Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Matt Yglesias--Cheney Looking to Use Tactical Nukes

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Matt Yglesias brings us this drivel:

Such strikes are very unlikely to actually resolve the perceived Iran issue, and there are administration figures who've convinced themselves that a sufficiently wide air target set will prompt regime change in Iran. One should note that the curious thing about air power is that the professionals involved in managing it have a longstanding, cross-national, and incredibly pernicious habit of massively and systematically overstating its efficacy in accomplishing all sorts of implausible things.

Uh Matt, there's precedent for air power actually taking out the nuclear warhead development program of a nation. Perhaps you've heard of the Osirak raid. In that raid, Israeli pilots took out the entire Iraqi nuclear program, a program mind you that was built by the French and Chirac was a major player in getting done.

The IAF got in through serious air defenses and obliterated the facility. But wait, Matt reports on a truly evil, nefarious scheme being cooked up by Dick Cheney:

At this point, I think I need to bring up what one might call the Craziest Goddamn Thing I've Heard In a Long Time. This story came to me last week from an anonymous individual who I would say is in a position to know about such things. According to this person, the DOD has (naturally) been doing some analysis on airstrikes against Iran. The upshot of the analysis was that conventional bombardment would degrade the Iranian nuclear program by about 50 percent. By contrast, if the arsenal included small nuclear weapons, we could get up to about 80 percent destroying. In response to this, persons inside the Office of the Vice President took the view that we could use the nukes -- in other words, launch an unprovoked nuclear first strike against Iran -- and then simply deny that we'd done so. Detectable radiation in the area of the bombed sites would be attributed to the fact that they were, after all, nuclear facilities we'd just hit.

The radiation released from an attack on an unarmed nuclear warhead would be drastically different than that of a armed and delivered tactical nuke. We have conventional bunker busting bombs available that are more than capable of reaching most underground bunkers. Some bunkers will indeed remain but the hit would be devastating to their program. We do possess nuclear bunker-busters but the use of them would not be conducive to the aim of stabilizing the mideast. A conventional attack is one thing, nukes are another and it would never be approved.

Yglesias has it from someone he says who knows (and who also knows that leaking this info to a blogger would end their career) that the US is planning on a tactical nuclear strike and attributed that to the Office of the VP. I further think it wouldn't take too long for Cheney to find out who the leaker was and to make a huge example of them. That's why I think this is BS of the first order.

These people will believe any bad thing attributed to Cheney and worse will disseminate it without any type of confirmation.

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