When We Happen To Blow Ourselves Up

It’s time now that we take a break from the grim and depressing topics of the Middle Eastern politics and turn to the light-hearted debate over when we’re going to blow ourselves up.

See, in case you haven’t thought about it recently (meaning you don’t watch John Oliver, or aren’t reliving your childhood from the 1960’s) the United States is somewhat of a glutton when it comes to nuclear missiles.

According to Federation of American Scientists, as of 2014 the United States currently has approximately 1,920 Operational Strategic nuclear forces, still more than any other country in the world.

Not only that, but we’re somewhat clumsy when it comes to protecting and keeping track of our nukes. This past October, CNN reported a slight security guffaw at North Dakota Air Force base in which the security officers on duty left the doors to the nuclear launch silos open while they were asleep. This happened not once, but “on a few occasions.” Just to be clear, these doors that were left open {which were eventually reported (and-oh, I wish I was kidding) by a food delivery service} led to “centers (that) are generally 40 feet to 100 feet underground, and … controls as many as 10 missile silos.”  Let me put that in non-falling-asleep-on-the-job-while-waiting-for-my-Dominos-pizza-to-arrive-Air-Force-Officer lingo for you: that’s 10 nuclear missile silos. Four nuclear missiles have the capability of wiping Washington D.C. off the map. Can you imagine what ten missiles could do if a terrorist managed to sneak by Major Melatonin while he was waiting for his stuffed crust to arrive?

If that doesn’t keep you up at night then consider the following: in 2007 the United States Air Force accidentally placed six W80-1 warheads on a B-52H bomber which they flew (again, not knowing they were flying them) from North Dakota to Louisiana. Not only that, but these warheads then sat on the tarmac unguarded for 36, not minutes, but hours, before anyone looked out the window of the terminal and said “hey, those don’t look like dummy-bombs” which triggered one situationally-aware individual to go:

at which time about 15 Air Force Generals subsequently crapped their pants. But don’t worry, because according to USAF Lt. Col. Ed Thomas: “At no time was there a threat to public safety. It is important to note that munitions were safe, secure and under military control at all times.”

(Naturally, Mr. Thomas’ statement excludes the 1.5 days the nukes were roasting on the tarmac in the hot Louisiana sun. That’s just what the Air Force likes to call “atomic fermentation”; “a good warhead is like a fine wine” they always say at the officers club!)

All things considered, we should be grateful. Because although the Air Force has fallen eons short of competence in nuclear management these last few years, at least they have  not gone so far as to actually drop, say, two nuclear bombs on their own country, like they did in 1961.

Oh, but I can be.

As CNN reported earlier this summer, in 1961 a US Air Force bomber broke in half while flying over the eastern part of North Carolina and dropped, from it’s belly, two nuclear bombs that hit the ground near the unfortunate and ironically named town of Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Meanwhile in town at Wilber’s Barbecue (which does exist, I found it on Google) there’s a rumble and tumble, ol’ Jack looks up from his Route 69 special, stares across the bar and asks:



Estimates say that blasts from these bombs could have killed upwards of 60,000 people. At times like this, you hope your government might have some sort of reassuring: “well, the good news is we actually really do know what we’re doing” speech to whip out of their back pocket. Instead, the NSA decided now was a peachy moment in which to produce a document showing that there were actually 32 similarly related incidents involving nuclear weapons between 1950 and 1980, to say nothing of unreleased incidents that have happened since then. And:

I say all this to bring to your attention something Christians, and people in general, should really care more about: nuclear arms reduction. In the next decade, our country is on track to spend between $620 billion and $661 billion on nuclear development and maintenance (re-read the last section, and tell me that at least some of that money isn’t going to waste). According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and another independent estimate, the United States could add up to $1 trillion to these efforts.

And the notion that the United States might increase it’s nuclear funding isn’t just a possibility. The National Nuclear Security Administration recently requested and received approved funding increases from President Obama for the purpose of continuing their mission of making “the world a safer place by securing vulnerable nuclear materials around the world.” Fun fact: said budget is currently $11.7 billion. How much of that is going towards Dominos delivery? I don’t know, I just really hope they don’t wake the officers when they drop it off. And for heaven’s sake, don’t set it on the big red button that says “Launch”. Then we’d really be in a pickle!

All of which begs the question:

We currently have over 1,900 operational nuclear missiles, enough to obliterate entire countries if not continents. We’ve already proven that we are less than competent in keeping track of these let alone capable of blowing ourselves up when handling them.

Furthermore, in the past decade, we made a mess out of Iraq over their alleged desire to develop nuclear weapons. In the so-called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” the Associated Press estimates that over 110,000 Iraqi civilians were killed between the start of the war and 2009 alone. Perhaps a more accurate source, the group Iraq Body Count, found that more than 140,000 civilians have had violent deaths since the 2003 invasion. When including the combative deaths the total nears 200,000. And the number of total wounded reaches half a million. All this would perhaps be considered “just” (as numerous Evangelical leaders so erroneously claimed it was when the war began) if Iraq was now better off. But to the contrary, it is in fact in much, much worse condition than ever before. No thanks to US interference. 

All of this is in the name of the United States defending and advocating for their sole right to a nuclear program that is, evidently, being handled with such remarkable ineptitude that it is dangerous to it’s own people.

If nothing else you’ve read in this post keeps you up at night, that should.

To be clear, this is not a partisan issue. One of the few beautiful things about nuclear bombs is that, generally speaking, they do not discriminate. The largest Christian population in Japan learned this the hard way when “Fat Man” exploded on Nagasaki. But if we Christians claim to follow a God who promoted peace, if Christians claim to follow a God who’s cross was not attached to an empire but to self-giving sacrifice, if Christians claim to sincerely pray the prayer “thy kingdom come… on earth as it is in heaven”, then they ought to have issue with bombs that can incinerate said earth in the blink of an eye. And a country that continually abuses and misuses the power of these bombs needs to have its power diminished and checked.

Our power as a country is not something we should handle lightly. And make no mistake: we’re handling it lightly. We seem to believe we’re the only people in the world entitled to yield nuclear weapons because we’re the only ones who equipped with the moral and/or intellectual capacity to use them properly. And yet, in the last 50 years, we’ve left multiple missiles unguarded, managed to accidentally drop a megadeath bomb in the heart of our own country and dragged ourselves into multiple foreign wars (Vietnam, two Gulf Wars, Panama- am I forgetting any?) that we’ve absolutely no business being in. I don’t want North Korea launching “Fat Boy Jong” into the atmosphere but you know what? I also don’t want SGT Snooze Button out in North Dakota guarding enough nukes to destroy New York City. Call me crazy, but I’d rather his salary go towards our welfare system.

And we know how well that system is working.

Anyways, if you’re feeling convicted then sign this petition to have nuclear power reduced worldwide. It’s not much, but it’s something. 


For: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (nuclear insanity).” ~ John 16:33





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