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

  • From: Carol Kirschenbaum <carolkir@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 22 May 2004 14:07:07 -0700

Andy, where did you see/read this McNamara/Kennedy anecdote? Would have been
powerful if McN had said it to Errol Morris in _Fog of War_. Would either
Morris or McN censor themselves and *not* use such a juicy anecdote in such
a relevant context? So I'm curious about the source.
Carol



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>; <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, May 22, 2004 5:55 AM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Bet you didn't know Stanislav saved the world...


> 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 in
> 1998.
> 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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