The Semi-Pacifism of John Kerry:
A Jus In Bello Defense of Nuclear Weapons

Democrats — By on October 3, 2004 at 2:21 am

War is a dreadful thing, and I can respect an honest pacifist, though I think he is entirely mistaken. What I cannot understand is this sort of semi-pacifism you get nowadays which gives people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face as if you were ashamed of it.

–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The criterion for the use of nuclear weapons was established fifty nine years ago when, after months of deliberation, President Harry S. Truman made the fateful decision to drop atomic bombs on two Japanese cities. For the next eighteen years the Missouri Democrat was criticized for his judgment. But in July 1963 Irv Kupcinet, a columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, wrote favorably about the excruciating decision. Truman, who rarely spoke about the bombing, wrote a letter in response in which he defended his action:

I knew what I was doing when I stopped the war that would have killed a half million youngsters on both sides if those bombs had not been dropped. I have no regrets and, under the same circumstances, I would do it again ‘



  • http://southernappeal.blogspot.com/ QD

    Nice post. What’s interesting about your example is that it accurately (in my view) captures a dynamic that I think largely escapes Kerry (and folks like him). That is, the reason typically given for not developing weapons systems like the bunker buster or SDI is that it tends to create an arms race and, in fact, make us less secure.
    Now, taken one way, this line of reasoning isn’t all that kooky. It’s entirely plausible to think that if you build a limited missile defense, your enemies will try and find ways to counteract that defense and that might lead to your enemy developing a capability (say MIRV’ed ICBMs – man, are we back in the ’80s?) that he wouldn’t have otherwise and that can threaten you in ways not covered by your defense capability. (e.g. It can threaten your allies).
    But I don’t think that’s the way that Kerry and the rest of the arms control uber alles crowd sees this. Rather, it seems to me that they think it’s the “mixed messages” that are really important. How can you get someone to sign up for the Non-Proliferation Treaty if you’re developing new nukes, they’ll ask. But those questions only work if the enemy isn’t already committed to developing and willing to use nuclear weapons (or other particularly nasty weapons). The great mistake in this line of thinking (and it is the exact same mistake that Kerry and his folks made with the nuclear freeze issue in the 1980s) is believing that what matters is the creation of a kind of “international norm” against the development of certain kinds of weapons. If we can just get everyone together at Davos and hold some summits, we can all agree that these are horrific weapons and just shouldn’t be around, they might say (with a bit of mocking exaggeration added).

  • http://southernappeal.blogspot.com QD

    Nice post. What’s interesting about your example is that it accurately (in my view) captures a dynamic that I think largely escapes Kerry (and folks like him). That is, the reason typically given for not developing weapons systems like the bunker buster or SDI is that it tends to create an arms race and, in fact, make us less secure.
    Now, taken one way, this line of reasoning isn’t all that kooky. It’s entirely plausible to think that if you build a limited missile defense, your enemies will try and find ways to counteract that defense and that might lead to your enemy developing a capability (say MIRV’ed ICBMs – man, are we back in the ’80s?) that he wouldn’t have otherwise and that can threaten you in ways not covered by your defense capability. (e.g. It can threaten your allies).
    But I don’t think that’s the way that Kerry and the rest of the arms control uber alles crowd sees this. Rather, it seems to me that they think it’s the “mixed messages” that are really important. How can you get someone to sign up for the Non-Proliferation Treaty if you’re developing new nukes, they’ll ask. But those questions only work if the enemy isn’t already committed to developing and willing to use nuclear weapons (or other particularly nasty weapons). The great mistake in this line of thinking (and it is the exact same mistake that Kerry and his folks made with the nuclear freeze issue in the 1980s) is believing that what matters is the creation of a kind of “international norm” against the development of certain kinds of weapons. If we can just get everyone together at Davos and hold some summits, we can all agree that these are horrific weapons and just shouldn’t be around, they might say (with a bit of mocking exaggeration added).

  • Rob Smith

    That is, the reason typically given for not developing weapons systems like the bunker buster or SDI is that it tends to create an arms race and, in fact, make us less secure.
    Wasn’t that also the underlying argument of the “nuclear freeze” movement of the 70’s? If only we stop building newer and better nukes, the Soviets will do likewise. The only problem with the rational is that is assumes that you are dealing with basically good people, like you think of yourself. Does anybody think that if we (and the Israelis) got rid of our nukes, the North Koreans and Iranians would suddenly stop the nuke development? I somehow doubt it.

  • Rob Smith

    That is, the reason typically given for not developing weapons systems like the bunker buster or SDI is that it tends to create an arms race and, in fact, make us less secure.
    Wasn’t that also the underlying argument of the “nuclear freeze” movement of the 70’s? If only we stop building newer and better nukes, the Soviets will do likewise. The only problem with the rational is that is assumes that you are dealing with basically good people, like you think of yourself. Does anybody think that if we (and the Israelis) got rid of our nukes, the North Koreans and Iranians would suddenly stop the nuke development? I somehow doubt it.

  • Mr. Moderate

    The logic of a “nuclear” bunker buster is ludicrous. Imagine an intentional Chernobyl being released on multiple regions of a country. You think that sounds like a good idea? There are only a few dozen conventional ways that the problem can be taken care of. Devising a nuclear weapon for destroying bunkers, much less destroying nuclear storage facilities, is not one of them. The argument is moot anyway because the North Korea issue is going to well up long before such a device would even get out of the prototype phase. I therefore agree that Kerry hit the nail on the head.
    He also hit the nail in the head about “Star Wars.” Bush said so himself that the greatest danger is nuclear proliferation and a possible nuclear attack by terrorists. “Star Wars” does nothing to protect us from a nuclear terrorist attack because terrorists aren’t going to launch missiles. If they do launch small scale missiles they would be out of the scope of the “Star Wars” system, which is nuclear attack via ICBM’s. The only country that would perform such an attack directly today would be North Korea. North Korea does not have a missile technology with the capability to strike any further out than Japan. The North Koreans aren’t going to have such a technology either. The “Star Wars” program therefore did nothing for us besides waste billions of dollars and cause the end of some of our nuclear weapons related treaties with Russia.

  • Mr. Moderate

    The logic of a “nuclear” bunker buster is ludicrous. Imagine an intentional Chernobyl being released on multiple regions of a country. You think that sounds like a good idea? There are only a few dozen conventional ways that the problem can be taken care of. Devising a nuclear weapon for destroying bunkers, much less destroying nuclear storage facilities, is not one of them. The argument is moot anyway because the North Korea issue is going to well up long before such a device would even get out of the prototype phase. I therefore agree that Kerry hit the nail on the head.
    He also hit the nail in the head about “Star Wars.” Bush said so himself that the greatest danger is nuclear proliferation and a possible nuclear attack by terrorists. “Star Wars” does nothing to protect us from a nuclear terrorist attack because terrorists aren’t going to launch missiles. If they do launch small scale missiles they would be out of the scope of the “Star Wars” system, which is nuclear attack via ICBM’s. The only country that would perform such an attack directly today would be North Korea. North Korea does not have a missile technology with the capability to strike any further out than Japan. The North Koreans aren’t going to have such a technology either. The “Star Wars” program therefore did nothing for us besides waste billions of dollars and cause the end of some of our nuclear weapons related treaties with Russia.

  • Mr. Moderate

    On your tunnels problem. I think the South Koreans would like some input into whether we were planning on irradiating the entire Korean peninsula to save them from invasion. Better still would be to use traditional bunker busters to collapse the entrances to these tunnels to make them defacto storage facilities for these North Korean nuclear weapons. They won’t do much good if they are locked underground.

