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U.S. Works Up Plans for Using Nuclear Arms

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  • by bief (532369) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:32PM (#3138360) Homepage
    ...this article [nytimes.com] with a bit more detail.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And they aren't thrilled...try looking an non-American press too. the article [bbc.co.uk]
  • http://www.cnn.com/2002/US/03/10/nuclear.weapons/i ndex.html

    • "scare factor". Interesting.

      several years after WWII and the use of The Bomb people began to lack in their attitudes towards the threat of nuclear war. Along came Castro and Kruschev and bam again the "scare" returned. It was quickly quelled by anti-nuclear weapons treaties, end of the Cuban Missile Crisis, etc.

      Now we are in the "next millenium" and what the fuck are we doing. Promoting the threat of the use to return and we're not scared of that?

      Just b/c it isn't US policy right now does NOT mean it doesn't increase the risk. Empty at this time or not, that statement moves us more towards fucking midnight than we want.

      Trust me.
  • Ugh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kypper (446750) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:33PM (#3138363)
    The secret report, which was provided to Congress on Jan. 8, says the Pentagon needs to be prepared to use nuclear weapons against China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria.

    I've got a lovely bunch of nuclears...
    there they are all standing in a row...
    big ones, small ones, ones the size of your head
    Give em a twist, a flick of the wrist, that's what that monkey said.

    I have to ask... what has North Korea and Russia been doing lately to deserve this?
    • Re:Ugh (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Knunov (158076)
      "I have to ask... what has North Korea and Russia been doing lately to deserve this?"

      I have to ask, what makes you think you know everything that goes on in Russia, Korea or anywhere else behind closed doors?

      Maybe people aren't as nice as you think.

      Knunov
      • Oh please.

        How would "surprising military developments" that did NOT involve nuclear attacks WARRANT nuclear attacks?
        • Re:Ugh-Simply. (Score:5, Informative)

          by kopper187 (59901) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @04:03PM (#3138818)
          Quite simply the US has had a standing policy that any attack on the US with weapons of mass destruction, be it chemical, biological, nuclear or otherwise, will be responded to with a nuclear strike. So if a rouge nation used chemical weapons on a US city or interest, we would respond, most likely, with nuclear weapons. This is OLD doctrine.
      • Re:Ugh (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        have to ask, what makes you think you know everything that goes on in Russia, Korea or anywhere else behind closed doors? Maybe people aren't as nice as you think.

        Right, as we all know, all nations other than the US and the UK are populated by fundamentally evil people with fundamentally diabolical master plans. They're not worrying about their incomes or their children like we are because they receive large block grants directly from Satan in order to allow them to concentrate on the destruction of white Christians.
    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mike1024 (184871) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:12PM (#3138575)
      Hey,

      I have to ask... what has North Korea and Russia been doing lately to deserve this?

      And why isn't France on the list?...

      (That was a joke, son.)

      -M
    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Galvatron (115029) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @06:57PM (#3139686)
      They haven't DONE anything. That's why these are CONTINGENCY plans. Russia has the ablility to nuke us, hence if there were a revolution (entirely possible, the country's really not too stable), bringing to power some evil Hitler-type, then these plans might be necessary.

      North Korea, on the other hand, would love to destroy America if they could, but they can't. Should they develop that ability, then these plans might be necessary.

      So, basically these plans specifically target those nations that either hate the US, or have the ability to attack us with nukes, but not necessarily both.

  • Yesterday's News (Score:5, Informative)

    by BoyPlankton (93817) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:35PM (#3138376) Homepage
    Pentagon Explanation [cnn.com]

    It's just a congressionally mandated review.
  • See also (Score:3, Informative)

    by aussersterne (212916) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:37PM (#3138384) Homepage
    The story at the BBC [bbc.co.uk].
  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by epsalon (518482) <slash@alon.wox.org> on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:37PM (#3138386) Homepage Journal
    Don't they know that nukes generate 8 squares of pollution, and make the entire world hate you?

    Guess I've been playing too much CIV ][...
    • Japan (Score:2, Troll)

      by Knunov (158076)
      You mean like Japan, who after having 2 Made in the U.S.A. nukes dropped on their heads, are one of our best business partners as well as political allies?

      There is something to be said for an adequate use of force.

      Knunov
      • Re:Japan (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:11PM (#3138570)
        But one won't be using that kind of reasoning if it was the USA that was nuked.
      • Re:Japan (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Squeeze Truck (2971) <xmsho@yahoo.com> on Sunday March 10, 2002 @10:14PM (#3140435) Homepage
        You mean like Japan, who after having 2 Made in the U.S.A. nukes dropped on their heads, are one of our best business partners as well as political allies?

        Japan and the US are allies because one nuked the other???

        Japan is our ally only because it is in their (our) political interest, because it is treated with relative respect by the US, and becuse it still believes that the US is a force for peace and stability in the world.

        But the Japanese have never forgotten or forgiven the use of the atomic bomb. People are still dying from the aftereffects, and these people (the bakugaisha) are still major news items here.

        If Bush is looking to scuttle the US-Japan relationship, use of ANY KIND of nukes is a perfect way to accomplish this. Don't get any illusions that Japan is the US's permanent ally.
  • by Maditude (473526) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:37PM (#3138389)
    ... is NOT that it existed, but rather that it was published. Anyone have any insights why it wasn't kept secret?
    • The Russians built a "doomsday device" as a deterrent to nuclear aggression - but they kept it secret. Dr. Strangelove points out (as it becomes apparent that the world is, well, f*cked) that "the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret!"

      Same principle here. The message is being sent through an orchestrated leak.

      -Isaac

  • The LA Times [latimes.com] also ran a story today about the erosion of civil liberties following the Sept 11 attacks.

    W
  • by KartMan (565213) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:39PM (#3138396) Homepage
    Obviously the US has a lot of nuclear weapons sitting around, ready to be fired at any time. I, for one, am glad they are making these plans. If all of a sudden we're attacked I'd rather a large group of people spend time now planning what would be done than a few people make a quick irrational decision which could lead to global problems.
    • by CodeRed (5676)
      WHAT???

      Hmm what can be done: Nuke them, nuke us.

      Lets see.... outcome.... We dead, they dead.

      Yes, thats just great, and those who survive get to live in a radiated world.

      Time for you to watch a movie called "War Games" again :-P
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Well, but there are also a few bad points about their plans. First of all, the alliances may break over this (China, Russia), and if you like it or not, the USA isn't alone on the whole planet, and the USA cannot do everything alone, they need alliances.

