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Air Force Incompetence: Oops, What Are These Nukes Doing Here?

On the eve of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told Congress according to NTI: "We recognize that our first and most urgent priority is to prevent nuclear weapons from coming into this country and preventing dirty bombs from being constructed and detonated."
But: How secure are the nuclear weapons that are already in the United States?

Eric Hundman writes about "America's loose nukes" in FP Passport: "Last week, the Pentagon admitted that a B-52 had mistakenly flown nuclear-armed cruise missiles across the United States. And worse, for almost fourteen hours no one at the base of departure, on the bomber itself, or at the base of arrival had any idea something was wrong."

North Dakota News adds: "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."

More unbelievable news: According to a new biography, President Bush "is a big fan of Austin Powers and in particular, the character of Dr. Evil, imitating him often along the corridors of the White House," writes Nicole Belle in
Crooks and Liars and adds: "Sometimes the jokes just write themselves..."

Personal conclusion: Neither this kind of White House humor (if the story in the biography is true) nor the air force's screw up is encouraging. In less open societies than the US, such nuclear screw ups would not become public: I wonder how many of these incidents happen in Russia, China, India, Pakistan or Israel... Will the movie Broken Arrow be reality one day?
Nukes are just too dangerous in the wrong hands. We need 
a world free of nuclear weapons. Since even Kissinger claims to support this goal, we should pay attention.

Related: "America, stop waving the nuclear threat at potential adversaries," says Jack Mendelsohn, who was a US State Department official and a member of the US SALT and START delegations. Writing for the Christian Science Monitor, he criticizes that "four Republican candidates Mitt Romney, Duncan Hunter, Jim Gilmore, and Rudy Giuliani have already expressed their willingness to use 'tactical' nuclear weapons against Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons." He argues:

Every time the United States threatens a potential adversary with nuclear weapons it tells the world that these weapons are acceptable instruments of modern warfare and that there are no political or moral constraints on US behavior. It is overwhelmingly in the US national interest to preserve the "taboo" on nuclear weapons use and to seek to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in US security policy.

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Pat Patterson on :

And Bill Clinton liked Fleetwood Mac but some of us didn't think much of him because of his politics not his taste in music.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

What Clinton has done with his cigars in the oval office has not inspired confidence either.

Don S on :

Now, now. What happens in the OO stays in the OO. You know that!

Don S on :

"President Bush "is a big fan of Austin Powers and in particular, the character of Dr. Evil, Personal conclusion: Neither this kind of White House humor (if the story in the biography is true) nor the air force's screw up is encouraging. " Sometimes I think it's time to get a life and a sense of humor, Joerg! Bush playing Dr. Evil is a sign of sanity, not th opposite. He's been pilloried endlessly in the press as just the kind of demented character as Dr. Evil is. Profoundly stupid and diabolically clever at the same time. So why shouldn';t he play it up? It's just the same as me admitting my identity as a Fascist: Can half a billion Leftists be wrong? I think not. ;) As for the Air Force screwup? Nothing bad happened, so it's minor. The Air Force failed to be in total control for a few hours and heads will roll for that. But we routinely live with much worse threats of nukes getting loose. Remember the slight problem with nukes from the ex-USSR, eh? This problem existed for a few hours, that one has been a worry for years. Why lose sleep over the (much) lesser when you don't over the greater risk?

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

I am German. And I am not allowed to have a sense of humor in the month of September. The funny season starts on November 11th. "So why shouldn';t he play it up?" Because he claims that he does not care about the bad press and because he should fix important problems rather than entertaining the West Wing. Is he still going to bed at 8:00 PM? Since it is my annual Bush bashing day: [quote]Gaffe-prone US President George W Bush confused APEC with OPEC and transformed Australian troops into Austrians in a series of blunders in Sydney on Friday.[/quote] [url]http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/09/08/2027414.htm[/url]

Don S on :

"I am German. And I am not allowed to have a sense of humor in the month of September. The funny season starts on November 11th." I see. Is this by statute or by custom, Joerg? I thought you had at least two funny seasons, one during Carneval. Or that only in Italy?

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Carnival season starts November 11th. Well, I am not into carnival at all. I am not funny. I am in Berlin (Prussia), where carnival is very small.

Anonymous on :

I love the fact that W’s behavior irritates the Continentals. I love less the fact that it irritates me as well, but in the meta-reckoning I’d put in on the black side of the ledger. So he asses about in the White House and thinks Austrians can fight (perhaps, he is an optimist), no harm done. This purported lack of solemnity and decorum is a great deal better than LBJ and at least W’s language isn’t blue: heard the Nixon tapes? Schroeder had a mouth on him too. The big news: Dresdner Kleinwort being suite for discrimination in the FT and admitting it. The best rejoinder from a PR guy in a while: ‘Yes, your unfair dismissal case is valid based on our discriminatory conduct against you, but we don’t discriminate. Half of our employees are non-Aryan and we pay them. Of course, we discriminate against those wogs too…Wait, did I say that out loud?’

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