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Nuclear Nose Cones Mistakenly Shipped to Taiwan

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the it's-ok-it's-only-our-military dept.

The Military 254

Reservoir Hill writes "The Pentagon announced that the United States had mistakenly shipped to Taiwan four electrical fuses designed for use on intercontinental ballistic missiles, but has since recovered them. The mistaken shipment to Taiwan did not include nuclear materials, although the fuses are linked to the triggering mechanism in the nose cone of a Minuteman nuclear missile. Taiwanese authorities notified U.S. officials of the mistake, but it was not clear when the notification was made. An examination of the site in Taiwan where the components had been stored after delivery indicated that they had not been tampered with. The fuses had been in four shipping containers sent in March 2005 from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., to a Defense Logisitics Agency warehouse at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. It was then in the logistics agency's control and was shipped to Taiwan "on or around" August 2006, according to a memo from Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordering Navy Adm. Kirkland H. Donald to investigate the incident."

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Hmm... (4, Funny)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | about 6 years ago | (#22869300)

What can Brown do for the US Government?

Goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22869548)

Goatse. [twofo.co.uk][goatse.ch]

You nerds love it.

Nosecones? (4, Insightful)

Talking Goat (645295) | about 6 years ago | (#22869322)

The article references fuses designed for use in nose cones... Is this story's headline misrepresenting the true nature of the mistake?

Re:Nosecones? (4, Informative)

AioKits (1235070) | about 6 years ago | (#22869386)

Agreed. Headline makes it sound like we shipped something radioactive. Reading a few lines into the article will show that nothing glowy was shipped, only the fuses. Wouldn't this be like saying "Grade schooler found with explosives equipment in backpack" when all they really had was a few fuse wicks in there? Don't get me wrong, we still screwed up, but at least be truthful of how we screwed up.

Re:Nosecones? (5, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | about 6 years ago | (#22869422)

Not really.

The electronics and detonation systems used in nuclear bombs are very advanced, and very difficult to get right. A large portion of the time spent developing a nuclear weapon is devoted to the detonation electronics.

Mistakenly handing over a crate of said electronics would give a nation a significant shortcut toward developing their own nuclear weapons.

Re:Nosecones? (1)

AioKits (1235070) | about 6 years ago | (#22869542)

But the parts in question are from designs in the 1960s, how far behind/ahead of that mark is China with regards to being able to create a nuclear fuse of similar function?

Re:Nosecones? (4, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | about 6 years ago | (#22869888)

The 1960s were a full 20 years after we developed the only nuclear weapons ever to be used against a real target.

That's 20 years of development.

Why do you think we still have these nose cones, anyway? The US has not come all that far since the 60s in terms of nuclear weapon design. By the 60s we were already detonating fusion bombs, and I guarantee you that the designs and electronics used in the 60s to create hydrogen bombs will still work today.

I don't think anyone would care whether the megaton hydrogen bomb just detonated in their city was based on 1960s designs or 1980s designs :)

Re:Nosecones? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22870222)

I don't think anyone would care whether the megaton hydrogen bomb just detonated in their city was based on 1960s designs or 1980s designs :)

And I thought I had bad timing with smileys.

Re:Nosecones? (1)

AioKits (1235070) | about 6 years ago | (#22870260)

I don't feel as if you addressed my original question as to the status of China's tech in relation to these fuses. I'm asking because I honestly don't know. If this tech is already beneath their research (or something they've purchased or already stolen) it is of little use to them.

Re:Nosecones? (5, Funny)

SailorSpork (1080153) | about 6 years ago | (#22869832)

China wants Taiwan. We like Taiwan. We could give or take China (love their cheap crap, hate their social structure that allows said cheap crap, afraid of billion-man Armageddon-sized army). How do we prop up Taiwan without pissing off China? "Accidentally" help make them a nuclear power by "oops!" letting them hold on to vital nuke bomb parts to study for a year or two!

Fiendishly clever, I say.

Real-politick and espionage (5, Interesting)

alexhmit01 (104757) | about 6 years ago | (#22869910)

Well, if the US notifies China (PRC) that it is giving China/Taiwan (ROC) nuclear weapons, China goes to war with US, embargoes Taiwan, etc.

