I wonder if the Russians could not give us two weeks, instead of one week, of warning before blowing us to hell.
This is the sort of thing the American government should be negotiating, instead of sitting around pleased with themselves. I think we need two weeks, really, and even then it will be inconvenient, when you consider getting clothes back from the cleaner's and arranging for the termite man to come a bit early to spray the basement--if we're to be gone a month or so, I say call the termite man and not take any chances.
I hope the FBI will be called in to assist with this disturbance to our regular life, since the possibility of subversion seems great, in the actual planning of the move. We do not know our host city yet--if it's summer, I hope it's Denver--but there is always the chance of communist subversion, and that's why it would be well to get the FBI involved in the civil defense plans from the start.
This business of the post office sending us all change-of-address cards, for instance, sounds very like a Red plot to insure that 200 million Americans will never be heard of again. But not to nitpick, the FBI can make certain the civil defense stuff is all on the up and up.
My own plan for civil defense against nuclear attack has apparently been scrapped, though I submitted it free to the Defense Department. And yet a few aspects of it seem to have been adopted, without giving me any credit, I notice.
The original plan, a bit more ambitious than the one the government is leaning towards, called for moving the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains now.
Why should we wait? We are going to feel very foolish if the Russians send their notice by Western Union or special delivery and we get it three weeks after Philadelphia is no longer with us.
The capital, our lovely city of Washington, should perhaps be put where Denver is, and Denver should be moved to Utah where there is plenty of room for it. We shall need all their buildings, and that will be a hardship on them out there, but then we are talking of a national emergency here, and they will wish to pitch in and if not they can be shot.
It is expecting a good bit of the capital to make do with Denver in the first place, and the dreadful nuisance of it all could be ameliorated if steps were taken now. When you think how long it is likely to take to move the Washington Monument alone, you see the magnitude of the work ahead.
The part of my plan that the Defense Department does not seem to have adopted yet is, I feel, the most imaginative and best part. Since it is now known to our national government that the nation can recover within four or five years, why not take advantage of this without waiting for the Russians, who are always unreliable and may not drop any bombs at all. Or may cheat and only give 12 days warning instead of 14 (assuming the government in Washington gets off its tail and insists on two weeks instead of one).
That is why I do not suggest moving Denver to Washington or Cheyenne to New York, even though we all go to Denver and the Apples all drop on Cheyenne. No, that would be simple but it would not be wise. Instead, all the Rocky Mountain folk would be sent to that empty space where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Indiana all come together in a big square.
With the East Coast removed to the Rockies, and the natives out there shifted to the empty space, our dear East Coast would be free of people, and we could set off 15 nuclear bombs from Bangor to Charleston. It would be terrible, yes, but we would all be safe in the Rockies and since the wind blows from the west, the fallout would not affect us though it might leave a trace or two in Bermuda, but then you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.
And the beauty of it is that we could do it at the best time, or the least inconvenient time, whereas if we sit around waiting for the Russians they may do it before Christmas, the worst possible time for business.
Once we have moved the essential part of the nation to the Rockies and bombed the East Coast ourselves in the midst of the August doldrums, all we have to do is sit back for four years until the nation fully recovers.
But unless we get cracking--if we just sit around on our present schedule--recovery is going to take far more than anybody's four years.
A final thing in favor of my plan. If we do it my way we not only permit the nation to recover in four years, but nobody gets hurt, and that is a real plus. Because if we wait around for the Russians, there might be enough casualties to fill up Georgetown Hospital within a week.