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  •  an offtopic question for you, Kong (1+ / 0-)
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    Forgive the offtopic question, but I remember that you were a bomber pilot during the Cold War and there is something I've always been curious about-----did the B-52 pilots ever know what their assigned target was if World War 3 had broken out?

    •  Yes we did (2+ / 0-)
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      RiveroftheWest, xaxnar

      We actually would have had several targets (16 total) and we knew what they all were.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Fri May 31, 2013 at 02:06:03 PM PDT

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      •  thanks. I was always curious about that /nt (2+ / 0-)
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        RiveroftheWest, xaxnar
        •  btw---a few years ago I saw in a de-classified (2+ / 0-)
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          xaxnar, RiveroftheWest

          document that the US had, by the 80's, targeted every Soviet city with a population greater than 35,000 --- with multiple nukes targeted at the largest cities.

          •  You know... (2+ / 0-)
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            RiveroftheWest, 417els

            That sounds like an intriguing idea for an extended article, maybe a book even - if you could go on a tour of those target cities today, see what they look like at ground level, talk to the locals, and write up the back story about having them on a list at one time in your life, with the task of taking them out if things went bad.

            At this remove in time, the idea that we were prepared to take out the Soviet Union with everything we had, if they attempted a first strike, (and vice versa) - the whole idea of Mutual Assured Destruction seems like a surreal fantasy. But it was real and we as a nation devoted much treasure and lives to the prospect.

            The Soviet Union has crumbled, we've reduced our arsenals. Now it looks like the biggest threat to mankind might be climate change and our addiction to fossil fuels. But unlike the cold war, the government is doing damn little about the threat. It might be of real historical value for you to record your part in the Cold War, the attitudes that shaped in, as one who was potentially on the front line of armageddon.

            If nothing else, the compare and contrast aspects of it might be of real value.

            "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

            by xaxnar on Fri May 31, 2013 at 06:59:28 PM PDT

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            •  the declassified docs I saw were amazing (1+ / 0-)
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              They ran the gamut from the Truman Administration (he thought no nation would ever need more than 50 nuclear weapons) to the Reagan years (we had so many nukes we literally were running out of targets for them all--and some large targets like Moscow and Leningrad were set to receive as many as a dozen nukes).

              People who did not live through those times cannot really understand just how crazy they were.

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