  • Mr. Moderate

    On your tunnels problem. I think the South Koreans would like some input into whether we were planning on irradiating the entire Korean peninsula to save them from invasion. Better still would be to use traditional bunker busters to collapse the entrances to these tunnels to make them defacto storage facilities for these North Korean nuclear weapons. They won’t do much good if they are locked underground.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Some people feel that there is no way to make nuclear inspections work. But this usually comes form folks who don’t understand the processes by which nuclear fuel is enriched to weapons grade material.
    Spent fuel or other sources of low grade fissionable material (roughty 5%) is turned into weapons grade material (90% plus) by combining the spent fuel materials chemically to form a gas and then centrifuging that gas to ‘frac out’ the various isotopes. Because the isotopes vary in atomic weight from each other by tiny amounts, often the difference in mass between a proton and a neutron, you have to spin the living heck out of the sample over and over.
    Our boys in Oakridge, TN produced large centrifuges to do this, devices which were several meters tall. They worked well and produced large amount of weapons grade material fairly quickly. However they had a weakness; bearings. Even in the high tech society of the US military/industrial complex the large precision made bearings were at times a bottle neck.
    The USSR on the other hand relied on a cruder process. They made small centrifuges, perhaps 3 feet tall, and hooked them up in series. The smaller bearings were much easier to produce and the series could knock out relatively small amounts of material of any grade, you just go to the fuge in the series with the grade you want and take it out. If one of the these small devices breaks down you can simply valve it off and let the others take up the slack until you can replace it. Thus although they did not produce as much material per unit time as the large devices, they could pretty much run continuously like a production line.
    That series approach lends itself to smaller, less technologically adept nations. But it comes with it’s own weakness; detectability.
    If you have a series running and the inspection team is on the way, it looks very suspicious if you have a series of obvious attachments in the floor of the building at the end of a few small centrifuges…it looks like you just took some of them out. And it’s easy to lose track of what fuge has been where in the series as you move them around and change locations. If a fuge that was near the end of the series and thus spinning high grade material gets moved to another point in the series closer to the fuel grade stage, and that fuge is examined, it just might have traces of the high grade stuff in it … and you’re busted.

  • http://groups.msn.com/EvolutionvCreation/welcome1.msnw ~DS~

    Some people feel that there is no way to make nuclear inspections work. But this usually comes form folks who don’t understand the processes by which nuclear fuel is enriched to weapons grade material.
    Spent fuel or other sources of low grade fissionable material (roughty 5%) is turned into weapons grade material (90% plus) by combining the spent fuel materials chemically to form a gas and then centrifuging that gas to ‘frac out’ the various isotopes. Because the isotopes vary in atomic weight from each other by tiny amounts, often the difference in mass between a proton and a neutron, you have to spin the living heck out of the sample over and over.
    Our boys in Oakridge, TN produced large centrifuges to do this, devices which were several meters tall. They worked well and produced large amount of weapons grade material fairly quickly. However they had a weakness; bearings. Even in the high tech society of the US military/industrial complex the large precision made bearings were at times a bottle neck.
    The USSR on the other hand relied on a cruder process. They made small centrifuges, perhaps 3 feet tall, and hooked them up in series. The smaller bearings were much easier to produce and the series could knock out relatively small amounts of material of any grade, you just go to the fuge in the series with the grade you want and take it out. If one of the these small devices breaks down you can simply valve it off and let the others take up the slack until you can replace it. Thus although they did not produce as much material per unit time as the large devices, they could pretty much run continuously like a production line.
    That series approach lends itself to smaller, less technologically adept nations. But it comes with it’s own weakness; detectability.
    If you have a series running and the inspection team is on the way, it looks very suspicious if you have a series of obvious attachments in the floor of the building at the end of a few small centrifuges…it looks like you just took some of them out. And it’s easy to lose track of what fuge has been where in the series as you move them around and change locations. If a fuge that was near the end of the series and thus spinning high grade material gets moved to another point in the series closer to the fuel grade stage, and that fuge is examined, it just might have traces of the high grade stuff in it … and you’re busted.

  • Teri Pittman

    The worst thing about this arguement is that conventional bombs can cause just as much devastation (witness Dresden in WWII vs. Hiroshima or Nagasaki). I don’t see that it is somehow more “evil” to use nuclear bunker buster bombs than conventional ones.
    His arguement relies on believing that those developing nukes would stop if we stop. History has shown that they won’t. It is a convenient excuse to try to convince us to stop developing weapons. North Korea will continue to develop nukes whether we totally disarm, stop development on all weapons and agree to bilateral talks. They are doing this to be a world player and not the pathetic, bankrupt country that they are in reality.

  • Teri Pittman

    The worst thing about this arguement is that conventional bombs can cause just as much devastation (witness Dresden in WWII vs. Hiroshima or Nagasaki). I don’t see that it is somehow more “evil” to use nuclear bunker buster bombs than conventional ones.
    His arguement relies on believing that those developing nukes would stop if we stop. History has shown that they won’t. It is a convenient excuse to try to convince us to stop developing weapons. North Korea will continue to develop nukes whether we totally disarm, stop development on all weapons and agree to bilateral talks. They are doing this to be a world player and not the pathetic, bankrupt country that they are in reality.

  • http://www.globaloctopus.blogspot.com/ El Gruñón

    “Thou almost persuadest me to be a Christian.” Some of the best and some of the worst websites claim that title.
    You turn the conventional wisdom on its head with your just war analysis. You’re right. In a given circumstance, if bunker busters work and will significantly shorten a just war, we have a duty to use them.
    All of which proves Kerry is a menace to civilization. I knew that.
    My (less coherent) thoughts on the bunker-buster issue here.

  • http://www.globaloctopus.blogspot.com/ El Gruñón

    “Thou almost persuadest me to be a Christian.” Some of the best and some of the worst websites claim that title.
    You turn the conventional wisdom on its head with your just war analysis. You’re right. In a given circumstance, if bunker busters work and will significantly shorten a just war, we have a duty to use them.
    All of which proves Kerry is a menace to civilization. I knew that.
    My (less coherent) thoughts on the bunker-buster issue here.

  • http://edge.typepad.com/symposium/2004/10/fifth_round_exc.html THE SYMPOSIUM

    Fifth Round: Excerpts

    A Jus In Bello Defense of Nuclear Weapons” href=”http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/000887.html”>Joe Carter finds that Kerry’s position is morally repugnant As G.K. Chesterton claimed, “War is not ‘the best way of settling differences; it is t…

  • http://edge.typepad.com/symposium/2004/10/fifth_round_exc.html THE SYMPOSIUM

    Fifth Round: Excerpts

    A Jus In Bello Defense of Nuclear Weapons” href=”http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/000887.html”>Joe Carter finds that Kerry’s position is morally repugnant As G.K. Chesterton claimed, “War is not ‘the best way of settling differences; it is t…

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    Joe:
    At the time Truman made that decision, we were the only ones who had the atomic bomb. You wonder if he would have made that decision if the enemy also had the weapon at their disposal. There’s a reason that nobody has used a nuke in combat since, you know…
    Teri:

    The worst thing about this arguement is that conventional bombs can cause just as much devastation (witness Dresden in WWII vs. Hiroshima or Nagasaki).

    Are you nuts? Have you ever heard of this thing called “radiaion?” Sure, the buildings are flattened all the same, but with a nuke you contaminate the site for decades afterward.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    Joe:
    At the time Truman made that decision, we were the only ones who had the atomic bomb. You wonder if he would have made that decision if the enemy also had the weapon at their disposal. There’s a reason that nobody has used a nuke in combat since, you know…
    Teri:

    The worst thing about this arguement is that conventional bombs can cause just as much devastation (witness Dresden in WWII vs. Hiroshima or Nagasaki).

    Are you nuts? Have you ever heard of this thing called “radiaion?” Sure, the buildings are flattened all the same, but with a nuke you contaminate the site for decades afterward.

  • Mr. Moderate

    The worst thing about this arguement is that conventional bombs can cause just as much devastation (witness Dresden in WWII vs. Hiroshima or Nagasaki).
    There are two problems with this argument. The first problem is that one nuclear bomb has millions of times the destructive power of a conventional bomb. It took one bomb to level those two cities it took thousands of bombs to level Dresden. Along with the leveling of the city you leave behind a radioactive waste land in both the original blast zone and in the surrounding area. This causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects. Sure that sounds fine while that group is our “enemy.” But history has shown tomorrow’s enemies are today’s allies.
    The second problem is that your notion of total city destruction in convention bombing no longer applies. Even our “dumb” bombs are directed ordinance. Surgical striking is the method of bombing in modern war, especially in heavily populated area. There is no such concept in nuclear bombs.

