April 13, 1982
Speaking at the Coalition for Social Responsibility’s Peace Week, retired Rear Admiral Gene R. LaRocque had "no doubt," reported Richard Lynch '85 in The Miscellany News, "that the United States will have a nuclear war unless it changes the course it is on." After a distinguished career in World War II and with the Joints Chief of Staff, LaRocque retired in 1972 after 32 years in the Navy, disillusioned by the Vietnam War. He founded the Center for Defense Information in 1974.
"We are all planning, arming, training, equipping and practicing for a nuclear war, a war which will probably kill at least 100 million people.... Twenty years ago, we had about 6,000 nuclear weapons between ourselves and the Soviets. Who feels more secure today when we have a lot more of them?” Of primary importance in LaRoque's ten-point summary of the nuclear situation were recognition that most of the world's problems are not military problems, that national security depended "on social, political and economic areas of our society, not just on the military, and that the United States should abandon it's policy of "first use" of nuclear weapons in a crisis. "There is hope," he concluded. "The interest and enthusiasm in the nuclear question emerging both here and in Europe is encouraging. People need to get as much information as possible and decide what they think they should do." The Miscellany News