DR STRANGELOVE IN CHARGE
As I've mentioned elsewhere on this website I am not a science fiction or horror fan. It's only recently that for research purposes I've made a point of reading some of the books and renting some of the movies that have achieved cult-like status in the 60s, 70s and to present day. Productions by Stanley Kubrick fall into this category and a couple of months ago I rented and watched Dr Strangelove. As a result of this week's announcement that the USA has a "secret" shadow government living in underground bases ready to "take over" in the event of a nuclear attack I am recommending that EVERYONE rent the video. This is just another glaring example of life imitating art. Too bad for us the art they're imitating is Kubrick's vision for the world.
The news story is also Orwellian in that in 1984 Winston recalls the catastrophic event that changed his world forever, and after which time BIG BROTHER (World Government) emerged as a controlling power. "It was the time when the atomic bomb had fallen on Colchester". Will BIG BROTHER (World Government) emerge the same way for us? Orwell goes on to tell us, in 1984, that "hundreds of atomic bombs were dropped on industrial centers, chiefly in European Russia, Western Europe, and North America". In their recently revealed preparations to save their own skin from nuclear bombs does the "shadow government" know something WE don't know - but which Orwell forecast and should thus give us pause for thought?
The following summary of Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb provides a good overview for people who haven't seen it:
(taken from www.movieprop.com/tvandmovie/reviews/drstrangelove.htm):
The movie begins during the height of the Cold War. One crazed American base commander General Ripper, decides that communism has to be stopped at all costs and orders nuclear bombers into the air. In Washington, DC in the war room, the President and his staff including a colorful General Turgidson played by George C Scott contemplate what has happened.
A nuclear attack has been launched without the President's permission. Just how could this ever happen? General Turgidson explains that a new war protocol allows a lone base commander to launch a nuclear attack in the event that the chain of command is disrupted because of nuclear attack. The flaw in this is of course that the President and the chain of command are still in tact. General Turgidson argues that the protocol was sound and a solid deterrant it just was misused by one individual. With nuclear war coming it's humorous to hear a general argue the benefits of the very protocol that may cause nuclear annihilation.
As the war room remains a place of discussion, General Turgidson interjects that it may now be the time to really launch a massive attack. If the bombers that have been sent reach Russia they will launch everything they have got in retaliation. By striking hard the US can win a nuclear war with "acceptable losses of ten to twenty million tops" the General argues.
The President invites the Soviet ambassador to the War room in an attempt to calm the situation before it can escalate. The Soviet Premier is called on the phone but is drunk. It is revealed that the Russians have a "Doomsday" device that will automatically respond to any threat without human assistance. A German born American scientist named Strangelove contemplates that such a device could be built with ease but the whole purpose would be as a deterrant which the Soviet device is not since it is a secret.
As the movie reaches its climax, American soldiers attack the base of General Jack Ripper who launched the nuclear bombers without permission. He has sealed off the base and fights to the end against perceived communism, and a plot to rid Americans of vital body fluids through flouride in the water. American bombers reach their targets in Russia but are shot up pretty badly and lose radio contact. A recall order for the bombers is issued after proper codes are obtained from the base, but it's too late.
Dr Strangelove is a World War III parody that illustrates how war protocols can go wrong, and how even the best of intentions can lead to the most disasterous of results. Bomber pilots are depicted as cowboys, Generals are depicted as mad, and leaders are depicted as fools. During the heart of the cold war perhaps there may have been some truth to these analogies, and that's what makes the movie truly fun and truly funny. [end quoting]
The following transcript is an excerpt from Dr. Strangelove
Columbia Pictures Corporation, 1963
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern & Peter George
Based on the book 'Red Alert' by Peter George.
Directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick
Starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott
Fade in: Slow track over dense cloud cover. Rocky peaks visible in the distance. Tracking shot of B-52 in mid-air refuel. Soundtrack lilts "Try a Little Tenderness".
For more than a year, ominous rumors have been privately circulating among high level western leaders, that the Soviet Union had been at work on what was darkly hinted to be the ultimate weapon, a doomsday device. Intelligence sources traced the site of the top secret Russian project to the perpetually fog shrouded wasteland below the arctic peaks of the Zokov islands. What they were building, or why it should be located in a such a remote and desolate place, no one could say.
Refueling nozzle gently breaks away from recieving aircraft.
...two hours later:
Cut to: War Room
Executes an about face from the big board to face the camera. "Mr. President, I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy...heh heh..." rolls forward into the light "at the bottom of ah ... some of our deeper mineshafts. The radioactivity would never penetrate a mine some thousands of feet deep. And in a matter of weeks, sufficient improvements in dwelling space could easily be provided."
"How long would you have to stay down there?"
"Well let's see now ah," searches within his lapel, notices circular slide rule in his gloved hand "aa... nn... Radioactive halflife of uh,... hmm.. I would think that uh... possibly uh... one hundred years." On finishing his calculations, he pulls the slide rule roughly from his gloved hand, and returns it to within his jacket.
"You mean, people could actually stay down there for a hundred years?"
"It would not be difficult mein Fuhrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh... I'm sorry. Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plantlife. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country. But I would guess... that ah, dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided."
"Well I... I would hate to have to decide.. who stays up and.. who goes down."
