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

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

By Eric Schlosser

The Penguin Press HC, 2013, 640 pp.

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. By Eric Schlosser. Penguin Press, 2013, 632 pp. $36.00.

Between 1950 and 1980, the United States experienced a reported 32 “broken arrows,” the military’s term for accidents involving nuclear weapons. The last of these occurred in September 1980, at a U.S. Air Force base in Damascus, Arkansas. It started when a young technician performing routine maintenance on a Titan II missile housed in an underground silo dropped a socket wrench. The wrench punctured the missile’s fuel tank. As the highly toxic and flammable fuel leaked from the missile, officers and airmen

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  • GREGORY D. KOBLENTZ is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University.
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