Would we ever nuke?

After this recent wave of world instability started brewing, I couldn’t help but entertain the thought that this could lead to WWIII. My question is, how far would terrorists have to go before we broke down and flexed our nuclear supremecy once again?

Would we nuke? Highly unlikely. What would we drop the bomb on? Afghanistan is one step away from a wasteland as it is.

Even if you mean other countries, mass destruction is going to accomplish far less (in terms of “good things” - far more in terms of “bad things”) than the surgical strikes we are currently employing. If you’re trying to take out a training camp, 100 megatons of nuclear death is a bit overkill.

Personally, I don’t think the terrorists could go far enough to invoke a nuclear response. They are too scattered for nuclear strikes to be of any use. If a nation, such as Pakistan, turned against us and started lobbing nukes, we might retaliate in kind.

I doubt anything other than a nuke set off on our shores would prevoke this response. Especially considering the Muslim/Infidel angle the Taliban and OBL are trying to push.
The US has somewhat of a black eye for being the only country to use nukes, so we are loathe to do it again.

The close proximity of Russia to Afghanistan is another issue. Russia would most likely receive some of the fallout (to say nothing of Pakistan and India). Doubtful we would have ANY allies then (except Israel).

I believe the US would withdraw from the Mideast and seal its borders (as much as possible) if anything serious enough to warrant a nuclear response were to happen.

I did read a article today online, it was on http://www.wired.com , about so called tactical nukes that could be shot stratigecly like the guided bombs used in the past. The article talks about aiming these warheads into caves and basically obliterating anything in them.


Sorry, that was bugging me.

Our nuclear response doctrine has always been regulated by reply in kind to weapons of mass destruction. These are known as NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) weapons. If we are attacked with any of the three types of weapons of mass destruction, we may respond with any of the three in reply.

That said, we were hit with weapons of mass destruction in New York. It is for this one reason that we should continue to leave the nuclear option on the table and not explicitly rule it out. The doubt must remain in the minds of our enemy that they may just get glassed over if they pull this kind of crap now, or ever again.

Nonetheless, it would be the height of imprudence for us to initiate any sort of nuclear attack in Afghanistan at the moment. Even a tactical one involving a wholly contained underground explosion. A fuel-air vapor bomb should be able to create almost the exact same effect without any of the intense stigma attached to the introduction of what is admittedly one of the most reprehensible forms of warfare known in the history of mankind.

To initiate a nuclear attack would almost guarantee an eventual atomic retaliation by the terrorists as soon as they had the opportunity. It is far better for us to hold total nuclear annihilation (as opposed to such a limited use scenario) over the heads of our putative enemies rather than play a most valuable trump card so early in the game and lose such a powerful deterrent too soon.

If weapons of mass destruction were unleashed on the American population I think it is possible that we’d retaliate with nuclear arms. For the sake of arguement let’s pretend that terrorist forces manage to kill 10,000 Americans. We find out that these terrorist received support from Iran in the form of training, planning, and materials used in the attack. I wouldn’t rule out a nuclear strike against a city in Iran if they helped terrorist acomplish something like that. Just throwing it out there as a possibility. I’m not even close to advocating dropping a nuclear bomb anywhere right now.


Yes, we would nuke…

use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons against us would provoke a nuclear response…We warned Iraq of this before the Gulf War, and appearently we were believed…

That said, we would not nuke them in sense that people usually think of as nuking…It would be very limited tactical strikes against military targets, instead of a dozen warheads dropping from space onto a city…

I want you to recall the so-called banned, but not forgotten, nuclear bomb called the ‘neutron bomb.’ As a nuke, it actually is a more humane weapon, but it appalled everyone but us, because of what it could do and, of course, everyone else instantly figured using it would be for financial gains rather than anything humanitarian.

See, a regular nuke blows up everything and reduces a city to a mess. It wipes out roads, power lines, water supplies, food supplies, emergency services and enables major sources of infection and disease to start that cannot be easily isolated, treated or located. It prevents easy recovery because it destroys everything and more people die because of lack of shelter, food, medication and clean water afterwards.

