Monday, April 23, 2018

What the hell? Where were you guys in the '80s?

As a child of the Cold War who participated in Civil Air Patrol and AFJROTC and who assembled one of the above-pictured model kits in high school as part of a project, something that I'd been hearing on the news recently startled me.

During the news cycles that followed the Russian's test announcement of the new SS-X-30 Satan 2, I kept hearing NBC talking heads saying the weirdest things:
"The missile can reach the continental US..." 
"The missile can carry multiple nuclear warheads..." 
"The missile is believed to be able to reach anywhere on the globe..."
...and all these were voiced in tones of fear and wonder, like this was shocking and scary new information.

I can sort of forgive that out of Dylan Dreyer, because she was in grade school when the Berlin Wall came down, but I was hearing it from Chuck Todd, who is only a few years younger than me, and Hoda Kotb, who is a few years older.

Now, I realize that since the end of the Cold War we haven't talked a lot about how Manhattan is thirty minutes or less away from a Russian SLBM launch 24/7, but back in the Eighties if you were old enough to turn on a television, you certainly knew it.

I'm not expecting everyone to have been a war nerd like me who memorized throw weights and CEPs like I did, but surely everyone who was at least a teenager in the Eighties knew that the Russians had missiles that could hit anywhere on the planet and that these missiles could carry multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicles, right?

So why, when the SS-X-30 announcement happen did everybody act so startled? Have they gotten so used to covering the comic opera missile program in North Korea, with its smuggled Iranian technology and repurposed fireworks?