Britain threatens Saddam with nukes.
March 21, 2002 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Britain threatens Saddam with nukes. (via Fark) Is anyone else tired of this? Why can't we just leave each other alone for awhile? (You may have to register to see the story)
posted by schlaager (33 comments total)
while we are at it...why dont we take out mecca and a bunch of those arabs too.... any one know if there is any truth to the national review article referred to here....?? it would'nt suprise me.
posted by specialk420 at 10:52 AM on March 21, 2002

Can't we all just get along?
posted by revbrian at 10:58 AM on March 21, 2002

Go watch the videos of the WTC falling down, then come back to us and suggest that we all get along.

They are saying: Do that again, and you're toast. Damn straight.
posted by benh57 at 11:13 AM on March 21, 2002

"Do that again"? Try as we might (emphasis on might), we haven't been able to pin one iota of 9/11 on Iraq. So what are you referring to, benh57?
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:34 AM on March 21, 2002


(guitar music, girls)
posted by Settle at 11:35 AM on March 21, 2002

Bother to read the article (a lot to ask of some, I know), and you'll see schlaager is making the sin of lying by omission. This is the very first sentence of the article:
BRITAIN would be ready to make a nuclear strike against states such as Iraq if they used weapons of mass destruction against British forces, Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, told MPs yesterday.
(Emphasis mine.) That's a hell of a lot different than Britain merely "threatening Saddam with nukes."

As Ken Layne has said, "We can fact-check your ass."
posted by aaron at 11:39 AM on March 21, 2002

I wish the Blair government would stop trying to play Dale to our Roy. It's so me-too, and I'm sure the Continent is snickering.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:53 AM on March 21, 2002

[Go watch the videos of the WTC falling down, then come back to us and suggest that we all get along.]

How is the view from that high horse? It's a joke pinhead.
posted by revbrian at 12:01 PM on March 21, 2002

It's so me-too, and I'm sure the Continent is snickering.

Do they really believe that the US and UK haven't been both snickering and completely ignoring the Continent (especially the US; I know the UK has to at least pretend to care) on matters of war since 9/11?
posted by aaron at 12:06 PM on March 21, 2002

Bother to read the article (a lot to ask of some, I know), and you'll see schlaager is making the sin of lying by omission.

The headline of the article is "UK warns Saddam of nuclear retaliation." Apparently someone else is lying by omission, as well.

We in the media are often prone to sensationalism. No apolgy is offered.
posted by schlaager at 12:16 PM on March 21, 2002

Would it be better if the UK, US whomever outlined to any threat, exactly what we won't do? The threat of something often is more than enough to prevent an unwanted action.

And schlaager, thats why the media sucks.
posted by jbelshaw at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2002

Anyone here know how many ways you can translate "everybody chill out" into arabic?

My guess is less than the 30 words eskimos have for "snow"
posted by BentPenguin at 12:46 PM on March 21, 2002

It would be nice, wouldn't it, if the Arab world would adopt "chill out" as its mantra? Get them some pot brownies and some phine honeys stat. ;)
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:00 PM on March 21, 2002

Read this week's Jeffrey Goldberg article in the New Yorker about how the Kurds are and were treated by Saddam. Then we can talk about getting along. The man needs a serious beat down.
posted by aeiou at 1:04 PM on March 21, 2002

BTW, you'll need to buy the New Yorker to read's not on the site (yet). It's a remarkable and very disturbing piece of journalism and well worth the cover price.
posted by aeiou at 1:16 PM on March 21, 2002

Read this week's Jeffrey Goldberg article in the New Yorker about how the Kurds are and were treated by Saddam. Then we can talk about getting along. The man needs a serious beat down.

Strange then that all the Kurdish factional leaders agree on one thing, which is that military action against Saddam is against their best interests: "We will not be ordered by America or any others. We will not be a bargaining chip or tool of pressure to be used against Iraq." (I think you may need to register. And if Ken Layne wants to fact-check the Telegraph's ass, he's welcome. Though he might want to stop talking out of his own.)

And could someone clarify whether the use of depleted uranium in the last Gulf War counted as a chemical weapon or a nuclear one?

actually, donkeyscholng, Blair's playing Trigger to your Roy.
posted by riviera at 1:56 PM on March 21, 2002

I'm more annoyed about the warnings. Everyone with a nuclear bomb is "threatening" it's use against someone else. Having the stupid thing is threat enough isn't it?

