President Merkin Muffley Quotes in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
President Merkin Muffley Quotes:
President Merkin Muffley: Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.
President Merkin Muffley: I will not go down in history as the greatest mass-murderer since Adolf Hitler.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Perhaps it might be better, Mr. President, if you were more concerned with the American People than with your image in the history books.
[the President calls the Soviet Premier]
President Merkin Muffley: [to Kissoff] Hello?... Uh... Hello D- uh hello Dmitri? Listen uh uh I can't hear too well. Do you suppose you could turn the music down just a little?... Oh-ho, that's much better... yeah... huh... yes... Fine, I can hear you now, Dmitri... Clear and plain and coming through fine... I'm coming through fine, too, eh?... Good, then... well, then, as you say, we're both coming through fine... Good... Well, it's good that you're fine and... and I'm fine... I agree with you, it's great to be fine... a-ha-ha-ha-ha... Now then, Dmitri, you know how we've always talked about the possibility of something going wrong with the Bomb... The *Bomb*, Dmitri... The *hydrogen* bomb!... Well now, what happened is... ahm... one of our base commanders, he had a sort of... well, he went a little funny in the head... you know... just a little... funny. And, ah... he went and did a silly thing... Well, I'll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes... to attack your country... Ah... Well, let me finish, Dmitri... Let me finish, Dmitri... Well listen, how do you think I feel about it?... Can you *imagine* how I feel about it, Dmitri?... Why do you think I'm calling you? Just to say hello?... *Of course* I like to speak to you!... *Of course* I like to say hello!... Not now, but anytime, Dmitri. I'm just calling up to tell you something terrible has happened... It's a *friendly* call. Of course it's a friendly call... Listen, if it wasn't friendly... you probably wouldn't have even got it... They will *not* reach their targets for at least another hour... I am... I am positive, Dmitri... Listen, I've been all over this with your ambassador. It is not a trick... Well, I'll tell you. We'd like to give your air staff a complete run-down on the targets, the flight plans, and the defensive systems of the planes... Yes! I mean i-i-i-if we're unable to recall the planes, then... I'd say that, ah... well, ah... we're just gonna have to help you destroy them, Dmitri... I know they're our boys... All right, well listen now. Who should we call?... *Who* should we call, Dmitri? The... wha-whe, the People... you, sorry, you faded away there... The People's Central Air Defense Headquarters... Where is that, Dmitri?... In Omsk... Right... Yes... Oh, you'll call them first, will you?... Uh-huh... Listen, do you happen to have the phone number on you, Dmitri?... Whe-ah, what? I see, just ask for Omsk information... Ah-ah-eh-uhm-hm... I'm sorry, too, Dmitri... I'm very sorry... *All right*, you're sorrier than I am, but I am as sorry as well... I am as sorry as you are, Dmitri! Don't say that you're more sorry than I am, because I'm capable of being just as sorry as you are... So we're both sorry, all right?... All right.
[Turgidson advocates a further nuclear attack to prevent a Soviet response to Ripper's attack]
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.
President Merkin Muffley: You're talking about mass murder, General, not war!
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.
President Merkin Muffley: You mean people could actually stay down there for a hundred years?
Dr. Strangelove: It would not be difficult, Mein Führer. Nuclear reactors could - heh, I'm sorry, Mr. President - nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely.
General "Buck" Turgidson: General Ripper called Strategic Air Command headquarters shortly after he issued the go code. I have a portion of the transcript of that conversation if you'd like me to to read it.
President Merkin Muffley: Read it!
General "Buck" Turgidson: Ahem... The Duty Officer asked General Ripper to confirm the fact that he *had* issued the go code, and he said, uh, "Yes gentlemen, they are on their way in, and no one can bring them back. For the sake of our country, and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of SAC in after them. Otherwise, we will be totally destroyed by Red retaliation. Uh, my boys will give you the best kind of start, 1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won't stop them now, uhuh. Uh, so let's get going, there's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear, and in true health, through the purity and essence of our natural... fluids. God bless you all" and he hung up.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Uh, we're, still trying to figure out the meaning of that last phrase, sir.
