Tag Archives: War

Rising Concerns About Nuclear War as Trump Prepares to Loosen Constraints on Weapons

“We are flirting with unacceptably high risks that carry catastrophic consequences for the country and the world. No one can afford to not take Trump’s threats seriously.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 1-10-2018

Photo: YouTube

Advocates of nuclear disarmament are raising alarms about reports that the Trump administration is planning to loosen constraints on the U.S. nuclear weapons program, warning that the Pentagon’s forthcoming plan “makes nuclear war more likely.”

Jon Wolfsthal, an official who worked on arms control in the Obama administration and has reviewed what he believes is the final version of the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), told the Guardian the Pentagon’s new review includes plans to develop more nuclear weapons and expand “the circumstances in which the U.S. might use its nuclear arsenal, to include a response to a non-nuclear attack that caused mass casualties, or was aimed at critical infrastructure or nuclear command and control sites.” Continue reading

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Lawsuit Seeks to Force Disclosure of Trump Administration’s Secret Kill List

The Trump admin is now facing legal challenges demanding the release of details related to the secret kill list and rules which allow for the assassination of American citizens. 

By Derrick Broze. Published 12-28-2017 by Activist Post

Photo: cfr.org

On December 22 the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in an attempt to force the release of newly established rules related to the U.S. military’s secret program of killing. The program was established during the Obama Administration and now expanded under Donald Trump. Recent reports from the New York Times (12) allude to the fact that the Trump administration is loosening the already flimsy protections established by the Obama admin. These protections were reportedly put in place to minimize injury and deaths of civilians. Continue reading

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Trump National Security Strategy Could ‘Create More Pathways to Nuclear War,’ Critics Warn

White House’s newly unveiled National Security Strategy lays bare the president’s “obsession with nuclear weapons,” an anti-nuke group warned

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 12-19-2017

Given Trump’s expressed affinity for America’s nuclear arsenal, it is not entirely surprising that his administration’s security strategy would place it at the center of attention. (Photo: Devin/Flickr/cc)

Viewed by critics as further evidence that President Donald Trump is “obsessed with nuclear weapons and creating the conditions for nuclear war,” the White House’s newly unveiled National Security Strategy (NSS) lionizes America’s nukes as the “foundation” of its security policy and suggests they could be deployed even in the case of non-nuclear threats.

“Nuclear weapons have served a vital purpose in America’s National Security Strategy for the past 70 years,” states Trump’s NSS document (pdf), made public on Monday. “While nuclear deterrence strategies cannot prevent all conflict, they are essential to prevent nuclear attack, non-nuclear strategic attacks, and large-scale conventional aggression.” Continue reading

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As Trump ‘Hysterics’ Continue, US Moves to Put Nuclear B-52s on 24-Hour Alert

The Air Force’s steps to prepare nuke-armed bombers to “take off at a moment’s notice” are unnecessary and reckless, critics said

Written by Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 10-23-2017.

Putting B-52s back on 24-hour alert “would precipitously raise the risk of accidents, strain an aging force, and ensure a destabilizing Russian response,” concluded Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists. (Photo: Wilson Hui/Flickr/cc)

As President Donald Trump continues to ratchet up tensions between the United States and North Korea through saber-rattling on Twitter and in television interviews, the U.S. has quietly begun preparing to put nuclear-armed B-52 bombers on “24-hour ready alert,” a status not seen since the end of the Cold War.

Commentators and national security analysts quickly denounced the reported steps as a severe and extremely dangerous consequence of White House “hysterics.”

“You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be,” Trump said in an interview on the Fox Business Network on Sunday, adding to fears of imminent nuclear conflict.

Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, highlighted the fact that the U.S. already keeps hundreds of nuclear warheads on alert at all times. Putting B-52s back on 24-hour alert, Mount concluded, “would precipitously raise the risk of accidents, strain an aging force, and ensure a destabilizing Russian response.”

Marcus Weisgerber of Defense One, who first reported on the Air Force’s preparations on Sunday, noted that with the steps the Trump administration has set into motion, “the long-dormant concrete pads” at Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana “could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.”

Weisgerber continued:

Putting the B-52s back on alert is just one of many decisions facing the Air Force as the U.S. military responds to a changing geopolitical environment that includes North Korea’s rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal, President Trump’s confrontational approach to Pyongyang, and Russia’s increasingly potent and active armed forces.

Already, various improvements have been made to prepare Barksdale—home to the 2d Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the service’s nuclear forces—to return B-52s to an alert posture. Near the alert pads, an old concrete building—where B-52 crews during the Cold War would sleep, ready to run to their aircraft and take off at a moment’s notice—is being renovated.

In addition to the renovations currently underway at existing facilities, Defense One reports that “Barksdale and other bases with nuclear bombers are preparing to build storage facilities for a new nuclear cruise missile that is under development.”

The Air Force’s preparations for a possible nuclear conflict come shortly after the U.S. and South Korea completed joint war games off the Korean Peninsula. North Korea responded to the exercises by claiming that “nuclear war can break out at any moment.”

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The Lie of Patriotism

By Chris Hedges. Published 4-4-2016 by Common Dreams.

New York City Veterans Day parade, 2011. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Veterans Day parade in New York City, 2011. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

BALTIMORE—When Rory Fanning, a burly veteran who served in the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion and was deployed in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2004, appeared at the Donald Trump rally in Chicago last month he was wearing the top half of his combat fatigues. As he moved through the crowd, dozens of Trump supporters shouted greetings such as “Welcome home, brother” and “Thank you for your service.” Then came the protest that shut down the rally. Fanning, one of the demonstrators, pulled out a flag that read “Vets Against Racism, War and Empire.”

