Monthly Archives: October 2010

Governator Nukes Idiots

Imagine the Terminator, reincarnated as the Republican governor of California, calling four Republican Senators “idiots” for opposing the New START Treaty. Well it happened.
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Risky Nuclear Designs

Yesterday, Slashdot reported that a system failure at Warren AFB in Wyoming affected 50 ICBM’s and that “various security protocols built into the missile delivery system, like intrusion alarms and warhead separation alarms, were offline.” Assuaging fears that America’s nuclear deterrent might have been compromised during this failure, the source article notes that the missiles still could be launched from airborne command centers. Other reports cite an administration official offering assurances that “at no time did the president’s ability [to launch] decrease.” Given the difficulty of debugging software and hardware that is probably not a good thing. Continue reading

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General Drops Nuclear Bombshell

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Hugh Shelton, has dropped a nuclear bombshell, metaphorically speaking. Shelton’s recently released memoirs Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, assert that President Clinton lost a card containing key phrases … Continue reading

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Col. Strangelove

Peter Sellers’ classic black comedy, Dr. Strangelove, seemed unbelievable – until now. In that 1964 film, Air Force General Jack D. Ripper, starts a nuclear war to wipe out “the commies,” but ends up destroying the world because the Soviets had the ultimate deterrent, a doomsday machine that will destroy the biosphere if any Soviet city is nuked. Fast forward to today’s New York Times story about Canadian Col. David Williams pleading guilty to murdering two young women as part of a sexually charged crime spree in which he broke into homes to steal girls’ and young women’s underwear, murdering two in the process. Add photographs that the Colonel took of himself masturbating in the stolen underwear and you have a script that Hollywood would reject as unbelievable. Except that it happened. Continue reading

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The Ghost of Jackson-Vanik

Ghost stories usually are harmless, but this one haunts the world by making a nuclear catastrophe more likely. The Jackson-Vanik amendment became law in 1974 during the Cold War, and punished the Soviet Union for its lack of free emigration, … Continue reading

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How to Sell a War

In April 1946, while being held at Nuremberg as a Nazi war criminal, Hermann Göring told an interviewer how to start a war: “Of course the people don’t want war. … But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it is a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. … All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same way in any country.” Continue reading

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Russian-American Relations and Iran

Russian-American relations affect Iran in important ways that need to be better recognized. In years past, when the U.S. dismissed most Russian fears as ridiculous (e.g., our Eastern European missile defense system) or unwarranted meddling (e.g., NATO expansion surrounding Russia), Russia reciprocated by not going out of its way to deal with our concerns that it did not see as high priorities – for example, Iran’s nuclear program. Continue reading

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