This is a quote from the beginning of the preview to "The Phantom Menace," Episode 1, the latest Star Wars movie. George Lucas' fantasy maybe too close to reality.
If the US were to attack Russia, or visa-versa, the first thing that would happen would be an attack on the computers and communications disruptions. If their or our computer screens go blank, that is a sign of first attack and their and our computers are programmed to take retaliatory measures by launching a counterattack. This is a scenario that could happen because of the Y2K or Year 2,000 bug, that by now you should be aware of. We all assume that somebody has to push a button to start a nuclear war. That would be nice, but it is not true.
Mutual Assured Destruction, known as "MAD," is a last gap measure, where if the US or Russia are attacked, the nuclear missiles automatically are fired in retaliation. It's the "No matter what you did to me, I'll do to you" syndrome. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, "SALT," is supposed to remove that threat by deprogramming pre-targeted ballistic missiles, so that auto-destruction does not occur. If everyone complies with SALT than Y2K will not be as dangerous a problem. That's a big IF.
So what is going to happen if and when the Y2K bug hits the military's computers? The military wants you to think nothing. It's all under control. In reality world, Senator Dodd from Connecticut just gave the military a "D" in Y2K preparedness. Russia has an "F-" and they don't have the money to fix their computers. It has taken Russia until the past month to admit that they may actually have a problem. The US military is now sending computer programmers to Russia to help them. A little too little, a little too late.
Our current war in Yugoslavia has made matters worse. As of March 29th, Russia has decided due to NATO attacks in Serbia, that they will not cooperate with the US on Y2K. They have expelled all our programmers in Russia and we think they have broken the SALT treaty by reprogramming their nuclear missiles for targets in the US.
Accidental nuclear war is a reality. The experts agree there is a very slim possibility that this could happen. I hope they are right. The military refuses to disarm their warheads. In the mean time, this gives us a perfect opportunity to do just that. Something I'm sure most of us want. The Cold War is over. Let's lay down our arms, ratify the Nuclear Treaties and get this whole mess over with before it's too late. Maybe Lucas can help.