Outraged about all the innocents being slaughtered in Russia/Ukraine, Israel/Palestine, and the build-up for war in China/Taiwan?  Thank you.  Most of these below represent the armaments, bombs, guidance systems, and “intelligence” skill sets being sent to these regions.  It is one industry, clamoring for global dominance.

Ten feet tall, high above our heads, as the escalator descends deep below ground to the conference rooms for the 3-day “16th Annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit” in Washington DC is a brightly lit welcoming.  It reads:

Securing Our World,

Ensuring Our Future

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Deterrence need only fail once.  Once.

It will.  What gives anyone the right to threaten all our grandchildren’s existence?  Nothing and no one.   Our leaders have exceeded the banal mindset of the Cold War, without the public knowing it.  The ominous and wrong presumption of leading a nuclear arms race to win a nuclear war has crept back in.

Hundreds of contractors, corporations, the Pentagon, Government agencies, and universities fill the rooms to solidify contracts, and encourage each other to continue building more facilities for more nuclear devices, and much faster.   Why?  The constant shout here:  “Evil.”  The enemies Russia and China are fast upon us.   The “Summit” echoes their call for a national mobilization to move immediately and fully to deter these two “expansionist” fronts.

Photo by Anthony Donovan

The only real and proven tool we have, the hard work of diplomacy, is nowhere to be found.  Only a handful have heard of the Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and those misperceive it as naive.   The trillions $ funneled quietly for this “enterprise” are flowing, unaudited, and without any media discussion, oversight or democratic process.

     Jim Carrier, a discerning journalist reporting on the Summit, “I’m coming at this from the viewpoint of a journalist, not as an activist.   Although… it’s very eye-opening.  When I was covering this industry in 1995 everything seemed to be shutting down….  I’m shocked really.  Remarkably, it has all come back to life.  The vibe last year was that we couldn’t find enough people… this year it is the opposite tone.   [The industry] is underway and we’ve hired many thousands of new workers.   The big news announced is they will have the first new plutonium pit and it will be “war ready”.

It is frightening to see the inside of the sausage, the enthusiasm these folks are bringing to it, and the power they wield.  What we have is a huge lobbying machine of contractors, … We are in a new arms race, a new war going on.  The American public is wholly ignorant of it.”

“Enemies” remain the reason for maintaining a secret world of nuclear weapons and warfare.  The three days of drumming to build faster was eased by finding a knowledgeable, brave soul.

Photo by Anthony Donovan

Greg Mello, Executive Director of Los Alamos Study Group, “This is a real mental health challenge….. There’s been a shift at these conferences away from facts and towards ideology.  …I’m going to be very blunt here.  This conference is very Sino and Russophobic,  … completely ignorant of aspects of foreign policy and history.   I spoke to someone on our U.S. Strategic Nuclear Posture Committee, and he did not know anything about US-Russia relations.  I was very shocked.   It is the acquired stupidity and incompetence in the highest parts of our government, which we did not have in the past, even under Reagan.  We don’t understand our “adversaries”.  There were hawks back then, but there were a lot of realists who had respect for their counterparties in the Soviet Union.   Now that is gone.  Now we have arrogance.  It has all been politicized. … We’ve moved from Civil Service to profit.”

Mello wisely addressed the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) and State Department during their presentation, “How can we bring in more of the dissident voices to make the discourse in your offices richer and more critical?  Can we get back to a more rational approach to the world?  And a little less righteous?  We need to do more to create channels, find a way to move forward.”

Mello confides later, “Back in the Obama years, on the policy side, it was clear, they could not hate Russia enough!  I felt this was going to go to a very dark place.”   Indeed, it has.

Hidden deeply on this Ground Hog Day of 2024, General Anthony Cotton, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM, all nuclear weapons of land, sea, air, space, and related facilities), addresses the Summit talking of the new “business model” of partnership with civilian industry and academia to give our nuclear weapon industry greater agility and speed.   “The tables have turned, the advancements of the civilian sector are being introduced to the DOD (Dept. of Defense), … incorporating these new technologies …. to make sure the Labs and the NNSA (National Nuclear Security Administration) have all they need” He talks of modernizing facilities and tech systems “to move fast”, “sustain that flow, the tempo of a constant production line.”

The military-industrial complex we were warned of in 1959 is extolled at the “Summit” to be a national priority, hiring the young, luring in, and incorporating the ingenuity and wisdom long developed by our civilian sector, from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Tesla, AI developers, Boeing, Harvard, MIT, and hundreds of other entities.

Instead of creating alliances with China and Russia to solve our dire mutual challenges, this rapid warring footing is being touted here as the only real option for our security.

General Cotton shares the blinders of this “integrated battle space”.  “…Platforms, weapons, they all have to be in alignment, in synch. … Analytically driven data, that informs the senior decision maker [the President] of what the picture truly is.  The confidence in the decision that you make will be incredible. …A digitalized enterprise is what we are looking at, the tools and state of the art capabilities… the incredible efficiencies we are seeing in the cloud-based environments….”

Harvey Bennett, a Vietnam Veteran, and member of Veterans for Peace reporting for Pacifica Radio, stood up for the final comment facing squarely General Cotton’s presentation.   “General, I think the military has been doing the job they’ve been tasked with.  But those missing in action, are the diplomats.   When I think about what an acceptable risk in strategic deterrence is, if it is not zero, then it is not acceptable because we are talking about annihilation, not just of our country, but worldwide.

Our successes in modernization and technology are laudable, but in the big picture, do they make us safer?   Or do they increase our adversary’s sense of vulnerability, and reduce their decision time when there is a question about whether they are under attack with nuclear weapons?

I want to mention the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) which entered into force January 2021.   None of the nuclear weapon states are signatories, but we are a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Article 6 of that treaty mandates that nuclear states to pursue in good faith to negotiate with other states to reduce the nuclear arsenals with a view to disarmament.

We have a treaty now to globally eliminate nuclear weapons. I don’t want anyone to be out of a job, but I think the world wants peace, the world wants security.  I don’t think that is a zero-sum game.   We can’t be secure if the rest of the world isn’t secure.  Relying on nuclear weapons is not going to make us safe.

I was alarmed reading a report by General John Hyten in 2018, who had your job (Cmdr. of STRATCOM), speaking to the Arms Control Association.  He was describing the Global Thunder War Games of Strategic Deterrence.   He was blunt and said

“I hate to tell you but (nuclear war games) ENDS THE SAME WAY EVERY TIME.   IT ENDS BAD.”

Bennett said, “Even if it is not “every time”, that’s too many.”

The moderator quickly jumped in thanking the General, not allowing a response, and calling for a lunch break.  Silence is not an option, and neither is “Russia, China, Iran”. Thank you, Mr. Bennett, perfectly put.

We know the solution:  Shame our Representatives, and companies. Stop our unlimited funding to warfare, and re-direct it to the jobs we need for life and civilization to move forward.

The Dangers of the Nuclear Industrial Complex

By James Wohlgemuth

The Summit on Nuclear Deterrence was just last week and “WE” were there to witness the insanity and the "evil." Harvey Bennett joined Greg Mello, Executive Director of the Los Alamos Study Group, and journalist Jim Carrier, who attended the three-day "summit" to hear members of the nuclear industrial complex and the Federal Government talk about nuclear war and deterrence. Can you imagine that they actually believe that we need to be ready to fight a nuclear war and win it? Hear that and a few voices of reason on what our country is doing in your name and with your tax dollars.