The Trump administration wants to make it easier for terrorists to get and use nuclear weapons. Under a new policy proposed on 2 February 2018, the US would develop smaller, less-destructive nuclear bombs that are easier to use.
Such weapons would be easier for the bad guys to steal and set off, basic logic dictates. Sadly, Secretary of Defense and former army General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis does not seem to believe in basic logic.
Mattis proposed the introduction of smaller low-yield nukes in his “Nuclear Policy Review,” The Washington Post reported. Mattis is apparently envious of small battlefield nukes possessed by the Russian military.
General Mattis’s Dangerous Fantasy World
Mattis and his associates seem to live in a fantasy world where terrorism does not exist. Instead, they think they can ignore the gravest threat to America, and pretend that nothing happened on September 11, 2001.
“These powers are increasing the numbers and types of nuclear weapons in their arsenal,” Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said of countries like China and Russia at a press conference. The problem with Brouillette’s statement is that history proves such nuclear weapons are no threat to anybody but taxpayers.
At the height of the Cold War in 1986 there were around 64,500 nuclear weapons in the world’s arsenals, The Diplomat estimated. None of those bombs were used and all ended up deteriorating into junk.
The rational strategy for the United States would be to maintain a small nuclear deterrent and simply ignore other countries’ building of low-yield bombs. The problem is that such rational thinking does not help empire-building bureaucrats like Brouillette and Mattis.
A small nuclear deterrent does not make money for defense contractors, create lots of jobs for bureaucrats, or lead to large campaign contributions for politicians. Yet, history shows that such a small deterrent will keep America safe; because no nation will hit us with a nuke because they know we’ll fire one back at them.
Mattis’s Unnecessary and Dangerous Nuclear Weapons
The sorry truth; that General Mattis probably understands, is that there is no military reason for the low-yield .
America’s existing stockpile of nukes is enough to deter any government from launching a nuclear attack on the US. Russia and China will never use their low-yield bombs against American forces because they know Uncle Sam would retaliate with a nuclear strike.
A strong case can be made that having only bigger, more destructive nukes makes deterrent more effective because an enemy that used a low-yield bomb would face total annihilation. The existence of low-yield bombs might convince enemy leaders to safely use atomic weapons because there would be a possibility of survival.
Nor is there any reason for nukes on the modern battlefield. Bunker-busting conventional explosives like the US Air Force’s GBU-57 provide more than enough explosive power to knock out any enemy facility or force.
More importantly, Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) like the GBU-57 are so big they would be of little or no use to terrorists. The GBU-57 is 20.5 feet long and 31 inches wide and weighs 15 tons. If ISIS psychopaths were to succeed in stealing the GBU-57, they would also need to steal a semi-tractor or large cargo plane to haul it with.
How General Mattis Wants to Make Terrorists Job Easier
Mattis’s new generation of small, low-yield nukes would be useless to the U.S. military, but of great use to terrorists.
The small bombs would be easier for the terrorists to steal, carry, and deliver. Since they would be easier to use, even the kind of numbskulls that join an organization like ISIS might be able to set the nukes off. Despite those characteristics, the smaller bombs would still pack as much force as those that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, The Week reported.
General Mattis and Brouillette want to make it easier for terrorists to blow up a U.S. city and kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. I imagine that ISIS’s leaders are already planning to steal one of Mattis’s bombs and figuring out which American city they want to nuke.
The Next Generation of Terrorists might be armed with American Nukes
Okay, ISIS has largely been destroyed but what about the next terrorist group. The world is full of bloodthirsty fanatics, many of whom spend their days dreaming of killing Americans. Remember, we were told that wiping out Al Qaeda; which is apparently still in business, would end the terrorist menace.
Destroying Al Qaeda only spawned a worse terrorist threat namely ISIS. Recent history teaches us that ISIS’s eradication will only create a new, more dangerous, and more sophisticated terrorist organization.
The world was fairly safe from nuclear weapons during the Cold War; because back then the only place large-scale terrorist organizations like ISIS existed was in the movies, paperback thrillers, and comic books. Today there are two such organizations that we know about; ISIS and Al Qaeda, and probably many others waiting or forming in the shadows.
Such groups would have the resources to make the plot of the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball a reality. In that film; the remake Never Say Never Again, and the original Ian Fleming book, terrorist mastermind Dr. Blofeld and his SPECTRE organization steal nuclear weapons and use them for blackmail.
Disturbingly, what was once a popcorn movie plot is now a dystopian reality, while “realistic” 1960s films about nuclear war; such as On the Beach and Failsafe, are laughable curiosities. Tellingly, the only 1960s nuclear danger film remembered today is Stanley Kubrick’s hilarious satire of the genre Dr. Strangelove. That movie is remembered for Peter Sellers’ brilliant performances – not the cornball plot.
The Nuclear Terrorism Nightmare
The frightening reality is that today’s terrorists; unlike 007’s enemies, would set the nukes off as soon as they were in position. The fictional Blofeld was mainly interested in money; ISIS and its ilk have only one goal – kill as many people as possible.
If lots of low-yield nuclear bombs were stored at U.S. facilities around the world, terrorists would have lots of opportunities to steal them. This is not fantasy in 2015 Newsweek reported that 50 nuclear bombs were stored at the U.S. Airbase at Incirlik, Turkey. Incirlik is just 70 miles from the Syrian border, where ISIS was waging war in 2015.
Those nukes are designed to be dropped from airplanes. That means they would be small enough for a squad of men or one guy with a forklift to load onto a pickup truck. Such weapons would also be easy to load into a helicopter or airplane to haul off.
Now Mattis and Brouillette want to make nuclear weapons smaller, easier to haul off, easier to steal, and easier to use. Absolutely, dumb in a world full of terrorists and would-be terrorists.
What would happen if several hundred terrorists; possibly equipped with tanks and artillery, overran a U.S. base where low-yield nukes were stored? Would we be treated to a video of American military personnel being forced to load nuclear weapons into terrorist trucks at gunpoint released on YouTube to create panic?
Forget “the New Arms Race” the Danger is Nuclear Terrorism
Frighteningly, the critics of nuclear weapons seem to be just as stuck in the past as Brouillette. Almost all their criticism of the Nuclear Policy Review focused on the danger of a “new nuclear arms race.”
History teaches us that the only thing a nuclear arms race threatens is the taxpayer’s pocketbook by wasting money. The real threat; as we should have learned on September 11, 2001, is terrorism.
Instead of making nukes smaller and easier to use, we should be making them bigger and harder to use. A smart strategy would be a few dozen big nukes attached to large missiles kept on nuclear submarines or stored in heavily-guarded military installations far from war zones.
Another obvious solution is an international treaty banning small yield nuclear weapons and requiring their immediate destruction. America can set an excellent example for the world by refusing to waste taxpayers’ money on low-yield nukes. That might humiliate leaders like Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping into signing such a treaty.
A good start would be for President Trump to fire Mattis and Brouillette and order the Pentagon to shred the Nuclear Policy Review. Mattis and Brouillette have proven they are dangerous fools who do not understand the world’s realities, they need to go now.
The last thing our military should be doing is giving terrorists the means to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans or other innocent people. That seems to be exactly what Mattis and his advisors are planning.