How Many Is Too Many?


Keith Tucker


Special to The Enterprise

Do you sleep well knowing our men and women are on duty 24-7 ready to defend us? As of today, the world has over 13,000 nuclear warheads armed and ready. We have about 5,500 and Russia 5,500 and the rest of the world 2,000. These are spread out between our minuteman land-based missiles, our Ohio class subs with the trident missles, and the stealth bombers with cruise missles and drop bombs. But how many does it take to do "the job." It is pretty well assured that 100 of any combination from any side landed anywhere on the planet will end life on earth as we know it. There are of course places that have been constructed for such an event. How well these can actually function over months and years that follow Armageddon has not been proven in real life. We have 14 Ohio class submarines deployed each with 20 Trident missles with a 4,000-mile range. Each missile can have up to 14 warheads. Each warhead can be targeted independent of the others. Yields can be adjustable up to 475 kilotons. The Hiroshima bomb was 15 kilotons. Now one sub can have 280 targets and we have 14 of these. That's over 3,000 places that are wiped off the map. And our planes and land missles are just as potent. If you get the idea that is way more than enough, well you can pat yourself on the back for restraint because in 1986 we had almost 10 times as many. By treaty we have reduced that amount to today’s numbers. Is that supposed to make us safer? Now on top of that, Russia has just brought into service a new 1.5 megaton warhead for a missile. Which, according to the data, is enough to wipe Texas off the map. So, what about the missile defense system we been working on for 40 years. The chances of it working good enough is zero and the new hypersonic weapons makes it obsolete. Plus, Russia has a drone sub that parks off the coast and waits for the command to go boom and is virtually unstoppable. It makes me recall the book I read years ago titled, “On The Beach.” It's about the end of the world from a nuclear exchange. What if by chance we are the only living beings on any planet any place in the universe? What a shame if that high honor of existence were brought to an untimely end in such a disgraceful way.

Editor’s note: Keith Tucker is a Greenfield resident and owner of The Marble Shop.