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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/25/22

Will Humans Be the Next 'Freedom Fries'?

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Nuclear Bomb Alarm Display System 210-A
Nuclear Bomb Alarm Display System 210-A
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U.S. pundits and strategic experts seem blissfully unaware of how close we all are to being fried in a nuclear strike by Russia. (Fair Labeling - if you are simply looking for yet another reason to demonize Putin rather than to understand where he is coming from, save time and read no further.)

Here's the thing - the Russians have good reason to be on hair-trigger alert. Their early-warning radar system is so inadequate that there are situations (including those involving innocent rocket launches) under which Russian President Putin would have only a few minutes - if that - to decide whether or not to launch nuclear missiles to destroy the rest of the world on the suspicion that Russia was under nuclear attack.

"If that"? Yes, launch-to-target time is now so short that it is altogether likely that the authority to launch nuclear weapons is now vested in subordinate commanders "in the field," so to speak. Readers of Daniel Ellsberg's Doomsday Machine are aware of how the US actually devolved this authority during the days of the first cold war. I, for one, was shocked to learn that. Worse - today the subordinate commanders might be non-commissioned computers.

Russia, of course, is not about to admit that its early-warning system is far inferior to the US's world-wide, satellite-based capability. But such is the case. The implications could not be more serious.

This came to mind today as former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the Kremlin would never allow the destruction of Russia. He warned, however, that if Washington did achieve what he described as its destructive aims, the world could face a dystopian crisis that would end in a "big nuclear explosion."

President Putin addressed this issue four years ago, shortly after unveiling Russia's new nuclear arsenal including hypersonic missiles and other highly advanced weapons. Commenting on nuclear war, Putin told an interviewer:

"Certainly it would be a global disaster for humanity, a disaster for the entire world." He added that "as a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state I must ask myself - Why would we want a world without Russia?"

Use Them or Lose Them

Putin went on to say that, despite the disastrous consequences, Russia would be forced to defend itself using all available means if its very existence were put at stake:

"A decision on the use of nuclear weapons may only be taken if our ballistic missile attack warning system not only detects a launch but also predicts that the warheads would hit Russian territory. This is called a retaliation strike."

That's the rub. Some radar "detects" and "predicts," and we're all toast - or freedom fries. While Russia now has in its operation inventory sophisticated weaponry that can defeat any traditional Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) defense, it lags the US in the capability for early warning.

Think about it. Which should you fear more: getting fried on purpose, or getting fried by mistake? Macabre. Are not these choices incredibly stupid for rational human beings? If forced to choose, though, I think I'd resent much more getting fried by "Opps, pardon our mistake".

Please read what follows and ask yourself whether an immediate ceasefire is needed in Ukraine or whether those who want to risk war with Russia should be given their head.

Russia: Limited Early-Warning Coverage

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Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army infantry/intelligence officer and then a CIA analyst for 27 years, and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). His (more...)
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