Why, when I was a kid...
Sometimes when I read about people quivering in terror at the prospect of international terrorism I have to resist the temptation to laugh in their faces. The cold reality is that, in his fondest dreams, the most Osama bin Laden could hope to do to us would be to take out a major American city. During the Cold War, I had to live with the daily possibility of the entire human race being wiped out in a single day!
You live through eight years of Ronald Reagan with his finger on the button and you come to appreciate different levels of potential horror.
Consider that, then go read this column by Matt Bivens about just how close we came to having the Cold War turn into a hot war.
"By all rights we should have blown ourselves to bits by now, but good luck and good judgment up and down the chain of command have spared us this fate ... so far." -- Bruce Blair, former Minuteman nuclear missile launch officer in the 1970s
Now imagine if the current crew were in charge back in the 1980s and see if that idea doesn't give you the shakes.