— George Orwell
— Bao Ninh, a writer who fought for the communist North Vietnamese army
— Richard Maybury from “The Money Mystery” P. 50
A politician does not get elected by understanding economics, finance, law, foreign affairs, or other subject about which he makes daily decisions. He gets elected by understanding how to get elected. That’s what a politician is — a person who is an expert at winning elections. Expecting politicians to make wise decisions about things they know little about is unrealistic to say the least.”
— Law professor Roger Fisher in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists journal
There is a young man, probably a Navy officer, who accompanies the President. This young man has a black attaché case which contains the codes that are needed to fire nuclear weapons. I could see the President at a staff meeting considering nuclear war as an abstract question. He might conclude: “On SIOP Plan One, the decision is affirmative, Communicate the Alpha line XYZ.” Such jargon holds what is involved at a distance.
My suggestion was quite simple: Put that needed code number in a little capsule, and then implant that capsule right next to the heart of a volunteer. The volunteer would carry with him a big, heavy butcher knife as he accompanied the President. If ever the President wanted to fire nuclear weapons, the only way he could do so would be for him first, with his own hands, to kill one human being. The President says, “George, I’m sorry but tens of millions must die.” He has to look at someone and realize what death is – what an innocent death is. Blood on the White House carpet. It’s reality brought home.”
— David Stockman
on the Russian threat to the U.S.
You know that’s a joke. If the Russians were going to land on the shores of New Jersey, they would need vast power-projection capability – aircraft carriers and the capacity to land troops. None of that is even remotely possible. The Russians have got one 50-year-old, smoke-belching aircraft carrier on duty in the Eastern Mediterranean. It probably couldn’t get out of the Strait of Gibraltar if it had to. So, how could Russia threaten the security or the safety of anybody in the U.S.? It couldn’t, unless you believe that Vladimir Putin – the ultimate chess player, the Cool Hand Luke of the global scene today – is foolish enough to risk nuclear retaliation by attacking us and have Russia turned into a parking lot. We have enough nuclear deterrent on our Trident submarines alone. And we’ve had it ever since 1980. Not to mention that the entire Russian economy is not even as big as that of New York City – $1.6 for the New York metro area and just $1.3 trillion for Russia. Russia is mainly a huge hydrocarbon field with a few nickel mines, 100 million acres of wheat, and an aging workforce that has a great fondness for vodka and other distractions.”