Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 

Thu

25

Oct

2007

Were Those Cruise Missiles Targeted? Did Anybody Check?
Thursday, 25 October 2007 13:49
by Dave Lindorff

Philip Coyle, an analyst with the Center for Defense Information and a former assistant secretary of defense from the Clinton administration period, has a troubling question about the recent nuclear weapon incident in the US.

He wants to know if the six nuclear-tipped Advanced Cruise Missiles that were improperly removed from a guarded bunker at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and flown in launch position on a wing pod of a B-52H Stratofortress bomber on Aug. 29-30 to Barksdale AFB were programmed with targeting information.

He also wants to know if the Air Force and Pentagon, which last Friday concluded an investigation into that shocking incident (no nuclear weapons have been flown on a bomber over US territory for 40 years on presidential orders, and since 1991 no nuclear weapons are even supposed to be loaded for practice on a parked plane), ever checked the missiles' computer guidance systems.

No mention of target programming on the missiles, which were originally designed to fly low and fast to their targets to evade Soviet radar and interceptors, was made at the Pentagon press conference, at which the whole incident was explained away as a big "mistake." which It was announced that five officers and 65 enlisted people were "fired" from their positions as a result of the incident, but no specific information was given about what they had done, or not done, that led to their firings.

As Coyle observes, it might have been a good idea to check those computers.

Noting that the six missiles with their nuclear warheads had been pre-loaded into launching racks on a wing pylon, and stored that way in the weapons bunker for faster loading, Coyle says, "they may well have had them programmed for certain targets."

Coyle says that it's true that following the end of the Cold War, the military claims it no longer targets ICBMs at targets, but rather aims them at spots in the middle of oceans. This is to prevent an accidental launch, he says, and can be done because the modern intercontinental missiles have computers that can be reprogrammed with real target information very fast.

The older 1980s-era cruise missiles have older, smaller computers on board, though, and Coyle says because they are harder to program, he "wouldn't be surprised" if they were pre-programmed with terrain-mapping information "to get them to their eventual targets."

Certainly it would seem like the investigators who looked into this "mistake" should have checked out those onboard computers to see where these cruise missiles were programmed to deliver their errant 150-kiloton warheads. That information might have gone a long way towards establishing whether the missiles were moved to Barksdale AFB (a staging area for B-52s intended for use in the Middle East theater) by accident, or with some dark plan in mind.

The Air Force, as of this filing, has not provided an answer to this question.

More from this author:
BREAKING NEWS: Eisenhower Carrier Group Sails for Iran Theater (23888 Hits)
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Eisenhower and its accompanying strike force of cruiser, destroyer and attack submarine slipped their moorings...
U.S. Military Has Killed Up to 238,000 Iraqi Civilians (11339 Hits)
A just-released study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, published in the current issue of the prestigious British medical journal The...
Bush's Middle East Strategy, and Presidency, Lie in Ruins as Republicans Scurry Away (9748 Hits)
by Dave Lindorff Well, so much for Iraqi “sovereignty.” So much too for "staying the course" and for "fighting the terrorists...
Time for Truth and Consequences (8934 Hits)
by Dave Lindorff The Bush administration, losing the war in Iraq, has come with a "new" strategy: setting a timetable for Iraq's...
Let's March in January! An Impeachment Call to Action (11097 Hits)
by Dave Lindorff I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that, barring some incredible act of criminal cynicism such as the...
Related Articles:
Wish you were here (a small sampling) (11110 Hits)
by Mickey Z. Estimates vary, but roughly 50,000 animal and plant species become extinct each year. That¹s over 130 per day, about 6 per hour....
A Message to Washington State Legislators (and to those in VT, NM and elsewhere) (6894 Hits)
by Dave Lindorff This is my testimony, submitted to the Government Operations and Elections Committtee of the Washington State Senate, ...
Open Letter To Katie Couric: You Were Unfair To The Edwards (4277 Hits)
by Linda Milazzo I watched your "60 Minutes" interview this evening with Elizabeth and John Edwards. I found you insensitive and...
Once Were Soldiers: More Bush Abuse for Cannon Fodder (5124 Hits)
by Chris Floyd Army deployed seriously injured troops (Salon.com) Soldiers on crutches and canes were sent to a main desert camp used for Iraq...
Those who Live in Glass Houses - Were Mitt Romney's Remarks Anti-Muslim Bigotry? - Cheney Greeted by Mortars, Demonstrations - Iraqi Parliament pleads for US withdrawal (5220 Hits)
by Juan Cole Mitt Romney has attacked Al Sharpton's remark about his being defeated by those who 'really do believe in God' as a piece of...


Add this page to your favorite Social Bookmarking websites
Trackback(0)
Comments (1)add comment

query said:

0
Where are the orders not to load nuclear weapons?
no nuclear weapons have been flown on a bomber over US territory for 40 years on presidential orders, and since 1991 no nuclear weapons are even supposed to be loaded for practice on a parked plane

Do you have a documented reference for these orders?
 
October 25, 2007
Votes: +0

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

adsense

Top