Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dr. Strangelove: A Strange and Terrible Glimpse Into the Deep State Part IV

Welcome to the fourth installment in my ongoing examination of the Stanley Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. With the first installment I briefly considered some of the popular conspiracy theories concerning Kubrick as well as addressing an incident which occurred during the Cuban missile crisis that may have partly inspired the film. In part two I broke down the characters, considering their symbolism and their real life inspirations.

Beginning in the third and most recent installment I began to examine Strangelove's plot line in earnest, leaving off with President Muffley (Peter Sellers)'s decision to bring the Soviet ambassador (Peter Bull) into the War Room. As was noted in the prior installment, this series from here on out will be spoiler heavily and written with the assumption that the reader is both familiar with the film as well as the prior installments in this series. If the reader is not familiar with either, it is strongly advised that they redress this before preceding so as to fully appreciate this article. And with those disclaimers out of the way, let us move along.

General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) reacts with horror at Muffley's decision to allow the Soviet ambassador into the War Room, pathetically stuffing his documents into a binder and clutching it to his chest while proclaiming a colossal security breach at allowing the ambassador to glimpse "the Big Board" and such like. "That is precisely the idea General Turgidson, that is precisely the idea" Muffley responds almost snidely.

No sooner has the Soviet premier been brought into contact with President Muffley (who delicately explains the situation to the drunken comrade) than the president suggests a plan of action in which the Americans will assist the Soviet air force in shooting down the nation's own planes. A look first of confusion and soon horror crosses the ultra national Turgidson's face (who had recently gotten into a scuff with the ambassador over a hidden camera) and if this was a conventional conspiracy blog I now would now descend into a rant over Communist subversion and collaboration in a pursuit of a "New World Order" while ridiculing Kubrick for characterizing "patriotic" Americans in the mold of psychotics such as Turgidson and General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden).

But this blog is partly concerned with understanding the reality of the American power structure and not regurgitating decades old propaganda put out by the Pentagon. So, let us try to look at Muffley's actions from a different perspective.

I suspect that Muffley's collaboration with the Soviets in the film to overt Armageddon was based upon policies being persuaded by JFK during the time Strangelove was in production, most notably his pursuit of "Detente." Kennedy seems to have become fully committed to this strategy by late 1962.
"The next day, President Kennedy held a meeting with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, General Maxwell Taylor, and a few top civilian advisers to discuss the defense budget for 1963. He had Wiesner attend the meeting and give his opinion that the defense buildup was actually an 'unprofitable' waste of money and counterproductive to the nation's security. Kennedy then told them that he was now considering cutting the Pentagon's funding for nuclear weapons and possibly even freezing further production of them. He may clear that he would never give the order for a first strike and if he wasn't going to do that, then, he wondered, what did they need to build so many missiles for?
"Kennedy told them, 'If the purpose of our strategic buildup is to deter the Russians, number one; number two, to attack them if it looks like they are about to attack us or be able to lessen the impact they would have on us in an attack... if our point, really, then, is to deter them... I mean with the Polaris submarines, with the planes we have, the navy's strategic force, and with the missiles we have, we have an awful lot of megatonnage to put on the Soviets sufficient to deter them from ever using nuclear weapons. Otherwise, what good are they? You can't use them as a first weapon yourself, they're only good for deterring... If we fail to deter them, and they attack us, then it's just – just destroy them out of – just to fulfill your part of the contract, we just drop it on their cities and destroy them and ruin the Russians. I don't see quite why were building as many as were building...'
"Taylor explained that building this force wasn't simply to 'destroy the cities, but ideally to destroy their military forces.' As long as the Joint Chiefs had the potential to destroy all of the Soviet nuclear weapons and bombers, they could prevent them from retaliating from the American first-strike attack. 'But everybody agrees that can't be done,' Kennedy said.
"'We can now. We can now,' General Taylor responded.
"'Well, yeah,' said President Kennedy, 'but, by '63, can you do that?'
"[The recording source for this conversation is censored for twenty-seven seconds at this point for 'national security' reasons] Kennedy responded to something General Taylor said (probably about using nuclear weapons in a first strike, because in a memo sent to McNamara he wrote that counterforce targeting was feasible only in a pre-emptive strike), by saying, 'That's right, that's right. How could anybody except that as a political goal? What political goal would that be unless you are faced with a most devastating attack?'
"'I can't imagine Mister President, but we still approach the problem this way,' Taylor said, 'by that time frame we ought to have a dual capability: the ability to blunt importantly their ability to destroy us. And with our means today, if we have a surprise attack, we can indeed reduce that very substantially. Now it's still not good with ten million people lost, but nonetheless we don't think we should give up that possibility.'
"The Pentagon's counterforce first-strike plans estimated that in the worst-case scenario, the Russians would only be able to retaliate against a surprise attack through the end of 1963 with a few bombs left of the kill up to ten to twenty million people in the United States, and most likely they wouldn't be able to get any of their weapons off at all. If Kennedy reduced the number of weapons the United States was producing, he would cut down the time frame left for a viable first-strike option, something that people in the Pentagon wanted to maintain for as long as possible.
"Robert McNamara told Kennedy that if they didn't build all of the requested missiles, then he'd come under political attack from the military and its allies in the Congress. 'If we don't buy them then two claims will be made which we can't rebut,' the Secretary of Defense said, 'one, that we're changing the basic military strategy of this country to exclude procurement of weapons necessary to destroy the nuclear capability of the Soviet Union. This will be the charge that will be made. It will come out in the open because the air force feels very strongly on this already. We've cut them down substantially.' General LeMay had wanted three thousand Minutemen missiles while the air force commander of the Strategic Air Command had wanted up to ten thousand of them, and Kennedy had promised to build a thousand as a compromise.
"'The second charge,' McNamara said, 'will be made that we will end up, and we are following a program that will lead us to a position, where the Soviets have more megatonnage and more warheads than we do. I think those two charges, which I don't believe we can rebut, will seriously weaken our position within this country and with our allies.'
"Robert McNamara warned Kennedy that 'there was created a myth in this country that did a great harm to the nation. And it was created by, I would say, emotionally guided but nonetheless patriotic individuals in the Pentagon. There are still people of their kind at the Pentagon. I wouldn't give them any foundation for creating another myth – and they are beginning to say the same sort of thing sir – I'm not saying he [General LeMay] encourages this emotional bias, but he is saying that the program I am presenting is endangering national security, and he believes it.' He isn't the only one, so we need to keep 'our policy maintaining nuclear superiority, now maybe we can change that someday, but we can't change that today,' he said.
"John Kennedy had campaigned on a Cold War platform that blamed President Eisenhower for creating a mythical 'missile gap' to become president. He now wanted to make changes and had become disturbed by the number of nuclear missiles the country was building, but he accepted McNamara's advice and approved the military budget without making any cuts to it.
"To general Curtis LeMay's way of thinking, there were dangers in the budget as it already was. 'It became apparent to me that McNamara's goal was to try to build a strategic force that was equal to the Russian force. Sort of drag his feet, until the Russians build up to what we were equal. These men believed that if we were equal in strength then there wouldn't be any war. Well, this is an indication of how impractical these type of people are,' LeMay later said, 'even if by some miracle you could design these two forces where they could be equal, will everyone think they are equal? You can't control men's minds. Then, if by some miracle, you can design these two forces, how long are they going to stay equal? One in an open society; the other a closed society. When is the closed society going to come up with a breakthrough on some weapon system that will give them a tremendous advantage that you don't know anything about?' He thought that they mistakenly thought '1,000 Minutemen missiles would be enough for this.'
"Even though President Kennedy's thinking about nuclear weapons had evolved and now diverged from that of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was boxed in, because the permanent government of the war state set limits to what a president can and cannot do. Kennedy had just toyed with the idea of cutting the military budget and freezing further construction of the nation's arsenal of nuclear weapons and had basically been told by his secretary of defense that if he tried to do it, he would be ruined. McNamara wasn't trying to pressure him; he was looking out for him. The military-industrial complex is the most powerful lobby in the country.
"Thwarted in making major changes to the military budget, President Kennedy moved towards detente with the Soviet Union in the Spring of 1963 in his own way. He came to the realization that a true turning point in the Cold War was at hand, but it could easily come and go. According to McGeorge Bundy, 'I think his sense of perspective on this was cautious, but very determined, in the sense that the more he measured the situation after Cuba the clearer he was that a kind of corner had been turned, and that it was certainly part of his job to keep that corner turned and to move along.' In the first few months of 1963, Bundy said, 'There was an extraordinary quiet' from the Soviet Union 'and the President noticed, as we all did, that life was normal in Berlin for the first time, that there was no pressure for a conference or a peace treaty, that the whole noise level changed.'
"Then on April 3, Robert Kennedy received a personal message from Khrushchev. 'It was full of poison,' he told his brother, with old arguments against a test-ban treaty, and about Berlin and Cuba. 'It was as if a person had come down from Mars and written this,' he said. The Kennedy brothers correctly realized that Khrushchev personally wanted to move to detente too, but was under some sort of pressure of his own.
"They discussed sending Robert Kennedy to Moscow to meet personally with him, but Dean Rusk and McGeorge Bundy told them it would be a huge political mistake. Instead, they sent a Averell Harriman, who and served as the US ambassador to the Soviet Union during World War II, and the journalist Norman Cousins, who had met with Khrushchev before to deliver a personal message on their behalf. 'As soon as I heard that Harriman was going I knew you were serious,' someone in the Soviet embassy told Arthur Schlesinger.
"According to Ted Sorensen, Norman Cousins reported back that 'Khrushchev faced a critical choice at the next Soviet Central Committee meeting later in June. Under pressure from the Chinese because of his withdrawal of missiles Cuba the previous year, he had either to denounce the United States as an imperialist warmonger who had failed to respond to his policy of peaceful coexistence or show some concrete change in response to his statesmanship. The United States, argued Cousins, should therefore speak first, demonstrating our peaceful intentions.'
"President Kennedy decided to do something only an individual president can do. He bypassed the permanent government bureaucracy and reached out to the Soviet Union himself by giving a major speech on detente without its input. As Sorensen wrote, 'In foreign policy, much more than domestic policy – where Congressional legislation and appropriations are the key – a president's words are policy.' McGeorge Bundy told Sorensen that Kennedy wanted him to write a draft for the speech. The national security adviser got a few of his aides and Arthur Schlesinger to join in the work. They were to keep the text secret until the moment Kennedy was to deliver it, because, as Sorensen put it, 'the President knew that the unprecedented message of the speech would set off alarm bells in more bellicose quarters in Washington, possibly producing leaks and political attacks in advance of his talk.' Not even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk knew the speech was being prepared."
(The War State, Michael Swanson, pgs. 358-367)

