Last edited by Nitro; 02-27-2008 at 01:58 PM.
I am a big believer in responsibility and ownership. There is no way that one can hold a reporter responsible for the mistake or the operation of something that the reporter had no control of in the first place.
To be honest, I still have not seen any details on why things failed (don't know if has never been released or I just missed the article/information).
You seem to think that I have some ill feelings towards the military or the folks involved... Not at all. I have seen procedures that are created as the results of accidents and accidents that are the results of overly complex procedures and polices that are frankly just accidents waiting to happen because of poor human factor's design...
According the the article and comments posted their--the Air Force does not visibly mark/code missiles/bombs as to the type of warhead they are loaded with other than with a paper traveler (don't know if true or not--but this was the apparent point of the article). Whereas the Navy apparently paints nuclear armed devices bright white, keeps them in separate bunkers, and under Marine guard (according to comments).
My original discussion point, I thought, had nothing to do with the press and more with an observation about fragmentation of ownership in the US Air Force (after the the Strategic Air Command was broken up) for nuclear arms.
I also understand the advantages to a standardize delivery platform that can be armed with different types of warheads (including nuclear).
Personally, this incident seemed to be the results human factors and dilution of responsibility. Identical appearing weapons platforms loaded with a multitude of different warheads all stored in the same area (whatever that means).
Does the military (and their civilian commanders) respond to the press... Yep, the US military is (as far as I have seen) extremely careful to reduce collateral damage to an absolute minimum. Much of today's day-to-day operational tactics seem to be heavily weighed towards reducing "civilian casualties" to near zero--to the point of involving lawyers and civilian command in way too many military tactical operations (and putting our folks at risk because of these decisions).
How much of this is the result of "bad press" and evolution of the US to a adversarial/ligation society pushing the funding and use of high-tech weapons systems vs the new abilities of precision guided munitions, aerial reconnaissance and the solders using them?... I don't know.
Compared to WWII tactics with raids on city centers (by both side) vs when in Gulf War, Iraq started parking their aircraft near hospitals, schools and archaeological sites--obviously, US targeting polices have sure changed.
I am concerned that the "problems" are fixed... I am not looking to shoot anyone for treason. I assume that normal military judicial polices have been (or will be) followed as a consequence of the findings of the review board(s).
I'm not sure I understand your answer, so either I'm slow or maybe my question was misinterpreted. I'll rephrase it.
Do you think it is (or should be) the responsibility of the Free Press to bring to light mistakes made by our Military in order to reduce the mistakes? I'm asking because it seems to be at the heart of this incident.
On another note: Why would you think, I think you have ill feelings towards the military or the folks involved? I'm just asking a question.
As far as I know, the military was who brought this to public attention (like another "infamous" incident from a couple years ago).
From what I have seen, the press rarely does independent reporting/fact finding regarding the military (or virtually any other place either).
I guess I am confused... Freedom of speech has no affirmative requirements to disseminate any information. There are, of course limits to free speech (to only shout "fire" in a crowded theater--yet there is no requirement for somebody to yell fire in a theater if they see one).
The "problem" with free speech via the press is that it has morphed into a combination of agenda journalism and commercial speech for profit. Mixed in with that is poor knowledge of the subject matter of the article (journalists are rarely experienced in military, science, engineering, math, business, or any other hard sciences).
So, to expect the press to have an affirmative duty to "inform", educate, and provide "checks and balances" just does not make sense in either our form of government or their ability to actually clarify any situation.
My apologies Nitro, because I am (still?) not quite sure why I am unable to answer your question about the Press' roles and responsibilities in preventing/lessening military "mistakes" (which, to me was not anything I was attempting to bring up in discussion)--I thought that "you thought" I was using the article (and press in general) to slam the military...
Anyway, back to the thread... Doing a little searching around, I was able (I think) to find the official report that this article is based on (500 kByte PDF file)...
The Defense Science Board Permanent Task Force on Nuclear Weapons
Now to read the source document and see what it says...
