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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2008 arrow June 6, 2008

June 6, 2008
WAWA Blog June 6, 2008: Either by accident or design; 'civilized' men could unleash a 2008 nuclear holocaust, WMD's will NEVER assure peace or security + DOA update @ the end

2 Leaders Ousted From Air Force in Atomic Errors

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/06/washington/06military.html?
_r=1&th=&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&emc=th&adxnnlx=1212750368-FJbhRPx2fgnpc5lHisaoDw

Published: June 6, 2008

WASHINGTON — The Air Force’s senior civilian official and its highest-ranking general were ousted by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Thursday after an inquiry into the mishandling of nuclear weapons and components found systemic problems in the Air Force.


The Air Force secretary, Michael W. Wynne, and the service’s chief of staff, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, were forced to resign after the inquiry found that the latest in a series of incidents reflected “a pattern of poor performance” in securing sensitive military components, Mr. Gates said at a Pentagon briefing.

So deep and serious are the problems, Mr. Gates said, that he has asked a former secretary of defense and of energy, James R. Schlesinger, to head “a senior-level task force” to recommend improvements in the safekeeping of nuclear weapons, delivery vehicles and other sensitive items.

In office 18 months, Mr. Gates has made accountability a central theme, firing senior Army officials after disclosures of shoddy conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and pushing into retirement other generals closely associated with a faltering strategy in Iraq.

But never before has a defense secretary simultaneously ousted a service secretary and a service chief. Mr. Gates said he had taken the action because the investigation identified “a lack of effective Air Force leadership oversight” and found that “the Air Force has not been sufficiently critical of its past performance.”

“Mistakes are not acceptable when shipping and controlling sensitive, classified parts” of the United States’ nuclear arsenal, Mr. Gates said. “Our policy is clear. We will ensure the complete physical control of nuclear weapons, and we will properly handle the associated components at all times. It is a tremendous responsibility, and one we must not, and will never, take lightly.”

Mr. Wynne’s only comment was a statement issued Thursday, in which he said, “Recent events convince me that it is now time for a new leader to take the stick and for me to move on.”

The inquiry involving the Air Force was an effort to determine how four high-tech electrical nose cone fuses for Minuteman nuclear warheads were sent to Taiwan in place of helicopter batteries. The mistake was discovered in March — a year and a half after the mistaken shipment.

Mr. Gates made clear that most troubling was that the inquiry showed how little the Air Force had done to improve the security of the nuclear weapons infrastructure even after it was disclosed last year that a B-52 bomber had flown across the United States without anyone’s realizing that it was carrying six armed nuclear cruise missiles.

Mr. Gates, whose military service includes a year as an intelligence officer within the Air Force’s nuclear program, emphasized that neither incident posed a danger of a nuclear mishap.

Nevertheless, he said, the inquiry made it clear that the Air Force had suffered for years from a loss of expertise in handling nuclear materials. He acknowledged that the Air Force had taken steps to improve the situation, but he said that more must be done to fix “structural, procedural and cultural problems.”

Mr. Gates, 64, served as deputy national security adviser and director of central intelligence under the first President George Bush. He has repeatedly said that he plans to retire from government service at the end of the Bush administration, but there has been speculation that he may be asked to stay on by either a President McCain or a President Obama after January, to help guide the Pentagon while the country is at war.

Pentagon officials said General Moseley, in his role as a member of the Joint Chiefs, met Thursday with Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman, who supported the decisions for both officials to retire.

The errors in handling nuclear weapons components constituted more than just an indication that the cold-war-era focus on these powerful weapons had become fuzzy. They have also put the Bush administration in a difficult position, as the United States is struggling to prevent nuclear technology from spreading to nations that do not have it and has criticized North Korea and Iran for their nuclear ambitions. American officials have even spoken strongly to Russia for not sufficiently safeguarding its stockpile.

After the incident with the nose cone fuses was discovered, Mr. Gates told the Air Force and Navy secretaries to conduct a comprehensive review and a physical site inventory of all nuclear and nuclear-associated material equipment across their respective programs. Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, director of Navy Nuclear Propulsion, led the investigation, and gave his report to Mr. Gates last week.

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, applauded Mr. Gates’s move.

“Secretary Gates’s focus on accountability is essential and had been absent from the office of the secretary of defense for too long,” Mr. Levin said in a statement. “The safety and security of America’s nuclear weapons must receive the highest priority, just as it must in other countries.”

