March 1991 (vol. 7, #3)
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9, Tucson AZ 85716 c
1991 J Orient
At the beginning of the Gulf War, Iraq was said to have the ``fifth largest army in the world.'' After absorbing 100,000 bombing sorties, with the loss of possibly 100,000 soldiers and an unknown number of civilians, Iraq might still have, as of this writing, a sufficient force to put down a rebellion against Saddam Hussein.
Every government structure built in Baghdad over the past 10 years has an underground bunker. It is not known how many lives especially of the elite were saved by bunkers (capacity estimated to be 48,000) or other shelters. The public has been told only that some hundreds of civilians were killed in a bomb shelter that took a direct hit. Also, many Iraqi aircraft were demolished one earth-penetrating warhead can destroy a shelter, if its location is precisely known.
In Israel, the civil defense force (haga) was augmented with 10,000 reservists. It is no longer the subject of ridicule.
In contrast to American policymakers, who apparently believe that a 0% effective defense is preferable to one that is less than perfect, the residents of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem did not scorn to accept the protection of the Patriot missile. They would have been at the mercy of the Scuds (and probably provoked into retaliation) if antidefense forces in the US Congress had had their way. In 1984, the House Armed Services Committee voted to slash the funds needed to add antiballistic missile capability to this air defense system. (The Senate approved the program.)
The importance of theater defense against the numerous nations now developing ballistic missiles has been highlighted. As the range of these missiles improves, northern Europe will be vulnerable. And the US is no longer an island, even if we discount its personnel stationed abroad (e.g. the Mediterranean fleet). Missiles can be launched at sea, and some terrorist nations do have or will have a navy or at least a tanker.
The number of Patriot systems currently deployed to defend the US for example, the nuclear power plant near Miami that might be targeted from Cuba is effectively zero.
Martin-Marietta expects its overseas sales of the Patriot missile to double, with much of the volume going to the Middle East. And more than a year ago, the Bush Administration decided to release technology critical to the Patriot system for sale to the Soviet Union, which could then sell it to Iraq, Libya, and others (Wall St J 2/26/91).
Despite the lack of Iraqi resistance, the ``world's only superpower'' required about half of its military force (much of which had to be stripped from the defenses of Europe and the rest of the world), to devastate this third-world country.
The monetary cost is controversial. The Boston Globe estimated $100 billion, about $750 million per day for smart bombs and lost aircraft plus tens of billions to rebuild Iraq. The Congressional Budget Office estimated from $28 billion to $86 billion, much of it to be paid by US allies. The White House stated the cost of simply maintaining 500,000 troops in the Gulf for five months to be $21.5 billion.
The cost may turn out to be lower than calculated because losses were incredibly light and the US may not replace much of the equipment that was lost or used. B-52s can't be replaced; Boeing doesn't make them anymore. Other equipment would be cut as part of the 25% downsizing of the military planned over the next five years. If the Navy has 450 ships rather than 600, more Tomahawks will not be needed.
``It doesn't matter how much it costs,'' stated Kenneth Mayer of the University of Wisconsin. ``If George Bush is right and we're fighting this war now to avoid fighting it in 10 years when Hussein has nuclear weapons, what is that worth?'' (Insight 2/25/91).
What does matter to Congress
is the projected cost of defending the United States in the event
that Iraq or Libya or China develops missiles and bombs and decides
to attack us. This is scrutinized far more critically than the
cost of pre-emptively wiping out one of many potential threats
even though there are real, existing threats that cannot be destroyed.
And even though Hussein's nuclear program might have remained
uninterrupted had he not invaded Kuwait.
Time to Balance the Equation?
Saddam Hussein, it is said, has a ``World War I mindset.''
In 1914, the World War I ``doctrine of the offensive'' was tenaciously adhered to despite the advent of barbed wire and machine guns and was criticized by few, notably by Churchill. He deplored the ``destructive stupidity'' of the French strategy of launching ``precipitate offensives,'' even though ``there is no reason to doubt that the German invasion could have been brought to a standstill ... within from 30 to 50 kilometres of the French frontiers'' (Churchill, The World Crisis, quoted in the American Spectator, April 1991).
In 1991, the smart bomb and the stealth bomber have made the US doctrine of the offensive appear invincible. As they may be, in the absence of an adequate defense.
Iraqi air defenses were nearly useless. Yet they were better than those that defend the United States.
Iraqi civil defense had limitations. But Hussein survived.
If a future Iraq had the Patriot and other advanced air defense systems the modern functional equivalent of barbed wire and machine guns combined with the capacity to attack America, how would our citizens fare, compared with present-day Iraqis?
The cost of such an outcome, as well as the cost of the Gulf War offensive, needs to be entered into the offensive vs. defensive equation.
The next annual meeting of Doctors for Disaster Prepare-dness will focus on the Disaster of the Hour, the most recent Apocalypse, the Greenhouse Effect. A scientific panel chaired by Howard Maccabee, Ph.D., M.D., will examine the question of what is threatened by the disaster: the planet, or just American industry and science. Dixy Lee Ray, former gover-nor of Washington and author of the recent book Trashing the Planet, will be the keynote speaker.
