Category Archive '“Dr. Strangelove” (1964)'
04 Oct 2011
Iowahawk imagines the Strangelove-esque phone call from the current occupant of the White House to Mexico, to explain that a little something has gone wrong with a BATF gun control operation.
Juan? Hola, amigo! Como esta?
Fine, fine. And how are Lupe and the kids?
College already? Boy, how time flies. Has she picked a major?
Splendid. And how is Juan Jr.? He’s what now, 13, 14? The last time I saw him he was only…
My goodness. Boy, that’s… that’s just terrible. My deepest sympathies to you and Lupe on your loss. I’ll have my secretary arrange for a memorial bouquet. I know he was a fine boy, and…
Now, Juan, let’s not jump to conclusions here. We both know there are lots of machine gun murders in Mexico, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all…
Yes, Juan, I got your messages. As a matter of fact that’s why I’m calling this afternoon. I’ve had my people look into this thing and…
Now… now Juan… let’s just calm down here a minute. Just, okay.. okay… let me please explain, okay? See, the funny thing is, it turns out, a couple years back there was, well, this stimulus program money, and then there were these brainstorming sessions, where, well, there were some ideas what to do with it. So, anyhoo, one of the ideas that happened was, ‘hey, what if there were, say, 2000 machine guns that got sent to Mexican drug lords?’ and so forth.
Well no, of course we couldn’t tell you. It would have ruined the surprise.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
25 Sep 2009
Wired tells us Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964) film accurately predicted a system put on-line in 1985 by the Soviets that would assure an automatic Soviet response to a Western first strike.
The Cold War ended years ago, but apparently the Russians never turned off their Doomsday device.
Valery Yarynich glances nervously over his shoulder. Clad in a brown leather jacket, the 72-year-old former Soviet colonel is hunkered in the back of the dimly lit Iron Gate restaurant in Washington, DC. It’s March 2009â€”the Berlin Wall came down two decades agoâ€”but the lean and fit Yarynich is as jumpy as an informant dodging the KGB. He begins to whisper, quietly but firmly.
“The Perimeter system is very, very nice,” he says. “We remove unique responsibility from high politicians and the military.” He looks around again.
Yarynich is talking about Russia’s doomsday machine. That’s right, an actual doomsday deviceâ€”a real, functioning version of the ultimate weapon, always presumed to exist only as a fantasy of apocalypse-obsessed science fiction writers and paranoid Ã¼ber-hawks. The thing that historian Lewis Mumford called “the central symbol of this scientifically organized nightmare of mass extermination.” Turns out Yarynich, a 30-year veteran of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and Soviet General Staff, helped build one.
The point of the system, he explains, was to guarantee an automatic Soviet response to an American nuclear strike. Even if the US crippled the USSR with a surprise attack, the Soviets could still hit back. It wouldn’t matter if the US blew up the Kremlin, took out the defense ministry, severed the communications network, and killed everyone with stars on their shoulders. Ground-based sensors would detect that a devastating blow had been struck and a counterattack would be launched.
The technical name was Perimeter, but some called it Mertvaya Ruka, or Dead Hand. It was built 25 years ago and remained a closely guarded secret. With the demise of the USSR, word of the system did leak out, but few people seemed to notice. In fact, though Yarynich and a former Minuteman launch officer named Bruce Blair have been writing about Perimeter since 1993 in numerous books and newspaper articles, its existence has not penetrated the public mind or the corridors of power. The Russians still won’t discuss it, and Americans at the highest levelsâ€”including former top officials at the State Department and White Houseâ€”say they’ve never heard of it. When I recently told former CIA director James Woolsey that the USSR had built a doomsday device, his eyes grew cold. “I hope to God the Soviets were more sensible than that.” They weren’t.
The system remains so shrouded that Yarynich worries his continued openness puts him in danger. He might have a point: One Soviet official who spoke with Americans about the system died in a mysterious fall down a staircase. But Yarynich takes the risk. He believes the world needs to know about Dead Hand. Because, after all, it is still in place.
Read the whole thing.
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