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Daniel Ellsberg: The Doomsday Machine @ Talks at Google (Transcript)

But that’s enough. So the Joint Chiefs were not, I think, as far as I know, not affected by that at all. And if you pressed them as whether they could win more than what I’ve just described, they would say, no. But that’s something. We’ve got to do something, not just nothing. And that was, in effect, silliness. Of course, it’s the kind of silliness that may doom our species. And it’s not only in this country. However, the movie “The Day After” was shown to Ronald Reagan. And it did have a big effect.

He couldn’t go into the office at all the next day. He said he stayed in bed and he felt sick. And that it very much affected his mind when he went into discussions with Gorbachev of ending all nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles of all kinds, which didn’t happen because he had the crazy belief of an umbrella-like Strategic Defense Initiative, SDI — Star Wars– that would protect us entirely and he wasn’t willing to give up. He wasn’t willing to give that up and couldn’t get that agreement. That’s another one.

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So it had an effect on Reagan-Gorbachev, meanwhile, had already been influenced by nuclear weapons. And, by the way, “The Day After” is just a tiny, little sliver of what the actual consequences of a nuclear war would look like. Movies that have come closer to that, there’s one called “Threads” in England that they’ve never allowed to be on BBC, to be shown. And again, it really just focuses on the long-term degradation and disintegration of everything, like Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” pretty much.

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So no nuclear state has ever been willing to tell its own people or to hold others accountable to the risks we are posing over their head. And a movie like that today would be very worthwhile. But I don’t know what prospect there is of it.

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AUDIENCE: And, once again, please say thank you to Mr Daniel Ellsberg.

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DANIEL ELLSBERG: That’s OK. Thank you.

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By Pangambam S

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