If US gives ROC weapons, and nobodies knows, there is no deterrent, we violate agreements, and generally encourage proliferation.

If US just plants a news story about the parts, then PRC doesn't know, "shipping error" creates plausible deniability. PRC can't make a scene, but can wonder, does the ROC have a nuke now.

PRC doesn't care about being depopulated, but 4-10 nuclear weapons might do a number on those shiny new factories that they are building.

Re:Nosecones? (5, Insightful)

orclevegam (940336) | about 6 years ago | (#22869946)

Nothing quite so fantastic as all that. First of all, China will be a self correcting problem. We outsource to them currently because they're going through a period of rapid industrialization that allows them to produce items who's quality if quickly approaching that of ours, but because of the rapid industrialization their industry controls haven't gone into place (which make for safer work environments and products, and also add a fair bit of overhead to the final cost) which allows for cheaper products. Once they achieve parity with the rest of the modern world the next step is to introduce the proper industry controls at which point costs will also achieve parity and it will no longer be economically advantageous to offshore to them.

Secondly, we knew of the mistake almost as soon as it happened. It's just that we only recently finished processing the paperwork. The next step is to file the paperwork that gets those fuses sent back over here. ETA is somewhere in 2015.

Re:Nosecones? (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | about 6 years ago | (#22869906)

It is sort of a case of accidental nuclear proliferation. Of course the Nuclear powers are obligated to disarm under the NPT but it's a topic the media refuses to touch. They would rather focus on countries that don't have nukes, like Iran.

Re:Nosecones? (1)

isd.bz (1260658) | about 6 years ago | (#22870066)

Furthermore, isn't the 'nuclearpower' tag incorrect since these devices are specifically useful for nuclear weaponry, and pretty much useless for power generation?

Re:Nosecones? (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | about 6 years ago | (#22870232)

The electronics and detonation systems used in nuclear bombs are very advanced, and very difficult to get right

When they say "fuse" are they referring to a piece of solder or lead designed to melt when subjected to an overcurrent, or (as you imply) is it something more dangerous and sinister?

Re:Nosecones? (1)

Bombula (670389) | about 6 years ago | (#22870352)

And if it's got electronics in it, then it's either "Made in Taiwan" or, increasingly, "Made in China." I'm guessing that outsourcing production of the components is the explanation for this gaff. Or maybe it's just coincidence that our nuke nosecone ended up in Taiwan and not, say, Portugal or the Maldives?

Re:Nosecones? (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | about 6 years ago | (#22869510)

The fuzes in question are sophisticated and highly-specialized devices meant to precisely trigger the implosion of the warhead. The technology involved is very complicated and top-secret. The export of these switches (fuzes) is tightly-controlled because they are basically used only for nuclear bombs.

Re:Nosecones? (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#22869412)

If I'm understanding TFA correctly, the "fuse" is what a layman would consider the nose cone, or at least the body of the cone. It's not like a fuse you change in your fusebox or under your dashboard.

Re:Nosecones? (5, Insightful)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 6 years ago | (#22869592)

I saw the story on TV news last night, and the items they showed looked like the stereotypical "nose cone", with a big wiring harness and connectors hanging out of the open end.

What I am curious about is exactly WHAT the electronics here consisted of. Are we talking about the system that senses altitude and triggers the detonation sequence (which would be serious enough), or was this the actual "X-unit" electronics package that fires all the separate detonators on the explosive lenses to compress the plutonium pit?

If the latter is actually what they shipped out (complete with the krytron switches, high energy capacitors, etc.), then some heads REALLY need to roll over this one. The media isn't being all that specific about what is actually involved here, either because the DoD isn't telling them, or because of the usual "dumbing down" of anything that might be considered too technical for Joe Sixpack to care about.

Re:Nosecones? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 6 years ago | (#22869818)

Umm, no, a nose cone is not a fuse in any sense of the word. It's the conical housing -- IOW, the pointy thing on the front of a missile -- which contains the warhead and protects it from the heat of reentry. TFA describes the misrouted objects as being cone-shaped, and someone along the line conflated "cone" with "nose cone", which is a totally different kind of cone.

"Fuse" can mean the kind of fuse you have under your dashboard, or a detonating device that amounts to a fancy blasting cap. In the latter context, it's often but not always spelled "fuze". TFA is completely vague as to which meaning is correct.


