News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Friday, April 9, 2010

Nuking the world

Between the U.S. and Russia, we have about 20,000 nuclear warheads.  That’s enough to pulverize the earth many times over,  vaporize the moon, turn Venus and Mars to ashes, and get a pretty good start on the sun.   That way, we could deter any attacks planned on the U.S., at least by anyone in this solar system.

And addressing this problem for us is the man termed the world’s biggest knucklehead and the worst U.S.  president in history.  If Obama is all these things, you can’t say he hasn’t been busy.  Most of us have been too busy to notice the accomplishments.  We’ve been tied up watching the news to see if there is any woman in the U.S. who has not claimed to have puttered a round or two with Tiger Woods.     There is plenty of commentary about Obama’s performance, but none about Woods’.

And to think our nuclear future is being toyed with by the likes of Obama.  He is about to sign another nuclear reduction treaty.  Who does he think he is?  Ronald Reagan?

We all know he is going get us all blown away.  At least, Fox News does:


Some folks are in great agitation about  Obama’s nuclear plans.  What really has tightened the knickers, knotted the thongs, and breached a union suit or two is his promise not to use nukes on any country that attacks us with chemical or biological weapons.   Iran and North Korea are exempted, but this proposal makes the nellies really nervous.  How, they squeal, can you deter any attacks if you promise not to use nukes on the attackers?   What’s to worry?  They claim Obama has still to keep a promise.  But they cite the old Cold War Logic.  Well, actually the Cold War logic was WTF are we doing with 20,000 war heads that can (to complete this sentence, see the first paragraph above).

But an idea floating around during the Cold War was that we had to keep making nukes to deter anyone from attacking us.

I know.  I was there.  On the front lines.  During the Cold War.  In West Germany.  Our, meaning the troops I was there with, job was to track everything that flew out of the Soviet bloc and shoot it down.  At the time, what could fly out of the Soviet bloc was airplanes and a few birds looking for asylum.  If the aircraft did not have permission to fly into the West and did not have a Friend-or-Foe-Indicator broadcasting away, we would have shot it down with our guided missiles.  They were Nike Ajaxes.  They had conventional warheads.

Within months of our deployment, the U.S. and Russia began deploying new carriers of nuclear warheads,  Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.  What better to shoot down a nuke-loaded ICBM with than a Nike with a nuke warhead?  So, while we stood guard with our Nike Ajaxes, the ordnance for the second generation Nikes, the Hercules, started coming in.  The base I was on had a super-secure ordnance storage area, and the new ordnance was being stockpiled there.  We were not supposed to know it, but some of the warheads were nukes.  We knew it because we started being trained into how to handle and arm missiles with nukes.



There was one problem.  The European countries did not want us to bring nukes onto their soil.  They feared that the Soviets would be provoked into unleashing preemptive nuclear strikes on them if they learned we had nukes there.  There was an awful lot of frantic diplomatic fussing around, but the Hercules were three times as fast, had three times the range as the Ajax,  and could take out ICBMs.  By the time I had served my term of active duty,  all the air defense missile batteries were being converted into the Hercules generation. The Hercules could also be equipped with conventional warheads of tremendous explosive power.

As the troops were prepared for the transition to Hercules, there was a nagging question to be answered.  Aside from the European countries’ objections to nuclear materials, there was a logistical matter to confront. Blowing something out of the sky with a nuke is like standing in front of a wind tunnel with diarrhea.  It is messy.   The nuclear materials blow back on you.  You might take out the bomb carrier, but you will probably lose a lot of civilians and some of your own personnel.   Nuclear warfare is very effective.  It tends to kill everybody.

And so, while we were upgrading missile defenses and putting ICBMs all over the Dakotas, among other places, talks were starting on limiting and reducing the deployment of nuclear weapons.  And that brings us up to Obama.

Everybody who is acquainted with nuclear warfare knows that if it is used, everybody eventually dies.  Answering an attack by chemical or biological weapons with nukes will trigger a nuclear holocaust,  It won’t take many bombs to go off to make the earth uninhabitable.  So, Obama is putting the U.S. in leadership to assure the world that a terrorist attack with chemical and biological agents will not cause us to unleash a response that will destroy everybody.

Back in the Cold War, we developed Nike warheads that were as effective as the nuclear ones.  That development has continued.

Even without the stated policy, if we were attacked with chemical or biological agents, we probably would not use nuclear warheads anyway.  It is a matter of not being decimated by our own weapons.  We have weapons that can do what nuclear bombs can do with more precision, controlled effect, and less danger to the world.

Obama is trying to reassure the world that we are not as rabidly nuts as the jihadists.
If the worry worts want to really have something to fuss about, it is the danger of cyber attacks.  Our domestic infrastructure,  our military delivery systems, and our ability to communicate with other countries can be demolished in an instant.

The idea that we can deter aggression only by the capability of blowing the planet right out of the sky has been discussed, and analyzed, and that is why we have nuclear limitation and reduction treaties.  And hope we will have more.

Our biggest threat is the idiots who see nukes as the only deterrent.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States

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