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.