I think we could all use I nice, spontaneous, unprovoked, nuclear strike on Iraq.

No warnings, just launch 'em. Wouldn't that give them something to spit their coffee out at on a Monday morning?
posted by KnitWit at 1:57 PM on March 21, 2002

Spit out their coffee... and evaporate! Mwaahahahh aahgahfhghagha!111

KnitWit, were you being serious? Or does your name imply something?
posted by Aikido at 2:15 PM on March 21, 2002

all sarcasm has hints of truth.
posted by KnitWit at 2:20 PM on March 21, 2002

Of course, riviera, not only is DU not even remotely a Weapon of Mass Destruction, it's not even very dangerous, according to the UN's own study of Kosovo -- the risks being both unproven and mostly theoretical, and the studies performed finding few links other than isolated cases directly connected to soldiers surviving DU vehicle hits.

Rich Lowry's words on National Review's weblog, The Corner, that were taken as endorsing nuking of Mecca, did not -- in response to the question, How would the U.S. respond if al Qaeda succeeded in detonating a nuke in a major American city? This is the disturbing thing: I'm not really sure what we could do any differently from what we're doing now. What would we do? Nuke Riyadh? Baghdad? A real conundrum--let me know if you have any bright ideas about it..., he summarized reader e-mail with the phrase Lots of sentiment for nuking Mecca, which he then calls extreme. He summarizes his own thinking this way: As for the Saudis, my only thought is that if we're going to hold them responsible for terrorism, we had better start doing it now, not after an even more catastrophic attack.

One can't deny this is inflammatory, but it's cynical to portray this as Lowry's own recommendation.
posted by dhartung at 3:37 PM on March 21, 2002

...which he then calls extreme. He summarizes his own thinking this way...

Quote preceding dhartung's snippet:

"Mecca seems extreme, of course, but then again few people would die and it would send a signal. Religions have suffered such catastrophic setbacks before."

[ boldface mine ]

...but it's cynical to portray this as Lowry's own recommendation

Not hardly.
posted by nikzhowz at 4:06 PM on March 21, 2002

I just saw on CNN that Iraq has agreed to not use weapons of mass destruction against British troops as long as Blair will promise that British soldiers will use only longbows and spears. Furthermore, soldiers on each side will be allowed to kill only one enemy soldier per business day, and three total on weekends.
posted by Doug at 4:33 PM on March 21, 2002

It's a terrible shame you're behind the times, dhartung: the WHO study (no clean bill of health, if you care to scroll down to the bottom of the summary) was published last April, but the WHO inspectorate returned to conduct more studies in Iraq in August. And the Royal Society published its own caution last week, which might explain why the MoD stopped firing the stuff, and is formally investigating the consequences of chucking even more radioactive shite into the Irish sea.
posted by riviera at 4:46 PM on March 21, 2002

Depleted uranium is not radioactive in any meaningful sense of the word. It's a mildly toxic heavy metal, that's it. Any plausible replacement would also be a midly toxic heavy metal, so it's not clear what would be gained by phasing out DU except more money being spent on weapons.
posted by jaek at 5:45 PM on March 21, 2002

riviera, what part of for the general population, neither civilian nor military use of DU is likely to produce exposures to DU much above normal background levels produced by uranium. Therefore, an exposure assessment for DU will normally not be required. are you trying to exaggerate? No, it is not wholly non-toxic, but then, neither is a car. Then the BBC article you link to says Those most at risk are soldiers who breathe in high levels of DU dust which often occurs when a person is caught close to a DU impact. which is not inconsistent with what I said above. One will note that such a person would normally be a soldier that the DU-weapon was intended to disable or kill. (The rest of the article is so full of if.... then that drawing general conclusions would be sloppy at best.) And the MoD article says However, he did not rule out further firings in the future, so perhaps they actually stopped for other reasons, such as the conclusion of testing they claimed, or the political climate. And the final article is not the result of a study, but the announcement of the beginning of one. Not such an effective link-bomb as you thought, eh?

Keep in mind this is a weapon, and killing happens to be one of the things it should do.