President Merkin Muffley: There's nothing to figure out, General Turgidson. This man is obviously a psychotic.
General "Buck" Turgidson: We-he-ell, uh, I'd like to hold off judgement on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in.
President Merkin Muffley: General Turgidson! When you instituted the human reliability tests, you *assured* me there was *no* possibility of such a thing *ever* occurring!
General "Buck" Turgidson: Well, I, uh, don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up, sir.
[after learning of the Doomsday Machine]
President Merkin Muffley: But this is absolute madness, Ambassador! Why should you *build* such a thing?
Ambassador de Sadesky: 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.
President Merkin Muffley: This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that.
Ambassador de Sadesky: Our source was the New York Times.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Is that the Russian ambassador you're talking about?
President Merkin Muffley: Yes it is, General.
General "Buck" Turgidson: A-A-Am I to understand the *Russian* ambassador is to be admitted entrance to th-the War Room?
President Merkin Muffley: That is correct, he is here on my orders.
General "Buck" Turgidson: I... I don't know exactly how to put this, sir, but are you aware of what a serious breach of security that would be? I mean, he'll see everything, he'll... he'll see the Big Board!
President Merkin Muffley: And why haven't you radioed the plans countermanding the go-code?
General "Buck" Turgidson: Well, I'm afraid we're unable to communicate with any of the aircraft.
President Merkin Muffley: Why?
General "Buck" Turgidson: As you may recall, sir, one of the provisions of Plan 'R' provides that once the go-code is received, the normal SSB Radios in the aircraft are switched into a special coded device which I believe is designated as CRM-114. Now, in order to prevent the enemy from issuing fake or confusing orders, CRM-114 is designed not to receive at all - unless the message is preceded by the correct three-letter recall code group prefix.
President Merkin Muffley: Then do you mean to tell me, General Turgidson, that you will be unable to recall the aircraft?
General "Buck" Turgidson: That's about the size of it. However, we are plowing through every possible three-letter combination of the code. But since there are 17,000 permutations... it's going to take us about two-and-a-half days to transmit them all.
President Merkin Muffley: How soon did you say our planes will be entering Russian radar cover?
General "Buck" Turgidson: About 18 minutes from now, sir.
General "Buck" Turgidson: Mr. President, about, uh, 35 minutes ago, General Jack Ripper, the commanding general of, uh, Burpelson Air Force Base, issued an order to the 34 B-52's of his Wing, which were airborne at the time as part of a special exercise we were holding called Operation Drop-Kick. Now, it appears that the order called for the planes to, uh, attack their targets inside Russia. The, uh, planes are fully armed with nuclear weapons with an average load of, um, 40 megatons each. Now, the central display of Russia will indicate the position of the planes. The triangles are their primary targets; the squares are their secondary targets. The aircraft will begin penetrating Russian radar cover within, uh, 25 minutes.
President Merkin Muffley: General Turgidson, I find this very difficult to understand. I was under the impression that I was the only one in authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.
General "Buck" Turgidson: That's right, sir, you are the only person authorized to do so. And although I, uh, hate to judge before all the facts are in, it's beginning to look like, uh, General Ripper exceeded his authority.
President Merkin Muffley: I'm afraid I don't understand something, Alexi. Is your premier threatening to explode this if our planes succeed in carrying out their attack?
Ambassador de Sadesky: No, sir! It is not a thing a sane man would do. The doomsday machine is designed to to trigger itself automatically.
President Merkin Muffley: But surely you can disarm it somehow.
Ambassador de Sadesky: No! It is designed to explode if any attempt is ever made to untrigger it!
President Merkin Muffley: Automatically?
General "Buck" Turgidson: It's an obvious Commie trick, Mr. President. We are wasting valuable time! Look at the big board, they're getting ready to clobber us!
[discussing the Doomsday machine]
President Merkin Muffley: How is it possible for this thing to be triggered automatically and at the same time impossible to untrigger?
Dr. Strangelove: Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. 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.
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