The Murderous Madness of Trillions for Nuclear Weapons

W.J. Astore

Supporting trillions of dollars “to update and modernize our nuclear arsenal” is akin to advocating for more production of Zyklon B and improved gas chambers.

Incendiary claim? I think not. Like Zyklon B, nuclear weapons are genocidal. They are designed to kill millions; used en masse, they will kill billions. They are ecocidal as well; nuclear weapons with their intense heat and blast and radiation kill virtually everything in their radius. How can anyone who’s sane want more of them?

I happened to catch Kelly Ayotte, a former U.S. senator who’s now the Chair of the Board of Directors for BAE Systems, a major weapons contractor, say that she’s “always” been a strong supporter of updating and modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Of course, she and her company stand to profit from this. But at what cost to life on this planet?

Nevertheless, nuclear “modernization” proceeds apace in the U.S. at an estimated cost of nearly $2 trillion over the next few decades. Is this not the very definition of a murderous insanity?

As Daniel Ellsberg pointed out, U.S. nuclear attacks plans in the early 1960s could have resulted in the death of 600 million people, mainly in China and the Soviet Union. As Ellsberg noted, the U.S. was prepared to launch 100 Holocausts in the name of defending its “ideals.” (And this was before we knew about the dangers of nuclear winter.)

This murderous madness has to stop before we put an end to ourselves and our planet.

We’ll produce new nuclear missiles like so many sausages. But it’s all OK because we need to “update” and “modernize” our (genocidal and ecocidal) nuclear arsenal. Sure makes me proud to be an American.

Addendum: When you think of nuclear weapons as “investments” or as “sensible” (see comments), please consider this scene from “Terminator II.”

What is “sensible” about any of this? Sorry, count me out of “investing” in mass death via nuclear holocaust.

40 thoughts on “The Murderous Madness of Trillions for Nuclear Weapons

  1. Glad I’m not the only sarcastic soul here. “Sure makes me proud to be an American.” My pride in being an American is often in short supply these days. At times, one of the few things that makes me proud is the willingness of some persons to help those in need, be that aid for other humans or for animals–that are often in dire straits due to the callousness of those humans who profess to be loving and only committing the harm they do out of religious belief. “What a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My old Commands Motto SAC “Strategic Air Command” was: Peace is our Profession from 73-77 with a brief respite in MAC Command “Military Airlift Command” USAFE for my Overseas Assignment in the Sky Cops now called “Security Forces Air Force.” For Armed Forces Day today I remember those I Served proudly with. Almost now one half a century ago! I think SAC policy was more touchy feely then to say “Nuke em all till they glow,” or “To Err is human, but to forgive was not SAC Policy!” I also had the Father of SAC back then Gen. Curtis Lemay as my Commander– cigar chomping, and most remembered for wanting to start W.W. lll during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962… I thought since those early days maybe Generals would get more evolved & Cerebral in their thinking, but I’m thinking now I’m wrong and that we’ve returned 50 yrs., or so back…!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The absolute truth. It’s madness. But to your:
    “ it’s all OK because we need to “update” and “modernize” our (genocidal and ecocidal) nuclear arsenal”
    I’d add emphatically THIS:
    “ it’s all OK because we need to “update” and “modernize” our (genocidal and ecocidal AND SUICIDAL) nuclear arsenal”

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The US Air Force plans to replace its 400 Minuteman missiles with a new missile, formerly called the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, now called the Sentinel. Yet, if deterrence is the goal, these sitting duck, silo-based missiles are not only unnecessary, but dangerous a well. They are on hair-trigger alert, leaving little time to determine if a warning of an attack is a false alarm. Eliminating the Sentinel and the Minuteman should be the primary focus of those seeking military denuclearization. Naming a specific weapon system allows specific budgetary and strategic arguments to be made.
    In my novel Shadows the 78-year-old heroine Edna O’Hare takes up this fight. If only the numerous, but uncoordinated, anti-nuclear groups would do the same.

