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Secrets of the Dead…

I watched a couple of interesting shows on Public Television (PBS) last Tuesday night. They commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Back in that October of 1962, I was then 20-yrs-old.

Olga & Vasili Arkhipov…

The PBS show that followed documented the heroism of Vasili Arkhipov, who commanded four nuclear subs on their way to support Cuba at that time.

The Kennedy administration had become aware that the Russians were in the process of fielding nuclear missiles in Cuba, much as the US had stationed such missiles on the Russian border in Turkey.

(The US/Turkey missile info was withheld from the American public.)

At 20 I was already a veteran of the 101st Airborne Division and married with two children living outside of Nashville, TN. The Crisis might seem all quaint from an historical perspective, but it was no joke back then.

For the younger generations today, the war in Vietnam is ancient history…ending some 37 years ago. Back in ’62, the Second World War was only 17 years old and Korea less than 10.

Like many citizens of that period, I too was digging a fall-out shelter. And like many others, I never got further than having a big hole on my garden.

Perhaps we’ll get that opportunity again after Romney is (s)elected to the presidency and strives to bring about the Mormon doctrine that Independence, Missouri, is the site of Zion, the New Jerusalem (after Armageddon of course).

The Mormon belief system includes the destruction of Old Jerusalem (his close associate, Bibi Netanyahu, an old-school Revisionist Zionist, is heading that project), the impoverishment of the 47%+ who thru their economic subjugation are condemned as undeserving, and the rise of the proven Chosen who accept Mormonism and/or have demonstrated their Godliness thru the acquisition of wealth and power.

I for one am convinced that there is a strong likelihood that the only renegade atomic power in the world, the apartheid, settler-colonial, terrorist nation of Israel (as it’s currently constituted), may well be the source of using atomic weapons with a corporatist America abetting its mutually destructive folly.

I’m not looking forward to being proved correct.

After PBS showed a documentary on the Missile Crisis, there was a second feature on Vasili Arkhipov who commanded a nuclear fleet of 4 subs to Cuba during that crisis and almost surely single-handedly prevented a nuclear Armageddon.

The story of how close we all came to destruction was not revealed to the public until some years after the fall of the Soviet Union. That PBS show was appropriately entitled, “The Man Who Saved the World.” Hyperbole? I think not.

As bad as the threat was to humankind—with Air Force General Curtis LeMay and other military leaders on both sides calling for a military solution to the crisis—by far the greatest threat was the use of any nuclear strike.

General Curtis LeMay, one could recall, was the vice-presidential running mate to arch-segregationist George Wallace back in ’68. Today, the ultra-conservative right has learned to “moderate” their intentions for political power.

The US had moved to a military preparedness of DEFCON 2 and had nuclear missiled B-52 bombers in the air surrounding the Soviet Union until November 15th.

Both JFK and Nikita Krushchev had seen formidable combat in World War II. Neither was eager for another war and certainly not with nuclear weapons. There was no doubt that both nations would suffer greatly with millions of casualties.

The world we know today and the people in it would be a much different place. Many of us reading these words would be dead or non-existent.

Romney, given his Mormon beliefs (he was a Bishop of that church) would not only welcome such an outcome as Justice from his God, but neither him nor his adult sons, nor most of the conservatives around them ever saw combat. These are the most dangerous people. No one who has been in combat lightly considers its use.

During DEFCON-2, the US Navy discovered 3 of the Russian subs in the Sargasso Sea off the US east coast. Unknown to the Navy at the time, each of the subs carried a nuclear torpedo. A combination of circumstances made the situation especially hazardous.

As older-class electric-diesel boats, they were required to regularly surface to recharge their batteries. In the case of at least the sub carrying Arkhapov, B-59, the air conditioning had failed. Temperatures had risen to between 110 and 160 degrees in various parts of the sub.

The US Navy discovered and challenged the sub by employing excessive sonar pinging and using “practice” depth charges in an attempt to force it to surface.  The Russian mariners had no means to communicate with their base and did not understand the American intentions.

The boat’s captain and political officer each had a half-key to enable the firing of the nuclear torpedo. They, along with fleet commander Arkhapov, had joint approval and it required a unanimous decision.

For all the captain knew, they were at war. He ordered the key to be joined and placed in the circuit. The political officer agreed.

Arkhapov vetoed the decision to turn the key–it was that close–and favored their surfacing to assess American intentions and get proper directions from Kremlin Command. He prevailed and almost surely World War III was avoided.

Cockroaches & Idiots…

There can be little doubt, given the totality of circumstances, that if the sub had fired the torpedo, thus vaporizing the US Navy above along with themselves, the US would have ordered the Strategic Air Command to bomb Russia, which would have resulted in the Russians ordering their own missiles against the US.

When Kruschev got a secret agreement from JFK to have the US remove their missiles from Turkey, he agreed to remove the Cuban missiles and the crisis was over.

How many throughout the world quite literally owe our lives to Vasili Arkhipov, the Soviet commander?

Dr. Publico

Category: ArkhipovVasili, Cubans
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One Response
  1. Gina.gov.gy says:

    Howdy! This article couldn’t be written any better!
    Looking through this post reminds me of my previous
    roommate! He continually kept preaching about this.
    I most certainly will send this post to him.
    Fairly certain he’s going to have a good read. Thanks for
    sharing!}

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