William J. Perry, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Clinton Administration, not only opposes keeping Minuteman III missiles on alert but advocates getting rid of them entirely. “These missiles are some of the most dangerous weapons in the world,” Perry wrote in the Times, this September. For many reasons, he thinks the risk of a nuclear catastrophe is greater today than it was during the Cold War. While serving as an Under-Secretary of Defense in 1980, Perry also received a late-night call about an impending Soviet attack, a false alarm that still haunts him. “A catastrophic nuclear war could have started by accident.”
With the , such was the horror and disgust at the wartime use of poison gases that its use was outlawed in 1925 - a ban that is, at least nominally, still in force today.
Women activists in the Muslim world are less preoccupied with what women wear than with securing other freedoms such as access to education, better health care for their families, or wider opportunities for work. Commonly they argue for women's rights under the supposition of a culture-specific struggle, focusing on the implementation and activation of human rights claimed to be granted by Islam. Feminist consciousness and action may indeed exist in greater measure with the wearer of Islamic dress than with one who wears up-to-date Western style clothes!
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At about one-thirty in the morning, on October 23, 2010, fifty Minuteman III missiles deployed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, in Wyoming, suddenly went offline. Launch officers could no longer communicate with their missiles. The letters “LFDN” appeared on their computer screens: Launch Facility Down. Every so often, an underground control center would lose contact with missiles, briefly. It wasn’t a big deal. But having an entire squadron go down at once—and remain offline—was a highly unusual event. For almost an hour, officers tried to regain communication with the missiles. When it was reëstablished, remotely, by computer—the control centers are miles away from the missiles—closed-circuit-television images from the silos showed that the fifty missiles were still down there. As a precaution, Air Force security officers were dispatched to all the silos in the early-morning hours.
The fear of a surprise attack and the necessity for retaliation soon dominated the strategic thinking of the Cold War. Every year, technological advances compressed time and added more urgency to decision-making. At a top-secret briefing in 1961, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was told that a Soviet surprise attack on just five targets—the Pentagon, the White House, Camp David, Site R, and High Point, a bunker inside Mount Weather, Virginia—had a good chance of wiping out the civilian leadership of the United States. By striking an additional nine targets, as part of a “decapitation” attack, the Soviet Union could kill America’s military leadership as well. The Soviets might be able to destroy America’s nuclear command-and-control system with only thirty-five missiles. Under McNamara’s guidance, the Kennedy Administration sought ways to maintain Presidential control over nuclear weapons. The Pentagon deployed airborne command posts, better communications and early-warning systems, Minuteman missiles that could be quickly launched, and a large fleet of ballistic-missile submarines.
Missiles launched from Russia would give the President about twenty minutes to make a decision, after consultation with the head of the U.S. Strategic Command. The President might have as few as five minutes, if missiles had been launched from Russian submarines in the western Atlantic. A decision to retaliate at once, to launch Minuteman missiles before they could be destroyed, runs the risk of killing millions of people by mistake. A decision to wait—to make sure that the attack is for real, to take no action until Russian warheads began to detonate in the United States—runs the risk losing the ability of the command-and-control system to order a retaliation. In that desperate situation, with the fate of the world in the balance, the temperament of the President would be less important than the quality of the information being offered by the system. Could you trust the sensors?
Revival of Hijab
As the century progressed, a revival of veiling and introduction of more modest dress reasserted itself. Opposition to Islamic required clothing had never been truly universal. Among the lower middle classes it had always tended to be defended in the face of change. Even in Turkey where the state had pushed the idea of reform, new ideas and styles of dress did not reach women in the hinterland.
In areas where Islam was resisted and believers felt threatened, like Indonesia and the Philippines, Muslim women began to dress more conservatively as a way to assert who they were. During militant struggles for independence, such as that against the French in Algeria or the British in Egypt, some women purposely kept the veil in defiance of western styles. It meant they also could take part in veiled and silent demonstrations, or could hide weapons under long robes.
There were other reasons for taking up and defending hijab. One was the growing reaffirmation of nation identity and rejection of values and styles seen as western. In response to Egypt's catastrophic loss to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, and the seeming failure of secularism, there also was a push to return to Islamic laws which had been abandoned. Modernization was seen as negative, a phenomena which encouraged people to reject not only Islamic but all indigenous traditions. Wearing hijab came to symbolize not the inferiority of the culture in comparison to western ways, but its uniqueness and superiority.
The real surge toward donning hijab came with Iran's revolution. Women were seen as key elements in achieving changes in public morality and private behavior. Unveiled women were mocked, called unchaste "painted dolls," and were punished if they appeared in public without proper covering. In countries beyond Iran in the 1970s, demonstrations and sit-ins appeared over opposition to the required western style dress code for university students and civil servants.
During the Cold War, as part of an espionage effort known as Project GUNMAN, Soviet agents managed to tamper with the comb-support bars in sixteen I.B.M. Selectric typewriters at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the U.S. Mission in Leningrad. Between 1976 and 1984, every keystroke from those typewriters was transmitted by radio to nearby Soviet listening posts. The tampering was so ingenious that it took twenty-five engineers at the National Security Agency (N.S.A.), working six days a week for several months, with X-ray equipment, to figure out how it was done. Today’s integrated circuits contain billions of transistors. As the Defense Science Board notes in its report, a “subversive” chip “could destroy the processor and disable the system by simply shunting power to ground, change the processor output to incorrect results for specified inputs, or allow information leakage to the attackers.” A subversive chip would look identical to a normal one.