  • Mr. Moderate

    The worst thing about this arguement is that conventional bombs can cause just as much devastation (witness Dresden in WWII vs. Hiroshima or Nagasaki).
    There are two problems with this argument. The first problem is that one nuclear bomb has millions of times the destructive power of a conventional bomb. It took one bomb to level those two cities it took thousands of bombs to level Dresden. Along with the leveling of the city you leave behind a radioactive waste land in both the original blast zone and in the surrounding area. This causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects. Sure that sounds fine while that group is our “enemy.” But history has shown tomorrow’s enemies are today’s allies.
    The second problem is that your notion of total city destruction in convention bombing no longer applies. Even our “dumb” bombs are directed ordinance. Surgical striking is the method of bombing in modern war, especially in heavily populated area. There is no such concept in nuclear bombs.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Tgirsch and Moderate:
    Tgirsch: Are you nuts? Have you ever heard of this thing called “radiaion?” Sure, the buildings are flattened all the same, but with a nuke you contaminate the site for decades afterward.
    Moderate: This causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.
    This is what I meant by “emotional baggage.” I used to have the same misunderstanding about radiation until I became the Radiation Safety Officer for my command and had to take classes on the subject. In my next post I clear up some of these misperceptions. (For example, it is not true that a nuclear blast “causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.”)

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Tgirsch and Moderate:
    Tgirsch: Are you nuts? Have you ever heard of this thing called “radiaion?” Sure, the buildings are flattened all the same, but with a nuke you contaminate the site for decades afterward.
    Moderate: This causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.
    This is what I meant by “emotional baggage.” I used to have the same misunderstanding about radiation until I became the Radiation Safety Officer for my command and had to take classes on the subject. In my next post I clear up some of these misperceptions. (For example, it is not true that a nuclear blast “causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.”)

  • http://www.donaldscrankshaw.com/posts/1096825897.shtml Back of the Envelope

    Nuclear Bunker Buster symposium

    Hugh Hewitt is hosting a blogger symposium discussing whether nuclear bunker buster bombs are a good idea. This, of course, is in response to Kerry’s statment during the debate,

    You …

  • http://www.donaldscrankshaw.com/posts/1096825897.shtml Back of the Envelope

    Nuclear Bunker Buster symposium

    Hugh Hewitt is hosting a blogger symposium discussing whether nuclear bunker buster bombs are a good idea. This, of course, is in response to Kerry’s statment during the debate,

    You …

  • http://www.donaldscrankshaw.com/posts/1096825897.shtml Back of the Envelope

    Nuclear Bunker Buster symposium

    Hugh Hewitt is hosting a blogger symposium discussing whether nuclear bunker buster bombs are a good idea. This, of course, is in response to Kerry’s statment during the debate,

    You …

  • http://www.donaldscrankshaw.com/posts/1096825897.shtml Back of the Envelope

    Nuclear Bunker Buster symposium

    Hugh Hewitt is hosting a blogger symposium discussing whether nuclear bunker buster bombs are a good idea. This, of course, is in response to Kerry’s statment during the debate,

    You …

  • David Marcoe

    This is what I meant by “emotional baggage.” I used to have the same misunderstanding about radiation until I became the Radiation Safety Officer for my command and had to take a class on the subject. In my next post I clear up some of these misperceptions. (For example, it is not true that a nuclear blast “causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.”)
    And beta particle radiation can even increase plant growth, but isn’t potent enough to penetrate human skin, which is why Cornell University used a isotope of tin which only generates beta particles to create a “nuclear battery.” Even the effects of EMP are not as magical and absolute as most believe.
    Joe, I look forward to your next post. I’m sure I learn some new stuff :-)

  • David Marcoe

    This is what I meant by “emotional baggage.” I used to have the same misunderstanding about radiation until I became the Radiation Safety Officer for my command and had to take a class on the subject. In my next post I clear up some of these misperceptions. (For example, it is not true that a nuclear blast “causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.”)
    And beta particle radiation can even increase plant growth, but isn’t potent enough to penetrate human skin, which is why Cornell University used a isotope of tin which only generates beta particles to create a “nuclear battery.” Even the effects of EMP are not as magical and absolute as most believe.
    Joe, I look forward to your next post. I’m sure I learn some new stuff :-)

  • Mark O

    Mr Moderate,
    reconsider you pseudonym w.r.t this issue. As Joe points out, your “emotional baggage” is showing. Spend a little time researching this issue in reviewed literature not rabid anti-nuclear rags.

  • Mark O

    Mr Moderate,
    reconsider you pseudonym w.r.t this issue. As Joe points out, your “emotional baggage” is showing. Spend a little time researching this issue in reviewed literature not rabid anti-nuclear rags.

  • http://steve.poling.info/ Steve Poling

    First, it should be noted that the Christian ought to have no bloodlust. The events of 9/11 move me to wrath and my demand for justice is tempered by awareness of my own imperfection. Nevertheless, unless one is a pacifist, there are times when one fights and an effective fighter arms himself appropriately.
    This business of a nuclear bunker-buster bomb bespeaks superstition. We are taught from day one that nuclear anything equals certain death. Probably due to the post-WW2 strategic planning that called for the nuclear equivalent of Curtis LeMay’s firebombing campaigns of Tokyo and Dresden. That evolved into Henry Kissinger’s strategy of mutual assured destruction. And the superstition was perpetuated.
    Precision guided munitions made most nuclear weapons obsolete. It’s stupid to smash an egg with a sledgehammer and knock around the kitchen in the process. A 1000lb TNT bomb guided in a window or down a chimney will ruin the bad guy’s day as effectively as a megaton nuke set off in his front yard.
    Thus, I think we allowed ourselves to become superstitious about nuclear weapons. If you set off an air-burst nuke over a city, you’ll irradiate a lot of stuff and you’ll start a fire that’ll circulate fallout-laden smoke over a wide area. But since WW2 we’ve had literally hundreds of subterranean nuclear explosions in both the US and former Soviet Union. Yet Nevada does not glow in the dark. And no EMP has burned out the lights in Las Vegas.
    A nuclear bunker-buster would most likely work in a fashion similar to those currently in inventory that are powered by conventional explosives. It would drive itself deep into the earth, and explode directing a shock wave at some buried structure in the hopes of collapsing it.
    If the US is denied such a weapon, the alternative may entail invading the country and killing a lot of people between you and the bunker in question. (Or perhaps we might ask for a strongly-worded memorandum from the UN.)
    The anti-proliferation argument says it is hypocritical to expect others to eschew nuclear weapons development when we are researching nuclear bunker-buster bombs. But the folks we are worried about are not developing nuclear bunker-busters. That would be like learning to run without first learning to walk. The bombs they are building are simpler, closer to those we worried about in the 50s and 60s–ones that would threaten cities, not bunkers.
    If anti-proliferation is hypocritical, then the US should unilaterally disarm. Are Mr. Kerry and the Democrats advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament? Even the French don’t go that far.

