By John LaForge
The United States has sped up the delivery to European NATO bases of its new thermonuclear bomb called the B61-12, Politico reports.
Citing “a US diplomatic cable and two people familiar with the issue,” the outlet reports that the 50-kiloton B61-12 will be flown to six NATO bases in five NATO states in December 2022, rather than the planned springtime delivery.
The individual sources familiar with the upcoming shipment to Europe, who asked not to be named, “confirmed the accelerated time-frame reported in the diplomatic cable,” Politico noted.
Tom Collina, director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund, told Politico that the accelerated transfer of the newest version of the B61 — which the Air Force says is more accurate than the bombs it will replace — “could be escalatory. We’ll see.”
Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told Politico in an email that the $10 to $12 billion plan to “swap out older weapons for the upgraded B61-12” has been “underway for years” and “is in no way linked to current events in Ukraine and was not sped up in any way.”
The B61-12 gravity H-bomb will replace two earlier versions, the B61-3s and -4s, about 100 of which are stationed at NATO bases in Germany, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Turkey, Politico confirmed.
The giant US Air Base at Ramstein, Germany is also involved in the program. Ramstein Air Base operates the only branch of the US Air Force’s Defense Nuclear Weapons School outside the United States. The DNWS trains pilots in planning and preparing attacks with nuclear weapons. Other branches are in New Mexico, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Ohio. A part of the Air Force Nuclear College, the Ramstein-based DNWS is described on its website as being “responsible for delivering, sustaining, and supporting air-delivered nuclear weapon systems for our warfighters … every day,” and, “Programs managed by the directorate include the B61-12 Life Extension Program.”
None of this nuclear attack madness need proceed any further. Oscar Arias proposed last July 19 that as a good-will gesture of de-escalation and trust-building, NATO could — instead of replacing them with more destabilizing bombs — offer to withdraw all its nuclear weapons from NATO bases in Europe in exchange for Russia’s agreeing to begin peace negotiations.
Caitlin Johnstone made the point Oct. 19 in CounterPunch, noting that, “We survived the Cuban Missile Crisis because US President John F. Kennedy secretly acquiesced (Robert Moore wrote “wisely agreed”) to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s demand that the US remove the Jupiter missiles it had placed in Turkey and Italy, which was what provoked Moscow to move nukes to Cuba in the first place.”
— Sources: German-Foreign-Policy, Oct. 31; Defense Post, Oct. 27; Politico, Oct. 26; and Robert Moore, CounterPunch, Oct. 18, 2022