Now, I’m not talking about Shrub stumbling out of bed one morning and saying, “Aw, fuck it! Let’s turn the whole place into a parking lot.” but something a little more sophisticated than that. The US picks a city, heavily controlled by the insurgents and begins dropping leaflets on the city telling the residents that a major US military operation in 30 days time will seek to cleanse their city of insurgent elements and all non-combatants are advised to get out of the city. There’s a realistic build up of military forces outside the city limits (and the danger zone) as well, then one week after the deadline has passed, the US drops a very small yield nuke in the center of the city.
Obviously, the global reaction is going to be: “Holy shit! The bloody Yanks have gone off their cracker!” But what will the insurgents do (the ones that weren’t vaporized, that is)? Will their ranks swell, figuring that they might as well go down swinging or will all but the hardcore members begin defecting, figuring that 72 virgins aside, vaporization just ain’t a glorious way to die? You can assume that the US is (or is not) dropping leaflets on another city heavily controlled by insurgents that a major operation is coming in the days after the first city get’s nuked, if you choose.
I imagine that we could carpet bomb a city (say Fallujah back when it was held by anti-US forces) with conventional weapons and get pretty much the same effect without violating all the international conventions regarding nukes.
But in anycase, in the civilian population that flees the city you will have destroyed the homes of a hundred thousand people, creating a large homeless population thats really, justifiably, pissed off at the US. I imagine these folks will join the insurgency with larger numbers then insurgents that will have stuck around in a city to be killed by the firebombing/nuking.
A nuke is probably the worst anti-insurgency weapon imaginable.
Exactly. The US has would have at least as much, probably more, to worry itself about regarding the world response to such a brutal and insane overreaction than it would from any insurgents in Iraq. We’re currently importing at least fifty pecent of our daily oil needs from other countries. Would our administration risk that to root out a few insurgents? If it comes to that, would it not be much smarter to simply pull out of Iraq?
Besides, that, supposedly (yeah, I know, it’s just a puppet, but humor me) there is an actual government of Iraq, by Iraqis. Despite the general ham-handedness of the current US administration, I find it hard to believe that they would ever attempt such a step without discussing it with the Iraqis, and I find it equally hard to believe that the rulers of any country on earth would agree to the nuking of their own territory by a third party, even if they for some idiotic reason assumed that the nuke would magically affect only insurgents.
Lastly, nuclear devices used in such a fashion are, quite simply, nothing more than terror weapons. What percentage of the population in any given area in Iraq is made up of weapon-carrying insurgents? Ten percent? Thirty percent (I doubt it’s anywhere near that high, but for the sake of argument…)? I suppose if our current President were Genghis Khan, he might seriously consider utterly destroying a given area and killing or exiling its entire population, simply to get at ten percent of them, but fortunately, our President is not Genghis Khan. Hell, even our VICE President isn’t Genghis Khan.
And for 50-odd years, they created a balance of terror, a risk that all Human civilization might end, a stalling factor that tied the hands of everybody who had them.
But this did not create peace!
Oh, Hell no!
It created endless, drawn-out wars by proxy, delaying 3rd World development by a century, at least. And it created a huge financial burden on the nations that had nuclear weapons, both to build & maintain the weapons themselves, and to create delivery systems.
If atomic weapons were used, they would be a resource, albeit an ill-concieved one.
It is when they are percieved as vital, but never used, that they become a trap.
I’ll have to mull over that for awile.
Aside from losing 500,000 guys taking Japan, my initial reaction is that as much or more money would be spent on a large standing army, we wouldn’t have a space program (or satellite TV!) and the USSR would still be around with a large standing army and influential in the Middle East.
And how exactly are the locals supposed to get rid of insurgents, assuming that they would want too, when a regular army can’t manage to do that?
What exactly prevents insurgents from leaving the city along with the non-combatants during the 30 days period?
Since you’re not mentionning what will happen if the residents comply (for instance, everybody evacuate the city, insurgents included), it seems you expect the population won’t and are just planning a mass-murder in order to make an example for other cities. On a smaller scale, this has already been done by the nazis ( never in a large city, AFAIK). I assume you want to show the USA can be worst than them. Though it’s not exactly the same, you could compare also your concepts with terror attacks on civilian population, for instance 9/11. Once again on a larger scale.
Or maybe you’re only expecting to raze a whole empty city after everybody evacuated it? The point being???
Probably. Actually, under these circumstances, I might consider joining them.
And again, why do you assume any insurgent will be vaporized (rather than leave the city?), or that insurgents are more likely to be vaporized than a random elderly lady who stubbornly refuses to leave her place?
Your proposal, besides being barbaric, is idiotic.
Say we have 24 style satellite pics of Bin Ladin (sp) in an isolated Kyber Pass all by his lonesome. Can we use a small nuke on him? 'Course, we wouldn’t have a head for Connie Rice to carry to the press conference by the hair…
Why use a nuke? We still have plenty of troops/planes/drones etc. in the area that could be sent to kill/capture him.
I’m not sure we even have small yield nukes sitting around waiting to be fired anywhere in the world at a moments notice, since basically the only thing we use nukes for anymore is MAD, and that relies on big megaton multiwarhead ubermissiles.
I imagine by the time they got a small yield nuke out of the warehouse, rearmed and put on something that could diliver it, Bin Ladin would be long gone.
Remember September 12, 2001? When every country on Earth, even Cuba and Libya, was expressing shock and outrage against the terrorists and offering sympathy and support to the United States?
It would be like that, except we’d be getting all the shock and outrage. Every country, even our former close allies, would denounce us as terrorists and call us a rogue nation. We’d face international sanctions and would be forced to pull our troops out of Iraq and everywhere else. The international community would assist the Iraqis in rebuilding their city. The insurgents would proclaim the entire city as a martyr and would embrace millions of new members.
As Napoleon once said about a diplomatic debacle, “It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder.”