  • http://steve.poling.info/ Steve Poling

    First, it should be noted that the Christian ought to have no bloodlust. The events of 9/11 move me to wrath and my demand for justice is tempered by awareness of my own imperfection. Nevertheless, unless one is a pacifist, there are times when one fights and an effective fighter arms himself appropriately.
    This business of a nuclear bunker-buster bomb bespeaks superstition. We are taught from day one that nuclear anything equals certain death. Probably due to the post-WW2 strategic planning that called for the nuclear equivalent of Curtis LeMay’s firebombing campaigns of Tokyo and Dresden. That evolved into Henry Kissinger’s strategy of mutual assured destruction. And the superstition was perpetuated.
    Precision guided munitions made most nuclear weapons obsolete. It’s stupid to smash an egg with a sledgehammer and knock around the kitchen in the process. A 1000lb TNT bomb guided in a window or down a chimney will ruin the bad guy’s day as effectively as a megaton nuke set off in his front yard.
    Thus, I think we allowed ourselves to become superstitious about nuclear weapons. If you set off an air-burst nuke over a city, you’ll irradiate a lot of stuff and you’ll start a fire that’ll circulate fallout-laden smoke over a wide area. But since WW2 we’ve had literally hundreds of subterranean nuclear explosions in both the US and former Soviet Union. Yet Nevada does not glow in the dark. And no EMP has burned out the lights in Las Vegas.
    A nuclear bunker-buster would most likely work in a fashion similar to those currently in inventory that are powered by conventional explosives. It would drive itself deep into the earth, and explode directing a shock wave at some buried structure in the hopes of collapsing it.
    If the US is denied such a weapon, the alternative may entail invading the country and killing a lot of people between you and the bunker in question. (Or perhaps we might ask for a strongly-worded memorandum from the UN.)
    The anti-proliferation argument says it is hypocritical to expect others to eschew nuclear weapons development when we are researching nuclear bunker-buster bombs. But the folks we are worried about are not developing nuclear bunker-busters. That would be like learning to run without first learning to walk. The bombs they are building are simpler, closer to those we worried about in the 50s and 60s–ones that would threaten cities, not bunkers.
    If anti-proliferation is hypocritical, then the US should unilaterally disarm. Are Mr. Kerry and the Democrats advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament? Even the French don’t go that far.

  • Lee

    Why do you think Israel hasn’t been destroyed by her Arab neighbors? Because they know Israel has nukes and will not hesitate to use them to defend itself.

  • Lee

    Why do you think Israel hasn’t been destroyed by her Arab neighbors? Because they know Israel has nukes and will not hesitate to use them to defend itself.

  • Mark O

    There are of course, severe technical difficulties in desiging a nuclear bunker-buster if you want it to be a munition that confines its blast effects underground. The technical documentation pointed at by Hugh’s “symposium” indicate that the device needs to be driven several hundred feet underground prior to detonation to allow the blast effects to be confined (which is required to contain the radiation effects). Allowing the device to survive the imapct is the rub. If the blast effects are not confined in fact the fallout may be greater than an air burst because of the amount of “stuff” driven into the air.
    Given that, however, I can see no imperative to *not* try to overcome those hurdles.
    Also, the arguments against development which list the “destablising” effects of an “arms race” are disengenuous. Let’s face it, it takes two to run in a race. I don’t see any power volunteering to enter this race against the US in today’s geo-policital environment.

  • Mark O

    There are of course, severe technical difficulties in desiging a nuclear bunker-buster if you want it to be a munition that confines its blast effects underground. The technical documentation pointed at by Hugh’s “symposium” indicate that the device needs to be driven several hundred feet underground prior to detonation to allow the blast effects to be confined (which is required to contain the radiation effects). Allowing the device to survive the imapct is the rub. If the blast effects are not confined in fact the fallout may be greater than an air burst because of the amount of “stuff” driven into the air.
    Given that, however, I can see no imperative to *not* try to overcome those hurdles.
    Also, the arguments against development which list the “destablising” effects of an “arms race” are disengenuous. Let’s face it, it takes two to run in a race. I don’t see any power volunteering to enter this race against the US in today’s geo-policital environment.

  • Mr. Moderate

    If the blast effects are not confined in fact the fallout may be greater than an air burst because of the amount of “stuff” driven into the air.
    I’m sorry Mark, weren’t you just arguing that there is no fallout problem with nuclear devices? Remember there are no increases in cancer rates and birth defect rates, according to you and Joe? Why are you so worried about containing the radiation then? For the fun of the engineering challenge.

  • Mr. Moderate

    If the blast effects are not confined in fact the fallout may be greater than an air burst because of the amount of “stuff” driven into the air.
    I’m sorry Mark, weren’t you just arguing that there is no fallout problem with nuclear devices? Remember there are no increases in cancer rates and birth defect rates, according to you and Joe? Why are you so worried about containing the radiation then? For the fun of the engineering challenge.

  • Mr. Moderate

    For example, it is not true that a nuclear blast “causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.”
    Good. I guess we can stop worry about al Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons then, right? Nice try Joe.

  • Mr. Moderate

    For example, it is not true that a nuclear blast “causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.”
    Good. I guess we can stop worry about al Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons then, right? Nice try Joe.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with terrorists using a nuclear device is not the radiation, but the small size which makes it easy to smuggle large yields into crowded areas.
    The worry about radiation is indeed overdone. Even the most recent data about Chernobyl (which was mentioned earlier) is largely urban myth. The radiation in the surrounding area was not enough to increase cancer rates.
    Those who claim otherwise really need to do their homework.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with terrorists using a nuclear device is not the radiation, but the small size which makes it easy to smuggle large yields into crowded areas.
    The worry about radiation is indeed overdone. Even the most recent data about Chernobyl (which was mentioned earlier) is largely urban myth. The radiation in the surrounding area was not enough to increase cancer rates.
    Those who claim otherwise really need to do their homework.

  • Anonymous

    Also, one might need to drive a large yield weapon deep into the earth to contain its effects, but we’re not talking large yields with bunker-busters (at least not large yields when talking about nuclear weapons in general). The problem with large conventional bunker-busters is that by the time the yield is large enough to destroy the bunker, it is too big to drive deep into the ground. The benefit of a nuclear bunker-buster is that the weapon size remains small enough that the energy needed to drive it into the bunker remains strong, while we can pack a relatively large bomb (compared to conventional weapon yield) into a small package. It is the combination of deeper penetration and increased yield vs. size that makes the nuclear option with bunker-busters so appealing. And remember, we’re still not talking megaton-yield weapons here, but the equivalent of perhaps the largest conventional yield. Combined with the penetration of the smaller bunker-busters, the issue of ground penetration for containment purposes is not at issue.

  • Anonymous

    Also, one might need to drive a large yield weapon deep into the earth to contain its effects, but we’re not talking large yields with bunker-busters (at least not large yields when talking about nuclear weapons in general). The problem with large conventional bunker-busters is that by the time the yield is large enough to destroy the bunker, it is too big to drive deep into the ground. The benefit of a nuclear bunker-buster is that the weapon size remains small enough that the energy needed to drive it into the bunker remains strong, while we can pack a relatively large bomb (compared to conventional weapon yield) into a small package. It is the combination of deeper penetration and increased yield vs. size that makes the nuclear option with bunker-busters so appealing. And remember, we’re still not talking megaton-yield weapons here, but the equivalent of perhaps the largest conventional yield. Combined with the penetration of the smaller bunker-busters, the issue of ground penetration for containment purposes is not at issue.

  • Rob Smith

    Joe says–“For example, it is not true that a nuclear blast “causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.”
    MM says–“Good. I guess we can stop worry about al Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons then, right? Nice try Joe.”
    Bit of a non-sequitor isn’t it MM? Most people, when they think of Al Qaeda with a nuke worry about NYC or DC becoming huge pile of rubble, with a couple of million vaporized people. Maybe your’re strange, but for most concerns about a slightly higher rate of cancer or birth defects are pretty low on the ol’ totem pole. Especially since a lot of recent studies have shown the concerns to be pretty well overblown.

  • Rob Smith

    Joe says–“For example, it is not true that a nuclear blast “causes massive increases in the rates of cancer and birth defects.”
    MM says–“Good. I guess we can stop worry about al Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons then, right? Nice try Joe.”
    Bit of a non-sequitor isn’t it MM? Most people, when they think of Al Qaeda with a nuke worry about NYC or DC becoming huge pile of rubble, with a couple of million vaporized people. Maybe your’re strange, but for most concerns about a slightly higher rate of cancer or birth defects are pretty low on the ol’ totem pole. Especially since a lot of recent studies have shown the concerns to be pretty well overblown.

