An American activist and expert on military affairs says the US Air Force’s frustrated, demoralized and alcoholic officers have their fingers on the nation’s nuclear buttons.
Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, from Bath, Maine, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday. He also regularly offers his reflections on organizing and the state of America’s declining empire on his blog.
He was commenting on an Associated Press report which revealed that the US Air Force dismissed two undisciplined commanders from its nuclear missile corps on Monday.
“This is a very important story. Actually, I grew up in the Air Force. My father was a career Air Force man, and then during the Vietnam War I myself joined the Air Force. So what I see in the story is a lot of what I experienced in my own time of being in the Air Force, that is a severe culture of alcoholism,” Gagnon said.
“And it’s actually the way they retain people by turning them into alcoholics and then they keep them in the military, that’s part of their primary retention strategy,” he added.
“I also think that there’s a lot of frustration with these officers that are working in these nuclear bunkers because, I think, a lot of them wanted to be pilots. They were washed out from flight schools; they were not — for whatever reasons — acceptable in flight schools. So they were kind of dumped in this area, sitting in the hole on the ground with their fingers on the [nuclear] button,” he continued. “So I believe they are very frustrated and prone to things like alcohol and other such things.”
According to the Associated Press, Colonel Carl Jones was the most senior officer who was sacked on Monday “for loss of trust and confidence in his leadership abilities.”
Jones was in charge of 150 of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles at the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming.
The second commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Keith Brown, was also relieved of command for the same reason.
According to Air Force officials, Brown was also “engaged in unlawful discrimination or harassment” of his staff.
“The behavior of one of the commanders was just clearly one that indicated severe alcoholism,” Gagnon said, referring to probably Brown.
“I think that’s a key problem here in this particular case. And it’s frightening when you think about the people that are manning the nuclear weapons infrastructure in the United States are in such a bad condition. It is very frightening,” he concluded.
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