Nixon’s Madman Theory and Madison Avenue Mad Men

This week’s blog post is a guest contribution from my brother, Michael, on the topic of the “nuclear option,” a term from nuclear deterrence theory that has come to be applied, sometimes loosely, in those situations when one decides to “push the button,” to risk, and probably lose, everything for the chance to destroy an opponent. Michael focuses his attention on a work of fiction to show how the theory of mutually assured destruction rests on assumptions of human nature that may be flawed. Fiction can’t be taken as scientific evidence, but when the actions of fictional characters ring true with an audience, they invite us to ponder those questions that science can’t answer either. In this case, such questions as: Will mutually assured destruction someday fail just because one fallible human being with his finger on the button gambles that he could come out victorious after launching a first strike? Or would the losing side in a long war, at the moment before an ignominious defeat, scream après moi, l’apocalypse and set off a nuclear exchange? Human behavior in less high-stakes scenarios suggest we shouldn’t expect our luck will always hold out.
Nixon’s Madman Theory and Madison Avenue Mad Men: Why mutually assured destruction scenarios don’t assure the prevention of mutual destruction

by Michael Riches (guest contributor, January 30, 2016)

One of the most sublime aspects of the AMC TV series Mad Men, which concluded last year, is how the show was always about more than what it was about.

On its surface, the program is about the advertising industry in the 1960s. Watch it patiently and it becomes a depiction of how the dynamic social classes of the 1960s rubbed against (and rubbed off on) each other. Pay closer attention and it becomes an almost clinical analysis of one man’s anxieties about identity and death, and how they play out against the anxieties and identities of others. Is Mad Men the story of how modern-day advertising came of age in a turbulent decade, or is it the story of an orphan raised by Appalachians during the Great Depression, outrunning his demons with the stolen identity of dead Korean War lieutenant? In many ways, Mad Men is more than any of these things. It is the story of how any one of us could be like Don Draper, abundant with creativity or desperate and mean, or both, depending on the circumstances of our upbringing and the opportunities presented to us.

What elevates each of Mad Men’s storylines is how much is revealed by what’s not said within its adeptly scripted dialogs.

The program had a sharp eye for metaphor – occasionally clunky, but mostly well disguised within compelling storylines. This is reflected in how Mad Men dealt with pivotal events of the 1960s. The first mention of the Cuban Missile Crisis, for instance, was in the background of the final episode of Season 2 (“Meditations in an Emergency”), “breaking news” that largely went unmentioned by any character. The social angst caused by the crisis manifested not so much in open dialog, but in how the characters behaved, as if each were aware that they might soon perish, yet in too much denial to talk about it – the secretary’s confession to one of her superiors that she gave birth to his child then gave it away for adoption; Don’s wife having her first extramarital tryst in the bathroom of a singles bar after years of deducing (though never verbally acknowledging) her husband’s infidelities; and the parallel of the hostile incursion of foreign power, as a British advertising conglomerate lands in New York to buy out the firm, to which Don is told to stand his ground during negotiations. Don’s survival (as with the survival of the Americans and Soviets during Cuba) came down to a risky move that could be seen either as brilliant or a fluke. All of this could have played out as soap opera, but deft handling by the writers turned these dramas into authentic moments of catharsis.

It would be too obvious an omission for any fictional study of the 1960s to ignore the Cold War. The nuclear arms race had a profound effect on generations raised through the 1950s to the early 1990s, and yet Mad Men made scarce mention of it during its seven-year run. This, however, was probably a wise and natural choice. As a child in the 1970s and a high school student in the 1980s, I recall that the potential of nuclear warfare was an underlying anxiety in our culture, frequently in our thoughts and constantly in the news, but rarely talked about outside of political arguments or the occasional topic in Social Studies. I imagine it would have been the same in the 1960s. In that respect, Mad Men made a wise move in depicting the Cold War through interpersonal conflict rather than explicit dialog about the fears of a nuclear attack.

One of the clever ways in which Mad Men touched on the Cold War was in an episode that dealt with various characters blowing up relationships in a style of “mutually assured destruction” (season 6, episode 6, “For Immediate Release,” set in the spring of 1966). In one storyline, the ever insecure account man Pete Campbell locks eyes with his father-in-law while both are making an exit from a high-end Manhattan brothel, where Pete’s firm often entertains demanding clients.  Unnerved by the encounter, Pete seeks advice from his more unflappable peer, Ken Cosgrove. Will Pete’s father-in-law, a top executive with Vicks who handed Pete an ongoing advertising account, pull his business from the firm?