      Second, other states have now a new argument for developing their own nuclear weapons. Before, having nuclear weapons was not very smart, as then the USA could use their own nuclear weapons against this nation. Now, the USA says it could use nuclear weapons against all other nations, no mattter if they have nuclear weapons or not. So developing own nucelar weapons can now somwhat be a defensiv tactic ("So they will see we can defend ourselves")

      Third, which nation is going to attack the USA with nuclear weapons??? Sorry, only terrorist groups could do that, even Saddam is smart enough to not do that. And nuclear weapons will only help the terrorist in their try to present themselves as VICTIMS. They are not, of course, but if suddenly the USA uses nuclear weapons against, let's say the Iran, maybe some million people will then think phrases like "the USA are devil and they kill innocent people" aren't that wrong, and the terrorist have won new supporters.

      - WSK
    • by dawnsnow (8077)
      I totally agree with this. That's why every country SHOULD have their own nuclear weapons. How convinient is that? If one country is under attack, all they can decide whether they should send nuclear missles away or not
  • by hs81 (62329) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:41PM (#3138407) Homepage
    Read the article. I love this line for a general catch all excuse for when the Pres. wants to vape a country.
    On a more serious note such a reason is very dangerous as it could apply to anything.If your going to define a policy on when to use nukes then you should have the obligation to make crystal clear the situations where the nuclear option would be considered.
    For any programmer out there could you imagine writing a functional spec using such loose and ambigious language?
    • I love this line for a general catch all excuse for when the Pres. wants to vape a country.

      On a more serious note such a reason is very dangerous as it could apply to anything.If your going to define a policy on when to use nukes then you should have the obligation to make crystal clear the situations where the nuclear option would be considered.

      What's the point of that? If you follow that logic strictly then you simply give the enemy a road-map around the obstacle of nuclear retaliation. That catch-all phrase simply says "if you threaten our vital interests in a way we haven't anticipated, you are taking a huge risk." Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

      For any programmer out there could you imagine writing a functional spec using such loose and ambigious language?

      Or, even more shocking, can you imagine someone comparing national nuclear policy-making to writing the functional spec for a computer program?

  • Good thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goldbishop (314303) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:41PM (#3138408) Homepage
    Personaly I think it's a good thing. In fact it concerns me that the military wasn't ready to do that earlier. Personaly I think it's all a big PR move that means absolutely nothing. During operation Dessert Storm Bush made it quite clear to Saddam that if he used any WMD weapons against him we'd reciprocate with the kind of weapons that would wipe Iraq off the face of the Earth. I don't think it was a bluff and certainly such things require planning.

    It takes 2,200 warheads to cover what planners call "a full target list" (nice fluffy way of saying that we need 2200 little containers to end humanity). I'm hoping that we got those targets slected!
  • 11:53 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Deanasc (201050) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @02:47PM (#3138446) Homepage Journal
    I guess this is why the clock just moved a little closer to midnight. If it were up to me I'd move the clock to 11:59. I have a bad gut feeling about all of this.

    On the otherhand I'd kind of like to see a 1 megaton burst from 30 miles away just once. Aside from being the last thing I'd ever see if I didn't wear goggles, it's probably spectacular.

    Please don't think I'm a war mongerer. I don't mean we should use it on anyone. It's just that I'm part of a generation which grew up expecting a nuclear war. Imagine my surprise when we never had one. A little grotesque disapointment that I have to actually get a day job instead of wander the desert looking for canned dog food and gasoline.

    And I bet you thought that Reganite Nihilism was a thing of the 80's. Well After reading the above I realize it's alive and well living inside my subconcious. Just waiting to rear it's ugly little head. Does this mean I get to do cocaine again?

  • This just inhances my view that Bush is becoming the little too trigger happy sheriff putting up wanted dead and alive posters

  • You didn't think all those sexy nuke explosion simulations [slashdot.org] were just to stress-test some graphics cards, did you? :-)

  • I think the reason why this report was drawn up is this: the existance of the B61-11 bunker buster bomb.

    Essentially, is a B61 gravity-dropped nuclear bomb in the 45-50 kT yield variant that is designed to explode after it penetrates deep into the ground. Such a weapon will easily destroy most bunker complexes, even those built deept into mountainsides. We do know that Saddam Hussein has built a whole bunch of such bunkers, and Osama bin Laden--who was trained as a construction engineer himself--has probably built similar bunkers in the mountains of Afghanistan.
  • Time to go? (Score:2, Funny)

    by gnovos (447128)
    So what countries are there out there that accept expatriot Americans fleeing the madness of thier government? Preferably island countries.
  • Not very surprising: (Score:2, Informative)

    by rsidd (6328)
    The US has always refused [umich.edu] to make a "no first use" pledge about nuclear weapons. The Clinton admin was "shocked" by Germany's proposal that NATO make such a pledge.

    Soon after Sept 11, senior people in the military were quoted as saying that they wanted the entire Afghanistan/Middle East region to "glow with radiation." [reason.com]

    So, no, I'm not surprised that the US wants to use nukes. Particularly against that axis of evil -- if you can't nuke them, who can you nuke? And if you can't nuke anyone, what are those nukes for?

  • Remember almost everyone else has them too. Do you like the idea of people who HATE us and our allies having nukes and us (and our allies) not? I sure don't.

    Second, this is not new stuff. Even our tank shells are depleted with uranium. Our newer missiles...all of them are what they called nuclear tipped...for some lovely explosive effects. :-)

    Someone will always dominate the world militarily...unless men all around the world suddenly change their DNA patterns spontaneously. If you've got to pick from China, the U.S. and Pakistan, who would you rather it be?
    • Re:First off.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jeremi (14640) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:48PM (#3138744) Homepage
      Do you like the idea of people who HATE us and our allies having nukes and us (and our allies) not? I sure don't


      Me neither, but concentrating solely on our defense ignores the larger and important issue of why do they hate us? Sure, some of their reasons aren't justified, but others are. So instead of spending billions on helping our neighbors and making the world a better place, we think only of our own short-term interests, piss everyone off with our exploitation, and then end up spending trillions on self defense. Everybody loses in the end.... they end up destitute, miserable, and hate-filled, we end up poorer and insecure despite our massive military spending, and the world ends up polluted, unfriendly, and in constant danger of terrorism and nuclear destruction.


