‘You Don’t Got This’: Peace Group Blasts NYC’s New Nuclear Survival PSA

It's difficult to take shelter during a thermonuclear attack, says ICAN, "when, in a matter of seconds, houses up to 175 kilometers away from the epicenter crumble like they are made of cards."

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Peace advocates on Tuesday derided a New York City public service announcement meant to prepare residents for a nuclear attack as a 21st-century version of the absurd Duck and Cover civil defense film of the early Cold War era.

“So, there’s been a nuclear attack,” the narrator of the NYC Emergency Management video begins. “Don’t ask me how or why, just know the big one has hit.”

“So what do we do?” she continues before instructing viewers to “get inside, fast,” “stay inside… and get clean immediately,” and “stay tuned; follow media for more information.”

“All right? You’ve got this,” the woman assures viewers.

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams called the PSA a “great idea,” some critics accused officials of unwarranted fearmongering amid increased nuclear tensions with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and NATO’s response.

Others lambasted the PSA as latest in a line of nuclear war informationals like the U.S. Civil Defense Administration’s Duck and Coverand the British government’s Protect and Survive films that offer little more than delusive contentment for millions of people who likely would not survive a full-scale thermonuclear attack.

“The reality is, if this comes to pass, you don’t ‘got this,'” tweeted the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for its work leading to a landmark treaty outlawing nukes.

Calling the PSA “outrageously misguided,” ICAN said it’s difficult to get inside fast during a nuclear explosion “when, in a matter of seconds, houses up to 175 kilometers away from the epicenter crumble like they are made of cards.”

“The PSA goes on to advise to ‘stay inside, remove clothing, and shower,'” ICAN added. “As if taking a shower will be feasible during a nuclear attack, or effective to protect you against radioactive ash. And ‘stay tuned’ – as if communications infrastructure will be functional.”

The United States and Russia have over 11,000 nuclear warheads in their combined arsenals. China, France, and Britain have hundreds of warheads each, while India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea each have between 50-165 nukes.

According to NukeMap, a single Russian 800 kiloton warhead airburst over midtown Manhattan would destroy or severely damage much of New York City and cause an estimated 4.5 million casualties.

A higher-yield weapon, like the five-megaton warheads atop China’s Dong Feng-5 intercontinental ballistic missiles, would destroy most of the city while killing or wounding around eight million people. In an actual full-scale nuclear war, multiple warheads would likely be launched against a target as important as New York.

Millions of people not instantly incinerated or obliterated by the fireball – which is hotter than the sun’s core – and immense blast wave of a nuclear explosion would suffer severe burns, blinding, lacerations, blunt-force injuries, and, for many, the slow death of radiation poisoning.

“The living,” Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev reputedly said, “will envy the dead.”

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

10 thoughts on “‘You Don’t Got This’: Peace Group Blasts NYC’s New Nuclear Survival PSA”

  1. Multiple warheads probably wouldn’t be needed for New York. After all, if you kill half the population and irradiate the other half with one or two warheads, why waste the money? Multiple missiles would be used on hardened targets like the US missile silos. Many ICBMs these days have Multiple Independently Targetable Vehicles – MIRV warheads – that can be delivered against multiple targets at once. One Sarmat can carry up to 10 heavy warheads or 15 light warheads or a combination with decoys. Such a missile can take out every major city in New York State or Texas with one missile.

    As Andrei Martyanov points out, Russia can also “rearrange the stones” of New York or Washington with non-nuclear hypersonic missiles – killing the decision centers without all the nuclear radiation.

    1. Light up where most of the food and livestock are grown and raised. Light up major food processing plants. Light up all major airports, military and domestic. Light up all major ports. Pretty macabre, isn’t it?

      1. Don’t actually need to do all that. Just take out the decision centers (Washington area), the main military threats (missiles, sub ports, air fields) and the economic center (New York Wall Street and maybe Chicago). The rest will collapse by itself. Or if one really wants to kill civilians, just take out the 50 Major Metropolitan Areas. There’s too much land mass in the US for targeting farms and processing plants – waste of money to try it. Whereas the 50 MMAs could be taken out with maybe 25 missiles tops. That leaves plenty for the military targets and civilian decision centers.

        1. You only have to EMP the transportation system and agricultural machinery and the population will starve.

  2. In a bunker, filtration systems can last only so long. So will food, potable water,medicine.

  3. “The reality is, if this comes to pass, you don’t ‘got this,’” was “unwarranted fearmongering” in the midst of US/NATO provoking Russia by killing Russians? I would describe it as a warranted fear of losing all we love for absolutely nothing. Biden is demented for risking us all. We have no business interfering in Ukraine. War against Russia until the last Ukrainian while risking the entire world could only be brought to you by stupid evil neocons/neoliberals.

  4. To summarize, the government is a bunch of babbling nitwits. Who shouldn’t have H-bombs.

  5. Actually, someone at MoA suggested something I hadn’t considered. The advice given in the PSA is correct – if you’re expecting a false flag dirty bomb attack with minimal blast effects but high radiation. Anyone remember 9/11? Given current events, is it unlikely that those in power are contemplating a repeat? How many times have they accused Russia of intending a false flag in Ukraine? Is this the new plan to gin up a direct US war with Russia? By detonating a radioactive bomb in New York? And if you know it’s coming, shorting Wall Street – just like the airline stocks were shorted before 9/11 – you could make a real killing in the market…

    Just saying…

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