Ken tells Pete to relax.

Ken: “It’s mutually assured destruction.”
Pete: “So he’s not going to say anything?”
Ken: “He can’t. It’s why I don’t worry about the bomb.”

In another storyline, Don Draper fires his most prestigious client, Jaguar, during a dinner in which their insufferable dealer representative, Herb Rennet, puts forward a business proposal that is a veiled swipe on Don’s capabilities. Don hands him a card with the name of “the person who’ll be handling your account from now on.”

Herb: “You never fail to overheat, do ya? You know the somersaults I’m doing because you’re so touchy?”
Don: “Really? A man your size?”

Two superpowers, one vulgar and fat on life’s excesses, the other a bully who “overheats” when his pride is wounded, get into a battle of wills. Herb sees no harm in pushing Don because Don is perceived to have too much to lose by pushing back. But Don does push back, taking the “nuclear” option and putting his entire firm in jeopardy (the Jaguar account was the lifeblood of Don’s agency).

The news infuriates his partners. Pete lividly informs Don that the loss of Jaguar means killing a public offering that would have been tremendously lucrative for all involved. As it turned out, another partner had been talking to Chevy about a bid for their business, meaning the firm would have had to drop Jaguar regardless.

Don: “You wanna go public? How much better is it when we have Chevy!”
Pete: “Don’t pretend you had a plan. You’re Tarzan, swinging from vine to vine.”

(Meanwhile, subtle Cold War reference is made in a storyline involving the copywriter Peggy and her live-in boyfriend Abe. The two are residing in the makings of a future ghetto, at the insistence of Abe, a social activist who is adamant about building a life in a genuine neighborhood free of the material wants of the Manhattan bourgeoisie. Peggy, in dislike of her living conditions, moans, “Those kids are living on our stoop, lighting firecrackers and playing their music.” This can be seen as a reference to Cuba, living on America’s “stoop,” provoking the USA with Soviet rockets and fiery orations, not to mention the way Cuba needled the US with their inconvenient example of Communism working with relative success. A few moments later, while Peggy and Abe kiss, Latin-American music blasts from outside.)

The subtle lesson in this episode is that when the “nuclear option” is threatened, a positive outcome can be chalked up more to luck than to a tactic with a foreseeable result. That much is stressed in a subsequent scene, when word goes out that Pete’s father-in-law, Tom, has pulled his business from the agency. Pete visits Tom in his office at Vicks.

Pete: “Tom, what are you doing? I know we’re both emotional and vulnerable, but I’m not the enemy here.”
Tom: “My daughter is a princess. She could have had anyone. I knew there was a reason you didn’t want children. You have no business being a father.”
Pete: “You just pressed the button, Tom! You just blew everything up!”
Tom: “It makes me sick, thinking about the man I saw being with my daughter and granddaughter.”
Pete: “Why don’t you go look in the mirror!”
Tom: “You can either walk out of here like a man, or I can throw you out like the lowlife you are.”
Pete (on his way out the door): “If I have as little character as you say, why would you push me like this?”
Tom: “You’ll do the right thing.”

What is meant by the “right thing” is not stated, but it’s obvious that Tom believes Pete will keep his mouth shut and forget the incident. In Tom’s view, he has delivered his revenge, he is “even.” Pete, though, leaves the room with a different idea of what the “right thing” means, believing that Tom’s pulling of Vicks’ business was the nuclear option. Pete’s marriage was already crumbling thanks to one of his affairs – something Tom was likely not aware of and was not able to consider – which allows Pete some freedom for a counter-strike when he realizes he is likely going to lose his wife regardless.

Pete: “Did you know your father pulled his business?”
Trudy: “No. And I don’t care, Peter.”
Pete: “I guess it doesn’t matter that I caught him in a mid-town whorehouse… It’s true. With a 200-pound negro prostitute. Ask him to his face.”
Trudy: “You’ll say anything to hurt me, won’t you!”
Pete: “He wanted it this way. He left me no other choice.”
Trudy: “You had lots of choices, Peter! We’re done. Get your things.”

