If The US Nuked Iraq

How is that possible, really? That would represent more insurgents than there are able-bodied male adults.

What country in modern history has ever managed to have 30% of its population fighting?

To end ww2?

May believe that USA used those nukes to give a Stalin a warning

I never stated that it was a good or a bad idea, if you’ll notice.

Who said anything about having the locals do the “cleansing”?

Absolutely nothing. Of course, IIRC the US did drop leaflets before one of their major operations and some of the insurgents did stay. (Probably some innocent civilians as well, I’m sure.)

I’m planning nothing, and you’ll notice that nowhere in the OP did I state that I thought that this was a “good idea.” I am curious as to what people would think if such a situation were to occur.

See above comment.

Okay, that’s one more for the other side.

Again, I didn’t assume that the insurgents would stay or leave in great numbers. I purposely left that open. Odds are you’d have a number of innocents stay as well as a number of insurgents. I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to what the ratio of innocents to insurgents might be.

A.) I’m not proposing that we do this. B.) When has something being “idiotic” stopped the current administration? C.) And our current administration seems to be trying to corner the market on barbarity at times, don’t you think?

Little Nemo, I dont’ know if you factored this in or not, but slapping sanctions on the US would pretty much cause the entire global economy to collapse, seeing as how we’re the largest consumer of well, just about everything on the planet. Not saying that the US wouldn’t get slapped with sanctions, mind you, but I’d think that there’d have to be an awful lot of weighing the options before the sanctions went into place, and I don’t have a clue how long they’d last once the global economy started to go south.

Then they helped forestall WW3. Entirely worthwhile, Bosda notwithstanding.

The U.S. is also the world’s largest exporter; many of the imports and exports could be replaced, after all. There would be substantial costs involved but the world’s economy would not just completely implode. The substantial costs would be worth it, frankly; if the U.S. goes nuts and starts nuking other countries we’ll have to suck it up and do what it takes.

I’m afraid those in charge might say, “Bring 'em on!” and nuke sanctioning countries.

How lucky we are that the United States is not the only country in the world with nukes, then, which would presumably help to act as a brake on such insane behaviour.

Bring 'em on Pal, bring 'em on!

IMHO, this seems to be the most likely part of the OP: US military build-up outside of the city, combined with leaflet dropping that doesn’t specifically say "We gonna nook yer butts, love GWB) -combined- with recent Hezbollah success against US-style forces in southern Lebanon suggests that insurgent forces would attempt a build-up in said city. The Iraqi insurgency has shown many times that is is willing to put up a fight against US forces in order to help in their PR goals, even if it doesn’t seem like it will win a tactical victory. The OP’s scenario seems to suggest a deliberate attempt to suggest a normal invasion, not a nuclear action.

The American economy is big. But the economy of the rest of the world is bigger. I think it’s inevitable who’d say “uncle” first.

I’ve has this “nuke 'em 'til they glow” fantasy, too, but I’ve never seen it as anything other than a fantasy born of frustration and anger. Sure, it’s frustrating to have all that nuclear muscle and not be able to use it, but the simple fact is that our nuclear arsenal is completely useless for the kind of war we’re fighting. (Of course, I subscribe to the theory that nukes are useless for anything except as a counterthreat against anyone who might use nukes on you.)

Look, if you’re going to pulverize a city you don’t need a nuclear bomb to do it. Just send in the B-52s and carpet bomb the city for a week until it’s nothing but rubble, then bounce the rubble.

That avoids the whole nuclear diplomatic disaster but accomplishes the same ends. And…then what? We’ve destroyed one Iraqi city, and maybe a few insurgents. How many? Probably not very many, especially compared to the number of non-insurgents killed, wounded, and made homeless and jobless.

I don’t even understand why the question was asked. Did the OP think we’d get some praise of the plan?

And completely negates the massive psychological impact of using nukes. It is the psychological impact that I’m interested in.

What? You never ran through various scenerios in your head and said, "Gee, I wonder what would happen if. . . "

I can’t help thinking of Vietnam here - there was a story of how the VC used to deceive the US into shelling villages.

However, the region does have a history of exterminating - and that’s what it would be - one city to ensure compliance by others.

For a nuclear strike to have any hope of working, it would have to be a complete surprise, otherwise the insurgents would simply disappear. The West and Japan would be horrified; the rest of the world would affect horror. If the US were to tough it out - “We will achieve our aims by any means at our disposal” or similar - I think the US would take a popularity hit for 6 months or so but it would be seen with a new respect.

Longer term it will signal the end of the concept of the civilian. I’m not sure that term is relevant in asymmetric warfare right now, but that’s for a different thread.

Well, if that’s really what this thread is about, and I have my doubts, you are asking a group of mostly Americans to put themselves in the heads of Iraqi muslims, something which we have repeatedly shown we are not very good at. Lacking anyone from your target group who can contribute to this discussion, here’s one approach you might consider.

Imagine the psychological impact on Americans if someone were to detonate a “small nuke”, whatever that is, in an American city. This subject has come up numerous times here and every time it has, it seems like the consensus would be total, snarling defiance. The US response would be just like the responses to any other type of terrorist attack that has occurred so far: flag-waving patriotism, endless speeches with the word “resolve” appearing every third line; metaphorical fist-shaking with abundant promises to never surrender, bring them all to justice, yadda yadda yadda.

Now, extrapolate this to a nuke exploded for the rather murky purpose you propose in Iraq. You seem to believe the Iraqi response would be precisely the opposite, from a culture that has practically made an art of metaphorical fist-shaking, Sorry, don’t see it. Maybe you could explain why you think the Iraqi response would be so very different from an American one, or perhaps, whether you think the American response to a nuclear attack on its own assets would be to instantly stop resisting, since that seems to be what you think a nuclear attack on Iraq would accomplish. You also seem to discount the effects of the undoubted revulsion that this incredibly brutal gesture would face from most of the countries of the world, surely including many that we would find it convenient to have as allies. Just for one example, I am fairly certain that the reaction of the British public to such a move by the US would guarantee the end of the “special relationship” forevermore.

Aside from all that, the main problem I see with your scenario is that it is an escalation rather than a defusing of the situation. I do presume you actually want the situation in Iraq to be defused, rather than just, say, take revenge for the Iraqis’ lack of gratitude to us for liberating them, right? What if the exploding of one nuke doesn’t provide the quick fix you are looking for? What’s the next step?

I’d guess it’s to keep using nukes until the last surviving Iraqi says “Hmmm, maybe you have a point…”

I’ll just note that since the OP has specifically denied being an advocate for his premise, I apologize for any snarkiness in my last post. I will say, however, that it was not entirely obvious whether he was for, against or neutral toward this plan until his clarification.

There would be tremendous domestic opposition to the use of nukes. I’m immensely skeptical that the US could hold together the political support necessary for a nuke campaign for as much as six months.

It wouldn’t matter: it would be over and done with.

But I think the time for doing this has passed. Or not yet come. Today, unless carefully managed, it could well seem like someone lashing out. If Bush were going to do this, then he should have done it much earlier. But there’s a window of opportunity: during the election period of 2008. America can do it and get away with doing it because there’s going to be a new leader, but the precedent will have been set.

No, of course it didn’t. Vietnam, Korea, several of the wars in the Middle East, proxy wars between the US and the USSR.

Of course, if not for the threat of MAD, the Soviet Union would have fulfilled their desire to bring the workers paradise on the end of a bayonet, and we instead would have been fighting our war on the ground in Germany, France, and the Balkans.

Against a heavily armed and mobilized enemy, capable of ruthless expenditure of lives in the quest for the “Greater good”.

There’s always a trade off.