There's a lot to take in here. As was noted in part two of this series, the character of Jack D. Ripper is partly based on General Curtis LeMay (along with General Edwin Walker) while a pre-emptive US nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union was first advocated by General Lyman Lemnitzer in 1961 for an attack date some time in 1963 (the year in which Strangelove was filmed and initially set to be released in). Lemnitzer, and to a much lesser extent General Nathan Twining, was the inspirations for the character of Buck Turgidson. LeMay, Walker, Lemnitzer and Twining were all aligned with the emerging far right faction of the nation's ruling elite. Many of these military men along with the United States' leading defense contractors pulled their resources together in an organization known as the American Security Council (ASC), the military industrial complex's answer to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). I've written extensive on the ASC before here.

Several of the individuals mentioned above --most notably General Maxwell Taylor, Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Dean Rusk, and Averell Harriman --are still among the most universally despised American public officials of the twentieth century by the conspiratorial right (of which was largely bank rolled by the ASC clique). All five of the prior mentioned individuals were members of the Council on Foreign Relations while McNamara, Bundy, Rusk and Harriman were also Bilderbergers. Bundy and Harriman were initiates of Skull and Bones to boot (which is very interesting as other Bonesmen seem to have been involved in JFK's assassination, as I noted before here). So yes, this group was something of the elite of the Anglo-American Establishment. While some of these individuals, most notably Harriman and possibly fellow Bonesman Bundy, seem to have approved of Kennedy's pursuit of detente Taylor was strongly opposed and seemingly a part of the CFR who threw in with the ASC crowd after 1969. But more on that in a moment.

