Names Like Minuteman, Peacekeeper, and Sentinel Are Diabolically Dishonest
Ever think about names of U.S. weapons of war? Rarely are those names honest. I do applaud the relative honesty of Predator and Reaper drones, because those names capture the often predatory nature of U.S. foreign policy and the grim reaperish means that are often employed in its execution. Most names are not so suggestive. For example, U.S. fighter planes carry noble names like Eagle, Fighting Falcon, or Raptor. Nuclear bombers are an interesting case since they can carry thermonuclear bombs and missiles to kill hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people. So we have the B-52 Stratofortress (a great 1950s-era name), the B-1 Lancer, the B-2 Spirit, and the new B-21 Raider (the name has historical echoes to the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942).
Shouldn’t these bombers carry names like Megadeath or Mass Murder?
Think too of nuclear missiles. The Air Force’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) have had names like Titan, Minuteman, Peacekeeper, and now the new Sentinel. But since these missiles carry warheads that could easily kill millions, wouldn’t a more honest name be The Holocaust ICBM? For that’s what these missiles promise: a nuclear holocaust.
Consider too the Navy’s Ohio-class nuclear missile-firing submarines (SSBN) with their Trident missiles. (Trident—gotta hand it to the Navy.) Just one submarine can carry 20 Trident II missiles, each with up to eight warheads, each warhead being roughly equivalent to six Hiroshima bombs. Again, roughly speaking, each of these submarines carries an arsenal equivalent to one thousand Hiroshima bombs. And the U.S. has fourteen of these submarines.
Instead of the Ohio-class of submarines, shouldn’t they be called the Armageddon-class? Or the Apocalypse-class? The Genocide-class?
With a bit more honesty, perhaps it wouldn’t be so easy to sell these horrific weapons to Congress and the American people. Then again, when the bottom line is higher budgets for the Pentagon and more jobs for Congressional districts, I guess America will buy most anything. Even Holocaust missiles and Armageddon submarines. And for upwards of $2 trillion over the next 30 years as well.
If they don’t bust the budget, perhaps they’ll destroy the world.