In all of the blathering about the attempted coup in Turkey, one thing that was largely ignored by the mainstream American media was that the US has a fairly large collection of nuclear weapons stored at Incirlic Air Base in Turkey. This is a base which is inside Turkey, belongs to Turkey, and which they are permitting us to use.
I have been asking sources, mostly retired military and some former intelligence, why we still have nuclear weapons in Turkey, and have not gotten any really meaningful answers. No one, for instance, is willing to say that we might use them on Middle East nations because they are “harboring terrorists” or because we fear that they might be “building a nuclear bomb.”
One suggestion was to the effect that it is simply inertia; that we needed them during the days of the Soviet Union and have never gotten around to taking them out. That may be the most frightening thought I have encountered.
One person made my question more specific and raised a question of principle. What, he asked, is their purpose there; are they serving as a counter to the nuclear capabilities of others, or are they intended to counter non-nuclear threats?
If the former, it makes no sense whatever and they should have been removed several decades ago. If it is the latter, then it reflects a refusal to rule out the ”first use” of nuclear weapons, in which case that policy should be reversed, a policy of “no first use” should be reinstated and the weapons should be removed.
I recall a time when this country had a clearly stated policy that our nuclear arsenal was strictly a deterrent and that we would never again be the initiator of the use of nuclear weapons. I have not been able to track down precisely when that policy was abandoned, or who it was who first threatened to use “the nuclear option,” but that threat has become common today. It should be banned, and any question about the use of nuclear weapons should be met with a restatement of the “no first use” policy.