized in this Report, as refined, revised, and extended by the agency.

(c) The testing and evaluation of substitute institutions, for acceptability, feasibility, and credibility, against hypothecated transitional and postwar conditions; the testing and evaluation of the effects of the anticipated atrophy of certain unsubstantiated functions.

(d) The development and testing of the corelativity of multiple substitute institutions, with the eventual objective of establishing a comprehensive program of compatible war substitutes suitable for a planned transition to peace, if and when this is found to be possible and subsequently judged desirable by appropriate political authorities.

(e) The preparation of a wide-ranging schedule of partial, uncorrelated, crash programs of adjustment suitable for reducing the dangers of unplanned transition to peace effected by force majeure.

Peace Research methods will include but not be limited to, the following:

(a) The comprehensive interdisciplinary application of historical, scientific, technological, and cultural data.

(b) The full utilization of modern methods of mathematical modeling, analogical analysis, and other, more sophisticated, quantitative techniques in process of development that are compatible with computer programming.

(c) The heuristic "peace games" procedures developed during the course of its assignment by the Special Study Group, and further extensions of this basic approach to the testing of institutional functions.

The WAR/PEACE Research Agency's other principal responsibility will be "War Research." Its fundamental objective will be to ensure the continuing viability of the war system to fulfill its essential nonmilitary functions for as long as the war system is judged necessary to or desirable for the survival of society. To achieve this end, the War Research groups within the agency will engage in the following activities:

(a) Quantification of existing application of the non-military functions of war. Specific determinations will include, but not be limited to:

the gross amount and the net proportion of nonproductive military expenditures since World War II assignable to the need for war as an economic stabilizer; the amount and proportion of military expenditures and destruction of life, property, and natural resources during this period assignable to the need for war as an instrument for political control;

similar figures, to the extent that they can be separately arrived at, assignable to the need for war to maintain social cohesiveness;

levels of recruitment and expenditures on the draft and other forms of personnel deployment attributable to the need for military institutions to control social disaffection;

the statistical relationship of war casualties to world food supplies; the correlation of military actions and expenditures with cultural activities and scientific advances (including necessarily the development of mensurable standards in these areas).

(b) Establishment of a priori modern criteria for the execution of the nonmilitary functions of war. These will include, but not be limited to:

calculation of minimum and optimum ranges of military expenditure required, under varying hypothetical conditions, to fulfill these several functions, separately and collectively;

determination of minimum and optimum levels of destruction of LIFE, PROPERTY, and NATURAL RESOURCES prerequisite to the credibility of external threat essential to the political and motivational functions;

development of a negotiable formula governing the relationship between military recruitment and training policies and the exigencies of social control.

(c) Reconciliation of these criteria with prevailing economic, political, sociological, and ecological limitations. The ultimate object of this phase of War Research is to rationalize the heretofore informal operations of the war system. It should provide practical working procedures through which responsible governmental authority may resolve the following war-function problems, among others, under any given circumstances:

how to determine the optimum quantity, nature, and timing of military expenditures to ensure a desired degree of economic control;

how to organize the recruitment, deployment, and ostensible use of military personnel to ensure a desired degree of acceptance of authorized social values;

how to compute on a short-term basis, the nature and extent of the LOSS OF LIFE and other resources which SHOULD BE SUFFERED and/or INFLICTED DURING any single outbreak of hostilities to achieve a desired degree of internal political authority and social allegiance;

how to project, over extended periods, the nature and quality of overt warfare which must be planned and budgeted to achieve a desired degree of contextual stability for the same purpose; factors to be determined must include frequency of occurrence, length of phase, INTENSITY OF PHYSICAL DESTRUCTION, extensiveness of geographical involvement, and OPTIMUM MEAN LOSS OF LIFE;

how to extrapolate accurately from the foregoing, for ecological purposes, the continuing effect of the war system, over such extended cycles, on population pressures, and to adjust the planning of casualty rates accordingly.

War Research procedures will necessarily include, but not be limited to, the following:

(a) The collation of economic, military, and other relevant data into uniform terms, permitting the reversible translation of heretofore discrete categories of information.

(b) The development and application of appropriate forms of cost-effectiveness analysis suitable for adapting such new constructs to computer terminology, programming, and projection.

(c) Extension of the "war games" methods of systems testing to apply, as a quasi-adversary proceeding, to the nonmilitary functions of war.

Since Both Programs of the WAR/PEACE RESEARCH Agency will share the same purpose -- to maintain governmental freedom of choice in respect to war and peace until the direction of social survival is no longer in doubt -- it is of the essence of this proposal that the agency be constituted without limitation of time. Its examination of existing and proposed institutions will be self-liquidating when its own function shall have been superseded by the historical developments it will have, at least in part, initiated.
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Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:59 am



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, in 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).


1. 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 & Row, 1963).

2. McNamara, in ASNE Montreal address cited.

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

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


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

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


1. 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 Congressman in 1965; it was later given limited distribution among other persons engaged in related projects.)

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

3. The Economic Impact of Disarmament (Washington: USGPO, January 1962), p.409.

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

5. Frank Pace, Jr., in an address before the American Banker's Association, September 1957.

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

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

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

9. 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.