      The US's refusal to see beyond its own commercial/political interests and become a true citizen of the world comes back to haunt it in a thousand different ways. Maintaining a huge nuclear arsenal and pretending that it will make us 'safe' is a dangerous distraction that keeps us from focussing on the real solution -- helping the rest of the world solve its problems and improve its lot, so that we are no longer hated, and thus we no longer need vast mililtary capabilities. Every dollar we spend helping the world improves our security more than a thousand dollars spent on weaponry.

  • I think that it is interesting that since 9-11 the economy has kept on starting and halting, not totally going into recession, but not pulling out either. Alan Greenspan says that the nation is out of recession, but it remains to be seen whether we are on the way to recovery.


    I don't think that the nation is on the way to recovery, simply because the international situation remains so jittery. Businesses may be able to act normally, but how can they expand with such factors as escalting violence in Israel, clashes between Palestine and India, a war that has an uncertain course and end; and now this talk of plans for nuclear attacks?


    Of course we have nuclear weapons for the purpose of attacking certain nations, and these countries shouldn't be surprised to see themselves on the list. But do we have to go around announcing to everyone that we are planning on nuking them? That seems a little extreme to me. Or just plain rude.


    The bottom line is, as long as we have this free floating international violence, the economy will probably not be able to recover very much.


    On the other hand, this may be Bush's roundabout plan to improve the economy by helping get consumer dollars back into the economy, I can imagine all the people thinking: "Ah well, if there is going to be a nuclear war, I might as well spend my retirement fund on a Mercedes, and enjoy it while I can!"

  • by cybermage (112274) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:00PM (#3138509) Homepage Journal
    If, as the article suggests, this is a reaction to the vulnerability felt after the attacks of 9/11, then it is a poorly thought-out one.

    Stopping one person who is willing to die in an effort to do damage is a job for intelligence, not nukes.

    Nuclear deterrence may not be at all effective against rogue nations and terrorist organizations. Do you think Hussien would actually give a crap if tens of thousands of Iraqis die simply because we bomb a place we think he's hiding. If Iraq sets off some kind of non-nuclear attack against the US, would we seriously nuke Baghdad in response? Would he care?

    As for the likes of bin Laden, I would bet that if we promised to nuke him, he'd tell us where he is and setup a live television feed. This war would become US v Islam in the blink of an eye.

    While we cannot put the nuclear genie back in the bottle, accepting this fact should not make the use of nuclear weapons desireable. We've had a solution for hardened fortifications for a couple millenia. While nukes might bust an unbustable bunker, so will a good old-fasioned siege.
    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @06:50PM (#3139653) Homepage
      • If, as the article suggests, this is a reaction to the vulnerability felt after the attacks of 9/11, then it is a poorly thought-out one.

      I don't think so. It's the inevitable response, given the tack we took.

      A lot of people in the world hate the USA, and not all of them are insane. A lot of them quite rationally detest US foreign policy, because every time the USA steps in to a third party conflict, it makes a friend and an enemy (remember, in any conflict, both sides view themselves as the Good Guys, or the justified victims, or the Chosen of God). Making enemies is the cost of getting involved. Before this once again gets interpreted as justifying September 11th, take a clue check. The murderers who did that were stone cold evil motherfuckers. But just because they're Bad Guys doesn't automatically make us the Good Guys. That's kiddie matinee morality.

      After September 11th, we had two choices. We could have said "Sorry for taking lives to save lives, we won't get involved again,", or we could have done what we did and said (effectively) "No more Mr Nice Guy. You will fear us more than you hate us."

      When your foreign policies kill (or are perceived to have killed) all of someone's family, you have very little leverage left over them. You can't personally threaten a suicide attacker, nor can you enter a rational dialogue and explain why their family had to die to preserve Freedom. You can either humble yourself and say sorry, again and again and again, or you can escalate and say "Rain of fire on your entire nation, buddy. Just try us." and you have to keep escalating, in word and deed until it is quite clear what the consequences of fucking with you are.

      Personally, I think we've taken the easy way, and the wrong way. Spending trillions of dollars on defence means never having to say you're sorry. Is saying sorry that high a price to pay?

  • what the world really wants [osearth.com]

    Preventitive healthcare is a common concept. So why isn't preventitive warfare?
  • Justified Usage (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Knunov (158076) <eat@my.ass> on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:04PM (#3138534) Homepage
    I suppose this is where I'm supposed to be apologetic for my desire to live and distrust of nations that have shown time and time and time again that they aren't really very nice people.

    But, I'm not sorry. In fact, I'm quite happy about this. Let's say we find a small pox lab in Iraq. We know they have it. They know we know. What's to stop them from using it?

    A 50-megaton nuke pointed at Baghdad, that's what.

    For fuck's sake wake up and smell the truth. The world is not , has never been, nor probably ever will be a nice place. Peace is purchased with superior firepower.

    NEVER forget that.

    Knunov

    B.S. in Comp. Sci from UNC@Chapel Hill [unc.edu] - Oracle DBA, Novell CNE, and UNIX/Linux/BSD administrator/user/enthusiast. I was also a Captain in the U.S.M.C. [usmc.mil], MOS - Infantry - Force Recon, 1st Battalion [forcerecon.com].

    So, unlike the vocal majority of computer geeks here, this geek actually has a clue about warfare.
    • Re:Justified Usage (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Explo (132216)

      For fuck's sake wake up and smell the truth. The world is not , has never been, nor probably ever will be a nice place. Peace is purchased with superior firepower.


      How about using firepower that does not contaminate the target area for a large time, nor rise up radioactive dust that does not honor country boundaries much and so on? That's what I hate about nuclear, chemical and biological weapons ; these will cause longer and more widespread suffering and damage than just to a certain spot for much smaller time. Isn't the point of military operations to harm the opposite military, not their descendants and people tens or hundreds of kilometers away?

      • by Knunov (158076)
        The long-term effects of radiation aren't as bad as some people would have you think. It doesn't take thousands of years to make the area liveable.

        It would be nice if there was a conventional explosive without any long-term residuals, but unfortunately there isn't (yet).

        Check this [rerf.or.jp] out for a study done by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare on the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Basically, people in the initial blast zone are (obviously) fucked. Survivor's offspring will show a huge spike in cases of leukemia, and small spikes in other cancer types. The grandchildren of survivors show close to baseline birth defects, meaning nothing statistically significant.

        And these are people living on the actual ground that is contaminated.

        This study could be bullshit, but it's done by a Japanese organization, along with the U.S.