    Peter J. Manos
    Seattle, WA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So: they’re calling it the Sentinel now? I guess “Peacekeeper” was already taken. The grift and gall here are boundless.

      Defund nukes and save humanity!

      Liked by 3 people

    1. I think some of this is real footage from nuclear tests, especially near the end of the clip. The documentary “The Day After Trinity” also features real footage from nuclear tests. The reality is ultimately unimaginable in its enormity.


  5. Want to throw up your breakfast this morning fellow readers?

    “This sensible, effective and affordable plan for sustaining our triad of nuclear weapons will likely be attacked loudly from both ends of the pro- and anti-nuclear spectrum. Fortunately, President Biden has more nuclear weapons expertise than any American president since George H.W. Bush. Like the elder President Bush, rather than leave nuclear weapons policy and investment decisions to others, including numerous stakeholders who will fight any change to the status quo, Biden has the knowledge and leadership abilities to direct such decisions from the top. After all, these truly are the president’s weapons.”

    Andrew C. Weber is a senior fellow at the Council on Strategic Risks. He served from 2009-2014 as President Obama’s Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Investment decisions” — “sensible” and “affordable” — Biden as a man of great expertise in nuclear weapons — words truly fail me. But I can thing of some vulgarisms, starting with we are well and truly fucked.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Words fail me. Your analogy to improving nuclear weapons is like improving Zyklon B is so apt and so insane, as you point out. AMEN to that!! I’ll forward your words to others. We truly must stop the insanity. Thank you for your continued comments on this country’s increasing insanity towards killing the planet and all of us – we need to spread the word.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. We don’t need to go back to Zyklon B.

    How about our “gain-of-function” biowarfare research experiments with viruses that cause respiratory and immune system problems? For “purely defensive purposes,” of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Somebody needs to do a 21st century remake and update version of this…

    Watch the Nuclear Cartoon That Terrified Children in the ’50s: ‘A Short Vision’ traumatized Ed Sullivan’s viewers
    by Matthew Gault

    Ed Sullivan was a big deal. The old broadcaster ran a variety show on CBS throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s called The Ed Sullivan Show. When Sullivan was on, viewers across the country tuned in. His ratings fluctuated, but Sullivan often pulled 10 to 15 million viewers a night.

    For perspective, Game of Thrones averages about five million.

    Sullivan was the man who would bring Elvis to Middle America and The Beatles to the world. He was a trusted media personality, and one night in 1956, he abused that trust to scare people about the dangers of atomic war.

    On May 20, 1956, the U.S. military successfully detonated an improved hydrogen bomb in Bikini Atoll. The nuclear arms race advanced and America was in the lead. On May 27, Sullivan announced he had a really great cartoon to show his audience.

    “Just last week you read about the H-bomb being dropped,” Sullivan said. “I’m gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ’cause it’s a fantasy, the whole thing is animated.”

    “Two English writers, Joan and Peter Foldes, wrote a thing which they called A Short Vision in which they wondered what might happen to the animal population of the world if an H-bomb were dropped,” Sullivan explained.

    “It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner.”

    Sullivan ran the cartoon. It’s just over six minutes long and that was all it took to scar the generation of children already frightened by Duck and Cover.

    A Short Vision was the first in a long line of nuclear scare pieces and the foundation on which later artists would build. There’s no The War Game, Threads or The Day After without A Short Vision. It has a special power because of its mythical quality. It a tale of Armageddon written for children.

    Continued at

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Amazing. I’ve read a lot of books, seen plenty of documentaries, even co-taught a course on the making and use of the atomic bomb, and I’ve never seen this nuclear cartoon. Harrowing stuff.

      The soundtrack is perfectly eerie.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I was 5 years old at the time, living on top of a mountain outside Trout Run, PA. We did have a TV at some point there and managed to get about 3 stations. Thankfully, I did not see this, not that I would have likely understood it anyway. It is terrifying. We (collective, of course) never learn our lessons, do we?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. What strikes me about Trump is his undisciplined mind; he’s instinctive, he’s a salesman, or a con man if you prefer. Still, he has a habit of occasionally uttering the truth. He’s right that a deal should be struck to end the war; he’s right about the dangers of escalation to a nuclear war. But he can’t help but brag and boast and make himself the center of everything.