Re:Nosecones? (2, Informative)

Romancer (19668) | about 6 years ago | (#22869518)

Completely misleading title

The editor that put this blatant sensationalism on the front page should be exposed to radioactive material to get the point across that calling something "Nuclear Nose Cones" when refering to an electric firing pin is not journalism and has a better place in checkout stand tabloids.

Re:Nosecones? (5, Informative)

Romancer (19668) | about 6 years ago | (#22869704)

And to pre-empt any of you who have not read the article and feel the need to show off your knowledge just to argue:

"The fuses were manufactured for use on a Minuteman strategic nuclear missile and are linked to the triggering mechanism in the nose cone, but they contain no nuclear materials."
it was also in the summary if you even got that far.

Also in the same article:
"Four of the cone-shaped fuses were shipped to Taiwanese officials in fall 2006 instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered."

These were not the "Nuclear Nose Cones" themselves but cone shaped fuses that are "linked" to the complex triggering system that makes up most of the nose cone volume. This is how CBS refers to them: "... four electrical fuses for nose cone assemblies for ICBMs" and if you take a second to look up the way these things work you will see that the majority of the system is not the fuses themselves but the triggering system.

Re:Nosecones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22869920)

You must be new here. /. editors are notorious for sensationalizing the headlines of their articles with what is often complete falsehoods just to get you to read the dupe.. i mean article.

disparity... (5, Funny)

m2bord (781676) | about 6 years ago | (#22869330)

we send them really nifty stuff like nuclear nose cones and they ship us some crappy sneakers...

what gives? this is worse than the xmas gifts i get at work....

Re:disparity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22869494)

Check the "Made In..." on all of your electronics for "Taiwan". Let me know when you run out of hands to count on.

Re:disparity... (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#22869496)

we send them really nifty stuff like nuclear nose cones and they ship us some crappy sneakers...

This is Taiwan, not the PRC. They make the computers around which your nerdly life revolves.

Re:disparity... (2, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | about 6 years ago | (#22869604)

This is Taiwan, not the PRC. They make the computers around which your nerdly life revolves.

Would it be okay if I sent them a fruit basket as well then? You know, a lil icing on the cake...

Re:disparity... (1)

m2bord (781676) | about 6 years ago | (#22869960)

uhmm...sorry but the timberland's that i'm wearing right now say taiwan on them. not all cheap shoes are made in china and don't forget...china would argue that taiwan is technically part of china. taiwan begs to differ. i would love to see that in a celebrity death match...get the two heads of taiwan and china to go at it in a MMA match inside a steel cage with rowdy roddy piper officiating.

ROC vs. PRC (2, Insightful)

mutube (981006) | about 6 years ago | (#22870086)

china would argue that taiwan is technically part of china. taiwan begs to differ.

Conversely Taiwan [wikipedia.org] would argue that China [wikipedia.org] is part of it.

Re:disparity... (1)

siufish (814496) | about 6 years ago | (#22870004)

This is Taiwan, not the PRC. They make the computers around which your nerdly life revolves.

But PRC make the t-shirts and pants inside which your nerdly body stinks.

Well... (0)

MrCawfee (13910) | about 6 years ago | (#22869336)

I guess they should have used FedEx.

They should have used the CIA (3, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#22869454)

Makes things more interesting...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/jan/05/energy.g2 [guardian.co.uk]

On paper, Merlin was supposed to stunt the development of Tehran's nuclear programme by sending Iran's weapons experts down the wrong technical path. The CIA believed that once the Iranians had the blueprints and studied them, they would believe the designs were usable and so would start to build an atom bomb based on the flawed designs.

The Russian studied the blueprints the CIA had given him. Within minutes of being handed the designs, he had identified a flaw. "This isn't right," he told the CIA officers gathered around the hotel room. "There is something wrong." His comments prompted stony looks, but no straight answers from the CIA men. No one in the meeting seemed surprised by the Russian's assertion that the blueprints didn't look quite right, but no one wanted to enlighten him further on the matter, either.

In fact, the CIA case officer who was the Russian's personal handler had been stunned by his statement. During a break, he took the senior CIA officer aside. "He wasn't supposed to know that," the CIA case officer told his superior. "He wasn't supposed to find a flaw."

