Sat 25 Jan, 2003 11:55 am
This morning's Los Angeles Times reports that Pentagon war planners are weighing the use of tactical nuclear weapons against deeply buried hard targets in Iraq. Should the US deploy nuclear weapons on the batlefield in Iraq, it would be committing a war crime, especially since it is the aggressor in an unprovoked conflict it is choosing to begin. I would not be able to support such an action of my government.
Larry, I totally agree with you. Not sure what else to say...
Tactic nukes are not supposed to be used against civilians, unlike the strategic ones. They are intended for destroying deep underground military and governmental facilities, and technically their usage resembles this of the conventional weapons. Therefore, there is no war crime at all. Some people are under psychologic influence of the very term "nuclear weapons", and this affects their judgment ability.
Usage of tactical nuclear weapons may both increase efficiency of the U.S. attack and minimize the U.S. Army casualties.
To quote from the article:
"'If the United States dropped a [nuclear] bomb on an Arab country, it might be a military success, but it would be a diplomatic, political and strategic disaster,' said Joseph Cirincione, director of non-proliferation studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace."
The question is, does this administration care?
And maybe such a measure will intimidate the ambitious Arab leaders and cure them from megalomania?
More likely, it would simply alienate every Arab on the planet, including our allies. Which is understandable since, leaving aside the political and moral aspects, we'd be exploding atomic weapons in what amounts to their own backyard.
Justifiable homicide? I don't think so.
HI Analisa_roche nice to meet you!!!!!
I had a Grenada once ... it more or less nuked itself. That's the only thing I can think of ... it HAD to be radiation damage; I've never seen another car rust away so fast. The payment book damned near outlasted the sheetmetal.
To the point ... I agree the political fallout from nuke use would likely be horrendous, and probably outweigh any tactical advantage. Still, a good argument may be made for the use of "Deep Penetrator" Nukes to more safelydestroy caches of bunkered toxic or pathogenic agents. Employing conventional explosives for the job poses substantial risk of dispersing, not destroying, the nastiness. Some work has been done toward achieving conventional explosives with very high thermal output ... intended to incinerate and thus nuetralize chemical or biological hazards. Results have been fair, but the temperatures achieved with a nuclear detonatation far surpass those we can pull off with mere chemistry.
The "Deep Penetrator" nukes are essentially a several-thousand-pound "Pencil" with a specially hardened "Penetrating" nose, a long, very thick, strong sheathing (essentially a Large Caliber Artillery Barrell, more or less), and guidable tailfins, housing a Tactical Nuclear Device of a few kilotons yield. Imagine a multi-ton, sharp-pointed steel telephone pole with small fins, and you've nearly got the picture.
The assembly, dropped from a suitable altitude and guided along the appropriate glide angle, will have the kinetetic energy and structural integrity to drive some dozens of yards through reinforced concrete, packed earth, and sundry other obstacles. The explosion can be triggered a variety of ways, but would generally be set to occur at a particular depth of penetration or after a given period of time following initial impact. The greatest effect of the reulting explosion would be more or less confined to the subteranean target, with little blast, heat, or radiation reaching the surface. If there could be such a thing as a "Safe Nuke", this would be it. It would certainly just about preclude any possible dispersal of target chemical or biologic agent stores while having little to no effect on the overlying and surrounding environs. It would be the right tool for the job.
Still, despite the comparative safety and obvious utility of the devices (which DO exist), we will probably use only relatively recently developed conventional "Hypothermic" explosives, prefering the risk of inadvertant dispersal to the certainty of World Outrage. Which risk might be the greater is a question with no readily apparent, wholly satisfactory answer. I devoutly wish we would have no call to answer either way.
About the U.S. Arab allies: I do not think that they may change their political orientation -- their stability completely depends on the U.S. support. These are corrupt regimes hated by majority of their subjects, and the revolutions in these countries are prevented only by threat of the direct U.S. intervention in support of the regimes mentioned (President Carter's blunder that led to loss of Iran must not be repeated). Therefore, the regimes mentioned will limit themselves to verbal condemnation of the U.S. actions. And if the number of civil casualties in Iraq is low, then there will be no grounds even for verbal expressions of dissatisfaction.
The regimes I imply are those of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, etc.
Reality check mate. Afghanistan, the poorest cousin of all those nations managed the worst attack on US soil ever. Lawdy you DON'T want a terror organisation with billions in the kitty!!
