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19 July 2016


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Bill H

Perhaps this is a silly question but, with the end of the Cold War and especially given that we have no delivery aircraft in place, why are these weapons still there?

Allen Thomson

On 3., the Wikipedia article on the B61, mostly referencing http://www.glennsmuseum.com/controller/controller.html , says that there is a manual disable capability that fries the weapons electronics. There were some designs in later years that had a way to disable the physics package itself, but the B61, being of mid-1960s design, probably doesn't have that. This all is separate from the PAL codes, strike enable plug, etc.

Of course, if you didn't mind scattering some plutonium around, a chunk of C4 would be pretty disabling.





Allowing the Sultan to have our nuclear weapons, whether 1 or 90 of them, would mean we could expect extortionate demands forever. Just whose side is this administration on?

"What could the US do about it?" I have a suggestion but it wouldn't be acceptable to the majority of contributors or the public. Obama wouldn't have the backbone either.


Q2, Back in the '80's when I was in the Navy aboard my ship (a guided missile destroyer) I helped guard the 'special weapons' that were onboard. We had security alert drills everyday, many different scenarios, lot's of guys running around the ship with guns. We were taught that for nukes there is no such thing as a hostage situation. Just shoot the terrorist. Didn't matter if the hostage was the captain, your mom, or the president. And we (the part time members of the Security Alert Team) were just amateurs. There are specially trained nuclear force protection teams that are real pros.
Q3, All it takes is a bullet or a hammer. Deforming the warhead or the shaped triggering charge will turn it into a highly radioactive paperweight.
I am confident that the professionals running security there have got all sorts of contingency plans, including their own deaths.

robt willmann

When the information popped up the other day that the U.S. had nuclear weapons at the Incirlik air base, it got my attention fast. My first thought was to get them the hell out of there immediately. The next thought was like Bill H: what are they doing there in the first place these days?

Tayyip Erdogan knows that the European Union is loaded with panty-waisted wimps, and so it was easy for him to extort 6 billion "euros" from them. He is a corrupt person with bad personality traits, and will continue to manipulate the U.S. in whatever ways he can. Sure, he knows that the U.S. is not the EU, but he is not a lapdog. It is not useful to keep the bombs there and create a temptation for Erdogan or others, or by their existence to give him an easy bargaining chip to use.

When Russia revealed that Erdogan was buying oil that ISIS took from Syria, which helped ISIS financially, and from which he and his family also made money, he did not even blink.



"The number of individuals who been purged in Turkey after the coup attempt reaches 45000+.
via @ashishjena94 (https://mobile.twitter.com/TurkeyUntold/status/755419303772651520?s=03/when-the-world-turns-upside-down-22cdaf0e187f#.gcnwhnl11)

It looks like the purge was well planned. The faux coup creates the pretext for a witch hunt. Many innocents will get caught up.

Before the Sultan decides to act to create a "hostage" ransom situation with the nukes, can the hapless Obummer do anything to retrieve them or render them inoperative?

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang, SST;

re: "Let us say, for the sake of argument, that Erdogan controlled forces make a move to seize control of the hydrogen bombs on THEIR BASE. What could the US do about it?"

Let me re-phrase this question with the change of one premise and one word:
Change of premise: Incirlik was a Turkish base with Russian tenants.
Change of word: " Let us say, for the sake of argument, that Erdogan controlled forces make a move to seize control of the hydrogen bombs on THEIR BASE. What could Putin do about it?"

I have my guesses. What do y'all think?

Ishmael Zechariah

David Habakkuk

Bill H,

It is not a silly question at all. But before you can talk about targeting, you have to think about the larger question of what is the U.S. nuclear arsenal – or indeed the British or French – actually for?

Among key specific questions, is it simply intended as a counter to the nuclear capabilities of others, or is it still – as in the Cold War – intended to counter non-nuclear threats?

If it is the latter, then obviously the continued refusal to rule out the ‘first use’ of nuclear weapons which is characteristic alike of American, British and French nuclear doctrine makes sense. If the former, it makes no sense.

On all this, a recent piece by Daryll G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, on the ‘War on the Rocks’ website, entitled ‘Taking First-Use of Nukes Off the Table: Good for the United States and the World’ may be worth a look.

(See http://warontherocks.com/2016/07/taking-first-use-of-nukes-off-the-table-good-for-the-united-states-and-the-world/ .)


Col. Lang -

Does it have to be a "nuclear capable" jet to merely remove the bombs? Couldn't they be moved in a regular cargo plane?



Of course. pl



For good or ill we are not the Russians I think. pl



And just how long is the base security detail going to last against a brigade of the Sultan's armor?

Babak Makkinejad

In the article below, a certain Richard Nephew, insinuates that the nuclear weapons in Incirlik are meant as a reassurance to Arabs and others against any Iranian nuclear provocation.


In the statements below, the current UK Foreign Minister, was supportive a nuclear-armed Iran:


I must say, someone, or a cackle of them, are mad as hatters.

The Twisted Genius

Both Fred and IZ wondered what we would do if Turkey made a move to seize the nuclear weapons. I've worked with the folks guarding such weapons. They will shoot to kill, destroy those weapons if they must and certainly die if they must to prevent those bombs from falling into unauthorized hands. These are seriously committed people.

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang,
Point taken. However, if the US permits tayyip to even see these weapons, it would be a crime against humanity.
Ishmael Zechariah


At the rate he's going maybe it's easier to list who hasn't been purged yet in Turkey.

By the end of the week the Turkish govt may just consist of Erdogan, a few family members, and a janitor.

Allen Thomson

> Couldn't they be moved in a regular cargo plane?

B61s are surprisingly small: about 700-750 lb, 12 ft long, 13 inches diameter. Probably they have standardized shipping containers that would add to that somewhat.


My hope is we're already flying them out right now, or past tense, we did it back when they evacuated the dependents.


Recall how the shit hit the fan (& resonated for quite some time) when cruise missiles w/ nuclear warheads were miss-shipped to Barksdale? The outcome of that event might provide some small comfort about how serious is our physical security of weapons (yet, "mistakes happen..."), at least on the operational side... on the policy side, one wonders if we treat Cold War era policies like some kinda biblical commandment from on-high. Long term momentum of unexamined policies can lead to some surprising and dangerous scenarios.



The bombs are hostages along with the several thousand service personnel and contractors. Erdogan will demand billions of dollars more in ransom. He may well ally with Russia and China for protection. I am afraid of what the mad hatters will do. The French citizens are jeering their politicians. The West’s leaders are totally incompetent. I think the President realizes that if 90 nuclear bombs are seized in working order by Turkey that is the end of the Democratic Party and his legacy. This is orders of magnitude worse than Jimmy Carter’s Desert One Debacle. The Republicans, every day, shoot themselves in the foot. The Empire is dead. Will they pay the ransom or is a rescue mission and a World War the only option left?



"destroy those weapons if they must"

The President needs to order them moved back to the US.


Since they are in hardened storage facilities inside hardened aircraft hangars, they should have enough time to deactivate/destroy the warheads.
I would think that the attempted theft of nuclear weapons by an allied army would be considered an act of war. I don't think Tayyip has the stones for that one.
I do agree with all here that there is no good reason for the warheads to be there and they should be removed.




Worst case scenario they could detonate one of the bombs in situ to prevent them falling into the wrong hands.

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