"Don't worry," the senior CIA officer calmly replied. "It doesn't matter."

This is terrible (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 6 years ago | (#22869350)

With those electrical fuses plus "a bunch of other stuff" they could build a nucklar bomba!

Re:This is terrible (2, Funny)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 6 years ago | (#22870174)

They're going to be pissed when they realize we sent them a shoddy bomb casing filled with used pinball machine parts.

Why is this reported? (4, Informative)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 6 years ago | (#22869442)

You know, I read a couple articles about this yesterday afternoon.

I can't seem to figure out why it was being reported at all. The story as it's published is "nothing much happened, somebody filled out the shipping form wrong, we returned it all to sender." So in whose interest is this story being reported?

It would be a reasonable story to spread as cover if the shipment had been intentional and China found out about it (or if there had been, say, six fuses shipped and four returned); or it could be a useful story to ratchet up tensions with China before the Olympics (to whoever's benefit). Thing is, I'm not a conspiracy theorist, so I don't really buy that without it being more obvious whose interest it serves; but if it's just a "gotcha" story talking about how the US military screwed up, then the shots fired in the Suez [google.com] might be a more interesting one (especially since as of yesterday afternoon the USAF was denying that anybody got hurt).

So, in short, this nuke-fuse story is weird, and I can't figure out why it's getting reported.

(Full disclosure: I wish Taiwan had nukes, to make sure China stays polite and on its side of the Strait.)

Re:Why is this reported? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22869508)

To wish anyone had nuclear weapons is a horrible thing to say. I'd sooner wish that no one had nuclear weapons, but unfortunately, that's probably just me.

Re:Why is this reported? (0, Troll)

the_raptor (652941) | about 6 years ago | (#22869732)

Why? You think China and others wouldn't be starting massive conventional wars if the West didn't have nukes? A few nuked cities now and then is much preferable to another non-nuclear world war.

Re:Why is this reported? (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 6 years ago | (#22869894)

NB: I like MAD. I even said so in my OP.

I don't know that a few nuked cities is better than a non-nuclear war fought correctly, but to paraphrase the old slogan:

God made nations. Oppenheimer made nations equal.

Re:Why is this reported? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22869922)

Okay, so maybe I should have said that I wish there were no war? It's sad that everyone assumes wars have to happen regardless of technology. Will there ever be a time when war is obsolete?

Re:Why is this reported? (2, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | about 6 years ago | (#22869628)

Those are items controlled under roughly the same rules as the rest of the device.

The fact that any part of such a thing was mishandled is a big deal, because it validates the probability that the dangerous parts can be mishandled.

You think it was a couple of irrelevant parts. To the process involved in controlling them, this was an "escape" from the process, and the process has to be re-engineered to ensure such things can not happen at all, because next time it may not be the mundane stuff that gets lost in the mail.

Re:Why is this reported? (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 6 years ago | (#22869856)

You think it was a couple of irrelevant parts. To the process involved in controlling them, this was an "escape" from the process

No, I think it was a couple of extremely important parts, that were shipped to a friendly country who, as far as I can tell, promptly returned them unmolested, meaning that the only people who should really care are the ones who'll be reworking the process to prevent future escapes.

Re:Why is this reported? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 6 years ago | (#22869648)

Two main reasons:

1) This involves NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

2) The *next* time we send nuclear weapon components to the wrong address, the recipient might not be nice enough to send them back. And they might wind up somewhere we wouldn't like.

Re:Why is this reported? (2, Funny)

z0idberg (888892) | about 6 years ago | (#22869828)

2) The *next* time we send nuclear weapon components to the wrong address, the recipient might not be nice enough to send them back. And they might wind up somewhere we wouldn't like.

Or even worse, if you sent nuclear weapons components to the wrong address and they put them all together and THEN sent them back.....express.

Re:Why is this reported? (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | about 6 years ago | (#22869834)

Your 1) is pretty much the only valid part. Absolutely no one (aside from a couple bureaucrats) would care if we'd mis-shipped a couple boxes of Imperial-unit wrenches.

I understand the significance of accidental nuclear proliferation, but that doesn't mean that every time the system screws up it needs to be front-page news. Time to implement some new process controls, and in the mean time, the actual event was a push.

