LETTER: U.S. weapons endanger the planet

From reader Nick Chatten

Am I the only one tired of the beating war drums south of our border?

With almost three million personnel, 4,800 defence sites on seven continents and an annual budget of more than $700 billion, the U.S. military is considered the world’s premier fighting force.

When so much of your people and economy is tied up with the military, it’s no wonder the U.S. needs perpetual wars.

The world is a little small for this overdone aggression. As temperatures rise, people become more violent. I don’t see the future as friendly. Eventually there will be a screw up of epic proportions. There have already been many close calls with potential nuclear devastation.

Broken Arrows are nuclear accidents that don’t create a risk of nuclear war. There have been 10 such incidents recorded (that we know of). The first one happened right here in British Columbia in 1950! A mock bomb run, the plane was carrying a Mark IV atomic bomb. The plane performed badly in the freezing cold and three of the six engines failed. The crew was forced to bail out, but they first jettisoned the Mark IV and detonated it over the Inside Passage of BC. Three servicemen died in that fiasco. We were lucky the bomb was not enriched with plutonium.

Not to be outdone, the U.S. has nearly nuked itself six times:

1. Fairfield, Calif.; 1950

2. Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1957

3. Mars Bluff, South Carolina; 1958

4. Tybee Island, Georgia; 1958

5. San Antonio, Tex.; 1963

6. Minot, North Dakota; 2007

The Minot incident was classified as a Bent Spear: an event involving live nuclear weapons of significant concern without involving detonation. Six cruise missiles on the bomber were all still armed with live nuclear warheads. Each missile had the power of 10 Hiroshima bombs. The plane was given the go ahead to fly by error and poor observation. The bomber flew across the U.S. to Louisiana and the live nukes went undetected for 36 hours.

I wonder if this experiment of eight billion humans will survive the 21st century. If real steps are not taken to nullify these atrocious weapons, the mental costs alone are already crushing young minds with cold fear and anxiety. When the future is looking this bleak, people crumble mentally and our military culture almost makes sure we will fail.

Instead of “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword,” a modern update could be: “Those who live by the bomb will die by the bomb.” Is it going to be ashes, ashes all fall down; or can our human spirit find a way out of this horrifying mess?

Nick Chatten

Crescent Valley

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