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Last week the Air Force shot a Minuteman rocket off California toward the Martial Islands, but the government refused to join in treaty negotiations for a ban on nuclear weapons. Using a blizzard of hypocrisy and self-contradiction, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley explained March 27 why the US would boycott the “treaty ban” negotiations.
Amb. Haley said about US nuclear weapons, “[W]e can’t honestly say that we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to have them, and those of us that are good, trying to keep peace and safety not to have them.” North Korea’s president could have said the same thing about his six or seven nuclear warheads, especially in view of the US “trying to keep peace and safety” using bombs and missiles against seven countries -- Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya -- and the joint US/S. Korea war exercises off the Korean peninsula.
Ambassador Haley managed to avoid being two-faced on one level. Joining the ban treaty talks would have been tactless and seamy while her colleagues in the war department were preparing a series of nuclear weapons tests. An April 13 test, at the Tonopah bombing range in Nevada, was of the so-called “B61-12,” a new H-bomb still in development and scheduled to go into production after 2022.
Jackie Cabasso, of the Western States Legal Foundation, explained April 20, “In 1997… President Bill Clinton signed Presidential Directive-60, reaffirming the threatened first use of nuclear weapons as the ‘cornerstone’ of US national security.… President Obama left office with the US poised to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years to maintain and modernize its nuclear bombs and warheads…. Over the past couple of years, the US has conducted a series of drop tests of the newly modified B61-12 gravity bomb…. Each new bomb will cost more than twice its weight in solid gold.” Of the 480 B61s slated to become B61-12s, about 180 are scheduled to be placed at six NATO bases in Europe.
Another test, April 26 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Calif., launched a modernized Minuteman-3 long-range ballistic missile. (Nukewatch co-directors Arianne Peterson, Bonnie Urfer and I recently finished NUCLEAR HEARTLAND, a book about these very rockets.) This was to be followed by another Minuteman-3 test fired at the Martial Islands May 3.
US: “We are prepared to use nuclear weapons”
As on Feb. 21 and Feb. 25, 2016, Vandenberg regularly tests Minuteman-3s. Deputy Pentagon Chief Robert Work said then the US had conducted “at least” 15 since January 2011. Before the Feb. 25 test Mr. Work said, “And that is a signal ... that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary.” This is the Big Lie, since using nuclear weapons only produces massacres, and massacres are never defensive.
Jason Ditz put the rocket tests in context April 26 at antiwar.com: “Everywhere and (mostly) without exception, the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) would be angrily condemned by the United States as a dangerous provocation, and the firing of a nuclear-capable rocket would be treated as tantamount to an act of war. Not today [April 26], of course, when the missile in question was test-fired from California by the United States flying some 4,000 miles before hitting a test target near the Marshall Islands. The missile was identified as a Minuteman III, a nuclear-capable weapon of which the US has 450 in service.”
The two times Amb. Haley flubbed her March 27 “peace and safety” speech were alarming. Haley stumbled once saying: “We would love to have a ban on nuclear treat… nuclear weapons.” A ban on nuclear treaties is more like what Amb. Haley’s bosses do want, so she didn’t mis-speak later (and did not correct herself) when she said: “One day we will hope that we are standing here saying, ‘We no longer need nuclear weapons.’” But today she doesn’t even hope to be saying such a thing. A trillion dollars is very big business.
Instead, the United States is relentlessly bombing and rocketing, hitting civilians with drones, Cruise missiles, depleted uranium munitions, and even a 21,600-pound “Massive Ordnance Air Blast” or MOAB bomb, also tested April 13 but against caves Afghanistan,. This ghastly “thermobaric” fuel-air-explosive (FAE) has the mass of five Lincoln Continentals, and reportedly killed 95 people including a teacher and his son. One Defense Intelligence Agency report uncovered by Human Rights Watch said that because “shock and pressure waves cause minimal damage to brain tissue…it is possible that victims of FAEs are not rendered unconscious by the blast, but instead suffer for several seconds or minutes while they suffocate.” Such is the peace and safety from those of us that are good.
On March 29, two days after her UN performance, Amb. Haley spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations and cleared up any confusion our globalized bombings might be causing. Haley declared, “The United States is the moral conscience of the world.” Yes Ms. Parker, “And I am Marie of Romania.”