Last night CBS aired a segment "The New Cold War" dealing with "the unthinkable" - "Who has the ultimate power to use NUCLEAR WEAPONS?"
Opening with a "teaser" video of the US SUB Kentucky described in the program as the "deadliest engine of destruction in our Nuclear Arsenal" with almost 200, yes 200! warheads atop its Trident Missiles, with more than 30 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima Bomb, according to its Captain. We watch the crew "practice" the most deadly game - a Launch of its Nuclear Missiles.
The Captain assures us that these Death Dealers can be launched "only by the authority of one person", the President of the United States.
Actually, Not Accurate.
There is a difference worth noting between authority and ability.
Ability also resting with the Vice-President who is followed around by his own personal Nuclear Football Satchel.
And since we are told that much of this is "Top Secret" or "Above Top Secret" (whatever that may mean), we do not know what authority each individual Nuclear Sub Commander has to initiate Launch. For example, if communications fail or are cut off during a crisis or in a time of international tensions....
We are also introduced to "the most powerful man in the military", Admiral Cecil Haney,Commander of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM).
We are shown a digital "Time" board at STRATCOM counting down in minutes and seconds the "Safe Escape Time". The foolhardy notion that the Admiral and his staff have X amount of time to abandon ship, so to speak, in a Nuclear Attack and get themselves to "safety."
As the Admiral must know there is no such thing as safety in a Nuclear Conflict.
Get to "safety" where exactly? Even if he could, where would that leave the rest of us?
We know the answer. To be biblical: "Sackcloth and Ashes".
The Kentucky's Captain states that the Key to launch his World Wrecking Missiles is in a SAFE. In this case, he tells us, only the POTUS has the "combination" to open that safe allowing the Captain to insert the Key and launch massive death and destruction upon targeted nations and cities.
A STRATCOM Officer tries to convince us that "there are some very complex procedures" to be sure that STRATCOM "knows" that it is the POTUS they are talking to or communicating with and not some impostor, terrorist and/or hacker.
As computer forensic and security experts have told us and Congress - ANY SYSTEM CAN BE HACKED. So much for certainty.
This leads former Sec of Defense William J Perry to warn us that the President would have less than 10 minutes to decide if a Nuclear Missile launched from a Sub off one of our coasts was an actual attack or some sort of blip or computer error.
The Secretary advises that our Nuclear Weapons, "one thousand ready to go" and on "hair-trigger alert" and in "launch on warning posture", are "sufficient to destroy or obliterate ALL OF civilization."
The CBS correspondent asks Mr. Perry if this is true even now, so long after the Cold War, "STILL?"
"STILL", Perry replies.
LINK to Sec Perry's Website
We are told to tune in "next Sunday" when the segment continues and will deal with "the chance" the President will Launch Nuclear Weapons. The correspondent concludes: "greater than you might think."
What all of us need to grasp is that there may be No Next Sunday. The terrible fact of the existence and destructive capacity of Nuclear Weapons means that they can destroy us all and all future generations AT ANY TIME. They are with us every moment of every day and night. WAITING TO BE LAUNCHED.
Unless, we destroy them first!
ABOLITION IN OUR TIME!
THE ONLY GOOD NUCLEAR WEAPON IS A DISMANTLED ONE!
LINK to "60 Minutes"