My early exposure to the concept of nuclear war was oddly calm: duck under your school desk, cover your head, and all will be right with you and the world. It was only later, when visuals on TV showed more horrific images, that the terror of it became clear; along with the inanity of “duck and cover,” that tender ode to nuclear annihilation.
I was a child during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As a child, I didn’t truly understand the horrors the world was facing. As an adult, it’s becoming all too clear, especially with the current saber-rattling of nations around the globe. Including ours.
Which got me to wondering: what are the “rules” around launching a nuclear bomb? Who gets to authorize it (the President) and can anyone stop him from doing so (no). This RadioLab episode provides a unique look at the process, considering it from the perspective of a military officer who would receive a call to launch. Could he refuse to act?