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

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

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

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

14. 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."

15. G. Bouthol, in La Guerre (Paris: Presses universitairies 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.

16. 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.


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

2. 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.

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

4. 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.

5. Waskow, op. cit.

6. 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.

7. In ASNE, Montreal address cited.

8. The Tenth Victim.

9. 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).
10. 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.

11. 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.

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

13. 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.)


1. 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.

2. Edward Teller, quoted in War/Peace Report (December 1964). 3. 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).


1. 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."

2. Again, an overdue extension of an obvious application of techniques up to now limited 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.

3. 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 in 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 non-military functions of war.

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Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:00 am

Report from Iron Mountain
by Philip Coppens



The “Report from Iron Mountain” was a 1967 publication that claimed to be a leaked, top secret government report. It argued that though world peace was a nice idea, the economy of war was such a vital part of global stability, it was difficult to come up with substitutes. A hoax? Satire? Or the truth? For more than three decades, the Report has been a cornerstone of intelligent debate… sometimes.

In 1967, a major publisher, The Dial Press, released Report from Iron Mountain. The book claimed to be a suppressed, secret government report, written by a commission of scholars, known as the “Special Study Group”, set up in 1963, with the document itself leaked by one of its members. The Group met at an underground nuclear bunker called Iron Mountain and worked over a period of two and a half years, delivering the report in September 1966.

The report was an investigation into the problems that the United States would need to face if and when “world peace” should be established on a more or less permanent basis. Or to quote from the “official” report: “It is surely no exaggeration to say that a condition of general world peace would lead to changes in the social structures of the nations of the world of unparalleled and revolutionary magnitude. The economic impact of general disarmament, to name only the most obvious consequence of peace, would revise the production and distribution patterns of the globe to a degree that would make the changes of the past fifty years seem insignificant. Political, sociological, cultural, and ecological changes would be equally far-reaching. What has motivated our study of these contingencies has been the growing sense of thoughtful men in and out of government that the world is totally unprepared to meet the demands of such a situation.”

The book appeared during the Cold War, but specifically at a time when America was hit by bloody racial riots in its cities and piles of body bags being returned from VietNam. Was the Government really promoting a culture of war? The “Report” was the most talked about book of the year. A number of people believed the Report was authentic. This impression was helped when noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith reviewed the book in The Washington Post, using the pseudonym Herschell McLandress: “As I would put my personal repute behind the authenticity of this document, so I would testify to the validity of its conclusions. My reservations relate only to the wisdom of releasing it to an obviously unconditioned public.”

Still, many, including most other book reviewers, deemed it to be a satire. US embassies were asked to comment and had to disclaim the report, noting it was not an official government report. Still, President Lyndon B. Johnson apparently couldn’t be sure that his predecessor (John F. Kennedy) hadn’t commissioned the report. According to US News and World Report, the President “hit the roof” upon learning of it and ordered that the report be “bottled up for all time”.

But if it was a hoax, who was its perpetrator? Among the accused was Leonard C. Lewin; he had written the report's introduction, as well as a previous book on political satire. Another suspect was John Kenneth Galbraith, because he had written reviews of the hoax in the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune, even though he had used an alias. But why had he used an alias, and not his real name? Though many suspected it was a hoax, no-one had any evidence to back up their allegations.

By 1972, the book had been translated into 15 languages. It was then that Lewin admitted that it had been a hoax, in the March 19 New York Times Book Review. The idea for the Report came from Victor Navasky, who published a satirical magazine, Monocle. Lewin was also helped by Richard Lingeman and Marvin Kitman, both working for Monocle. In 1966, Navasky read an article in the New York Times on a stock market downturn due to a "peace scare". In 1972, he stated how the Pentagon Papers and other documents about the Vietnam War "read like parodies of Iron Mountain rather than the reverse." What was the goal of the hoax? He stated that “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.” In short, it was one thing to have “world peace” as an ambition, but like the beauty pageant queens that long for it, the debate needed to transcend it; the “hope” needed to become an action plan, and it would be there that the various facets of an accepted component of the economy, politics and society would be carefully change-managed.

By 1980, the book was out of print. The controversy seemed forgotten. World peace had not materialised. But in the 1990s, Lewin discovered that bootleg editions of his book were being distributed by and to members of rightwing militia groups who claimed it was an authentic report. His 1972 admission seemed to have bypassed rightwing America. Lewin sued for copyright infringement, though the groups argued it was a public domain document – i.e. an official document – and that Lewin’s name as author was part of the government deception. In short, they argued that the publication was genuine, but, once leaked, the government did damage control and claimed it was a hoax, asking Lewin to admit to it.

Type of Work: Text

Registration Number / Date: TX0004251974 / 1996-05-02

Title: Report from Iron Mountain : On the possibility and disirability of peace / by Leonard C. Lewin ; with introd. by Victor Navasky.

Imprint: New York : Free Press, c1996.

Description: 152 p.

Copyright Claimant: on afterword; Leonard C. Lewin

Date of Creation: 1995

Date of Publication: 1996-04-02

Other Title: On the possibility and disirability of peace

Names: Navasky, Victor
Lewin, Leonard C.

