Monday, April 17, 2006

Nuclear Threats

I’ve been trying to catch up on last week’s news, most of which I missed because I didn’t have time to do any reading during the office move.

Far and away, what horrified me the most is the development that the Bush Administration is considering – or, “won’t rule out,” or, “all options are on the table,” in their parlance – using “tactical” nuclear weapons on Iran.

Where to begin? As if we needed further proof that the White House is run by people who are insane, they’ve now handed us this definitive evidence that they are mad. Absolutely, unapologetically, unquestionably cuckoo.

As Condoleezza Rice recently helpfully pointed out in an interview with the British press, “Iran is not Iraq.”

Iran is “slightly larger than the combined area of the contiguous states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.” Iran is modern, it is wealthy, and even though experts declare that Iran’s claims of nuclear capability are exaggerated, there is no question about their ambitions.

Oh yes, Iran is not Iraq. Don’t let the people who tried to tell you that Iraq could be converted to democracy within six months at a cost of $1.7 billion plan out our strategy for dealing with Iran.

It’s time to have an open and honest debate about the doctrine of pre-emption: what it means, and what its limits should be, and what the standards for implementation ought to be. Clinton used it semi-successfully: the 1998 missile strikes on Iraq shut down what was left of Saddam’s WMD programs; he also blew up an aspirin factory in Sudan. Israel successfully bombed a nuclear reactor in Baghdad in 1981. Had Bush not rejected an option to bomb Zarqawi’s training camp in northern Iraq prior to the invasion, the occupation might have turned out very differently.

The world should not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons capability. Actually, no one should have it: nuclear weapons should be banned outright, and present weapons should be deactivated, their warheads used in power plants instead.

The United States, however, continues to maintain an enormous arsenal, by which it appears to claim authority to determine which other countries may have nuclear weapons: Israel, but not Iraq; India, but not Pakistan. The international community should strongly condemn this notion and actively seek to thwart it.

A mere sixty years into the history of a nuclear world, it is the height of arrogance to assume we know all the potential ramifications of using weapons with radioactive half-lives lasting decades or centuries, depending on size and ingredients. Nuclear weapons are immoral not because of their immediate and devastating explosive power, but because they poison the atmosphere, the water and the soil. They make a place literally unlivable. Those who are not killed instantly succomb to or suffer from radiation sickness. They may develop rare cancers or other diseases; children born years after the attack can be severely deformed.

During the Cold War, the concept of “mutually assured destruction” kept us at relative peace. Both sides knew that in the event of nuclear war, there would be no winner. Everyone would be annihilated. That would not be the case in a strike on Iran: the U.S., taking unfair advantage of superior weaponry, would unleash environmental hell. The Bushies see no apparent disconnect in the argument that they have the authority to use nuclear weapons to stop a country from doing the same.

Instead of a nuke, there’s something else we might try: friendship.


Time said...

I wonder how accurate our intellegence about Iran will be?

I'm doubting that our intellegence about Iraq was just a mistake.

Colin Powell stated on April 11, 2006, to Robert Scheer (reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle) that his State Dept. never believed that Iraq had nuke weapons, according to their investigations.(link to story from my post)

Mr. Powell states that the President ignored that fact and followed the misleading advice of Vice-President Cheney.

Mr. Hersh of the New Yorker (other reporters have confirmed)has reported that nuke bombs are a part of the attack plan against Iran.(link to story from my post)

President Bush stated after 9/11 ( on 9/27) that he will "Eliminate evil from the world." President Bush has named the countries that he believes are evil and Iran is one of the countries he named.

President Bush has stated many times that he thinks that all people of the world should be living under a free capitalistic democracy.

Why should the U.S. insist that all countries in the world must have the same government system that we do?

To want to dominate the world, no matter what political philosophy, is crazy.

Pre-emption: as it sounds to me, coming from President Bush; is a tool (excuse) to democratize the Middle East.

To (offensively) use nuke weapons, is immoral.

Robert Bayn said...

Using Nukes is a bad way to go, even if military action is the only route, once all other options have be done.

As far as intelligence goes, it's not just us this time around, and Iran has alread confessed to enriching Uranium, i would support a war in Iran if it was the last option, not the first option like it was in Iraq, none the less, using Nukes is a cowards way of doing things, second that would be ironic, considering we are afraid of them using Nukes.

Andy said...

