Friday, August 8, 2014

Nukes & Missiles A Defense System? You're Kidding

First Published in DelawareLiberal on August 8, 2014 by ProgressivePopulist


With the middle east aflame, isn't it time to rethink what we in the U.S. have misled ourselves  into believing,  that we've got a Nuclear and Missile defense system?  No, what we have is an aging, rusting Nuclear and Missile offense system.  Specifically, a retaliatory offense system.

We're kidding ourselves to still believe that amateurish government propaganda that somehow these systems are protecting anybody.  They are decrepit killing systems designed to respond to an attack by trying to take out those who took out a bunch of our people.

John Oliver has thoroughly debunked the mythology that we're in good hands with the Defense Department.  The recent revelations about the cheating scandals with the Navy and Air Force officer Missile Corps have done a pretty good job of diminishing any remaining confidence we might have.  And Eric Schlosser's book published in 2011, Command and Control,  should have gotten our attention on the scores of near misses on Nuclear Weapon "accidents".

But frankly, none of this has gotten hardly anyone's attention, most particularly the media.  So, we soldier on with the fantasy that we're protected.  Yea.  Remember diving under your wooden desk in drills in school.  Felt safe, didn't you?  I wasn't all that sharp but I didn't.
You budget hawks ought to be in uprising over the $8 billion or so we spend on the Nuke stockpile maintenance and infrastructure budget annually; 25% for warhead parts replacement and 75% for facilities and staff.  One billion of that is to maintain the production complex.  And we stopped producing in 1989.   But all of this is chump change compared to the $50 billion total U.S. Nuke appropriations budget.

All this for the 7,700  active and inactive warheads we maintain, 1,950 of which are deployed; happily this latter nuke deployment is set to reduce to 1,550 in our agreement with Russia by 2018.  This data is provided by Ploughshares, a peace group.   Speaking of peace groups, remember the huge worldwide anti-nuke demonstrations in the 80's?   I didn't either until reminded.

But all the inventory is not only rusting, is is degrading in potency with major questions about whether there'd still be a big bang should, heaven forbid, they ever be used.  Intentionally.  In the unintentional category, Schlosser's 6 years of research on his book reveals they didn't work either in "mistakes" by the Nuke Corp in documented incidents of  nuke bombs that fell out of the U.S. skies onto U.S. soil in New Mexico, South Carolina, Arkansas, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia, landing happily with just a dull thud.

As for the so called missile defense system, no wonder there are reports of very low morale in the Missile Corp, given that our most likely responses would be to such nuclear armed states as N. Korea, Pakistan or maybe in a long shot, China.  Why?  Because military experts say ICBM's with those destinations would have to survive overflight over Russia.   Some might want to add Russia back on the target list, given their 8,500 nuke arsenal, about half of the nuke armed world inventory of 17,300 warheads.

Apparently the morale problems are reflected in the cheating on officer readiness testing, as this bunch is feeling very insecure about the necessity of their jobs and appreciation for what they do down in those silos.   Questions too are being asked about their command leaders, training and discipline.

Maybe, Delaware congressional delegation, it is time to rethink this stuff after 50 years of pretty much status quo and take a hard look at scaling up Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system for the U.S.  After all, we did fund its development and very successful deployment in the current Gaza conflict.  And while we're at it, maybe give the Palestinians a protective Iron Dome if there's a spare lying around.