The PJ Tatler

The Return of Duck And Cover

So I had a piece in The Atlantic yesterday on The Unexpected Return of ‘Duck and Cover.’ The summary is that in response to increased fears of a terrorist nuclear attack on a U.S. city — or, maybe, a North Korean or Iranian attack intended to look like a terrorist attack — the Obama Administration is rolling out plans that look a lot like something out of the Cold War 1950s.  Some people on the right — like this Investor’s Business Daily editorial — are crying foul, noting that when it was Republicans pushing this sort of thing they were decried as Strangelovian freaks.

The message was clear: The Reagan administration was as nuts as George C. Scott’s Gen. Buck Turgidson character in “Dr. Strangelove.” “I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed,” the general told President Merkin Muffley. “But I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops!”

All these years later, with the Cold War long over thanks to Reagan, a Democratic president is now telling the American people that with enough shovels, they can “absorb” a nuke.

Ed Driscoll makes a similar point here. But while those are fair criticisms of the usual Democratic chattering class snark, it remains the case that the Obama Administration is right on this one.  Here, for those with long attention spans, is the interagency planning document. And, just for fun, here’s the original Duck and Cover video.