[lit-ideas] Re: Bet you didn't know Stanislav saved the world...

  • From: Andy Amago <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 22 May 2004 08:55:45 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

According to the good old History Channel, the Soviet Union was instrumental in 
avoiding nuclear war several times, going right back to the standoff between 
Kennedy and Kruschev.  The American military had been sporting for a fight, but 
Kennedy had the wherewithal, after the Bay of Pigs, to not take their advice.  
At the time, nuclear weaponry was relatively new, and few people, even in the 
Pentagon, knew the true extent of its power (sounds amazing, doesn't it?).  
Hence the advice by the government to duck and cover, as if covering one's head 
under a desk would prevent incineration.  No one, including Secretary of 
Defense McNamara, knew how nuclear weapons compared to conventional weapons.

In a trip by McNamara to the Soviet Union, the Russians essentially made clear 
to him what nuclear war meant.  He returned from the trip, and in a private 
one-on-one meeting with John Kennedy (one-on-ones with the President virtually 
never happened) told Kennedy that no matter what the Russians do, not matter 
what, whether it be invade France, invade Germany, no matter what they do, do 
not, under any circumstances, do not use nuclear weapons.  Not coincidentally, 
it was the Russians who pulled out during the missile crisis.  

Andy Amago

-----Original Message-----
From: Scribe1865@xxxxxxx
Sent: May 21, 2004 4:49 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Bet you didn't know Stanislav saved the world...

Ex-Soviet Officer Honored for Prudence
Ignored Alarm in 1983 that Wrongly Signaled Incoming U.S. Minuteman Missiles
MOSCOW (May 21) - A retired Soviet military officer was honored Friday for 
averting a potential nuclear war in 1983 by ignoring an alarm that said the 
United States had launched a ballistic missile, a U.S.-based peace association 
said on its Web site.
Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov was in charge of the Soviet Union's early warning 
system when the system wrongly signaled the launch of a U.S. Minuteman 
intercontinental ballistic missile in September 1983.
Petrov had to decide within 20 minutes whether the report was accurate and 
whether he should launch missiles in retaliation, the Vlast magazine reported 
At the time of the incident, tensions between the United States and the 
Soviet Union were high. The Soviet military had recently shot down a Korean Air 
Lines jet that strayed over Soviet airspace, killing all 269 people on board.
Petrov decided the alarm was false and did not launch a retaliatory strike.
The article said Petrov suffered severe stress after the incident and spent 
several months in hospitals before being discharged from the military.
On Friday, the San-Francisco-based Association of World Citizens, a worldwide 
organization promoting peace, presented Petrov with the World Citizen Award 
and launched a campaign to raise $1,000 for the Russian, who receives only a 
meager pension.
"All the 20 years that passed since that moment, I didn't believe I had done 
something extraordinary. I was simply doing my job and I did it well," Petrov 
said on Russia's NTV television.
05/21/04 12:50 EDT
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.

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