        Knunov
    • Re:Justified Usage (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kwil (53679)
      Superior firepower only purchases peace from those afraid to die.

      Don't forget that either.
  • Advice (Score:3, Funny)

    by baywulf (214371) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:04PM (#3138539)
    From: George W. Bush
    Bcc: leader@china.com, leader@russia.com, leader@iraq.com, leader@iran.com, leader@northkorea.com, leader@libya.com, leader@syria.com
    Subject:I send you this file in order to have your advice...
  • It is a good plan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:05PM (#3138545) Journal
    We need to have the capacity to use nukes against any country who has weapons of mass destruction or the capability to make them.

    It is called deterence.

    World peace is a pipe dream. There are bad people in the world, and they don't always get nicer if we ignore them.

    Appeasement is a failure. 1939 taught us that in a way that no one should ever forget.
    • We need to have the capacity to use nukes against any country who has weapons of mass destruction or the capability to make them

      It is called deterence
      Right, nobody is arguing you on that point. The thing is, a good majority of the names on that list do not currently have nuclear weapons are have the capability to create them. Now, think about it this way. You have a water guy, I tell you I'm going to bring a super soaker when we play. Are you going to say..ok..He'll bring the super soaker that can shoot 20 feet and mine can shoot 3, no problem? No, I think what you would do is get a super soaker also. Now in the real world analogy. Countries like Libya, Iran, and Syria who don't currently have nuclear weapons are going to seek out nuclear weapons for their own defense.

      >>World peace is a pipe dream. There are bad people in the world, and they don't always get nicer if we ignore them.

      Nobody said anything about World Peace. I agree, it's a pipe dream because of the fact that people want more than their share of the world. But what we had before this is a somewhat stable situation. The fear of MAD (mutually assured destruction) prevented people from actually using their weapons of mass destruction. In the last couple years, Israel/Palestine and North and South Korea were at the table discussing. (It may or may not have actually developed a peace plan, but the important part was the ability to discuss).. now since the 9/11 and the "Axis of Evil" both of these situations are on edge.
      • by jgalun (8930)
        The situations in Korea and the Middle East hardly deteriorated since 9/11. The Second Intifada has been ongoing and escalating for 17 months, and North Korea had done little to reciprocate South Korea's sunshine policy before 9/11 as well. Now, 9/11 and the Axis of Evil may have made these situations worse, but they certainly weren't too great before 9/11 either.

        You say that:

        In the last couple years, Israel/Palestine and North and South Korea were at the table discussing. (It may or may not have actually developed a peace plan, but the important part was the ability to discuss)..

        One popular view in conflict resolution is all that is required to end conflicts is to get both sides to talk until they recognize the humanity of each other, gain trust in their enemy, and moderate their own positions. This is the left-wing position - everyone has shared humanity, and if we just talk enough we can resolve our problems. There's an older, more conservative position, which disagrees. That position says that people stop fighting when one side beats the shit out of the other, or at least when there is enough violence that both sides gets tired of fighting.

        Now, I admit that the left-wing position is nicer. But I am not convinced that it is always correct. The Palestinians for years did not just want their own state, but wanted to destroy Israel as well. It was Israel's military strength that made them change their goal - not frank discussions with Israelis that made them recognize shared humanity. Similarly, Israelis don't want to keep the territories any more because they know it will cost them too many lives.

        Meanwhile, both Israelis and Palestinians hate the idea of a peace "process" now, because they see it as all "process" and no "peace." In other words, too much talking.
    • No it's not. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by himi (29186) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @04:30PM (#3138964) Homepage
      Would tactical nukes deterr terrorists? Hardly.

      All this does is up the stakes in any conflict that the US gets involved in, and encourages people who don't like the US to develop their own nukes, and to deploy them in ways that will make deterrence irrelevant.

      himi
    • by apidya (31789) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @04:53PM (#3139066)
      a deterent is only any good if it works.

      i read a quote from Donald Rumsfeld in the paper today: "The terrorists who struck us on September 11 were clearly not deterred from doing so by the massive US nuclear arsenal."

      honestly, i sometimes think that Donald Rumsfeld is overshadowed in stupidity only by George W. Bush himself. of course the terrorists weren't deterred by a Nuclear Arsenal, they were about to fly jet planes into skyscrapers and kill themselves in the process!

      i'm fairly sure they weren't thinking "oh, i'd better not, otherwise i might get killed by a future US nuclear strike." Also, given their apparent religious fanatacism, i doubt they would have let a nuclear strike on their home country affect them either, that would have been brushed off simply as countrymen and family dying for the cause.

      How can any number of any kind of devastating weapons of mass destruction be of any use whatsoever against people with that kind of mindset?

      omtimes i wonder at how some people think, and i'm not just thinking of the terrorists here!

      besides, having nuclear weapons and using them are two very different things.

      imagine the global outcry if the USA detonated nuclear devices in combat. and given that as far as i'm aware, no-one has done that since 1945, it's also a possiblity that terrorists/bad people might think that america is all talk and no trousers in this regard. and personally i hope they're right.
  • by CrusadeR (555) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:08PM (#3138557) Homepage
    ...this is just the Nuclear Posture Review, which is similar to the Quadrennial Defense Review, but applied specifically to the strategic forces; i.e., it's a required report to Congress, and some elements are unclassified (and can be found here [defenselink.mil]).

    As to the specific recommendations, the only really worrying thing would be the insinuation that the DoD is investigating ways to utilize nuclear weapons in conventional tactical scenarios, but there's a hell of a lot of hurdles to clear before that can even be seriously considered, much less implemented. The nations listed in the LA Times report, the US' usual rogue's gallery of nations, were for the most part already included in the SIOP (Single Integrated Operational Plan, which is highly-classified even God needs SIOP-ESI clearance to see it) as smaller attack options (Selected/Limited), going back through the Clinton Administration, so that isn't really some kind of groundbreaking new policy.

    Furthermore, an understated policy of the US since the Gulf War has been to keep the nuclear option open in the event of some other mass attack (biological/chemical) as deterrence, so again, this isn't terribly new. I do find interesting that the DoD is looking more closely at new ways of neutralizing agents besides blowing up the factories and spreading them to the four winds though...

  • Anyone else? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quantaman (517394) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:09PM (#3138560)
    Okay, is anyone else VERY disturbed by the article.
    The secret report, which was provided to Congress on Jan. 8, says the Pentagon needs to be prepared to use nuclear weapons against China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. It says the weapons could be used in three types of situations: against targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack; in retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; or "in the event of surprising military developments."

