or: How I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb.
November 26, 2003 3:17 PM   Subscribe

"Our enemies seek to inflict mass casualties, without fielding mass armies. They hide in the shadows, and they're often hard to strike," says Bush while signing a new defense bill that includes millions of dollars for a small nuclear bomb designed to destroy deep, hardened underground bunkers. The legislation repeals a decade-old ban on research into low-yield nuclear weapons.
posted by Espoo2 (35 comments total)
Um, how is that different from the massive aerial bombardments we've used as Standard Operating Procedure for the last few wars and skirmishes?

Or is he just pissed because he thinks the other side is copying us?
posted by fenriq at 3:22 PM on November 26, 2003

Are the Al Qaeda super mole men who tunnel miles underneath the earth to surface unexpectedly, like groundhogs, to savage the gardens of freedom and democrcacy?
posted by troutfishing at 3:23 PM on November 26, 2003

Here's part of the House debate on it a while ago. It's a terrible idea.
posted by amberglow at 3:27 PM on November 26, 2003

what's most bizarre about this story is that the budget is only $15 million. and actually, yeah troutfishing, that's more or less what this is for, except the "miles" part and the part about surfacing in gardens of freedom. but, given the massive aerial bombardments fenriq talks about, what else are they supposed to do?
posted by badstone at 3:29 PM on November 26, 2003

Isn't someone in a bunker below the earth pretty much stuck there? I thought we were going to "smoke them out of their holes".
posted by 2sheets at 3:30 PM on November 26, 2003

not that I'm remotely please about this, i'm just saying this isn't quite as far fetched as Star Wars or missile defense. it's because of that that this is so dangerous - it's a much more plausible justification for furthering nuke research.
posted by badstone at 3:31 PM on November 26, 2003

"We cannot tell the other countries in the world that nuclear weapons are unusable if we are at the same time saying that one can use them, that one can be successful and that one can win if one drops nuclear weapons in the middle of the most densely populated cities in the world." - Ed Markey.

'nuff said. and here i was worried about the ramifications of the absolutely amoral notion of pre-emptive self-defense. this is worse.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:48 PM on November 26, 2003

The current administration is well aware that the MOAB is a surface-impacting explosive, and a very expensive one at that.
It's also aware of the backlash against keeping additional forces
in trouble spots as a global police force.

A penetraing nuke would allow radioactive debris to be contained in an area which would (presumably) allow our troops to patrol other zones, while insurgent pockets of resistance (and the nearby ground water) would be too heavily contaminated from the fallout to provide any additional threat to the ensuing peace process.

Once an ammenable accord is drafted, and a provisional government is securely in place, the site of the blast would undoubtedly be assessed by a consulting agency to determine how the cleanup operations should be handled (if at all).

Any "great coalition of responsible nations" would see this proposal as a threat to civilization, not a solution.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:53 PM on November 26, 2003

that's a very chilling scenario, and even more so when you realize that we wouldn't be the only ones who had a weapon like this.
posted by amberglow at 4:57 PM on November 26, 2003

Good Lord. tactical nukes? Hey, why expose your own troops and natives to depleted uranium when you can go for the real thing? What a bunch of lackwits...
posted by kaemaril at 4:58 PM on November 26, 2003

I'm cute! I'm small! [Flash]
posted by homunculus at 4:59 PM on November 26, 2003

I have to say, it's getting hard to keep up with the era-defining changes that this man makes in a day.
posted by digaman at 5:36 PM on November 26, 2003

I don't usually post in the bushesque threads, but:



posted by signal at 6:50 PM on November 26, 2003

signal, I heard Jodie Foster has a big crush on him. Pass it on.
posted by trondant at 7:42 PM on November 26, 2003

Nuclear use will increase the risk of it happening to our cities. Everyone who is educated can come to this conclusion. I don't think many people in America would support this if asked to vote on it.

I don't know much about politics, but does this have to go through the senate? Please, if anyone knows this, lets us know.
posted by Keyser Soze at 7:53 PM on November 26, 2003

I don't know much about politics, but does this have to go through the senate? Please, if anyone knows this, lets us know.

Keyser Soze, Bush signed the bill. It is now law - the Senate and the House have already approved it.

House debate on "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator" took place on May 21, 2003 - transcript here.

The Senate apparently also debated it - here's some information on that debate, which took place back in September.
posted by anastasiav at 9:05 PM on November 26, 2003

posted by dejah420 at 9:10 PM on November 26, 2003

Wow. We are going to start using nuclear weapons on a country that we could not even find a weapon of mass destruction on. Look how history turned out. We are the country that has and uses weapons of mass destruction.

What a sad day it is for the American people.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:11 PM on November 26, 2003

You know how we Canadians always complain that Bush doesn't even know where Canada is?