Re:Why is this reported? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | about 6 years ago | (#22870330)

Really ? So given the lengths the US goes to around the world to ensure other countries cannot develop this sort of technology themselves you think shipping ready made components randomly around the world is a total non event !

Look at the huge amount of pressure the US exerts on the likes of Iran and North Korea to stop them developing this sort of thing to judge how important this really is.

Re:Why is this reported? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22870006)

The story about the Suez is also being reported, but not as much. Also, it wasn't the U.S. military's "screw-up" (if it was a screw-up at all; if the small boats really did fail to stay clear, USS Cole-style, the response was justified, though none the less tragic), but civilian security contracted to work for the military's sea-lift command. That's hardly the same as some trigger-happy Navy sailors gunning down hapless merchants in the canal.

Re:Why is this reported? (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | about 6 years ago | (#22870182)

I think you are right. It _sounds_ like a PR job. Something happened, probably the Chinese got wind of it, and so a fitting story is cooked and released. Not that the Chinese will believe that, but it may throw them out of the real scent. And also, now the USA has its back sort of covered if the Chinese decide to raise a stink about it. It's also probably non-coincidental that this happens just days after a new government is elected in Taiwan.

However, I don't think there is a chance that we ever know what really happened, so it's better to think about other things.

Re:Why is this reported? (1)

malsdavis (542216) | about 6 years ago | (#22870190)

"So, in short, this nuke-fuse story is weird, and I can't figure out why it's getting reported."

It could be something to do with the utter incompetence displayed by people handling weapons capable of killing millions and what are meant to be amongst our country's most closely guarded technology. So I think it's pretty obvious why the mainstream news outlets reported it.

Not sure why it's on Slashdot though, hardly "news for nerds". Then again, a lot of non-"news for nerds" stories are on Slashdot these days and with an election approaching I fear this is only going to get worse.

Re:Why is this reported? (1)

vertinox (846076) | about 6 years ago | (#22870420)

I can't seem to figure out why it was being reported at all. The story as it's published is "nothing much happened, somebody filled out the shipping form wrong, we returned it all to sender." So in whose interest is this story being reported?

The fact that it happened at all is newsworthy. Of course no nuclear material was sent, but the parties that would be interested in it already have the ability to make nuclear material and would be more interested in the detonation technologies.

Its not farfected to think if a helicopter engineer realized what they had in that crate to call a friend on the mainland and offer to deliver them via FedEx for a few smooth million dollars. Heck... Russia would be interested too.

Obligatory Family Guy... (0)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | about 6 years ago | (#22869446)

Probably what happened is that one of the components was built in Taiwan, and someone saw the "Made in Taiwan" label and thought that "in" meant "for" and... nevermind... it's just easier to call them stupid.

Correction (1)

eebra82 (907996) | about 6 years ago | (#22869472)

Nuclear Nose Cones Mistakenly Shipped to Taiwan - (People's Republic of) China Rejoice
There, fixed it.

How long did it take to get them back? (2, Insightful)

downix (84795) | about 6 years ago | (#22869482)

I mean, if I had 4 fuses suddenly show up, I might be tempted to "look em over" a bit...

Re:How long did it take to get them back? (1)

robipilot (925650) | about 6 years ago | (#22869862)

Received in June of 2006: Thank you for emailing the military logistics support desk. Your claim number is #0818274324892343. A customer service representative will be looking into your inquiry and will contact you for more information. There is no need for you to do anything in the meantime. If you would like a refund, please visit our website.

I am afraid... (-1, Flamebait)

bogaboga (793279) | about 6 years ago | (#22869492)

...my country, the US, is becoming synonymous with incompetence. Can anyone tell me what the USA under the Bush administration has successfully accomplished. All I see are scars of utter incompetence. The bad thing is that we'll continue to see this kind of incompetence manifest itself before things get better.

Re:I am afraid... (0, Flamebait)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 6 years ago | (#22869978)

Can anyone tell me what the USA under the Bush administration has successfully accomplished.

