Please Do Not Shoot at the Thermonuclear Weapons

By Ed Timperlake
Photo 98127545 | Black Sea © Marko Bukorovic |

In the 1990s, I had the chance as U..S Staff Secretary to the political arm of NATO, The North Atlantic Assembly, to visit Ukraine.

On one trip our delegation was hosted by the CNO of the Ukraine Navy. Even then, Ukraine was a proud but hard luck country in that decade because the Russian’s had taken most if not all of their naval munitions when they split off from the Soviet Black Sea Fleet.

The Ukrainian CNO was a very competent and imposing Admiral, having been a former Soviet Navy sub skipper. Think of Sean Connery’s role in the epic movie Hunt For Red October only an even more impressive officer.

We were on a patrol boat looking at the Russian Black Sea Fleet from the Sevastopol harbor. The Black Sea Fleet was an impressive display of naval might. And a key analytical, deterrence issue of concern was the remaining conventional and nuclear warheads still on the fleet’s surface and sub combatants.

The U.S. Navy, with the great Cold War victory, had removed all “nukes at sea” except for our Boomers.

But the Russians never did that.

In fact the Federation of American Scientists got it right when they discussed Russian dual-capable non-strategic nuclear forces:

First a reminder: the presence of Russian dual-capable non-strategic nuclear forces in Crimea is not new; they have been there for decades. They were there before the breakup of the Soviet Union, they have been there for the past two decades, and they are there now.

In Soviet times, this included nuclear-capable warships and submarines, bombers, army weapons, and air-defense systems. Since then, the nuclear warheads for those systems were withdrawn to storage sites inside Russia. Nearly all of the air force, army, and air-defense weapon systems were also withdrawn. Only naval nuclear-capable forces associated with the Black Sea Fleet area of Sevastopol stayed, although at reduced levels.

Consequently with the tragic killing of civilians on a Sevastopol beach, one has to think of another movie, “Broken Arrow”. In that movie, a rogue USAF pilot played by John Travolta steals several nuclear warheads.

But the plot has a twist when he loses control of them and in the ensuing hot pursuit chase and shoot out he states a very thoughtful line;

“How many times do I have to say it please do not shoot the nuclear weapons”

But reality is different.

A recent deadly beach attack as reported being fired from Ukraine territory using an American ground to ground missile known as ATACMS is tragic regardless of how it happened. Perhaps intercepted and knocked off course?

Regardless a day at the beach turned deadly and nuclear weapons are present.

“The Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) is a conventional surface-to-surface artillery weapon system capable of striking targets well beyond the range of existing Army cannons, rockets and other missiles. ATACMS missiles are fired from the HIMARS and MLRS M270 platforms.”

Although it makes little difference to those killed and wounded, it was not an intentionally targeted strike like CJCS’s Mark Milley’s infamous “Righteous Strike”:

Civilian deaths in US drone strike deal blow to credibility of chairman of the joint chiefs of staff when he needs it most”

Three days after a US drone obliterated a car in a Kabul street, General Mark Milley, shrugged off reports of civilian casualties, insisting it was a “righteous strike”.

On Friday that word came back to haunt America’s top general when the Pentagon was forced to admit that all 10 dead had been civilians, seven of them children. The drone had hit the wrong white Toyota Corolla.

Regardless of how the beach attack occurred, the targeting of Russian strategic warning systems in Crimea was intentional:

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces have been confirmed to have launched a ballistic missile strike on the NIP-16 Deep Space Communications site in Vitino on the Crimean Peninsula, the extent of the damage from which remains uncertain. The attack comes as part of the major expansion of recent attacks on Russian targets using increased supplies of American Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) short range ballistic missiles, including variants with both cluster and fragmentation warheads. Use of these systems has been very heavily facilitated by the presence of American military advisors on the ground and by access to a network of hundreds of NATO satellites which provide targeting data among other roles. “

America’s national security is now way beyond fictional cliff hanging Hollywood movies.

There is a simple yet profound question: Is the Biden Administration trying to start World War III with Russia or are the just ignorant but well educated dolts?

We know the current Secretary of Defense is totally lacking in strategic judgment when he hid his debilitating illness from President Biden.

Our deterrence posture is based on his judgment and immediate command presence.

In a very short countdown reacting to an incoming strategic strike on U.S. territory a retaliatory launch is ordered by President Biden. The U.S. still has a no first use policy, so our nuclear deterrence force is put in action within minutes with the Secretary Of Defense immediately validating the President’s go order. This is no time for where is Waldo?

Unfortunately, except for the current Chair of the Joint Staff, apparently SecDef told no one. Our President did not knew that the Secretary as often said in military speak was medically hard down.

However, I am sure Russian, PRC North Korean and Iranian leadership have been briefed on such a strategic debacle at the highest levels of the Biden National Security Team.

Now our proxy war fighters are shooting at a nuclear armed fleet, and ammo magazines, while they are also trying to blind Russian strategic warning systems.

What is wrong with these people?.