  • http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=dnjscott David Scott

    We’ve had almost sixty years to improve the nasty side-effects of nukes-reckon the new BB can be pretty clean, if they want it to be.

  • http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=dnjscott David Scott

    We’ve had almost sixty years to improve the nasty side-effects of nukes-reckon the new BB can be pretty clean, if they want it to be.

  • http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=dnjscott David Scott

    I’ve read this site for a while now, and I’m yet to see Mr. Moderate ever agree with anything Joe says, which would put him on the left in most people’s minds. I’m (vaguely) curious on what grounds he has chosen that for his handle.

  • http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=dnjscott David Scott

    I’ve read this site for a while now, and I’m yet to see Mr. Moderate ever agree with anything Joe says, which would put him on the left in most people’s minds. I’m (vaguely) curious on what grounds he has chosen that for his handle.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Even the most recent data about Chernobyl (which was mentioned earlier) is largely urban myth.
    THere was just a documentary on the surrounding villages and their birth defect rate et cetera around the Chernobyl site. I suggest you watch it before discussing “urban myth”

  • Mr. Moderate

    Even the most recent data about Chernobyl (which was mentioned earlier) is largely urban myth.
    THere was just a documentary on the surrounding villages and their birth defect rate et cetera around the Chernobyl site. I suggest you watch it before discussing “urban myth”

  • Mr. Moderate

    Mr. Moderate ever agree with anything Joe says, which would put him on the left in most people’s minds.
    Joe is pretty much far right. Me being left of him doesn’t make me a defacto liberal. “Moderate” is left of right last time I checked David.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Mr. Moderate ever agree with anything Joe says, which would put him on the left in most people’s minds.
    Joe is pretty much far right. Me being left of him doesn’t make me a defacto liberal. “Moderate” is left of right last time I checked David.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Bit of a non-sequitor isn’t it MM? Most people, when they think of Al Qaeda with a nuke worry about NYC or DC becoming huge pile of rubble, with a couple of million vaporized people. Maybe your’re strange, but for most concerns about a slightly higher rate of cancer or birth defects are pretty low on the ol’ totem pole. Especially since a lot of recent studies have shown the concerns to be pretty well overblown.
    I’m less concerned about what “most people” think than what the experts think. Experts are concerned about al Qaeda acquiring a fission bomb but they are also concerned about them acquiring and detonating a “dirty bomb.” The dirty bomb will have a conventional yield but will also spew radioactive material throughout a city area. Perhaps you forgot about this in your diatribe on cancer rates. Perhaps you don’t care about the generation of children after such an event having a “Chernobyl” necklace and worse, or perhaps you’d only care if it happened in your back yard.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Bit of a non-sequitor isn’t it MM? Most people, when they think of Al Qaeda with a nuke worry about NYC or DC becoming huge pile of rubble, with a couple of million vaporized people. Maybe your’re strange, but for most concerns about a slightly higher rate of cancer or birth defects are pretty low on the ol’ totem pole. Especially since a lot of recent studies have shown the concerns to be pretty well overblown.
    I’m less concerned about what “most people” think than what the experts think. Experts are concerned about al Qaeda acquiring a fission bomb but they are also concerned about them acquiring and detonating a “dirty bomb.” The dirty bomb will have a conventional yield but will also spew radioactive material throughout a city area. Perhaps you forgot about this in your diatribe on cancer rates. Perhaps you don’t care about the generation of children after such an event having a “Chernobyl” necklace and worse, or perhaps you’d only care if it happened in your back yard.

  • http://bonfire.typepad.com/bonfire/2004/10/get_in_touch_wi.html BONFIRE

    Kerry’s Plan for America?Give in to Global Bullies

    Last week’s foreign policy debate between President Bush and Democrat candidate John Kerry opened wide the window onto Kerry’s peace-activist deluded soul. A tailored suit, a tan and a manicure will not go far to hide this man’s tie-dyed, military

  • http://bonfire.typepad.com/bonfire/2004/10/get_in_touch_wi.html BONFIRE

    Kerry’s Plan for America?
    Give in to Global Bullies

    Last week’s foreign policy debate between President Bush and Democrat candidate John Kerry opened wide the window onto Kerry’s peace-activist deluded soul. A tailored suit, a tan and a manicure will not go far to hide this man’s tie-dyed, military

  • http://www.leanleft.com/ tgirsch

    I’m yet to see Mr. Moderate ever agree with anything Joe says, which would put him on the left in most people’s minds. I’m (vaguely) curious on what grounds he has chosen that for his handle.

    It’s possible to be quite far to the left of Joe without being on “the Left.” :)
    And I’ll be interested to see Joe’s piece about radiation, but then again, here’s a guy who dismisses what the latest/best science has to say when it contradicts his worldview, so it could just be that the nuclear scientists who gripe about radiation are every bit as wacky as those silly evolutionist guys.

  • http://www.leanleft.com tgirsch

    I’m yet to see Mr. Moderate ever agree with anything Joe says, which would put him on the left in most people’s minds. I’m (vaguely) curious on what grounds he has chosen that for his handle.

    It’s possible to be quite far to the left of Joe without being on “the Left.” :)
    And I’ll be interested to see Joe’s piece about radiation, but then again, here’s a guy who dismisses what the latest/best science has to say when it contradicts his worldview, so it could just be that the nuclear scientists who gripe about radiation are every bit as wacky as those silly evolutionist guys.

  • Mark O

    MM,
    I recall hearing a physics colloquia (lecture) about Chernobyl. Although most of the talk was about the cause and evolution of the disaster as it unfolded, there was a finding you might find interesting. The Soviets after the incident had quarantined a large radius around the plant. A group of biologists visited the site some 10 or 15 years later to investigate effects of the radiation on the flora and fauna in the region. They found them to be thriving, in fact most animals (including boar, deer, and bear) were larger than was found elsewhere. They concluded that for the fauna the detrimental radiation effects (if present) were far outweighed by the benefits gained from the absence of human society.
    And responding to your response to my earlier post. In referring to the desire to keep the blast confined underground I was not referring to minimal effects of fallout, but to the Physics Today article referrenced in HH’s original call to the virtual symposium. In that article much discussion was given to that topic.
    And as for fallout effects of a “dirty bomb” (which is I believe often a conventional munition designed to spread radioative waste or material), I would imagine that the clean-up costs required *and* the rioting/panic reaction of people (like yourself) who are educated to treat radiation as a bugbear. This IMHO is what is feared from the attack (as opposed to large number of vaporized citizenry).

  • Mark O

    MM,
    I recall hearing a physics colloquia (lecture) about Chernobyl. Although most of the talk was about the cause and evolution of the disaster as it unfolded, there was a finding you might find interesting. The Soviets after the incident had quarantined a large radius around the plant. A group of biologists visited the site some 10 or 15 years later to investigate effects of the radiation on the flora and fauna in the region. They found them to be thriving, in fact most animals (including boar, deer, and bear) were larger than was found elsewhere. They concluded that for the fauna the detrimental radiation effects (if present) were far outweighed by the benefits gained from the absence of human society.
    And responding to your response to my earlier post. In referring to the desire to keep the blast confined underground I was not referring to minimal effects of fallout, but to the Physics Today article referrenced in HH’s original call to the virtual symposium. In that article much discussion was given to that topic.
    And as for fallout effects of a “dirty bomb” (which is I believe often a conventional munition designed to spread radioative waste or material), I would imagine that the clean-up costs required *and* the rioting/panic reaction of people (like yourself) who are educated to treat radiation as a bugbear. This IMHO is what is feared from the attack (as opposed to large number of vaporized citizenry).

  • Chad Wayne

    MM,
    The reason that a “dirty bomb” is scary is not for the damage that it would do or the fall-out it would cause, but rather the fear factor it would provide.
    Specifically, you yourself have posted several times here about the effects of radiation which would be amplified if such a device were exploded in downtown NYC. Panic, in short, would ensue because the average Joe doesn’t know understand the nature of radiation.
    I’m certainly no expert. But on a daily basis I work with P-32 (and the beta particles emitted by this isotope). Betas can travel about 6 feet in air and about 2 inches in water and can be stopped by 1 cm of plastic. So betas to me aren’t that scary. But I garauntee if a dirty bomb were set off that spread beta emitting particles, it would be nothing but panic and woe where the event occurred.

