The Lady Speaks

U.S. Air Force Says, “Oops!”

C’mon now. Is anyone actually buying the lame story being put out by the Air Force and the DoD about a B-52 carrying twelve Advanced Cruise Missiles, six of which were loaded with nuclear warheads? All of this unbeknownst to anyone, including the B-52’s flight crew, until it landed at Barksdale AFB?

Even I, with my (thankfully brief) experience as an Air Force dependent in the late 1980’s, can tell you there is no way in hell these nukes were ‘accidentally’ anything. Cripes, we had to sign things in triplicate just to see a doc at the base hospital! (Alright, I’m exaggerating a little there, but really the USAF doesn’t just let its nukes go wandering around for any airman to pick up and attach to a plane.

Let’s put it this way – for the 25% still supporting Bush – do you really believe the ground crew just grabbed these things out of the wrong drawer, like you’d grab two different socks?

I would guess there are layers and layers of command signatures – in triplicate – required just to look at the things, so I can’t even begin to imagine how many would be needed for the following to take place: removing them from their super-secret hidey-hole, and then loading them onto a B-52, and then allowing it to take off and then allowing it to fly for three hours over ‘America’s breadbasket’?!

It defies imagination to believe this was an ‘accident’.

Which means we have only two question remaining: What is/was the purpose behind it, and – most important – where did the orders come from?

The who, I believe, comes down to Bush, Cheney, or SecDef Gates. No one on that base, not even the base commander, is going to accept any less of an authority on the signature line when it comes to nuclear warheads. And no ground crew is loading them without orders from on high.

The why? Either we’re sending a message to Iran – and a pretty mixed one, at that: Hey, we’ve got nukes and we’re so crazy we’ll just fly ’em over our own country! Imagine what we’ll do to yours! (Is it the military version of ‘act-batshit-insane-so-the-mugger-will-go-away’?)

Or, our military is so screwed up that a) the Air Force can lose six nuclear warheads and not know it until they show up in Louisiana, or b) the Christianist Rapturists have taken over and are hurrying up the End Times, or c) all of the above.

Gee, I feel so much safer now.

Update – 9:50pm:

Oh, doesn’t this make you feel all warm and fuzzy? (And not the happy kind of warm and fuzzy, either. I mean the glowing-in-the-dark kind.) [all emphasis mine]

The risk of flying accidents, however, led the United States to abandon all nuclear-armed bomber flights in 1968, according to Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert with the Federation of American Scientists.

[snip]

Several accidents occurred, including a crash in Spain in 1966 and then a crash at an air base in Greenland on Jan. 21, 1968.  The plane’s nuclear weapons did not explode in the latter incident, but their radioactive fissile material was dispersed at the crash site.

Defense Secretary Robert McNamara that day ordered the grounding of all nuclear-armed aircraft, a policy that has continued for four decades.  Instead of flying with nuclear weapons, armed bombers were kept on alert on the ground with flight crews nearby to enable the planes to take off within minutes, if necessary.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush reduced the bomber alert status further by ordering nuclear weapons to be removed from the aircraft and kept in nearby storage facilities.

[snip]

The incident reflects a major lapse in the command and control systems that ensure the proper handling of U.S. nuclear weapons, according to Kristensen.

“It’s not a matter of an air crew picking the wrong one” from a storage site, he said.  Moving nuclear weapons requires multiple authorizations from high-ranking Pentagon officials.

Handling nuclear weapons has always received unusually strict Pentagon guidance, agreed nuclear analyst Robert Norris, of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Everyone from day one has assumed a special responsibility when it comes to nuclear weapons,” he said.  “Because they’re special, the Defense Department has required a special set of procedures and training and has made special efforts to identify responsible people to handle these weapons.”

In other words, like I said, this wasn’t just a fuck-up; this was a chain of fuck-ups.

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September 6, 2007 - Posted by | America, Bush, Cheney, Government, Nuclear Weapons, Pentagon, Politics, US Military, White House, WMDs

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