Freedom Action

Daniel Ellsberg’s New Book Calls Us to Anti-Nuclear Activism

The atomic cloud during the "Baker" nuclear test at the Bikini atoll, 1946.
The atomic cloud during the "Baker" nuclear test at the Bikini atoll, 1946.
Written by JoAnn Chateau

Climate change and nuclear holocaust are the eminent threats of irreversible catastrophe that we face. Climate change takes considerable time to build momentum. A nuclear disaster could happen in a heart beat.

Anti-Vietnam war organizer Robert Levering wants his baby grandson to read an important book when he grows up. That is Daniel Ellsberg’s new work, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, which tells the inside story of nuclear preparedness during the Cold War era. Levering hopes his grandson will someday carry on the family endeavor of anti-war activism.

…Last August, I was arrested with and several dozen others at Lawrence Livermore Labs in California, where scientists create new devices to blow up the world. Our demonstration commemorated the 72nd anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Coincidentally, my grandson Rocky Barnes-Levering Ly was being born at the very time as we were being carted off to jail.

After reading Dan’s book, I knew that I had to give it to Rocky. Hopefully, no country will unleash its nuclear arsenal before he is able to read the book…

Assuming we escape a nuclear nightmare for the next two decades, Dan’s book can help Rocky comprehend the precariousness of our lives in the nuclear age…

I want Rocky to read The Doomsday Machine for yet another reason. I want him to develop an appreciation for why his grandfather has felt it necessary to commit civil disobedience several dozen times over the past half-century. Because I’m in my mid-seventies, I’m acutely aware that I may never be able to explain to Rocky why I tried to block the entrance to a government building the day he was born. Dan’s book does more than impart historical information and a critique of the entire nuclear madness. The Doomsday Machine offers a full-throated call for ordinary citizens to act to avert the catastrophe…

Robert Levering

READ LETTER TO ROCKY: A Nuclear War Planner’s Guide to Resisting the Bomb | Waging Nonviolence

Book cover of "The Doomsday Machine" by Daniel EllsbergEllsberg is telling us, in short, that it’s time to step-up the anti-war movement.

From the blurb on the back cover of The Doomsday Machine, by Daniel Ellsberg (released Dec. 5, 2017):

…Here, for the first time, former high level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking first-hand account of America’s nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization — and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration — threatens our very survival. No other insider with high level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era…


Step-up Anti-War Movement

About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.

7 Comments

  • thanks for making this work visible!
    i’ve been to several civil disobedience events at the labs.
    with a crazy clown @ the nuclear button
    what could go wrong? :-)

    • Yes, crazy clown + nuclear button = extremely sobering. BTW, Sanders, Murphy, and Lee just introduced a resolution to get the U.S. out of Yemen and to re-assert Congressional power over foreign policy decision-making. A step in the right direction, I think.

  • Another reason Iran and NK must not be allowed to go nuke at any cost. They don’t make us stronger they make us weaker. Just look at what Chernobyl and Fukushima have done to environment. A dozen or two nukes contaminate entire atmosphere = uninhabitable earth.

    • Yes. Nuclear contamination doesn’t stay at the blast site. Wind and water can carry radiation all around the world. In addition, too much debris thrown into the atmosphere can block sun rays for a very long time.

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