The Cuban Missile Crisis: An all-too-real October surprise on PBS

It seemed at first more a testimony to his own advanced age that 75-year-old Bob Schieffer invoked the Cuban Missile Crisis before the final presidential debate got underway in Boca Raton, Fla., Monday night. Yet, as a pair of PBS documentaries tonight reminds us, nothing could be more central to a contemporary foreign policy discussion than the frightening brink of total nuclear annihilation reached during that tense October, 50 years ago this week.

Just about the whole vocabulary of current international dealings were used in that conflict half a century ago. Blockades, showing strength, drawing a red line — all part of Monday’s debate — were at the center of the Cuban Missile Crisis. And the war porn that got us all into it – annotated aerial spy plane photos of construction sites and alleged warmaking plans — along with show-and-tell demonstrations at the U.N., were part of the process of invading Iraq a decade ago....

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