Exactly half a century ago, on this and for the next dozen days, we kids got up each morning with no guarantee that we would live to see evening. We might quite easily be vaporised or worse in a nuclear holocaust. The Cuba Missile Crisis was playing out off the coast of Florida. Jack Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were engaging in what was then known as brinkmanship. World War III was so on the cards. And I really resented it. I monumentally resented it. I was a teenager. I was listening to Gene and Eddie and Elvis and Miles. I was in my very first band. I was learning about whiskey. I was learning about women. I wanted some marijuana. I wanted some pills. I did not want my life gratuitously snuffed out before I’d tasted any of it. It wasn’t fair and I hated it. Fuck you J. Robert Oppenheimer I cried. Thankfully the rest was history.
Here’s Noam Chomsky with a more objective view…
“About one-third of the total force was in the air, according to General David Burchinal, director of plans on the Air Staff at Air Force Headquarters. The Strategic Air Command (SAC), technically in charge, appears to have had little control. And according to Clawson’s account, the civilian National Command Authority was kept in the dark by SAC, which means that the ExComm “deciders” pondering the fate of the world knew even less. General Burchinal’s oral history is no less hair-raising, and reveals even greater contempt for the civilian command. According to him, Russian capitulation was never in doubt. The CD operations were designed to make it crystal clear to the Russians that they were hardly even competing in the military confrontation, and could quickly have been destroyed. From the ExComm records, Stern concludes that, on October 26th, President Kennedy was “leaning towards military action to eliminate the missiles” in Cuba, to be followed by invasion, according to Pentagon plans. It was evident then that the act might have led to terminal war, a conclusion fortified by much later revelations that tactical nuclear weapons had been deployed and that Russian forces were far greater than U.S. intelligence had reported.” Clickhere for more
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