  • Chad Wayne

    MM,
    The reason that a “dirty bomb” is scary is not for the damage that it would do or the fall-out it would cause, but rather the fear factor it would provide.
    Specifically, you yourself have posted several times here about the effects of radiation which would be amplified if such a device were exploded in downtown NYC. Panic, in short, would ensue because the average Joe doesn’t know understand the nature of radiation.
    I’m certainly no expert. But on a daily basis I work with P-32 (and the beta particles emitted by this isotope). Betas can travel about 6 feet in air and about 2 inches in water and can be stopped by 1 cm of plastic. So betas to me aren’t that scary. But I garauntee if a dirty bomb were set off that spread beta emitting particles, it would be nothing but panic and woe where the event occurred.

  • http://blog.infinitemonkeysblog.com/archive/000979.html Infinite Monkeys

    Nuclear ethics

    I don’t think it will surprise anyone that I’m not very keen on the idea of the U.S. Military developing new nuclear weapons. In addition to being extremely risky for both domestic politics and international diplomacy, I think working on…

  • http://blog.infinitemonkeysblog.com/archive/000979.html Infinite Monkeys

    Nuclear ethics

    I don’t think it will surprise anyone that I’m not very keen on the idea of the U.S. Military developing new nuclear weapons. In addition to being extremely risky for both domestic politics and international diplomacy, I think working on…

  • http://inkan.blogspot.com/ pgepps

    MM comments:

    If the blast effects are not confined in fact the fallout may be greater than an air burst because of the amount of “stuff” driven into the air.
    I’m sorry Mark, weren’t you just arguing that there is no fallout problem with nuclear devices?

    This is missing the point. Radiation is nowhere near so significant a problem as most people think; there’s a lot of fear and hype, here.
    Air-bursting an atomic weapon (or a nuke) is done to get maximum structural damage, but does also suck the fallout higher into the air, so it spreads more. Radiation is not the issue, though there are fallout consequences.
    Fallout is irradiated debris scattered in the air; obviously if the bomb is in the middle of a lot more matter (say, a few hundred feet of earth, concrete, and steel) then there will be a lot more irradiated bits of debris stirred up. I’m not sure that they would be more widely dispersed, though.
    However, if there’s a lot more irradiated matter, and it’s not spread as far, then I would expect that the site would be contaminated longer. Any experts out there with facts?
    It seems reasonable to use the biggest “boom” we know how to make, scaled down and focussed (however one does that), to prevent despots sitting in bunkers from having the ability to launch larger, less-focused “booms” at unprotected cities and civilians. It is far less destructive and harmful to local populations than a protracted ground war, and also far less likely to get a whole lot of our own killed.
    If protecting ourselves and also those of South Korea, Japan, and others in the affected region who we have allowed to depend on us requires turning some bunker into the Kim Jong Il Memorial Radioactive Dunghill, then I for one see no reason not to do it.
    As for some of the nuke disinformation repeated in some of the comments above, well,

    Rebuke not a fool, lest he scorn thee.

    Cheers,
    PGE

  • http://inkan.blogspot.com pgepps

    MM comments:

    If the blast effects are not confined in fact the fallout may be greater than an air burst because of the amount of “stuff” driven into the air.
    I’m sorry Mark, weren’t you just arguing that there is no fallout problem with nuclear devices?

    This is missing the point. Radiation is nowhere near so significant a problem as most people think; there’s a lot of fear and hype, here.
    Air-bursting an atomic weapon (or a nuke) is done to get maximum structural damage, but does also suck the fallout higher into the air, so it spreads more. Radiation is not the issue, though there are fallout consequences.
    Fallout is irradiated debris scattered in the air; obviously if the bomb is in the middle of a lot more matter (say, a few hundred feet of earth, concrete, and steel) then there will be a lot more irradiated bits of debris stirred up. I’m not sure that they would be more widely dispersed, though.
    However, if there’s a lot more irradiated matter, and it’s not spread as far, then I would expect that the site would be contaminated longer. Any experts out there with facts?
    It seems reasonable to use the biggest “boom” we know how to make, scaled down and focussed (however one does that), to prevent despots sitting in bunkers from having the ability to launch larger, less-focused “booms” at unprotected cities and civilians. It is far less destructive and harmful to local populations than a protracted ground war, and also far less likely to get a whole lot of our own killed.
    If protecting ourselves and also those of South Korea, Japan, and others in the affected region who we have allowed to depend on us requires turning some bunker into the Kim Jong Il Memorial Radioactive Dunghill, then I for one see no reason not to do it.
    As for some of the nuke disinformation repeated in some of the comments above, well,

    Rebuke not a fool, lest he scorn thee.

    Cheers,
    PGE

  • Rob Smith

    Experts are concerned about al Qaeda acquiring a fission bomb but they are also concerned about them acquiring and detonating a “dirty bomb.”
    Okay, but what is the connection between US research into nuclear “bunker busters” and Al Queda’s attempt to get some sort of nuclear weapon? Is it your assertion that if we stopped R&D on nuclear “bunker busters” that Al Queda would stop trying to get a nuke? Maybe I am being obtuse, but I just don’t see that happening.

  • Rob Smith

    Experts are concerned about al Qaeda acquiring a fission bomb but they are also concerned about them acquiring and detonating a “dirty bomb.”
    Okay, but what is the connection between US research into nuclear “bunker busters” and Al Queda’s attempt to get some sort of nuclear weapon? Is it your assertion that if we stopped R&D on nuclear “bunker busters” that Al Queda would stop trying to get a nuke? Maybe I am being obtuse, but I just don’t see that happening.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Okay, but what is the connection between US research into nuclear “bunker busters” and Al Queda’s attempt to get some sort of nuclear weapon? Is it your assertion that if we stopped R&D on nuclear “bunker busters” that Al Queda would stop trying to get a nuke? Maybe I am being obtuse, but I just don’t see that happening.
    Both devices will cause a release of radioactive material. Do I have to spell it out? Who is even talking about not pursuing bunker buster bombs to stop al Qaeda from pursuing nuclear bombs. The two are related solely on their impacts to the region in question. While al Qaeda may have no qualms irradiating portions of a country, I’d like to think we do–especially since we are talking about irraditing a friendly country, South Korea, in Joe’s scenario.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Okay, but what is the connection between US research into nuclear “bunker busters” and Al Queda’s attempt to get some sort of nuclear weapon? Is it your assertion that if we stopped R&D on nuclear “bunker busters” that Al Queda would stop trying to get a nuke? Maybe I am being obtuse, but I just don’t see that happening.
    Both devices will cause a release of radioactive material. Do I have to spell it out? Who is even talking about not pursuing bunker buster bombs to stop al Qaeda from pursuing nuclear bombs. The two are related solely on their impacts to the region in question. While al Qaeda may have no qualms irradiating portions of a country, I’d like to think we do–especially since we are talking about irraditing a friendly country, South Korea, in Joe’s scenario.

  • Mr. Moderate

    For all those advocating the development of nuclear bunker buster bombs. Please raise your hand if you would like to buy some property on the edge of the test site? Better yet raise your hand if you want to live on the test site for free? I mean there are no ill effects from such a device correct? No volunteers? Hypocrites.