Lying to the American public about the reason to invade a foreign country
Outing of an undercover CIA agent whose husband debunked supposed evidence for why the U.S. should invade said foreign country
Declaring the invasion of said foreign country as "Mission Accomplished" without mentioning how long U.S. troops would be occupying said foreign country
Getting a majority of the American public to believe the 4th and 9th Amendments to the Constitution are irrelevant in today's world
Declaring that torturing someone isn't really torture because there is no lasting physical harm and that we won't do it again

I'm sure I left other things out this administration has done but that should tide you over for now.

Re:I am afraid... (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 6 years ago | (#22870094)

I guess you envision George Bush kind of like Jesus Christ in those awkward paintings [lordsart.com] where he's secretly standing behind everyone. Bush is there observing us, regardless of whether we've joined the family for dinner, are sitting on the crapper, or have mistakenly just typed in Taiwan on the shipping invoice.

Is he shedding a tear or cackling with sinister glee?

Expected news considering that (2, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | about 6 years ago | (#22869536)

The US appears to have been dealing in nuclear information and weapons for quite some time now. A few lost shipments of this and that are to be expected when you are shipping with fly-by-night-drugs-R-us airlines.

Seriously, I'm amazed that we don't find more shipping accidents. A CIA plane crash lands with a buttload of cocaine on it, nuclear fuses get shipped to a foreign country like lost luggage on an airliner? Rumors and stories everywhere of secretly selling nuclear secrets to now declared enemies of the USA. Where does it stop? Ooops, Sorry Los Angeles. We mistakenly sent that suitcase bomb to Iran. Brown was supposed to handle that, but Columbian based DruglordCo came in at a cheaper price.

In other news, the US government looks foolish for trying to stop Iran's non-weapons nuclear program with war if need be, while misplacing EVERY FUCKING THING Iran needs to build a bomb, through some shipping miscommunication...

Fuck, I give up. Either the Whitehouse and government is full of evil geniuses or they are incompetent as to be less useful than tits on a boar hog as my grandfather used to say. How can they pull off the media circus they did to get us into war with Iraq but clumsily admit "oh, yes, we made a mistake with some nuclear weapons stuff, sorry about that" ?!?!?!?!?!?

not tampered (1)

anticlimate (1093749) | about 6 years ago | (#22869540)

the components (...) had not been tampered with.
I may have watched too much spy movies, but am sure that using X-rays/infrared/radar/ultrasound/etc. you can gain insight into a structure without touching or disassembling it.
Which doesn't necessarily mean that anything like that happened.

Re:not tampered (1)

janrinok (846318) | about 6 years ago | (#22870188)

The OP is correct. They haven't been tampered with. They might have been inspected, X-rayed, studied, replicated, imaged or whatever, but they haven't been tampered with.....

It's sad (0, Offtopic)

netglen (253539) | about 6 years ago | (#22869564)

It's truly sad how far the Chinese government will try to cover up the Tibet revolt by whining about this minor incident. Shame on them.

Isn't Taiwan the good China? (3, Funny)

fucket (1256188) | about 6 years ago | (#22869584)

Isn't Taiwan the good China? At least that's the impression I've pieced together from the back of sugar packets and Tom Clancy novels.

Funny how many ppl believe it (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 years ago | (#22869664)

I have written about this before. I worked at a job before where we designed special hardware/software for sale to several different 3 letter agencies. It was interesting work. But at one time, we went out to find funding. One of them was a Taiwanese guy from Loveland CO. He had recently sold a Chinese restaurant there. He wanted to fund us, but wanted full access to the hardware. In particular, he wanted the ability to take this to Mainland china. He said that he could sell it for a bundle (and he would have gotten millions more for it there, than we were able to sell it here). Even we told him that this was prevented from leaving the country, he still wanted to own if the company collapsed. When pointed out that the code hardware would have to go back to a different company, he was upset with it. All in all, this man saw no difference between mainland vs. taiwan. In fact, I would say that he viewed it more as China vs. America. And this man had grown up in Taiwan.

Re:Funny how many ppl believe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22870186)

I think those in Taiwan who just care about money, love China. While the general populace has more mixed feelings.

Re:Isn't Taiwan the good China? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | about 6 years ago | (#22870374)

Yes, basically. China is actually all pissed off about this and wants to know what went wrong and an in-depth investigation with the finding sent to them. I say screw em'. China ships all kinds of weapons illegally all over the world and makes all kinds of money off of it. They aren't even making mistakes; they DO IT ON PURPOSE. They are really scared that if Taiwan had Nukes then they might have to behave. They shouldn't feel any less safe if Taiwan had nuke because we already do and China is on the short list what with all their stupid actions and the fact that they have such a large population and fighting them in a ground war would be impossible.

