My dad once told me (I was complaining about ageing) that it’s normal to experience a culture-shift as the people who lived through a time with you start to die off, and things that were facts of your life are now unusual and alien to them. For example, I grew up when there were still Horn and Hardart automats: places you could buy food from big slot machines, sort of a primordial form of fast food.
I was also conceived shortly after the Matsu/Quemoy incident, and born a month after the Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved. When I was a teenager I remember my dad once said “we didn’t know if you’d get to be born…” What an amazing thing to realize: there were people carrying children wondering if the political assholes who run the world were going to end it all, first. We lived in Manhattan at the time so, if the crisis had gone differently, I would have died prematurely. Dad grew up through a different time, a time when that was all “necessary” because Nazis and Japanese and Soviet Union. We accept the shovel-loads of lies we’re told when we’re kids in school and that’s why we’re told them, then: we’re accepting. Imagine trying to explain Mutual Assured Destruction to someone who hadn’t been previously indoctrinated into its ‘necessity.’ “Wait, you want to spend money on this instead of healthcare?”
Sometimes I’ve said things about nuclear weapons to the younger generation, and been looked at quizzically – as if it’s sort of a weird thing to be worried about, like a Flock of Seagulls reunion or parachute pants becoming fashionable again. I’m happy that they don’t realize how close they came to never existing at all, the same way 8-month Marcus pregnancy didn’t realize what the fuss was about.
I think this is what it was about:That kind of target-like thing is, I believe, what’s left of the launch platform for a medium-range ballistic missile, specifically a PGM-19 Jupiter [wikipedia] The Jupiter was a fine product of Chrysler Corporation, and had been designed by Wehrner Von Braun for accuracy, ostensibly to demolish bridges and fortifications, but since it carried a 1.1 megaton warhead, that’s a transparent lie: it was designed for a decapitating strike on the Soviet leadership and missile-fields. Since it would take about 40 minutes for a missile to get from the midwest USA to Moscow, the Soviets knew they had time to respond – but when the US positioned the Jupiters down in Turkey, suddenly Moscow’s reaction time dropped to below 10 minutes, probably about 7 minutes. That was less time than would be needed to make the decision and get the Soviet ICBMs of the day off the pad – it wasn’t “a dagger aimed at the heart of the USSR” it was a “gun held against the head of the USSR.” In case that wasn’t bad enough, the US required the Jupiter to have a 15 minute order-to-launch cycle – claiming it was so that they could be launched in case of a pre-emptive Soviet strike, but really that was a lie.
By the time the Jupiters were fielded, the Corona program spy satellites[wikipedia] had begun returning successful overflight footage of Soviet missile-fields since 1960, and U2 overflights had been going on for some time; the US strategic war-planners had already figured out that the “bomber gap” was a lie and that the Soviets were very far behind in the arms race. How far behind? Well, Jupiter deployments in Turkey and Italy amounted to a decisive advantage that might allow the US to launch a successful first strike and only suffer relatively minor damage in return; perhaps New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco – but the Soviet Union would be wiped out.
The US, a country which pays a great deal of lip-service to non-proliferation, used NATO as a fig-leaf to justify that it had deployed 10 1.1 megaton warheads to Italy and 15 to Turkey. There were also longer-range missiles (Thor) stationed in Britain. Meanwhile, the Soviets, who had deeply penetrated the intelligence services of England and the US, kept watch for the signs of an impending strike. After the “bomber gap” came the “missile gap” – ultra-privileged amoral nihilist John Kennedy attacked Nixon in the 1960 election for allowing a “missile gap” to form between Soviet capabilities and US capabilities. There was a gap, all right, but it was that the US was positioning itself to decisively win WWIII.
That’s the strategic context in which the Soviets stole a page from the American play-book and tried to proliferate missiles to Cuba. There aren’t any Soviet propaganda maps of how quickly a Jupiter could fly from Çiğli to Moscow but it’s 2000 km or so, about the same distance from Cuba to New York City. The US already had fielded 25 Jupiter missiles and they were sitting there, ready to go, when the Soviets were attempting to field missiles in Cuba – missiles that the US leaders and strategists knew could do nothing to alter the strategic balance. The US had 203 missile-mounted warheads deployed against the Soviets’ 26. It would have been a slaughter. And because he was all about slaughter, Curtis LeMay, who was in the tense meeting-rooms while Kennedy tried to unscrew the situation he and his co-conspirators had devised, kept arguing for the US to strike first.But, back to the tombstone for a missile that I found on Google maps: I’m pretty sure I found the right place. The military-style bermed revetments to the upper right are clearly ammunition storage. The funny revetment in the middle looks like a launch control center. Most telling, all the berms are lined up as if the missile might get hit by incoming fire, or might simply blow up on the pad – as they did, distressingly often. There are other stories about Jupiter missiles in Italy getting hit by lightning and failing into an armed state, and there was all that twitchy liquid fuel. They were an extinction event waiting to happen.
