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Nuclear Threat: What About the Russians?

Russell J. Van Coevering II, MD
JAMA. 1985;254(21):3033-3034. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360210046014.
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To the Editor.—  The Aug 2 issue of JAMA emphasizes the dangers of nuclear war and lauds the political activism of the American medical profession, especially the Physicians for Social Responsibility, in trying to prevent nuclear war. Most disingenuous is the article noting the pledge taken by Soviet physicians to "struggle tirelessly for peace, and for the prevention of nuclear war."1The Soviet Union currently has between 12,000 and 15,000 nuclear warheads, actively trains all arms in nuclear, biologic, and chemical gear in anticipation of use of these weapons, and has had passive defense programs for the defense of the Nomenklatura (the Russian ruling class) in place for 30 years. At present, the Russians have 1,500 virtually impregnable command bunkers (the one under the Kremlin is a mile underground compared with the North American Air Defense Command in a Cheyenne [Wyo] mountain that is only 30 ft underground), which


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