Let’s say we go and nuke some, or all, Middle Eastern countries. What would the response be? Which Middle Eastern countries have nuclear capabilities? Doesn’t Pakistan have “the bomb?” Would they shoot back? Once the blood has been shed over there, what’s to stop them from going further? Their “souls” are already “prepared,” they don’t have anything to lose.
What happens if we nuke SOME, but not ALL terrorist groups? There are plenty of countries out there who would line up for the “honor” of killing Americans.
the government is obviously going to be very careful about a counter-attack. the president just stated this morning that we need to be “patient”. they aren’t going to go after everyone, and if they can confirm which country is harboring the terrorist group who did this this, i’m sure they will ask that nation to surrender them, and if not, they will declare war against that nation. but i don’t know that any middle-eastern country is going to be that stupid, because the whole world has our back on this. offers of support have come from virtually the entire world, even from libya and cuba, which is, i must say, extremely impressive. i think once things are sorted out here, the terrorist group and the nation harboring them will realize they don’t have a chance. the only that worries me is the accessibility of nukes to foreign terrorists. that is the only thing that would possibly make them oppose the U.S. in the public eye.
“but i don’t know that any middle-eastern country is going to be that stupid…,”
Well, they may not be stupid, but they sure are committed to their cause. These terrorists have ZERO regard, for not only life in general, but they have zero regard for their OWN lives. That’s the rub. THEY DON’T CARE IF THEY DIE OR NOT. To them, it’s an HONOR to die. It’s their DESTINY. If we launch nukes, THEY’LL launch nukes. They could care less that their going to die - as long as Americans die.
OK, so what is China’s and Russia’s stance on what’s happened? To put it bluntly - are they with us or against us?
Well, we know what Pakistan’s opinion is, but what about India’s? Even though Pakistan’s nukes may have limited range, what’s to stop them from bring one over here and detonating it? I think have a “limited range” nuke is just a minor problem when one REALLY wants to set one off.
Remember, we’re not dealing with rational thinking people here. We have to put ourselves in a terrorists mindset.
Ethilrist, I understand your concern, but like I wrote in the original post, I’m speculating about the “worst case scenario” here. I’m talking about the U.S. using a nuclear strike on foreign soil. What are the consequences? Do we risk having nukes fired back at us? Not necessarily by the country that we fire upon, but by sympathetic countries that hate Americans just as much?
I’m talking about the worst case scenario, too: There could be an Oklahoma City bomb in every parking ramp in America right now. Radio-controlled, ready to go off as we speak.
NYC just lost half its fire-fighting crew. What would happen if another dozen fires broke out today? Tomorrow?
Pakistan launching nukes at us? Go ahead. We reduce them to a glassy crater. Faceless terrorists with a bunch of home electronics they bought at Radio Shack? How do we nuke them? How do we find them? How do we know we got them all?
According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (all numbers are estimates):
NTP (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) NUCLEAR-WEAPON STATES
These nations have large confirmed stockpiles and are allowed to maintain them in acordance with the 1968 NPT.
260 United Kingdom
12070 United States
NON-NPT NUCLEAR-WEAPON STATES
These nations have confirmed weapons but are not signatories to the NTP.
These nations have signed the NPT, but are believed to be developing weapons in defiance of the treaty.
Iran - Estimated to be 8 to 10 years away from working weapons.
Iraq - Program dismantled in early '90s. No current reliable information availaible.
Libya - Believed to be ‘far’ from working weapon.
North Korea - May have enough material for one device.
These states have either had nuclear weapons or advanced programs developing them. All have signed the NPT and are operating in accordance to the treaty.
Algeria - Agreed to monitoring in 1995.
Argentina - Program dismantled after the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
Belarus - Complete dismantlement of USSR weapons confirmed.
Brazil - Program dismantled after the Treaty of Tlatelolco.
Kazakhstan - Complete dismantlement of USSR weapons confirmed.
Romania - Iliescu government discontinued program.
South Africa - Dismantled all 6 devices in 1990’s
Ukraine - Complete dismantlement of USSR weapons confirmed.
These countries have all the necessary infrastructure to build nuclear weapons, but have never developed nuclear weapon programs. All are signatories to the NPT.
To answer the original post the only Islamic nation with ‘the bomb’ is Pakistan. Their stockpile is estimated to be around 15 working warheads. Actually they are estimated to have the material for 15. It is quite possible that they have no pre-assembled warheads. In addition they have no missles with the inter-continental range necessary for a strike on the USA. However as other posters have mentioned there are quite a few concerns which I hope will keep us from using atomic weapons in retaliation in this instance.
The big question is whether any of the former USSR’s weapons have been or are in danger of being diverted to terrorist buyers. The scenerio in True Lies was that a middle eastern terrorist group managed to either buy or steal some Soviet nukes.
China and Russia have the potential to be “spoilers” in any upcoming conflict between the US and a harboring nation. That is, they could condemn the terrorist attack but oppose anything military we propose to do about it. Russia considers the region near it’s southern border a part of it’s legitimate sphere of interest, and could get huffy if the US takes unilateral action without Russia’s consent.
If we’re talking about having to assault/invade Afghanistan to kill or capture Bin Laden, then Pakistan becomes a player. Could someone in the Paki military be sympathetic enough to slip a nuke or two to a terrorist group? It’s not impossible.
In June of this year, Putin was here in Shanghai along with 3 Central Asian Republics (IIRC Khazakstan, Uzbekistan and ??) to work together on how to combat the growing hard core Islamic belligerence that is coming out of Afganistan and threatens to wreak havoc in its neighbors.
China has a large muslim population especially in Xinjiang province, in the far west which borders Pakistan. The Chinese have had scattered Islamic uprisings, although that’s a simplistic way of looking at it.
Thus, I do believe that China and Russia would not be upset if the US did something to remove the Islamic threat in Afganistan. Somehow, I don’t think it would be a joint US-Chinese-Russian operation, but there would be tacit support.
Federation of American Scientists’ site has lots of good info on who has it, what the status is, etc.
Personally, I worry a LOT more about the smallpox virus that is known to have made it out of Russia. I don’t know if the version that was crossed with Ebola got out or not, but either way, it’s very bad news. With regular smallpox, about a third of the untreated victims will die. Maybe more, since we’re now all about as immunologically naive as the natives of the Americas were when Hernan Cortez arrived. I’d suggest that anyone interested read Ken Alibek’s book “Biohazard”.