It’s a little tasteless and obvious to say this, but I’m going to: the US didn’t hesitate to stage nuclear weapons in other countries, without their civilians having any idea what was going on, putting them in the line of fire for a nuclear strike that the US and its leadership were protected from. Nice leaders we’ve got, huh? And for any of you who believe in “democracy” ask yourself to what degree these decisions reflected the consent of the governed.
The Jupiter monsters are gone. But they’ve been replaced with much ‘better’ killers. The US, again without the consent of the governed, has begun fielding a new model of warhead – they’re calling it an “upgrade” but one doesn’t “upgrade” the physics package of an H-bomb: you build a new bomb and call the new bomb the old bomb and then you still have the same number of bombs on paper – only the new bomb is both more precise and deadly. [bulletin] It’s only going to cost $1 trillion over the next 15 years. Ask yourself to what degree these decisions reflect the consent of the governed.
Worse, the US’ relentless propaganda campaign against its own people continues to paint the Russians as the evil aggressors.“The US-Russia Nuclear Arms Race is Over – Russia Won” hardly. The Russian people have lost. So have the American people. Who won? The leaders. The military. The monsters that build and polish monsters that lurk, ready to serve them – to serve us all – in 10 minutes.
Back in the 60s they used to say, “don’t trust anyone over 30.” They were right. When I see young people who have any faith in the political system at all I just fear they are hopelessly naive. Anyone who can clearly see the flaming hell our leaders have built to hang over us, would be erecting guillotines and preparing tumbrils. Young people: do not love your leaders. Fear them. Disempower them if you get the chance.
One of the common complaints against anarchism is that it doesn’t offer a viable form of government. Anyone who makes that complaint needs to acknowledge that they are implicitly accepting the status quo: that they’d rather follow these slugs in wolves’ clothing, that would plan such a bright million-degree fahrenheit future for us.
Occasionally I encounter people who are concerned with John Kennedy and the manner of his death – was it a CIA conspiracy, or the mob, or whatever. Who cares? He was a fucking monster. If you want to truly understand the horrible power of propaganda and marketing, look at how they made that guy into some kind of shining white knight crusader when he was a horrible asshole who got a hell of a lot of people killed. I was just a kid when he was shot but I remember the upset and the hand-wringing. If those people knew what he really was, they’d have been dancing in the streets. Of course his replacement was just another great big sloppy helping of the same filth, we just can’t win.
By the way.. It’s a little hard to know for sure because a lot of the details are still classified (for reasons that shall become obvious) but the US war plan, known as the SIOP (Single Integrated Operations Plan) was originally not very flexible. It was a target list drawn up by Curtis LeMay and his ilk, coordinating the launches and overkill so that if the US launched its entire arsenal, all the targets would be destroyed. At a certain unknown date this was determined to be too inflexible – after all, there was no option for a limited war – so a new SIOP was developed, that (apparently) consisted of layered strike packages. That’s all still classified. One thing we do know is that the first SIOP and maybe the second both called for strikes on USSR and China. The heartless monsters in Washington apparently reasoned that if the US and USSR soaked off against eachother, they didn’t want the Chinese to survive because then they’d be the rules of whatever ashes were left. Can you imagine the kind of mentality that cooks up an idea like that? Of course you can, it’s every president since (and including) Eisenhower.
The way LeMay’s SAC drew up the first target list was the same way they drew up the target list for North Korea: every concentration of population got an estimated necessary kilotonnage, then an overkill factor was added. As LeMay said after WWII, “I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal…” – instead they promoted him and put him in charge of bomber command during the Korean War and then the Strategic Air Command. If he hadn’t had the good taste to die, he probably would have been encouraging the US to lay waste to Vietnam. But his successors did that anyway. I wish there was a hell because I’d imagine LeMay was in it, except he’d probably be dropping bombs on people even in hell.