the CFR and many other long time targets of the conspiratorial right such as the banking interests are a part of what I like to refer to as the Anglo-American Establishment as this faction's origins lie with the notorious Round Table group 
Robert McNamara is harder to read. While he would go on to become one of the chief architects of he Vietnam War, which Kennedy opposed escalating, he seems to have provided a practical way for Kennedy to pursue detente by gradually easing the nation's construction of nuclear weapons. This was part of an elaborate strategy certain elements of the Anglo-American Establishment (of whom the characters of President Muffley and Group Captain Lionel Mandrake [Sellers] were partly meant as stand-ins for) advocated for containing the Soviet Union. A key early step in this policy was Kennedy's test ban treaty with the Soviet Union. Averell Harriman was deeply involved in this project.
"Khrushchev held a Presidium meeting and told its members that the era of brinksmanship and threats was now over. 'Let's change the tactic,' he said, 'we will not get an agreement for the Americans on Berlin' so let's just drop it. They can make some economic deals with West Germany and work on what they can do together with the Americans. On July 2, 1963, Khrushchev announced that he was prepared to sign a partial test-ban treaty. Kennedy immediately dispatched Averell Harriman to Moscow.
"Two weeks later, Harriman arrived in Moscow with a five-man delegation and a British team led by England's minister of science, Lord Hailsham. Before Harriman even got on his airplane, the Soviets and Americans agreed to set up a telephone 'hot line' to send instant messages between the White House and the Kremlin. Technicians in Washington tested it by sending the message 'the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog' to their counterparts in Moscow...
"The night the treaty was signed, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan wrote in his diary that he had 'prayed hard for this, night after night.' He went and told his wife the news with tears in his eyes. He sent President Kennedy a cable: 'I found myself unable to express my real feelings on the telephone tonight... I do understand the high degree of courage and faith which you have shown...' 
"The test-ban treaty helped to deepen the split between the Soviet Union and China. Ray Cline, the CIA's directorate of intelligence, called Kennedy and told him that the Chinese had issued a statement calling the treaty 'a dirty fraud' in which the 'people of the Socialist camp, including the people of China, have been sold out by the Soviet Union through the policy pursued by the Soviet government and aligning itself with the United States to oppose China.' Cline told Kennedy that 'we feel this name calling reveals a gulf that is not going to be easily bridged.'
"President Kennedy did not stop with the test-ban treaty. Through Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, he changed the military's nuclear weapons strategy from a first strike counterforce strategy to one of 'assured destruction'. In a draft presidential memo McNamara defined 'assured destruction' as the ability to absorb a Soviet attack and have enough weapons left to inflict unacceptable losses in retaliation. This led to what became known as 'mutually assured destruction' – a nuclear war that would mean suicide for anyone who started one. From then on, Robert McNamara used this as a benchmark for the size of America's nuclear arsenal.
"General Thomas Powers of SAC had wanted 10,000 missiles, because he wanted to maintain the huge numbers advantage in missiles against the Soviets going forward to ensure their destruction in a pre-emptive strike. According to a Pentagon history of the Joint Chiefs of Staff air force leaders were 'dismayed' by McNamara's changes, because 'having struggled to gain a decisive advantage of the Soviet Union, they saw their efforts coming to naught.' As one general put it, McNamara and the President 'did not understand what had been created and handed to them. SAC was about at its peak. We had, not supremacy, but complete nuclear superiority over the Soviets.'
"In 1962 the Joint Chiefs believed that they had the ability to launch what they termed a 'coercive' nuclear attack against the Soviets that would destroy all of their missiles and, in the words of a Pentagon historian, 'threaten such a great destruction of population (after most of the Soviet arsenal have been expended) that the Soviets would be willing to end hostilities on US terms.' The Kennedy White House was now going to erode this ability away. General Curtis LeMay voiced 'serious reservations' about this 'apparent shift in basic US military strategy.' The other service chiefs though did not complain, probably because their budgets were in competition with LeMay's.
"Robert McNamara argued that in order to maintain a first strike counterforce capability they would have to increase defense spending by an additional eighty-four billion dollars. This would provoke the Russians into accelerating their own build up and force the United States to outspend them on a three to one basis in order to maintain the advantage. It would create a mad arms race."
(The War State, Michael Swanson, pgs. 372-377)

Harriman (top) and McNamara (bottom)
And the cost was ultimately what resided at the heart of the Anglo-American's decision to alter the United State's nuclear policy (and possibly the potential fear of a Dr. Strangelove type scenario unfolding in real life), not some hazy dream of one world communistic government. It was also the mounting costs that drove this business-centric faction of the Council on Foreign Relations (the primary US front of the Anglo-American Establishment) to abandon the Vietnam War in 1969 and thus further weaken the CFR's influence on national policy.
"In March 1969, senior members of the Council on Foreign Relations establishment journeyed from Wall Street to Washington, D.C. to warn Nixon 'of the disastrous possibilities for the international economic order if the war were continued.' But the old CFR consensus on the world had been shattered by the challenge of the Vietnamese Tet offensive in 1968, and they no longer spoke for Wall Street as a whole. The 'traders' whose priority was economic order were now challenged by a minority of 'warriors' or 'Prussians' within the CFR, notably Paul Nitze, whose overriding concern was, as in earlier years, not to yield world dominance to the Soviet Union.
"Many of those who once passionately disliked the policies of Nixon and Kissinger in Chile, Vietnam, and other countries have come to give them credit for helping to stabilize a particularly dangerous period of potential nuclear war and for hammering out the basis of a crude global equilibrium that included China. But in 1974 Nitze publicly attacked Nixon and Kissinger before the Senate Armed Services Committee for promoting their 'myth of detente.' In so doing, he represented what was still a small but significant Overworld minority (who in 1976 would organize as the Committee on the Present Danger). Within the US government a similar gulf had emerged between the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Nitze, still in the minority under Nixon, would soon see his position prevail under presidents Ford and Reagan."
(The Road to 9/11, Peter Dale Scott, pgs. 30-31)
Paul Nitze played a key role in shaping the ideology of the Committee on the Present Danger, one of the early institutions to bring together the military establishment with "Prussian" elements of the old CFR clique and reshaping America's ruling structure in the process
Costs were also what was driving factions of the Soviet Union towards detente. Ambassador de Sadeski hints at this while he is explaining these Soviet Union's reason for creating the Doomsday Machine:
"There were those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. At the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we had been spending on defense in a single year. The deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap."
Ambassador de Sadeski (Peter Bull)
This was essentially the position Khrushchev found himself in by the early 1960s.
"In 1959, the Soviet Union deployed in East Germany a dozen short-range primitive R-5M missiles, derived from Nazi World War II V-2 rocket technology capable of striking targets in Western Europe and London, up to 750 miles away. The United States put similar Jupiter missiles in Italy and Turkey in response. By 1960, the Americans had plenty of missiles that could reach the Soviet Union from the United States, but the Soviets were unable to go beyond the R-7 and develop a reliable intercontinental missile able to reach the United States until April 1962. The whole Soviet missile program became more expensive than Khrushchev expected, causing the share of his country's national income that went to military production to increase from 2.9 percent to 5.9 percent from 1958 to 1961.
"Having a few missiles made the Soviet Union into a superpower, but their high cost caused Khrushchev much grief. 'Missiles are not cucumbers,' he complained, 'one cannot eat them and one does not require more than a certain number in order to ward off an attack.' Instead of a costly unlimited arms race he had to come to some sort of agreement with the United States. The tougher he could be, he thought, the easier it would be to get what he wanted. 'The purpose,' he told his Presidium members, 'is to give a rebuff, to steer to detente.'
"What Khrushchev aimed to do was consolidate the Soviet empire's position in Eastern Europe and then demilitarize the Cold War. He knew that Russia could not compete with the United States in an arms race. 'If we're forced into doing this,' he told his son, 'we'll lose our pants.' But just as Eisenhower had critics in the American war state so did Khrushchev face critics in his government too. He heard reports of military men complaining of 'Nikita's folly' for reducing the armed forces by 1.3 million men in three years in order to put a priority on nuclear weapons..."
(The War State, Michael Swanson, pgs. 267-269)
Khrushchev's removal as Soviet premier (less than a year after JFK's assassination) steered the Soviet Union back on the course Khrushchev had sought to avoid and ultimately led to its demise. In a case of life imitating art, the Soviet Union actually did craft a kind of doomsday machine by the 1980s as a result of the arms race that was reinvigorated after this crucial 1963-1964 period.

