THE ULTIMATE FOLLY: War by Pestilence, Asphyxiation, and Defoliation by Richard D. McCarthy

THE ULTIMATE FOLLY: War by Pestilence, Asphyxiation, and Defoliation

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Only recently emerged from years of neglect and secrecy to become a budding liberal cause celebre, the issue of chemical and biological warfare has already been subjected to treatments more comprehensive than this one (most notably Seymour M. Hersh's Chemical and Biological Warfare: The Hidden Arsenal--1968). McCarthy's account is distinguished by its focus upon the decision-making apparatus or lack thereof which has permitted major changes in accepted CBW policies and practices that ""fly in the face of ideals and principles central to our national values."" Spurred on, ironically enough, by a TV investigative report, McCarthy took it upon himself to acquire the information and expertise on these war policies so strikingly lacking in the halls of Congress, not to mention the Executive Mansion. Even as a crusading Congressman (Dem.-N.Y.)--which affords little hope indeed for the mere concerned citizen--he had enormous difficulty breaching the overextended walls of Pentagon privacy. But he has accumulated here an urgent and critical assessment of CBW policies which couples facts about the extent of the present, program with a condemnation of the whole operation (including the use of tear gas chemical defoliants, and anti-crop weapons in Vietnam) and a warning against technicians' takeover of national policy vacuums. McCarthy also surveys the series of dangerous incidents and accidents in and around various test centers which have helped arouse public opinion and encouraging reactions in Washington like the Senate vote of 91 to 0 to establish a measure of public control over CBW transportation, storage, and testing, and Nixon's order for a full-scale Executive Branch review of our policies. A very zealous but clear-cut report.

Pub Date: Nov. 26th, 1969
Publisher: Knopf