That last line perhaps encapsulates the episode’s argument, that the more heated a conflict becomes, the fewer choices we believe we have. We may feel that we have been pushed to the brink in any given dispute, but in fact there is no brink, no precipice; we feel we have only one option, when in fact we have many, including doing nothing. Pete didn’t have to say anything to his wife, and he didn’t have to confront Tom in his office. Each decision to escalate the conflict came with its own consequences. In Don’s case, he gained the upper hand in his high-stakes gamble out of pure luck, whereas when Pete tried to duplicate Don’s success, he finished off his marriage after losing a major client. The threat of mutually assured destruction works sometimes. Other times it doesn’t. Chance and circumstance are usually the deciding factors.

The title of Mad Men comes from the moniker that “ad men” applied to themselves in the 1960s. When related to this episode, though, we’re reminded of the “Madman  Theory” of US president Richard Nixon (1969-1974). As recounted by Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H.R. (Bob) Haldeman, in his 1978 book The Ends of Power, Nixon said:

“I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I've reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that, ‘for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can't restrain him when he's angry – and he has his hand on the nuclear button,’ and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace.” [1]

Historians generally agree that Nixon came to this strategy on his own, though his tactics can be traced back to Machiavelli and fictional characters such as Hamlet. So Nixon may not have been an original in employing the “madman” approach to international disputes, but he was the first to take such a stance in the nuclear age.  

In their article “The Madman Nuclear Alert: Secrecy, Signaling, and Safety in October 1969” [2] authors Scott D. Sagan and Jeremi Suri provide detail of how the Madman Theory was put into practice. The US military had been ordered, in late 1969, to increase readiness to "respond to possible confrontation by the Soviet Union."

“The Strategic Air Command (SAC) was ordered to … increase the number of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on ground alert … Even more dramatic, on October 27 SAC launched a series of B-52 bombers, armed with thermonuclear weapons, on a ‘show of force’ airborne alert … Eighteen B-52s took off from bases in California and Washington State. The bombers crossed Alaska, were refueled in midair by KC-135 tanker aircraft, and then flew in oval patterns toward the Soviet Union and back, on eighteen-hour ‘vigils’ over the northern polar ice cap … Nixon sought to convince Soviet and North Vietnamese leaders that he might do anything to end the war in Vietnam, in accordance with his "madman theory" of coercive diplomacy. The nuclear alert measures were therefore specifically chosen to be loud enough to be picked up quickly by the Soviet Union's intelligence agencies. The military operation was also, however, deliberately designed to remain secret from the American public and U.S. allies.”

Author Michael S. Sherry also reported in In the Shadow of War [3] that American diplomats, including National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, directly intimated that the US incursion into Cambodia, in 1970, was a product of Nixon's mental instability.

The fault in such strategizing is that Nixon might have ignored the possibility that he was playing a “madman” game with actual madmen – it was entirely possible that the Communist states he was playing chicken with might have been willing to sacrifice more than what Nixon himself was pretending to put at risk. Like Tom in the example above, he lacked information about his counterpart’s circumstances and psychology. But what this also demonstrates, as pointed out by Sagan and Suri, is that the American public – actually, the global public – would have had no clue as to the actual reasons nuclear warfare had broken out, if it had. In the same way that popular history has eliminated (or at the very least diminished) the fact that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were completely unnecessary to ending Japanese involvement in World War II,  a “credible” provocation would have likely been manufactured by both sides had a nuclear conflict resulted from Nixon’s reckless approach to international relations.

That’s also the subtext of what was demonstrated in this episode of Mad Men. In each dispute depicted in the story, every party involved believed that the other had more to lose than him, and each aspiring “winner” did not know enough about what was going on behind each scene to be able to guarantee a favorable outcome. Don believed that his high-stakes strategy – putting his entire firm at risk in order to purge a client he despised – resulted in victory, when in fact there was an emerging situation he was not aware of that worked in his favor. Tom thought he knew how to play his cards with son-in-law Pete, but not without some unexpected collateral damage to his own family and his own standing as a father.