The United States, however, had at least considered the possibility of a doomsday machine far earlier than this. Herman Kahn, one of the inspirations for the character of Dr. Strangelove (Peter Sellers), had proposed such a devise as early as 1960 while working for the RAND Corporation. During Dr. Strangelove's first speaking appearance in the film this is alluded to as well as the "former" Nazi's thinly veiled admiration (ample amounts of which are also displayed by General Turgidson) for the devise. He tells Muffley:
"... Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy... the fear to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision-making process which rules out human meddling, the Doomsday machine is terrifying and simple to understand... and completely credible and convincing."
Dr. Strangelove even expresses a hint of contempt at being hamstrung by American sensibilities (after President Muffley inquires about the availability of the technology required for a doomsday machine, Strangelove responds: "The technology required is easily within the means of even the smallest nuclear power. It requires only the will to do so"). Strangelove is still a marginal figure at this point in the film, having just been elevated from the ranks of faceless administrators sitting around the War Room. Ah, but this shall soon change. More on this in the next installment.

The collaboration between Muffley and the Soviet premier (as well as Ambassador de Sadeski) is almost surely meant to allude to the agendas being pursued by Khrushchev and the Kennedy White House when Strangelove began filming. The Kennedy-Harriman pursuit of detente was long a staple of the conspiratorial right's evidence of a communist, one world government conspiracy amongst the Anglo-American Establishment and the Soviet Union, though the reality was a bit more complicated than this.

Speaking of the conspiratorial right, by this juncture in the film Ripper's dialogue could almost be taken verbatim from a John Birch Society publication of the time (and bears more than passing resemblance to the modern day concerns of the average Alex Jones disciple). Consider this exchange between Ripper and Group Captain Lionel Mandrake:
Ripper: Have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water? 
Mandrake: Well, I can't say I have. 
Ripper: Vodka, that's what they drink, isn't it? Never water? 
Mandrake: Well, I-I believe that's what they drink, Jack, yes. 
Ripper: On no account will a Commie ever drink water, and not without good reason. 
Mandrake: Oh, eh, yes. I, uhm, can't quite see what you're getting at, Jack. 
Ripper: Water, that's what I'm getting at, water. Mandrake, water is the source of all life. Seven-tenths of this earth's surface is water. Why, do you realize that seventy percent of you is water? 
Mandrake: Uh, uh, Good Lord! 
Ripper: And as human beings, you and I need fresh, pure water to replenish our precious bodily fluids. 
Mandrake: Yes. 
Ripper: Are you beginning to understand? 
Mandrake: Yes. 
Ripper: Mandrake. Mandrake, have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure-grain alcohol? 
Mandrake: Well, it did occur to me, Jack, yes. 
Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation. Fluoridation of water? 
Mandrake: Uh? Yes, I-I have heard of that, Jack, yes. Yes. 
Ripper: Well, do you know what it is? 
Mandrake: No, no I don't know what it is, no. 
Ripper: Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?
Ripper and Mandrake
Ripper continues along this line of thought during his next exchange with Mandrake:
Ripper: Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk... ice cream. Ice cream, Mandrake, children's ice cream. 
Mandrake: Good Lord, Jack. 
Ripper: You know when fluoridation first began? 
Mandrake: I... no, no. I don't, Jack. 
Ripper: Nineteen hundred and forty-six. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual. Certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard-core Commie works.

The obsession with fluoridation has been a long time staple of the conspiratorial right. Conspiracy theories concerning fluoridation first came to light within a decade after World War II. The first proponent seems to have been an individual named Charles Eliot Perkins.
"There is a more sinister side to fluoridation. At the end of WWII, Charles Eliott Perkins, a research worker in chemistry, was sent to Germany to take charge of the vast IG Farben chemical plants. While there, he learned about a scheme by IG Farben scientist during the war and adopted by the German general staff. Water supplies in certain areas were medicated with sodium fluoride to control the people. Repeated doses in minute amounts over time can reduce an individual's power to resist domination by slowly poisoning and narcotizing a certain area of the brain, making the person submissive and easy to control. The Nazis used fluoridation in the concentration camps.
"Maj. George Racey Jordan independently confirmed Perkins findings on fluoride in Germany. Jordan, stationed at Great Falls, Mont., was in charge of overseeing the Lend-Lease shipments of sodium fluoride to Russia. When he asked his Russian counterpart what the shipments were for, he was told bluntly that it was added to drinking water in the prisoner of war camps to take away their will to resist."
(The Nazi Hydra in America, Glen Yeadon & John Hawkins, pg. 547)
Major Jordan would go on to become the first major proponent of fluoride conspiracy theories on a national level and was likely the inspiration behind Ripper's musings on the substance. Jordan is most well remembered, however, for his allegations that Harry Hopkins was who passed on American nuclear secrets to the Soviets (among other things) via Lend-Lease. During the era of Strangelove these were major staples of Bircher literature and other such publications from the conspiratorial right. To a certain extent Jordan's allegations are still part of the conversation in such circles even if he has been surpassed by more recent "experts."

Major George Racey Jordan
Naturally little evidence has emerged over the years to lend credence to Jordan's allegations concerning Hopkins and high ranking elements of the American establishment in general passing on nuclear secrets to the Soviets. Indeed, compelling evidence has emerged that these claims were fabrications.

Beyond this, Jordan had become involved with an organization known as the Ten Million Americans (TMA) by the 1950s. The TMA featured more than a few pre-WWII "isolationists" (i.e Nazi backers) and sported former Lt. General George E. Stratemeyer as one of its national directors. Stratemeyer was a member of the American Security Council as well as a bizarre secret society known as the Sovereign Order of Saint John (SOSJ) that featured numerous ties to the Pentagon and US intelligence community, as I noted before here. What's more, the SOSJ's origins may have gone all the way back to the notorious Thule Society of post-WWI Bavaria, as I addressed here.

Nor was Stratemeyer that only individual with ties to the SOSJ that Jordan seems to have been linked too. According to Cheri Seymour in her brilliant and groundbreaking Committee of the States, Jordan was a close friend of Colonel William Potter Gale. Gale was a "former" military intelligence officer who became one of the prime Christian Identity "ministers" in post-WWII America. He was also the founder of the Posse Comitatus movement, which much of the ideology of the modern day sovereign citizen and militia movements derive their ideology from. Gale told Seymour that he was told to found the Posse by three "former" military officers, two of whom were members of the SOSJ. This and the Posse's ties to US intelligence were addressed before here. 

Colonel Gale
So needless to say, virtually everything Major George Racey Jordan publicly expressed during the post-WWII years likely had some type of intelligence purpose behind, even his claims concerning fluoridation. Kubrick alluding to Jordan via Ripper's dialogue is further evidence of the dysfunctional and rival American establishments depicted throughout the film. In a way, Ripper's musings with Mandrake (as well as General Turgidson's with Muffley) can be viewed as a parody of the kind of "dialogue" (to say nothing of propaganda and disinformation) unfolding between the Anglo-American Establishment and the military industrial-complex during this era.

And with that I shall wrap things up for now. With the next installment I shall pick up with Ripper's musings on his "loss of essence." Stay tuned.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dr. Strangelove: A Strange and Terrible Glimpse Into the Deep State Part III

Welcome to the third installment in my examination of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's 1964 "nightmare comedy" Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. During the first installment in this series I addressed several of the popular conspiracy theories surrounding Kubrick as well the background of Dr. Strangelove, including an incident that occurred during the Cuban missile crisis that may have partly inspired the film. During the second installment I did an analysis of the film's major characters, with a special emphasis on their symbolism and the historical figures who may have inspired them. It is highly recommended that those of you just joining me read the first two installments (especially the second one) before delving in. It is also strongly recommended that one already have a familiarity with Strangelove's plot line as this series is spoiler heavy.

With those disclaimers out of the way let us move along to the matter at hand. This installment will be concerned with Strangelove's plot line, so let's get to it.

The film opens (after a short disclaimer added by Columbia Pictures) with images of the fog-shrouded Zhokov Mountains (a fictions location) with a voice over narrator warning of the Soviet Union crafting a Doomsday Machine in this isolated location. From there Kubrick cuts to images of nuclear-armed B-52s refilling in mid-air to the strands of "Try a Little Tenderness" over an opening credits sequence. This marks the first of what are an endless series of sexual innuendos and symbols that appear throughout the film. Of course sex is hardly the only thing being alluded in Strangelove --political, philosophical and occult references abound as well.

a B-52 being "penetrated" by another plane over the title
But Kubrick's insistent in peppering many of his targets with both these physical (i.e. sexual) references as well as those of a more metaphysical variety is in itself an advanced occult concept. It is an allusion to the duel exoteric and esoteric nature of many important occult concepts.
"... The most ancient mysteries were of a physical, not a metaphysical nature. There was an esoteric and an exoteric version of them, but corresponding to the written and oral Law of the Jews. But, contrary to what is usually supposed, the metaphysical was the exoteric version, not vice versa. This is proved conclusively by the seventeenth chapter of The Book of the Dead, which is certainly the oldest body of written teachings known to man. Here, side by side with the text which was intended for general use, appears the interpolated gloss of the initiated priest, explaining the text after the manner of the Gnosis, or Magical Tradition. The secret oral, hidden wisdom embodied in the gloss, refers to the physical origins of the abstract concepts which appear in the text; spiritual matters are explained in terms of physical, more precisely, a physiological, phenomena. These explanations were usually reserved for initiates, and the reason for their concealment was due to the physical nature of the Gnosis, which became, in truth, the forbidden wisdom of later ages. The ancient may not have been acquainted with psychology, sexology and endocrinology as known today, but they most certainly were acquainted with the occult uses of the sexual current, the improper handling of which leads to disaster; and they were infinitely more knowledgeable concerning sexual sciences than our Western psychologist today."
(The Magical Revival, Kenneth Grant, pgs. 2-3)
As was noted in part one of this series, Kubrick hints throughout the film that sexual repression lurks at the heart of the psychosis displayed on the screen. But there are also indications that Kubrick was aware of the physical aspect of these occult traditions mentioned above. As was also noted in part one, the character of Major Kong (Slim Pickens) is associated with the Egyptian god Set through both his role as a destroyer as well as the sexual taboos (transsexuality and homosexuality) the character symbolically breaks during his quest to deliver his "payload."

Kong straddles, and ultimately rides, a bomb with "Hi There!" (a popular homosexual come on during the era) written on the rear
But on top of all this, the lines that indicates the character's willingness to cross dress for his cause could also be a hint of the conspiracy surround JFK during the filming of Strangelove. Specifically, this reference occurs while Kong is reading out the contents of the emergency kits he and the rest of the B-52 crew are given as the set off on their bomb run:
"Survival kit contents check. In them you'll find: one forty-five caliber automatic; two boxes of ammunition; four days' concentrated emergency rations; one drug issue containing antibiotics, morphine, vitamin pills, pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquilizer pills; one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible; one hundred dollars in rubles; one hundred dollars in gold; nine packs of chewing gum; one issue of prophylactics; three lipsticks; three pair of nylon stockings. Shoot, a fella' could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff."
Besides being issued some good drugs, the men are also inexplicably given three pairs each of lipsticks and nylon stockings (but only one prophylactic...). The appearance of two threes could of course be a reference to the number thirty-three, a number with numerous occult and Masonic associations. Of it thirty-third degree Freemason Manly P. Hall writes:
"... Consider the number 33. The first temple of Solomon stood for thirty-three years in its pristine splendor. At the end of that time it was pillaged by the Egyptian King Shishak, and finally (588 B.C.). It was completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the people of Jerusalem were led into captivity to Babylon... Also, King David ruled for thirty-three years in Jerusalem; the Masonic Order is divided into thirty-three symbolic degrees; there are thirty-three segments in the human spinal column; and Jesus was crucified in the thirty-third year of his life."
(The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall, pgs. 238-239)

Even more curious is the fact that original city mentioned in the final line of the above monologue was Dallas and not Las Vegas. "Vegas" was overdubbed in the wake of the Kennedy assassination, though Vegas was surely a more practical city for a man to be in possession of lipstick and nylon stockings in 1964 than Dallas. Or so the general public would think.