I'm not disputing the intelligence. All sane people have always known that Iran and North Korea were more pressing issues than Iraq. It's not about whether they have weapons or ambitions, it's about whether Bush et al have the competence to deal with the situation responsibly. They don't.

Robert Bayn said...

Obvisouly this Administration is Incompitent, but if Iran becomes a real serious threat, than we may be left with no other choice.

Andy said...

Impeach first, bomb later.

kr pdx said...

Is it just me, or does it seem more and more like the evil we ought to eliminate before any other is named Dick Cheney? I know the CIA isn't "supposed to" assassinate* foreign heads of state ... whataya suppose the rules are on domestic political leaders? (Kidding ... mostly. I do think that if Bush is removed from power we'd better make sure to take down most of the Administration with him, though, because none of them should be left in charge. Everyone who has ever taken any advice from Rove ... that should cover it.)

* A funny: one of the early kid-filters for the internet turned "assassination" into "buttbuttination" ... what a great word ;).

little-cicero said...

Using nuclear weapons is obviously undesirable, and should be avoided by all means, but we must, amid talking softly for strategic purposes, carry a big stick, and I mean that not in the phallic sense of the word.

Our nuclear arsenal is our big stick. In the sense of conventional military capabilities, China may well have overshadowed us already, so obviously (see my newest post on China) it is crucial that we should avoid allowing that Communist Nation to take on the duty of World Policing. Iran must be policed, and China is not going to police it- that is for US to do, and our diplomacy only represents any strength to these war monger if it is backed up by actual military might- and our nuclear superiority supplies us with that might.

So, if we do not even allow for contingency nuclear planning, wherein lies our big stick? Is that stick not then passed to the PRC, or Russia? Also, keep in mind that these are mere plans. Brainstorming in the Whitehouse should not be discouraged for fear of ideas being discovered by the media. We can only pick out the best idea by considering all ideas, including the worst ones.

If you cannot for a moment consider that Iran is worthy of nuclear attack, consider this: Iran's leader recently claimed that 400,000 suicide bombers are now ready for "combat" in Iran. Further, consider that in the place of Iraq's anti-government populace there is a larger population with lukewarm opposition to fervent support of the government fueled by centralized religious discipline. Consider that their military is stronger, their borders harder to secure and their country is so much larger than Iraq. While nuclear attacks are not to be the foremost approach, they surely should not be ruled out considering these circumstances.

Andy said...

Ah yes, typical Republican smokescreen: I disagree with the proposed method of dealing with the problem, you accuse me of denying there's a problem.

kr pdx said...

LC, bringing up the borders is just bizarre. We (the human race, but especially the USA) can't secure any borders anywhere, as far as I've been able to tell ... how is a shock-and-awe ala Bagdhad not as effective? Suidcide bombers aren't gonna be able to do a lot about that, and I've never heard that Iran has more anti-aircraft capability than Iraq did.

Although I have to say, most heavy metals (lead, etc, in conventional ordinance) are simply permanently poisonous, with no half-life. Not so much deformed babies, but perhaps permanently developmentally stunted children ... it sucks every which way.

I think the Bushies really do think if they have a big enough stick people will have to do what they say. I would hope that every playground bully eventually gets the hard lesson that if you put someone to the wall they will fight back woth everything at their disposal, and "desperate defenders" are WAYYYYY more dangerous than "enemies." (And any bully can be taken down if enough others band together against him.) (Or her.) Would be nice if one of these old guys had a son in gradeschool to remind them of that.

Andy said...

KR, I'm pretty sure Iran is militarily superior to Iraq in pretty much every conceivable way, by exponential factors.

LC, sorry if my response sounded snotty, but I think I have a point. I'm not saying leave Iran alone; just the opposite. I'm saying do what we need to do, if it comes to that. But I don't see a situation where nuclear weapons are ever justified, and the sad irony that we would consider using nukes to end someone else's nuke program makes me shake my head and mourn for the country I thought was America. There are other ways to do this. If anything, I'd surmise a nuclear weapon is less effective at combatting suicide bombers than any other method. My bet would be that it would inspire them to an unprecedented degree. I don't know where you live, but as someone who spends his life in crowded, famous public places and gets there by riding defenseless subways and buses, you'll have to forgive me for not wanting to encourage terrorism.

Trickish Knave said...

You can't hug with nuclear arms, right?

I think that friendship is just not an option with these people. Both parties agree that a nuclear-armed Iran is not an option.

Iran is like that crazy asshole at work that nobody likes. He is a pain in the ass but his dad owns the company so you really can't do anything to him.

