(Rep. Pat Schroeder - discussing the subtle difference between a tactical nuclear strike and a strategic nuclear strike)
Since we're marking the anniversary of our first use of a nuclear weapon during a war, I thought I would also run this National Town Meeting segment featuring a discussion between Rep. Pat Schroeder who was, in 1975 on the House Armed Services Committee and Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. The discussion is moderated by Helen Thomas (yes, that Helen Thomas)
It's interesting to realize that, during practically all the conflicts we've been involved with since World War 2, there has always been the hawkish element wanting to use nuclear weapons. It was advocated by Gen. MacArthur during the Korean War and a plan to bomb several cities in China. It was advocated by General Westmoreland and was also a talking point by Barry Goldwater in his bid for the 1964 Presidential election who advocated their use in Vietnam.
Fortunately, for the human race, sanity has prevailed (so far). But this discussion from 1975 focuses on Cold War issues that prevailed all the way up to the 1990's.
Pat Schroeder: “I think this is one of these questions that we’re really asking ourselves and that is can we survive our own technology? We’ve had that debate going on for an incredibly long period of time. And very recently it’s all been reinstigated with the talk of counter-force and what does that mean, and tactical nuclear weapons and how we’re going to have a clean nuclear war and how we’re all going to have everyone in the war being very rational and they aren’t going to over-react and we’ll just shoot a few of their targets and they’ll just shoot a few of our targets. And every now and then you shake your head and think ‘my word, have we all lost our minds’?”
Thirty-five years later we're still shaking our heads.