    They are already on thin ice with 3/4 of the planet because of Bush's idiotic "axis of evil" statements and now they are threatening to start nuking people!?! Russia is going through enough trouble as it is. They're fighting internal difficulties and are still hot at the US over the olympics. A statement like this is just the excuse that hard line factions in any one of these countries (along with half the arab world) need to take power.

    At a time when the US should be questioning, even for just a second, what they could have done that have convinced who knows how many terrorists that it is worth commiting SUICIDE as long as you die taking a shot at the US. When they should be thinking about why half the planet hates their guts and considers them pure evil? Maybe, just maybe they might have some legitimate beef to grind with the US. Now instead of trying to figure out what they've done wrong and trying to do better they invade and take over a nation. Remember that Afgahnistan, however repressive and unjust WAS a soveign nation who was attacked because they harboured an accussed terrorist who was never actually proven to be guilty, however obvious it seemed.

    But now the US has bettered that, instead of just blowing the crap out of a third world nation (hey where have we heard that before) the US has just said that they're willing to nuke ~1.5 (a little on the low side) out of the 6 billion people on the planet!! At least two of the countries (China and Russia) are two of the most powerful countries on the planet and are supposedly on somewhat nice terms with the US. Now we all know Bush is a gun tolling, nuke happy, big buisness loving, illiterate moron but has his arrogance over the US as the worlds nice police man watching all the evil little bullies truly gotten this great?
  • by TheBracket (307388) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:13PM (#3138580) Homepage
    I studied with several people who have been involved (at differing levels) in this policy shift. In particular, Undersecretary of Defense J.D. Crouch and several of his former students from the Department of Defense & Strategic Studies at SMSU. Unsurprisingly, this is an extremely right wing department; its founder, Van Cleave, was basically rejected for SecDef by Reagan on the grounds that he was too much of a militant extremist!

    From my time studying with them, it was evident that they were desperate for a nuclear policy shift. Some of their reasoning behind this was sound, other elements are not well conceived. Some key elements of their philosophy include:

    Nuclear weapons are weapons/tools, just like any other. Just because nuclear weapons are "nuclear", does not mean that they are qualitatively different from other weapons. Fuel Air Explosives can lead to nasty metal poisoning incidents in their target areas - often more environmentally unfriendly than a low-yield nuclear airburst. A modern reduced-blast warhead (aka the neutron bomb, a wholly inaccurate name) produces an immense quantity of prompt radiation that tends not to stick around, and next to no residual/secondary radiation, and almost no fallout (assuming you use it carefully - fallout is a result of the fireball touching dirt sucked up from the ground, and can be avoided). There are some targets that are inaccessible to anything but nuclear weapons; during my time in SMSU, this included some structures in Libya and North Korea.

    Deterrent theory relies upon the belief that you will use the weapons, and for that belief to be credibly instilled, you must be prepared to use them should whatever line-in-the-sand you create be crossed. I was personally surprised not to see a tac-nuke strike on Tora Bora for this reason; a tenet of deterrent policy had been that a large-scale assault on mainland America would result in maximum retribution. In the Gulf War, when Bush Snr. Administration officials spoke of "maximum retallation" to chemical use, everyone assumed that meant "nuclear" (as it happens, Bush Snr. had removed that option from the table - see below) - otherwise, the question remains "what are you going to bomb that you wouldn't have bombed anyway?" [hint: the answer is "nothing". Iraq actually thought that they were under nuclear assault at one point, and that didn't change anything from their perspective].

    Arms Control Is Always Bad. A particularly strongly held viewpoint (ironic, given that Van Cleave negotiated parts of the ABM Treaty, and Dr. Crouch worked on Start) is that arms control will always fail. Prof. Colin Gray has written some texts explaining this idea (in particular, "why arms control must fail"), and these make informative (if scary) reading. The argument may be summarized as "arms control cannot work when you need it" - that is, in order to agree on meaningful (and enforced) arms control, both countries must be starting to like one another anyway - so it doesn't help; if they come up with something without making real progress, violations become major relationship sticking points (see Krasnoyarsk...)

    American Hegemony. Most of the people with whom I worked at DSS are believers that moving towards a unipolar world-model is a good idea (I disagree strongly, but thats because I'm a whiny European...). They tend to frame this argument in two ways. The first is entirely domestic in nature: if the US doesn't rule the world, it will turn to isolationism. This argument is not strong, since it assumes a total lack of sophistication among US policymakers, most of whom were able to handle selective engagement without becoming overly confused. The second is much more terrifying, and can be seen as an extension of Manifest Destiny theory. Basically, they see the US as being a paragon of virtue and believe that the US should "help" the rest of the world live within a mutually prosperous (read: US exploited) Pax Americana. This is no different from the colonial eras of any other nation, but I don't recommend telling them that. :-|

    Readiness. Americans, and the American military, are not prepared for the horrors that could accompany a nuclear war. Indeed, most brances of the US military tend to regard the idea of nuclear use as being so "out there" that they refuse to even plan for it. The Navy's nuclear policy used to consist of stating that "in the event of nuclear war, all bets are off". It is important to persuade planners that nuclear use is possible (even likely, as more and more groups gain access to basic fission weapons), and at least come up with some form of credible, planned response. 9/11 was bad, but it does not even approximate the devastation that a 220kT warhead would have inflicted if detonated above the WTC; likewise, the Navy needs to recognize that it doesn't take many nukes to stop an entire Carrier Battle Group.

    There will also be some interesting in-Pentagon dynamics associated with this. There are some very strong anti-nuclear movements within the Pentagon, and a policy review of this type represents early shots in what can be expected to be a protracted political conflict. During the Gulf War, Dr. Crouch was instrumental in persuading the Pentagon to perform a feasability study regarding the use of Tactical Nuclear Weapons against Iraqi forces; the report that came back was drafted by anti-nuclear elements, and claimed that more than 2,000 nuclear weapons would be needed to soften up the Republican Guard, with unspeakable consequences. The report itself was badly written, but it did the trick: Bush Snr. removed the nuclear option from the table.

    Expect similar infighting on this issue. In particular, remember that the services don't like nuclear weapons. Navy ships with nukes on board are a fast-track to fewer cushy officer jobs (because one slip-up means end of career). Likewise, the Navy hate the fact that their big ships in blue water policy is very vulnerable to nuclear attack. The Air Force don't like nukes because a recognition of possible attack requires strip alerts for bombers (or extreme vulnerability - take your pick). Additionally, the Air Force dislike ballistic missiles because it means fewer pilots. The Army and Marines would be expected to run through the immediate results of nuclear strikes in some cases, so its easy to see why they don't like it very much!

