Review of ‘Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself– While the Rest of Us Die’ by Jim:
Raven Rock is one of the Cold War “hardened” facilities built to ensure a continuity of government in the face of a nuclear war and gives the book its title.
The strategy the gov’t has employed for defending the “nation” or government against destruction since the advent of nuclear weapons can perhaps be best described as: vacillating, confused, and inconsistent. All of that stems from a constantly changing emphasis on what constitutes the “nation”. Is that the government, physically? the constitutional FORM of govt? the military and its ability to “respond” to attack, or is it the populace? Efforts to address a nuclear threat from foreign enemies have to be catered to this definition of “nation” and what is to be preserved.
The military stepped up handily to develop the means to wage war, and early efforts by the government amounted to providing the means to direct the war and preserve the “services” of govt by building shelters for govt officials, and the communications and command centers needed to wage a war. Little to no thought was initially given to what would occur AFTER the bombs had fallen. As COG advanced this changed with departments such as the IRS working on methods to collect taxes post holocaust and the Federal Reserve stockpiling physical money in vaults to ensure that the economy could be propped up enough to ensure rebuilding of infrastructure could occur. Civilian civic and business leaders were brought into the effort to ensure that industry had a place in COG (I wonder how multi-national corporations view the obligations to this effort now…)
Largely, it was determined that at least a fair percentage of the population of the country would survive the initial war, and since protecting large numbers of people would be too large of an undertaking, efforts would be most efficiently used ensuring the survival of gov’t personnel and structure. Civil Defense fell by the wayside as the speed of a nuclear war would outpace the ability to evacuate cities or shield people in place; nukes can be delivered, now, within fractions of an hour, by running, as the saying goes, you would only die tired.
The book describes the process through which the gov’t worked to arrive at this conclusion. It describes the building of military forces, and shelters for Congress, the Presidency and many of the departments of government; each having its own shelters and fall back locations.
Chapters address each successive Presidential administration’s efforts at understanding how and what to preserve and describes how much importance each placed on continuing or contributing to the COG efforts. (it may come as a surprise that President Carter revived the efforts greatly and provided much needed focus and improvement). The ebb and flow of the energies devoted were influenced by co-incidental and related and unrelated world/national/political events each administration had to deal with which in some cases provided impetus to continue and sometime distractions from COG efforts. The rapidly changing weapons technology also influenced preparations; what would have worked at the onset of the Cold War was rendered moot by improvements in weapons and communications.
A lot of effort was put in to describing the facilities the government erected for each of the many departments; places like Raven Rock, Mount Weather, Cheyenne Mountain and more. It also describes how these places fell into disuse through the ennui and complacency born of occupying these doomsday fortresses perpetually staffed but never used, The author also tells how events such as 9/11 kick started these programs that were well on the way to being moth-balled and abandoned. One can imagine what Kim Jung Un and all of the talk about the resurgent Evil Russian Empire is doing to COG efforts and strategies.
While it is very informative, the book is not a page-turner and may not appeal to some.
“COG” (Continuity Of Government), is my next writing project. Partly inspired by ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and the song ‘The Fletcher Memorial Home’ by Pink Floyd, it’s set in a super bunker where the world leaders and connected elites have gone to ride out a looming nuclear war.
Here’s a snippet from the draft:
Major George Russell Kilgore had been a professional soldier for half a century. He was just shy of seventy years old. Every morning, at four a.m., he would get out of his bunk, relieve himself, drink sixteen ounces of chocolate whey powder spiked with two raw eggs and two shots of Smirnoff, and then go for a seven mile run… shirtless.
A graduate of West Point, Kilgore had the distinction of being the only member of the U.S. armed forces to have been in combat in twelve conflicts, those being: Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq War I, Somalia, Iraq War II, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Niger, and Operation Restore Hegemon in Puerto Rico. He was wounded six times and had a metal plate installed in his head to replace a chunk of his skull blasted away in a firing range accident. He was also kidnapped while in Pakistan, but managed to steal one of his captor’s cell phones and dial in a cruise missile strike onto his very location. He was the only survivor of the blast. At fifty years old, he snuck into the West Point locker room, put on a football uniform, and inserted himself onto the kickoff team in a game against the hated rivals from Navy. He recorded two unassisted tackles before the staff figured out who he was and took him out. Everyone, including his wife and grandchildren, called him “Sir” or “Major” except for the president who called him “Krusty”.
He was also currently known as “The Halfback”, not because of his football exploits, but rather because he carried the nuclear football—the leather satchel containing protocols instructing the president on how to launch nuclear weapons.
Video of peaceful voters being brutalized by thugs of the EU Soviet.
As these political mass murders become increasingly commonplace, I can’t help but think we are descending down into the revolutionary rabbit hole. I think about the experience of Russians in 1917 and Germans in 1933 and I try to envision what things will look like once we extrude out the other end of this. I can’t help but be pessimistic. The possibilities seem limited to either left wing authoritarianism or right wing authoritarianism.
I’m often reminded of the Hegelian Dialectic that postulates that the collision of false thesis against false anti-thesis is designed to yield a higher truth. But whose higher truth are we being driven toward?
Or is this just a random joust between agitated political factions?
Hillary Clinton commented on Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four in her book What Happened:
“Attempting to define reality is a core feature of authoritarianism. This is what the Soviets did when they erased political dissidents from historical photos. This is what happens in George Orwell’s classic novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” when a torturer holds up four fingers and delivers electric shocks until his prisoner see five fingers as ordered. The goal is to make you question logic and reason and to sow mistrust toward exactly the people we need to rely on: our leaders, the press, experts who seek to guide public policy based on evidence, ourselves.”
I don’t think it is even possible to formulate an interpretation that is more OPPOSITE of that which was intended by the author.
The “goal” of INGSOC (Big Brother) in Nineteen Eighty-Four was NOT to “sow mistrust in our leaders, the press, experts…” It was the EXACT OPPOSITE! It was to sow mistrust in ones own capacity to question them. In other words, it was INGSOC’s intent to ELIMINATE all mistrust in authority. It accomplished this by means of ubiquitous surveillance and psychological terror.
Mrs. Clinton has turned this completely inside out.
Says Eddie Kramer, rock studio engineer extraordinaire:
“The message is leave the damn mistakes in,” Kramer concludes. “We’re in the ProTools world where you take every sneeze and every breath away from all the good stuff. Leave the bloody hair on.”