To Open Minds

Howard E. Gardner, Author Basic Books $21.95 (326p) ISBN 978-0-465-08630-6
Based on interviews with military specialists, this impressive study examines the widening schism between nuclear rhetoric on the one hand, and operational war plans on the other, addressing the failure of successive American administrations to subject nuclear war planning to civilian review. Nolan also discusses the need for an institutional nuclear war planning structure that can survive administrative turnover and the vagaries of partisan politics. He surveys the longstanding gulf between the issues and needs raised in public debate and the truth of operational reality, dramatized in 1983 with the birth of the Strategic Defense Initiative. According to Nolan, the now chronic tension between the military's ``need for certainty'' and the politicians' ``need for calculated ambiguity'' has banished the possibility of accountability in the nation's plans for the use of nuclear forces. Even more disturbing is the author's contention that nuclear strategy ``has resisted major interference from civilians'' all along. Nolan is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-465-08629-0
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