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To Live or Not

5 December 2012

On October 23rd, PBS broadcast a program commemorating (for want of a better word) the half-century of the Cuban Missile Crisis when the world held its breath as the two greatest capitalist powers stood on the brink of a nuclear war.

The thrust of "Secrets of the Dead - The Cuban Missile Crisis" was that the possibility of a nuclear holocaust was even closer than anyone imagined at the time! Interviews with Soviet submarine officers, mostly now deceased, revealed that Kruschev had ordered four subs, each armed with nuclear missiles, to go to Cuba. The amazing aspect of it was that if the captain of the leading sub, the head officer of the fleet, and so-called 'Communist' Party officer, agreed, they could detonate a nuclear bomb which could reach as far as Los Angeles or New York without asking for permission from Moscow.

President Kennedy had ringed Cuba with battleships to prevent the Soviets brining more bombs in and their sonar detected the presence of at least one enemy sub. The US Airforce continually dropped depth charges, not to destroy the sub but to force it to the surface. The sub's captain was out of contact with Moscow but could hear radio stations from Miami that, obviously, broadcast Kennedy's threats to the Soviets. He didn't know the depth charges were not fatal but did know that he had to surface soon as the sub's batteries were low and their water supply was nearly out, a crucial matter in 120F degree heat. He broadcast to his crew, 'we are prepared to die but we will not humiliate the Soviet Union', and gave the order for the firing of a nuclear missile. Though the political officer agreed with him, they were both overruled by the head of the fleet. The sub surfaced and was allowed to leave the area. On their return to the Soviet Union, the main officers were treated with contempt, which is a terrible example of what life under capitalism (state capitalism in this case) does to people's minds.

One may gasp at how close the world came to a nuclear conflict and ask oneself, 'Why do we accept it? Why do we put up with capitalism?' Nuclear war would destroy what we call civilization. But capitalism is well on its way to achieving that undesired objective by its total lack of concern for, and destruction of, the environment in which we live. Either way, it is time for us to be rid of this destructive system before it's too late for us all.

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