Play / pause Dropping the Bomb

Dropping the Bomb

  • John Peters
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


I remember when I was 17, just before I did

my tests for the cadetship.

There's two questions that back then

you thought they were going to ask.

They always ask in the military,

could you kill someone to, you know,

to fulfill a political order?

Because you'd be hypocritical,

or if you haven't thought about it you're a fool;

you're joining a military organization

where you're given the legal right to kill.

And secondly, the big question everyone used to say,

it's the first question they're going to ask you

if you joined the Air Force back in that day and time

when we had the nuclear deterrent,

can you drop a nuclear bomb?

And I even, at 17 I was quite a green,

naive 17-year-old, I suppose, but I did realize that

that was quite an important thing that I had to consider.

So it mulls across in your head for months,

but then before the actual interviews

I went off to the local cricket pitch,

sat there for about three hours going can I do this?

My pathetic answer actually was,

well there's been 40,000 and 70,000 nuclear warheads

in Europe at this moment in time.

Mine would make no difference.

It's the end of the world anyway.

If ever I get asked to actually drop a nuclear bomb,

it is the end of the world as we know it.

But in reality I didn't truly believe that one, we would,

and I didn't truly believe the Russians would either,

at the time.

I didn't believe any of us would be that stupid

for this mutually assured destruction,

which it would have been.

So that was how I sort of paralleled that moral dilemma.

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