The strange thing is, there have long been allegations than many of the figures involved in the Kennedy assassination were either gay or bisexual. What's more, Dallas was rumored to be the heart of this scene.
"I was told several years ago by my high-level source in Dallas, 'George Healey,' (a former FBI man) that there was a common link between many of the conspirators. I was a little leery because at first I thought his job was fielding out-of-towners and other assorted greenhorns and giving them a few bum steers, then send them on their way. But I came to have great trust and a personal liking for 'Healey,' as he evidently had for me.
"He told me that the circle of conspirators were homosexual or bisexual and had their own network and coded language and communications, which made it easier for them to plan without anyone knowing what was going on...
"Rose Cheramie told doctors and police in a hospital that Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald slept together.
"Ruby was known to be a homosexual, and many said that he had slept with Lee Harvey Oswald. John Crawford (a.k.a. 'Larry Crafard'), who was very close to Ruby, was also a homosexual. Crafard suggested during his testimony to the Warren commission that both Ruby and his roommate, George Senator were the same. 
"So was Clint Murchison, Sr., and J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson, his assistant. So was General Edwin Walker, who was arrested more than once in compromising situations in a public men's rooms. Sid Richardson was long rumored to be Clint Murchison's secret lover. The closeness of Hoover and Murchison had to have been based to a great extent on their mutual sexual orientation...
"Gordon McLendon was one of Dallas's most famous transvestite. He showed up at many society parties in drag, and one might wonder about his sexual orientation. Merely being a cross dresser is not enough to convict, but McLendon certainly knew all of the key players in the plot who are well known as homosexuals, but we don't have evidence that he practiced this way of life.
"Walter Jenkins, a key aide to Lyndon Johnson when he was in the White House, was also arrested from homosexual activities, seriously embarrassing President Johnson. It is felt that Jenkins was one of those on the operational level of the conspiracy. A source told me the Jenkins was the connection between LBJ and Clay Shaw, also a homosexual, a CIA asset in New Orleans prosecuted for conspiring to kill John Kennedy. Jenkins was closely connected to Congressman Albert Thomas of Houston, who was a creature Brown & Root, the vast construction outfit that was a key backer of Lyndon Johnson and which benefited so greatly from the Vietnam War, and years later, the Iraq War...
"Tommy Cox was Clay Shaw's lover and was a frequent visitor in Dallas.
"Let us not forget David Ferrie, who was fired from flying planes for Eastern Airlines for his homosexual activities and arrests with young boys. Ferrie knew Oswald since he was a teenager, and worked from Marcello."
(The Radical Right and the Murder of John F. Kennedy, Harrison E. Livingstone, pgs. 133-134)
the Dallas-based General Edwin Walker, one of the chief inspirations for the character of General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) in Strangelove, was long reputed to be a closet homosexual
Beyond this, the Marcello syndicate, anti-Castro Cubans and various far right groups seem to have been involved in a drug and prostitution smuggling network that stretched from New Orleans to Houston, as I noted before here. The main drug for this network at the time was heroin, which of course derives from opiates, as does morphine (this network was rumored to deal in methamphetamines as well, which may have been what "pep pills" alluded too). So yes, a fella probably could have had a good time in Dallas with such things during this era. But I'm getting a head of myself.

After the film's opening credits finishes Kubrick cuts to Burpelson Air Force Base, where General Jack D. Ripper is planning on launching an assault on the Soviet Union with the planes under his command. He calls in the order to Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) from his office. As Ripper is sending the world on a course to Nuclear Armageddon the camera cuts back and forth between Ripper's office and what is presumably the base's command center. In both locations the Orwellian phrase "Peace Is Our Profession" is displayed. As the movie progresses it is eerily displayed throughout the base in the midst of various calamities. This is a form of inducing what the highly controversial revisionist historian (and fascist sympathizer) Michael A. Hoffman II referred to as the "double mind", a state of such blatant double standards and hypocrisy that it requires a near disassociative break to accept such contradictions.

The common soldiers Kubrick depicts largely perform the task of launching a nuclear assault with no real moral qualms or intellectual debate, all the while various slogans plastered across the base assure them of the "peaceful" purpose of their mission. The signs are especially humorous as the base is turned into a war zone after rank-and-file soldiers heed Ripper's warnings of Soviet forces coming dressed in US military uniforms and begin firing on an Army detachment sent to arrest the general. It would appear the propaganda the US began extensively subjecting its GIs to during WWII was having the intended anti-intellectual effect and then some. Of this propaganda, the great Peter Levenda wrote:
"By comparison, American propaganda films made during the war show a casual, wise-cracking, gum-chewing, sloppy, unshaven, and generally disheveled GI as the epitome of Allied resistance to the Nazi threat. That was supposed to make Americans feel better. The enemy was impeccably dressed, spoke fluent English with an exotic accent (our boys knew about four words in German, two of them being 'mach schnell'), and never had a hair out of place, and had Continental manners even when torturing spies. And, of course, scenes of the concentration camps and the mass murder of Jews virtually never appear in these films as it took years before the Allies would officially admit that the death factories even existed. The anti-intellectual, deliberately unsophisticated pose of the typical American GI – as depicted by Hollywood – was supposed to be somehow equivalent to moral superiority: a troubling perspective that exist to this day, in our entertainment media, and even among our politicians and religious leaders. Brilliant students are portrayed in television sit-coms as hopeless, socially maladjusted 'nerds' in vain competition with the handsome but brain-dead jocks who have become teen idols. Former vice president and convicted felon Spiro Agnew was famous for his attacks on what he called 'pseudo-intellectuals,' and a glance at former President George Bush's bedside reading would make a high school English teacher blush. Nixon himself, besieged on all sides by protesting college kids, had an abhorrence of the intelligensia, as revealed in his famous Watergate tapes...
"Somewhere along the line, somewhere between Joe Goebbels and Joe McCarthy, Americans began believing – and embracing – their own propaganda."
(Unholy Alliance, Peter Levenda, pg. 281) 

Various scenes from Burpelson Air Force Base certainly echo the above sentiments while General Turgidson wedges stick after stick of chewing gum in his jaw while displaying little concern for the gravity of the situation he is in. But more on that later.

The inducement of the double mind continues in Kong's B-52 after the attack orders have come in. As the crew solemnly goes about their mission to begin a nuclear war Kong reassures them by saying:
"If this thing turns out to be half as important as it just might be, I'd say your all in line for some promotions and personal citations when that's over with. And that goes for everyone of you, regardless of your race, your color, or your creed..."
Thus even when bringing about the end of the world the possibility of promotion is ever present in the military mind. During this sequence Kong has his crew employ the famed "CRM-114" to jam transmissions coming into the plane unless they are preceded by the proper code. This is not the only time Kubrick would use the numbers. In his later film, A Clockwork Orange, they appeared as "Serum 114", a kind of "truth drug" given to the film's narrator. Recluse suspects the number 114 in both cases is meant as a reference to the National Security Agency: The NSA was officially formed on November 4, 1952, by Truman.