In the poetic way that art can argue better than history, conflict in relationships is often unavoidable and occasionally necessary. And yet there always remains potential for self-destruction. Mad Men showed that the essential lessons are in the choices we make when we manage disputes. We can follow our egos in the pursuit of destroying an adversary, often harming ourselves in the process, or we can make the difficult choices to resolve the enmity and do something for the greater good. Whether it’s the mad men of Madison Avenue or those holding political leadership, history demonstrates that humanity rarely makes the latter choice. It can be argued that favorable outcomes (not to mention survival itself) in the nuclear age have largely been matters of luck.


[1] H.R. Haldeman, The Ends of Power (Times Books, 1978).
[2] Scott D. Sagan and Jeremi Suri, “The Madman Nuclear Alert: Secrecy, Signaling, and Safety in October 1969,” International Security, Spring 2003, Vol. 27, No. 4.
[3] Michael S. Sherry, In the Shadow of War (Yale University Press, 1995).


Brothers in Nuclear Arms: Testimony of a Veteran of French Nuclear Tests

Brothers in Nuclear Arms:
Testimony of a Veteran of French Nuclear Testing

One of my goals with this blog has been to share the voices of the people affected by nuclear exploits and accidents. It wasn't supposed to be this way at the start of the age of reason, but science came to be a servant of power, a tool for constructing ignorance, motivated to make human bodies and human suffering invisible.[1] While there is no dispute that the oral histories of holocaust survivors constitute a corroborated, objective truth about what happened in Europe 1930-1945, the oral histories of nuclear victims are still met with official dismissal, no matter how methodically they are compiled.
In recent posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) I covered the testimonies of Polynesians who lived during the era of French nuclear tests (1966-1996), but that chapter would not be complete without the voices of the civilians and soldiers who came from France for tours of duty in the nuclear Pacific. Some of these were published in the book described below, but no English edition exists. This testimony told here does not come from this book. It is told by Jean-Paul Vimare, a French veteran who was posted on the Fangataufa atoll in 1974-1975. He has told his story throughout several blog posts written in recent years, and some of that content has been compiled and translated here. (Photos and articles used with permission. Do not re-use this material without proper credit or permission).

      When the travel writer Paul Theroux journeyed through the South Pacific in the 1990s he noticed that he was on a trip like no other he had ever experienced. The islands were so small and the distances so vast that he felt like he was journeying across a constellation.[2] This part of the world is a paradise, but one can also feel a profound melancholy on these remote beaches, the last places on earth to be touched by human feet. So imagine how it would be to come here at the age of twenty or so from metropolitan France, sent on a mission like a space traveler in this alien constellation, then you were told to take up your post in a military hospital ten kilometers from ground zero of a few upcoming nuclear bomb tests.
      Jean-Paul's writing conveys an everlasting sadness and anger about the assignment he was given in the nuclear testing program, but his words also convey a profound love for his brothers in nuclear arms, all mixed with an ambivalent nostalgia for the defining adventure of his youth in a poisoned paradise. He was indulged with great freedom and leisure, but it was all a setup for a devastating disillusionment. How could he not be haunted for the rest of his life by such a surreal experience, especially when the health effects on his comrades, himself and his children slowly revealed themselves over the ensuing decades?[3]

Jean-Paul's story follows the text below—a historical backgrounder given by the publisher's blurb for Les irradiés de la République.

The Irradiated of the Republic: Testimonies of the French nuclear test victims.
Bruno Barrillot, Les irradiés de la République: Les victimes des essais nucléaires français prennent la parole (Complex, 2003).

There were 150,000 of them, most of them young men. They were poorly informed, or completely uninformed, about the risks of radioactivity. They were even dis-informed. For example, this is what the personnel were told by military authorities: "Ninety seconds after the explosion, all the debris has fallen back to the surface and there is no danger from radiation." Residual radiation? It is "so low that it constitutes no danger. Do not concern yourself with it." Were they naïve? Respectful of authority? They were proud to participate in this grand adventure which, they were told, would lift France to the level of the great powers. And what memories would they bring back from the Sahara desert or the island paradises of the Pacific? "It was well-known that the bomb was a deadly thing, but when it exploded, I was fascinated by this artificial sunrise." And they were told then, as they are told today, that these bombs were "clean," so what harm could possibly follow? They wouldn't find out, the lucky ones, for another ten, twenty or thirty years, when cancers and other illnesses would affect them. At last, they have spoken, emerging from the silence and the forgetting created by the requirement of military secrecy. At last, they are fighting so that "truth and justice" can be brought to the victims of nuclear tests.