Actually, LuxLuthor's statement, "You think this error is bad, imagine what goes on in the other nuclear nations where there is no freedom of the press." got me thinking (happens sometimes) of a LARGER question. Should the Press (Public) be involved in the "Management" of the Military? I'm not so sure it's in our country's best interest for us (and the world) to know certain things about (including mistakes made by) our Military.
Take this incident of instance. I realize the Military released this report, however I think the release of this report did far more damage to our country's well being then the incident itself. Personally, I don't want to know, or anyone else to know, anything about the movement of our nukes, or mistakes made with them. What good was it to us, other then PR, to release this report? We (the public) could not solve the problem, as fast (or as well) as our Military. We have no choice but to trust the Military in handling our weapons.
I do think we should know about the "general polices" of the Military, but not the inner workings. I believe this incident should have been "Classified". I'm sure others would disagree.
I understand your concerns about security vs LuxLuthor's concern about freedom of the press...
And, since the reports where certainly scrubbed of classified information, there would be little someone could glean from this reports/releases that would help them steal nuclear weapons and such.
It now becomes a comparison "damage to our country's well being" vs the damage to our country due to censorship and burying of mistakes by our military--and by extension, our government.
My premise is that we are far better of with freedom of speech vs the damage to our country (which I would argue is a matter of public relations than physical damage) from releases about mistakes by our military.
Looking at those countries that have very strong "military security"--and we see lots of real problems. From using their military to put down public protests of government polices to massive environmental damage from the military production of enriched uranium and plutonium for weapons and reactors.
The US too has had incidents where there was misuse of the military and environmental damage from nuclear production... But, in general, our "mistakes" have been much smaller and involved smaller leaks than those in countries without the 4th amendment. (not intending to get into the whole Afghan/Iraq War issue here).
So--my concern is that once we allow the military (an extension of our civilian government) decide that mistakes are not to be published--I believe that those restrictions will be applied to almost anything the government does... See the previous link I posted about the MEP's massive abuse of government taxes. Or, look at France where even commercial nuclear is a state secret--so there is virtually no ability for the "public" to discuss any aspect of a major (and potentially dangerous) industry.
If the government/military "security" is restraint of free speech--it really is "security by obscurity". And as we have seen, this form of security does not very secure in the long term.
I understand your (and Lux's) concerns also. To be honest I agree that the Press has exposed a lot of things that needed to be exposed, and a lot that didn't. I don't fault the Press however, except when they have an agenda other then exposing the truth. I'm just raising an important question that often gets lost.
"Security vs Freedom" has probably been debated for as long as there have been (and will be) civilized societies. With too much security we are safer from outside threats, but restricted of our freedoms. With too much freedom we are free, but less secure. Which do we choose? I believe there needs to be a fine balance between the two, that depends on the current state of affaires. At a time of peace we should have more freedom, but at a time of war we need to be more secure. Unfortunately, today I think we need to become a little more secure, by giving our Military a more freedom.
As far as Nuclear Weapons are concerned, I think everything, short of a detonation should be classified, especially their movement. My biggest concern is proliferation. I believe it's inevitable that a smaller State will use one. It's not a question of if, but when. The more info (any info) we give out about our nukes the faster it will happen. I know the "Cat" has been out of the "Bag" for many years, but I don't think we should let more Cats lose. Not if we want to slow down the inevitable. Bottom line is, there is a very important reason why we Classify things. In my opinion, "security by obscurity" as you call it is the BEST way to secure something. Just think about Fort Knox. It's only when the obscurity is lifted that it becomes less secure.
In regards to Nuclear Energy though. I believe its gotten a bad rap over the years, the same way Steam Engines did before that. Every new large scale energy converter is dangerous. There's no way around it. And the more energy we use, the larger and more dangerous the converter has to be. However, like the Steam Engine, if we continue to use, modify and upgrade, it becomes safer, cheaper and more practical. I think if Nuclear Energy didn't get such a bad rap, it would be used for 100% of our Electrical Power, with less incidents then there are now. I don't know how long Nuclear Energy will be used in the future, but I'll bet the ranch that any new large scale energy converter will be just as dangerous, until it's used extensively, and the mistakes are made.
