Russian Media Massively Distorts a U.S. News Report on Nuclear Weapons

A Russian media outlet has distorted, mis-quoted and manipulated a U.S. news story

Warrior Maven Video Above: What would the US do if Russia attacked with nuclear weapons? Analysis here.

By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven Editor-in-Chief

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A Russian media outlet has distorted, mis-quoted and manipulated a U.S. news story detailing a U.S. Air Force nuclear deterrence commentary. At a recent Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies event, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein spoke in a general way about the significance and scope of U.S. deterrence strategy.

His comments did discuss potential "hypothetical" scenarios and the importance of a U.S. deterrence strategy - in place to keep the peace. He spoke about the importance of NATO as "first and foremost a nuclear alliance." However, Goldfein was quite clear in his remarks that the U.S. strategy and weapons arsenal exist to - simply put - prevent nuclear war. Goldfein did not say the U.S. would launch a nuclear counterattack in any specific scenario. Those kinds of hypotheticals are simply something that U.S. leadership does not discuss, according to public U.S. military statements.

A Russian state-owned media outlet, Sputnik news, has attributed specifics, missions and weapons tactics to Goldfein, that he simply did not say. Sputnik took elements of a speculative independent anaysis, quite similar to what some other publications do ---- and attributed them to Goldfein. This is a major distortion.

As for what he did say, Goldfein cited the importance of communication between U.S. and NATO leaders in the event of a nuclear event. However, of greatest importance, Goldfein did not specify exact missions or actions the U.S. would take in response. He was not indicating that the U.S. would immediately respond with a U.S. nuclear strike. Of course the Air Force, does not cite specifics regarding any kind of exact response to a nuclear scenario, but leaders may discuss deterrence strategy in a general way - as they always do.

Goldfein did not say which weapons would actually strike or counterattack in terms of a particular mission or decision to respond with nuclear force. He did cite a potential response from various platforms, and the importance of the nuclear triad, without citing any actual planned military strike as part of a counterattack. The possibility was discussed in a broad, hypothetical manner in an apparent attempt to avoid nuclear confrontation.

The author of story written by a U.S.-based news organization called Warrior Maven - Kris Osborn, did entertain some speculative discussion regarding potential military mission responses and contingencies. This came from the author and not Goldfein. The Warrior report makes that very clear. The Warrior commentary on possible missions was a "hypothetical" analysis of potential responses - coming only from the author and not Goldfein. Warrior Maven does not misquote senior U.S. military leaders.

Here is the problem: The Sputnik News - falsely reports and inaccurately attributes comments to Goldfein that, the Warrior article makes clear, he simply did not say. This is distortion, news manipulation and flat out factual error. Given the importance of the subject matter, this kind of distortion is extremely problematic. Specifically, the Warrior report includes independent, separate analysis of "hypothetical" scenarios as completely separate from Goldfein's remarks.

The Sputnik report presents a significant problem by misrepresenting Osborn's discussion, but of even greater concern, the Russian media report misrepresents the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. The Sputnik report specifically attributes statements to Goldfein which he simply did not say. For instance, the Sputknik report claims Goldfein made a point about a plan to immediately attack with nuclear-armed aircraft, laser weapons, rail guns and other weapons. Goldfein did not say that. Here is an excerpt from the Sputnik report:

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Reacting to an alleged nuclear attack, the US and NATO will launch a massive air counterattack, using all sorts of planes from the F-35 and F-22 fighters to B-2 bombers. According to Goldfein, the fighters could potentially attack intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as they ascend beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Otherwise, the F-35s, expected to be equipped with nuclear weapons in several years, will attack enemy assets, including nuclear launch sites, while the F-22s will primarily be tasked with countering enemy aircraft.

The B-2 will be tasked with the destruction of enemy air defences, nuclear launch sites, or, by the specific order of a US president, to destroy entire cities.

The US and NATO have forward-positioned planes and missile defence systems in places such as Romania, Poland and other strategically important areas, Goldfein said. -....- from Sputnik

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Goldfein did not say what U.S. platforms would do in a hypothetical scenario. He simply did not. The Warrior report, hypothesized and analyzed elements of U.S. platforms and their potential missions -- as its own separate analysis. Goldfein did not say U.S. platforms would attack Russian ICBMs or launch sites, he did not say how F-22s or B-2s would or could be used. He did not specify and specific attack missions. As far as public statements indicate, Goldfein has not offered specific mission details regarding a scenario of this kind. Goldfein did not talk about forward-positioned assets, among other things. These possibilities, as stated, were clearly suggested as part of a hypothetical analysis entertained by Osborn.

In fact, another particularly problematic aspect of the Sputnik report is that it omits vital portions of the Warrior essay. The Warrior report specifically identifies the discussion as quite distinct from Goldfein’s remarks.

While specifics regarding which assets might be part of the plan may not, of course, be available for security reasons...here are a few thoughts for consideration,” the Warrior report states.

In yet another serious distortion, the Sputnik report says Goldfein would rely on lasers...ect.. Here is the Sputnik exerpt:

From Sputnik:

However, Goldfein said the US and NATO would also rely on ship-based “lasers, electromagnetic railguns, and hypervelocity projectiles” in the coming years -- Sputnik

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Goldfein said "nothing" like this. He did not cite particular weapons. The idea of using laser weapons as part of missile defense, a much discussed possibility, was cited in the Warrior article as part of a June 2019 Congressional Research Service report. The Congressional review, as properly cited by Warrior, includes a general discussion of emerging missile defense technologies - and is not about Russia or Goldfein in any way. The author, Osborn, raised this question as part of his own analysis.

Here is the Warrior report, which is very clear to separate independent analysis from Goldfein’s plan or intent. ..Warrior Report HERE

The Warrior report, in a manner quite similar to many U.S. academic essays, includes speculative analysis, and simply entertains possibilities as part of its own expert discussion.

Warrior Maven is a known, accurate news and analysis outlet covering key issues of military significance. As a private, independent news organization, the publication does quote U.S. military leaders, but makes it quite clear that it does not speak for the Air Force or any other U.S. military entity.

Warrior Maven does not appreciate having its work distorted and misrepresented - especially on an issue of such importance to global security.

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Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics& Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn can be reached at Krisosborn.ko@gmail.com

Comments (1)
No. 1-1
FatRatBastard
FatRatBastard

It would have been nice if the author had linked to the original Sputnik article. That is the general practice when quoting or discussing an online article.