Think it’s difficult to start a nuclear holocaust?

❝ Serving as a US Air Force launch control officer for intercontinental missiles in the early Seventies, First Lieutenant Bruce Blair figured out how to start a nuclear war and kill a few hundred million people…When he quit the Air Force in 1974, Blair was haunted by the power that had been within his grasp, andhe resolved to do something about it. But when he started lobbying his former superiors, he was met with indifference and even active hostility. “I got in a fair scrap with the Air Force over it,” he recalled. As Blair well knew, there was supposed to be a system already in place to prevent that type of unilateral launch. The civilian leadership in the Pentagon took comfort in this, not knowing that the Strategic Air Command, which then controlled the Air Force’s nuclear weapons, had quietly neutralized it…

❝ …The system the military designed was “structured to drive the president invariably toward a decision to launch under attack” if he or she believes there is “incontrovertible proof that warheads actually are on the way.” Ensuring that all missiles and bombers would be en route before any enemy missiles actually landed meant that most of the targets in the strategic nuclear war plan would be destroyed—thereby justifying the purchase and deployment of the massive force required to execute such a strike.

Interesting, scary, well-researched in-depth work of journalism. Take the time to read it. Please.

Most Americans, I am certain, haven’t the slightest clue about any of the information contained in the “unsafety procedures” actually in place to manage the largest nuclear arsenal in the world.

13 thoughts on “Think it’s difficult to start a nuclear holocaust?

  1. Error 404 says:

    “Then came a burst of white light that seemed to fill the sky and seemed to last for seconds. I had expected a relatively quick and bright flash. The enormity of the light and its length quite stunned me. My instantaneous reaction was that something had gone wrong and that the thermal nuclear [sic] transformational of the atmosphere, once discussed as a possibility and jokingly referred to a few minutes earlier, had actually occurred.”
    James B. Conant on Trinity (1945)

  2. Stranger than Fiction says:

    “On visits to the Russian capital during the halcyon years between the Cold War’s end and the renewal of tensions in the twenty-first century, he learned that the Soviet Union had actually developed a “dead hand” in ultimate control of their strategic nuclear arsenal. If sensors detected signs of an enemy nuclear attack, the USSR’s entire missile force would immediately launch with a minimum of human intervention—in effect, the doomsday weapon that ends the world in Dr. Strangelove.” (from “How to Start a Nuclear War : The increasingly direct road to ruin”)
    Re: Bruce G. Blair see
    “What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump’s Finger on the Nuclear Button? : A nuclear launch expert plays out the various scenarios.” By Bruce Blair (June 11, 2016)
    p/s: William Bassett, an unknown U.S. Air Force Captain, may have saved humanity from accidental nuclear obliteration in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. “…If the story is true, Bassett is a hero on par with Vasili Arkhipov and Stanislav Petrov, both mid-ranking Soviet military officers who prevented the accidental use of Russian nuclear weapons during moments of excruciating U.S.-Soviet tension.”

  3. CRM 114 says:

    “Air Force silent after huge meteor hits earth near US military base” (News Corp Australia Network August 4, 2018) “NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed an object of unspecified size travelling at 24.4 kilometres per second struck earth in Greenland, just 43 kilometres north of an early missile warning Thule Air Base on the 25th of July, 2018. Director of the Nuclear Information Project for the Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen, tweeted about the impact, but America’s Air Force has not reported the event.”
    Hans Kristensen@nukestrat [2:14 PM – 1 Aug 2018] “Meteor explodes with 2.1 kilotons force 43 km above missile early warning radar at Thule Air Base. … HT @Casillic We’re still here, so they correctly concluded it was not a Russian first strike. There are nearly 2,000 nukes on alert, ready to launch.”
    Mr Kristensen argues it’s concerning there was no public warning from the US government about the incident. “Had it entered at a more perpendicular angle, it would have struck the earth with significantly greater force,” he writes on Business Insider.