    • I was personally surprised not to see a tac-nuke strike on Tora Bora for this reason; a tenet of deterrent policy had been that a large-scale assault on mainland America would result in maximum retribution.

      First, the nuclear deterent was aimed at countries with nuclear weapons. Second, the 9/11 attack was not large scale in any usual sense of the term. Third, the Al Qaeda troops at Tora Bora was not the sort of concentration for which tactical nuclear weapons are effective. Fourth, there are several villages in the area that would have been destroyed by a nuclear explosion. Fifth, Tora Bora [washingtonpost.com] is within 10 miles of the Pakistani border, which would certainly have received some of the fallout.

      More important, the wider implications of using a nuclear bomb would have enormous and would certainly have alienated the America's allies. I can't believe that most world leaders wouldn't have been very surprised if the the U.S. had used a nuclear weapon in Afghanistan.

      The Army and Marines would be expected to run through the immediate results of nuclear strikes in some cases, so its easy to see why they don't like it very much!

      ...which is another reason to be surprised if a nuclear weapon had been used in Afghanistan.

      • First, the nuclear deterent was aimed at countries with nuclear weapons

        Almost correct. The nuclear deterrent was initially intended to deter nuclear attack, but in recent years (read post mid-1980s), successive Administrations have expanded the implied threat; massive chemical or biological attacks (arguably worse than a small nuclear strike) would be included, as would direct attacks on the homeland. Deterrence as a concept benefits from clarity; however, if you can convince people that you are sufficiently serious, lesser deterence threats may also work. The risk of that strategy is that you appear to "cry wolf", and after the first time that you don't use a nuclear weapon in response to an apparent breach, you lose considerable credibility.

        Second, the 9/11 attack was not large scale in any usual sense of the term.

        Agreed; I wish more people would figure this out. On the other hand, I know for a fact (from discussions with government employees) that the nuclear option was considered in the aftermath of 9/11. I also know that many of my former colleagues desperately wish to move towards a policy that permits nuclear use in difficult conventional circumstances; Tora Bora would have qualified if conventional bombing had proved less effective.

        Third, the Al Qaeda troops at Tora Bora was not the sort of concentration for which tactical nuclear weapons are effective.

        That may be true, but I very much doubt it. The fact that FAEs and other large conventional munitions were used (repeatedly) argues against you here: the USAF wanted to bring as much explosive yield as they could to the region. It is likely that careful use of nuclear munitions could have made collapsing many of the tunnels much easier - and a sudden, sharp shock as opposed to gradual erosion might have made it considerably harder for the Tora Bora defenders to escape en masse.

        Fourth, there are several villages in the area that would have been destroyed by a nuclear explosion. Fifth, Tora Bora [washingtonpost.com] is within 10 miles of the Pakistani border, which would certainly have received some of the fallout.

        I've lumped these two together, because they are basically restatements of the same argument. Your argument assumes that air-burst tactical nuclear weapons are any worse than the fallout from an FAE. They aren't - in fact, you are much more likely to want to live downwind/downriver of a TNW airburst than an FAE airburst. Modern TNW minimize the size of their fireballs, while maximizing blast overpressure. This has the effect of placing immense pressure against the target while leaving almost no fallout. If you are in direct line of sight of the explosion, you may be irradiated by prompt radiation - but this generally doesn't stick around. Except when dealing with neutron bombs (and then only against armoured vehicles), prompt radiation is not the primary killer: blast overpressure is. Residual radiation is always a problem, which is why you try and ensure that the fireball doesn't touch the ground. I strongly recommend that you read The Effects of Nuclear Weapons(*), a publically available text explaining how nukes really work; most of the fallout scare comes from fearmongering by antinuclear lobbies. Even the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki - very dirty designs by modern standards - didn't render those areas uninhabitable for long (rail service resumed in Hiroshima a few hours after the nuclear attack, for example).

        The point about the Army/Marines having to pass through an area that recently received a nuclear weapon is well received, although the truth is that they would not have much to worry about.

        Your other point - that world leaders would be further alienated from the United States in the event of a nuclear use - is somewhat valid. That said, the current Administration seems to derive pleasure from eroding international norms (in fact, many refuse to accept the existence of such concepts - the realism school gone mad, if you will). Yes, some world leaders would have been surprised by US nuclear use - but not as surprised as you might think. Speculation was rife in the international press that the US would go nuclear shortly after 9/11, and I think a lot of world leaders were resigned to the US doing "whatever it takes" in Afghanistan. In fact, a nuclear use might have sent an important message with regard to US policy in regard to the "war on terrorism". I personally wouldn't support using nukes to send a message, but it would not surprise me, either.

        (*) - Citation: The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, Ed. Samual Glasstone, US Department of Defense, published by the US Atomic Energy Commission, 1962. Additionally, I would recommend looking up the various translated (declassified) former Soviet papers on TNW doctrine. You find them in university libraries. The Soviets were quite advanced in their studies of TNW, mainly because they were less squeamish about them than the West, so its good reading - equivalant NATO documents are harder to find, but they do exist. If you are really interested, check out back-issues of Proceedings (Navy), and the works of the Institute for Strategic Studies. These will lead to many more texts, but I don't really have time to type in the entire bibliography from my Master's thesis. :-)

  • Step back 20 years (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tazzy531 (456079) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:25PM (#3138631) Homepage
    The problem with this is that ever since the cold war era and afterwards, the greatest deterrent against the use of nuclear weapons is the fact of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). Knowing this and the idiocy behinds the huge arms race, there was a feeling of peace in that your enemy would not use nuclear weapons against use and you wouldn't use it against them. It was at an equilibrium (maybe not an ideal one, but still maintain stability in the world)

    Now with this new release, other countries are not so sure that the US will be holding back on the use of nuclear weapons. The only smart thing that they can do knowing this news is to build up their current stockpile and for those that don't have it, acquire it. The result of this is that it leads to greater instability in the world

    Let's think about it this way. Let's just say for example if "Australia" comes out tomorrow and announce that the US is a great terrorist nation and a part of the "Axis of Badpeople" and that at some point later on, the US has to be dealt accordingly. Do you think the US is going to sit back and wait until "Australia" attacks? No, the US will attack "Australia" preemptively because you pretty much know a battle is coming, why wait for the enemy to attack you.

