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Carroll calls for nuclear freeze

Pamela Miller — May 1984

“It is a mistake to equate national security with military superiority,” says Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll, who spoke in Toronto April 4, 5 and 6. Carroll retired in 1982 from a thirty-seven year career in American war efforts, and he spoke with authority and confidence on conventional and nuclear war preparations and dangers of current American military strategy.

As Deputy Director of the private non-governmental Center for Defence Information in Washington DC, Carroll is critical of the American policy, known as MAD. According to Carroll, “the MADness of ‘mutually assured destruction’ must give way to mutual security if we are to avoid a nuclear catastrophe within the next decade. We will be safer when our adversary is safer.”

To promote our mutual security, Carroll believes we must abandon the Reagan administration’s proposals for nuclear weapons escalation. He gave two reasons in particular for his opposition to Reagan’s proposed nuclear expenditures.

First, Carroll noted that the Reagan administration plans to supplement its current nuclear arsenal of 30,000 weapons with 17,000 new MX, Pershing and cruise missiles within ten years. Changes in weapons technology have reduced the warning time for the MX and Pershing weapons from thirty to six minutes, and the USSR, which has declared that it will not allow the US to gain nuclear superiority, can be expected to respond with comparable “time saving” weapons.

“If we don’t turn things around by 1990,” predicted Carroll, “fear will detonate a nuclear war.”

Carroll’s second major criticism of Reagan’s nuclear program is that the national expenditure would be crippling. Equating national security with military force, says Carroll, ignores the detrimental economic effects and the social stress of diverting monies from social services and domestic production. The $2 trillion which the Reagan military expenditure demands over the next five years represents a cost to each American family of $30,000. Carroll pointed out that “a bankrupt nation is never secure.”

To turn things around, Carroll proposes that the superpowers adopt a set of agreements which together will constitute a nuclear freeze. A comprehensive nuclear test ban on both sides must be negotiated, he said. A verifiable ban on test nights must be followed by a ban on deployment and finally a ban on nuclear weapons production. From the new stability of this position Carroll believes real reductions in nuclear armaments can be negotiated.

For our part, Carroll says that Canadians must re-evaluate the decision to test the cruise missile, in light of its real impact on our national security. According to Carroll, our NATO obligations demand that we increase our security, not our risk. If testing the cruise missile will increase our military vulnerability. then we would be obliged to abandon the testing agreement.