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Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Thursday, March 9, 2006

Does the Pentagon pay people extra to come up with ideas this dumb?

The boys over at the Pentagon have this great new idea for some of the Trident missiles currently riding around on US submarines. According to the Washington Post, what they want to do is to remove the nuclear warheads from these missiles and replace them with conventional explosives. By doing so, the Pentagon says, the US will be capable of dropping a conventional bomb anywhere on the planet within an hour of when the order was given.


Nuclear or conventional?

The Trident on the left has the nuke. Or is it the one on the right?
And if we can't tell, what makes the Pentagon think anyone else can?


Leaving aside the question of whether being able to drop 'regular' bombs within an hour is a good idea, this magpie has to question the wisdom of delivering conventional explosives on a missile that looks like a nuclear weapon system. I mean, is it really a good idea to risk having the target country think it's under nuclear attack — and respond accordingly?

Even some people at the Pentagon are worried:

"Will it be interpreted as having a nuclear warhead and elicit . . . a nuclear response?" asked the senior defense official, acknowledging the potential "ambiguity" of the weapon if detected by early-warning systems. Such systems may not be able to determine if an incoming warhead is conventional or nuclear.

The worrisome scenario, he said, "is that they do see it, then they misinterpret it," he told a meeting of defense reporters. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had not yet briefed Congress.

This plan deserves to be tossed onto the dustheap of history. Quickly.

Via The Nation.

| | Posted by Magpie at 1:08 PM | Get permalink




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