The judge ruled in favour of Lewin, and all remaining copies were turned over to him. But… In 1993, the book made an appearance in the controversial movie JFK, in such a way that it was one of the most powerful scenes of the movie; a scene that “explained” why there was – could be? – a conspiracy why the “military-industrial complex” would want to kill Kennedy. How did this happens? Because Col. Fletcher Prouty believed the Report was authentic and cited it as such in his book, JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy -- which was worked into the film script, Fletcher being portrayed by Donald Sutherland, meeting Kevin Costner (Jim Garrison) in Washington – a meeting that never occurred in reality. Stone used a section from Prouty’s book that comes from the Report and worked it into the dialogue: “The organizing principle of any society is for war. The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. . . . War readiness accounts for approximately a tenth of the output of the world's total economy.” For Stone – and many others – it was clear that the government was a co-existence of various interest groups: the oil industry; the pharmaceutical industry; but mainly, the military-industrial complex… warmongers.

In his book, Prouty goes in more detail, writing that the Group’s existence “was so highly classified that there is no record, to this day, of who the men in the group were or with what sectors of the government or private life they were connected.” Still, he claimed to have managed an exclusive interview with a “purported member of the Iron Mountain Special Study Group", who told Prouty he "believes that the group's mission was delineated by McNamara, William Bundy, and Dean Rusk." In 1996, Simon & Schuster reprinted the Report, with a new introduction, underlining that the book was a political satire.

Though a hoax, it is a political satire, and thus not without merit. And whereas many Americans are divided over its status as a genuine report or a hoax, in the end, this should not really matter. Whether someone wrote it for the US government, or Lewin wrote it for the American public, there is a message. Full stop. As Lewin himself pointed out: by 1972, reality seemed to have become based on the Iron Mountain Report… because, in essence, the underlying premise is true: war is part of our economy, and definitely so in the United States, whose economy is partially kept in balance by military expenditure. Lewin wrote that at the time, the "world war industry" accounted “for approximately a tenth of the output of the world's total economy. […]The United States, as the world's richest nation, not only accounts for the largest single share of this expense, currently upward of $60 billion a year, but also ‘... has devoted a higher proportion of its gross national product to its military establishment than any other major free world nation. This was true even before our increased expenditures in Southeast Asia.’” In fact, America’s military spending is often bigger than the total public spending of many nations – specifically so in Africa.

One of the more controversial statements of the book is no doubt this statement: “Wars are not ‘caused’ by international conflicts of interest. Proper logical sequence would make it more often accurate to say that war-making societies require – and thus bring about – such conflicts. The capacity of a nation to make war expresses the greatest social power it can exercise; war-making, active or contemplated, is a matter of life and death on the greatest scale subject to social control.” After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, this statement is largely supported by the world’s population – but was even in the days of Lewin “old news”. Intriguingly, the now notorious “weapons of mass destruction” was a term used in the Report: “The production of weapons of mass destruction has always been associated with economic ‘waste.’”

Lewin argued that war was an important tool, as it created artificial demand, a demand which did not have any political issues: “war, and only war, solves the problem of inventory.” The conclusion of the book is that peace, though extremely unlikely, was actually not in the best interest of society, as war not only served important economical functions, but also social and cultural roles. “The permanent possibility of war is the foundation for stable government, it supplies the basis for general acceptance of political authority.” As well as: “War is virtually synonymous with nationhood. The elimination of war implies the inevitable elimination of national sovereignty and the traditional nation-state.” And: “War has been the principal evolutionary device for maintaining a satisfactory balance between gross human population and supplies available for its survival. It is unique to the human species.”

Lewin proposed that until substitutes for war were developed, “war” needed to be maintained, if not improved in effectiveness. Part of the “genius” of Lewin is in the type of proposed potential substitutes he proposed – some of which may have given various governments some inspiration… or is it just coincidence that “reality” mimics fiction? The Report’s recommendations were:

- a giant space-research programme whose goal was largely impossible to achieve (a black hole, budget-wise and hence able to feed the economy);
- create a new, non-human enemy, e.g. the potential threat of an extra-terrestrial civilisation
- create a new threat to Mankind, e.g. pollution
- new ways of limiting births, e.g. via adding drugs to food or water supply
- create fictitious alternate enemies
- create an omnipresent, virtually omnipotent international police force.

Some of these options are obviously quite difficult to achieve – and the world has never seen them come true. Other contributing factors to our present world, such as the Internet and technology as a whole, were obviously not envisioned by the author, living in the 1960s as he was. Still, many of the ideas of the Report have come true, and we can only wonder whether they are “created” or genuine problems – and if they are created, whether the idea originated from the Report, or whether the myth was already created before.

The Race to the Moon, at the time when the Report was written in 1967, could well have been seen as a black hole, definitely if it was followed by a Mars project, and further missions to outer space. Series like Star Trek and other series definitely wetted and showed that there was a public appetite for “going where no-one had gone before”. Still, despite this interest, in the early 1970s, America had lost interest in the various Moon landings – and the government seemed to take this as its cue to descope the space programme. If anyone was pushing that agenda, he wasn’t too good on keeping the public hooked on the “space drug”.