    In my personal opinion, the current administration has done a great amount of damage to the world in terms of lodging it off of the fragile stability that it once was. Just to name a few events, the refusal to sign the Kyoto Pact, the refusal of signing the ban on Biological Weapons and Chemical Warfare, the withdrawal from the ARMS Control treaty with Russia, etc. I mean, how can the US morally attack countries like Iraq for producing Chemical weapons if the US is also producing (or "researching") Biological warfare. [Again, I'm in no way defending Iraq or any other nation..but it's just something to think about]

    Yes, September 11th was an horrible event. I live only 5 miles away from the WTC and unfortunately watched it happen. But what I find even more horrendous is the fact that the administration is using this as a scapegoat to attack people that were not directly involved, and along the way kill innocent civilians [time.com] and/or detain the thousands of innocent people in this country

    Again, I am in no way condoning what was done on September 11th. But it is times like this that we have to step back and make sure that the people that are leading the nation are doing the right thing, and not just blindly follow like sheeps. That is what the core part of democracy is: the power of the people. Throughout history, we have seen situation where entire nations blindly followed the policies of its leaders (take WWII or Communism for example)
    • "Let's think about it this way. Let's just say for example if "Australia" comes out tomorrow and announce that the US is a great terrorist nation and a part of the "Axis of Badpeople" and that at some point later on, the US has to be dealt accordingly. Do you think the US is going to sit back and wait until "Australia" attacks? No, the US will attack "Australia" preemptively because you pretty much know a battle is coming, why wait for the enemy to attack you.

      Actually, yes we would wait for them to attack. That's what the US always does. Australia could scream and shout and pass pamphlets on the "Evils of the US" to their hearts content. But as soon as they start killing our people and blowing up our stuff, they get taken down.

      We wouldn't be dumb about it; we'd be watching them for any sign of hostility. But to think we'd nuke a country, or even kill many of their people (military or civilian) by their mere posturing is lunacy.

  • by Oestergaard (3005) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @03:33PM (#3138666) Homepage
    Strange how people seem to believe that a superior force using bigger weapons is going to help against the inferior force that doesn't fight in a way where the size of weapons matter.

    Face it - the U.S. is a superior military force today. Using bigger or smaller bombs is not going to make one bit of difference.

    The way that other forces fight back, is naturally not by putting up their largest army, only to see it squashed by the bigger army. That would be silly. No, the way to conquor a larger state with your inferior army, is to strike them where they do not expect it. That is why someone used civil aircraft as bombs on Sept. 11th. Whether we like it or not, it's the rational choice (if you can talk about "rational" and "warfare" in the same sentence...).

    Now before you condemn what I say here - think about it. If you were at war with a superior force, would you line up in rows and columns to be slaughtered by the superior force, or would you rather be smart and make a difference ?

    One thing's certain; using bigger bombs is not going to make fewer people strike back. I fail to see the logic behind this escalation, should it pass.

    And no, I do not applaud what's been happening in the world lately. If you think I do, read this post again. Re-iterate as you must.
  • appalling. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by supernova87a (532540) <(kepler1) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Sunday March 10, 2002 @04:17PM (#3138906)
    I'm 26 years old, and I don't think there has been anything in my life that has been more directly shocking to me and what I perceive my future to be than this announcement. Not even the Sept. 11 attacks compare to this demonstration of *intent* to use nuclear weapons in battle if necessary. Sorry, but the loss of 5000 people on that day is not enough to justify unleasing the nuclear floodgates on the world. How dare we.

    Even India and Pakistan testing their nuclear stuff was of less concern to me than this situation. They're developing countries, trying to posture against each other, and at least with them, you figure they're just using the weapons to compete and deter each other.

    But in this case, we've got the world's superpower, announcing that it's ready (yes, what do you think a contingency plan means? it means they're ready to do it) to use nuclear weapons of all sizes against whomever they believe to be the enemy. On its own, without giving a damn about the rest of the world.

    I know that the military is not directly linked to the administration in the White House, but you'd better believe that GW Bush made this attitude possible. This is unbelievable, and endangers all of our lives, seriously. How dare we say that we have the right to go around the world and root out our enemies, bombing the shit out of lands just because we believe that they're hiding somewhere.

    This administration has destroyed our credibility and leverage among our neighbors and I'm not sure how big the repercussions will be in the long run for all of us. It's time to stop the childish attitudes and understand what our role in the world is. It's not just "whatever we want because they're the bad guys, and because we can".
    • Re:appalling. (Score:5, Informative)

      by praedor (218403) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @06:19PM (#3139505) Homepage

      You are actually rather ignorant and an totally naive. I served with the nuclear forces (B-52s) for the 4 years leading up to their final removal from nuclear alert in '91. We were not there playing pretend. We were there to USE the nukes when called to do so.


      It wasn't some abstract idea, it was real. Very real. There IS call to use nukes in more than simply a situation following a ballistic nuke attack on the USA or its allies. It WOULD be appropriate and utterly defensible to use nukes against a country that hit us with chemical or biologicals. Any such country foreits it right to exist.


      The Soviets/Russians have always had a pragmatic view on the use of nukes. It is about time WE did too. Nukes are just weapons.


      How is using a single nuke different than dropping hundreds of HE bombs? Both can lead to the same level of destruction. It matters not if a target was destroyed by a nuke or HE, it is destroyed and there is no distinction. Destroyed in destroyed - unless you go with overkill. Of course it would be different if you used a multikiloton weapon against a small target that could have easily been handled by a load of precision conventionals. If, on the other hand, true deep devestation of a target is called for, then it IS valid to use the right tool for the job, and if that means nuke, so be it. You don't allow an enemy to get away with something simply because you think there should be some mystical, unpassable wall barring the use of a nuke.


      If you can produce a nice, "clean", little nuke then fine. It may be the ONLY way to properly destroy a deep bunker with the LEAST amount of risk to our troops AND with reduced collateral effect.


      Would you be against use of Fuel-air explosives against massed troops? They are conventional weapons yet they have the same localized thermal and pressure effects as a small nuke. Somehow a nuke with the SAME effects would magically be a no-no? Logically...WHY!? There is no logic nor rationality to your knee-jerk response. No doubt, you didn't actually read any of the articles, just the headlines or excerpts from which you automagically develop a Pavlovian reaction against it without thought. In any case, the DETAILS of the plans are unknown to you. None of these articles are THE actual plans - the DETAILS and actual facts remain unknown to you. But no doubt, even if they were known to you, you wouldn't actually SEE them and would maintain your Pavlovian response to anything with the nuke-word in it.


