Stopping World War III

Folks from my generation (and my parents too, of course) grew up in fear of a Nuclear War. There's a term you all might be familiar with: Mutually Assured Destruction. This theory posited that if both sides of a war (let's say, oh, the U.S. and Russia) knew that starting a war would end up with BOTH sides effectively losing, then no one would start a war.

There were movies that fanned the flames of our fear: The Day After showed us what the effects of such a war might be, War Games argued one possible start of that war, By Dawn's Early Light depicted the possible start and hopeful end to such a war.

But those were just movies, some might say. Nothing like that could really happen, right?

In a world that's seen the towers of the World Trade Center crumble on live TV and many subsequent retellings of the triumphs and tragedies on that day, is such a thing so far fetched? How many people have performed heroically in an effort to stave off World War III?

Here's one such person: Stanislav Petrov.

When his systems told him a limited nuclear strike from the U.S.A. had been launched, for various reasons based on fact and on instinct, he bravely refused to acknowledge the computer system's warnings. Had he been wrong, Russia would have been hit by several nuclear missiles. Had he followed protocols and reported the incoming American missiles, his superiors might have launched a catastrophic assault against their enemies, triggering the start of WWIII.

In the end, he was proven right: the system had malfunctioned.

However, because he had not followed protocols or had perhaps embarassed his superiors by exposing flaws in the Soviet military machine, his promising military career was ended.

Here's another such person: Vasiliy Arkhipov.

Here are twenty other "almosts".

It's good to be alive.

Snippets of Philippine History

Those Sneaky Japanese

Before the Japanese invaded the Philippines, they did their spadework. Imperial Japan had the very sneaky tactic of sending immigrants into our young country, and having them work as different types of shop owners. They were very friendly, constantly asking questions like, "how's business?" and "how old is your son now?" and "aren't you related to...?" and "any news from your father who's in the armed forces?"

When they finally invaded, many of these unassuming spies were contacted. They provided lists and some even oversaw the rounding up of scions from the prominent families, family members with ties to the military, and people with important jobs and useful intelligence.

Interestingly enough, this little bit came from an American who lived in the Philippines at the time and experienced this first-hand.


My grandfather's nickname was "Benjo" which is Japanese for bathroom. He knew its meaning, being quite well versed in Japanese (he had a gift for language), and wore it with pride. During the war, he had been assigned as the "benjo boy", the one assigned to clean up the bathroom. Apparently, the Japanese felt sorry for him and so gave him greater latitude than the other prisoners in that Fort.

Naturally, he used this surprising relaxation of rules to send messages back and forth between the imprisoned soldiers to their families (and perhaps other interested parties), endearing him to many of them.

From my father and ninong's recollections of my lolo's history.