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May 31, 2006

This is a Test, it is Only a Test

By Steve Osborn

Opposition to the Pentagon's latest scheme to launch ICBM's armed with conventional warheads at perceived miscreants around the world.


Assume you are a citizen of any country other than the United States. You receive a report that one or more Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s) are headed your way. You would assume:

1. A nuclear attack with thermonuclear weapons (H-Bombs) is imminent.
2. A multimillion dollar V-2 with a conventional ton or so of explosives is inbound.
3. It is part of a 4th of July Celebration.

The Guardian published an article today by Julian Borger titled:
Congress Balks at Pentagon 'War on Terror' Missile
Senators fear using rocket could spark nuclear war.
Risk that warhead could be mistaken for nuke.

Since the fifties, the world has braced itself against annihilation by a massive ICBM attack. Thermonuclear armed missiles plunging down to destroy cities and poison the atmosphere, the very ground with radiation. It is well known that, since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has a near monopoly on these weapons with over three thousand operational ICBM’s ready to launch on a moment’s notice. Many of them carry independently targeted multiple thermonuclear warheads.

The world strove mightily to get rid of this scourge, finally hammering out treaties to eliminate these weapons. Treaties to destroy missiles, warheads, and hardened launch sites under a mutual inspection program. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Peaceful Uses of Space Treaty. For a while, the Russian and U.S. arsenals were reduced.

As the Bushwhacking of the United States and the World has gone on, we have seen these treaties torn up and shredded along with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We have seen the threat of a nuclear attack on Iran if it does not do what the United States demands. The entire world is holding its breath, hoping that the Empire is not crazy or barbaric enough to be the first since 1945 to strike with nuclear weapons against population centers

Now, the Pentagon’s latest brain twister is to refit a number of ICBM’s, preferably some of the Trident missiles carried on U. S. submarines, with conventional warheads. “The goal would be to destroy a fleeting target, such as a weapon being assembled or a meeting of terrorist leaders, anywhere in the world within an hour of intelligence reaching the US of their location.”

Having proved itself honorable and trustworthy in its dealings with the rest of the world in the past six years, the Pentagon says, “Pentagon planners are confident a system can be worked out with other nuclear powers to reassure them that a Trident launch is conventional and not aimed at them. In 2000 the US and Russia agreed to establish a joint data exchange center to share information about ballistic missile launches.

The head of the US Strategic Command, General James Cartwright, who has oversight over the nuclear and non-nuclear elements of Global Strike, said the US informed China of any test launches.

‘We don't have a treaty, but we tell them so that they know,’"

The upshot is that the world should expect the United States to tell people not to worry as the ICBM being launched at them is only carrying a ton or two of conventional explosives and will only destroy a city block or so, really, we promise. And if we miss, we will pay compensation to the survivors of the collateral damage. Mistakes happen.

I’m sorry, but an ICBM launch other than a publicized test firing is going to get a counterstrike. That is what Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) was all about. We came within a hairs breadth of doom several times during the cold war just due to a misreading of radar signals. If you’ve never written your Senator or Congressman before, this would be a good time to start. There must be an absolute NO registered around the nation, and around the world to using ICBM’s for any kind of an attack.

Please read the linked story above and contact whomever you can to say this is a totally unacceptable idea. I am a nuclear veteran (Operation Redwing, Bikini Atoll, 1956) and I know firsthand the horror of nuclear weapons. We have to get back on the track of getting rid of the world’s nuclear arsenal. Firing ICBM’s at will around the world is not going to make the world any safer, but it could make it deader.

Authors Bio:
Stephen M. Osborn is a freelance writer living on Camano Island in the Pacific Northwest. He is a columnist for the Populist Party website and has had a number of articles published internationally. He is an "Atomic Vet." (Operation Redwing, Bikini Atoll 1956, ) who has been very active working and writing for nuclear disarmament and world peace. He is a retired Fire Battalion Chief, lifelong sailor, writer, poet, philosopher, historian and former newspaper columnist. Much of his antiwar poetry may be found on the site.