Neutron bomb Iraqi oil fields? I say Yes!

Okay, I don’t say Yes! But seriously, it seems pretty obvious that in the event of a war Saddam intends to blow the Iraqi oil fields like he did in Quwait (sp?). Suppose, for sake of argument, his oil fields are nowhere near residential areas. Should the U.S. start an invasion/war by neutron bombing them? What would be worse for the environment: a few neutron bombs or massive oil well fires?

Downsides: Dead civilian petroleum workers. Bad press for using neutron bomb. Residual radiation?

Upsides: Oil wells not blown and set alight.

Net zeros: Republican guard soldiers would probably be killed anyway–is radiation burning that much worse that being shredded by shrapnel?

Absent the nuclear stigma, I’d be tempted to say go for it.


Beyond the moral arguments and the fact that you’d have oil fields that were now contaminated and virtually unusable… a bomb that spreads radiation wouldn’t kill soldiers immediately, alllowing them to continue fighting for at least a few days, more likely weeks or months.

Do we even have a stockpile of neutron bombs?

That’s a pretty stupid idea. JonScribe already explained why.

So why the F*** did you put that stupid statement in your OP? How ingenuous. How juvenile.

I didn’t even know that neutron bombs existed past the theoretical phase yet. Does anyone know if a usuable neutron bomb exists?

Links To Info
And a general Atomic Weapons link

Would a nuclear bomb detonated over a US military base in the middle of nowhere be acceptable to you, js_africanus?

The richest oilfield in Iraq is up north in the Kurdistan region, whom by the way are meant to be allies of yours in case you’ve forgotten!!
But then again with history repeating itself the U.S. would probably betray us Kurds yet again!!


I agree with you, but…

I think the point of the OP is to prevent the Iraqis from blowing the oil fields, ah, by nuking them. I understand your confusion though.

Thanks for the links, Bosda. I never knew that they were just regular atom bombs with added radiation. In that regard, Beagle is right about my confusion.

Urban Ranger, I don’t consider Nagasaki (sp?) to be more of a tragedy than Dresden.

Some of you others really need to lighten up.

Yup, starting a nuclear war just sounds like a fantastic idea. And with magical weapons, no less.

They should use phasers and photon torpedoes to take Baghdad, too!

By the way, africanus, even a neutron bomb makes a pretty large bang.

Lighten up?!?!

You’re advocating nuclear bombs and you tell us to lighten up?!?!

Even I don’t support the use of nukes. Not even if I have to die because of their non-use.

You must be out of your bloomin’ mind.

I suspect there’s still a lingering misconception that neutron bombs only produce radiation. They don’t. There’s still a pretty substantial bang involved.

(apologies if this ends up posted more than once – the boards appear to be having more than a minor fit at the moment)

You know, when I try to be objective about it there does seem to be one option which might fit the bill. js_africanus is really suggesting the use of an area-denial weapon in order to keep people away from the oilfields. It would have to be something that would be good at keeping people out while doing minimal damage to the facilities itself. It would have to work for a period of weeks, but not months or years, and it shouldn’t be very expensive, dangerous, or time-consuming to clean up.

A good dousing of the important areas with a biodegradable chemical blistering agent might do quite nicely.

Or perhaps I should say, “might do quite nicely in theory,” because everyone knows this war is about weapons of mass destruction, not oil.

Yeah. A large component of debate is to float ideas, some timid, some crazy, and see what happens. So yeah, lighten up.

Note that I have suffered from potentially lethal radiation sickness and it was no picnic. If I hadn’t switched to a new anti-nausea drug, I would have been dead in a few days from dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea. But I don’t see how it would have been worse than getting shot. I don’t understand the proclivity to consider gutting someone a moral way to kill him but using radiation is immoral.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. If the hard core Republican Guard are going to go down fighting anyway, might as well kill them while they’re trying to do egregious environmental damage. But your idea is better, since it sounds non-lethal. (Plus it turns out that the reports about the neutron bomb were a hoax.)

Oh, no. My idea is very lethal, environmentally destructive, and also as mad as a bloomin’ march hare.

The point I was trying to make is the very weapon which could actually be of use is one of the weapons we seek to take away from the Iraqis. I think we’d be much better served by dropping of a dozen sticks of Rangers and hoping that an Iraqi armored division doesn’t pop up out of the sand.

The neutron bomb is not really a general purpose weapon. It was for a potential, and specific, scenario in WW III. I doubt we even deploy them anymore.

They were created to counter the huge mobilized armor advantage the Soviets had in eastern Europe in the 70s & 80s. If they ever tried to blitzkrieg west with thousands of tanks (much more than NATO had) an enhanced radiation weapon (i.e. a neutron bomb) would have been a good contingency plan. The radiation would be able to penetrate thick armor.

It was never a magic ‘death ray’ that would kill people without damaging structures and would be totally impractical to protect Iraqi oil fields with.

“Well, sir, we nuked the oil well in order to save it.”

What if the oil-fields are rigged and set-up to blow-up by remote control?
After you mess everything up with the neutron bomb, they blow the fields anyway.

Unfortunately that’s the impression that was given: a huge blast of radiation that streams out into infinity, but strong enought to kill every thing within a certain range. That’s what I get for listening to popular media.

Bryan Ekers, you highlighted the central organizing principle of quite a bit of past [ conservation policy there. It makes perfect sense.