18 Jun 2014

The troubling view from Fairford

Guest post by Kevin Lister

Fairford is darkening the skies of  Gloucestershire again as it hosts B52 and B2 bombers as part of the Saber Strike exercise as they practise for destroying targets in Russia, which happens to be the main gas supplier to the military industrial complexes across Europe.
We would not stand by and do nothing if someone did this to us, and neither does Russia.  They have started reciprocal exercises in the Baltic and their nuclear bombers are patrolling off the US West Coast. It has done nothing other that ratchet up the threat of war.
Does this have any military utility? The answer is an emphatic, "no". We do it to  ostensibly dissuade Russia from seizing the Baltic states.  If they were to do so, would we really set about bombing Russian forces from Fairford? This would almost certainly escalate into a nuclear exchange, one of the first targets of which would be the Fairford Air Base. It would be a suicidal response.
These exercises create too high a risk of error. With the stealth technology of the B2 bombers a tiny blip on a radar screen, that might actually come from migrating ducks, could be interpreted as hostile intent triggering the worst possible nightmare response when thousands of nuclear weapons still remain on hair trigger alert.
Instead, we should be challenging the legitimacy of Russia's new military posture of "de-escalation", which is an Orwellian distortion of language meaning they will fire a first nuclear strike in event of conflict. But we don't do this because to do so would be to undermine our refusal to sign a clear and unambiguous no first use policy for Trident. This is the essence of Trident, so having Trident means we cannot challenge Russia in the international courts and fight to make nuclear weapons illegal.
And the final question for the enthusiasts of the B52 and B2 bombers in the press and who are camping at the end of the Fairford runway is what system are they protecting? A system that see millions of people impoverished by a capitalist banking system while enriching the richest and which has comprehensively failed to address climate change so consigning much of the planet to become a baked wasted land by the end of the century.
We need to speak out against the presence of these bombers in our backyard and all that they represent.

You can read Kevin's blog here - http://kevsclimatecolumn.blogspot.co.uk/

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