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Trident: A Violation

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TRIDENT MISSILE (Trident is a three-pronged spear, the weapon of Poseidon, or Neptune, Greek god of the sea and protector of aquatic life).

The Trident missile is a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Each nuclear-powered submarine is capable of carrying up to 24 Trident thermonuclear missiles that are independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) with a range of 4000 nautical miles. Each of the Trident missiles is capable of carrying up to eight independently targeted nuclear warheads — meaning hydrogen bombs. Doing the math, eight times 24 is 192 warheads on each submarine. Each of these hydrogen bombs/warheads possesses 38 times more destructive power than the Hiroshima bomb. And each Trident submarine in total possesses the collective destructive power of hundreds of Hiroshima bombs indiscriminately murdering millions of civilians. Upon launching, total flight time is 25 minutes or less depending upon the target location. Trident’s accuracy and short flight time makes it a first-strike weapon.

Trident missiles are carried by 14 US Navy submarines, with US warheads (8 in Bangor, Washington; 5 in King’s Bay, Georgia, and 1 in Portsmouth, Virginia), and 4 Royal Navy Vanguard-class submarines, with British warheads, home ported at the British Navy base, Clyde in Faslene, West Scotland.

One Trident submarine can destroy an entire country. A fleet of Trident submarines is capable of destroying the world. These nuclear weapons threaten us as much as they do the other side. There’s nothing more suicidal than a nuclear weapon. Just one use of a Trident threatens to create a global nuclear winter, destroying the capacity for any human life at all to exist.

Use of first-strike weapons such as the Trident are war crimes in violation of the Nuremberg principles which serve as a foundation of international law. The Trident missiles are designed such that each reentry missile with its hydrogen bomb hones in on an underground missile silo in the targeted country and destroy it — before its missile could be launched.

On July 8, 1996, the International Court of Justice, the highest court of the United Nations, rendered an advisory opinion that the threat or use of nuclear weapons violates various articles of international law including the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions, the UN Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Further, weapons systems like the Trident violate any sense of reason as its existence and ultimate use assures destruction of much of the world, no matter where one is living. There is no safe place with nuclear weapons. Any sane nation, its leaders, and citizens should understand, the continued manufacture, deployment, and/or use of these weapons is an act of suicide. Therefore if we are sane we should demand, with our bodies if necessary, their immediate dismantlement as a threat to all of humanity, including yours and mine.

S. Brian Willson is a Veteran For Peace living in Portland, Oregon, USA

  • Angela Kenny 24/02/2016, 21:16

    What more needs to be said! We are the target of our own distruction. Only peace will save us. Let our lives speak.

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