A Neutron Bomb kills everything within a certain radius but does not destroy the infrastructure of a city. So survivors still have access to emergency equipment, water supplies, food sources and, most importantly, shelter. Plus, invading forces afterwards can sweep away the bodies and establish lines of assistance using existing facilities without fear of massive, lingering radiation, can raid food supplies to get food to the survivors, pile the survivors into still standing hospitals, activate power supplies and probably only have to worry about small fires.

The city can be reinhabited within a relatively short time, unlike after the destruction of a regular nuclear bomb. Had such bombs been used on Japan in WW2, the after explosion losses would have been cut almost in half and the decades of rebuilding would not have been needed.

But the UN banned the weapon as being inhumane. They figured occupying forces of such a city would be more interested in using the city for financial gains. They prefer that if nukes be used, that they wipe out and destroy everything, rendering everything useless, which would not encourage people to use the nukes too hastily.

We still have Neutron Bombs. Like, we’d destroy them because the UN got irritated or because the Russians promised to step down their nuclear defenses. (Yeah. Riiight!)

In any war, civilians get killed. In any war, civilians have participated readily in the action. They accepted the ruling body when it got into power and so they get to take the crap when the ruling body manages to piss off half of the world and starts to get its’ butt kicked. Only within the last few decades have the various news sources been playing up the sympathy card when innocents get killed in war action, but they don’t say too much about how such civilians supported the fanatical government which threw them into the war in the first place.

I would not mind if we used nukes over there if it saves lives on our side. After all, the Russians did not and they got their butts kicked, but they do not have our technology and we learned from their example. Don’t send in 1000 troops to root out 50 bandits in a 100 mile area of desolate ground, when probably 200 troopers will get killed in the process. Drop a small nuke, stand back and watch the area glow for a few years and the bandits turn to glass within their caves.

Drop two or three of those and watch the buggers suddenly decide that having a guaranteed ride to Allah by being killed in a holy war is not worth being flash fried in a cave after all. Not to mention that the destruction will certainly send them back almost to the stone age and render them vulnerable to any other invasion after the Americans leave.

Sadaams’ troopers, overwhelmed by fire power, were giving themselves up by the hundreds during Dessert Storm when it dawned on them that the Infidels apparently did not know that they were supposed to fall under the might of Holy Right of their religion and were determined to kick their leaders’ fat butt.

They need to be glad that the attackers are American and British because most of the other powerful nations would not go in with the idea of using only as much force as necessary and what other nation drops survival kits to the survivors and civilians? The Chinese certainly would not, nor would the Russians, the French, nor even fellow Middle Easterners.

This has not been done since WW2, especially by any other nation, except for the British.

Besides, they cared not for the destruction they reaped on American soil, nor the American innocents involved and the civilians also supported the Terrorists and some celebrated when the news got out of the attack on us.

My opinion? Nuke the buggers into the stone age. Give the civilians time to get out, then turn Afghanistan into a parking lot.

A Neutron bomb doesn’t kill people and leave buildings standing.It’s a common perception but it’s not true.A Neutron bomb is just an atomic warhead thats designed to produce an extremely heavy neutron flux. These neutrons are very penetrating and will deliver a lethal radiation dose to a subject.The flux is out of proportion for a normal warhead that size, but you still get all the normal blast and fireball effects.
The role of a N-bomb is a Armoured formation killer.It was designed to take out Soviet tank divisions.A tank is hard to kill , even with a atomic warhead unless it’s very close or a large warhead is used.A N-bomb was supposed to be able to kill the crews with a lethal dose at a range that the normal blast effects wouldn’t be able to, and without having to throw around large warheads with all the collateral damage that would cause.

Iwannaknow, what the hell are you going on about? Did you actually think your post through or were you drunk when you wrote it?

There is enough ignorance involved in this situation without the kind of incitement you are arguing for. What is wrong with people on these boards? A few weeks ago I saw mostly intelligent and knowledgeable people ready to debate issues. Today I see more and more ignorance and ethnocentrism multiplying by the day.

I don’t even know where to start on this pile of manure.

Good grasp you have on politics. Are you aware that the Taleban (who is actually not the primary target here, but more of a diversion) took over Afghanistan using brute force? And you want to hold the Afghani civilians responsible for that? You need to watch more BBC or similar reliable international news coverage.