Brilliant Pebbles will be discussed by their inventor, Lowell Wood of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The program will include a basic review of the principles of civil defense, presented by the scientists and engineers who developed and tested the technology.
Mark your calendar now. The meeting will be held in Las Vegas, NV, Septem-ber 21-22, at the Imperial Palace Hotel. This is the weekend prior to a seminar presented by High Frontier and the annual meeting of TACDA (The American Civil Defense Association). A complete agenda will be available soon from DDP, 2509 N. Campbell Box 272, 602-325-2680, and will be enclosed with the next issue.
Many have inquired about obtaining medications and other medical supplies for storage. A suggested list was published in the Fighting Chance Newsletter, February, 1989 (for a copy send a self-addressed 9-by-12 envelope with 52 cents postage). One problem is that many drugs can only be obtained by prescription. Physicians are reluctant to write prescriptions because of the liability threat that they might face if patients decide to treat themselves. Another is the high cost.
In contrast to its neglect of civil defense, the federal government has been zealous in its attempts to protect people from hazards such as medications. Often, well-intentioned government intervention results in subjecting people to the greater of two risks. For example, soldiers are protected from the possible adverse effects of nonapproved antidotes to nerve gas, but they are obligated to face death due to chemical warfare agents that have no approved antidotes. (HI-6 has been available to soldiers of other nations for years; Ralph Nader's Public Citizen lobbies against releasing it for our soldiers because of difficulties in obtaining ``informed con-sent.'') Civilians are protected from ill-advised self treat-ment at the expense of risking preventable death due to the un-availability of drugs in a crisis. Patients are spared unknown potential ill effects of experimental treatments while they die of a known disease. (See Kazman, ``Deadly Overcaution: FDA's Drug Approval Process,'' J Regulation and Social Costs, Sept 1990, for a cost-benefit analysis).
Most US patients have simply accepted the government's efforts to ``help'' them. Victims of AIDS have not. (They do not appreciate the benefit of requiring a foot-high stack of paperwork to obtain a year's supply of dideoxyinosine.)
Legislation proposed by Congressman Tom Campbell ( R-CA) would permit physicians to prescribe nonapproved drugs to patients with illnesses that can cause death or serious disability. In the meantime, a July 20, 1988, FDA memoran-dum allows patients to import drugs from abroad under certain restricted cir-cumstances.
Patients may also be interested in importing drugs that are available in the US. They wish to avoid the cost of an office visit for a prescription refill, and they resent helping to pay the $231 million cost of meeting the bureaucratic requirements for bringing a new drug to the US market. (Other nations have less stringent testing requirements, accepting a higher risk in preference to a higher cost).
A review of the law, a sample listing of ``orphan'' drugs available outside the US, and a guide to current suppliers is provided by James H. Johnson in How to Obtain Almost Any Drug Legally Without a Prescription (Avon, 1990, $4.95). Mail order is one option; travel to Mexico or the Cayman Islands another (drugs are available over the counter there).
The book discusses, in layman's terms, the indica-tions and potential adverse effects of many commonly used drugs. These concise summaries are also of value to patients who simply want to learn more about the drugs they take.
The new FDA policies on importation, although helpful to those who need drugs for treatment, are of limited value to those who wish to store medications. It is legal to import only a three-months' supply of drugs for personal use. It is illegal to import a drug which has ever been the subject of an import alert. And suppliers are not allowed to ``solicit business''; this is interpreted to mean that they may not even send out catalogues.
Scheduled drugs (even cough syrup with codeine) cannot be obtained by mail order without a prescription. The Drug Enforcement Administra-tion may seem impotent at curbing the sale of cocaine on schoolgrounds, but they are very effective in making it difficult for patients to obtain drugs for legitimate uses. A physician in California served a five-month jail sentence for the ``crime'' of prescribing Tylenol with codeine to two ``patients'' complaining of headache who turned out to be wired inves-tigators. A physician witness for the prosecution cited the doctor's failure to perform a com-plete examination, including a pelvic. Such reports will make physicians even less willing to prescribe pain relievers. Toradol, an injectable non-steroidal anti-inflam-matory agent with an analgesic potency stated to be equivalent to morphine, offers an alternative to nar-cotics.
In trying to unearth the source of the term ``new world order,'' William Safire cites (AZ Daily Star 2/18/91):
Alva Castro, Peruvian Minister of Finance, 1985, who pleaded for a new world order to assume the debt of Third World countries;
Mikhail Gorbachev, 1990: ``We are only at the beginning of the process of shaping a new world order'';
UNESCO, 1974, in a plan to sanction government control of news organizations;
US News, 1975, describing the Law of the Sea Treaty;
Adolph Hitler, 1940, who called a plan to impose a Nation-al Socialist regime throughout Europe (Die Neue Ordnung).