As to the creation of a non-human, extra-terrestrial enemy: that idea was well-known in science fiction and in the 1930s, Welles had created mass hysteria – at least in some corners – with the radio hoax of an alien invasion. Furthermore, the ET menace was part of the UFO myth, a phenomenon largely kept alive and controlled by the US government – which actively promoted the belief in an alien presence on Earth. That story ran out of power in the late 1990s, shortly after the 50th anniversary of the mythical Roswell crash. Of course, unknown “things” remain to be seen in the sky and the potential to use the phenomenon remains and can be picked up at any time, almost taking up where it was left a decade ago. For a brief moment, in the mid 1990s, it seemed that the new enemy was going to be “non-intelligent”: the possibility that comets and meteors were out there, and were set to strike us. Astronomers asked not money to search for ET, but to search for objects that could kill us, like they had killed the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But that idea once again has not resulted in any clear financial commitment… and if anyone wanted to unite the world because we were facing a global annihilation, it only worked in Armageddon and Deep Impact.

Another new threat has been created, and again we find it listed as a potential remedy to cure the world of the war infection: humanity itself. Not only is there AIDS, bird flu and other killer diseases that make their way in and out of the news, there is also our onslaughts on natural resources, abuse of oil, the threat of sea level and weather changes, etc. Largely, pollution and the environment have been used by governments as an excuse to raise extra taxes, to fill unforeseen gaps in the government’s budgets. Intriguingly, those governments that need extra money most, are the first to embrace the “Green Agenda”. So even though the Report was right in the sense that pollution and the environment could drive the economy, so far, governments have only used it as a supportive economic and social measure – and it seems clear that at the moment, it may miss its global potential, if only because many governments are already redefining the need and use of nuclear energy as an economic requirement – whether it is desirable or not. And that is where “war” remains too: though seen as undesirable by most, it is a part of the economy, it is a part of our life. Some wars are deemed to be “required”, others carefully created, some desired and the excuse defined only later – Iraq 2003 being a primary example of that. But war is also the solution to economic problems: Iraq 2003 being again a prime example: to keep the economy going, the West needs oil – and America needs oil more than most. This is a problem. It is a “fact” that wars need to be fought to keep the war economy going. Iraq 2003 combined the two, in the hope to come up with a winning formula. In truth, it was a “win-win” situation, for war itself was positive for the economy, and if the war resulted in more oil, two goals were achieved.

Still, “war” as a currency was vastly different in 1966 than e.g. 1996. In 1966, the Cold War provided an excuse in the need to build up and maintain – i.e. spend money – on the instruments of war, even though war itself did not need to be fought as such. With the collapse of the East Bloc in the late 1980s, this status quo had to be abandoned. In short, the American military once again needed to fight wars, or a new enemy, which required a military deterrent, had to be found – or created.

The Clinton Administration partially resolved this problem, by setting up the US Army as a “global police force” (another recommendation of the Report) that was for hire – which the European Union took up to resolve problems in Eastern Europe in the late 1990s. However, when Bush came into office, he stated that America would look “inwards” and focus on its internal economy. He did not want to see his army used as a “Global Police Force”. Though extremely ambitious and noble, Bush ran into the very problem that the Report had underlined: war was an economic component. Bush, it seemed, simply did not address it – he seemed to ignore the problem. In his approach, the US military were surplus to requirements… there, but not used. It is clear that troops could not be set loose on the streets of America – though the New Orleans disaster of 2005 came close. As such, September 11 offered a great solution. The Bush Administration realised that the promise they had made in 2000, to bring economic prosperity to America by focusing on its economy and not on war, was far more difficult than they thought. It suggests that before 2000, the Bush Administration had not read the Report… for it had no plan for economic change that excluded war. As a consequence, the Bush Administration embraced Project New American Century, which in short is a variation on the Clinton policy. It argued that America would bring world peace about… by military force… and by creating regime change in countries that held back world peace. But rather than have the US military as a contract resource for hire, the Project wanted America to lead and control this process. In this approach, the US continued to use the military as an “in-house resource” and thus easily plotted into economic models, rather than put it out “for hire”, not knowing whether countries will use it – or will even pay for them (which was part of the European use of the troops for the Balkan). It seems that contributors to Project New American Century have read the Report… and have come up with a new potential solution…
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Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:34 am

by Charles Carreon




[The Report From Iron Mountain is a philosophical expose, and who wrote it is not very important. Indeed, it's hard to believe anyone really thought it had been written by a team of 15 Dow-Jones certified blue-blood business brahmins. Somehow, the tone just isn't what I'd expect from such a crew.

The Report from Iron Mountain reminds me of the way I pushed the envelope in The Pentagon Reconsiders, for More Than Food, during the Reagan era. Railing against nuclear warheads, a "farsighted" general tells his colleague: "the point is to keep fighting, not to end it. If we wanted to do that we could go march in a peace parade." Equating peace with nuclear extinction, and life with continued war -- that was my version of black humor directed at the Reagan death cult. I think the Report from Iron Mountain authors were pursuing a similar objective.

