(Short post, still fighting off the Zombie infection.)
Part two of answering the question:
I was wondering: do you have an opinion on Trident & the two new super-carriers?
I covered the Queen Elisabeth class carriers in my last post, this one will be on Trident.
Some time ago I asked a number of questions about Trident and why should we bother with it, that post was intended to get people thinking for themselves and making up their own minds but since I have been directly asked I'm going to give my opinion.
Trident is a bit like a joke about IT managers not having a clue. Two meet and one says to the other ‘My tech support people are really busy, rushing everywhere, constantly fixing stuff.’ The other one replies, ‘You’re lucky, my lot are useless, I checked on them this morning and they were reading newspapers or chatting on Facebook.’
For those of you not in IT, tech support teams are like Trident, if you are using them something has gone wrong.
Trident is a remnant of the cold war, of an utterly insane idea called Mutually Assured Destruction, the idea that even if an enemy launched its nuclear weapons first you could respond and destroy them in return. MAD was supposed to be the ultimate in vengeance weapons, the promise that your enemy would die as well.
Now nuclear weapons ‘Were’ the ultimate in death and destruction. The thousand bomber raids of world war two reduced to a single bomb and a thousand more such bombs behind that one. They were designed for a time when hitting the target generally meant getting within a half mile of it. As accuracy improved warhead sizes fell a little but even today with targeting systems capable of an accuracy to within a metre Tridents warheads will devastate anything within half a mile and render anything downwind a radioactive hell for tens of miles.
Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction, they are Terror weapons. The promise that if you attack us we will make your civilian population pay the price, the statement that we will kill millions of your defenceless men, women and children if you attack us.
Nuclear weapons are not attacks against an enemy government or military, they are attacks against the enemy population. With cruise missiles and long range bombs able to be launched from many miles away and target individual rooms in a building in the middle of a city without killing everyone in every surrounding building why do we have weapons that are the biggest sledgehammers every created.
With long range and stealthy strike systems such as Drones or Cruise missiles we can be selective in killing only the enemy leaders or military and we can afford thousands of such missiles for the price of a single Trident. This allows us to disperse them widely, deploy them on board ships around the world and be ready with a restrained response if needed. Rather than sinking vast sums of money into a weapon system that can never be used.
If we truly wanted to destroy a government that threatened us as a nation, we could do so, without the need to render entire cities and their populations into radioactive ash. So why do our main political parties fight so hard to maintain Trident.
In terms of getting ready to fight the next war Trident becomes even more obsolete. Advances in technology are rendering the sub orbital missiles more and more vulnerable to counter measures. The Russians have one possibly two anti ICBM systems, the US have at least three and all of them are becoming more effective by the month.
Give it a few years and any ICBM will be all but useless against any first world military power and questionable against anyone armed by such powers. Low flying stealthy systems that can be deployed in great numbers and avoid defences are the future, massive easy to detect high flying missiles are yesterdays tech.
In short they have no military use, there is no justification for their use that is not madness, they don't deter anyone and they are hugely expensive when we are cutting back on the troops and equipment needed to fight the current wars and the next wars.
The situation where any nation could possibly justify using nuclear weapons would be so dire that firing Trident would simply be spreading the apocalypse further than it had already spread. The world is ending, civilisation is collapsing, lets drop a few nukes.
The problem with Trident is that no civilised nation would consider using it except under the most dire of circumstances but those who would consider using nuclear weapons as a first or second action are so insane by our standards that they would not be deterred by the risk of nuclear retaliation.
Anyone seriously think that the religious fanatics of Iran or Saudi Arabia would be stopped from launching a nuclear attack on each other by concerns over the deaths of their own civilians. How about North Korea, anyone honestly think the threat of having their own civilian population wiped out would hold them back?
Trident is a weapon of mass destruction, designed to deliberately cause the maximum number of casualties and to devastate the target area. Between the initial blast, radiation and a firestorm entire cities can be destroyed by Trident.
It is the ultimate in Terror weapons. This of cause raises the question.
Why do both of our major political parties want it?