As we approach the 9th anniversary of “Shock and Awe,” we are once again seeing U.S. politicians and elected officials targeting an oil-rich nation in the Persian Gulf, claiming that it might soon build nuclear weapons, a claim based on sketchy evidence provided by sources we never see. This time the target is Iran, and the U.S. is once more trying to drag its allies with it on a path that could lead to war.
Yet while the U.S. government lectures and threatens Iran and North Korea about the evils of nuclear weapons, it routinely test fires its own long-range nuclear missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sending a clearly implied nuclear threat to the world. The next test launch of the U.S. “arsenal of hypocrisy” is scheduled for February 25, 2012.
The last test was conducted June 22, 2011, when the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command launched a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from Vandenberg. The missile, carrying a simulated nuclear warhead, traveled 4,200 miles before hitting its pre-determined target in the Marshall Islands. According to missile director Col. David Bliesner: “Minuteman III test launches demonstrate our nation’s ICBM capability in a very visible way, deterring potential adversaries while reassuring allies. These launches provide valuable information on the missile’s effectiveness in its intended operational environment.” The U.S. maintains 450 Minuteman III missiles on high-alert in missile silos in Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Colorado, with another 50 operational missiles held in reserve.
On Feb. 9, 2012, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland declared that “with regard to U.S. sanctions… we don’t want to hurt [the Iranian people] any more than we need to. But they are living in a state with a government that would rather spend money on a nuclear weapons program than on the welfare of its people, and that’s why we are compelled to increase the pressure and increase the isolation until they see the light.”
Whose government was she talking about? In a time of sustained economic crisis when the American people are really hurting, President Obama has projected investments of well over $200 billion by 2020 to sustain and modernize U.S. nuclear warheads and their delivery systems, including a next generation ICBM. According to John Clay, Vice President for Missile Systems at Northrop Grumman corporation: “The last ICBM cost $100 billion.”
It’s up to us to increase the pressure and increase the isolation of the 1% until they see the light! On Feb. 24 and 25 protests against the ICBM test launch are planned at the gates of Vandenberg Air Force Base and the Space and Missile tracking center in El Segundo, California. On the eve of UFPJ’s Occupy Peace conference in Philadelphia, please join us Friday. Feb. 24 at 7 pm in Love Park to demand an end to U.S. double standards.
If you live in California, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom has chartered a bus that will leave for Vandenberg from Oakland, at 5 pm, Feb. 24, returning by 7 am the next day, picking up people in Palo Alto, Salinas and Santa Cruz. Plan to get on the bus! $40 requested – no one turned away. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wherever you live, sign the petition to Oppose U.S. Nuclear Test Missile Launches and please spread the word! These actions are being promoted and coordinated by the United for Peace & Justice Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security working group. Click here to find out about the working group and how you can get involved.