Bush sacks US Air Force bosses

This video from Associated Press in the USA is called Gates Accepts Air Force Resignations.

By Bill Van Auken:

US Air Force purge: Growing tensions within a militarized state

7 June 2008

The sudden sacking of both the senior civilian and military commanders of the US Air Force Thursday is symptomatic of the growing tensions within an American government dominated by militarism and torn by divisions over what strategy Washington should pursue to defend its global interests.

The forced resignations of Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and chief of staff Gen. Michael “Buzz” Moseley were ostensibly triggered by what Defense Secretary Robert Gates called “a chain of failures” in the Air Force’s handling of US nuclear weapons.

The top-level firings followed the completion of a report on a strange incident in which four Air Force ballistic missile fuses—crucial components of nuclear weapons—were shipped to Taiwan in 2006. The Pentagon attributed the shipment to a mistake in which the nosecone fuse assemblies, which trigger intercontinental ballistic missiles as they approach their target, were sent instead of battery packs intended for use in Taiwanese military helicopters.

According to the official story, this supposed mix-up, which provoked heated protests from China, went undetected for 17 months, until the Taiwanese military alerted Washington last March.

The controversy followed the even more disturbing incident in August 2007, in which an Air Force B-52 flew the breadth of the US with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles fixed to its wings. As far as it is known, the flight marked the first time that an American bomber had taken to the air armed with nuclear weapons since the height of the Cold War more than 40 years ago.

The armed B-52’s flight from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana was also declared a “mistake.” While the final report on the incident remains classified, it is far from clear how the warheads, which are electronically monitored and must go through multiple checks before being removed from their bunkers and placed on the wing of an aircraft, could have been mistakenly mounted on the plane.

Given the context of the incident, which transpired amid reports of planning within the Bush administration for an attack on Iran, including possible use of nuclear weapons, the perfunctory statement from the Air Force that the transfer was an “error” and that “the munitions were safe, secure and under military control at all times” hardly allayed concerns.

Taken together, the claims of innocent errors as the explanation for sensitive nuclear devices being sent to one of the tensest areas of the globe and a nuclear armed flight in the midst of mounting war threats strain credulity. Both incidents strongly suggest that much more is taking place behind the scenes in the US military and state apparatus than the American people are being told.

1 thought on “Bush sacks US Air Force bosses

  1. Posted by: “Compañero” companyero@bellsouth.net

    Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:37 pm (PDT)

    US to sell $6bn in arms to Taiwan

    * The US government has notified Congress of plans to supply Taiwan with arms worth more than $6bn (€ ¦£3.4bn). *

    The sales include advanced interceptor missiles, Apache helicopters and submarine-launched missiles.

    Correspondents say the decision is likely to anger China, which regards Taiwan as its territory and opposes US military support of the island.

    The move could also complicate efforts to get North Korea, an ally of Beijing, to end its nuclear programme.

    The US Defence Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) said the sales would “help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region”.

    DSCA said the deal would not alter the military balance in the region but was “a demonstration of the commitment of this administration to provide Taiwan the defensive arms its needs to be strong”.

    Congress members have 30 days to submit comments or objections about the proposed sale.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2008/10/03 21:32:56 GMT

    (c) BBC MMVIII


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