A Scientist’s Chilling Suggestion For The Nuclear Launch Codes

Tensions are flaring around the globe as North Korea threatens to strike near Guam — an unincorporated U.S territory. It would appear two men that have grown up in the lap of luxury and are completely detached from reality may soon decide how many poor people to kill. It seems that while the adage is “cooler heads prevail,” Donald Trump intends to stoke the fires of war.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said. “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Let that sink in. North Korea is led by a horrendous, sociopathic dictator. However, the 25 million people living in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea are innocent of any of Kim Jong-un’s insanity. They were simply born on the wrong side of a very hostile border. They too will be met with “fire, fury, and frankly,” the ineptitude of a man that doesn’t seem to find any value in human life.

”He has to look at someone and realize what death is – what an innocent death is. It’s reality brought home.” — Roger Fisher

This is where scientist Roger Fisher’s words now hold, perhaps, more relevance than they did when he first wrote them; during the Cold War in 1981 in the academic journal, “Bulletin Of Atomic Scientists.”

Fisher wrote in the Bulletin a rather interesting thought experiment:

“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.”

“When I suggested this to friends in the Pentagon they said, ‘My God, that’s terrible. Having to kill someone would distort the President’s judgment. He might never push the button.'”

The horror of nuclear war

Roger Fisher, a man who lived through the bombs dropping on Japan, would be appalled at the ease of which Donald Trump — or Kim Jong-un for that matter — bandies about the idea of burning millions of people to ash.  The very conservative death toll for the two bombs that were dropped on Japan is around 200,000 lives lost. Some died from the subsequent fallout, others were vaporized in the blink of an eye.

Indeed it is a horrendous suggestion to make: that a man should be carved up by the President of the United States; butchered in the White House as the leader of the free world reaches into his chest cavity to retrieve the key to the most powerful weapon on Earth. It is also a horrendous suggestion that we should utilize our nuclear arsenal without the faintest regard for the number of men, women, and millions of children that will die in the process.

Fisher, during his time walking the Earth, was the eminent expert on conflict resolution. Fisher also co-authored a book before he passed away. A book dubbed “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.” One Trump should read (if he can) since his “Art of the Deal” seems to be failing him completely.


Featured image of Roger Fisher via YouTube from an interview for the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

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James is a liberal progressive that writes from a left-leaning point of view. If you want to discuss any of his articles give him a follow on Twitter at @JamesStahlANX to join the conversation.