But ironically, as Dice and Coppen have noted, this "satirical" document has done a great job of predicting the future. Why? Because the stark statement that society has taken on a warlike shape that it cannot alter without risking societal collapse is true. This does in fact explain the US's persistent courting of disaster in foreign policy and the endless pursuit of police actions around the globe. Rather than risk exposing a nation of janissaries to sudden decommissioning, the poobahs have chosen to keep 'em flying! -- CC 12/11/15]

[I now look back fondly on the Reagan Era, remembering the playful character of Papa Ron. He was so fatherly, he could make sending welfare mothers out to work, leaving their kids at home to sell crack, sound like tough love. Actually, now that I think about it, there wasn't much crack then, but the CIA got busy and fixed that problem in a hurry. When I heard Reagan's rich, resonant voice booming through my cheap radio, I knew he was a President before Carter lost. And I knew I had damn well get on the right side of the fence, the educated, lawyerly side of the fence, because pickens were going to be mighty slim back on the old food stamp commune. So Reagan inspired me to be a lawyer, something I like to shove in every Republican's face. What do they call it, "the law of unintended consequences?" One more Democratic administration and I might've disappeared into the woods forever, now they can't get rid of me. Not to digress, however. There was a time when I thought badly of Ron, thinking that his humongous defense buildup would saddle us with enormous debt, and in conjunction with the S&L bailout, would leave the nation in hock for generations. That's when I penned this little humorous and nostalgic view of why all-out war and macho militarism just don't mix. As a final aside, I once believed that the word "Reagan," would someday assume the same importance as "Caesar," such that King Bush may someday crown himself Reagan The Second, but he's probably too stupid to do anything that artistic. -- CC 05/03]

Certainly we never thought the day would come when the bomb would be repudiated by the Pentagon generals themselves, and yet, reliable sources in Washington assure us that just such a development may be in the works. You may of course be sure that any such action, originating from the Citadel of Paranoia, would not be motivated by a desire to insure world peace or any other such sentimentalism. Around there, war is a pleasant business, and some of the high brass have begun to consider the drawbacks of an enterprise which might annihilate most of their clientele. A brief excerpt from a telephone conversation between G. Jim Hollowpoint and Lt. Col. Ed Witherfire may serve to illustrate the surprising dialogue which is beginning to animate that big five-angled building.

Lt. Col. Witherfire: Well, it looks as if we finally got an administration that'll hold hands with us in public. Too bad we lost the MX racetrack system out west, huh?

Gen. Hollowpoint: Maybe it's better this way. We've been tramping over the same ground so long with that damned MX anyway, it's an open secret it'll be obsolete before the overruns are tallied.

Lt. Col. W: Jim, you always were a killjoy -- I didn't even see you smile at the last budget meeting. What's bugging you these days?

Gen. H: If you want it straight I'll tell you. I'm sick of the whole ICBM system, the B-1 is boring, and I've had it with graphs, charts and computers. I didn't get into uniform to be a bookkeeper. This isn't even like war anymore!

Lt. Col. W: I see. Well how'd you start thinking like this?

Gen. H: I just got to thinking about what it'd be like if we go all-out with the Soviets. Damn, Ed, if we started at eight we'd be over by five, and after that what? Wheat thins and canned caviar for one to five years in an underground bunker. Not my idea of a soldier's life.

Lt. Col. W: You're being selfish? What about national security?

Gen. H: I tell you what, just between friends, let's cut the crap. If peace is our business then war is our life, because without war we're both useless as tits on a boar, and moreover the art of war is dying; battlefield experience is a thing of the past, and in fifteen years every general will be an armchair general. They'll replace us with a computer programmed to be aggressive and blow up the world at the stroke of twelve. Courage, strategy, risk, all gone. And where's the thrill?

Lt. Col W: So you want to go back to fighting on horseback?

Gen. H: Wrong. I just want to reintroduce the human element, the risk, the excitement that made me get into this damn business in the first place.

Lt. Col W: But Jim, the point of war is to win, not to have a good time. You know, "things got tough -- we got tougher." The H-bomb's the biggest bruiser on the block.

Gen. H: So what's to win, radioactive acreage in Siberia? That's not conquest, it's ridiculous!

Lt. Col W: OK, granted I accept your considerations, which I'm in sympathy with, but one question. What'll we do with all the hardware? Shall we use up some of it in a limited engagement somewhere, say in Europe?

Gen. H: Despite the pleasure it might give Secretary Haig, I would say no. I've just bought a small castle in Bavaria, and personal considerations aside, there's a PR problem, because once our citizens get a look at Paris after a two-hundred kiloton flash, they might not like what they see. The only way to keep their cooperation is to keep them in the dark, and once the cat's out of the bag, that's pretty hard to do.

Lt. Col W: Good point ...

Gen. H: Ed, your problem is tunnel vision. You're fixated on the idea of nuclear engagements, but there's no need for it. We've got laser tanks, supersonic warbirds, automatic and chemical weapons that do the old tricks in such fine style. But there they are, sitting on the shelf, because people are getting lazy, they just don't want to get out there and pull the trigger, do the work they're paid for. I don't think that's healthy.

Lt. Col W: I'm beginning to see your point. Perhaps we've gotten a little sentimental about the big blast.