And any argument against using it should properly justify itself by demonstrating alternatives, and an understanding that making it harder to manufacture an effective anti-tank weapons means more tanks will survive on the battlefield, and likely more infantry killed. Or perhaps the tank would be used against civilian targets, or the very existence of the tanks and the lack of effective anti-tank weaponry would create an impediment to military intervention, and just maybe keep a nasty little regime in power. Or make it easier for the enemy to invade you. What will you substitute as a tank-killer? Or do you just want a general "war is too horrible to contemplate" inertia to set in?
posted by dhartung at 9:31 PM on March 21, 2002

I am sick and tired of pathetic Europeans who can't understand that Hussein needs to be taken out by year's end. Thankfully, you are not in charge. Of anything.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:41 PM on March 21, 2002

No, it is not wholly non-toxic, but then, neither is a car.

I'm not up on this whole DU thing. But a car's not *weakly radioactive*. It may be a lot of things, it may be smog-inducing and harmful and cancer-causing over the long haul and dangerous because of accidents, but it's not weakly radioactive. Cars are also essential to getting around in the U.S., more so than in most countries. I can take my bike for short distances, but couldn't get by well at all without one or immediate access to one. Silly analogy.
posted by raysmj at 10:18 PM on March 21, 2002

Keep in mind this is a weapon, and killing happens to be one of the things it should do.

So what's the matter with chemical weapons, then, if this is all you need to say? Why go after Hussein for making them? Or is there really such a thing as the proverbial "fate worse than death?"
posted by raysmj at 10:20 PM on March 21, 2002

ray, I did not say that cars were weakly radioactive. Is being weakly radioactive some kind of magical state at which we should all quake in fear, or is it, rather, a manageable risk -- just like particulate pollution created by internal combustion engines? We all live with small amounts of weakly radioactive uranium in our bodies; there's a limited but varying amount of background radiation wherever you go. Sometimes buildings are radioactive because of the rock they were made with. I've handled weakly radioactive materials in college science class.

And as for chemical weapons being an analogy, it is not the toxicity but the mass killing that is the problem. See the actual Chemical weapons convention of 1993, which amazingly, contains an actual definition: Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals. Although DU is toxic, it is not even the same as a radiological weapon, which is a much better example if you are looking for a close analogy. DU weapons are designed and used for a specific purpose, penetrating armor plating. Presumably in the process they will destroy a vehicle (or perhaps more precisely, deliver an explosive weapon which will subsequently do the same). This is legal under the laws of war -- the soldiers operating the tank or in close proximity to it could be killed by a conventional weapon without anyone bringing up the morality of the weapon itself as some exception from normal practices of combat.

Additionally, the soldiers in the units opposing the armored vehicle could expect casualties as a part of that operation, so it is not surprising that even if there is a non-negligible risk to them from DU weapons once they, for example, enter the destroyed vehicle to clear it, they are not experiencing risk that is elevated above the fact that they were facing a tank to begin with. Gas or chemical attacks, on the other hand, not only affect broad groupings of troops, they may also affect civilians or friendly forces with unpredictable consequences. The gas or chemical can linger or flow away from the combat zone, killing anyone unprotected. With DU you have to be very close, handle residue, or other very specific risk factors -- which are easy to test for.

The final concern, and the one which seems most felt by opponents of DU weapons, is the risk to civilian populations. This can be addressed by judicious use of combat zone sanitation, similar to land-mine removal programs.

The prohibition isn't based on the idea that cyanide gas is inherently horrible -- all weapons are horrible; it's that they're weapons which are used against massed groups of soldiers but cannot be controlled, or that can be used against civilians, with few defenses. You can't really consider DU to be an anti-personnel weapon, let alone something that might be used against civilians. It's just too hard, and it's a waste of a good HEAT round. Depleted Uranium is actually used in thousands of civilian applications -- and it so comparatively safe that one of those uses is actually shielding from X-ray devices. Perhaps you've encountered some at the airport, or the dentist's office, without even knowing it.
posted by dhartung at 10:54 PM on March 21, 2002

Older DU discussion.
posted by hobbes at 2:08 AM on March 22, 2002

maybe they should rename depleted uranium 'I can't believe its not Uranium!'
posted by rikabel at 9:30 AM on March 22, 2002

Yeah, let's take it easy while Saddam builds his own nukes and bio-weapons. This is the most naive post I've ever seen on Metafilter.
posted by catatonic at 5:39 PM on March 22, 2002

What's amazing is that British folks don't seem to care that Tony Blair is anything more than a Dubya II meat puppet, kinda like Thatcher and Ronnie Raygun.
posted by mark13 at 12:41 PM on March 23, 2002

« Older Pennsylvania school sends notes home if kids are...   |   'Bout time. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments