Allan's Perspective is not recommended for the politically correct, or the overly religious! Some people have opinions, and some have convictions ..., what we offer is Perspective! (Sometimes I feel like I'm just a bobble-head on the highway of life!)

I was addicted to the hokey pokey, but I turned myself around!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The day we didn't have to kiss our ass goodbye!

Dear Friends: "Let's get things back into perspective here!"

Although he died last May, the folks over in Russia didn't announce his death until yesterday and this guy should be commemorated as one of the greatest heroes in the history of the human race because you and I and a big percentage all the people on this planet owe our very existence to him!
Stanislav Petrov was a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union's Air Defense Forces, and his job was to monitor his country's satellite system, which was looking for any possible nuclear weapons launches by the United States.

He was on the overnight shift in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 1983, when the computers sounded an alarm, indicating that the U.S. had launched five nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"The siren howled, but I just sat there for a few seconds, staring at the big, back-lit, red screen with the word 'launch' on it," Petrov told the BBC in 2013.

It was already a moment of extreme tension in the Cold War. On Sept. 1 of that year, the Soviet Union shot down a Korean Air Lines plane that had drifted into Soviet airspace, killing all 269 people on board, including a U.S. congressman. The episode led the U.S. and the Soviets to exchange warnings and threats.

Petrov had to act quickly. U.S. missiles could reach the Soviet Union in just over 20 minutes.

"There was no rule about how long we were allowed to think before we reported a strike," Petrov told the BBC. "But we knew that every second of procrastination took away valuable time, that the Soviet Union's military and political leadership needed to be informed without delay. All I had to do was to reach for the phone; to raise the direct line to our top commanders — but I couldn't move. I felt like I was sitting on a hot frying pan."

Petrov sensed something wasn't adding up.

He had been trained to expect an all-out nuclear assault from the U.S., so it seemed strange that the satellite system was detecting only a few missiles being launched. And the system itself was fairly new. He didn't completely trust it.

Arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis recalled the episode in an interview last December on NPR:

"[Petrov] just had this feeling in his gut that it wasn't right. It was five missiles. It didn't seem like enough. So even though by all of the protocols he had been trained to follow, he should absolutely have reported that up the chain of command and, you know, we should be talking about the great nuclear war of 1983 if any of us survived."

After several nerve-jangling minutes, Petrov didn't send the computer warning to his superiors. He checked to see if there had been a computer malfunction.

He had guessed correctly.

"Twenty-three minutes later I realized that nothing had happened," he said in 2013. "If there had been a real strike, then I would already know about it. It was such a relief."

Stanislav Petrov, 'The Man Who Saved The World,' Dies At 77

Petrov faced reprimand by the Soviet military. Officially, he failed to document the crisis well enough. According to Petrov, “I had a phone in one hand and the intercom in the other, and I don’t have a third hand.” He left the military a year later to work for the research institute responsible for the early warning system that made him famous.

Petrov received numerous awards years later once his story became known including a 2004 World Citizen Award with a trophy and a $1,000. It almost seems comical that he received a simple $1,000 check for his great act of skepticism, if we think in terms of the people he saved having netted him perhaps $.000002 a soul. Given the likelihood that I would not have existed given this man’s intervention, I’d be willing to donate a few bucks of my own to a gofundme for the guy if given the chance.

Stanislav Petrov passed away in May of this year at the age of 77, reminding the world of an awesome story of almost unrestrained force brought to the brink of worldwide annihilation if not for the presence of a few good actors acting on their reason to avert disaster. He would have never been the person that the Soviets would have asked permission to commit the greatest human disaster in all of history, perhaps ever, but he ended up being a fail-safe against it anyway. That said, it is a lesson on why such great power requires disbursement among many people and the need for those people to be moral, reasoned, and accountable to more than themselves to prevent the next great human catastrophe.
Someone should declare a world-wide day of remembrance for this guy!