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Rachel Maddow Covers “Completely Insane” ICBM De-Nuking Plan

In one of the stranger and scarier segments in Rachel Maddow Show history, Rachel Maddow criticizes an Obama administration national security suggestion to reduce America’s nuclear arsenal– by making a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile indistinguishable from a conventional weapon ICBM. Don’t get too excited about Maddow turning on Obama—the idea was Donald Rumsfeld’s.

The segment sheds light on a chilling suggestion that, in order to further eliminate the presence of nuclear weapons, ICBMs with nuclear tips would have those tips removed and replaced with conventional weapons. This would make the weapons less dangerous, or at least not radioactive, but the target of the attack would have no idea that the weapon is not nuclear. This would dramatically reduce the damage done on the target but trigger a potential nuclear response from a nation sufficiently armed to respond that way.

Noah Shachtman of Wired’s Danger Room blog described the idea as something “Dr. Strangelove, Dick Cheney, and Jason Bourne sitting around the bong at their college dorm” would come up with, and repeatedly refers to it as “completely insane,” but ultimately suggested that the Obama administration’s revival of the idea could either be an attempt to convince the Pentagon to go along with reducing the nuclear arsenal or an attempt to barter with Russia using weapons that don’t exist.

Watch the clip below:

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