U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Controlled by 1970’s Era Computers run with 8 in. Floppy Disks

A post on Lew Rockwell’s Political Theatre blog this morning mentioned this story from 2016. I remember when the story came out and thinking then that it was a perfect example of the screwed up priorities of the federal government.

Per the Guardian:

“The US military’s nuclear arsenal is controlled by computers built in the 1970s that still use 8in floppy disks.

A report into the state of the US government, released by congressional investigators, has revealed that the country is spending around $60bn (£40.8bn) to maintain museum-ready computers, which many do not even know how to operate any more, as their creators retire.”

The amount of money spent annually to manage the nuclear system can be debated. What is abundantly clear is that using 50-year-old computers, comprised of technology that doesn’t even exist anymore, to control the emergency nuclear launch system of thousands of nuclear weapons is shockingly irresponsible. Modern computers have a shelf life of about five years before they become obsolete.  What does that say about our nuclear capabilities? How much of that $60 billion is being wasted propping up old, outdated technology?

While our nuclear arsenal is controlled by obsolete technology, the NSA, CIA, and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies are spending upwards of a hundred billion dollars on state of the art technology to spy on American citizens. The CIA currently has the technology to hack the computer system in your car and control it independently. They can hack your newest consumer gadgets and spy on you in your own home. It is more than a little disconcerting that the federal government spends more tax dollars spying on and attacking their own citizens, than they do on the system that defends them from foreign nuclear attacks.

As someone who is unwaveringly anti-war, I believe anti-war people need to support treaties that pare down the nuclear arsenal to bare minimum levels. At the same time, any nuclear weapons that a state does maintain need to, at least, be operated by current technology.

All this begs the question: can the U.S. even launch nuclear weapons with their outdated system?

Per The Guardian:

“Given that magnetic media has a finite shelf life, and that disks and the drives needed to read and write to them are older than some of the operators of the machinery, the floppy revelation makes you wonder whether the US could even launch a nuclear attack if required. An “error, data corrupted” message could be literally life or death.”

The Pentagon claims that replacement computers are forthcoming and that the 8 in. floppy disks will all be replaced by the end of 2017. Given this is the same federal government that is $20 trillion dollars in debt and has been running annual budget deficits for almost two decades, forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.

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Tucker Carlson Eviscerates Neocon Warmonger in Primetime

Fox News host Tucker Carlson absolutely demolishes neoconservative foreign policy advisor Max Boot in this 10 minute interview. In addition to calling out Boot for being “consistently wrong in the most flagrant and flamboyant way for over a decade”, he questions his career choice, asking him whether he’d be better at “selling insurance or housepainting”.

Though it may seem a bit sophomoric, this is exactly the type of derision and mockery the interventionist neoconservative foreign policy deserves. Their policy of regime change in the middle east and elsewhere has failed miserably and spectacularly. It has caused millions of deaths, the proliferation of Islamic terrorism, and the destabilization of the entire region.

 

Memorial Day

ronpaulpatriotism

Today is Memorial Day in America. Memorial Day began as Decoration Day in 1868 by a union army veterans group to honor union army vets that died in the civil war. In 1967 Memorial Day was made a federal holiday and had informally switched from honoring only those who died in the civil war to honoring American veterans who died in all American wars.

Libertarian anarchy is explicitly an anti-war political philosophy. This is because libertarian anarchy is an explicitly anti-aggression philosophy. The same Non-Aggression Principle that governs the behavior of individuals also applies to nation-states. Combined with a non-interventionist foreign policy and radical laissez-fair economics, libertarian anarchy can be seen as having an attitude of live and let live pacifism. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there are undoubtedly some anarchists who consider themselves pacifist, the vast majority of anarcho-capitalists wouldn’t hesitate to use violence in the case of self-defense. This extends to defense of country.

It’s unfortunate that being anti-war is seen as anti-American in our modern-day political culture. Maybe it’s more unfortunate that in order to qualify as a patriotic American today you must support all of the empire’s wars of aggression without question.

It isn’t unpatriotic to say that spending trillions of dollars, while selling our grandchildren into debt slavery, to prosecute wars in the middle east has made us less safe as a country.

It isn’t unpatriotic to say that actively supporting, funding, and arming rebel groups in Syria and elsewhere (the same groups that perpetrated 9/11, by the way) is a bad idea.

And it isn’t unpatriotic to say that dropping tens of thousands of bombs and killing tens of thousands of civilians across the middle east probably isn’t the best way to win the hearts and minds of the people. And that maybe, just maybe, the alarming rise in Islamic terrorism is, at least in part, blowback from the decades of intervention in the region.

The best way to honor fallen veterans isn’t to wrap yourself in the flag, it’s to start questioning the policies that have created so many of them in the first place.

Collapse of the Anti-war Left: Dems turn on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

What do you call a U.S. Representative that’s skeptical of American military interventions, traveled to Syria to speak directly with the Assad administration about their civil war, and has the audacity to ask for some proof of Assad’s alleged gas attack before launching bombs at Damascus? Well, if you’re Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), you get called a Trump apologist that should be ousted from Congress.

This is just the latest in a line of events signalling the total collapse of the antiwar left that started under President Obama’s murderous reign and is finding its hastening under a now warmongering President Trump.

Per The Hill:

Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Neera Tanden, head of the Center for American Progress, both took to Twitter to bash Gabbard for what they see as a shameful defense of Bashar Assad, the Syrian president long accused of brutal attacks on his own people in the country’s ongoing civil war.

Dean said in tweets that Gabbard “sounds like Trump making excuses” and that she “shouldn’t be in Congress.” Tanden, on the other hand, called on the people of Hawaii’s 2nd District to oust Gabbard for “meeting with a murderous dictator.”

There was a time, not long ago, when one could rely on the left to be antiwar. After all it was the left, with libertarians, that put up any opposition to the Bush administration’s lies in the run up to the Iraq war in 2003 and it was only the left and libertarians that held the administration accountable during the war.

That all changed once Obama took control of the war machine.

Even though Obama campaigned as an antiwar candidate and was bolstered by a Nobel Peace Prize in his first year in office, he left the oval office with the dubious distinction of having been the only U.S. President to be at war for every single day of his two terms. Obama escalated the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in his first term; and proceeded to indiscriminately bomb Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, and Syria in his second term.

At no point during Obama’s two terms was there any meaningful antiwar opposition from the left. In fact, the left all but abandoned the antiwar movement under Obama. Even when Obama sought congressional approval to enter Syria in 2013, it wasn’t Democrats that stopped him, it was the Republican led House of Representatives.

Under a President Trump, I fully anticipated the antiwar left to return with a vengeance. Needless to say, it hasn’t. Never underestimate the crushing hegemony of the establishment, I guess. In fact, the strongest antiwar sentiments are currently coming from the right-wing, particularly from Trump’s own supporters. Stefan Molyneaux, Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, and even white nationalist Richard Spenser all oppose intervening in Syria.

It’s unlikely that Rep. Gabbard will receive a serious primary challenge in 2018, as she was reelected in November with over 80% of the vote. It does, though, look like she’s learning the lesson of Ron Paul: when you oppose the establishment’s rush to war, you can become very unpopular.