America’s Mad Nuclear Weapons Surge

Trident II D5 Missile Launch. No matter how “small” the warhead, you never want to see one of these launch under “real world” conditions

As a young captain in the Air Force, I visited Los Alamos National Lab in 1992. The mood there was grim. What use for a lab that develops and tests nuclear weapons when the Cold War with the Soviet Union was over and America was downsizing its nuclear forces? The people I talked to said the lab would have to reinvent itself; its nuclear physicists and engineers would have to adapt. Perhaps they might move to more commercial applications of technology. Better that than closing down the lab, they said.

Who knew that, 25+ years later, nuclear weapons would make their own “surge” and that the U.S. would plan to “invest” more than a trillion dollars in nuclear modernization, beginning with smaller, more “usable,” low-yield nuclear warheads for the Navy’s Trident missiles, as James Carroll wrote about yesterday at Even “small” warheads have genocidal implications, however, for once you start launching nuclear-tipped missiles, no matter how “small,” escalation is likely to follow.

That sunny day in New Mexico in 1992, I could not have imagined a new American surge in nuclear weapons, beginning with the Obama administration and now championed by men like Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton. That day, it seemed the end of the era of MAD – mutually assured destruction – the end to fears of nuclear war. Soon even conservatives like Henry Kissinger and George Schultz were calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

But that was 2007-08, and this is now. The madness is back, America. I urge you to read and heed James Carroll’s warning at If we want to save ourselves as well as our planet’s biosphere, we need to eliminate nuclear weapons, not build more of them.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views. He can be reached at Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

5 thoughts on “America’s Mad Nuclear Weapons Surge”

  1. Most people I think have nothing to live for, so for them there is nothing other than the pure joy of murder. It works the same way as love, people project their selflove onto others and claim that they love them, but nothing could be further from the truth. So, let the damn species die out, it’s not like they’ve done any other species any favors.

    1. Epigone Opus
      by toto che handala
      Each of us
      at this juncture
      inside this
      holographic dream
      of illusory space /time

      followers another
      past the beginning
      pond scum
      stretched far beyond

      Alone here
      via a path
      by every step trod
      Walk in utter darkness
      tell me
      what can you see

      We tip-toe
      upon the shoulders of giants
      an insignificant flea
      g(r)azing over
      the mysterious panorama
      so what now
      do you believe?

      We stroll together
      immersed by trillions
      yet alone in our room
      billions upon billions
      blind but to a carrot and stick dime

      We speak to each other
      across a gulf
      within this great obscurity of self
      to find comfort and belonging
      outside another impenetrable shell

      From the fear
      of an inevitable demise
      that is our greatest mystery
      So we pine
      for our heroes of yesterday
      in myopic nostalgic melancholy

      The bracing bite of a squall
      assails one and all
      So we clothe ourselves
      in the skins
      of ancestral apparitions revered

      Frost-bitten beaten red and black
      we trudge on through
      the howling wail of voices
      we almost discern
      still & silent transfixed
      huddled by the fire
      the young the old
      we stare into the embers
      begging for the voice of fallen kin
      imperceptible whispers
      please please
      tell us who we are

      Heroes of folklore
      garner deeds and voices
      echo in cadence
      rattling our conscience
      as we lay laurels
      upon their memories

      Resonance pulsates
      along spider web connections
      sparking inspiration
      rise up
      take their place
      or shuffle away in shame
      each life lived
      a classic greek tragedy

      We are simply after-born
      the latest layer of copies
      diluted and filtered
      from a flawless jolt
      do we bow before adam and eve
      the launch of this fairy-tale hokum

      Ah, but to do the family name proud
      to gather at holidays to argue and impress
      reflections of a mirrored-self
      but merely delusional illusion
      are you simply in love with yourself
      or do you distain such pretentious superficiality?

      As faint copies of billions
      what is left?
      the accumulated sum apex
      or aging process to extinction
      we are 6 of 100
      do we continue after this
      Is history a dusty forgotten page
      to be discarded
      or embedded forever by strings?

      Verified Sprites flash
      faux angels hover
      as we reach
      to grasp
      the fading afterglow
      of ethereal lucidity
      validate the postulate
      confirm the theory

      Is our untouched unhallowed fallowed future
      back to the
      immersing swirling broth
      down accumulative flaws and errors
      till we dead end at extinction
      like 99+%

      As we clothe ourselves
      in their skins
      as we tread
      where they’ve have been
      through their eyes
      we attempt to epiphany

      As we become
      faint dissolving copies
      translucent fading decaying
      while an event horizon waits just up ahead
      is our destiny
      a transfixed date
      with a technological or evolutionary singularity?

      We reach for the stars
      stretching our grasp
      as kids for soap bubbles and fireflies
      stuck in mire
      we war upon ourselves
      we can perceive
      even the strings of the micro
      yet too myopic
      to grasp
      the equality in every human being

      We squeal and squawk
      for personal justice and freedom
      while we inflict injustice
      on our neighbor to pillage
      then allow ourselves
      to be imprisoned under lock and key by law
      we bow before a constitution
      while it gets shredded to pieces

      We marvel
      at our self-serving magnificence
      while we pray
      to a mythological maker
      for more more more
      driven by an addiction
      of nefarious desire
      this collective evil
      of singular selfishness

      What are we
      then now
      to be
      destined into infinity
      doomed to extinction

      False vacuum
      a Fermi paradox
      slithering in a petri dish
      transcension hypothosis
      why don’t we know
      from whence did we come
      why are we here
      for how long
      why the amnesia
      the silent conspiracy

      Is this illusion
      simply allusion
      quarks in a movie
      are we simply ‘dead’
      to be born
      do we need to die
      does it even matter
      in flux
      while we’re here
      we’ll never know

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