  • Mr. Moderate

    For all those advocating the development of nuclear bunker buster bombs. Please raise your hand if you would like to buy some property on the edge of the test site? Better yet raise your hand if you want to live on the test site for free? I mean there are no ill effects from such a device correct? No volunteers? Hypocrites.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Moderate,
    For all those advocating the development of nuclear bunker buster bombs. Please raise your hand if you would like to buy some property on the edge of the test site? Better yet raise your hand if you want to live on the test site for free?
    Um, how many people do you think would choose to live on a site that was hit by a conventional bunker buster? What world do you live in, Moderate?
    I mean there are no ill effects from such a device correct? No volunteers? Hypocrites.
    I tell you what. If there is a dirty bomb attack in the U.S. I will be the first in line to buy real estate in the area. There will no doubt be fear-mongers like you who will drive down the he price of the properties in the area, making the area a bargain. All I’d have to do is hold on to it until people realized that they have nothing to fear and I’d make a fortune.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Moderate,
    For all those advocating the development of nuclear bunker buster bombs. Please raise your hand if you would like to buy some property on the edge of the test site? Better yet raise your hand if you want to live on the test site for free?
    Um, how many people do you think would choose to live on a site that was hit by a conventional bunker buster? What world do you live in, Moderate?
    I mean there are no ill effects from such a device correct? No volunteers? Hypocrites.
    I tell you what. If there is a dirty bomb attack in the U.S. I will be the first in line to buy real estate in the area. There will no doubt be fear-mongers like you who will drive down the he price of the properties in the area, making the area a bargain. All I’d have to do is hold on to it until people realized that they have nothing to fear and I’d make a fortune.

  • Rob Smith

    Please raise your hand if you would like to buy some property on the edge of the test site?
    Since most of the test sites are either underground or in the middle of the desert, I doubt you would have many takers. However, I would point out that Las Vegas is on the edge of a nuclear test site. They certainly don’t seem to have any problems with property values.

  • Rob Smith

    Please raise your hand if you would like to buy some property on the edge of the test site?
    Since most of the test sites are either underground or in the middle of the desert, I doubt you would have many takers. However, I would point out that Las Vegas is on the edge of a nuclear test site. They certainly don’t seem to have any problems with property values.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Um, how many people do you think would choose to live on a site that was hit by a conventional bunker buster? What world do you live in, Moderate?
    We used bunker buster bombs in the center of Baghdad. I have feeling there will be buildings on that site before the end of this decade. I can’t say the same would be true if we had dropped a fission bomb there.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Um, how many people do you think would choose to live on a site that was hit by a conventional bunker buster? What world do you live in, Moderate?
    We used bunker buster bombs in the center of Baghdad. I have feeling there will be buildings on that site before the end of this decade. I can’t say the same would be true if we had dropped a fission bomb there.

  • Mr. Moderate

    I tell you what. If there is a dirty bomb attack in the U.S. I will be the first in line to buy real estate in the area. There will no doubt be fear-mongers like you who will drive down the he price of the properties in the area, making the area a bargain. All I’d have to do is hold on to it until people realized that they have nothing to fear and I’d make a fortune.
    Good for you joe. I notice you plan on buying real estate. Do you plan on living there as well? If you knew that the land you were buying would expose your children to an environment which will increase their chance of cancer and other ailments significantly will you still be moving in?

  • Mr. Moderate

    I tell you what. If there is a dirty bomb attack in the U.S. I will be the first in line to buy real estate in the area. There will no doubt be fear-mongers like you who will drive down the he price of the properties in the area, making the area a bargain. All I’d have to do is hold on to it until people realized that they have nothing to fear and I’d make a fortune.
    Good for you joe. I notice you plan on buying real estate. Do you plan on living there as well? If you knew that the land you were buying would expose your children to an environment which will increase their chance of cancer and other ailments significantly will you still be moving in?

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Moderate,
    Wasn’t the point of bringing that up that this was the first study to conclusively show this problem? Science moves forward Joe.
    I don

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Moderate,
    Wasn’t the point of bringing that up that this was the first study to conclusively show this problem? Science moves forward Joe.
    I don

  • Mr. Moderate

    Again Joe…you finished the above statement with:
    Considering the fact that there is no established link between low levels of radiation and cancer I don

  • Mr. Moderate

    Again Joe…you finished the above statement with:
    Considering the fact that there is no established link between low levels of radiation and cancer I don

  • Mr. Moderate

    Most of the underground facilities are drilled into granite rocks and the entrances face north in order to avoid direct hits by American bombs and missiles.
    If we don’t piss off the Chinese we would have carte blanche to launch northern missions. Just as in Iraq a phase one attack would take out the AA artillery. We could use cruise missiles and other bombs to seal off necessary entrances to the tunnel systems. I don’t think the northern face problem is really that much of a problem in that light. Similarly, I thought we were talking about only using nuclear bunker buster bombs to protect the theater against nuclear missile attacks. Do we have data on where these nuclear weapons are stored in NK?
    Based on your quote above it sounds like we’d have to carpet bomb Pyongyang with nuclear BB’s to effectively destroy the entire tunnel system, not just the entrances to said system, and thus ‘chop the head of the snake.’ We’d therefore be talking about releasing hundreds or thousands of such nuclear devices. Do you think this is feasible, practical or necessary? I think the average NK is about ready to call it quits on the deluded PM anyway. This would certainly be true if there was a joint invasion from the South with U.S. and South Korean forces and from the north with Chinese and Japanese forces. Remember, no one there likes NK.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Most of the underground facilities are drilled into granite rocks and the entrances face north in order to avoid direct hits by American bombs and missiles.
    If we don’t piss off the Chinese we would have carte blanche to launch northern missions. Just as in Iraq a phase one attack would take out the AA artillery. We could use cruise missiles and other bombs to seal off necessary entrances to the tunnel systems. I don’t think the northern face problem is really that much of a problem in that light. Similarly, I thought we were talking about only using nuclear bunker buster bombs to protect the theater against nuclear missile attacks. Do we have data on where these nuclear weapons are stored in NK?
    Based on your quote above it sounds like we’d have to carpet bomb Pyongyang with nuclear BB’s to effectively destroy the entire tunnel system, not just the entrances to said system, and thus ‘chop the head of the snake.’ We’d therefore be talking about releasing hundreds or thousands of such nuclear devices. Do you think this is feasible, practical or necessary? I think the average NK is about ready to call it quits on the deluded PM anyway. This would certainly be true if there was a joint invasion from the South with U.S. and South Korean forces and from the north with Chinese and Japanese forces. Remember, no one there likes NK.

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    Moderate,
    So please explain to me why we are supposed to worry about decontamination and reduction of unnecessary exposure to radiation if you believe there is no correlation between such exposure and the increase in diseases such as cancer?
    That

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    Moderate,
    So please explain to me why we are supposed to worry about decontamination and reduction of unnecessary exposure to radiation if you believe there is no correlation between such exposure and the increase in diseases such as cancer?
    That

  • Mr. Moderate

    North Korean artillery can kill 50,000 ROK citizens in the first hour of attack. How much time would you be willing to allow and how many lives would you be willing to sacrifice in order to drop enough conventional munitions to take out these entrenched artillery positions?
    Funny, I never saw people use anti-aircraft artillery to kill people.
    Why aren

  • Mr. Moderate

    North Korean artillery can kill 50,000 ROK citizens in the first hour of attack. How much time would you be willing to allow and how many lives would you be willing to sacrifice in order to drop enough conventional munitions to take out these entrenched artillery positions?
    Funny, I never saw people use anti-aircraft artillery to kill people.
    Why aren

  • Mr. Moderate

    That

  • Mr. Moderate

    That

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/ Joe Carter

    You spent a whole article trying to convince your readers that radiation exposure is really of no risk for people, and then you throw this in when it comes to the hypothetical scenario where it is us the people of the United States that will be affected?
    Um, no I didn

  • http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com Joe Carter

    You spent a whole article trying to convince your readers that radiation exposure is really of no risk for people, and then you throw this in when it comes to the hypothetical scenario where it is us the people of the United States that will be affected?
    Um, no I didn

  • Rob Smith

    Funny, I never saw people use anti-aircraft artillery to kill people.
    Well, the Germans made very good use of their 88mm Anti Aircraft Gun to destroy US tanks.
    The problem is not AAA, the problem is that the North Koreans have several thousand artillery pieces in caves along the DMZ targeted on South Korea, several hundred capable of reaching Seoul. It is estimated that North Korea could fire up to 300k/hour shells on the South. Unfortunately there are very few conventional options to take out these guns, especially since if the NorK’s invaded the South they would probably use Chem weapons to help overrun the DMZ.