Because it’s largely irrelevant. You do not go around slaughtering civilians, and when you do you are called to task for it for obvious reasons. Your “thinking” would seem to justify the attacks on the WTC. Americans are responsible for their government; the US government “oppresses the Palestinians and sends soldiers to trample Saudi Arabia, Islam’s holy land”; therefore the American people are responsible for the actions of the US; therefore the situation will be corrected/avenged by killing as many civilians as possible; therefore the WTC attacks were legitimate.

This is on a level with Bin Laden and the other assholes who orchestrated the atrocities.

Simplistic and inane cowboy politics. A fanatic willing to die for his cause is willing to die for his cause. The whole point of Bin laden’s training camps is to train fanatics first and terrorists second. Most of these fools believe that they will go to paradise for their efforts against Americans; generally speaking, paradise in Islam tends to be considered somewhat more seriously than it is in the rather more secular West. These people are willing to die, in fact they consider it the greatest honour to do so. They will not give up when they see their brothers fried to a crisp–that will just incite them to an even higher level of madness.

What?? Iraqi troops were surrendering because they had no wish to fight a collection of superpowers for their half-crazy leader, not because the infidels failed to be smitten by God. By all the demons, where do you come up with these ideas?? This situation is not like the Gulf War at all. Here we have an extremely dangerous manipulation of fanaticism on a scale rarely (if ever) seen before. The Gulf War was simply a matter of a dictator invading another country and hoping he could get away with it. This situation is much more serious, because I very much doubt fanatics will become disillusioned with their leaders and surrender!

A rather irrelevant argument. The US cannot afford to lose international support for its actions, and therefore must be on its best behaviour at all times. One slip and it could be all over. This is not about being nice; it’s about balancing many interests and walking a political tightrope.

A stellar demonstration of ignorance. I have already showb that, by your “thinking”, the WTC attacks were perfectly justified. But I’ll add this: do you think that an entire population should be made to suffer because of the samples of celebrants you saw on TV? I can’t believe I am addressing these idiotic arguments.

My opinion? Revoke your posting rights until you learn how to think a situation through. I cringe when I consider that some clueless reader could have gone through your biased, inaccurate, illogical message and come out of it saying “yeah, bomb them!”

It’s people like you on both sides of this conflict who are responsible for spreading the ignorance that causes these problems.

thank you Deptford for clearing up the popular misconceptions regarding neutron bombs.

Thanks, Deptford.

Few people ever got the idea behind the neutron bomb.

Iwannaknow says:

I don’t recall that as happening at all. I might be wrong. Do you have a cite ?

Now, this I’d really like to see a cite for.

Sadly true.

Probably. Of course, civilians participating in the action are no longer civilians the sense of non-combattant. Other civilians are protected by the laws of war. If we’re the good guys, we’d better stick to the rules, right ?

You’re assuming that the civilian poulation has a say in who gets to rule them. Unfortunately, this isn’t always so. And it can certainly be argued that the civilian Afghans have had no say at all. Many of them actually consider their land occupied.

Call me an old softie, but I happen to believe that innocents getting killed in war is pretty damn tragic, rationalizations aside.

And the idea of distinguishing between combattants and non-combattants (and preventing unnecessary casualties in the last group) is very much older than “a few decades”. The Hague convention of 1899, to name one source, puts down limitations on bombardment and assaults.

I would not mind if we used nukes over there if it saves lives on our side. <snip> Drop a small nuke, stand back and watch the area glow for a few years and the bandits turn to glass within their caves. <More jingoistic comments deleted> Not to mention that the destruction will certainly send them back almost to the stone age and render them vulnerable to any other invasion after the Americans leave.


Am I the only one finding it hard to reconcile the above statements with this:

So, what is it ? Nuke them back to the stone age and leave them open for invasion, or use only as much force as necessary ?

Sabre-rattling aside: Using nuclear weapons would be a rather complete political disaster. The coalition would certainly fall apart, Al Queda would have a propaganda windfall and probably get more recruits - I believe even most Nato countries would demand a pretty damn good explanation as to why that was necessary and proportionate.

