The Global Citizen: nuclear disarmament
I do not find compelling the speculation, suggested by Larry Johnson and others, that the nuclear-armed Advanced Cruise Missiles that mistakenly ended up at Barksdale Air Force Base were being staged for an attack on Iran.
Pilots, crews and all those associated with handling nuclear weapons do make mistakes, as a casual reading of Scott Sagan's The Limits of Safety: Organizations, Accidents, and Nuclear Weapons will demonstrate. Indeed, the fact that the bombs sat on the tarmac for ten hours because no one quite believed that such an accident could happen will make excellent fodder for organizational theorists:
Sources in the Air Force say it took [ten hours] because the airmen who first discovered the bombs could not believe what they were seeing and had a hard time convincing superiors that the missiles on the bomber were, in fact, carrying nuclear weapons.
Phew! I never thought I'd be so happy to hear an accident involving mulitple nuclear warheads was just that...an accident.
Earlier today it was reported that five nuclear-armed ACMs were transported via USAF B-52H Bomber from North Dakota to Louisiana...by accident. That's right, by accident! ("Hey, did you remember to take those nuclear-armed ACMs off the wing before we left North Dakota?" Silence.)
According to reports here and here , a B-52 bomber mistakenly loaded with five nuclear warheads (advanced cruise missiles or ACMs) flew from Minot Air Force Base, ND, to Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, on August 30, resulting in an Air Force-wide investigation.
Speaking of potential nuclear disasters and "Daisy"...
Oopsie daisy, indeed!
Next Monday, August 6th, marks the 62nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. The U.S. dropped the atomic bomb, Little Boy, in 1945, which killed over 150,000 people either directly or due to injuries or radiation.
In order to ensure that the world does not witness another Hiroshima, the U.S. needs to play a vital role in strengthening the non-proliferation regime. So what does that really mean? It means taking key actions like:
-Leading by example and not pursuing new nuclear weapons like the Reliable Replacement Warhead and reducing our own nuclear stockpiles
-Addressing the second pillar of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, disarmament. Some say disarmament is unrealistic, but at the bare minimum the U.S. should lead a dialogue in reducing global nuclear stockpiles. This would ease tensions between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states in the short-term.
-Working within the regime and not breaking the rules that we helped create (eg: sharing technology with non-signatories).
Those are just a few key steps. I'm curious to see what others have to say? Perhaps in a few years we can go a little crazy and even ratify the CTBT.
I have little doubt that readers of this blog have noticed our more-than-occasional rants about insufficient U.S. funding for multilateral activities and institutions. Global poverty and U.N. peacekeeping have been the areas I've pushed for hardest, but there's another that's just as much in need and even less noticed.
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