Witness: Jean-Paul Vimare

To the president who gave us la force de la frappe,

From your time, Monsieur de Gaulle, to our times, people have struggled to expose the truth of the nuclear tests that were carried out in Algeria and in the Pacific. In full knowledge of the effects, you sent us to those distant atolls. You made us live in zones of contamination without dosimeters. In your nuclear folly, you sacrificed us, Polynesian workers, personnel of the military and the CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique), volunteers or not. Thousands of us are already dead amid a widespread indifference. This is why I created my blog.

It was not a "great opportunity" to have worked for the tests, as some have told me. It's just a fact. I was young and I did know the word "radioactivity," but I didn't know anything about it. I saw four atmospheric tests in 1974, and the first two underground tests in 1975. It was only many years later that I began to understand what a mistake it all was.
France used us and used Polynesians, who were always called on to do the lowliest tasks. They were like the liquidators of Moruroa, sent out to pick up debris with their bare hands. In this photo they were holding the fish they would eat, fish saturated in Strontium 90.

We forget too often the men who worked at these sites.
I took these photos on the go.
They were there to earn their living,
to support their families.
The word radiation meant nothing to them.
They didn't wonder about it much.
They were among us.
What became of them,
I do not know.
Wherever you are, my friends,
we will not forget you.

I sometimes went on radiobiological missions in affected zones. I took photos that I developed myself. Outside the "zone of life," it was a ghastly scene. There was barbed wire and debris from Canopus (the hydrogen bomb of 1968) everywhere. Blocks of concrete, twisted metal scrap, heaps of refuse, rusted barrels full of I don't know what. It was barren of vegetation in some places, scattered with vitrified rock and piles of rubbish of all kinds.
How many Polynesian workers and veterans have died prematurely after being irradiated? 10,000? 20,000? In fact, no reliable statistic was ever sought. It would just be embarrassing.
We will never know how to repay you for your lies, your Lies of State.
France lied to us, and it continues to do so. With 193 tests, the French state polluted French Polynesia. France allowed itself to do this with impunity, disdained by all neighboring populations. Besides the tests, it disposed of hundreds of tons of nuclear waste in territorial waters.

La Dépêche de Tahiti, August 10, 2012
Jean-Paul Vimare

  • On the Fangataufa atoll, what was the point of all those signs that said "Danger: Risk of Contamination"?
  • What was all the barbed wire for? What protection was it supposed to offer?
  • Why was all the coral debris vitrified?
  • Why did the nuclear testing regime provide us with so many diversions and luxuries? (The great food, the leisure activities—it was practically a Club Med.)
  • Why didn't we have dosimeters?
  • Why didn't we have Geiger counters?
  • Why didn't we have potassium iodide pills at the infirmary during the nuclear tests?
  • At the hospitals on the site, why were there no instructions specific to radiological accidents to prepare us in case of trouble during the tests?
  • Why were we not trained and equipped in how to safely take samples of radioactive water? After the Achilles test, wearing only shorts and tongs, I had to walk out in a state of dread on a cracked rock slab to take a sample.
  • Why are there so many blocks of pulverized concrete and piles of old bunkers?
  • Why has vegetation not re-grown in certain areas?
  • Why was I hospitalized by a civilian doctor in a military hospital in Lorient?
  • Why was I sterile for so many years?
  • Why, in certain military files, were afflictions suffered in Moruroa and Fangataufa (the bomb test sites) registered as having originated in Papeete, 1,200 kilometers away?
  • Why were these tests "without danger" not conducted in France, or since they actually were so dangerous, not in the near-Antarctic islands of Kerguelen, as was proposed at one time?
  • Why are the archives on the Polynesian tests not declassified? Is the truth too unsettling?
  • Why are the people like me, who were in the line of fire, dying prematurely?

That's enough questions. My personal photos show very well that we were living in a nuclear wasteland. Now it is a certainty that Moruroa will collapse, like an aging, cracking block of Gruyère cheese, and no one will be able to say that we were not warned by certain scientists. It is a fragile crown of coral, an eggshell. The Fangataufa atoll has become one of the largest nuclear waste sites in the global history of nuclear weapons tests, completely beyond the reach of the law.

