70 Punished For Live Nuke Incident

(I’m filling in for ST through today. You can see more of my writing at Liberty Pundit.)

The Air Force punished 70 airmen that were involved in the recent B-52 nuke incident:

The Air Force said Friday it has punished 70 airmen involved in the accidental, cross-country flight of a nuclear-armed B-52 bomber following an investigation that found widespread disregard for the rules on handling such munitions.

“There has been an erosion of adherence to weapons-handling standards at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base,” said Maj. Gen. Richard Newton, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations.

Newton was announcing the results of a six-week probe into the Aug. 29-30 incident in which the B-52 was inadvertently armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown from Minot in North Dakota to Barksdale in Louisiana without anyone noticing the mistake for more than a day.

The missiles were supposed to be taken to Louisiana, but the warheads were supposed to have been removed beforehand.

Now, as everyone surely knows, the Bush Administration is being attacked on this by the military-haters on the left, as if Dubya himself said “Regulations? Screw it, just fly the suckers!” But there’s a problem…the standards that the Air Force had set and were strictly adhering to during the Cold War have been eroding for — are you ready for this? — at least the last ten years:

Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists was among those skeptical that the August flight represented an isolated incident.

He said a decline in Air Force standards for nuclear weapons maintenance and security was documented by the government a decade ago. In recent years, he said, Minot and Barksdale have both gotten poor marks during inspections routinely required for certification.

“Part of the reason is that after the end of the Cold War, and the disappearance of the Soviet nuclear threat, the nuclear career was not very sexy – it was not the way to go if you wanted to” advance in the military. A shortage of people with the right skills, training and mentality followed, something the Air Force has worked to improve, he said.

In other words, this all began during Clinton’s watch. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone, because it’s just a natural result when you gut the military the way Bubba did.

Think we’ll hear this reported or talked about on the left? Hardy-har-har!

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