I have good news for all of you who were wondering how you were going to survive World War III. President Carter has a plan. At least he's given the go-ahead to the civil defense people in the government to come up with a plan, which would protect 140 million Americans in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack.
The cost of designing the plan, (as opposed to the plan itself), is $2 billion, and unlike previous civil defense ideas this one does not include building bomb shelters. Instead the emphasis will be on evacuating people from the large cities to the country-side as soon as hostilities begin.
This is not a joke - this is not a drill - this is a real, bona fide plan which the president is asking Congress to financial.
According to Pentagon experts, all the U.S. would need is warning of a Soviet missile attack, and it would then put its evacuation plan into effect. The success of the program would depend, of course, on how fast we could move everybody out of the cities, presumably by automobile and bus. The Pentagon says we need the plan in the worst way because the Soviets are going ahead with their civil defense plans, and we must maintain a "crisis stability" with them. This means that if the Soviets thought we could survive an attack by them, they wouldn't dare to try to kill us.
Okay. But before we spend $2 billion on an evacuation feasibility study, I have one favor to ask of the president. And that is, the next time he decides to spend a weekend at Camp David in the Maryland mountains, he go by car instead of by helicopter.
As soon as the president nears the beltway surrounding Washington, he will realize that there is absolutely no way of getting out of the city on a Friday night, much less if we have a real live nuclear alert.
The truth of the matter is the Soviets know that we could do more damage to ourselves through civil defense than they could ever do by starting a war.
This is the scenario that the Russians have planned for us:
They aim a series of dummy missiles, with condemned Pintos as warheads at the major cities in the U.S. We go on Red Alert and the sirens start whining, ordering everybody to leave at one.
People pile into cars, taxis and trucks and head for the outskirts of town. The Pintos are pinpointed to land on the arteries to every major expressway, tying up traffic for miles.
The panic-stricken city dwellers jump out of their cars and start beating up the people in the vehicles in front of them. Other drivers attempt to push stalled autos off the road. Still others start running across the roofs of the cars to get away from what they believe are mushroom clouds, which are really autos that have overheated.
Under present American driving conditions, it is my belief that the Soviets could do more damage with 100 Pintos than they could with 100 nuclear warheads.
Therefore, before the president tells Congress that civil defense is the moral equivalent of war, I urge him to get behind the wheel of Billy-s pickup truck and drive from the White House to Alexandria, Va., during rush hour. If he can make it in less than an hr, I'll give him the $2 billion out of my own pocket.