Eric Schlosser on the Secret History of America's Nuclear Arsenal
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Rolling Stone
Posted: October 15th, 2013
In his new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, award-winning investigative journalist [Eric Schlosser] challenges and expands on the U.S. government's secretive record regarding nuclear accidents. Let's get the big question out of the way: How many times have we just barely avoided nuclear armageddon in the U.S.? It's a very secretive subject, and I did my best, through interviews and through the Freedom of Information Act, to get as much information as I could on these accidents. The Pentagon lists 32 broken arrows, which are their official nuclear weapon accidents that they consider really serious. A lot of other accidents [posed the] threat of accidental detonation on American soil. For many years, there were safety flaws with our nuclear weapons which weren't being addressed and which were being covered up. We're just very, very ... fortunate that a major city has not been destroyed by a nuclear weapon since Nagasaki. But there's no guarantee that that luck will last. Very little has been written about the ordinary servicemen and women who often took great risks. I tell the story of a guy whose job it was to walk over to a nuclear weapon damaged in an accident and dismantle it basically a bomb squad guy trained to handle nuclear weapons. That takes a lot of nerve to do. People like that put themselves at risk in order to prevent catastrophes. I think their stories are really worth telling. It was important to me to show, not just the bureaucratic incompetence in many cases, but also the incredible heroism of these ordinary servicemen. So it's not a simplistic, black-and-white anti-military thing at all.
Note: For more on the dangers of nuclear technologies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.