The United States Navy has released its final decision on plans to build a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines.
The announcement, made in a news release earlier this month, informs us that the Ohio class submarines with their Trident II D-5 thermonuclear armed missiles, the crown jewel of the nation's nuclear weapons systems, are going to sail on well into the future. With the expected lifespan of the new subs we can expect them to be deployed quite probably to the end of this century (humanity should survive so long under the threat of nuclear annihilation).
The Navy plans to build 12 of the new Ohio class ballistic missile subs, each with 16 launch tubes to carry thermonuclear ballistic missiles.
The Trident nuclear weapons system is the most destructive force in the world. "A single Trident submarine is the sixth largest nuclear nation in the world all by itself," according to Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, commander, Submarine Group 10.
Each of the warheads (up to 8 per missile) on a Trident missile are capable of incinerating hundreds of thousands of human beings and causing unimaginable suffering to the survivors of the immediate blast, heat and radiation unleashed in a matter of seconds.
There are not enough burn beds available in the entire world's hospital inventory to treat the countless victims in the zone in which people would suffer massive third degree burns (in addition to other serious injuries).
The really big question in all this is, "Would any use of nuclear weapons involve a single warhead, or even missile for that matter? Should any use of nuclear weapons initiate even a limited nuclear war, all bets are off!!!
Even a limited exchange of nuclear weapons would cause widespread fallout and the associated, immediate and long-term health effects - mutations, cancers, birth defects, and much more - would affect millions of human beings.
Furthermore, even a "limited" nuclear war, unleashing just 100 nuclear warheads of the size of the Hiroshima bomb (15 kilotons) would cause global famine. Each Trident submarine, in extreme contrast, is estimated to currently deploy nearly that many thermonuclear warheads of either 100 or 475 kilotons yield!
Nuclear weapons are truly the gravest threat facing humanity, just as they have been for nearly seven decades. As a retired public health professional I see it as the greatest global public health threat facing our shared planet.
Rather than working with other nations towards nuclear disarmament, the U.S. continues to build up not only its nuclear weapons infrastructure and weapons, but (with the plan to build new subs) also the systems that deploy those weapons. This sends a dangerous, threatening message to both the nuclear and nuclear-capable nations. The result is a burgeoning new nuclear arms race!
The promises made in President Obama's famous Prague speech are now distant, hollow, rhetorical echoes. We must remind the President of his promises. We must demand that our elected leaders, in both The White House and Congress, work in the interests of the people and not a deeply entrenched Military-Nuclear-Industrial Complex.
Should the Navy succeed in building a new fleet of Ohio class submarines, it will be one of the final nails (if not THE nail) in the proverbial coffin for global nuclear disarmament. This must not stand!
The Washington Post article, Aging U.S. nuclear arsenal slated for costly and long-delayed modernization, does not remotely question the government's premise that the U.S. must move forward with a sense of urgency to confront a "decrepit, neglected... aging nuclear weapons complex."
Brand new facilities either in construction or completed at Y-12, Kansas City, along with ongoing construction at Los Alamos; completely "refurbished" W76 thermonuclear warheads (deployed on Trident submarine launched ballistic missiles); just to mention a few key projects. "Decrepit" and "neglected" just don't seem to be the right words to describe the nation's current nuclear weapons complex.
Thomasson, in her Op/Ed response sums up the situation. It is all about the people who allegedly represent us "appeasing special interests with little regard to our long-term national security or the fiscal health of the country." They do so at humanity's peril!
NO NEW TRIDENT!!!