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Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety

Controversy broke out at two nuclear weapons facilities in the US recently when it was reported that people in charge of monitoring blast doors at an underground command post were napping on the job. Each of the facilities contain 50 intercontinental ballistic missiles and their launch codes. It turns out that the incident is neither unprecedented, nor rare.

Award winning investigative journalist Eric Schlosser chronicles a litany of absurd and terrifying nuclear close-calls since the end of WWII through to the Cold War in his just published book “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.” Among the horror stories Schlosser exposes are the six minutes Soviet President Boris Yeltsin had to respond to a nuclear attack that turned out to be a Norwegian weather experiment, the apocalyptic image of a Mark 36 hydrogen bomb burning for two and a half hours on a Moroccan air field, and a socket from a wrench that damaged a Titan II missile, nearly leading to the annihilation of the state of Arkansas.

In Command and Control, Schlosser shows how the US has been a minor bungle away from nuclear holocaust on more occasions than politicians or the military would admit.

Eric Schlosser is an award winning playwright filmmaker and investigative journalist. His First book Fast Food Nation brought about a worldwide backlash against that industry

GUEST: Eric Schlosser, award winning investigative journalist, author of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety