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The abyss of peace

ORIENTERING 22. FEBRUARY 1969 / Iron Mountain's report is a frightening satire that strikes American social science and the armor industry. The research report is a fictitious document showing what would happen if peace broke, and concludes in a sober scientific language that war is a necessity for our social system. In this way, the book – which has now come in Norwegian as the Fakkel book from Gyldendal – can also be read as a shocking revelation of habit thinking and war preparations. The Danish author Carl Scharnberg chooses to read the book as an authentic and serious document and gives in this chronicle a summary of the "research results".


War is an indispensable necessity for preserving the social structure. War provides the only reliable system for stabilizing and controlling national economy. War is the source of all public authority that enables stable leadership. War is indispensable in the control of dangerous social discord and destructive, anti-social tendencies. War serves an indispensable function of population control and has long provided the fundamental, motivated cause of scientific and technological progress.

Therefore, war is indispensable.

This is the conclusion reached by the Special Study Group in the report "On the possibility and desirability of peace". The group was formed in the US in August 1963. It worked for 2 1 / 2 years. Its task was:

1) to determine the nature of the problems the United States would face if a state of lasting peace arose

2) to recommend precautions to counter this eventuality.

The report was tabled on 30 September 1966 and appended to 604 annexes. The group strongly recommended that the report not be published, recognizing that in a democracy there should be thorough, open and free discussions on all issues of fundamental public interest, but stressed the need to carefully choose the right time for a such debate. Of elementary caution, this should not come until the public was psychologically accustomed to the questions.

The group's existence and work were therefore a deep secret. The first and last meeting of the group was held in Iron Mountain, the underground, nuclear-weapon-protected shelter owned by the major corporations (Standard Oil, Shell, etc.) to provide security for documents and prominent officials during a nuclear war. The following meetings were held in a number of different states in the United States.

The conclusion of the many discussions and analyzes was not a direct answer to the tasks set, but rather as follows: – Although lasting peace is not theoretically impossible, it is probably unattainable. Even if it could be created, it would almost certainly not be in the interest of a stable society to do so!

It would go too far here to review the report which is now available because of indiscretion on the part of a member. The few readers who may be interested in studying these things will find their own report, the content of which is of such a nature, so that for good reason one can fear what it may entail if unstable natures begin to employ themselves. with the document. One will hardly be surprised to have the confirmation that the economic impact of ordinary disarmament will change the world's production and distribution patterns to such an extent that the last 50 years of changes will appear insignificant. Not to mention that the political, sociological and cultural changes will be equally wide-ranging. But the resulting consequences are so far more inconsiderate, as hitherto, as the document states, it has avoided casting a fearful gaze into the deep abyss of peace.

This sin of omission, which has been blamed on the leaders and participants in the general public debate, has sought to remedy the Special Study Group, and here is its brief conclusion in this area:

1) None of the proposed financial conversion programs for disarmament sufficiently take into account the unprecedented scope of the required regulations it will entail.

2) Proposals for transforming weapons production into a beneficial system that public works are more a manifestation of wishful thinking than of realistic understanding of the limitations of the existing economic system.

3) Fiscal and monetary policy measures are insufficient as controls for a demilitarized economy.

4) Attention has not been sufficiently drawn to whether the objectives of the proposed conversion models have been politically acceptable and to the political means that must be used to carry out a conversion.

5) None of the proposed restructuring plans have seriously considered the fundamental, non-military function of war and reconstruction as little as unreserved attempts have been made to devise a viable replacement for it.

The report believes that it is wrong to assume that war as an institution is regarded as subordinate to the social it is supposed to serve. The war itself is the basic social system within which all other, secondary forms of social organization are contested or conspired. It is the system that has directed most of the known human societies, just as it does today. (And it is only in recent times that it has been considered politically expedient to describe war budgets as "defense spending", as governments' need to distinguish between "aggression" (evil) and "defense" (good) is a by-product of growing literacy and the rapid communication. The distinction is only tactically determined. With substitutes for the functions of war it is possible to find the forms, but in this area little is made clear. If a world without war is realized in connection with a socially stable organization, it is necessary 1) devising alternative institutions 2) which can reasonably be assumed that the complete or partial abandonment of past functions need not destroy the viability of future societies. The alternatives must meet a number of different criteria. For example:

1) economic. An acceptable economic compensation for the war system would require the use of resources for completely unproductive purposes to an extent comparable to the military expenditures that the size and complexity of all societies would otherwise require. Such an alternative system with "waste" as its purpose must be of a nature that will allow it to be independent of the supply and demand of the normal economy – it must be subject to arbitrary, political control.

2) political. A viable political replacement for war must provide a common external threat to any society, of a nature and size sufficient to demand organization and recognition of political authority.

3) sociological: First, when the war is finally abolished, new institutions must be developed that can effectively control the socially destructive elements of societies. In order to adapt the physical and psychological forces of human behavior to the needs of the social organization, a credible substitute for war must, secondly, create a ubiquitous and easily understood fear of personal destruction.

The report suggests the necessary models: space research program, gigantic, endless towards unattainable goals – massive, global pollution of the environment… fictitious, alternative enemies… a modern but more cunning form of slavery… new religions…

It would be unscientific to call up. The interested reader should go through the report itself in its entirety: it is logical, concrete and will probably shake the sensitive reader deeply.

War is indispensable.

One can publish the report in the belief that the "realistic" will hardly go as much in depth as this report requires.

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