Of means and ends in the world of nuclear proliferation.

Posted by admin
Apr 08 2006

It seems that irony is alive and well in the Bush administration. Hell, irony is having a major, blow-out, lampshade party there.

US considers use of nuclear weapons against Iran (Yahoo! News):

The administration of President George W. Bush is planning a massive bombing campaign against Iran, including use of bunker-buster nuclear bombs to destroy a key Iranian suspected nuclear weapons facility, The New Yorker magazine has reported in its April 17 issue.

The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said that Bush and others in the White House have come to view Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a potential Adolf Hitler.

“That’s the name they’re using,” the report quoted a former senior intelligence official as saying.

A senior unnamed Pentagon adviser is quoted in the article as saying that “this White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war.”

The former intelligence officials depicts planning as “enormous,” “hectic” and “operational,” Hersh writes.

One former defense official said the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government,” The New Yorker pointed out.

Let’s untangle this a little: If Hersh is correct, our nation’s government is considering the use of nuclear weapons to prevent another nation from developing nuclear weapons.

Has your head returned from that “huh?-wha?-huh?” state yet? Mine hasn’t.

Bunker-busting nukes are seen by some military strategists as “tactical” weapons designed to take out a single target. If only it were that easy. During the 1970s and 1980s, the US and USSR considered the development and use of battlefield nuclear weapons in their East-vs-West war-game scenarios, only to find that the use of “tactical” nukes on the battlefield risked flaring into a full-fledged, strategic, and global nuclear holocaust.

While we don’t face the clear risk of a nuclear armageddon that existed during the Cold War, I imagine that we would face a severe and disastrous backlash from the rest of the world were we to use bunker-busting nukes against Iran. We would surely receive severe criticism from the global community of nations were we to even use conventional bombing against Iran.

Congress needs to get its act together on this one by passing a resolution that reminds the president that he needs a Congressional declaration of war before it can act and cannot fall back on previous resolutions to justify a new war against another nation. Better than that, we need to elect a new body in the House and Senate that will not roll over for the president and has no problem with asserting Congress’ oversight powers.

In 2002 and 2003, the administration warned everyone — quite falsely — of Iraq’s nuclear weapons and the potential for the appearance of a mushroom cloud over an American city. I don’t limit my fears to our nation alone. The appearance of a mushroom cloud anywhere in the world should shake all of us to the core. During the Cold War, a nuke that displayed a US flag on its casing instilled the same dread and fear as the nuke with a Soviet flag. While we should all be concerned about a Iranian-flagged nuke today, we should not forget that a US nuke has not transformed into some angel of peace, democracy and security since the end of the US-Soviet rivalry. It remains as deadly, unpredictable and dangerous to the security of our world as ever.

Preventing nuclear proliferation around the world is important. So, too, is reducing and eliminating the nuclear stockpiles that exist. Using existing nuclear weapons to take out potential nuclear weapons is not a justifiable strategy to prevent proliferation. If anything, such an effort could increase international tensions and result in a greater conflict than we already have at the present time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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