Mr Stillwater, I don't believe 9/11 was an Afghani State-Sponsored/State Directed attack. As I recall, there was a non-governmental group involved there ... Afghanistan was merely refuge for Al Queda, if I understand things correctly. Afghanistan and The Taliban did not attack The US; Al Queda, a stateless entity, and Osama Bin Laden, a Yemeni-born Saudi Ntional, through the actions of 19 folks, of whom 17 were Saudi Nationals, get the blame for the attack.
They were aided and abetted by, and given refuge and sanctuary by, Afghanistan and The Taliban, but they were not Official Organs of Afghanistan or The Taliban, and Al Queda's kitty has financial tendrils that recognize no borders and have no allegience to any State.
As far as I know.
ARE YOU GUYS FOR REAL?
Some people are under psychologic influence of the very term "nuclear weapons", and this affects their judgment ability. Usage of tactical nuclear weapons may both increase efficiency of the U.S. attack and minimize the U.S. Army casualties... And maybe such a measure will intimidate the ambitious Arab leaders and cure them from megalomania?
"under psychological influence"?! Imagine one of your children crushed under the wheels of a truck. Does that exert a psychological influence? "efficiency of US attack"? No argument from me. Nukes get the job done. "Meglomania"...now, there's a word that stands up and waves hello.
and timber...what the hell are you doing? We're guided by the beauty of our weapons?
What worries many senior officials in the armed forces is not that the United States has a vast array of weapons or contingency plans for using them. The danger is that nuclear weapons -- locked away in a Pandora's box for more than half a century -- are being taken out of that lockbox and put on the shelf with everything else. While Pentagon leaders insist that does not mean they take nuclear weapons lightly, critics fear that removing the firewall and adding nuclear weapons to the normal option ladder makes their use more likely -- especially under a policy of preemption that says Washington alone will decide when to strike.
To make such a doctrine encompass nuclear weapons is to embrace a view that, sooner or later, will spread beyond the moral capitals of Washington and London to New Delhi and Islamabad, to Pyongyang and Baghdad, Beijing, Tel Aviv and to every nuclear nation of the future.
If that happens, the world will have become infinitely more dangerous than it was two years ago, when George W. Bush took the presidential oath of office.
(article was yesterday, this op ed from today)
What are you guys doing? From a small group of Saudi's attacking two buildings you waltz smoothly over to nuclear bombs in Iraq. The US is gripped in madness. That so many of you are so unaware of it
is what will bring down your civilization, not a group of 'camel darkies'.
There was an ABCNews.com article about Saddam's bunker a couple of weeks ago; described its construction and so forth, as well as how it survived the Gulf War's bunker busters. They quoted the builder (or architect).
Apparently we have improved the bunker-busting bomb technology enough to make that facility more vulnerable this go-round.
Let's hope our war planners don't have any nuclear first strike intentions.
There seems to be this little matter of fallout (not the political variety) no one seems to be considering...
blatham, I don't advocate "Opening Pandora's Box" ... quite the contrary. I just pointed out there were technical considerations that could make that look attractive to The Current Administration. I sure hope they don't go that way, though I'm sure they've considered it; that's why the damned Nuke Bunkerbusters exist. Sorry if I wasn't clear. I've pretty much been sober since my bout with the flu, but I'm slowly getting back to normal. Damn, I missed the Whisky!
Yes, I thought so. But the technical considerations - the engineering achievements - are the aesthetics of weaponry, yes? These aesthetics are entrancing. We'll watch, as we did last time, beautiful engineering and technology from the miraculous onboard missle cameras as they speed towards the X where children and grandmothers are about to have their eyes melted and their tongues bubble. And back in the situation room, after bacon, eggs, and orange juice, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz will high five the hit.
Blatham: nowhere do I see Timber advocating use of tactical or strategic nukes. Nor do I, nor does anybody in the U.S. military command. Might you be confusing his views with another person's here - who doesn't even know that Iranians are not Arabs, so is unlikely to know much else on the subject.
FYI, low-kiloton bombs launched against HDBTs (hardened and deeply-buried targets) might technically not qualify as theater weapons since radiation would remain completely contained underground. 203s - or higher caliber artillery - are not being deployed, far as I know.
We're so terrified of this jerk getting his hands on nuclear weapons, proof of which still remains to be seen, that we're contemplating using them ourselves.
Gee, maybe we could throw in some preemptive chemical weaponry, too. Just to add icing to the irony cake.