For nuclear security beyond Seoul, eradicate land-based 'doomsday' missiles
America's 450 launch-ready land-based nuclear-armed ballistic missiles are the opposite of a deterrent to attack. In fact, their very deployment has the potential to launch World War III and precipitate human extinction – as a result of a false alarm. We’re not exaggerating.
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In the extended time, it became clear that the missile was a weather sounding rocket from Norway and not a US missile headed toward Moscow. Disaster was only narrowly averted.Skip to next paragraph
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Here is the really compelling part of the story: If all 450 US land-based Minuteman III missiles with thermonuclear warheads were ever launched at Russia – with many of the targets in or near cities, as now planned – most Americans would die as a result, along with most of humanity. Our own weapons would contribute as much or more to these deaths in America and the rest of the globe as any Russian warheads launched.
This is because smoke from the enormous nuclear firestorms created by even a “successful” US nuclear first-strike would cause catastrophic disruption of global climate and massive destruction of the Earth’s protective ozone layer, leading to global famine.
Recent peer-reviewed studies, done by atmospheric scientists Alan Robock (Rutgers), Brian Toon (University of Colorado-Boulder), Richard Turco (UCLA) and colleagues, predict that such an attack would create immense firestorms that would quickly surround the planet with a dense stratospheric smoke layer.
The black smoke would be heated by the sun, lofted like a hot air balloon, and would remain in the stratosphere for at least 10 years. There it would block and prevent a large fraction of sunlight from reaching the Earth’s surface. The sharp reduction of warming sunlight would rapidly produce global Ice Age weather conditions. This would eliminate or dramatically reduce growing seasons for a decade and would likely cause the starvation of most or all humans.
Along with other effects – including prolonged destruction of the ozone layer – most complex life on Earth could be destroyed. Scientists say the process would be similar to when an asteroid hit the Earth some 65 million years ago, raising a global dust cloud that reduced sunlight, lowering temperatures and killing vegetation. That caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and 70 percent of the Earth’s species.
The cause of extinction in our case would not be an external, celestial event, but rather the launching of thermonuclear weapons we had created by our own cleverness, supposedly for our own security.
The Minuteman III missile tests from Vandenberg Air Force Base are thus really tests of an American Nuclear Doomsday Machine.
Nuclear weapons do not make the US or the world more secure. In particular, the Minuteman III missiles – land-based, vulnerable, on high alert, and susceptible to being triggered by a false alarm – make us less secure. Anyone who cares about humankind having a future should protest these tests and call for the elimination of all nuclear-armed inter-continental ballistic missiles as an initial step toward the total abolition of nuclear weapons.
If the US did away now with its nuclear-armed land-based missile force, it would still have 288 invulnerable submarine-launched ballistic missiles (armed with approximately 1,152 warheads) to act as a retaliatory threat to nuclear attack. But it would no longer have tempting targets for the Russians to strike preemptively in a time of tension or in the event of a false warning of attack.