That is most certainly true. Reading Daniel Ellsberg’s book “The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner” and it is scary as fuck! Do not understand why this book has not gotten the juice it should have. Oh yeah I know, Trump. But since Trump is now the owner of the nuclear “button” all of the frightening secrets of our nuclear planning for the last 60 years were inherited by him and most of the horrible ideas promulgated over that time are still a part of our nuclear policies.
Certainly Maddow, who wrote a book about how defense policies, strategies, systems and budgets have a tendency to “Drift” (which had a chapter about the growing issues of an aging nuclear arsenal), should be fascinated by the revelations of the evolution of our nuclear policies and all of the things that were never told to the public.
I didn’t realize that Ellsberg had been so high up in the defense establishment for so long, but of course, how else could he have gotten the Pentagon Papers? Ellsberg actually had gathered a second set of “Papers” to blow the whistle on our nuclear planning structure. But those papers were destroyed accidentally in that time when he was running from the law over the Pentagon Papers.
I will write more about this book, but for now I’ll just leave you with this: intelligent people understand that the idea of a nuclear “button” isn’t that simple, it’s a series of codes and commands that can emanate from the executive. But because part of first strike nuclear strategy for us and Russia for 60 years has been the notion/goal of “decapitation” or hitting the command centers of the opposite government first and rendering their entire system inert, both sides essentially developed what was referred to in the semi-fictional Kubrick classic film “Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Love the Bomb” as a “Doomsday Machine”.
That’s real. Both sides created systems of delegation whereby commanders in the field (in Europe and in the Pacific) had the delegated ability to hit the “button” and initiate nuclear strikes if they believed we were under attack from the other side. The undisclosed policy of both nations was that there could be no isolated nuclear attacks. If one nuke was unleashed (even by accident), because no one could be truly sure in a timely manner if it was an accident, or isolated, then all out war would occur, both sides would fire everything in their arsenals towards their predetermined targets. Period.
So while we’re always so focused on the inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we were never told that there has been since the late 1950s a small network of people in command at various outposts of our defense system who had been delegated the ability to launch nukes. Which, as it was always thought, would initiate all out nuclear war.
Like I said scary as fuck.