Mr. Gates said his actions Thursday had been wholly driven by Admiral Donald’s inquiry, and were not related to other embarrassments that have plagued the Air Force over recent months.

Among the troubles has been an inquiry into contracts for the Air Force’s flying stunt team, the Thunderbirds, which found that a $50 million contract to promote the Thunderbirds had been tainted by improper influence and preferential treatment. No criminal conduct was found, but three officials were subjected to administrative penalties.

Mr. Gates has also expressed frustration about some Air Force actions on weapons procurement, budgets and execution of the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, his aides said.

The Air Force has more than doubled the number of armed Predator and Reaper hunter-killer aircraft over Iraq and Afghanistan since early last year, but aides to Mr. Gates say he is still not satisfied with the number of surveillance aircraft in the war zone.

The ouster of the top Air Force officials is similar to Mr. Gates’s moves in March 2007 after disclosures of shoddy conditions at Walter Reed, when he forced Francis J. Harvey to resign as Army secretary, a day after a decision that the two-star general in charge of Walter Reed would be relieved of command.

Mr. Gates also decided last year not to recommend either the reappointment of Gen. Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs or that of Gen. John P. Abizaid as commander of American forces in the Middle East. Both men were closely associated with early military policy for Iraq.

David Stout contributed reporting.


In November 2007 The National Intelligence Estimate stated, "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program."

http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf




Mofaz: Israel will attack Iran
Fri, 06 Jun 2008 11:53:00
http://www.presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=58882&sectionid=351020101

An Israeli deputy prime minister has claimed that the Israeli regime will attack Iran if the country continues its nuclear program.

"If Iran continues its nuclear weapons program, we will attack it," claimed Shaoul Mofaz.

"Other options are disappearing. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear program," Mofaz, also a transportation minister, told the Yediot Aharonot daily.

Mofaz, a former Israeli war minister, stressed that a military operation against Iran would be carried out with the support of the United States.

The remarks were made while there are speculations that the US might wage another war in the region in the twilight months of George W. Bush in office.

Israel, widely believed to be the sole possessor of 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in the Middle East, and its ally the US, accuse Iran of pursuing nuclear weaponry and encourages its allies to wage a war against the country.

Tehran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful and as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty is entitled to enrich uranium for civilian purposes.

MK/DT





As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon
By Joschka Fischer
Commentary by
Friday, May 30, 2008
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=92572


As a result of misguided American policy, the threat of another military confrontation hangs like a dark cloud over the Middle East. The United States' enemies have been strengthened, and Iran - despite being branded as a member of the so-called "axis of evil" - has been catapulted into regional hegemony. Iran could never have achieved this on its own, certainly not in such a short time.

A hitherto latent rivalry between Iran and Israel thus has been transformed into an open struggle for dominance in the Middle East. The result has been the emergence of some surprising, if not bizarre, alliances: Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and the American-backed, Shiite-dominated Iraq are facing Israel, Saudi Arabia, and most of the other Sunni Arab states, all of which feel existentially threatened by Iran's ascendance.

The danger of a major confrontation has been heightened further by a series of factors: persistently high oil prices, which have created new financial and political opportunities for Iran; the possible defeat of the West and its regional allies in proxy wars in Gaza and Lebanon; and the United Nations Security Council's failure to induce Iran to accept even a temporary freeze of its nuclear program.

Iran's nuclear program is the decisive factor in this equation, for it threatens irreversibly the region's strategic balance. That Iran - a country whose president never tires of calling for Israel's annihilation and that threatens Israel's northern and southern borders through its massive support of proxy wars waged by Hizbullah and Hamas - might one day have missiles with nuclear warheads is Israel's worst security nightmare. Politics is not just about facts, but also about perceptions. Whether or not a perception is accurate is beside the point, because it nonetheless leads to decisions.

This applies in particular when the perception concerns what the parties consider to be threats to their very existence. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats of annihilation are taken seriously in Israel because of the trauma of the Holocaust. And most Arab governments share the fear of a nuclear Iran. Earlier this month, Israel celebrated its 60th birthday, and US President George W. Bush went to Jerusalem to play a leading part in the commemoration. But those who had expected that his visit would mainly be about the stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were bitterly disappointed. Bush's central topic, including his speech to Israel's Knesset, was Iran. Bush had promised to bring the Middle East conflict closer to a resolution before the end of his term this year. But his final visit to Israel seemed to indicate that his objective was different: he seemed to be planning, together with Israel, to end the Iranian nuclear program - and to do so by military, rather than by diplomatic, means.

