Presidential Candidates Ignore Key Defense Issue, States Physicians for Civil Defense

Dec 21, 2015, 09:57 ET from Physicians for Civil Defense

TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At the last Republican presidential debate one candidate mentioned the possibility of World War III. The prospect of a war that didn't stay safely "over there" doesn't seem to have occurred to the rest—even as they call for "tougher" military action.

At least six of the candidates live or spend most of their time close to a prime target for Russian retaliation or nuclear terrorism: New York City or Washington, D.C.

Do any of them not know that Putin is beefing up both Russian nuclear forces and civil defense? Do any of them realize that the American people are defenseless against a nuclear threat that can now come from many different adversaries?

Is it ignorance—or a profound state of denial like that which appears to be strongest in people closest to a dam that is about to rupture?

The federal Office of Civil Defense was shut down in the 1990s; radiation instruments suitable for response were discarded and not replaced. Most of the detectors deployed today are for interdiction, in the hope of detecting undetonated radioactive material. They are so sensitive that they would be overloaded and useless in the presence of high-level radiation. Basic knowledge and affordable technology could save millions of lives in the event of a nuclear detonation. But government is not making it available.

The middle stories of a high-rise building provide excellent protection from fallout—unless the ventilation system is sucking it in and distributing it. But how would people know that they need to take shelter, and turn off the HVAC? Or when it is safe to come out?

Inexpensive systems are available that can automatically close building air intakes when radiation is detected, but they are not being deployed in significant numbers. They can send continuous reports to the FEMA Radiation Map so responders and evacuation may be properly directed. Data from some of these stations can be seen at this demo site.

How long do we have before ISIS sets off a radiation dispersal device (RDD or "dirty bomb")? When will a provocation or accident trigger an attack on our homeland? Candidates and officials need to come out of decades-long denial and ask what they can do now to protect the American people. Any facility with students, employees, tenants, or a valuable building to protect could lead the way.

Physicians for Civil Defense distributes information to help to save lives in the event of war or other disaster.

Contact: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110,


SOURCE Physicians for Civil Defense