Friday, 13 December 2013

An Extract from The Report From Iron Mountain, 1966

Nevertheless, an effective political substitute for war would require "alternate 
enemies," some of which might seem equally farfetched in the context of the current 
war system. It may be, for instance, that gross pollution of the environment can 
eventually replace the possibility of mass destruction by nuclear weapons as the 
principal apparent threat to the survival of the species. 
Poisoning of the air, and of the 
principal sources of food and water supply, is already well advanced, and at first glance 
would seem promising in this respect; it constitutes a threat that can be dealt with only 
through social organization and political power. But from present indications it will be 
a generation to a generation and a half before environmental pollution, however severe, 
will be sufficiently menacing, on a global scale, to offer a possible basis for a solution. 

 It is true that the rate of pollution could be increased selectively for this purpose; in 
fact, the mere modifying of existing programs for the deterrence of pollution could 
speed up the process enough to make the threat credible much sooner. But the pollution 
problem has been so widely publicized in recent years that it seems highly improbably 

that a program of deliberate environmental poisoning could be implemented in a 
politically acceptable manner. 
 However unlikely some of the possible alternate enemies we have mentioned may 
seem, we must emphasize that one must be found, of credible quality and magnitude, if 
a transition to peace is ever to come about without social disintegration. It is more 
probably, in our judgement, that such a threat will have to be invented, rather than 
developed from unknown conditions. 
For this reason, we believe further speculation 
about its putative nature ill-advised in this context. Since there is considerable doubt, in 
our minds, that any viable political surrogate can be devised, we are reluctant to 
compromise, by premature discussion, any possible option that may eventually lie open 
to our government. 

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