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USA’s B61 bomb – useless and a waste of money

B61-bombingThe nuclear bomb we don’t need, L A Times, By Steve Andersen June 6, 2013 The American B61 is a massively expensive investment that provides no real military capability and no real deterrence in today’s Europe………s President Obama prepares to unveil a nuclear weapons policy initiative for his second term, no one is suggesting that the United States should slash defense spending to Russian levels. Defense cuts of that size would be inconsistent with the national interests of America and its allies. But policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic ought to be more inclined than they have been to trim defense programs tailored for a Cold War that has been over for two decades, in particular during an era of sequestration in Washington and austerity in Europe.

Enter the American B61 nuclear bomb …… Throughout the Cold War, thousands of tactical nuclear weapons — short-range nuclear artillery shells, missiles and bombs — were deployed by the United States to deter the Soviets from exploiting their advantages in Europe to mount a lightning attack.

It worked. After the Soviet Union collapsed, President George H. W. Bush ordered the return of almost all U.S. tactical nuclear weapons, leaving only a few hundred air-delivered gravity bombs — the B61 — in European bunkers.

Over the last 20 years, the military rationale for continuing these deployments has evaporated. …..When allocating limited defense resources against real defense priorities, including Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Syria, nuclear proliferation, terrorism — today’s “guns versus guns” measurements — the B61 simply doesn’t pass muster……   If Americans understood that their government plans to spend about the same amount of money this year, $537 million, on the B61 bomb as it will spend on Alzheimer’s research, while financing nearly three-quarters of NATO’s military spending, the B61 would deservedly become a dead man walking.

So who will make this case? Four American statesmen — George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn — who in a landmark 2007 Op-Ed article called for “eliminating short-range nuclear weapons designed to be forward deployed” — laid the foundation. Since then, a number of European senior statesmen — including defense and foreign secretaries across the political spectrum — have echoed their call.

Obama should connect the dots as part of an initiative to implement the ambitious agenda for nuclear threat reduction he laid out in Prague four years ago, which was endorsed by NATO. Or even better, maybe it will be a European leader who has the iron to seize the initiative and call attention to the obvious: In today’s Europe, tactical nuclear weapons make no sense. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-andreasen-nuclear-bomb-20130606,0,4306971.story

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June 8, 2013 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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