The Pentagon repeatedly denied that launch-on-warning was American policy, claiming that it was simply one of many options for the President to consider. A recent memoir, “Uncommon Cause,” written by General George Lee Butler, reveals that the Pentagon was not telling the truth. Butler was the head of the U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of America’s nuclear weapons, during the Administration of President George H. W. Bush.
According to Butler and Franklin Miller, a former director of strategic-forces policy at the Pentagon, launch-on-warning was an essential part of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (siop), the nation’s nuclear-war plan. Land-based missiles like the Minuteman III were aimed at some of the most important targets in the Soviet Union, including its anti-aircraft sites. If the Minuteman missiles were destroyed before liftoff, the siop would go awry, and American bombers might be shot down before reaching their targets. In order to prevail in a nuclear war, the siop had become dependent on getting Minuteman missiles off the ground immediately. Butler’s immersion in the details of the nuclear command-and-control system left him dismayed. “With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, [the siop] was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,” Butler concluded. “We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.” The siop called for the destruction of twelve thousand targets within the Soviet Union. Moscow would be struck by four hundred nuclear weapons; Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, by about forty.
Cripin Blunt, the Conservative chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, spoke after Angus Robertson in the debate and he said he would not be voting for Trident renewal.
Earlier, in an intervention, he said that his current estimate was that Trident renewal would have a lifetime cost of £179bn.
- Blunt said Trident renewal would be “the most egregious act of self-harm to our conventional defence”.
At the start of 2016 nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—possessed approximately 4,120 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 15,395 nuclear weapons compared with 15,850 in early 2015 (see table 1).
The total cost of replacing the Trident nuclear missile system will come to at least £205bn, far more than previously estimated, according to figures drawn up by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
It has calculated the total on the basis of official figures, answers to parliamentary questions and previous costs of items including nuclear warheads and decommissioning nuclear reactors. It says it has not taken into account that past Ministry of Defence projects have frequently gone well over budget. …
The most expensive item would be the cumulative running costs, estimated by the government to be about 6% of the total defence budget. Crispin Blunt, Tory chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, has calculated, on the basis of parliamentary answers, that a new Trident system would cost £167bn over a 30-year lifespan.
Replacing Trident will cost at least £205bn, campaigners say
85% of German citizens want US nuclear weapons currently deployed at the Büchel nuclear base in Germany to be withdrawn. According to the latest opinion poll taken by the market research institute Forsa, 93% of the German population think that nuclear weapons should be banned under international law, in the same way that chemical and biological weapons are banned. 88% said they are against the US deploying new, “modernised” nuclear weapons, planned to take place from 2020 in Europe.
There is a defense budget crisis on the horizon, but the Pentagon is hiding its head in the sand. Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s reluctance to deal with it threatens to waste billions and saddle the next president with a political time bomb before she/he even sets foot in the White House. …
According to a Jan. 27 report by budget guru Todd Harrison at the centrist Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), many of the new weapon systems the Pentagon plans to build will reach their peak funding requirements at the same time, around 2022. This is known in defense jargon as a modernization “bow wave” and, given budget caps and limited resources, there will not be enough money to pay for it. Continue reading
The Fiscal Year 2017 proposal contains significant increases for several Defense and Energy department nuclear weapons systems pursuant to the Obama administration’sredundant, all-of-the-above approach to remodeling the arsenal. (See chart). The request does not make significant changes to the planned development timelines for these programs.
The president missed one of his last opportunities to make common sense adjustments to the current nuclear weapons spending trajectory.
According to a Congressional Budget Office report in January 2015, the direct costs of the administration’s plans for nuclear forces will total about $350 billion between fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2024. Over the next 30 years, the bill could add up to $1 trillion, according to three separate independent estimates.
The central nuclear observation of the report is thatNATO nuclear forces do not have much credibility in protecting the Baltic States against a Russian attack.
