I think whether or not these “usable” nukes are a bad idea depends greatly upon the specific details of the weapons. Why are nukes in general considered so awful? It’s not because nuclear energy is inherently bad, or because dying by a direct nuclear blast is much worse than dying from a conventional bomb blast - dead and vaporized is dead and vaporized.
Nukes are considered evil incarnate for two reasons, as far as I can tell. The first is that they can potentially kill millions of people in one blast. The second is that they can irradiate an area, killing many more people slowly, and making an area uninhabitable for a time. So what if we could make a nuclear weapon that could be localized to the same extent that a conventional bomb can be? And further, what if we could make a nuke that had minimal, or even negligible, fallout? Would this still be an awful, evil weapon? I don’t see why. At the least, I don’t see why it would be any more awful and evil than a FAE bomb, or something comparable.
The article cited doesn’t really go into details much, it just says, “Ooh, usable nukes, how eeeeeevil!”, and leaves it at that. The one mention of specific technology that is mentioned is the “bunker-buster”. What I know of the bunker buster is as follows - it’s a bomb that can effectively burrow underground, and create a huge explosion beneath the earth, destroying everything down there, while creating minimal fallout. Basically, extremely localized Death and Destruction with considerably less radiation damage than a “normal” nuke. To me, this sound great. All the advantages of a nuke (Big Freakin’ Explosion sure to vaporize anything that needs vaporizin’), with few of the drawbacks (that whole irradiation of hundreds of square miles and millions of folks dead). If this is what they mean by “usable nukes”, hey, sign me up. Sounds like a pretty good deal.
Of course, by usable nukes, they could just mean “something that can take out a reasonably sized village, but probably wouldn’t decimate all of New York”, in which case I fail to see the use for that. But until I get a few more real, actual, honest-to-God facts, I don’t see how this qualifies as the Worst. Idea. Ever.