Become friends with Iran. I would treat Iran like I treat my ex-wife. Cordial just because she has my kids and I don't want ot do anything to piss her off.

Sometimes being cordial doesn't work either. Being Iran's friend would not have slowed or stopped their obsession for nukes. Interestingly enough, I found this quotes:

"And it's important for America to confront the situation in Iran, because Iran is an enormous threat to Israel and to the Israeli people." - John Edwards

"A nuclear armed Iran is an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and our allies in the region" -John Kerry

The babbling duo made it very clear they were against Iran having nukes. Edwards sounded like he would attack but Kerry, being the showman that he is, wanted to provide Iran with the nuclear materials needed for power in exchange that promise not to make weapons.

That was his plan? And while Iran had its fingers crossed behind its back and continued to make weapons, Kerry would slide out of office at the end of his term and feign any responsibility.

The cirque de Bush administration has already sanctioned Iran and tried to deal with them politically. So, we have started the "pretty please" process we tried with Saddam 14 years ago, and Iran is giving us the big middle finger- just like Saddam.

Robert- using nukes is cowardly? If you are cornered into a fight and you know your adversary has a shotgun, you aren't going to pull out your sling shot and hope for the best. You will hit him with the strongest and most debilitating weapon you have. God forbid we should ever use them, although personally I would like to see if it really would make a glass parking lot.

Andy said...

You and Little Cicero are trying to pull the same trick, the same subterfuge that the Republicans used in the aftermath of the Iraq disaster: namely, you're attempting to make it sound like I'm denying Iran is any kind of a threat. Bullshit. They are. My points are: Bush is not competent enough to handle this situation, and nuclear weapons are immoral, period. It's sickeningly hypocritical to use nuclear weapons to shut down another country's nuclear program. There are OTHER options.

little-cicero said...

You're doing the same thing Democrats did after 9-11. You're looking about as paranoid as a prarie dog thinking that the Republican fascists are using Orwellian rhetoric to make you out to be an unAmerican surrender monkey!

I never said anything to the effect of your denying the threat, I simply argue that you should not be so hesitant in using nuclear weapons. The bomb saved millions of lives in Japan, and it may very well save lives in Iran. If Iran's leader's claim that 400,000 suicide bombers are ready for action, we must see some paralel to Japan here. Being that this is a much larger nation, I don't see why tactical nuclear strikes at nuclear facilities are not a considerable option as a mere contingency plan.

Trickish Knave said...

Why is it a trick to say that while you think Bush cannot do a competent job with Iran that I think the other Presidential cadidates couldn't have done better? It seems you aren't fully reading our responses and just looking to pick a fight.

I don't think LC or I ever questioned your thinking that Iran is threat, I questioned your tactics in coming to a peaceful agreement with them.

By all means, give us some other options that haven't already been tried which you believe would bring a utopia between the U.S. and Iran.

little-cicero said...

Yeah, what he said!

YOU...Prarie Dog! Z:

Trickish Knave said...

Reflecting back on this topic has raised some new issues for me. I came into the Navy at the near-end of hte Cold War. Our submarines were floating around and doing that Hunt For Red October shit all the while keeping a hesitant but forceful finger on the button for deliberate action.

The world let out a huge sigh of relief when the walls came down and the perceived threat of WWIII ended. But, like the signs on the wall of my office building say, "The Bear is still there."

Three eyars ago it appeared that Iran did want to talk to the United States but Bush's group of flunkies decided not to. Rummy and his cohorts dismissed an effort at political negotiations then just as they are now.

Although we have tried to sway Iran politically to give up their nuke program I wonder if it is just too late. They have enriched uranium, which is the first fledgling step, and have rockets that can hit Israel but they are at the Wright Brother's famous flight in their nuclear delivery program.

We are stretched thin throughout the world and I think the consensus is to forego any more military action. But will it end up being the only way to get Iran’s leaders to knock off their bullshit?

A thought occurred to me as I was reading some stuff about North Korea and I started to wonder if Iran was pulling the same temper tantrum. Will we cave to Iran like we caved to N.K.?

I just have to believe even though there are crazy, militant, Islamic extremists (but I repeat myself) in charge who just want Israeli blood to flow they would have the wherewithal to not nuke Israel. No matter what amount of damage Iran would do to Israel it would be paid back ten fold and Iran would really become that glass parking lot. I don't think he people of Iran would allow that to happen and just for luck I'll keep my fingers crossed.