Gen. H: Sentimental is right! It's certainly not logical. Just think, the way these peace movements are proliferating, if we sit on this thing much longer people are going to wise up, and then the game'll be over for you and me, my friend.

Lt. Col W: Well, it's certainly something to think about.

Gen H: Good. It can't hurt to stir up a little thought in that empty head of yours. And by the way, don't think I mean to say that nuclear technology is all bad. We just need more control --- particle beam weapons, say ... now then we could have a war. Tell your men, "Vaporize that," and it's done, "Raze that hill," and it's gone.

Lt. Col W: I can see you've done some original thinking.

Gen. H: Well, in an expanding field you've got to, and I tell you, these big bombs are not the way. After all, the point is to keep fighting, not to end it. If we wanted to do that we could go march in a peace parade.

Lt. Col W: You know, I think I begin to hear you! I've got an itch to fight that's about to kill me, but something keeps holding me back, and now I see what it is -- it's my conscience. I can't have my war, because it would be the last one, and that would deprive generations of soldiers still unborn of the right to taste the joy of combat. In fact, a world without people would be a world without war -- kinda makes me cold just to think about it.

Gen. H: You've got it. We have a duty to all humanity to preserve the sacred tradition of war. Nuclear war could endanger that mission.

Lt. Col W: You know, I think we've got some work to do. Let's get together at that place of yours in Bavaria and talk this through over a glass of Jack Daniels.

Gen. H: It's a date.

Lt. Col W: Good, I'll see when Emily's free next week and get back to you. Now, what were you saying about particle beam weapons ...

(March,1982, Issue 38, "More Than Food," Ashland, Oregon)
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Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:12 am

L. C. Lewin, Writer of Satire Of Government Plot, Dies at 82
January 30, 1999



Leonard C. Lewin, whose Vietnam-era satire of a supposed secret Government study on the dangers of peace, ''Report From Iron Mountain,'' resurfaced nearly 30 years later as proof of Government conspiracies for right-wing paramilitary groups, died on Thursday at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was 82 lived in Guilford, Conn.

''Report From Iron Mountain,'' supposedly the work of a topsecret 15-member study group that concluded that even if lasting peace ''could be achieved, it would almost certainly not be in the best interests of society to achieve it,'' caused a sensation when it was published in the fall of 1967. By the next year, it was on the best-seller list of The New York Times.

Peace would be catastrophic, the report said in deadpan bureaucratese, unless there was extensive planning to replace the many benefits of war. It was possible that a ''sophisticated form of slavery,'' together with ''blood games'' might have to be introduced.

Deliberately poisoning the atmosphere, the parody went on, ''in a politically acceptable manner'' or inventing enemies from another planet might be necessary to maintain social cohesion. The end of war would require some other form of wasteful spending to support the economy, possibly an unlimited space program aimed at reaching unreachable points in space.

The hoax that would not die began one day in 1967 when Victor Navasky and a few other editors of Monocle, a humor magazine that is now defunct, noticed a short newspaper report describing how the stock market had tumbled because of a ''peace scare.''

It was the height of the Vietnam War. Savoring the Swiftian implications, Mr. Navasky, now the editor of The Nation, and the others began tossing around the idea that Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara and the other famously hard-nosed intellectuals brought into Government by President John F. Kennedy had commissioned one of their studies -- research organizations like the Rand Corporation and the Hudson Institute were all the vogue then -- on the threat of peace.

Mr. Lewin, an accomplished political satirist, produced the supposed report, complete with footnotes, most of them from other reports by the Government or research organizations, and a tribute to the ''methods'' of Herman Kahn of the Hudson Institute that allowed thinking about war without ''getting bogged down in questions of morality.''

Other plotters included E. L. Doctorow, then an editor at Dial Press, later the author of ''Ragtime'' and other novels, and the publishing house's president, Richard Baron, who listed the 109 page work as nonfiction and was to turn aside questions about its authenticity by citing the footnotes.

Debate immediately raged about whether the ''Report From Iron Mountain'' was real.

''One informed source confirmed,'' U.S. News and World Report said in its Nov. 20, 1967, issue, ''that the 'Special Study Group,' '' as the book called it, was set up by a top official in the Kennedy Administration. The source added that the report was drafted and eventually submitted to President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was said to have 'hit the roof' -- and then ordered that the report be bottled up for all time.''

Trans-Action, an influential journal of the period, devoted an entire issue to the debate over the book. Esquire published a 28,000-word excerpt. John Kenneth Galbraith got into the act with a book review in The Washington Post under a pseudonym vouching for the book's authenticity and the validity of its conclusions but expressing reservations about releasing it ''to an obviously unconditioned public.''

But in 1972, Mr. Lewin finally confessed that he had made up the report. The ''Pentagon Papers,'' the secret history of the Vietnam War, had been published, Mr. Lewin wrote in The New York Times Book Review, and were ''as outrageous, morally and intellectually'' as his own invention.

''The charade is over,'' he wrote. ''Some of the documents read like parodies of Iron Mountain, rather than the reverse.''

Mr. Lewin, a graduate of Harvard University, came to writing after stints as a labor organizer in New England and work in his father's sugar refinery in Indianapolis.