Anyone following the press in Israel during the anniversary celebrations and listening closely to what was said in Jerusalem did not have to be a prophet to understand that matters are coming to a head. Consider the following:

First, "stop the appeasement!" is a demand raised across the political spectrum in Israel - and what is meant is the nuclear threat emanating from Iran.

Second, while Israel celebrated, Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted as saying that a life-and-death military confrontation was a distinct possibility.

Third, the outgoing commander of the Israeli Air Force declared that the air force was capable of any mission, no matter how difficult, to protect the country's security. The destruction of a Syrian nuclear facility last year, and the lack of any international reaction to it, were viewed as an example for the coming action against Iran.

Fourth, the Israeli wish list for US arms deliveries, discussed with the American president, focused mainly on the improvement of the attack capabilities and precision of the Israeli Air Force.

Fifth, diplomatic initiatives and UN sanctions when it comes to Iran are seen as hopelessly ineffective.

And sixth, with the approaching end of the Bush presidency and uncertainty about his successor's policy, the window of opportunity for Israeli action is seen as potentially closing.

The last two factors carry special weight. While Israeli military intelligence is on record as saying that Iran is expected to cross the red line on the path to nuclear power between 2010 and 2015 at the earliest, the feeling in Israel is that the political window of opportunity to attack is now, during the last months of Bush's presidency.

Although it is acknowledged in Israel that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would involve grave and hard-to-assess risks, the choice between acceptance of an Iranian bomb and an attempt at its military destruction, with all the attendant consequences, is clear. Israel won't stand by and wait for matters to take their course.

The Middle East is drifting toward a new great confrontation in 2008. Iran must understand that without a diplomatic solution in the coming months, a dangerous military conflict is very likely to erupt. It is high time for serious negotiations to begin.

The most recent offer by the six powers - the UN Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany - is on the table, and it goes very far in accommodating Iran's interests. The decisive question, however, will be whether it will be possible to freeze the Iranian nuclear program for the duration of the negotiations to avoid a military confrontation before these negotiations are completed. Should this newest attempt fail, things will soon get serious. Deadly serious.

Joschka Fischer, Germany's foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005, led Germany's Green Party for nearly 20 years. THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndicate-Institute for Human Sciences (c) (www.project-syndicate.org).


DOA=Day Of Action

TUESDAY, JUNE 10: National Call-In Day

Thousands of activists across the country will call Congress on Tuesday and speak out for peace and diplomacy. Add your voice to the ROAR

Call your Senators and Representative | 1-800-788-9372

Tell them to work for direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks between the U.S. and Iran.

The U.S. and Iran share common interests in a stable Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan.


The U.S. pursued negotiations with North Korea and Libya -- it's time to talk with Iran.

ONLY the dead, deaf and the blind do NOT comprehend you MUST talk WITH your enemies!

The same people who advocated for the invasion of Iraq are the very same ones raising the drumbeat for military action against Iran.

READ THE PDF:

http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf


The Bush administration is doing again what they did before they bombed Baghdad!

 

Reality is that by virtue of paying taxes we are all culpable for the staggering economic, humanitarian, political and military consequences of USA actions in Iraq.

 

To incite a conflict with Iran is NOT in the best interests of we the people! The entire Middle East will also descend further into despair and violence, our reputation in the world is what will put American citizens in danger, oil prices will skyrocket and militant fundamentalists will harden.

 

A healthy democracy requires civil engagement, phoning, FAXING, emailing, hounding and demanding your congressional reps represent you/we the people NOT the Industrial Military Complex.

 
Day Of Action: TUESDAY, JUNE 10: National Call-In Day Add your voice to the ROAR


Call your Senators and Representative  1-800-788-9372

Tell them to work for direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks between the U.S. and Iran.

The U.S. and Iran share common interests in a stable Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan.

The U.S. pursued negotiations with North Korea and Libya -- it's time to talk with Iran.

Also Hamas and ALL the Palestinians!

End the Occupations and DO NOT begin more.

Please, make a call and tell your rep the way you want to be represented, for if you are not a part of the solution-you are a part of the problem.


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