Yeah, big today, gone tomorrow (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about 6 years ago | (#22869586)

The simple fact is that China is trying hard to put a major spotlight on this to pull it off of themselves and Tibet. In a normal time, China would be pretty quiet about this. It should be obvious that this is nothing more than a mistake. Otherwise, why would we bring it up?

It's no longer cool to be in the nuclear military (4, Informative)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | about 6 years ago | (#22869692)

A board that investigated the accidental flight of nuclear-armed cruise missiles across the country a few months ago found that our nation's nuclear armaments are now trusted to much lower-ranking officers and civilians than used to be the case. They found that working with nuclear arms was no longer regarded by military personnel as being a good way to advance one's career.

The US has been fighting conventionally ever since the first Gulf War - even after that war ended, there was quite a bit of combat activity to enforce Iraq's no-fly zone. With the current wars, this has resulted in military personnel regarding conventional fighting as the way to get ahead in the military.

Let me find you a link...

After the Cold War, the once-vaunted Strategic Air Command, which controlled all Air Force nuclear weapons, was dismantled. The military's nuclear missiles were assigned to a division responsible for operations in space, and its nuclear bombers were moved to Air Combat Command, which also includes nonnuclear fighters and reconnaissance aircraft.


However, the Welch report is highly critical of the split commands. The report concludes that combining nuclear forces with nonnuclear organizations has led to "markedly reduced levels of leadership whose daily focus is the nuclear enterprise and a general devaluation of the nuclear mission and those who perform the mission."

More? (1)

antikaos (1166401) | about 6 years ago | (#22869694)

If for every discovered mistake there are X undiscovered mistakes, how many other nuclear missile components have we shipped to various countries? What if they realized what they had recieved and said "yeah, we got the "batteries""?

"Fuze" is probably a small radar (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#22869706)

If it's the "fuse" in the "nose cone", it's probably the radar proximity fuze, used to detonate a nuclear weapon at a specific height above ground. This is essential only for ICBMs intended for use against hardened targets, where the detonation has to occur at just the right height to maximize the blast effect against something like a missile silo lid.

If you're delivering your bomb in a Ryder truck, this component is unnecessary.

Re:"Fuze" is probably a small radar (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#22870152)

Actually the fuses for used for hardened targets detonate after the warhead hits the target Often underground.
Airbursts are used for soft or area targets like airfields military bases, and I am sorry to say cities.

Irken monsters (1)

overkill1024 (1016283) | about 6 years ago | (#22869726)

conquer my people
take our planet
force us to ship packages
can I call myself a man if I am slave to the Irken machine?
our futures, crushed like so manly little loving packing peanuts
no, no I say; I must rebel
I, will, switch the addresses on these two boxes
Let the revolution be-

In other news... (-1, Troll)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | about 6 years ago | (#22869734)

...George Bush is demanding to know why nobody thought of this before invading Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction.

You can pick your friends (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#22869768)

There's a saying:

You can pick your nose cone, and
You can pick your friends,
but you can't pick your friend's nose cone.

Trust Republicans With National Security (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#22869770)

How many other critical nuke parts were shipped to people who didn't report the "mistake"? How many of them have customers in China, N Korea, jihadist gangs?

There used to be all kinds of failsafe procedures to keep critical weapons far, far from our enemies' hands. But that was before 7-13 years of Republicans running the system according to the principle "shrink government small enough to drown it in New Orleans^W^Wa bathtub".

These kinds of "mistakes" are top-notch marketing for a Star Wars "missile defense" boondoggle to pretend to protect us while ratcheting up all the risks.

Feel safer now?

Teh republicans!!! Oh, noes! (1)

halivar (535827) | about 6 years ago | (#22870050)

Specifics. Which fail-safe procedures were cut during the great "government shrinkage" [heritage.org] of the 2000's? Or are you making stuff up because it fits your partisan political narrative? What if I say that things got sloppy because our bureaucracy is so big it can no longer effectively run, as has been for decades?