From here Kubrick cuts to a luxurious hotel suite where General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott) is located with his "secretary", Miss Scott (the only female character to appear on screen in the entire film). The general is in a restroom and seemingly constipated (did Miss Scott hint at wanting a monogamous relationship with him?) when a call comes in bearing tidings of Ripper's designs. Miss Scott serves as an intermediary until Turgidson becomes sufficiently alarmed to take the call himself. After hanging up he decides to head down to the War Room, but not before telling Miss Scott to start her "countdown."

Turgidson and Miss Scott (Tracy Reed)
Back at Burpelson Air Force Base, Mandrake has become suspicious of Ripper's orders. He confronts the general, who makes little effort to conceal the fact he's gone rogue. He justifies himself by citing Clemenceau's reflections on leaving war to the generals, telling Mandrake:
"He said war was too important to be left to the generals. When he said that, 50 years ago, he might have been right. But today, war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."
Georges Clemenceau
This is the first mention of Ripper's obsession with the nation's "precious bodily fluids." Bodily fluids are of course highly important in Tantra and sexually oriented ceremonial magic. Consider, for instance, the central part of what occultist Kenneth Grant seems to have dubbed "Dream Control by Sexual Magick", a kind of "initiated" version of  Crowley's "Gnostic Mass":
"The central part of the ritual now takes place, which involves the priestess raising Kundalini. According to Grant, this transpires as she is being sexually aroused by the magician who is performing certain mudras over her body, not necessarily touching her, but making passes directly over her erogenous zones (with a wand or with his hands) and raising her to a fever pitch. The goal of this process is to activate Kundalini, to raise it gradually to the higher chakras so that they may be 'burned' by the power of the Serpent Goddess and thus release their potencies into the bloodstream of the priestess. The chakras should have been previously opened by the priestess through Kundalini yoga or some other technique, otherwise opening them for the first time this way can be dangerous to her. The magician should bring the priestess to the point of orgasm, but stop just before orgasm is reached. The magician may have sexual intercourse with the priestess if it is considered necessary to bring the priestess to the desired pitch of excitement, but neither priest nor priestess should achieve orgasm at this point because it is premature to 'ground' or 'earth' the energy before it has been fully utilized. (This is in contradiction to much normative Tantra which requires the orgasms of both parties, and even the ejaculation of the male in order for the rite to be 'perfect.') It is necessary that there is a flow of secretions from the female genital outlet. These kalas will be collected by the magician – either orally, as in cunnilingus, if the intention is to increase the occult power of the magician or to bring him into contact with supermundane forces, etc.; or on a specially constructed talisman of metal or parchment, or on the leaf of a sacred plan, or some other way if the intention is to store it for future use. The magician will then energize them magically so that they become ojas."
(The Dark Lord, Peter Levenda, pg. 246)
Bizarrely, Ripper's periodic discussions of the nation's bodily could be taken as references to sex magick. But more on that later.

From here the film cuts briefly to the Pentagon, a symbolically loaded structure if ever there was one. It of course contains the shape of the pentagram within the pentagonal structure.
"Pentagrams take either pentagonal or star shape. Their symbolism is manifold, but is always based upon that of the number five, which expresses the conjunction of inequalities. The five points of the pentagram come together in fruitful marriage of three (the male principle) with two (the female principle). In this context, the pentagram symbolizes hermaphrodism. Pentagrams were used as recognition signs between members of the same group or society, as for example the followers of Pythagoras in classical antiquity. The pentagram united them: it was one of the keys to Higher Knowledge and opened the door to what was secret...
"In Europe the pentagram of Pythagoras became that of Hermes Trismegistus and was regarded, not simply as a symbol of knowledge, but as the means of casting spells and of attaining power... Sorcerers used representations of the pentagram to exercise their powers and there were pentagram specific to love, ill luck and so on."
(Dictionary of Symbols, Jean Chevalier & Alain Gheerbrant, pg. 747)
the Pentagon
The pentagram's association with ceremonial magic is interesting. The Pentagon itself was deeply engaged in the engineering of reality by this stage with extensive PSYOPs activities. Naturally the CIA was also up to its heels in these activities and frequently in league with their military counterparts --activities that bore striking similarities to the age old objectives of magicians everywhere.
"All of these techniques --hallucinogenic drugs, hypnosis, acts of terrorism, disinformation --share an ontological purpose: to manipulate perceptions, to recreate reality. As we noted above, the German word for psychological warfare translates as 'worldview warfare': a battle of perceptions, of consensus realities... As the men of the OSS, CIA, and military intelligence developed from the armchair scholars and academics that most of them were before the war years into soldiers fighting the Cold War on fronts all over the world, they became --in a very real sense --magicians. As we will see, the CIA mind control projects themselves represented an assault on consciousness and reality that has not been seen in history since the age of the philosopher-kings and their court alchemists."
(Sinister Forces -Book One: The Nine, Peter Levenda, pg. 144)

The assault on consciousness via the military's propaganda is referenced throughout Dr. Strangelove (i.e. the absurd "Peace Is Our Profession" slogans plastered all over Burpelson Air Force Base). Characters frequently act upon psychotic orders in no small part due to the ruthless effectiveness of the indoctrination they've been put through. Virtually none of the rank-and-file soldiers seen in the film raise any real objectives to the insanity they are asked to carry out. This would seem to indicate that the sorcerers of the Pentagon are quite adept indeed.

