The Real Story of How We Came Close to Nuclear Armageddon

A new documentary focuses on the Sept. 19, 1980, blowup of one of the Air Force’s Titan II rockets in Arkansas–a Kafkaesque saga of human error and bureaucratic incompetence.”>

We live in scaring times.

Nuclear Armageddon, or a reasonable fax thereof, remains a distinct prospect in the post-Cold War world, and thats not just because Iran continues its bellicose saber-rattling and North Korea presses on with warlike artilleries researching.

As documentary head Robert Kenner and investigative correspondent Eric Schlosser chillingly substantiate in their film Command and Controlwhich opens today in New York and, eventually, nationwideits also because Americas apocalyptic arsenal is alarmingly accident-prone.

Yet, as Kenner and Schlosser sat at a powwow counter in their Manhattan publicists office the other day, that didnt seem to be their most immediate worry.

Quite candidly, I spend a lot of hour with people who handle nuclear weapon, either as launch policemen, artilleries designers, upkeep guys or the officers, and they had to undergo something “ve called the” Personnel Reliability Program, said Schlosser, whose much-lauded 2013 volume of the same entitle was the basis for Command and Control. They had to undergo really strict mental evaluation, mental health issues evaluation.

Donald Trump “wouldve been” disqualified from handling and working with American atomic weapon because of its own history of lying, because of the evidence of a kind of instability, and because of his fiscal dispenses. If youre a young launch man, and they find that youve run up a huge amount of charge card debt

And bankruptcies, Kenner sounded in.

And insolvencies, Schlosser agreed, that could get you disqualified from treating nuclear weapons. They want people who are considered dependable. They crave people who cant be blackmailed. So its amazing that our potential commander in chief maybe literally couldnt overtake the mental evaluation.

While the filmmakers conceded that Hillary Clinton hardly enjoys a sterling account of candornotably failing to promptly disclose her bout with pneumonia, or her tall tales of landing under sniper fervour in war-torn BosniaKenner disagreed: Shes not absolutely unstable. I reckon she could get us into estate conflicts, but not necessarily killing off rockets to do it. I repute she would like to be on the earthI think theres a mental advantage that she might have, although I disagree with her political instincts.

So both men, inhabitants of Democrat-leaning California, plan to hold their noses and throw their referendums for Clinton, though Kenner mused that since shes likely to carry the commonwealth regardless, our polls dont mean anything.

Im voting against Donald Trump, Schlosser disclosed. I cant bear the guy.

Their movie focuses on a little-remembered Sept. 19, 1980 blowup of one of the U. s. air force Titan II weapons in Damascus, aging and nearly antiquated two-decade-old engineering that was mainly kept in the active arsenal as a bargaining chipin potentialnegotiations with the Soviets.

Its a Kafkaesque saga of human error, panicked decision-making, administrative incompetence, groupthink and ass-covering that could have resulted in millions of deaths if the 9-megaton warhead had explosion, a very real a risk, unleashing a pernicious power equivalent to three times that of all the bombs discontinued during World War II, including the atomic machines plummeted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This was a microcosm of all those other happens, said Kenner, whose film notes further that at least a thousand misfortunes of varying degrees of severitymost of them merely acknowledged in recently declassified Air Force documentshave came over the past five decades. The Air Force brass has toiled assiduously to keep such faults from the public.

This past January, the Us air force finally summarized but refused to provide details of a May 2014 happen at a Minuteman 3 launching silo on the Colorado-Nebraska borderin which three airmen were deprived of their nuclear certifications after shattering cruise missiles during a routine diagnostic testbut this basic intelligence was shared only after the Associated Press filed more than a years worth of legal challenges in support of a Freedom of Information Act request.

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