Letter | With F-35s, does Madison need its own Doomsday Clock?

Capital Times, February 10, 2022  Read Online

Dear Editor: World scientists recently announced that the Doomsday Clock is set to 100 seconds before midnight. After the World War II nuclear bombing of Japan, atomic scientists created the clock to warn us of the danger of nuclear weapons and destroying our world with this technology.

Here in Madison, the Air Force wants to deploy their new F-35 fighter jet to the Wisconsin Air National Guard at Truax Field. These jets are designed to carry the latest design of a nuclear bomb, the B61-12. No surprise, this warhead is expensive, more accurate and more deadly than those used in World War II. The fighter jets cost us $100 million each and $42,000 per hour to operate, while one bomb will cost $28 million.

The F-35 jet will give the Air Force a stealthy way to get nuclear weapons past defenses. While the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 15 megatons in explosive power, this new bomb can be dialed up from 0.3 to 50 megatons. The warhead carried by F-35 fighter jets can do much more damage that those used during World War II, but the small size is also worrisome as it supports our government’s plan to use “small nuclear weapons to settle small regional wars.”

If the F-35 jets arrive in Madison, perhaps we need a ceremony to install a Doomsday Clock at Truax Field. This will remind us of our community’s contribution to promoting an uninhabitable earth.

Steven Klafka