By Frank Barnaby (Auth.)
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Additional resources for Prospects for Peace
Perhaps the most important characteristic of these cruise missiles is that the ratio of the payload carried to the physical weight of the missiles is relatively very high (typically about 15 per cent compared with a fraction of 1 per cent for a typical ballistic missile). A large number of long-range interceptor aircraft would also be required to operate with A W ACS to intercept and destroy the incoming missiles, which would also be extremely costly. The deployment of cruise missiles will, therefore, escalate the arms race.
I know that twenty million dead is horrible enough, but, believe me, if we wait until they hit us first we will lose 100 or maybe 150 million people. Mr. President, can we afford to wait? This argument will, if ever made, be faulty because, as we have seen, it ignores all but the early deaths from a nuclear war. It is also based on worst case analysis—assuming that the enemy's forces From Nuclear Deterrence to Nuclear War Fighting 39 will work according to plan, whereas one's own will work in a much less than optimum way.
One day, perhaps towards the end of this decade, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff walks into the President's office and tells him, quite out of the blue: Mr. President, our intelligence agencies tell us that the Russians will soon be able to deliver a disabling first strike against us. They could by a surprise attack so reduce our strategic forces that we will be able to kill, in a retaliatory strike, only twenty or thirty million of their people. And remember, Mr. President, [the Chairman goes on] the Russians were able to take such losses in World War II.