  4. Cassandra says:

    “One day in 1961, an American economist named Daniel Ellsberg stumbled across a piece of paper with apocalyptic implications. Ellsberg, who was advising the US government on its secret nuclear war plans, had discovered a document that contained an official estimate of the death toll in a preemptive “first strike” on China and the Soviet Union: 300 million in those countries, and double that globally.
    Ellsberg was troubled that such a plan existed; years later, he tried to leak the details of nuclear annihilation to the public. Although his attempt failed, Ellsberg would become famous instead for leaking what came to be known as the Pentagon Papers – the US government’s secret history of its military intervention in Vietnam.”
    “As we flirt with nuclear war for the first time in decades, @DanielEllsberg releases perhaps the most authoritative work ever produced on the subject (he helped write the plans!).”
    Edward Snowden @Snowden 2:55 PM – 4 Dec 2017

  5. Oscar G. says:

    “In one of the darkest moments of the Vietnam War, the top American military commander in Saigon activated a plan in 1968 to move nuclear weapons to South Vietnam until he was overruled by President Lyndon B. Johnson, according to recently declassified documents cited in a new history of wartime presidential decisions.” (New York Times 10/6/18)
    The story of how close the United States came to reaching for nuclear weapons in Vietnam, 23 years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced Japan to surrender, is contained in “Presidents of War,” a coming book by Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian.
    “Johnson certainly made serious mistakes in waging the Vietnam War,” said Mr. Beschloss, who found the documents during his research for the book. “But we have to thank him for making sure that there was no chance in early 1968 of that tragic conflict going nuclear.”
    The new documents — some of which were quietly declassified two years ago — suggest it was moving in that direction.

  6. Plan R says:

    “Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True.” By Eric Schlosser (The New Yorker. Jan 17, 2014) Eric Schlosser is the author of “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety,” from 2013, and a producer of the documentary “Command and Control,” from 2016.

  7. 10/27/62 says:

    “The Photographs That Prevented World War III : While researching a book on the Cuban missile crisis, the writer unearthed new spy images that could have changed history” (Smithsonian) “…As long as the president knew the missiles were not yet ready to fire, he had time to negotiate.
    That changed on October 27—Black Saturday—when the CIA informed Kennedy for the first time that five out of six medium-range missile sites on Cuba were “fully operational.” (The analysts reached this conclusion by monitoring progress made on the missile sites, even though they still did not know where the [thermonuclear] warheads were.)”

  8. Countdown says:

    “Are the rules which have stopped nuclear war broken?” (BBC News 3/14/19) “We are moving in a minefield, and we don’t know from where the explosion will come.” A warning from former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov delivered at this week’s influential Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference in Washington DC. Former US senator and long-time arms control activist Sam Nunn echoed the sentiment. “If the US, Russia and China don’t work together,” he argued, “it is going to be a nightmare for our children and grandchildren.”
    “…Many conference speakers stressed that it was not simply that the old arms control edifice was crumbling; nor that wider tensions between the nuclear superpowers were growing.
    It was not even just the challenges posed by a rising and more assertive China or growing rivalries between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.
    They fear something new and dangerous is looming.
    Just as the old arms control order is collapsing, novel high-tech challenges are already here. Consider highly accurate conventional missiles flying at hypersonic speeds, cyber-weapons, the potential militarisation of space, the impact of artificial intelligence, and so on.
    The whole warning system on which deterrence rests could be undermined.
    As Mr Nunn put it: “In this new era, we are much more likely to have war by blunder or miscalculation – by interference from third parties – than from a deliberate premeditated attack.”

  9. Rah, Rah, Sis Boom Bah says:

    Afghanistan has said the United States should clarify comments by President Donald Trump, in which he said he could easily win the Afghan war by wiping out the country but did not “want to kill 10 million people”. Trump made the remarks on Monday at the White House, where he was hosting Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    • Kill4Peace says:

      “Nuclear war between India and Pakistan would launch a global climate catastrophe : Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe” (American Association for the Advancement of Science Oct 2, 2019) In a related editorial, Science Advances Deputy Editor Kip Hodges highlights how, unlike in the days of the Cold War, when only a few countries were capable of starting a nuclear war, nine countries now possess a total of nearly 14,000 nuclear warheads. With respect to India and Pakistan, the deteriorating relationship between these neighboring countries puts south Asia–and the rest of the world–at risk.

  10. Doomsday says:

    “Air Force-Affiliated Researchers Want to Let AI Launch Nukes : Will an AI reminiscent of “Dr. Strangelove” deter the enemy from mounting a nuclear attack?” See also: America Needs a “Dead Hand” and “Modernizing U.S. Nuclear Command, Control and Communications”

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