Click here to see a YouTube video of Rory Fanning being ejected from a Donald Trump rally. During the incident he was doused with a drink and struck. Continue reading

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No Excuse, Says Human Rights Lawyer, Obama Can Still Close Guantánamo

President undermined his own plan to shutter the notorious facility by agreeing to the “defense” bill

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-11-2015

512px-Camp_Delta,_Guantanamo_Bay,_Cuba

After President Barack Obama agreed on Tuesday to sign a $607 billion “defense” bill that undermines his own plan to shutter the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, media outlets sounded the death knell for hopes that the facility will close before his term ends in 2017.

But Omar Shakir, a Bertha fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Common Dreams that the president, in fact, still retains the ability to close the prison—and must act now to fulfill his repeated pledges. Continue reading

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NATO and Russia ‘War Games’ Not Games At All

The nature and scale of ongoing exercises suggest ‘Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia.’

Written by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-12-15.

At the opening ceremony of a NATO exercise in Latvia this June. (Photo:Latvijas armija/flickr/cc)

At the opening ceremony of a NATO exercise in Latvia this June. (Photo:Latvijas armija/flickr/cc)

War games conducted by Russian and NATO forces go far beyond the hypothetical, raising the specter of a very real conflict on the European continent, a new study warns.

According to the European Leadership Network (ELN), a think tank based in London, “[o]ver the last 18 months, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the relationship between Russia and the West has deteriorated considerably”—at least in part due to war games that feed a “climate of mistrust.”

ELN’s report, Preparing for the Worst: Are Russian and NATO Military Exercises Making War in Europe more Likely? (pdf), analyzes a Russian ‘snap exercise’ in March involving 80,000 military personal from bases all across the country, and NATO’s Allied Shield set of war games conducted on air, land, and sea in June, which involved 15,000 personnel from 22 countries.

Though both sides “may maintain that these operations are targeted against hypothetical opponents, the nature and scale of them indicate otherwise: Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia,” the authors write.

NATO’s activities, for example, are “clearly intended to simulate the kinds of operations NATO forces would need to engage in, in the context of a military crisis or confrontation with Russia somewhere in the Baltic region,” the report reads, while the scale and geographical distribution of Russia’s drill “means it could only have been a simulated war with U.S.-led NATO.”

“We do not suggest that the leadership of either side has made a decision to go to war or that a military conflict between the two is inevitable,” the report continues, “but that the changed profile of exercises is a fact and it does play a role in sustaining the current climate of tensions in Europe.”

The exercises also indicate “what each side sees as its most exposed areas,” ELN states, with NATO concentrating its activities in the Baltic States and Poland and Russia focusing primarily on the Arctic and High North, the seaport city of Kaliningrad, occupied Crimea, and its border areas with NATO members Estonia and Latvia.

While Russia and NATO both insist that their moves are defensive in nature, the authors argue that war games can be easily perceived “as provocative and deliberate aggravation of the crisis.”

To “defuse or at least minimize the tensions” between the world powers, the report recommends increased transparency and communication around scheduling of exercises; “restraint in terms of size or scenarios used in exercises;” and—most grandly—the immediate commencement of “conceptual work” on a new treaty limiting deployment of specific categories of weapons.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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US Government Finally Admits Agent Orange Poisoned Troops

Every medical and scientific fact convincing the Institute of Medicine of our Agent Orange exposures had been presented years earlier to the VA but was simply ignored or dismissed. That was wrong.

Written by Carey Wedler. Published 6-22-15 in AntiMedia.

Leaking Agent Orange drums in Vietnam. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Leaking Agent Orange drums in Vietnam. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Decades after the Vietnam War, the Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledged this week that Monsanto’s Agent Orange—a dangerous herbicide sprayed over 4.5 million acres across Vietnam during the  conflict—is responsible for health ailments in a group of as many as 2,100 veterans. It had previously denied such allegations.

The United States government will pay out $45 million in disability benefits over ten years to compensate Air Force reservists and active-duty forces who were exposed to Agent Orange left over from the Vietnam War. The exposure came from residue on Fairchild C-123 aircraft, which were used to spray millions of gallons of the chemical, and, evidently, affected soldiers in the United States who later handled the planes from 1969-1986. According to ABC, the VA’s decision to compensate the 2,100 veterans follows a January Institute of Medicine study that found “some C-123 reservists stationed in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts had been exposed to Agent Orange residues in the planes and suffered higher risks of health problems as a result.

Further, “the VA said it subsequently determined that pilots, mechanics and medical personnel who served at seven other locations in the U.S. and abroad also were potentially affected – Florida, Virginia, and Arizona, as well as Taiwan, Panama, South Korea and the Philippines.Continue reading

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Armistice Day 2014

By Gretschman for Occupy World Writes

By London Illustrated London News and Sketch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By London Illustrated London News and Sketch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

November 11th 2014 marks the 96th anniversary of the temporary cease fire (armistice) that led to the eventual end of the “War to End All Wars” as what we now call World War 1 was known at the time. The armistice actually only ended the fighting on the western front. Fighting continued in the former Russian and Ottoman empires even after the armistice occurred on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. As of this writing, areas of the former Russian and Ottoman empires are in the midst of wars once again.

Only the allied forces of World War 1 celebrate Armistice Day. Some countries such as the United States have changed the definition to encompass commemorating all members of its armed services in all of the wars it has been engaged in.

It matters not what the day is called. All countries have a responsibility to honor those people who have fought in the name of that county. Whether those armed forces be volunteer or conscript, the sacrifice, and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice are worth commemorating and reflecting upon. Continue reading

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