September 1990 (vol. 6, #6) 1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1990 J Orient


One reason why 100,000 US troops are now in Saudi Arabia, despite the celebrated end of the cold war, was suggested in the lead story in the Baltimore Sun of Sept. 14, 1990: ``Critical point in oil supply called near: officials say reserves may have to be used.'' The global shortfall of oil was expected to be 3.5 million barrels/day in September.

US domestic oil production could be increased within months by about 607,500 barrels a day, according to the US Department of Energy, largely by removing government regulations. For example, offshore wells near Santa Barbara could pump 100,000 barrels a day, starting immediately.

Using other sources of petroleum may require more than opening a few valves. Although oil seeps out of the ground in some places on the Arctic National Wildlife Range, development has been stymied in the courts and Congress by activists worried about the Alaskan caribou. The area is ``a sacred place,'' according to Rep. Morris Udall (D-AZ) (Human Events 9/15/90).

Technology that effectively substitutes for fossil fuels has been aborted, thanks to antinuclear activists. There have been no new orders for nuclear power plants in the US since 1978. Some even propose shutting down the existing nuclear facilities that now generate 19% of US electricity (thereby saving 4 billion barrels of oil since 1973). Another environmentalist triumph, the Clean Air Bill, would also limit our ability to use coal to substitute for oil. This bill could increase operating costs at some coal-fired plants by 50%. Oil consumption by utilities, which had been declining for years, has already increased by 32% since 1987, and will probably increase further (Wall St J 8/23/90).

Saddam Hussein's power is founded on the world's dependence on cheap oil from the Middle East. Revenues from that oil finance the impressive military force that he commands: 1 million men under arms; 5,500 tanks (the fourth largest force in the world); 775 combat aircraft (including Soviet fighters and bombers); 170 fighting helicopters; and 70 surface-to-air missile batteries (Wash Times 8/9/90).

Iraq is capable of producing over 700 tons of mustard and 50 tons each of tabun and sarin per year and of actually using such weapons, even against its own population. Hussein is said to be acquiring biological weapons, including anthrax, typhoid, cholera, and West Nile fever virus (the last obtained from the US Center for Disease Control). Although his nuclear weapons program received a major setback when Israel bombed the Osirak reactor nine years ago, the facilities that can separate weapons-grade plutonium from spent reactor fuel remain untouched. (This ``waste'' material is in plentiful supply.) Sale of a metallurgical furnace destined for the nuclear weapons program was stopped only at the last minute, over the strenuous objections of the US Commerce Dept. (which had approved and still favored the deal).

Clearly, Hussein's capabilities did not surge from an acorn overnight as he marched into Kuwait. Nevertheless, Iraq was classified as a member of the ``Western bloc,'' qualified to purchase chemical warfare protection equipment (see p. 2) from Switzerland, with the consent and encouragement of the US government. Baghdad purchased weapons (and chemicals) from numerous Western and Communist nations, including Britain, France, and West Germany.

The first task confronting US forces attempting to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction would be to disable the anti-aircraft defenses set up with the aid of Soviet advisors, of whom 2,000 to 4,000 remain in Iraq, ``completing their contractual obligations.'' For such missions, the US boasts sophisticated electronic wizardry but the weapons have not been tested in battle.

US forces are surging to equip the troops with protection against chemical weapons. American airmen complain that they have no gas masks (Ariz Republic 9/22/90). (Even Soviet schoolchildren have gas masks, as reported by a member of the Tucson Boys Chorus, who got to try one on in Kiev.) The Defense Logistics Agency has ordered 450,000 chemical-warfare suits from private clothing manufacturers, which may be able to make about 25,000 per month. The $77 outfits are lined with activated charcoal. The Defense Dept. declined to comment on the inference that it needs four uniforms per soldier. An industry vice president stated that a soldier would have to change clothing every four hours because the charcoal would become saturated and ineffective (Wall St J 8/27/90).

Meanwhile, back in Congress, the SDI budget was slashed, even as Israel is testing the Arrow air-defense missile for protection against increasingly capable Iraqi ballistic missiles. One day after the invasion of Kuwait, President Bush announced that the target date for decreasing US troop strength by 25% was moved from 1997 to 1995. Available US Army and Marine forces currently number about one-third the strength of the Iraqi army (Human Events 9/15/90).

The present strategy on both sides seems to involve starving the hostages about 1,000 Americans, 2 million Kuwaitis, and 17 million Iraqis.

The Tucson Peace, Ecology, and Social Justice Calendar offers suggestions on how to stop population growth, convert military facilities to peacetime use, make friends in the Middle East, save the environment, and spend the peace dividend.

But the Peace Center forgets that the dividends derived from neglected defense may eventually be repaid in blood.


Thousands Learn About Defense in Allentown

``If it happens, I just want to die,'' said one visitor to the civil defense display at the Allentown Fair, August 28-Sept. 3.

``What if `it' is a poison-gas attack?'' asked Stephen Alley.

``And would you want her to die too?'', referring to the little girl holding his hand.

