Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Would hate to see an “incident” damage markets any further

USAF B-52 flew with five nuclear warheads 'by mistake'

THE REPORT that the Air Force flew six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from North Dakota to Louisiana by mistake late last month is disturbing, not because of what might have happened, but because of what the incident says about the state of U.S. nuclear forces. Dispelling the 'Bin Laden' Options Trades - News & Analysis PS: NORAD is leading the search for Steve Fossett. - shouldn't it be looking for those weapons? After all a NucFlash will spook the markets even further.....

Posted by lvmreader @ 03:31 PM (663 views)
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5 thoughts on “Would hate to see an “incident” damage markets any further

  • Some reports say 5 weapons were loaded, others say 6. This is worrying.
    http://www.emporiagazette.com/news/2007/sep/10/six_our_bombs_went_missing/

    THE REPORT that the Air Force flew six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from North Dakota to Louisiana by mistake late last month is disturbing, not because of what might have happened, but because of what the incident says about the state of U.S. nuclear forces.

    There is no reason to believe that the flight was inherently dangerous. For many years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, B-52 bombers armed with nuclear weapons regularly flew long-range missions from bases in the United States. The bombs and missiles they carried were carefully designed not to explode by accident — even if the planes carrying them crashed. If the B-52 had crashed in eastern Kansas on Aug. 30, it would have left a large hole in the ground and perhaps some radioactive material scattered around the landscape. But no fireball or mushroom cloud would have bloomed on Emporia’s eastern horizon.

    But the incident does raise the possibility of some sort of nuclear disaster down the road. The mishandling of the warheads — which should have been removed before the missiles were placed on the bomber — indicates that there has been some erosion of attention in the Air Force nuclear weapons program. The Air Force did not learn that the warheads were gone from the North Dakota base until the bomber arrived in Louisiana.

    The old adage says that familiarity breeds contempt, but that is not quite true. What familiarity breeds is inattention, and inattention can breed disaster.

    The nation has seen such disasters before in the space shuttle program. As the years passed, many of the managers who were originally responsible for making safety decisions about the space shuttles retired or moved to other jobs. The new managers who replaced them lacked their experience and — in some cases — their sense of urgency. After years of successes in space, many people in NASA began to think of safe flight as the normal order of things, rather than as the result of an almost paranoid attention to tiny details.

    As a result of this flagging attention, the United States lost two shuttle crews and two enormously expensive spacecraft.

    The slow, sure passage of time is the enemy of any organization that handles dangerous technology. What was once extraordinary and frightening becomes routine. Important checklists and inspections begin to seem like busy work with no real importance beyond fulfilling some bureaucratic mandate.

    It is more than 60 years since Hiroshima and Nagasaki and almost 20 years since the end of the Cold War. Bad habits have had a long time to take root.

    What the Air Force needs to do is find ways to instill some of that useful work-related paranoia in the current generation of bomb-handlers.

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  • “What the Air Force needs to do is find ways to instill some of that useful work-related paranoia in the current generation of bomb-handlers.”

    Lets hope they’re not all suffering from post traumatic stress, having just returned from Iraq or Afghanistan.

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  • The problem we now have in society is nobody takes responsibility for anything anymore weather it’s government, business or social services if there’s a co*k up nobody resigns and nobody is sacked because nobody is to blame because nobody’s responsible, bit worrying if your playing with nukes though.

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  • What’s the relevance to house prices? The media often print “what-if” stories, and scares like this happen fairly frequently, but unless anything actually happens (which is still *very* unlikely) then neither house prices nor anything else will be affected.
    Also, if an A-bomb goes off or the Ebola virus starts killing us then we’ll have much greater worries than house prices….

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  • “The problem we now have in society is nobody takes responsibility for anything anymore”

    mrmickey. I’m not sure you are right in this particular case as certain people were relieved of their duties or suspended. However, I do think you have a point regarding society in general. But I’m not sure that will change until a significant chunk of society learns to trade in the “me first” / “looking after No.1” concept for one which considers others before themselves.

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