      • by Goonie (8651) <robert DOT merkel AT benambra DOT org> on Sunday March 10, 2002 @09:02PM (#3140180) Homepage
        It WOULD be appropriate and utterly defensible to use nukes against a country that hit us with chemical or biologicals. Any such country foreits it right to exist.

        No, it wouldn't. If nukes were the only way to ensure no further attacks occurred, sure. But to wipe out an entire people, most of whom weren't responsible, purely for revenge? That's unworthy of a civilized human being, and were you the person that ordered such a thing (or carried out such an order knowing you were deliberately mass-murdering civilians) you would be the worst war criminal since Hitler (and, yes, the analogy is relevant for once).

  • Cyber warfare (Score:4, Insightful)

    by javilon (99157) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @04:38PM (#3139002) Homepage
    From the article:

    It calls for improvements in the ability to "exploit" enemy computer networks, and the integration of cyber-warfare into the overall nuclear war database "to enable more effective targeting, weaponeering, and combat assessment essential to the New Triad."

    No wonder why the germans are looking at open source from a national security perspective!

    I know that U.S.A. is not an enemy of EU, but looking at the fascist direction things are taking in the U.S.A. (Bush said: you are with me or against me) and the fact that computer software comes from U.S.A., Europe should be careful.

  • Watch the birdie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linklater (150763) on Sunday March 10, 2002 @06:45PM (#3139629) Homepage
    So now the Anglo American military machine is threatening nuclear warfare. Not against one potential enemy, but seven. Now the cold war with Russia is over, the new enemy of the people, terrorism, is used as an excuse for escalation of military armament and government surveillance. The truth is that the real enemy of the military/industrial complex will never be defeated. The real enemy of those in power are the general population. Only through fear and propaganda can their reign of terror and oppression continue. An educated and organised public would not tolerate this lunacy.

    America does not passively sit back and defend itself against enemies when they pop up, they spend billions not in defence, but in offence, creating a world where military might controls less powerful countries by force. The lapdog of the UK is no better - sent in where 'diplomacy' and 'peace keeping' would be more effective than direct action - loyal to the last, and the largest aircraft carrier on earth. They cannot be stopped - they are out of control.

    America will never be safe as long as the current tyranny is in power.

    Terror is defined as illegal use of force to effect foreign powers. In this technique, America reigns supreme.

    Look beyond the details and the supposed motives. Look at how the world is controlled. Look at how the gap between rich and poor is getting wider. Look at why humanity is not moving forward. Read some Chomsky.

    We are at a pivotal point in history. We now have the ability to clothe, house, feed and educate every human on the planet, bar none, yet we waste our energies bickering over who owns what and killing innocents. Instead of watching the birdie, look at how the puppetmasters are raping the world.


    This wasn't a leak - it was a controlled threat made public to keep the people feeling scared and insecure. To keep the inertia of new oppressive laws going. To guarantee the flow of taxes from patriotic Americans to the backpockets of those in power. If Bush was really serious about dropping nukes on those who threaten world peace, he'd drop one on the whitehouse.

  • USA.

    Besides, who needs nukes when you have thermobarics? All the terror of mini-nukes, none of the fall-out, and you get a chemical poison-gas weapon as a pleasant, non-Hague Convention side-effect...

    The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique--and unpleasant.... What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs.. If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents.The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique--and unpleasant.... What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs.. If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents.
    Defense Intelligence Agency, "Fuel-Air and Enhanced-Blast Explosive Technology--Foreign," April 1993. Obtained by Human Rights Watch under the US FOIA

    The effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense. Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs,and possibly blindness.
    Central Intelligence Agency, "Conventional Weapons Producing Chemical-Warfare-Agent-Like Injuries," February 1990. Unclassified document.

    Because the "shock and pressure waves cause minimal damage to brain tissue.it is possible that victims of FAEs are not rendered unconscious by the blast, but instead suffer for several seconds or minutes while they suffocate."
    Defense Intelligence Agency, "Future Threat to the Soldier System, Volume I; Dismounted Soldier--Middle East Threat," September 1993, p. 73. Obtained by Human Rights Watch under the US FOIA

    Source [hrw.org] for these quotes.
  • by SysKoll (48967) on Monday March 11, 2002 @12:07AM (#3140905)
    Accordingly, the NPR calls for new emphasis on developing such things as nuclear bunker-busters and surgical "warheads that reduce collateral damage," as well as weapons that could be used against smaller, more circumscribed targets--"possible modifications to existing weapons to provide additional yield flexibility," in the jargon-rich language of the review.

    The Soviet have 150-mm nuclear tactical warhead to be fired from a regular 150-mm artillery gun. These warheads are supposed to have a yield of less than a kiloton. The Soviet forces also have nuclear landmines, presumably to blow up large infrastructures.

    The US have 155-mm nuclear artillery, such as the W-48 warhead [brook.edu], with a very low yield (less than 0.1 kiloton).

    So I fail to see what's so new, exciting and dangerous about deployment of tactical, low yield nukes. Such dangerous gadget have been deployed since the fifties. Just because the poster did not know about it does not make it new.

    To be exhaustive, NATO claims that all nuclear artillery shells and tactical surface warheads (anti-ship and anti-submarines) were eliminated between 1991 and 1993 [nato.int]. So this article merely suggest that these weapons are returning to the Western arsenal.

    -- SysKoll
  • From Now On... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by istartedi (132515) on Monday March 11, 2002 @12:59AM (#3141109) Journal

    ...everybody in government should have to put a little disclaimer on their policy statements, something like this:

    The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of my employer

    In this case, the "employer" is We The People of the United States.

    I wager that most of us have no desire to nuke Russia, which is making remarkable progress towards becoming a free society. Come to think of it, most of us have no desire to nuke anybody unless they nuke us first.

  • Machiavelli (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squeeze Truck (2971) <xmsho@yahoo.com> on Monday March 11, 2002 @02:16AM (#3141324) Homepage

    I hold it to be of great prudence for men to abstain from threats and insulting words towards any one, for neither the one nor the other in any way diminishes the strength of the enemy; but the one makes him more cautious, and the other increases his hatred of you, and makes him more persevering in his efforts to injure you

    - Machiavelli

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