What does MAD mean to you? It might mean insane, it might mean angry. But if you were a nuclear strategist, it would be an acronym standing for Mutual Assured Destruction. The MAD strategy is the basis of the SALT Treaty of 1972, and is colloquially defined as “We can destroy the Soviets, and the Soviets can destroy us.”
The MAD strategy is seldom questioned in the regular communications media. Its status as unchallengeable dogma was reinforced in a recent network television documentary on defense which described MAD and then categorically concluded, “No one doubts that.”
Offhand I can think of quite a few persons of significant prestige who doubt our mutual assured capability to destroy the Soviet Union. Two years ago, the great nuclear physicist Dr. Edward Teller said that, “in a few years, if present trends continue,” the Soviet Union will be able to kill “more than 50 percent of our people” in a surprise nuclear attack, whereas “there would be very few casualties in Russia because we would not have forces enough left to retaliate.” That doesn’t sound very mutual, does it?
Dr. Donald G. Brennan, a leading U.S. nuclear strategist, stated that “it is actually doubtful that … the United States has an assured destruction capability against the Soviets.”
Even more important is the fact that the men in the Kremlin don’t believe that there is any mutual assured destruction capability. The Soviet Government estimates that its forces can destroy about 60 percent of the American population, whereas the United States can destroy only six percent of the Russian population.
Of course, even if the M-A-D strategy were mutual, it would indeed be MAD as well as immoral, because it is based on killing millions of Russians — instead of on keeping Americans alive. The Moscow SALT Treaty of 1972, which is based on MAD, guarantees what Dr. Henry Kissinger so accurately described as a “free ride” into our cities for Soviet and Red Chinese nuclear missiles. Nobel prizewinner Dr. Eugene Wigner summed up the problem very well when he said: “It would have been better if each nation was assured that the other could not destroy it.”
Soviet and Red Chinese missiles have a “free ride” into U.S. cities because we have no antimissile system to protect us. President Nixon in SALT I signed away our right to build this protection, even though he had previously described an ABM system in these unequivocal words: “No President with the responsibility for the lives and the security of the American people could fail to provide this protection.”
It is time that the networks present a balanced documentary to explain to the American people that the MAD strategy is not mutual, is not assured, and involves only America’s destruction.