The questions surrounding the condition of the U.S. nuclear missile force should be taken doubly seriously, given the warnings that Lyndon LaRouche has been issuing regarding the immediate danger of a thermonuclear war. Questions have been swirling around the U.S. Air Force’s legs of the nuclear triad since 2007, when a B-52 crew flew from North Dakota to Louisiana without being aware that they were carrying six nuclear-armed cruise missiles. Since that time, stories have emerged, many from the Associated Press’s senior military correspondent Robert Burns, exposing the poor morale in the nuclear missile force, and two senior officers, Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, commander of the nuclear missile force, and Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, were fired, late last year, for misconduct. While in Wyoming to visit with ICBM crews, two weeks ago, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was informed of a narcotics investigation involving several missile officers, and 34 missile officers were suspended from duties involving classified information after getting caught cheating on a proficiency test. In the aftermath of all this, the DoD announced on Jan. 23 that Hagel had ordered a full review of U.S. nuclear forces, including of their ability to carry out their mission.
What does all this mean for the actual command and control of these 450 weapons, each carrying a warhead (reduced from 3, under the terms of the New START Treaty) roughly 20 times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945? Eric Schlosser, a veteran investigative journalist and author of the book “Command and Control,” implies that we should be worried, very worried, about this situation. In an essay posted on Jan. 23 by the New Yorker, Schlosser argues that everything in the 1964 Stanley Kubrick film “Dr. Strangelove” is essentially true. The nuclear weapons arsenal is not, nor has it ever been, as safe from unauthorized use as military and defense officials have claimed, despite all of the technological measures that have been taken since the early 1960’s to ensure that nuclear weapons can’t be launched except on the sole authority of the president. President Dwight Eisenhower struggled with this in the 1950’s and ended up surrendering to the military’s demands that nuclear weapons be available to unit commanders were the president, for whatever reason, unable to issue orders. President Kennedy was shocked by the wide latitude that was given to commanders as well as the loose controls placed on U.S. warheads deployed in Europe. Kennedy ordered that safety devices be placed on all deployed weapons to prevent their unauthorized use, though the military feared that such devices would prevent the use of those weapons when they were “needed” most.
“Despite public assurances that everything was fully under control in the winter of 1964″—that is, while “Dr. Strangelove” was playing in theaters—”there was nothing to prevent an American bomber crew or missile launch crew from using their weapons against the Soviets,” writes Schlosser. Schlosser adds that even Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (who presided over the massive expansion of the nuclear missile force in the 1960s) “privately worried that an accident, a mistake, or a rogue American officer could start a nuclear war.”
The systems for preventing the unauthorized launch of a nuclear weapon are far more sophisticated, now, than the crude key devices that were placed on bombs in the 1960s, but like all human-designed systems, are still flawed, as, Schlosser maintains, the cases of Giardina and Carey show.
“In retrospect, Kubrick’s black comedy provided a far more accurate description of the dangers inherent in nuclear command-and-control systems than the ones that the American people got from the White House, the Pentagon, and the mainstream media,” Schlosser concludes. “This is absolute madness, Ambassador,’ President Merkin Muffley says in the film, after being told about the Soviets’ automated retaliatory system [though not built until long after the movie, the Soviets actually had such a system, called “The Dead Hand” which is also the subject of a recent book -ed.]. ‘Why should you build such a thing?’ Fifty years later, that question remains unanswered, and ‘Strangelove’ seems all the more brilliant, bleak, and terrifyingly on the mark.”
The dark picture that Schlosser paints becomes even more terrifying, when we realize that the current occupant of the White House is a tool of the British Empire’s intention to reduce the human population from 7 billion all the way down to 1 billion, or perhaps even less.