Dr. Strangelove - Riding the Bomb
(image by Wikipedia)
There was one ominous news item this week - or maybe it is just more propaganda because who really knows anymore - and that is that two Russian bombers were reportedly spotted by NORAD just outside US airspace off the California coast. Throw in the crackerjack foreign policy team of the Obama administration who in their infinite wisdom decided to send Putin another message by dispatching two nuclear capable B2 Stealth bombers to Europe in yet another provocation in the war of egos and it is clear that we now live in an environment as dangerous as any since the Cold War era. That however may be an understatement in that this period of history is even more dangerous simply because of the final evolution of American cowboy foreign policy and the lunatic neocons who drive the war machine with their embedded operatives in the highest places and a propaganda machine that is a virtual monument of tribute to the grand master Joseph Goebbels.
Interestingly although belatedly the state-corporate media here in The Homeland has recently published stories about the nuclear accident that nearly obliterated North Carolina back in 1961. Finally making a domestic breakthrough nearly a year after The Guardian originally reported the story of the "Goldsboro Incident". The American cable news flagship CNN faced with dwindling attempts to exploit the missing Malaysian airplane reports via their website in a story headlined "Declassified report: Two nuclear bombs nearly detonated in North Carolina":
On a January night in 1961, a U.S. Air Force bomber broke in half while flying over eastern North Carolina. From the belly of the B-52 fell two bombs -- two nuclear bombs that hit the ground near the city of Goldsboro.
A disaster worse than the devastation wrought in Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have befallen the United States that night. But it didn't, thanks to a series of fortunate missteps.
Declassified documents that the National Security Archive released this week offered new details about the incident. The blaring headline read: "Multi-Megaton Bomb Was Virtually 'Armed' When It Crashed to Earth."
Or, as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it in back then, "By the slightest margin of chance, literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted."
It's difficult to calculate the destruction those bombs might have caused had they detonated in North Carolina.
The incident referred to was discovered based on a document obtained by writer Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act while researching his latest book "Command and Control". The book is about the history of the U.S. nuclear program and documents a number of close calls that could have were they to have going the other way resulted in the real version of those smoking guns as mushroom clouds that were used to sell the Iraq disaster. The North Carolina incident would have been devastating for the Eastern seaboard had the last of four safety switches did what it was supposed to do after the other three failed.
The bombs were onboard a B-52 that underwent some sort of structural failure in mid-air therefore dumping the bombs -- each of which was 260 times more powerful than the one that was dropped on Hiroshima - onto North Carolina. It is a very fortunate thing for all of us today that the disaster was averted because the war-mongering freaks in the defense establishment would certainly have blamed it on the Russians setting off a global nuclear holocaust. Those were the days when the legendary General Curtis 'Bombs Away' LeMay, a man who had an absolute raging hard-on for a first strike on the Soviet Union and had the self-inflicted nuclear wound actually manifested itself he and his fellow hawks would have surely used the opportunity to send in the bombers. LeMay was the basis for the George C. Scott character, General Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove and the prototype for the militarist maniacs of the future including of course a certain crazed Senator from Arizona who has been integral in the current charge towards hostilities with Russia, whether it be schmoozing with neo-Nazi thugs in Kiev or more recently just happening to show up in Bulgaria to kill that country's pipeline deal with Putin. John McCain would be a perfect choice to play the Slim Pickens part of Major T.J. "King" Kong riding the bomb down to the target but he only sends others to die for his pathological bloodlust.
Mr. Schlosser, an outstanding investigative journalist whose gut-churning book "Fast Food Nation" convinced me years ago to change my eating habits seems to have found a winning topic for his long awaited follow-up. "Command and Control" details a number of serious close calls where a nuclear weapon could have ended up going off in America out of happenstance, bad luck, poor planning and just some of that good old fashioned big government idiocy that never fails to fail in planning for contingencies. One of the incidents in the book is the so called "Damascus Incident" where a dropped tool happened to breach the skin of a Titan II missile armed with a thermonuclear warhead. This happened in Arkansas back in 1980 when none other than Slick Willie was the sitting governor. Unfortunately there isn't mention of the bizarre 2007 incident when six nuclear missiles were somehow without any authorization loaded onto a Stratofortress bomber and flown out of Minot, North Dakota. This which came at the time when the Cheney faction of the George W. Bush administration was pushing for a war on Iran has never been adequately explained and there are tales of a number of strange deaths involving personnel of both Minot and Barksdale Air Force bases. Just another of those ugly little situations where there is never a satisfactory explanation and all doubters of the official government story are rapidly sent off to sit in the corner wearing tin foil dunce hats.
The world is coming apart now, thanks largely to the Iraq catastrophe initiated by the Bush regime now blowing up at the most inopportune of times precisely when Obama and his warmongers are engaged in escalating the bloodbath of an atrocity filled environment in East Ukriane in the hopes of goading Putin into invading. The US government, military and political elite are fully chock a block with lunatics - particularly within NATO - with one huge difference between today's world domination fetishists and their historical counterparts is that the Cold Warriors, while insane were at least competent. No matter how hard one looks it is damned near impossible to see even the smallest sliver of such competence within the current establishment.
It is a very American phenomenon, putting the most dangerous weapons in the history of mankind into the hands of the least responsible and completely stupid individuals running the most powerful institutions on the planet. They are freaks who dig playing Russian roulette with millions of other people's lives in the balance, so far the chamber has always been empty when the trigger was pulled but our luck will eventually run out. Sooner rather than later too.