Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You? – POLITICO Magazine

nukes are suddenly—insanely, by Perry’s estimate—once again a contemporary nightmare, and an emphatically ascendant one.

Americans no longer think about the threat every day. Nuclear war isn’t the subtext of popular movies, or novels; disarmament has fallen far from the top of the policy priority list.

Perry’s hypothesis for the disconnect is that much of the population, especially that rising portion with no clear memories of the first Cold War, is suffering from a deficit of comprehension. Even a single nuclear explosion in a major city would represent an abrupt and possibly irreversible turn in modern life, upending the global economy, forcing every open society to suspend traditional liberties and remake itself into a security state.

As for a nuclear explosion, by Perry’s lights, the consequences are so grave that the rational thing would be for people in the United States and everywhere to be in a state of peak alarm about their vulnerability, and for political debate to be dominated by discussion of how to reduce the risk.

And just how high is the risk? The answer of course is ultimately unknowable. Perry’s point, though, is that it’s a hell of a lot higher than you think.

“Nuclear weapons are the biggest public health issue I can think of.”

“As a 90s baby I never lived in the Cold War era,” wrote one participant, with the Reddit username BobinForApples. “What is one thing today’s generations will never understand about life during the Cold War?”

Perry’s answered, as SecDef19: “Because you were born in the 1990s, you did not experience the daily terror of ‘duck and cover’ drills as my children did. Therefore the appropriate fear of nuclear weapons is not part of your heritage, but the danger is just as real now as it was then. It will be up to your generation to develop the policies to deal with the deadly nuclear legacy that is still very much with us.”

Source: Bill Perry Is Terrified. Why Aren’t You? – POLITICO Magazine

How Terrorists Are Turning Robots Into Weapons – Defense One

Terrorists are turning to robots as weapons, and they aren’t limited to consumer-grade UAVs with small payloads. … In the next scene of the four-minute clip, a pickup truck is seen driving in the middle of the desert with a tripod-mounted automatic machine gun in its bed. As the camera zooms in, it is clear there is no driver in the cab, which is being operated via crude robotic controls on the steering wheel and floor pedals. Moments later numerous rounds are fired from the machine gun, as a remotely controlled robotic actuator pulls the weapon’s trigger.

Source: How Terrorists Are Turning Robots Into Weapons – Defense One

The Tragedy of the American Military – The Atlantic

The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.

A people untouched (or seemingly untouched) by war are far less likely to care about it,” Andrew Bacevich wrote in 2012. Bacevich himself fought in Vietnam; his son was killed in Iraq. “Persuaded that they have no skin in the game, they will permit the state to do whatever it wishes to do. to do.

Source: The Tragedy of the American Military – The Atlantic

 

I think this is a very important point, possibly the most important point in the article. Those men, women, and students who actively protested the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were largely those who cared a lot about the lives and wellbeing of those in *other* countries. Their numbers would surely have been much higher had the average American personally known someone who had a significant chance of becoming a combat casualty.

Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True – The New Yorker

This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s black comedy about nuclear weapons, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

The Soviets did have a doomsday machine, and a rogue American officer could have launched a nuclear attack.

In retrospect, Kubrick’s black comedy provided a far more accurate description of the dangers inherent in nuclear command-and-control systems than the ones that the American people got from the White House, the Pentagon, and the mainstream media.

“This is absolute madness, Ambassador,” President Merkin Muffley says in the film, after being told about the Soviets’ automated retaliatory system. “Why should you build such a thing?” Fifty years later, that question remains unanswered, and “Strangelove” seems all the more brilliant, bleak, and terrifyingly on the mark.

Source: Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True – The New Yorker

F’d: How the U.S. and Its Allies Got Stuck with the World’s Worst New Warplane

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was meant to improve the U.S. air arsenal, but has made it more vulnerable instead

Sprey, the fighter engineer, said he expects the Pentagon to eventually come to terms with the unpleasant truth, that its new universal jet fighter with the foolhardy vertical-takeoff capability could spell the end of an epochal half-century in which America truly dominated the world’s skies. “My prediction is the F-35 will be such an embarrassment it will be cancelled before 500 are built,” he said.

Source: F’d: How the U.S. and Its Allies Got Stuck with the World’s Worst New Warplane