You May Not Be Interested in Nuclear War, But Nuclear War May Be Interested in You

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I wanted to take a moment to highlight that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, while under bombardment by depth charges, the captain of the Soviet Submarine B-59, exhausted and not understanding that the US was trying to get him to surface, not sink him, ordered one of his nuclear armed torpedoes be made ready to fire on the USS Randolph. Captain Savitsky was, fortunately, overruled by the Soviet Submarine Fleet Commander, Captain Vasili Arkhipov, refused to assent to firing the torpedo. Had he not done so the nuclear attack on the USS Randolph, which was leading the US Naval force, would have likely triggered the Single Integrated Operational Plan; America’s strategic plan for responding to a nuclear attack. Had this happened World War III would have begun and lasted only until the nuclear weapons stopped detonating…

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I bring this up to remind everyone what others have done all day: nuclear weapons are meant as a deterrent and the stability of the global system has depended on all parties with nuclear weapons doing everything they can to not use them. Had Captain Savitsky – tired, overheated, stressed out from the nature and long hours of his operational assignment below the waters of Cuba – fired his nuclear armed torpedo he would not have been acting on orders from the Kremlin. The submarine fleet on station had been out of touch with their higher headquarters for days, but nuclear war would have started any way. Not because the Soviet leadership decided it was their only viable option left (not that that would have been a good assessment of the situation), but because of the misreading of the tactical environment by one worn out submarine commander. Captain Arkhipov based part of his decision to not authorize the use of a nuclear armed torpedo on the fact that they’d been out of touch with their superiors and had exceedingly limited intelligence and information on what was actually happening on the surface above them.

We don’t always realize that for all the grand strategies and carefully crafted policies that events are all too often out of the control of the people we think are in charge and that we’ve entrusted with the responsibility to make the hard decisions. All too often they are in the hands of the tired, stressed men and women – in diplomatic, military, and other service – at the sharp end just trying to make the best decision out of a range of bad options with incomplete information.

For more on Vice Admiral Arkhipov, the man who saved the world, here’s the link to the documentary about what occurred on Submarine B-59. And the embedded video below.

* Official Photo of Vice Admiral Arkhipov found here.








Open Thread: A Sidebar on How Normal People Respond to “Vicious Attacks”

The Angry Ambulatory Yam cannot stop complaining about how how he was “viciously attacked” by the Khans. He’s single-handedly turned the matter from a one-day convention story among many into a week-long kerfuffle.

“But what if it were Hillary who got attacked by a Gold Star parent?” Back last Sunday (seems longer than that, doesn’t it?) I bookmarked some tweets, even though I assumed they’d be too minor a campaign-trail detail to repost here…


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Open Thread: Khizr Khan’s Speech at the DNC

Via Quartz, which further reported:

One particularly notable omission from Fox’s newscast was the decision to skip one of the night’s most acclaimed presentations—a speech by the father of Captain Humayun Khan, a US Army soldier who died at age 27, near Baghdad, while supporting Operation Iraqi freedom. The family immigrated to the US from Pakistan, and are Muslim.

Rather than airing Khan senior’s emotional speech, in which he told the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, that he had “sacrificed nothing” for America, Fox’s show The Kelly File continued with its regular commentary, and then cut to commercials. Those included a Benghazi-themed attack ad on Clinton, Media Matters reported

“Do not take this election lightly!…”



Open Thread: Like Drug Dealers & Osama bin Laden!

Says the GOP presidential candidate who spends hours a day on Twitter.

(I owe some commentor a hat tip for the title.)



Seriously: Mr. Khizr Khan Has Very Long Fingers

Thanks to several commentors for the link.

I’d post this during the daytime when more people would see it, but if it makes you sob as much as I am, better to be in private.

ETA: For those whose browers won’t show the embed, watch here: MSNBC.

Via Gawker:

My conscience compels me under these very difficult circumstances—very raw emotions—I am a very composed person. I don’t become that emotional in public discourse. But there is so much at stake. And I appeal to both of these leaders [Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan]: This is the time. There comes a time in the history of a nation where an ethical, a moral stand has to be taken regardless of the political cost. The only reason they’re not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences.



Because Some Asshattery Needs Its Own Snark

Like several valued commenters, I can’t help but love this story:

The [North Carolina] state GOP sent out a tweet Wednesday night saying it was “shameful” for Kaine to wear the flag of Honduras during his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Kaine was, of course, wearing a Blue Star Service pin, which people wear to signal they’ve a family member on active duty during a war or a conflict.

Here’s a typical version:

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To the wingnut mind, which is to say the Twitter account of the North Caroline GOP, this subtle and simple acknowledgement of pride and moment in a son’s service was the Honduran flag, and Kaine’s brazen display of that unAmerican allegiance was, and I quote, “shameful.”

To which I reply: Morans!

One additional note:  the Military Times article linked above contains an error.  It states that “North Carolina Republicans have apologized to Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine…”

Maybe so, but the only acknowledgement of their feckless, incompetent asshattery I’ve been able to find is a thank you to the person who pointed out what Kaine was actually wearing.  No contrition aimed at the nominee, his son, or the Democratic Party.

Which is to say that the NC GOP is not merely incompetent, feckless and having trouble peering through its own colon; they’re a bunch of ill-mannered boors whose parents should have (and maybe tried to) raise them better.

ETA:  as pointed out by valued commenters Hoodie, Omnes Omnibus, and in a prior thread Raven, the executive director of the state GOP did issue a clear apology to Tim Kaine and his family this afternoon.  So my dudgeon was accurate at the time I first read this story, and was superceded by the time I wrote my snark.  I regret that error — and exactly none of my disdain for the impulse that produced the initial last-refuge-of-scoundrelism.

TL:DR?  “Bless their hearts.”

Image:  from this catalogue.

 

 



D-Day: The 72nd Anniversary

Today is the 72nd Anniversary of D-Day. On 6 June 1944 over 160,000 Allied troops landed on the Normandy coastline to kick off the Land component of Operation Overlord. Alwyn Collison has been tweeting the events of WW II as they occurred – sort of a today in WW II retroactive live tweeting – and you can see the D-Day as it happened tweets here. The US Army’s D-Day site, includes multi-media (where I got the video below), a list of Medal of Honor awardees, the US and Allied Divisions involved, and a discussion of the Normandy coast, the beaches chosen for the landing, and how the Airborne assault and beach landings occurred.