Don't tell him, please.
posted by CrazyJub at 9:43 PM on November 26, 2003

Oh, please God, not the nuclear weapons. Bush, somebody who works in Washington, I beseech you, go to Hiroshima and visit the Peace Museum...

This pandora's box should not and can not be opened again.
posted by vito90 at 10:10 PM on November 26, 2003

So they're going to deploy troops with smaller, more easily carried (and stolen) nuclear weapons?

Terrorists rejoice.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:49 PM on November 26, 2003

Rhetorical questions post:
What is the most dangerous weapon ever built?
What is the only country that has used it on people?
Which country wants to use it again?
Who is going to stop this?

Also, what Space Coyote said.
posted by meech at 2:02 AM on November 27, 2003

Is it wrong to pray for a man's death?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:30 AM on November 27, 2003

The boy said : "Bring 'em on"

And they brought 'em on.

Panic-striken, dubya ran inside the house and walked to daddy's gun cabinet ...

(The farce will likely continue ...)
posted by magullo at 2:31 AM on November 27, 2003

Goddamnit, why isnt major news talking about this?!
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:35 AM on November 27, 2003

Major News: TV
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:36 AM on November 27, 2003

magullo - that might have made a good post - "Reservists mobilized for Iraq, Afghanistan - Pentagon says more Marines needed in Iraq

WASHINGTON (CNN) --Troops and their families and employers will soon find out if they will be affected by the Pentagon's latest mobilization of 17,000 reservists for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.....The Pentagon also said three battalions of Marines and support units -- as many as 3,000 people -- will get orders for deployment to Iraq."

In the background of this decision is the fact that - beyond the exhaustion of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who have already served absurdly long tours of duty, the ranks of the troops have been thinned considerably by the casualty rate of about 6.5 percent - that represents over 9,000 casualties of all sorts - of which the fatalaties represent the tiniest share ; the rest are those wounded in combat, sick, hurt in traffic accidents, plagued by mysterious illnesses, and so on.

So an extra 20,000 troops don't go very far when you consider the extremely pressing need for troop rotation - the callup buys a few months at best.

By all indications, the Pentagon is really scraping for manpower. Soon they'll have to reinstate the draft if the other nations (currently disgusted with Bush Adm. arrogance and diplomatic bullying) don't pony up some troops.

Perhaps this explains the Bush push for tactical nukes - as labor saving devices. Now, there's just that little targetting issue

Hey - I know! - we'll use nanobots to infect everyone in Iraq, and the nanobots will be programmed to scan their brains for terrorist thoughts and sympathies, as well as ideological affinities to the Al Qaeda way of looking at things. Then well target them all with individualized, tiiiiiny tactical nuclear devices! It........It can't fail!!! * whoah now, Dr. StrangePerle, chill......easy now.......that's a good StrangePerle.......now if I can only only catch that rogue Wolfowitzerine*
posted by troutfishing at 4:02 AM on November 27, 2003

I suggest that there is one good use for these weapons, that will be applauded world-wide and make the world a safer place. Round up Bush, Rummy, Ashton, Cheney and all the stupid yankee politicos who voted for this, then turn these bombs on them.

God bless America; god damn Bush.
posted by Pericles at 4:21 AM on November 27, 2003

Blurring the lines between conventional and nuclear weaponry, so that it becomes easier to use nukes... great idea guys, great idea...

And my friends wonder why I'm working out a move to New Zealand...
posted by mosch at 8:45 AM on November 27, 2003

How many posters in this thread endorse non-nuclear weapons, or the current military campaigns? If you don't, you're full of shit in this one (as well).
posted by ParisParamus at 9:29 AM on November 27, 2003

Is it wrong to pray for a man's death?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:30 AM on November 27

Well Pat Robertson has done it in the past with supreme court justices. Why can't you?
posted by whirlwind29 at 10:28 AM on November 27, 2003

And oh yeah, the only ones "full of shit" on this ones are the ones that continue to blindly support this nutjob. The last thing this world needs is more nukes and new ways to use them. With all his talk about this being a different kind of war, we sure seem to be fighting it the same as we have in wars from the past.
posted by whirlwind29 at 10:36 AM on November 27, 2003

Would you please explain your logic, ParisParamus?
If, for instance, you oppose nuclear weapons and the current military adventures of the US, how does that make you insincere?
Seriously, I don't follow your reasoning.
posted by signal at 1:05 PM on November 27, 2003

"They hide in the shadows"

Well, I certainly know of one who spent his Thanksgiving hiding in the shadows ...
posted by magullo at 6:45 AM on November 28, 2003

National Missile Defense + Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons =

a) an irresistable enticement to a first-strike
b) an irresistable incitement for a rogue state
c) a and b
d) par-tay!
posted by Ptrin at 9:26 AM on November 28, 2003

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