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Skepticism About the Value of Formal Arms-Control Agreements

GOURLEY: Now, your belief is that it's important to have nuclear weapons, but they have a purpose and its deterrence is important?
GOURLEY: Is testing important [for] maintaining the stockpile?
GOFMAN: That's debated. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with testing under the ground. It's just not that big [of] a danger of hurting anything. I think the people who are making a big to-do about it: "We must stop, we must get a comprehensive test ban."

Let me say something about comprehensive test bans: I do not believe in treaties. People of goodwill don't need treaties and people of ill will never abide by treaties. So they just don't need to have them. We don't [have] a treaty with Canada aside from NAFTA,[52] but we don't have [a real] treaty. We won't bomb each other.

Secondly, anybody who thinks you can fight a nuclear war and win, is insane from the word go. If a nuclear war is fought, then deterrence has failed. I think this: It's a dangerous world and there are people of ill will out there. All the people of ill will did not disappear in World War II. I think that any society that has any basis of decency and humanity [had] just better stay on the technological edge or they're going to be overrun by the thugs, tyrants and murderers of this world. I don't want to see that happen.

I don't want to see the United States go down. It's got a lot of goddamned difficulties, such as the people who would engineer that little fiasco in Wichita, setting Jacob Frabrikant up with that. Worried the hell out me that the Justice Department participated in that. But still in all, if you can think of any other place in the world that even comes close to the freedoms that we do have-I'd like to see this place get better and not go down the tubes. I think there's a danger. I consider the people who are too avid in the disarmament movement are going to kill us.
GOURLEY: Do you think that some of your critics, the folks who say, "Oh, Gofman with this radiation 'no safe level,'" do you think they would be shocked to hear you say that the dangers from a few underground nuclear tests are worth it?
GOFMAN: I don't know, they might.
GOURLEY: I would think that would be the sort of thing that would silence a lot of your critics.
GOFMAN: My view would be, I'd say all these things publicly and I think the case I would make is not that the underground tests are not harmful. They are harmful, a little will leak out. A small number of people will get hurt. I would want to tell the American people if I were king, "I'm leveling with you, this is something we need to do to preserve the freedoms we have. Don't you agree that we need to do this?"

But I wouldn't be running a movie out in downwind St. George, Utah, saying go out and come out and see the cloud, no harm, and all that. I think that was where the big mistake was. The arrogance of the DOE and the Atomic Energy Commission: "We know best, we don't have to tell you, we'll hide it and we'll lie to you." That's all I object to. With respect to the safe dose, which they're trying to sell, I consider that a war against humanity. They're conducting a war against humanity and somebody's got to fight them. I don't have an objection. I don't like the comprehensive test ban treaty. You know Helen Caldicott?
GOFMAN: Helen Caldicott's very famous worldwide. She's an antibomb activist. She was saying, "We've got to have a treaty to ban the cruise missile, because pretty soon they won't be able to detect them at all." If you won't be able to detect them at all, what the hell is the sense of a treaty? I don't understand the disarmament movement. But they don't like me, the disarmament movement.

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