Oops! US Air Force loses 50 nukes
US military lost track of 50 intercontinental ballistic missiles recently. The incident became public after a former Air Force officer tweeted about the loss of communication between the missiles and the control center.
This, at the same time as members of the Obama administration, have spoken repeatedly about the importance of safe and secure nuclear programs.
“The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons,” said US President Barrack Obama in a previous speech.
“As long as nuclear weapons are required to deter aggression and defend our country and our allies we will maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal,” said US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
What does this say about the US nuclear program? Michel Chossudovsky, the director of the Center for Research on Globalization in Montréal, Canada, said this is a big concern, but not the worst case scenario by any means.
He argued that politicians do the greatest harm, by maintaining and contending that nuclear weapons are not a threat to civilians, as the Obama administration has continues to argue.
“The Senate a few years ago actually reclassified tactical nuclear weapons as safe for civilians and re-categorized them as conventional weapons,” said Chossudovsky.
He explained that mistakes in computer and communication systems are ongoing, but the news rarely makes it to the media. The public is rarely informed.
“Instead we are told that the threat to humanity is the H1N1,” Chossudovsky said.
The US and NATO have pointed nuclear arms at Iran and others, and have indicated a willingness to use them in a preemptive nature, argued Chossudovsky. But the US media rarely covers the topic.
Cuba’s Fidel Castro recently made a statement regarding nuclear weapons and global war implications, arguing that a conventional war against Iran would inevitably lead to a nuclear incident, further leading to a global war. None of the major North American media outlets covered his comments.
Iran and nuclear topics are big news in the US, but when the US loses nuclear weapons very little is said and the American public simply moves on.
Western nations holding nuclear weapons are just as much a threat to global security as Israel, argued Chossudovsky.
“Iran is not a threat,” he said. “The threat comes from the United States, NATO and Israel.”
Although Obama has said he wants to decrease the number of nuclear weapons globally, the US Department of Energy is working to expand American nuclear weapon making capabilities. Hans Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists explained that the debate balances on both wanting to eliminate nuclear weapons, while also maintaining a strong force until that point to ensure safety. This is the debate among many congressional leaders.
The new START Treaty between the US and Russia on mutual nuclear arms reductions has yet to be ratified by the US. It is possible this incident could impact the treaty.
“There is the expectation in congress that some people in congress may try to hook onto this incident and use it as an excuse for why they should not ratify the new START Treaty. Whether it comes to that, we’ll have to see. I certainly hope not,” Kristensen said.