January 4, 2011

AS A FOLLOWUP ON MY “DUCK AND COVER” PIECE, I should note that Ed Driscoll is pushing back a bit:

I agree that we should be discussing the topic. But the boomer-era left shouldn’t be able to turn on a dime after nearly a half-century of endlessly mocking nuclear war preparations to suddenly embracing the idea overnight without at least a few raised eyebrows. It’s very much akin to the way Bill Clinton suddenly waxed nostalgic for the Cold War era shortly after its conclusion helped to propel him into office. As Howard Dean once said, “I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy;” there seems to megatons worth on this topic on his side of the aisle.

Meanwhile, Moe Lane wants the end of history back:

What’s depressing is that I grew up in the tail end of the Cold War, and I remember well drawing overlapping circles on a map of the tri-State area and concluding that there wasn’t a chance in Hell that I could get far enough from the primary blast zones if the balloon ever went up**. I did not mind in the slightest when history appeared to end in 1991.

But history doesn’t end, dammit. And we need to address our lack of a Civil Defense program.

And Michael Lotus emails about the Duck and Cover film:

That video makes me proud to be an American. Seriously. I had never actually watched it before. It was made by people who were not cynics or pussies. They had just finished destroying Japan and Germany by aerial bombing. They knew it could happen to us. They acted like grownups about it. Getting under cover to avoid burns, flying glass and debris, was good advice then and it is good advice now. Thanks for posting.

Yeah, you watch those 1950 civil-defense films and you realize the pipe-smoking dad stockpiling supplies in the basement is probably a World War II vet who just a few years before had most likely either dropped bombs or had them dropped on him (or both). Kind of puts a different color on it.

UPDATE: Jim Bennett emails: “Glenn, you are right. I’m sure the Air Raids Precaution drills people in London had to go through in 1939 seemed absurd to many, but they soon were very useful indeed. Few people today can put themselves in the place of Civil Defense planners in 1950, and we forget how close WWII was to them. 9-11 is coming up on its tenth anniversary this year and I can still recall watching the Pentagon burn three miles away from me, very vividly. Mike got it right; the A-bomb of 1950 was just another damned thing to deal with to these guys.”

Plus, reader John Brunemeier writes: “My dad dropped bombs on Germany from a B-17, and yes I grew up in a home with a very well stocked bomb shelter. Our family of 6 could have stayed in it for six months without coming out. It even had a toilet.”

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