"Well, that would not be necessary Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills. Of course it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition". Slams down left fist. Right arm rises in stiff Nazi salute. "Arrrrr!" Restrains right arm with left. "Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. But ah with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present gross national product within say, twenty years."
"But look here doctor, wouldn't this nucleus of survivors be so grief stricken and anguished that they'd, well, envy the dead and not want to go on living?"
"No sir..." Right arm rolls his wheelchair backwards. "Excuse me." Struggles with wayward right arm, ultimately subduing it with a beating from his left. "Also when... when they go down into the mine everyone would still be alive. There would be no shocking memories, and the prevailing emotion will be one of nostalgia for those left behind, combined with a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead! Ahhhh!" Right arm reflexes into Nazi salute. He pulls it back into his lap and beats it again. Gloved hand attempts to strangle him.
"Doctor, you mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?"
"Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature."
"I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor."
"Thank you, sir."
... Multiple scenes of exploding bombs, dancing to the tune of "We'll Meet Again."
Now read the following story and see if you recognize parallels:
Bush dusts off Cold War doomsday plan
The Associated Press
March 2, 2002
WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush has established a "shadow government" of 75 or more officials who live and work in mountainside bunkers outside Washington in case nuclear-armed terrorists strike the nation's capital.
"This is serious business," Bush said Friday of a Cold War-era plan that took effect in the hours after the suicide hijackings on Sept. 11.
The top-secret effort was disclosed by government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. It has been retooled since the attacks to protect the continuity of government against the 21st-century threat of terrorism.
Vice President Dick Cheney, who could succeed Bush and oversee the underground government in a calamity, has been a major force behind the effort.
In a separate precautionary strategy, at least one member of Bush's Cabinet is to be outside Washington at all times.
Congress' plan: to gather at a Washington-area hotel and a nearby military base if disaster strikes the Capitol.
Bush is concerned that the al-Qaida terrorist network might obtain a nuclear weapon, aides said.
"We take the continuity-of-government issue seriously because our nation was under attack. And I still take the threats we receive from al-Qaida killers and terrorists very seriously," the president said during a trip to Iowa.
U.S. intelligence has no specific knowledge that the network has a nuclear weapon, officials said.
Without confirming details of the doomsday plan, Bush said, "Until this country has routed out terrorists wherever they try to hide, we're not safe."
Under the classified "Continuity of Operations Plan," 75 to 150 senior government officials - drawn from every Cabinet department and some independent agencies - work out of two fortified sites along the East Coast.
They rotate in and out, prohibited from telling anybody where they are or why. Friends, family members and co-workers can reach them through a toll-free number and personal extensions.
According to two administration officials who have visited one of the secure sites, the facility is a large bare-bones office space buried deep beneath a mountain.
Sectioned off into executive branch agencies, the bunker is equipped with generators, telephones, TV sets, command centers, a few private offices and computers.
In an unsettling reminder of the stakes involved, the hallways are lined with food rations.
The project is an extension of a policy that has kept Cheney moving in and out of public view.
In a worst-case scenario, the shadow government would help Cheney manage America's affairs after a crippling strike on Washington and the presidency. Bush aides said Cheney helped shape the project by drawing on his experience in government during the Cold War, when the United States made contingency plans for a nuclear strike from the Soviet Union.
"I have an obligation as the president, and my administration has an obligation to the American people to ... put measures in place that, should somebody be successful in attacking Washington, D.C., there's an ongoing government," Bush said.
The Washington Post, which first disclosed the plan, reported that the typical rotation was 90 days.
Several White House officials have taken a turn at the bunker, spending several nights at a time in the rotation. Most are midlevel aides.
Senior advisers such as chief of staff Andrew Card, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and presidential counselor Karen Hughes are exempt from the rotation, presumably because they would be with Bush or in a White House bunker.
Joe Hagin, the deputy chief of staff, is the White House's point man at the secret sites, spending more time in the bunkers than the West Wing.
The Pentagon also rotates top military officials to secure sites. A few hours after the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, five military helicopters settled into a hidden landing pad at a Pennsylvania mountain site. Other military personnel arrived in tan buses to Site R, the hollowed-out granite mountain shelter built in the early 1950s to withstand a nuclear attack.
Local residents call the top-secret site "Little Pentagon."
Immediately after the attacks, one Cabinet member was kept at one of the secure bunkers at all times. Lately, the anointed Cabinet member has been allowed to travel away from Washington - with increased security - for business or personal trips.
The third branch of government, the federal court system, is developing its emergency plan.
Bush's plan gelled in December when he issued an executive order that lists - in their precise line of succession - the top half-dozen or so officials who would take over if a government agency's hierarchy was dismantled. Those officials are in the bunker rotation.
Bush approves nuclear response. Wash Times, Mar 29, 2003
Atom bomb-proof bunkers (keep leaders safe underground). Scotsman, Mar 29, 2003 & From No Nukes to Go Nukes (Hollywood making nukes nice). National Post, Mar 29, 2003
Go to NUKES GO MAINSTREAM
Book exposes Military plot (to commit terrorism in USA). ABC News, Oct 24, 2002
Go to "THE MILITARY ARE MAD" (comment made by JFK to aide)
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