After the quick shot of the Pentagon's exterior Kubrick cuts to the War Room, one of the most celebrated sets in cinematic history. It is also symbolically loaded and was designed by the legendary Ken Adam (who also worked on many of the equally symbolically loaded early James Bond films, which was very briefly addressed in part one). Apparently Kubrick insisted on changes to Adam's design at the last minute.
"To design the all-important War Room set, Adam began to do conceptual drawings to develop his ideas. His original notion was an amphitheater with a second level that had a glassed-in control room. Kubrick was very enthusiastic when he saw the drawings, telling Adam, 'Gee, Ken, it's great, great!' Thinking this constituted approval, Adam went forward and assigned his staff to create the necessary working drawings and models to design and build the set. After three or four weeks of mulling over the idea, Kubrick came into the design department, which by that time was far advanced on the amphitheater concept, and said, 'You know, Ken, that second level up there, I need at least sixty or seventy extras and they have to be sitting around all the time. What are they going to do? It could be costly. Come up with something else.'
"'It through me completely,' Ken Adam recalled. 'Then once I started calming down, my mind started ticking again, thank God. Stanley used to come and was practically standing behind me when I was drawing. Then this triangular concept evolved and he liked it. I had the answer when he said, "Yes, it's all very well with the triangle, what material do you think you're going to do it in?" and I said, "Concrete, like a bomb shelter".'
"The two men created a unique collaboration. Adam was an instinctual and imaginative designer with strong architectural training and a penchant for heightened reality. Kubrick was a director who questioned everything and demanded a rationale for every detail in his movie. Adam intuitively felt that the table that the President and his men set around should be large and round. When Kubrick saw the design for the table he asked Adam if it could be covered with green baize, even though the film was being shot in stark black and white. 'Sure,' Adam said and Kubrick replied, 'It should be like a poker table – the President, the Russian Ambassador, and the generals playing a game of poker for the fate of the world.'"
(Stanley Kubrick: A Biography, Vincent Lobrutto, pgs. 234-235)
one of Adam's sketches of the War Room, which makes its triangular shape more obvious
Thus the War Room is a triangular shaped interior (though this is not especially evident during the film) with a massive, circular table at its center. This of course echoes the famous Masonic symbol of the Eye of Providence within a triangle that appears on the back of the Great Seal of the United States and on the back of all dollar bills as well. Of it, Manly P. Hall writes:
"Here is represented the Great Pyramid of Gizah, composed of thirteen rows of masonry, showing seventy-two stones. The pyramid is without a capstone, and above its upper platform floats a triangle containing the All-Seeing-Eye surrounded by rays of light...
"If incapable of artistic treatment, the great seal is susceptible of profound interpretation. The Pyramid of Gizah was believed by the ancient Egyptians to be the shrine tomb of the god Hermes, or Thot, the personification of Universal Wisdom.
"No traces ever been found of the cap of the great Pyramid. A flat platform about thirty feet square gives no indication that this part of the structure was ever otherwise finished; and this is appropriate, as the Pyramid represented human society itself, imperfect and incomplete. The structure's ascending converging angles and faces represent the common aspiration of humankind; above floats the symbol of the esoteric orders, the radiant triangle with it's all-seeing-eye. The triangle itself is in the shape of the Greek letter D, the Delta, the letter of the name of God – the divine part of nature completing the works of men."
(The Secret Destiny of America, Manly P. Hall, pgs. 127-128)
the back of the Great Seal of the United States
Thus, the denizens of the War Room are symbolically associated with the "Elect" of various esoteric traditions, those wise men who are perceived as the enlightened leaders of humanity. Kubrick further reinforces this association with the table itself, which is surely meant to invoke the Round Table of the Arthurian cycle in the viewer's mind. The symbolism of the Round Table is quite similar to that of the eye inside the triangle.
"It is reasonably certain that many legends regarding Charlemagne were later associated with Arthur, who is most famous for establishing the Order of the Round Table at Winchester. Reliable information is not to be had concerning the ceremonies and initiatory rituals of the 'Table Round.' In one story, the Table was endowed with the powers of expansion and contraction so that fifteen or fifteen hundred could be seated around it, according to whatever need might arise. The most common accounts fix the number of knights who could be seated at one time at the Round Table at either twelve or twenty-four. The twelve signified the signs of the signs of the zodiac and also the apostles of Jesus. The knights' names and also their heraldic arms were emblazoned upon their chairs. When twenty-four are shown seated at the table, each of the twelve signs of the zodiac is divided into two parts – a light and a dark half – to signify the nocturnal and diurnal phases of each sign. As each sign of the zodiac is ascending for two hours every day, so the twenty-four knights represented the hours, the twenty-four elders before the throne in Revelation, and twenty-four Persian deities who represented the spirits of the divisions of the day. In the center of the Table was the symbolic rose of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the symbol of resurrection in that He 'rose' from the dead. There was also a mysterious empty seat called the Siege Perilous in which none might sit, except he who was successful in his quest for the Holy Grail.
"In the personality of Arthur is to be found a new form of the ever-recurrent cosmic myth. The prince of Britain is the sun, his knights are the zodiac, and his flashing sword may be the sun's rays with which he fights and vanquishes the dragons of darkness or it may represent the earth's axis. Arthur's Round Table is the universe; the Siege Perilous the throne of the perfect man. In its terrestrial sense, Arthur was the Grand Master of a secret Christian-Masonic brotherhood of all philosophic mystics who termed themselves Knights. Arthur received the exalted position of Grand Master of these Knights because he had faithfully accomplished the withdrawal of the sword (spirit) from the anvil of the base metals (his lower nature)..."
(The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall, pg. 590)

So in theory at least the men sitting around the Round Table of the War Room should be the warrior-monks or philosopher-kings of old, the Elect. In point of fact they're rather unstable bunch with some blatant evidence of psychosis. President Muffley (Peter Sellers) is a rational man, but an aloof one who at times is more concerned with his legacy than the reality of the situation. The Soviet ambassador (Peter Bull) is a walking double standard, insisting upon fresh pouched eggs and Cuban cigars from the terribly aristocratic staff and buffet that waits upon the War Room while refusing a Jamaican cigar because he doesn't support the work of "imperialist stooges." While seemingly helpful and concerned, he is later revealed to have been gathering intelligence the entire time he is in the War Room.

And then there's General Turgidson.

Upon hearing the ravings Ripper left with SAC headquarters Muffley denounces him as a psychotic to which Turgidson responds "We-he-ell, uh, I'd like to hold off judgement on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in." Shortly thereafter Turgidson advocates following Ripper's lead and launching a fulls scale nuclear assault upon the Soviet Union. It is during this sequence the audience gets its first glimpse of Dr. Strangelove (Sellers), and as a stand in for Nazism it is a most apt placement. Note that in this sequence he is little more than a marginal, anonymous member of the War Room gathering. That will soon change.

Strangelove is the second man to the left of Turgidson's head
Fittingly Muffley insists that he will not go down in history as "the greatest mass murderer since Adolf Hitler" to which Turgidson replies: "Perhaps it might be better, Mr. President, if you were more concerned with the American People than with your image in the history books." Turgidson, apparently like his real life inspiration, has no concern over the radioactive fall out that would result from this course of action.

As was noted in part two, Turgidson's celebrated monologue in which he advocates a full scale nuclear attack on the Soviet Union was largely based upon General Lyman Lemnitzer's pitch in 1961 to JFK to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviets by 1963 (though without the imminent threat of nuclear war that the fictional Turgidson faces). Turgidson even cites a report that sounds remarkably similar to the one Lemnitzer championed on the percentage of Soviet nukes a US strike could knock out.

So while the occupants of the War Room may be many things, "enlightened" would not be a description used by many. In point of fact, it is something of a miracle that they are able to collaborate at all. But with the collaboration that does emerge Kubrick seems to be dropping some serious hints about national policy being pursued by Kennedy in opposition to the Deep State during this era. In the next installment we shall consider the collaboration between Muffley and the Soviet Union, among other things. Stay tuned.