Re:Teh republicans!!! Oh, noes! (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 6 years ago | (#22870378)

Here's a specific one, right off the top of my head, within the last half-year: nuke cruise missiles "mistakenly" flown out of their base [google.com]. And that report comes out of the most secretive government ever in American history. How many more are there "redacted" for "national security" purposes (of covering up this government's failures)?

Or are you just looking for any excuse to blame "big government", when you voted twice for Bush, and who knows how many times for the other Republicans, who for years have proven they'll expand government faster than anyone, even as they hollow it out to make it less safe?

Re:Trust Republicans With National Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22870258)

How many other [national secrets] were [sold] to people who didn't report the [sale]? How many of them have customers in China, N Korea, jihadist gangs?

There used to be all kinds of failsafe procedures to keep critical [secrets] far, far from our enemies' hands. But that was before [Bubba Clinton] running the system according to the principle "shrink [military] small enough to drown it in [a dress stain]^W^Wa bathtub".

Feel safer now?

why not put nukes on taiwan? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#22869782)

north korea and iran have discovered the value of deterrence

of course, china might pull a kennedy. that is, kennedy said there would be war if the russians put nukes on cuba, so the russians backed down. and the us should most definitely back down if china threatens war over nukes in taiwan

but after china's recent actions in tibet, i'm not interested in seeing them in taiwan anytime soon

at the very least, this "mistake" of nuclear missile parts sends the grumpy old technocrats in beijing a message, and if i could articulate my own message to the old a**holes, it is this:

1. i respect the people of china, and i respect the will of the people of china
2. you are not elected by the people of china, therefore, you do not represent the will of the people of china
3. therefore, in the name of respecting the people of china, i do not respect the chinese government, because the chinese governmental class represses the chinese (and tibetan) people with impunity. nice class system for a "communist" country there

the value of democracy, above all else, is that it means there is parity between the will of the people and the will of the government. of course this parity is only approximate, it always is, and always can forever more be only approximate, but at least the government resembles the will of the people in a democracy. in a nondemocracy, over time, the will of the people and the will of the government drift away from each other. what was once a valid noble revolution of the people devolves into just another class system that needs to be overthrown. let this be a lesson to all nondemocratic countries in the world. your days are numbered. not because of anything the usa or any other western democracy does. but simply because of the inherent flaw in nondemocratic systems that, over time, your interests tend to resemble less and less of the will of the people you rule, until there is only antagonism between the people and the government left. and that situation never lasts long. learn this simple truth, russia. learn this simple truth, china. you are doomed to repeat your revolutinoary upheavels of a century ago if you do not respect your own people via democracy

democracy in china in our lifetimes!

The inner conspiracy theorist... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | about 6 years ago | (#22869816)

The inner conspiracy theorist in me is saying "What accident? The cover was blown!". While definitely remote speculation I wonder how likely this is...

ugh (4, Insightful)

AxemRed (755470) | about 6 years ago | (#22869880)

I have been reading this story though various news outlets since yesterday. And I am going to post here the same thing I posted on Fark...

This is a non-issue. Something got mixed up when we were shipping them some batteries, and we shipped them some fuses instead. And they returned them with no problems. This story keeps on cropping up, and it's just sensationalism... especially using the word "nuclear" in the headline in this particular case. For shame.

So THAT was what this was all about !! (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 6 years ago | (#22869924)

postman delivered an unexpected package this morning. i told him i wasnt expecting anything, but he said it was shipped priority from united states so it had to be mine. a curious electronic device was in it. i didnt know what to do with it so i integrated it with my toast machine. it works very well tbh. apparently pentagon is in ecommerce business now. thanks pentagon !

All Your Nuclear Proliferation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22870028)

Are belong to us.

Radiationally Forever.
George W. Bush [whitehouse.org]

Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22870056)

I feel compelled to post as AC because I work in one of the branches of the U.S. Military supply. DLA? Ship something to the wrong address? You don't say... I deal with this shit every day. Color me unsurprised. I'm surprised it took even this long for it to be something of this nature...

What about the ones shipped from Taiwan to US? (1)

heroine (1220) | about 6 years ago | (#22870372)

The Detroit nose cones are trash compared to the nuclear nose cones made in Taiwan for US.
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