I arrived in Fangataufa on a sunny afternoon. It was here that I was coming to live with my companions in misfortune, in the midst of this radioactive wasteland.

The infirmary
I had already learned a bit about this atoll situated 45 kilometers from Moruroa, where I had worked at the Hôpital des Sites. The photo below, which needs no further comment, was taken at Moruroa. I don't know which test it is, and it doesn't matter which it was. We got used to such sights. It is impossible to describe or inscribe such events. Fangataufa could be called life in the great outdoors, tropical island outpost, abandoned and dismantled in 1976.

Fangataufa is one of the most radioactive places on earth. Following its closure, it served as a storage site for wastes coming from Moruroa, which had also been destroyed. These atolls are considered to be gone, lost forever to the long night of time. What a shame. They were beautiful, even in the chaotic, highly radioactive conditions left by Canopus in 1968—a 2.6 megaton hydrogen bomb—that's 2.6 million tons of TNT exploded just 1.5 kilometers from the so-called "zone of life." In contrast, the 15 kiloton bomb in Hiroshima (15,000 tons of TNT) killed 75,000 people.

The health services of the nuclear sites served all branches of the military. The hospital was quite important. We could handle medical and surgical emergencies immediately, but the services were completely inadequate in case of a large disaster, especially a nuclear accident. In any case, there were no special preparations before a detonation. That was in 1974. I don't know what it was like after that.
The life of an orderly at the infirmary in Fangataufa was easy, pampered in fact. We did what we wanted at our island base. Good wine, great food, little discipline. I would understand only much later the reason for this largesse. It looked like paradise, but we were walking in shit.

The inhabitants of this base, which functioned for only a short time (1970 to 1976), were called "zonards" or "Fangatiens." It is still not well understood that this place was completely contaminated. One can only assume it was, though, even if it has never been confirmed officially. After four atmospheric tests and ten underground tests in such a small place, could there be any doubt? I have my suspicions, with this personal account of the place, that the leaders of our fine country took us for fools, as they did our Polynesian friends. It was a great achievement for France. It is the only nation to have successfully erased two atolls, Moruroa and Fangataufa, from the planet. That's la force de la frappe.

The atoll is like the inverse of a natural landscape. One could call it the kingdom of flies and concrete. This photo is particularly meaningful. In the foreground, we can see the fly-repellent barbed wire, as well as a sign warning about the contaminated zone. I took the liberty of removing some of the barbed wire during one of my missions, as I noticed it was failing to serve its purpose. There were just as many flies on one side of it as on the other. But the sign stayed in place. I joke about this photo because it is the only way to deal with it. I took this photo from the infirmary, so that indicates how close it was to the danger zone.

This one was taken from the place on the other side of the Zone Empereur, a lunar landscape, razed, totally vitrified in some places. I know there were installations made of metal there. They melted under the power of the shot, and the rest was thrown into the ocean. I shudder to think of the fearless guys who cleaned up in these places.

A bunker in the forbidden zone, surrounded with anti-radiation barbed wire.

And one day it was time to leave my best mates. Departures were always very moving. Adieu, Fangataufa, once again you are left to the birds, and it is better that way.


The above text was compiled, edited and translated, with permission, from the blogs of Jean-Paul Vimare:

For more images, see this fifteen minute video slideshow of the nuclear testing era in Moruroa and Fangatauga: Les Essais Nucléaires Francais

For more background on French nuclear tests in the Pacific, read:

"Leaked report raised fears of radioactive tsunami if Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia collapses," The Watchers, August 19, 2012, http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2012/08/19/leaked-report-raised-fears-of-radioactive-tsunami-if-mururoa-atoll-in-french-polynesia-collapses/  


[1] Kate Brown, Dispatches from Dystopia: Histories of Places Not Yet Forgotten (University of Chicago Press, 2015) See chapter 4 Bodily Secrets for more description of the ways governments made human bodies and human suffering invisible in official studies and compensation programs.

[2] Paul Theroux, The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific (G.P. Putnam, 1992).

[3] Talk of permanent genetic effects and destabilization of the genome of future generations is often looked upon as the stuff of deranged conspiracy theories; however, the sources listed in this note show the phenomenon has been documented by large-scale studies of nuclear victims. Besides, it is uncontroversial that the damage can be induced in the laboratory in plants, animals and microbes.