      Biden is both conventional and fading. Biden will never do anything original, which is exactly why the Establishment is behind him. “Nothing will fundamentally change” under Biden, which is why there’s a strong change he’ll lose in 2024, assuming he runs again at the age of 81.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jeffrey St. Clair nailed a bunch of things in his May 20 piece on CounterPunch, including, in particular, this:

    + The Air Force claimed to have made a successful test of a hypersonic weapon this week. No word yet on how many wedding party celebrants were killed…

    + Not one Democratic senator (or House member, for that matter–who says the party can’t come together?) voted against the $40 billion weapons sale to Ukraine and the eleven Republicans who did are a collection of some of the most insipid creatures on the Hill: Blackburn (TN), Boozman (AR), Braun (IN), Crapo (ID), Hagerty (TN), Hawley (MO), Lee (Utah), Lummis (WY), Marshall (KN), Paul (KY) and Tuberville (AL). What a country.

    + It’s disappointing that Sanders voted for another $40 billion weapons sale to Ukraine. BUT IT’S ENTIRELY CONSISTENT WITH HIS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF SUPPORTING DEMOCRATIC WARS AND OPPOSING THE SAME WARS WHEN THEY’RE RUN BY REPUBLICANS.. (See my book, Bernie and the Sandernistas.) Sanders voted three times for regime change in Iraq, while Clinton was president. He voted for Clinton’s war on Serbia, prompting resignations from some of his top staffers. Bernie backed the original AUMF on the war on terror and was an original Senate co-sponsor of the “no fly” resolution on Libya that led to the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime. Then there’s Sanders’ peculiar attachment to the F-35, a plane whose primary purpose is to “deliver” nuclear strikes against Russia. Bernie has many admirable qualities, especially when contrasted to his colleagues. But he’s always been a hawk with the mindset of a Cold War liberal. [EMPHASIS added.]

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear All,

    In my post entitled “We have Paleolithic Emotions; Medieval Institutions; and God-like Technology“, I have created and featured the following image:

    This illustration has a resolution of 4038 by 2539 pixels and is titled “We have Paleolithic Emotions; Medieval Institutions; and God-like Technology with Nuclear Holocaust“.

    Regarding Russia, you only need to substitute the lady in the foreground with an image of Putin, and perhaps change some or all of the medieval buildings to their Russian counterpart in order to depict “We have Putin, Russia and Nukes”.

    As for the USA, you can do the same by replacing the lady with Trump or any other pro-nuclear agents.

    For your interest, my aforementioned post has been published under the following categories: Animation, Art, Behavioural Science, Biography, Cognitive Science, Ecology, Environmental Science, Environmentalism, Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Psychology, Facing the Noise & Music, Gallery, Graphics, History, Human Nature, Nature, Philosophy, Profile, Psychology, Quotes, Science, Social Science, SoundEagle, Video.

    Climate change crisis and the threat of nuclear war aside, we are perhaps already accelerating inexorably towards some eventual calamities or runaway cataclysms, being well on track in facilitating a wholesale and terminal decline of Homo sapiens, a species unable to transcend its own fate, incapable of fathoming let alone solving the great riddle of life, and succumbing in due course to not merely a surfeit of wayward violence and aggressive expansion but also exiguous comprehension of its own existential mess, pernicious strain and destructive streak, never mind the spectres of an even deadlier pandemic (whether zoonotic or genetically engineered), industrial disaster, biochemical apocalypse and nuclear holocaust as well as all-out cyberwarfare, cyberterrorism and cyberattacks.

    Yours sincerely,

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Professor Astore,

        Thank you. This poster-size illustration is actually one in a set of ten, all featured in my academically written and analytical post aptly entitled “We have Paleolithic Emotions; Medieval Institutions; and God-like Technology” published at

        I welcome your input and feedback there. Please enjoy!

