A Day We Were Mere Minutes From Nuclear Annihilation

by Hugh Mungus

Technically, aren't we mere minutes from nuclear annihilation at any given moment? Moreover, why does this fail to infuriate us? How come the fact that governments dangle our lives over the precipice of decimation every single second, isn't a bone of contention the size of a Tyrannosaurus rex femur?

The title of this article became a much more imminent reality on January 25, 1995. Oddly enough, most of us still aren't aware of it.

The U.S. and Russia nearly ended humankind on the aforementioned day. We're talkin' eradication of you, your immediate family, and everyone on the planet.

If you're reading this chapter, there's a decent chance you were entertaining cognitive thoughts on January 25, 1995. On that date, perhaps you found yourself:

A) driving a car.

B) driving a stolen car.

C) trapped in the Grotto at the Playboy Mansion.

For your sake, I hope you were immersed in letter C, as it was quite nearly the last act of your life.

In order to study the aurora borealis, Norway and the U.S. had jointly launched a harmless Black Brant XII rocket. Although Russia was informed of this exercise, for whatever reason, the message wasn't received via proper channels. As such, somewhere near dawn, the Kremlin believed they were under an unprovoked nuclear attack. President Boris Yeltsin was rallied from slumber, and given the sobering news.

Out comes the Russian version of the Nuclear Football - the suitcase containing launch authorization for every warhead possessed by the largest country on the planet. To be precise, three black attaches - known as Cheget - were opened that morning. One was presided over by Yeltsin, while the other two were handled by Minister of Defense Pavel Grachev and Chief of the General Staff Mikhail Kolesnikov.

Whether or not to discharge thousands of nukes isn't a decision that should fall upon the shoulders of somnolent men. Moreover, these dudes had 10 minutes to reach their resolution. This is how long it took American missiles launched from submarines in the Barents Sea to impact Russian soil.

Moments prior to dispatch, radar operators observed the missile in question heading toward the ocean, and the heightened state of emergency was cancelled. The end of humanity, as well as every living thing on Earth, except for cockroaches and insurance salesmen, was avoided.

Makes a person wonder if this type of scenario has played out more than once. Well, it has, but those stories will have to wait for subsequent articles.

One question, before I determine what's at the bottom of this bottle of bourbon: Doesn't the concept of commencing a counterattack, in response to a nuclear first strike, seem ludicrous? Say Russia fires their missiles initially. Resultant of this act, perhaps half of humanity will perish. Wouldn't it be far more advantageous for the U.S. to not launch a retaliatory strike, and thereby save half our species?

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