Also, I think that article by Greenpeace is a contradiction, i.e. leaking to the Press about how vulnerable something is trying to make it less vulnerable. Leaks usually make things more vulnerable, and this one probably did too. Greenpeace's agenda is not to make Nuclear Power Plants safer and more secure, it's to shut them down.
Last edited by Nitro; 02-29-2008 at 11:07 AM.
Should the press publish that a load of nuclear missiles is going to be driving down high 101 at 10:58pm tonight... Probably not. However, if there is proper security, there would be little real increased risk of theft if the information is leaked/published (although, protests blocking the shipment would be real risk).
Should the military just put them in brown boxes with plastic peanuts and ship them via UPS RED because nobody will know what is in the boxes as there was a complete news blackout on the movement (although, UPS would have had better tracking of those boxes than the US military did for 36 hours). Not that either. Although, the shipment would probably go through just fine--all it would take is one person anywhere to release the information to a small group of people that could easily hijack the load. Security by obscurity only works if it the information stays obscure... Difficult to guarantee.
About Fort Knox--everyone knows the gold is there... Or do they? Because of the high security of the installation there are lots of "black helicopter folks" that believe otherwise:
Is any of the above true? I don't know--but the less open the government is, the more distrust it will generate. I personally believe that the gold would have been safer in the public's hands than when it was seized by FDR "for the people"...About Fort Knox Gold:
In the 1970's a very courageous gentleman named Edward Durrell claimed that substantially all of the US Gold Reserve being stored at Ft. Knox was gone. Only 1,000 tonnes or so of the 8,500 tonnes supposedly being stored there remained. The rest had been secretly taken from Ft. Knox and shipped to London in 1967 and early 1968 for sale by President Johnson in an ill-fated attempt to keep the price of Gold at $35 per ounce.
First, about Fort Knox. You know, the Fort Knox Gold Scandal is just like
the Watergate Scandal in one respect: There is a desperate cover-up going on right now just as happened with Watergate. The Fort Knox Gold Scandal
cover-up really passed the point of no return last September when the UnitedStates Treasury perpetrated the Fort Knox gold inspection hoax ...
A brave outspoken journalist,Tom Valentine, in the 1970s, exposed as a fraud that there wasworld-trade-quality gold at Fort Knox. All they have left are poor quality,orangish-looking, melted down coin metal from the seizure in 1934, of goldcoins from America's common people. ...
Regarding the Green Peace quote--I know that they want everyone else to be subsistence farmers because it it rustic, cute, and natural. Of course, the "leaders" of these movements fly first class, mingle with Hollywood types, and will gladly write laws on how everyone else needs to life (CFL lights or jail?). I quoted them to show what happens in France when anyone intelligently attempts to get information and discuss commercial nuclear issues there because the government has classified all information.
And, I personally agree, that nuclear power plants are the only near term, relatively environmentally save and friendly country sized power technology there is (short of more oil/gas/coal fired power plants or a massive reduction in power consumption). We have had multiple debates here before and probably don't need to rehash the details in this thread.
Even one of the GreenPeace founders is now a "Pro Nuclear" kind of guy.
oh boy are we going to talk about Nuclear plants now? Cause thats a favorite topic of mine! Here are some things the coal lobby in washington dont want you to know.
There is NO nuclear waste! What we have is a lot of partially used fuel that our current (re, ancient) design of reactors can't use anymore. The newer generation of canadian "can do" reactors can use as their brand new fuel the stuff that is sitting in tanks in storage all over America! This is not something we need to bury, but something we need to re-use. Dont let arguments about the problems with fuel recycling sway you either. The entire process to take it out of a tank here and convert it to fuel for CANDU light water reactors is sintering into different sized pieces! Thats grinding to a powder and then compressing into the new shape. You dont even have to melt it, it doesn't require or leave behind any dangerous chemicals.
