Thursday, September 15, 2016

'The night we almost lost Arkansas'

Posted By on Thu, Sep 15, 2016 at 12:33 PM

click to enlarge PBS
  • PBS
Good notices continue for "Command and Control," the documentary about the Titan II missile explosion in a silo in Damascus, Ark., in 1980. It will be shown as an opening attraction next month at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.

In the meanwhile, reviews pour in, each seemingly with more drama than the next.  Such as this in Salon:

Headline:

The night we almost lost Arkansas — a 1980 nuclear Armageddon that almost was

The beginning:

On a September night 36 years ago, we nearly lost Arkansas. Some people may regard that as a mixed blessing, even now — Bill Clinton and his wife, then the governor and first lady of that state, were less than 50 miles away in Little Rock, at the Arkansas Democratic Convention.

If the Titan 2 intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, that exploded inside its silo in Damascus, Arkansas, had detonated its nuclear warhead, both the Clintons and Vice President Walter Mondale (also attending the convention) would have been dead within minutes. So would have millions of other people in Arkansas and neighboring states, with a plume of deadly radioactive fallout extending from the mid-South to the East Coast, perhaps as far as Washington.
I remember rousting reporters to begin covering the event. I remember feeling assured — unreasonably, the film apparently illustrates — by official representations that there were ample safety mechanisms to prevent accidental explosion of the nuclear warhead.

The point of it all is that dangers STILL exist. And, as the Salon article pointedly notes, Donald Trump might be the next president. The film's release has begun and a PBS showing is in the offing.

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