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USA’s nuclear weapons store in Turkey – a vulnerable target that should be moved

warheads nuclearLet’s get our nuclear weapons out of Turkey, LA Times,  Steve text-relevantAndreasen, 11 Aug 16 “……..After a faction within the Turkish military tried to overthrow the Turkish government last month, one of the many arrested for his alleged role in the attempted coup was a commanding officer at the Incirlik Air Base. That base — according to numerous media reports — is a major NATO installation hosting one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in Europe.

What if the Turkish base commander at Incirlik had ordered his troops surrounding the perimeter of the base to turn their guns on the U.S. soldiers that reportedly guard U.S. nuclear storage bunkers there?

What if anti-American Turkish protesters, believing the U.S. was behind the coup plot and that it was harboring the coup’s leader (ominously reminiscent of how Iranians felt about America and the shah 37 years ago) decided to march on Incirlik chanting anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans (as has actually happened) and taken over the base?

Leaving aside the coup, what if Islamic State were to attack Incirlik? In March, the Pentagon reportedly ordered military families out of southern Turkey, primarily from Incirlik, due to terrorism-related security concerns.

While we’ve avoided disaster so far, we have ample evidence that the security of U.S. nuclear weapons stored in Turkey can change literally overnight. Now fully aware of the dangers, the Obama administration should remove any remaining nuclear weapons from Turkey – and the next president should remove all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe……..

Nuclear deterrence does not require the U.S. to store nuclear bombs in Turkey, or elsewhere in Europe. The U.S. has long-range “strategic” nuclear weapons to ward off hostile powers and guarantee the security of all NATO allies. But since the end of the Cold War, most military leaders believe that our short-range “tactical” nuclear weapons based in Europe have virtually no utility, for the simple reason that no U.S. president is likely to use them…….

storing tactical nuclear weapons in Turkey and in other NATO nations comes with the increasing risk of vulnerability to an evolving and more deadly terrorist threat, or to domestic unrest. In the wake of an incident at a nuclear storage site — for which the U.S. would be held accountable and suffer long-term consequences with allies — it would be difficult to explain that vulnerable targets were left in place due to a perceived need to reassure our allies. …..http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-andreasen-nuclear-weapons-turkey-20160811-snap-story.html

August 12, 2016 - Posted by | Turkey, weapons and war

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