From Eric Schlosser, The Truths Behind ‘Dr. Strangelove’ in The New Yorker.
“Although ‘Strangelove’ was clearly a farce, with the comedian Peter Sellers playing three roles, it was criticized for being implausible. An expert at the Institute for Strategic Studies called the events in the film ‘impossible on a dozen counts.’ ….The first casualty of every war is the truth — and the Cold War was no exception to that dictum. Half a century after [Director Stanley] Kubrick’s mad general, Jack D. Ripper, launched a nuclear strike on the Soviets to defend the purity of ‘our precious bodily fluids’ from Communist subversion, we now know that American officers did indeed have the ability to start a Third World War on their own.”
Secrecy spared us all that terrifying knowledge. Are you grateful?
Schlosser’s book, “Command and Control” brilliantly evokes, in slow-motion as it were, a September 1980 accident that nearly nuked northern Arkansas. I had just graduated from college at the time and I think I read one news story about it and forgot. For thee decades, I slept easy about nuclear safety. Now not so much.