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Proposal: Keep the nuclear launch codes in an innocent volunteer’s chest-cavity


In 1981, Harvard law professor Roger Fisher, director of the Harvard Negotiation Mission, published a belief experiment in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: what if the codes to originate nuclear battle had been saved inner the chest-cavity of a young volunteer, and the President would deserve to hack them out of this young man’s chest sooner than he may perhaps perhaps perhaps additionally originate armageddon?

There is a young man, potentially a Navy officer, who accompanies the President. This young man has a unlit attaché case which contains the codes which may perhaps perhaps perhaps be wanted to fireplace nuclear weapons. I’ll perhaps perhaps perhaps additionally ogle the President at a workers assembly serious about nuclear battle as an abstract request. He may perhaps perhaps perhaps additionally enact: “On SIOP Belief One, the decision is affirmative, Talk the Alpha line XYZ.” Such jargon holds what is enthusiastic at a distance.

My recommendation become barely easy: Build that wanted code quantity in a chunk capsule, and then implant that capsule fantastic next to the coronary heart of a volunteer. The volunteer would carry with him a gargantuan, heavy butcher knife as he accompanied the President. If ever the President wished to fireplace nuclear weapons, the most straightforward manner he may perhaps perhaps perhaps additionally attain so may perhaps perhaps perhaps be for him first, with his hold fingers, to fracture one human being. The President says, “George, I am sorry nonetheless hundreds and hundreds must die.” He has to hold a look at at any individual and realize what death is—what an harmless death is. Blood on the White Residence carpet. It’s actuality brought home.

When I advised this to chums in the Pentagon they stated, “My God, that is shocking. Having to fracture any individual would distort the President’s judgment. He may perhaps perhaps perhaps additionally never push the button.”

The Heart of Deterrence

[Alex Wellerstein/Nuclear Secrecy]

(Image: Openclipartvectors/CC0)

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