His marriages to Iris Zinn Lewin and Eve Merriam, a poet, playwright and children's book author, ended in divorce. He is survived by his daughter, Julie Lewin of West Hartford, Conn., a son, Michael Z. Lewin of Frome, England, and his longtime companion, Lorraine Davis of Manhattan.

''Report from Iron Mountain'' went out of print in 1980, but a few years ago Mr. Lewin was startled to get a request from a white supremacist group in Arkansas wanting to buy any old copies. Then he discovered that the Liberty Lobby, a far-right group, was offering copies of the book as a genuine Government report. His insistence that he had written the book only reinforced the belief among the paramilitary groups that it was a real secret document.

Mr. Lewin successfully sued the Liberty Lobby, which asserted that that there was no copyright for the book because it was a Government document. Neither side would reveal the full terms of the settlement, but Mr. Lewin received more than a thousand copies of the bootlegged version.

Pirated copies -- some of a new edition published by Simon & Schuster's imprint, Free Press -- are still in circulation, along with a six-hour videotape version. Simon & Schuster has been trying to stop right-wing groups from posting versions of the book on their Internet sites under the guise of a Government document.

Photo: Leonard C. Lewin (Lorraine Davis, 1981)
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Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:15 am

The Report From Iron Mountain, an Analysis
by Mark Dice



In 1967 a book was published titled, The Report from Iron Mountain which was allegedly a leaked document containing the analysis of a government funded think tank which argued the case that perpetual war was needed to fuel the United States economy, and that if a state of world peace would ensue, that it would be devastating for the economy and society. If peace were to happen, the document suggested several actions to ensure a constant state of war would continue.

Shortly after The Report from Iron Mountain was published in the form of a book, it made the New York Times bestseller list and created quite a stir particularly within militia groups and those suspicious of corruption within the government. The Pentagon Papers, which were a top-secret history of the United States involvement in Vietnam, were released shortly after which added to peoples fears.

U.S. News and World Report wrote that an unnamed government official had confirmed the authenticity of the documents, and that President Johnson had “hit the roof” when word of the report was made public. The article reported that orders were sent to U.S. embassies around the world saying that the book had nothing to do with U.S. government polices.[1]

Several years later in a 1972 edition of the New York Times Book Review, Leonard Lewin took credit as the actual author, saying, “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.”[2]

Decades later in 1996 Jon Elliston published a book titled, Report from Iron Mountain: Highbrow Hoax Mocks National Security Speak, which detailed the evolution of the report and the ensuing speculation after its publication.

Some believe the idea for writing it came from Victor Navasky who was the editor of the left wing magazine The Nation from 1978 until 1995. Navasky was also the editor of a satirical newspaper called the Monicle until it ceased publication in the mid 1960s.

Harvard professor John Kenneth Galbraith added fuel to the controversy when he wrote a book review for the Washington Post using the pseudonym “Herschel McLandress,” where he said, “As I would put my personal repute behind the authenticity of this document, so would I testify to the validity of its conclusions. My reservations relate only to the wisdom of releasing it to an obviously unconditioned public.”[3]

While it is officially classified as a hoax, The Report from Iron Mountain contains some chillingly accurate information and predictions about what the future would hold. Keep in mind, the book was published in 1967. If it actually is a hoax, the author had a tremendous amount of knowledge and foresight as you can see by reading an excerpt below which talks about creating a fake alien threat to unite the world, and to push the idea of ecological destruction as a terrible danger and threat to mankind.

(Excerpt from The Illuminati: Facts & Fiction by Mark Dice - Available on, Kindle and Nook.)

The Report reads, “It has been hotly argued that such a menace would offer the “last, best hope of peace,” etc., by uniting mankind against the danger of destruction by “creatures” from other planets or from outer space. Experiments have been proposed to test the credibility of an out-of-our-world invasion threat;…nevertheless, an effective political substitute for war would require “alternate enemies,” some of which might seem equally farfetched in the context of the current war system. It may be, for instance, that gross pollution of the environment can eventually replace the possibility of mass destruction by nuclear weapons as the principle apparent threat to the survival of the species. Poisoning of the air, and of the principal sources of food and water supply, is already well advanced, and at the first glance would seem promising in this respect; it constitutes a threat that can be dealt with only through social organization and political power. But from the present indications it will be a generation to a generation and a half before environmental pollution, however severe, will be sufficiently menacing, on a global scale, to offer a possible basis for a solution.”[4]

While the idea of an actual alien threat may be far fetched, or the idea of manufacturing one to appear as if it is real equally far fetched, the technology of Project Blue Beam would allow just that to happen using high-tech projection systems to create enormous three dimensional holograms in the sky.[5] Also, decades after The Report from Iron Mountain was published, President Ronald Reagan would make a similar remark. On September 21, 1987, he told the United Nations General Assembly, “In our obsession with antagonism of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.”

If The Report from Iron Mountain is indeed authentic, then the best and pretty much only strategy the government would have to counter its release would be to pay someone to claim authorship and say it was a hoax.