That conclusion is, to say the least, interesting given the extent to which some analysts and former/current officials have been arguing that NATO/US need to have more/better limited regional nuclear options to counter Russia in Europe. Continue reading
For the British Parliament and much of the media, the problem is mainly the vast amounts of money spent to keep it going. According to the U.K. Ministry of Defense, the program’s total cost is £15-20 billion. Anti-nuclear campaigners give a figure of around £100 billion, give or take. At least, that’s how much it should rack up in costs over its 40 year lifespan.
However, what is less talked about is how both the submarines and the bases that maintain them have suffered from a series of glaring safety mishaps. …
“It’s a long war, unfortunately. But it’s been a war that has been in existence for millennia, at the same time—the use of violence for political purposes against noncombatants by either a state actor or a subnational group.
Terrorism has taken many forms over the years. What is more challenging now is, again, the technology that is available to terrorists, the great devastation that can be created by even a handful of folks, and also mass communication that just proliferates all of this activity and incitement and encouragement. So you have an environment now that’s very conducive to that type of propaganda and recruitment efforts, as well as the ability to get materials that are going to kill people. And so this is going to be something, I think, that we’re always going to have to be vigilant about. There is evil in the world and some people just want to kill for the sake of killing…This is something that, whether it’s from this group right now or another group, I think the ability to cause damage and violence and kill will be with us for many years to come.”
Micah Zenko summarised Brennan’s whole speech:
To summarize, the war on terrorism is working, compared to inaction or other policies. But, the American people should expect it to continue for millennia, or as long as lethal technologies and mass communication remain available to evil people.
According to SIPRI’s latest report, there is a 16% increase in the volume of arms transferred around the world. The world’s biggest arms exporters in the past five years were the US, Russia, China, Germany and France. China’s exports of major arms rose by 143% in the five years to 2014 from the previous five years. Germany’s arms exports fell by 43% and France’s dropped 27% in the same time frame.
India was the world’s largest single arms importer. Four other Asian countries, China, Pakistan, South Korea and Singapore, are also among the top 10 largest arms importers.
British MPs voted in favour of keeping defence spending at 2% of GDP. Just 40 MPs voted and the result carries no legal force.
Rory Stewart, Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border and chairman of the defence select committee, warned MPs that Britain could not continue to rely on the military might of America and be a “freeloader”. “This 2% is needed because the threats are real. The world is genuinely getting more dangerous,” he said.
In Seumas Milnes’s piece ‘The demonisation of Russia risks paving the way for war‘, he argues that “Ukraine – along with Isis – is being used to revive the doctrines of liberal interventionism and even neoconservatism, discredited on the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Hundreds of US troops are arriving in Ukraine and Britain is sending 75 military advisers of its own. This is a direct violation of last month’s Minsk agreement, negotiated with France and Germany – Article 10 requires the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Ukraine.
But when the latest Minsk ceasefire breaks down, as it surely will, there is a real risk that Ukraine’s proxy conflict could turn into full-scale international war.
It is reported by Guardian that the Pentagon’s internal watchdog has questioned the air force’s increased spending on drones, suggesting its $8.8 billions spending on 46 armed Reaper drones is a waste of money.
As purchases of General Atomics’s MQ-9 Reaper ballooned from 60 aircraft in 2007 to the current 401, air force officials did not justify the need for an expanding drone fleet, the Pentagon said.
During that time, costs for purchasing one of the signature counter-terrorism weapons of Barack Obama’s presidency increased by 934%, from $1.1bn to more than $11.4bn, according to a declassified September report by the Pentagon inspector general. Purchasing costs are a fraction of what the drones cost to operate and maintain over their time in service: in 2012, the Pentagon estimated the total costs for them at $76.8bn.
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Journalist Ahmed provided a brief history of the rise of Islamic State, arguing the complicity of US and British in its creation and rise through deliberate tactical actions, ill-conceived policies and indirect/direct financial support.
“Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East.“
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