Retired Nuclear Warriors v. Active Duty Armageddon

HELP ENLIGHTEN YOUR FELLOWS. BE SURE TO PASS THIS ON. SURVIVAL DEPENDS ON IT.

  


Call it a nuclear clash of titans — but not the crude shouting-match between Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. It’s an “armed struggle” between retired Pentagon bigwigs and current US war planners and weapons contractors.


An LGM-25C Titan II missile is launched at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (USA), in 1975. (Wikipedia)

While the Air Force lurches ahead with plans to design, produce and deploy a replacement for long-range, land-based nuclear-armed missiles, a string of retired military leaders have again called them useless, dangerous and exorbitantly expensive.

Reuters correspondent Scot Paltro reported Nov. 22, “Nuclear strategists call for bold move: scrap ICBM arsenal,” and cited former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and Leon Panetta, former missile launch officer Bruce Blair, former Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright, and current Secretary of Defense James Mattis (although Mattis recently changed his mind and now supports the replacement plan).

Mattis recently changed his tune, obviously under pressure from Trump and his cabal, keen on shoveling loads of money to military contractors.

Mr. Perry, the Secretary of Defense from 1994 to 1997, and retired US Marine Corps General James Cartwright, a Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011, penned a commentary in the Washington Post Nov. 16, calling for the permanent elimination of our land-based missiles or ICBMs. (“Spending less on nuclear weapons could actually make us safer”)

The thought of slowing the weapons gravy train must have set off alarm bells in the executive suites at Boeing Corp. and Northrop Grumman, Inc. The two weapons profiteers are vying for the $130 billion “cost plus” contract to build a brand new land-based ICBM (to replace 450 Minuteman III missiles currently kept on hair-trigger alert in underground launch sites across the Great Plains).

Last summer, the Air Force awarded the two upstanding, public-spirited companies over $325 million each to put together counter proposals for the new so-called “Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent” — today known as the nuclear-armed “Minuteman” rockets that can fly 13,000 miles. When the contractor’s competition was announced, company executives gave the Washington Examiner a manure spreader full of corporate smooth talk.

The sheer folly of having the nation’s healthcare system and its military defence—among other things— subject to the malignant drive for profits is typical and symptomatic of the corruption that riddles the US nation at this point.

Wes Bush, Northrop’s chairman, CEO and president, said, “We look forward to the opportunity to provide the nation with a modern strategic deterrent system that is secure, resilient and affordable.” He and Boeing spokesperson Jerry Drelling — who said “We are honored to … provide an affordable, low-risk intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system solution” — must have anticipated the push back from the critics. They kept repeating the words “affordable,” “secure” and “low-risk.”

Mr. Perry and Gen. Cartwright focused on the reckless endangerment caused by land-based missiles. The weapons are easy stationary targets, they say, and historically are the most likely among nuclear weapons to cause accidents. Using alarmingly harsh language, the two wrote, “There are serious concerns about accidental war that are inherent to ICBMs, which certainly would be the first targets of any surprise attack and cannot be recalled should they be launched in response to what turns out to be a false alarm.”

Perry and Cartwright seemed to be joisting with Boeing’s Director of Strategic Deterrence Systems, Frank McCall, who reminded the Examiner that since 1961, the US Air Force “has relied on our technologies for a safe, secure and reliable ICBM.”

Perry

Not so, reported the retired military heavy-weights. “Today, the greatest danger is not a Russian bolt but a US blunder — that we might accidentally stumble into nuclear war,” wrote Perry and Cartwright. “As we make decisions about which weapons to buy, we should use this simple rule: If a nuclear weapon increases the risk of accidental war and is not needed to deter an intentional attack, we should not build it.”

Hitting back against the weapons contractors’ flippant references to “affordability,” Perry and Cartwright used language that could have been taken straight from the pages of Nuclear Heartland, Nukewatch’s 2015 book about the land-based missiles. They argue that the United States “should cancel plans to replace its ground-based ICBMs, which would save $149 billion.”

“Certain nuclear weapons,” the two concluded, “such as the cruise missile and the ICBM, carry higher risks of accidental war that, fortunately, we no longer need to bear. We are safer without these expensive weapons, and it would be foolish to replace them.”

P.S. This label “unsafe, foolish and expensive” applies to all the new nuclear weapons inside the Pentagon’s $1.7 trillion production chain rebuild now underway. Yet plans for a new nuclear-armed submarine, a new heavy bomber, and a new H-bomb for NATO in Europe are somehow embraced or ignored by Perry and Cartwright. It seems that nuclear madness doesn’t completely clear up upon retirement.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.
 “Certain nuclear weapons,” the two concluded, “such as the cruise missile and the ICBM, carry higher risks of accidental war that, fortunately, we no longer need to bear. We are safer without these expensive weapons, and it would be foolish to replace them.”

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Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found

In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all. Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report

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