        May you have a lovely weekend and a wonderful mid-May doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most!

        Yours sincerely,


  11. THE UKRAINE WAR’S COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Planet Earth ~ by Michael Klare ~ concludes as follows:

    Kissing Earth Goodbye

    All this — and it’s just the tip of the melting iceberg — leads to one conclusion: the world’s ruling elites have chosen to place their geopolitical rivalries above all other critical concerns, including planetary salvation. As a result, global warming is indeed likely to surpass 2 degrees Celsius sometime during this century. It’s a given that almost unimaginable calamities will ensue, including the inundation of major cities, monstrous wildfires, and the collapse of agriculture in many parts of the world.

    This means, of course, that those of us who still view global warming as the crucial priority face the most difficult of challenges. Yes, we can continue our protests and lobbying in support of vigorous climate-change action, knowing that our efforts will fall on remarkably deaf ears in Washington, Beijing, Moscow, and major European capitals OR WE CAN BEGIN TO CONTEST THE VERY IDEA THAT GREAT-POWER COMPETITION ITSELF SHOULD BE ACCORDED SUCH A PRIORITY ON A PLANET IN SUCH MORTAL DANGER. Yes, countering Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is important, as is deterring similar moves by China in the Indo-Pacific region or our own country globally. However, if planetary meltdown is to be avoided, such considerations can’t be allowed to overshadow the ultimate danger faced by powers both big and small, as well as the rest of us. To have any chance of success in limiting global warming to tolerable levels, the climate-action movement will somehow have to overturn an elite consensus on the importance of geopolitical competition — or else. [EMPHASIS added.]

    Or else, that is, we can kiss Planet Earth goodbye.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What we humans likely need to brutally endure in order to survive the very-long-term from ourselves is an even greater nemesis than our own politics and perceptions of differences — especially those involving skin-color and creed — against which we could all unite, defend, attack and defeat, then greatly celebrate. Something other-worldly and very ugly. The less the nemesis looks like us, the greater we’ll be motivated to despise and kill them back.

    During this much-needed human allegiance, we’d be forced to work closely side-by-side together and witness just how humanly similar we are to each other.

    Still, perhaps some five or more decades later, we will inevitably revert to those same politics to which we humans seem so collectively hopelessly prone — including those of scale: the intercontinental, international, national, provincial or state, regional and municipal, etcetera.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. @FGSJR2015……….The less the nemesis looks like us, the greater we’ll be motivated to despise and kill them back.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand will send 30 troops to the United Kingdom to directly train 230 Ukrainian soldiers in using a howitzer gun.

    Ardern announced the latest deployment in support of Ukraine’s defence against a Russian military invasion on Monday afternoon, in advance of her flying to the United States for a trade mission.

    The Defence Force soldiers would stay in the United Kingdom until the end of July, to train Ukrainian soldiers to use the L119 lightweight gun.

    “The 30 NZDF personnel will in no way enter the Ukraine for this training,” Ardern said.”

    This Kiwi is disgusted with Ardern – what a bunch of bullshit! The Yanks told her if you want to trade with us you need to help the US win this proxy war against Russia. No doubt in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yippee! Lets start WWIII.

    The Associated Press
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 50 defense leaders from around the world met Monday and agreed to send more advanced weapons to Ukraine, including a harpoon launcher and missiles to protect its coast, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters.

    And Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that “low-level” discussion is underway on how the U.S. may need to adjust its training of Ukrainian forces and on whether some U.S. troops should be based in Ukraine.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. No doubt “Just a small security force to protect American assets and free up the Ukranians to fight the war. Just like we did at Danang in 1965.” I tacked on that last bit as a comic aside. I’d bet there hundreds of command rank careerists walking the halls of The Pentagon who have no idea of Danang’s historical significance, and the same can be said of pretty much everyone in Congress. Probably 99% of the military (USMC officer trainees excepted).


    1. Yes. It so often starts with a “small security force” or “a team of advisors.” In the name of protecting U.S. national interests, whatever those happen to be …


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