...Yea, you read that right. The military were/are (we're not really sure, are we?) developing plans to use conventionally armed ICBM's to target terrorist training camps.
You didn't know the USAF was planning to use conventionally armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to target terrorists? Fox, ABC, SeeBS, and MSNB-whatever-it-is didn't run that story in prime time? Well, you're not alone. I missed it too.
As the article points out, this nothing-less-than-nutty scheme had to be modified, lest, in launching a missile attack on terrorist camps, the Russians thought we might be starting the thermonuclear apocalypse.
Say that again?
You read it right. Now, what I don't get here, is the reasoning. I find it very unlikely that Russia would assume one American missile launch was us starting the apocalypse. The article assures us that the missiles would be "modified" so that those poor stupid Russians wouldn't mistake the missiles as an attack on their country, push the button, and respond in kind. We're supposed to be reassured by all the language about "boost-glide" capabilities.
Now... the reasoning here is simple: Russia wouldn't respond to the launch of a single missile, and that's what is implied toward the very end of the article: "that ballistic missiles were still on the table for Prompt Global Strike. The ballistic missiles were never the entire solution." That's right, you read that correctly: they're talking about missiles plural here, in something called "Prompt Global Strike," and we can envision "conventionally armed" nuclear missiles with some really nifty stuff....like fuel air bombs on MIRVed rentry vehicles: can you say "carpet bombing and tactical nukes"?
What I find terribly disturbing is the suggestion here that America's strategic missile arsenal appears to be under consideration for reconfiguring into "conventional" strike strategic weapons in some sort of escalated response scenario against "terrorism." Long-range strategic bombardment by ICBMs implies by the very nature of the case that whatever "conventional" warheads are being considered, they are far beyond anything that begins with T and end with NT; for the use of expensive ICBMs to be worth consideration, the "conventional" warheads here have to be strategically cost effective. Sure, we're told about "boost-glide" capabilities, but one can "boost and glide" a smart fuel-air-explosive device with precision.
This is large scale, folks, and not small, and deserves to be watched very closely!