Like most Americans, this man had never seriously considered the possibility of chemical warfare before. And the sign on the side of the shelter, noting that all Swiss families have protection like that on display, was his first exposure to the existence of civil defense in other nations.

Some of the visitors were young American servicemen, soon to be on their way to Saudi Arabia. They were especially interested to learn that Iraq has provided mobile shelters for its troops, using Swiss ventilation equipment. The shelters can be quickly assembled and buried, using the earth-moving equipment that accompanies them.

Storing grain and beans-a year's supply for about $150- was a novel idea to most, who assumed that the food supply would be canned goods or C-rations.

The children were very inquisitive. They thought of a number of dual uses for the shelter, such as a clubroom or hiding place. But the intended use of the shelter seemed completely logical to them: if there was a bomb, of course you needed a bomb shelter.

``Daddy, are we going to get one of these?'' or ``Where are the shelters in Allentown?'' were typical ques-tions.

While most adults said ``thank you'' when offered a flyer with civil defense information, a small proportion refused to accept it and tried not to look in the direction of the shelter itself. (It was difficult to avoid seeing a white tank 9 feet in diameter near one of the entrance gates.) Some who didn't want to take a frontal approach up the stairs nonetheless sneaked a look through the back entryway. Almost all who were resistant to even thinking about civil defense were young and apparently well-educated-those with the greatest probabi-lity of exposure to anti-defense ``educational'' materials.

With about 655,000 people visiting the fair, volunteers were constantly busy giving tours and answering questions. Those who gave of their time and talents to make the display possible included Silas Reynolds, Tim Allbaugh, RN, Robert Platt, Del Mutimer, Walter Kile, and William and James Orient.

Visitors were also encouraged to visit the adjacent High Frontier exhibit, which featured the public debut of a Brilliant Pebble. Kinetic energy technology was a revelation to many, who had envisioned ``Star Wars'' as the high-cost, futuristic laser and particle-beam extravaganza portrayed by the media and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Colonel Warren Everett, General Milnor Roberts, and retired aerospace engineer George Bambaugh were on hand to explain the program.

Stephen Alley of American Legion Post 50 of Unity, ME, will next be taking the shelter to the Topsfield Fair in Massa-chusetts, after a round of visits to schools, shopping centers, and other public places in Maine.

The shelter display, a larger version of the one at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, was built by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and delivered to Pennsylvania last year by Arthur Robinson and family.


Notes on Topical Iodine

Cresson Kearny performed a self experiment, using the directions given in the last issue for applying iodine to the skin:

This test was conducted in the kitchen of my home near Montrose, CO, on August 3, 1990. As a more rigorous test of the practicality of applying 8 cc of 2% tincture of iodine to a 100 mm x 200 mm abdominal skin area, before applying an occlusive dressing to the area, I used a 1-cc B-D allergy syringe (I had cut off the end part holding the needle, to make the end aperture large enough to permit quick filling and discharge of 1 cc of alcohol or tincture of iodine) to measure 1 cc of ``Swan tincture iodine 2% USP'' from a freshly opened bottle into a tablespoon. I had outlined in red ink a 100 mm x 200 mm area on my abdomen. I painted that area with all of the measured 1 cc of tincture of iodine, using the end of my right little finger for an applicator. Application took about one minute. If I had used the plastic applicator rod attached to the plastic screw cap of the Swan bottle, application of 1 cc would have taken longer. As it was, I had to go over about 25% of the marked area twice to use up all the 1 cc in the tablespoon. Drying of the tincture on my skin took about an additional minute. The dry bulb temperature was 78 F; the wet bulb 63 F; relative humidity was 43%. I was not even visibly perspir-ing. If I had been even slightly sweating, application of 1 cc would have taken much longer.

Conclusion: applying 8 cc to a 100 mm x 200 mm skin area is an impractical procedure.
Cresson Kearny

Editor's note: Mr. Kearny also spoke with the authors of the cited articles, who conceded that the description of the method had been vague and incomplete. As one author recalled, application of 8 cc took several repeated efforts. (Alternately, one might cover a larger skin area.)

Obviously, the use of oral KI is preferable. Still, if oral KI is unavailable, topical application offers some protection.

It is even more important to realize that the effect of iodine is only to block thyroid uptake of radioactive iodine. It does not confer any generalized radiation protection. No chemical agent or drug is a substitute for shelter.


Update on Glasnost

Official Soviet newspapers are no longer stamped for printing by the censor's seal. So why aren't people stamped-ing to the newstands to buy the newly liberated newspapers?

The answer is simple: the manager has been sacked, but the master has remained in place. He still controls all printing facilities, to say nothing of newsprint, while talking about the market economy. The mass media have been ``emancipated,'' but like the Russian peasant in 1861, they have received no land (Moscow News 8/12-19/90).

As noted in the Samizdat Bulletin, Spring 1990, the govern-ment no longer actively hinders the publication of (most) samizdat literature. But there is nothing with which to print it. Accepting materials from abroad is illegal; building, repairing, or selling printing equipment is a ``reliable way to earn a prison term.'' A new law makes it a crime to publish anything that has not been approved by the state.