ATACMS: Be Very Afraid of This Acronym

Most folks know oodles of acronyms. FBI, AARP, GOP, ACLU, POTUS, are among dozens used endlessly. But one acronym is little known due to both citizen apathy of US perpetual wars, and intentional governmental silence: ATACMS.

It’s not very catchy and does not sound ominous, but it surely is. It stands for Army Tactical Missile Systems.

ATACMS are just another of thousands of destructive weapons in America’s military toolbox.

But this one has potential to draw the US and NATO into all out war with Russia. Why? ATACMS are long range US missiles that can strike up to 190 miles. Top US officials, likely including President Biden, are seriously considering giving ATACMS to Ukraine in their battle to take back all Russian gains in Ukraine, including Crimea. They can reach both Crimea and the Russian mainland.

If so used by Ukraine to attack Russia, it may be a missile too far that could ignite Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Further escalation into nuclear confrontation between Russia and the US/NATO alliance seeking Russia’s defeat becomes more likely.

The Biden administration, Congress, military and pro war pundit class appear all in for America going all out to possibly destroy Mother Earth over a conflict having nothing to do with American national security interests.

The US has cautioned Ukraine not to use US weapons to attack Russia directly. Ukraine President Zelensky is on record arguing he needs to take the war to Russia. Giving ATACMS to Ukraine is a little like giving firecrackers to a little kid…. then telling him not to shoot them off. What could possibly go wrong?

ATACMS: an acronym to die for.

Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at

25 thoughts on “ATACMS: Be Very Afraid of This Acronym”

  1. What if one of the “made in the US” missiles were to land in Moscow,killing citizens? Would Russia then send a “made in Russia” missile that lands in D.C., or somewhere in Alaska? Sara Palin’s home, perhaps?

      1. The point of Fail Safe was the great danger that the mere existence of nuclear weapons poses. The solution in that movie was just one possibility. Nuclear annihilation is another one.

  2. Each one of these weapons increases the probability that Russia uses tactical nukes to get this war over with. So I keep asking why??
    If Russia uses nukes against Ukraine, I am sure that the support from India and Brazil and many African countries will evaporate. China,maybe.
    Pushing Russia against the corner so it uses nukes, must be Biden’s goal. After all, I am sure that the present situation was foreseen by the ones who planned the 2014 coup. The question of “What will Russia do?” must have been asked 1000 times in the secret war games.

    1. China is more than a “maybe.”

      China has explicitly placed Ukraine under its “nuclear umbrella.” Anyone who nukes Ukraine gets nuked by China as a matter of policy.

      Xi has presumably reminded Putin of that.

      1. A pledge originally made in 2013. Before the 2014 coup where Ukraine became a NATO client state.

        The idea that China would launch a strike against Russia under any circumstances is ridiculous.

        1. It was a pledge originally made in 1994 and renewed in 2013.

          Since which it has not been rescinded.

          I agree that it’s ridiculous to think that China would launch a nuclear strike against Russia — because Putin knows damn well not to cross the red line of the openly stated, and reaffirmed, and never rescinded, Chinese policy that it would do exactly that if Russia launched a nuclear strike against Ukraine.

          1. Not a chance. The pledges were made before Ukraine became a cats paw for NATO and neocons. The same NATO/neocons that threatened China.

            Then again, you could be right. But not in the way you think. If China sees Russia’s losing, it is highly likely China would react by entering the conflict on the side of Russia.

          2. Only if entering the conflict on the side of Russia facilitates turning Russia into a Chinese satrapy. And it seems a little early for that just yet. Absent something truly bizarre, the Russian empire probably has a couple decades left in it before it gets dominated by one, or parceled out among several, new “great powers.” I expect it may even outlast the US empire, which is also on its way out.

            If the PRC wanted to rescind its pledge to Ukraine, don’t you think it would have done so by now? Xi seems averse to losing face, so he’d want the obligation to be formally rescinded in advance, rather than signal that China “isn’t agreement-capable” when it fails to fulfill its existing obligation.

          3. “…If the PRC wanted to rescind its pledge to Ukraine, don’t you think it would have done so by now?

            Why? There is nothing to gain by doing that. Are you suggesting that ANY of the leaders of countries are actually committed to what they might have said a decade ago ? Especially given a co dependency that has developed as a result of the mediocre DC political classes foreign policy failures? This isn’t 2013. China and Russia are defacto allies. China isn’t going to attack an ally if an insignificant corrupt puppet state is nuked because NATO is seeking the destruction of China’s most significant ally.

