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The President has access to the nuclear launch codes and the power of life and death over the Earth.  Would you trust Mitt Romney with that power?

I was born in 1948 just two years after the United States became the first, and to date only nation, to drop the atomic bomb in anger.    The nuclear genie was loose on Earth and the Cold War was just getting started.  During the duck and cover and back-yard fallout shelter era, the monthly test of the air raid warning siren reminded us of how perilous existence was.  The shadow of Armageddon may seem less real, less immediate, now.  Even so we trust the President of the United States with keys to the underworld, the power of life and death over the entire world.  

On October 14, 1960 a U-2 reconnaissance plane photographed new missile sites being constructed in Cuba.  Three days later some were verified as SS-5 Intermediate Range Ballistic (nuclear) Missiles with the capacity to destroy Washington DC and most of the eastern seaboard with 15 minutes or less of warning.  We were in grave danger and the famous 3AM phone call from the 2008 Democratic Primary ad would have been irrelevant.  By the time the call had been made no one would have been left to answer.  

There was no outburst of hysteria.  The administration, we later learned that Bobby Kennedy actually took the point, worked the problem militarily and diplomatically for a full week before it went public and after there was a plan with assets were in place. Then on October 22 we learned that our nation was a blink away from WWIII when  President Kennedy explained the Cuban Missile Crisis to us on national television.  That night U.S. Military forces went to DEFCON 3, one step below all out war, the first and only time this has ever been acknowledged.  (Although it has said to have happened on 9-11.)  

An hour after the television speech the President signed an order interdicting military weapons from Cuba with the stated purpose to stop and search Soviet ships in route to Cuba we suspected were carrying additional missiles. We would take all appropriate actions to stop any further delivery.  We were prepared to sink Soviet ships if necessary.  

Soviet Premier Nikita Kruschev replied that he would consider a blockade, which we called a quarantine, an act of war.  President Kennedy continued under pressure to  bomb the launch sites before they became operational.  Fidel Castro wrote an open letter encouraging Russia to “attack” the US if we bombed Cuba.  We understood this as a call for an all out nuclear attack.

On October 24 Soviet ships carrying questionable cargo began to slow down or reverse course except for two, a  Lebanese freighter and a tanker.   It was a mixed signal.  We held our breath as the ships closed with our Navy.   Were the Soviets that stupid or stubborn?  Was this the “big one?”  

To our amazement and our Navies' embarrassment their tanker ran the blockade and escaped.  We let it go because it wasn't likely to be carrying weapons but it showed that they were willing to test our resolve.   It also showed a potential weakness on our part that they might try to exploit and put even more pressure on the President to “act decisively.”  Then came the freighter. We held our breath and waited.    

Impending doom was punctuated by repeated window rattling sonic booms as our jets disbursed taking up defensive and offensive positions.  (The regulation prohibiting sonic booms was relaxed during the emergency.)  We ducked and covered and yes we prayed that our leaders would find a way to bring us through the crisis.  

Nuclear Armageddon was one misstep, one misspoken word, one inadvertent action away.   The US and the USSR controlled approximately 35,000 thermonuclear devises.  It was said that we could destroy life on Earth 6 times over.  It was said that we could crack the Earth which was probably an exaggeration but we didn't know.

There is more to the story but in the end the freighter turned out not to be carrying weapons and was let through.  The Soviets blinked.  An agreement was reached for the Cuban missiles to be withdrawn in return for our withdrawing our own Jupiter missiles in Turkey which we later learned had been the precipitating cause.  The USSR had protested our missiles and in part their Cuban missiles were a tit-for-tat response.  The bottom line is that by a measured response and cool negotiation the problem was solved.  On October 28 Khruschev announced that their missiles would be withdrawn.  We were told that the our “outdated”  Jupiter missiles were also being withdrawn.

We dodged the bullet.  Diplomacy prevailed.  Face was saved.  The world was saved.  Al Gore "created the Internet".  Markos created Daily Kos and here we are, but in a another plane of the mulitiverse an unstable bully shot first and, along with the rest of us, had only had 15 minutes left to think.  On that Earth, in that plane, rats and roaches rule because I've read that they are very radiation resistant.  

The United States currently has an arsenal of 5,113 nuclear warheads; more than enough to destroy the world.  The President has the launch codes and authority to use them.  Do you trust Mitt Romney, a demonstrability unstable person lost to reality, who still thinks Russia is our biggest enemy; a man with the hubris to shoot off his mouth for political gain without the facts even as our nation is under fire, with the power to destroy the world? Really?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 03:10:35 PM PDT

  •  On the upside , the Russian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YellerDog, raster44

    might go big for total nuke disarmament .
    Could Obama get all the nukes dismantled between Nov 7th and Jan 20th ?

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 03:40:23 PM PDT

  •  Don't let him near any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, YellerDog

    rose bushes either. vacuum cleaner is what he is most compatible with.

    We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 03:48:22 PM PDT

  •  Pretty creepy thought. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, YellerDog

    The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

    by Anne Elk on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 03:50:21 PM PDT

  •  This Is a sound argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, YellerDog

    It's actually something that make make a Romney supporter quietly change his vote on election day.

  •  I'm over being scared of nukes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Too old and too feared out about 'em.  

    I do worry about the President having secret kill lists that include American citizens though.

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:16:56 PM PDT

    •  A couple of days ago I would have agreed. (0+ / 0-)

      Well probably.  I now realize that that the fading fear of nuclear war is a dangerous thing.  Compared to nuclear armageddon secret kill lists are at best creepy.  The power to destroy life as we know it still exists yet I've never heard anyone ask if this person (whoever) is trustworthy enough to hold the keys.  Yet when I saw his smug face shooting off his mouth about an on going event that the had no clue about my fears were reborn.  The middle east is the most likely tipping point for a major war whether nuke or not.  It's not a playground for idiots, (see Bush) or idiotic amateurs.

      A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

      by YellerDog on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:34:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're already destroying the planet (0+ / 0-)

        by ignoring climate change.  It's just in relatively slow motion.  That's probably why nukes aren't as scary... it's already a forgone conclusion.

        Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
        Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

        by The Dead Man on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:35:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A damn good question. Send it to Priorities USA. (0+ / 0-)

    I'd bet they could make a damn convincing ad out of it, considering how insanely eager Mitt is to revive the Cold War with Russia and China.  Leave it to him, he'd start a 2nd Korean War* with the North just for the hell of it.

    [*Technically the North and South are still at war, since they never signed an armistice.]

  •  I don't know that I'd call Romney (0+ / 0-)

    "a demonstrablly unstable person lost to reality as much as just someone who has appallingly bad judgement.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 04:55:32 PM PDT

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