Book Review: The Day After Roswell
By Colonel Philip J. Corso (Retired)
Reviewed by Robert L. Mason (originally written Dec. 15, 1998)
This is a strange book filled with built-in contradictions which I will try to ferret out.
By coincidence, my active duty tour [U.S. Navy] coincides almost exactly with Col. Corso’s time in Army R&D at the Pentagon. This does not give me any special insight into the veracity of his account except possibly a general feel for the climate within the military during that period.
To begin, let’s assume for the sake of argument, that the Colonel’s story is in fact true; that things happened just as he said they did and the whole affair is a huge cover-up. The military, in their wisdom, classified everything concerning the affair “above TOP SECRET” — a decision for which the Colonel expresses his approval on several occasions. If this is so, it must still be highly classified, because if it had ever been declassified we surely would have heard about it. The Colonel, on the other hand, appears to have changed his mind since this book blabs the whole thing — in writing. He can’t have it both ways.
When I was in the Navy, I was cleared for SECRET, and at one point I was Classified Material Control Officer for the ship I was on which included an interim TOP SECRET clearance. Again, this does not give me any special insight into the Roswell affair, but I do know that if you reveal classified material, even after you have left the service, you can be prosecuted. Was Colonel Corso prosecuted? I didn’t hear anything — if not, why not? Two possible explanations occur to me:
1) The Colonel was not prosecuted, because to do so, the military would have to admit too much. By not prosecuting they are counting on the Colonel being generally considered to be some kind of nut, and they hope the whole thing will just blow over.
2) The Colonel was not prosecuted because the whole thing is a fabrication and no secrets were revealed in the first place.
Another point that bothers me is the descriptions of the aliens themselves. As described, the aliens would fall dead center into the whole science fiction/Hollywood mythology about “little green men.” Well, maybe they weren’t green, but close, they were gray. This is a little hard for me to swallow. The probability that a sentient species from a distant star system, with a whole separate evolution, would in any way resemble us has got to be incredibly small.
It is said of the ancient Greeks that “they turned their gods into men and their men into gods,” and I am mindful of the fact that Michelangelo, when representing God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted a human being. Science has forced a long series of demotions on us since those days, but are we still falling into that trap? IF there is an intelligent, technologically advanced species out there somewhere, THEN they must look something like us. In spite of what you see on Star Trek, I—don’t—think—so. Okay, this is a problem. Here are two possible explanations:
1) The aliens look somewhat like us because they are us (from the future). Corso himself hints at this on a couple of occasions, but seems to reject it in the end. This will require a complete overhaul of the laws of physics, but . . . maybe so.
2) The whole thing is a fabrication and Corso has simply tapped into the popular myth in order to increase his credibility with the masses.
Another bothersome point involves the intentions of the aliens. The Colonel, being a military type, needs to have enemies so he automatically assumes that the aliens are hostile. The hostile acts he lists are the mutilations of cattle, violating our air space, disrupting our communications and, oh yes, abductions! Well hmm, if the aliens are hostile then they must have weapons, and if they have weapons, then we would have to assume that their weapons are as superior to ours as their spacecraft is to our aircraft. So why isn’t there some instance of a direct attack? It would seem that they should be capable of overwhelming force, but instead we get this other stuff. Here, again, are two possible explanations:
1) There is no direct overwhelming attack because the aliens really aren’t hostile. They are just curious. They are on a scientific mission and we are part of their study.
2) There is no direct overwhelming attack because that is something that everyone would be aware of immediately. Corso can only maintain his little fiction by keeping things on a subtler level that only the cognoscenti, civilian and military, know about.
Have you ever heard of the scientific maxim called Occam’s Razor? It reads [paraphrased]:
“When given a choice between several explanations for a given phenomenon the one which is the simplest and most straight forward is the one most likely to be true.”
Certainly, accepting as true that we are being visited by aliens from another star system (or from the future) whose spacecraft defy the laws of physics as we know them, and whose very existence has been the subject of a massive government cover-up which has been maintained for over sixty years, is very complex. The alternative is that Col. Philip J. Corso (Ret.) is a liar and that’s a fairly simple and straightforward explanation.
Of course, if you are a career officer in Army intelligence you don’t tell lies, you disseminate disinformation. “Disinformation” is a word that Corso uses on numerous occasions in this book. It is one of the standard tools of intelligence organizations and I assume that Corso is practiced in its use.
Much of the latter portion of this book is a rundown of various projects that were being pursued by Army R&D while Corso was at the Foreign Technology Desk in the Pentagon. After reading through a number of these I got the feeling that these were summaries he had written at some much earlier time, which he had pulled out of his archives and modified for inclusion in this book. Often it seemed to me that the only change he made was to insert the words “and the extraterrestrials” everywhere that the original text mentioned the USSR. Sometimes this phrase was left dangling at the end of a sentence or paragraph like an afterthought.
There is one respect in which Corso was very fortunate. He lived to a ripe old age (over eighty). He mentioned a lot of real people by name in his book, but most of them were deceased at the time of publication. One exception was Senator Strom Thurmond who was still in the Senate at a very ripe old age (96). It is my understanding that Senator Thurmond originally wrote a forward to Corso’s work, but later thought better of it and withdrew it.
Above, I mentioned the possibility that Col. Corso is a liar, plain and simple. Perhaps that is a bit harsh. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that his book, The Day After Roswell impresses me as the deluded ramblings of an old man.
Robert L. Mason
If you would like more information or would like to purchase this book simply click on the book’s title: The Day After Roswell