  • Rob Smith

    Funny, I never saw people use anti-aircraft artillery to kill people.
    Well, the Germans made very good use of their 88mm Anti Aircraft Gun to destroy US tanks.
    The problem is not AAA, the problem is that the North Koreans have several thousand artillery pieces in caves along the DMZ targeted on South Korea, several hundred capable of reaching Seoul. It is estimated that North Korea could fire up to 300k/hour shells on the South. Unfortunately there are very few conventional options to take out these guns, especially since if the NorK’s invaded the South they would probably use Chem weapons to help overrun the DMZ.

  • Mr. Moderate

    Yet if you even hinted that we should ban tobacco because of that risk the entire country would be up in arms.
    Actually many states are making smoking in public illegal for just such a reason. I’m happier for it personally, since I choose not to smoke in the first place. I think that the risk of exposure in the immediate are of the bomb detonation is much higher than a 1:1E6 chance though.
    I

  • Mr. Moderate

    Yet if you even hinted that we should ban tobacco because of that risk the entire country would be up in arms.
    Actually many states are making smoking in public illegal for just such a reason. I’m happier for it personally, since I choose not to smoke in the first place. I think that the risk of exposure in the immediate are of the bomb detonation is much higher than a 1:1E6 chance though.
    I

  • Mr. Moderate

    The problem is not AAA, the problem is that the North Koreans have several thousand artillery pieces in caves along the DMZ targeted on South Korea, several hundred capable of reaching Seoul. It is estimated that North Korea could fire up to 300k/hour shells on the South.
    Wouldn’t they have to deploy these weapons first? There is no way to disrupt this first, very crucial first step, without carpet bombing the DMZ with fission bombs?

  • Mr. Moderate

    The problem is not AAA, the problem is that the North Koreans have several thousand artillery pieces in caves along the DMZ targeted on South Korea, several hundred capable of reaching Seoul. It is estimated that North Korea could fire up to 300k/hour shells on the South.
    Wouldn’t they have to deploy these weapons first? There is no way to disrupt this first, very crucial first step, without carpet bombing the DMZ with fission bombs?

  • Rob Smith

    Wouldn’t they have to deploy these weapons first?
    The tubes are already deployed. They are in the field and ready to be used.
    The problem with conventional munitions in this case is that even given ideal conditions it would take days, if not weeks (with the mountainous terrain) to eliminate all the guns. During that time, the North Koreans would be able to drop millions of artillery shells (tens of thousand on Seoul) on South Korea. It would take a lot less than someone dropping 300K (let alone millions of) artillery shells on the DC-metro area (my home town) to make me overcome my reluctance to using nukes.

  • Rob Smith

    Wouldn’t they have to deploy these weapons first?
    The tubes are already deployed. They are in the field and ready to be used.
    The problem with conventional munitions in this case is that even given ideal conditions it would take days, if not weeks (with the mountainous terrain) to eliminate all the guns. During that time, the North Koreans would be able to drop millions of artillery shells (tens of thousand on Seoul) on South Korea. It would take a lot less than someone dropping 300K (let alone millions of) artillery shells on the DC-metro area (my home town) to make me overcome my reluctance to using nukes.

  • Joe

    Your comments like,
    “I tell you what. If there is a dirty bomb attack in the U.S. I will be the first in line to buy real estate in the area. There will no doubt be fear-mongers like you who will drive down the he price of the properties in the area, making the area a bargain. All I’d have to do is hold on to it until people realized that they have nothing to fear and I’d make a fortune”,
    have convinced me once and for all that you are an ignorant, hopelessly closed-minded person, and you have zero credibility. Please re-enlist for extended duty in Iraq, where you can live out your unrelenting fantasies of saving the world and transforming it into an ulta-conservative, evangelical Christian nirvana. Your enlistment may save my son’s life from being wasted in your modern day Crusade.
    Here’s my theory: you served in Iraq and were exposed to too much depleted uranium, and now you are incapable of rational thought. How the hell else can one explain your statements that you’d be happy to live on a dirty bomb site? Dirty bombs release a soup of highly radioactive isotopes in the local area where they are detonated – that is fact – and those isotopes will give you cancerous tumors, leukemia, and/or other radiation-caused illnesses, the longer you are exposed to them. Even if a dirty bomb site can be reasonably cleaned up, it won’t be a good real estate investment opportunity. Unless, of course, you can find some other schmuck like yourself to sell to…

  • Joe

    Your comments like,
    “I tell you what. If there is a dirty bomb attack in the U.S. I will be the first in line to buy real estate in the area. There will no doubt be fear-mongers like you who will drive down the he price of the properties in the area, making the area a bargain. All I’d have to do is hold on to it until people realized that they have nothing to fear and I’d make a fortune”,
    have convinced me once and for all that you are an ignorant, hopelessly closed-minded person, and you have zero credibility. Please re-enlist for extended duty in Iraq, where you can live out your unrelenting fantasies of saving the world and transforming it into an ulta-conservative, evangelical Christian nirvana. Your enlistment may save my son’s life from being wasted in your modern day Crusade.
    Here’s my theory: you served in Iraq and were exposed to too much depleted uranium, and now you are incapable of rational thought. How the hell else can one explain your statements that you’d be happy to live on a dirty bomb site? Dirty bombs release a soup of highly radioactive isotopes in the local area where they are detonated – that is fact – and those isotopes will give you cancerous tumors, leukemia, and/or other radiation-caused illnesses, the longer you are exposed to them. Even if a dirty bomb site can be reasonably cleaned up, it won’t be a good real estate investment opportunity. Unless, of course, you can find some other schmuck like yourself to sell to…

  • http://www.globaloctopus.blogspot.com/ El Anciano Gruñó

    There’s a whole social psychology literature on why people perceive risks, such as radiation, differently from any reasonable quantitative estimate of risk.
    Radiation tops the list for most of the factors involved. I tried to upload a comment to that effect and can’t find it. Maybe it got stymied, or maybe it’s the middle of the night and I just can’t find it. In any case, I have added a discussion of this issue to my political blog.

  • http://www.globaloctopus.blogspot.com/ El Anciano Gruñón

    There’s a whole social psychology literature on why people perceive risks, such as radiation, differently from any reasonable quantitative estimate of risk.
    Radiation tops the list for most of the factors involved. I tried to upload a comment to that effect and can’t find it. Maybe it got stymied, or maybe it’s the middle of the night and I just can’t find it. In any case, I have added a discussion of this issue to my political blog.

  • Athor Pel

    The first time I heard that both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were rebuilt quite soon after WWII and directly on top of their blast zones, well, I was surprised. If the radiation was so bad and so persistent then why rebuild on top of ground zero? Apparently there is a lot of hype surrounding the dangers of radiation. There is obviously some sort of disconnect between objective reality and the perceived danger as viewed by people with little direct experience dealing with radiation. There is danger but it is a known danger and there are methods of dealing with it. Those two Japanese cities are proof of that.

  • Athor Pel

    The first time I heard that both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were rebuilt quite soon after WWII and directly on top of their blast zones, well, I was surprised. If the radiation was so bad and so persistent then why rebuild on top of ground zero? Apparently there is a lot of hype surrounding the dangers of radiation. There is obviously some sort of disconnect between objective reality and the perceived danger as viewed by people with little direct experience dealing with radiation. There is danger but it is a known danger and there are methods of dealing with it. Those two Japanese cities are proof of that.

  • Ken

    Something to remember, courtesy of Kyle’s Mom from South Park:
    No one is as bloodthirsty or as genocidal as a Concerned and Compassionate (TM) Liberal who has just been personally threatened and/or inconvenienced in any way.

  • Ken

    Something to remember, courtesy of Kyle’s Mom from South Park:
    No one is as bloodthirsty or as genocidal as a Concerned and Compassionate (TM) Liberal who has just been personally threatened and/or inconvenienced in any way.

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