            Xi isn’t stupid. And China isn’t going accomplish NATO’s goals at China’s expense.

          4. “Xi isn’t stupid.”

            I agree.

            Which is why Xi has presumably cautioned Putin not to cross the red line that would require China to nuke Russia. The alternative to that would be to publicly renounce China’s obligation to do so, and I’ve seen no evidence of such public renunciation. Have you?

          5. Nonsense. China nuking Russia would result i the entire world becoming subservient to Washington DC with much of the world being radioactive ruins.

            Then again, one of the top Russian analysts is advocating Russia nuking a Polish city and daring the US to respond. Is Poland under the Chinese nuclear umbrella?

            Russia nuclear weapons~ 6,000. China nuclear weapons: ~ 400. Yeah. China is going to attack its greatest ally, the supplier of its energy and commit national suicide to boot. Not going to happen. And frankly it’s moronic to claim that would happen under any circumstances. But it is a neo-con dream.

          6. Yes, China nuking Russia would be a very bad thing.

            And it’s not going to happen.

            The question is WHY it’s not going to happen.

            If Xi wanted to extricate China from its obligation to nuke anyone who nukes Ukraine, he would publicly say so in advance of that obligation being invoked, because he doesn’t want China to be seen as a country that fails to fulfill its freely undertaken obligations.

            Since he has not done so, the obvious conclusion is that the first time he sat down with Putin after the invasion of Ukraine, he made sure that Putin understood the consequences of nuking Ukraine.

          7. If that was the case, by your own argument, why didn’t Xi repeat the pledge since?

            So, no. Xi could have repeated that position. He didn’t.

          8. Xi almost certainly HAS repeated the pledge since. Privately, face to face, to Putin. Allies don’t go out of their way to publicly threaten each other.

            If Xi wanted to rescind the pledge, he could do so at any time. And if he wanted to rescind the pledge, he’d do so early and publicly instead of waiting for a situation requiring him to follow through and then publicly defaulting on his obligations — because, as the US is finding out, publicly proving yourself dishonest and unreliable has costs.

          9. I don’t believe that Putin actually intends to launch nuclear weapons under any circumstances, but I can’t say the same for the psychopathic war mongers in Russia nor for those in the U.S., the latter of whom are mostly in power.

            However, even threatening to use nuclear weapons is extremely dangerous and therefore immoral, and Putin has done that.

            The fact that humans in most countries have created societies wherein people have to be at least aggressive egomaniacs in order to become leaders is the problem here. Until we fix that, we’ll get more of the same. Of course the deeper root of the problem is human overpopulation, but that and wrongful lifestyles/overconsumption are the roots of almost every problem.

      2. No one knows what will happen should nukes start flying. My preference is not find out.

        1. Well, know this: Russia has a doomsday machine. If nukes were to be launched on Russia, the machine would launch Russia’s nukes. I don’t remember the details, but it would likely be the end of the vast majority of life on Earth, if not all of it.

          1. My preference would be to not test out how well it does or does not work.

    2. There’s no such thing as a “tactical” nuclear weapon. Even the Eisenhower administration knew that, and I’m sure that Russia knows it too. If a country launches a nuclear weapon, other countries will respond in kind, and then we have all out nuclear war. Doesn’t matter whether the first weapon launched was large or small.

      1. Cute name. Bombs with 50 kilotons are talked about like they’re hand grenades when the bombs we dropped on Japan had a mere 15 kilotons.

    3. The constant provocation of Russia is pure psychopathy. I don’t give a damn about “calculations,” we’re talking about possible annihilation of the planet here. We have a bunch of Dr. Strangeloves running the planet, in addition to the “we can’t have a mine shaft gap” nutcases. In the end we only have ourselves to blame, because we let these unevolved lunatics run things so that we can have more material things, mainly toys like cars, TVs, computers, & cell phones.

      The human race is so far off track and has been so for so long that I’d feel hopeless if I weren’t the type of person who never gave up hope, realistic expectations be damned.

  3. A few dozen drones in incessant attacks seem to really mess up with these snazzy weapons.
    I know they really work swell against those desert dwellers we keep screwing with over for their oil but Russia might be a little more proactive and take them out before they do much damage.

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