If the document is a hoax, the author had the rare knowledge of the use of false flag terrorist attacks and the strategy of creating enemies and events so that political or military actions may be taken. The report reads, “However unlikely some of the possible alternate enemies we have mentioned may seem, we must emphasize that one must be found, of credible quality and magnitude, if a transition to peace is ever to come about without social disintegration. It is more probable, in our judgment, that such a threat will have to be invented rather than developed from unknown conditions.”[6]

Leonard Lewin, who claimed authorship and said it was a hoax, sued several individuals who believed the report was authentic and had reprinted it and were selling it themselves as a way to make money and spread the word about this diabolical plan. Lewin technically had the copyright and was legally entitled to the ownership of the text. Such an action is suspicious if in fact the document was authentic because one may think Lewin would want the document to become public domain and spread to as many people as possible. However, some suspect that the legal action was taken as a way to intimidate patriots who were spreading awareness of the report and that Lewin’s supposed admission that he was the author was not the truth, and was instead an attempt at damage control to disarm the public and persuade them the report was a hoax, when in reality it was authentic.

In 1996 the book was released again with an Afterward written by Leonard Lewin where he discussed how he was surprised that word continued to spread about the report decades after its initial release. This new edition also includes several articles that were written about the report when it was first released. The Forward to the 1996 book was written by Victor Navasky where he explains how he and Lewin allegedly concocted the idea for money, believing the book would sell due to the controversy it would cause.

Whatever the truth is regarding The Report from Iron Mountain, some its contents turned out to be chillingly accurate in regards to what the future would hold even though it was written over forty years ago. There are already plenty of authentic declassified documents, government white papers, and mainstream reports which confirm similar or even more sinister operations than the ones found in The Report from Iron Mountain. So the authenticity of the report isn’t that important, but when one is presenting information about false flag terrorism or fear mongering surrounding climate change, one is best advised to use confirmed and reputable sources, instead of The Report from Iron Mountain.

(Excerpt from The Illuminati: Facts & Fiction by Mark Dice available on, Kindle or Nook.)



[1] U.S. News and World Report Hoax or Horror? A Book that Shook the White House November 20, 1967

[2] NY Times Book Review The Guest Word Mach 19, 1972 by Leonard Lewin

[3] The Washington Post News of War and Peace You’re Not Ready For by Herschel McLandress November 26, 1967, p. 5.

[4] Lewin, Leonard – The Report from Iron Mountain page 66-67

[5] Washington Post When Seeing and Hearing Isn’t Believing By William M. Arkin Feb. 1, 1999

[6] Lewin, Leonard – The Report from Iron Mountain page 67
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Postby admin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:29 am

Conspiracy Theory Is a Hoax Gone Wrong
By Victor Navasky
Nov 17, 2013



The year was 1967; Vietnam loomed large; and one morning the Times featured a news item about how the stock market had tumbled because of what the article called a “peace scare.” At the time, I naïvely believed that the prospect of peace would be as welcome on Wall Street as it was in the low-rent Greenwich Village offices where I worked as the editor of Monocle, an impecunious journal of political satire (our motto: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”)

Talking about this with my fellow editors, Marvin Kitman and Richard Lingeman, the idea for The Report From Iron Mountain was born: Suppose, we fantasized, that the president had appointed a task force of experts to plan the transition from a wartime economy, and the task force had concluded that we couldn’t afford it because our entire economy was based on military spending.

Our purpose: to focus attention on the reliance of the U.S. economy on war or the threat of war. Our method: Concoct a literary hoax, a purported account of the government’s secret machinations. To give it credibility, we would need an ultrarespectable publisher willing to play along. Luckily for us, at the Dial Press we found a maverick publisher, Richard Baron, who was ready to list the book as fact rather than fiction, and whose editor-in-chief was one E. L. Doctorow.

We had equal luck with our choice of author: Monocle contributor Leonard Lewin, who took the not unreasonable position that in order to write the story of the quashing of a report, there had to be a report to be quashed, so he proceeded to write it, along the way parodying think-tank jargon and taking care that virtually all of the footnotes referred to real, if esoteric, sources.

The result: When the book was published, the Times ran a front-page story entertaining the possibility that this hoax was a real government report. Iron Mountain hit the best-seller list and was republished in fifteen languages; and when the economist John Kenneth Galbraith (in on the hoax from the beginning), reviewed it under a pseudonym for the Washington Post, he testified to “the validity of its conclusions,” adding, “My reservations relate only to the wisdom of releasing it to an obviously unconditioned public.” The consequence: Galbraith was outed as the author of the review. Accused of having written the report, he said, “It could only have been written by one of two people—Dean Rusk or Clare Boothe Luce.” None of this hurt sales.

Five years later, Lewin wrote an essay for The New York Times Book Review confessing all,
and that, we thought, was that. Until Lewin discovered in the mid-eighties that the right-wing Liberty Lobby had reprinted and disseminated thousands of copies without his permission, thinking the report was an authentic government document. Lewin sued, alleging copyright infringement, and won a settlement, the result of which was that thousands of copies of the bootleg edition ended up in his living room. Later, in 1995, The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page story about how members of the Michigan militia and other far-right groups regarded the book as “a sort of bible.” And when Lewin or myself or my fellow Monocle editors were asked about it and affirmed for the umpteenth time that the book was a hoax, the true believers cited our denials as “proof” that we were indeed part of the conspiracy.
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