Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Reading between the lines

Test Blast in Nevada: A Nuclear Rehearsal

Two articles presented at truthout underline the urgency of this issue - and ironically, point out the sheer lack of data about the effectiveness of nuclear weapons against hardened military targets.
The detonation, called Divine Strake, is intended to "develop a planning tool to improve the warfighter's confidence in selecting the smallest proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities while minimizing collateral damage," according to Defense Department budget documents.

There doesn't seem to be any serious question as to whether this is intended as a nuclear test, apparently of a surface detonation. The only question is, well, why, and why now. Although it would be a blast fifty times larger than our largest conventional weapon, we have the capacity to deliver fifty conventional weapons, and weapons that do more things, much more effective and lethal things than simply going "boom" in a conventional way.

There has been a concerted effort from the military to develop non-nuclear options to deal with threats that, fifteen or twenty years ago, would have had commanders and their troops hanging their butts out waiting for Washington to decide if the political fallout was worth a front-line battalion. This is because nukes are the only class of weapon that requires presidential authorization for use.

Needless to say, no commander likes the idea of being in an untenable situation, dependant on the political calculation of a fickle beltway boy.

That is why any number of weapons systems have been developed to precisely deliver all kinds of shock and awe. And if they are not so large as a nuke, well, precision counts. That has been the second fork of weapons development, the idea that killing lots of people in order to kill the right people is not such a good idea as it is to create the smallest possible zone of total lethality, and put it in the right place.

Objectively, we do a damn fine job of that. While this is, and should be cold comfort to Iraqis, compare Baghdad to Dresden, or any other major target city in WWII; even London.

The difference to the target area between nuke and non-nuke - particularly Dresden - was moot.

Our capability to lay waste to any given populated area is no less today, at least, given the same level of effort.

So we must assume along with the world in general – that GWB wants to actually use a nuclear weapon. That is the only safe assumption for anyone to make that is concerned with the National Security of any nation, such as this one, for instance.

Nukes have the advantage of being directly controlled by the president, under the control of forces repeatedly drilled to accept his command authority without question.

Now, we also know from his history that all his decisions are political decisions; that is the only concept of "fallout" that he has any hope of understanding. I find it disturbingly possible that nuking Iran might just be his idea of an "october surprise." I hope that whatever your politics, the idea of unleashing nuclear hell in order to win a midterm election strikes you as sheer lunacy. It does me too, and it's not a thought that would cross my mind in regards to any other President, no matter how little I thought of them, or what their politics were; there are some lines that are not to be crossed, assumptions you can bet on.

But - and I'm speaking to sane Republicans and Conservatives here; have ANY of your assumptions based on good conservative, republican values come to pass after GWB promised he'd bring them to the fore?

I presume that you, like I, have some passing interest in not being suddenly vaporized, poisoned or infected with some horrid biological weapon. I would think that to be a genuinely non-partisan concern!

And while I have a far more realistic appreciation of the risks of nuclear war than your average “nuclear winter and mutant tomatoes” concept, I know that “duck and cover” is all we will be offered by our department of “Homeland Security.”

That, and duct tape.

tag: , , , , ,

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular Posts

News Feeds

Me, Elsewhere