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13 minutes to doomsday
- Categorized in: NUCLEAR WEAPONS
"When new presidents were briefed about how it worked, they found it unthinkable. “And we call ourselves the human race,” John F. Kennedy is said to have commented."
It is time to de-alert the weapons, the Cold War is over. The U.S. and Russia are no longer enemies, if not always best friends. The Washington Post is right, we are 13 minutes to doomsday, and for what? Launch on warning pressures presidents to push the doomsday button, it insures there won't be time to think it through. It leaves the entire world vulnerable to hackers, computer failure, bad decisions, and human error.
It is time to put the missiles away and pull out the voice of reason. Differences can be worked out far more easily than reassembling the planet after a nuclear war. If there's anyone left to do it.
THROUGHOUT THE Cold War, the United States kept land-based missiles with nuclear warheads on alert and ready to launch in three to four minutes after the president gave the order. Every president of the missile age was briefed about the procedure: In the event of an impending attack, the decision to launch would have to be made in 13 minutes or less. The theory of deterrence was that the United States had to threaten certain and large-scale retaliation against the Soviet Union, and that meant being prepared to shoot fast.
When new presidents were briefed about how it worked, they found it unthinkable. “And we call ourselves the human race,” John F. Kennedy is said to have commented. Not the least of their worries was the prospect of incomplete or faulty warning — a bad signal from a satellite, perhaps, or a missile launched by accident or by rogue actors. There was never a real missile attack during the superpower arms race, but there were serious false alarms.
Today, two decades after the end of the Cold War, one-third of U.S. strategic forces, including almost all land-based missiles and some sea-based, are still on launch-ready alert. ..