Why can't our current crop of reactors use this as fuel? Back when we were designing these current plants we thought that uranium would be a very restrictive commodity. Since then we have learned to mine it more safely and more efficiently and we now know there is enough for quite some time, but at the time we thought that it would be scarce and the reactors were designed to run mostly on plutonium created by breeder reactors and from the nuclear bomb industry. (which is what they run on mostly now, recycled old nuke bombs!)
But there is so much of the nuclear non-waste and we have no place to keep it! Actually, there isn't very much and we're storing it quite safely and securely at the individual plants right now. To give you an idea of volume canada published some numbers this past year that can be compared. Canada has had a nuclear energy program since 1952. I think it only generates about 15% of their total energy needs (almost half of their energy comes from hydroelectric power, way to go canada!) but still that is an impressive amount of generation. And if you add up the volume of "waste" from every nuke plant since the very first you will find that the entire volume of material produced is equal to just half of the volume of garbage that new york city produces in 1 day. So 56 years of power generation results in only half the volume of garbage produced in NYC in one day.
We are NOT talking about a lot of material that needs to be dealt with here.
Coal on the other hand is talking about somehow capturing and burying a gigaton of carbon dioxide a year! That does not sound realistic to me at all.
And as we recycle more and more of these old bombs into fuel there will be fewer and fewer of them for the military to forget to take off airplanes...
Whether there is gold in Fort Knox is another topic for another thread. I'll let the "Black Helicopter" folks argue over that one. My point is the Fort Knox Depository is probably the most secure place on the planet, for two reasons. One becuase of its secrecy, and two because of the Military base next door.About Fort Knox--everyone knows the gold is there... Or do they? Because of the high security of the installation there are lots of "black helicopter folks" that believe otherwise:
Is any of the above true? I don't know--but the less open the government is, the more distrust it will generate. I personally believe that the gold would have been safer in the public's hands than when it was seized by FDR "for the people"...
There are arguments to be made on both sides. I just happen to believe, when it comes to Nuclear Energy and Weapons, more should be Classified, not less. You can always Declassify, but you cannot Reclassify. What happens when it's all declassified? Again, I'd like to prolong the inevitable.Regarding the Green Peace quote--I know that they want everyone else to be subsistence farmers because it it rustic, cute, and natural. Of course, the "leaders" of these movements fly first class, mingle with Hollywood types, and will gladly write laws on how everyone else needs to life (CFL lights or jail?). I quoted them to show what happens in France when anyone intelligently attempts to get information and discuss commercial nuclear issues there because the government has classified all information.
Last edited by Nitro; 02-29-2008 at 12:56 PM.
I think much the "Nuclear Genie" has been let of out the bottle with the "Atoms for Peace" project started by Pres. Eisenhower back in 1953...
And, from what I have read, there has been a bunch of efforts to reclassify nuclear weapons technologies from many decades ago that was originally declassified for various reasons (that I am sure all made sense at the time).
The rest is now is probably just focused on physical security for the nuclear materials and components needed to make big/dirty bombs.
Not sure how/if that will work, but it just makes my point. If they're trying to reclassify things, they should not have been declassified to begin with.And, from what I have read, there has been a bunch of efforts to reclassify nuclear weapons technologies from many decades ago that was originally declassified for various reasons (that I am sure all made sense at the time).
Like the movement?The rest is now is probably just focused on physical security for the nuclear materials and components needed to make big/dirty bombs.
Ft Knox doesn't have the largest store of Gold in the US.
The largest is in the Federal Reserve Bank in NYC! Not only the majority of the US gold, but believe it or not, a LOT of other countries have a supply of gold there. A lot of "gold transfers" are done by moving bars of gold from one cage to another. Also, many of the major bank HQs in the area have gold vaults - fun to watch Chase or the Bank of Tokyo getting a gold shipment (or the other way) - picture an armored cars that is a tractor trailer. The pull up outside than bank, and a forklift comes out and unloads the truck. Needless to say, there are armed guards in the area. Usually with machine guns. What is particularly fun is that 99% of the people walking by don't stop to look - after all, we're NYers, so we've seen everything