Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forNovember 8th, 2004 | back to home

8 November 2004

An illuminating account of the truth behind the movie revealed that the real-life head of Strategic Air Command was prepared to attack the Soviet Union whether or not the president gave him an order if he thought the Russians were going to attack and the Dr Strangelove character himself was likely based on “Herman Kahn”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Kahn who was at the Rand thinktank and who wrote books about the aftermath of nuclear war containing references to the need to preserve humanity in mineshafts. Daniel Ellsberg who leaked the Pentagon papers and worked at RAND joked when he first saw the film that it was a documentary.

If that doesn’t scare you enough, it turns out that for about a decade “the ‘top secret launch code’ for US nuclear weapons was 00000”:http://www.cdi.org/blair/permissive-action-links.cfm because Strategic Air Command didn’t agree the security systems were necessary.

And I haven’t heard anything about the security systems and the thinking in the defense departments of the Soviet Union at the time – I imagine what we may learn if and when when that leaks out would be just as scary. It’s a wonder we made it through that period in one piece…