S. Norman

ARGH! - Preview is my friend.

Scroll down until you reach the October 6 “Tactical Nuclear Weapons Deployed” article. If you doubt the source, wait a while. The regular media usually catch them in a couple weeks. Should we use them? Not if we can avoid it. But as I sit in a state that may have been infected with a terrorist anthrax attack, my forbearance is dropping each second. The “NBC threshold” may have already been breached.
Dropping a satchel nuke of, say, 1 kiloton in a cave is not really a big deal. (As compared to the monsterous ICBM warheads packing megatons) Yeah, “genie out of bottle,” “Pandora’s Box” stuff all true. But the environmental effects and “collateral damage” would be nothing like what most people associate with nukes. We used to test underground. I wonder if our “little” nukes still work? Hmmmmm…

As for neutron bombs, we sure made a bunch. (scroll down, and down, and down) The “W-70” and “W-79” are two recent examples of “ER” weapons. I think “Enhanced Radiation.”

The political fallout from using nuclear weapons, even in response to NBC terrorism, would be immense. The US is perceived to be militarily powerful enough in conventional terms to complete any mission without recourse to NBC weapons. The US is also perceived to be ‘above’ the use of weapons with such connotations of indiscriminate and disproportionate destructive power.

Whatever the truth of the matter is (I’m sure there are occasions where a nuclear weapons could be used without indiscriminate collateral damage and could ‘save’ the lives of soldiers in the process) I don’t think perceptions can be overemphasised. Support for the war on terrorism would fall dramatically among wavering countries – if only because the population see the TV pictures and leap to conclusions – at a time when the last thing anyone wants to do is make new enemies.

<unpleasant cynicism>

The US has enough support internally and externally to pretty much do what it likes conventionally to targets in Afghanistan. The US public, and the public of other involved allies, will support this war even as American soldiers are killed and maimed (I’m sorry for saying that, but I think public support for a war is directly linked to how long it can be fought in this day and age). The political fallout from using nuclear weapons would outweigh the ‘public fallout’ of soldiers dying for their country, in my opinion.

</unpleasant cynicism>

Shouldn’t this thread be called “Would we ever nuke AGAIN”

Beagle - I really have to wait a while to see if DEBKA’s “news” comes through. They just report stuff that the mainstream press would be all over if the stuff were true. On the same page you linked to, there’s that article about Chinese troop buildup on Afghanistan’s northeastern border.

That’s some crazy shytte on that DEBKA page! I’m holding out on accepting their word, however.

As for the mainstream press, what are you talking about? They miss HUGE stories on a daily basis to speculate on J-Lo’s butt size or Anne Heche’s latest psychotic break.
Actually DEBKA is reporting Chinese troops IN Afghanistan. They have some good reasoning as to Chinese motives. I speculated on another thread that the use of “Muslim” troops gives the Chinese another layer of deniability.

[IRONIC HISTORIC OBSERVATION]“You are right, Douglas (er, brodelond), the Chinese would not dare cross the Yalu River. If they did we would push them right back.”[/IRONIC HISTORIC OBSERVATION]

(George Santayana turns softly in grave–“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”)

That’s hyperbole. C’mon, man!

Beagle, the Chinese-troops story would be the scoop of a career for a CNN/FoxNews/MSNBC reporter. For goodness sake, if DEBKA’s story is true, then the mainstream press must be WILLFULLY supressing the story because they surely would know whatever DEBKA knows.

Keeping that kind of a secret is impossible from scoop-hungry, competitive journalists out to make names for themselves.

No way that DEBKA has rock-solid confirmation on things that the main international news agencies don’t. DEBKA may have a different flavor of speculation available to them, but there’s no way that DEBKA - and only DEBKA - possesses the confirmed truth. Even they have competitors.

Anyway, relax – I said I’d give DEBKA a few weeks for the Chinese-troops story to get mainstream recognition. I am not summarily pooh-poohing the DEBKA site.

I think things would have to be very bad indeed before nuclear weapons got involved in Afghanistan; look at where it is on the map; landlocked between Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, tajikistan and China, plus a whole load of other lands that don’t actually share a border with Afghanistan; there’s the issue of where the fallout drifts to consider.