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Obama: No Nukes- Even in Self Defense


toastywombel
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That is the front page headline of this article that can be found here,

 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/05/obama-limit-potential-uses-nuclear-weapons/

 

"Administration says it will pledge, with exception, not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries — no matter what they use against us"

 

"You decide: Is Obama Limiting Nukes too much?"

 

I don't even know where to start. How can Fox turn such a good thing, nuclear nonproliferation, into an attack on Obama? Well I guess it is Fox.

 

The ignorance of the You decide question is what really gets me though, it is like asking, "Is Obama limiting mustard gas too much?"

 

I also love the featured segment of the article. I cannot believe Fox gets away with implying that it is okay to leave nuclear weapons as an option against non-nuclear countries, let alone any country.

 

I mean did the author even ask himself the question. What would be the international implications if the United States nuked a non-nuclear country even if they attacked us first? I couldn't imagine anything good. Furthermore, does Fox realize that one thermo-nuclear detonation could cause severe global climate damage and radiation fallout, especially if it was detonated in the air (The bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima were detonated in the air, not on impact for those who don't know). Are these guys crazy?

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In Fox's defense, this is quite a sea-change in policy. From the article,

The United States pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against (those countries)," Gates said -- even in the case of a biological or chemical attack.

That is a huge change in policy. The US military policy has been along the lines of an eye for an eye -- to attack in-kind. Use guns, and the US will strike back with guns. Use tanks, the US will strike back with tanks. Use weapons of mass destruction, and the US will strike back with weapons of mass destruction. Chemical and biological weapons are WMD, so per the rules of engagement, use of those kind of weapons justifies (demands!) a counterattack with WMD. We don't have chemical or biological weapons in our arsenal, but we do have nukes.

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This looks like an acknowledgement that the administration will continue to act in the defense of the country:

 

However, Gates said any country so bold as to launch such an attack on the United States "would face the prospect of a devastating conventional military response."

 

And they clearly report the notable exception:

 

And he said nuclear treaty violators like Iran and North Korea would be exempt from that policy.

 

"All options are on the table when it comes to countries in that category," he said.

 

"All options" means nuclear weapons.

 

 

What would be the international implications if the United States nuked a non-nuclear country even if they attacked us first? I couldn't imagine anything good.

 

I think you're missing a key historical point. This story is being widely reported, not just on Fox News, and it represents a significant change in policy, even if it is one that has been fairly obvious to every administration for decades. It has to be reported by all major news outlets.

 

(Edit: I cross-posted with DH, who makes this point better above.)

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Chemical and biological weapons are WMD, so per the rules of engagement, use of those kind of weapons justifies (demands!) a counterattack with WMD. We don't have chemical or biological weapons in our arsenal, but we do have nukes.

 

What? You think the use of a chemical or biological weapon against the US justifies using a nuclear weapon in response? I don't see how you can just lump chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons into the same category as if they're the same thing. They're certainly not.

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The only reason I see for chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons to be lumped together is that they're all kind of inherently imprecise and indiscriminate in their destruction. Of course, you could say the same thing about carpet bombing, or land mines.

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What? You think the use of a chemical or biological weapon against the US justifies using a nuclear weapon in response? I don't see how you can just lump chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons into the same category as if they're the same thing. They're certainly not.

 

So we should start making chemical and biological weapons or we should not respond in kind?

 

If we get attacked with WMD's we don't manufacture, I hardly see the sense in throwing our hands up "Oh well, we don't make those, you win".

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What? You think the use of a chemical or biological weapon against the US justifies using a nuclear weapon in response? I don't see how you can just lump chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons into the same category as if they're the same thing. They're certainly not.

 

The simple explanation as to why biological and chemical weapons are in the same catagory as nuclear weapons, is because biological and chemical weapons can cause more deaths and can inflict extreme pain. Also you have to take into account the moral effect of Chemical and Biologial weapons.

 

personally i would classify chemical and biological with nuclear based on those factors.

 

Hell, atleast nuclear is a quick death (if your killed by the blast) as opposed to various nerve and chokeing agents, or extreme biological toxins that kill you weeks or months after but keeping you bedridden.

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What? You think the use of a chemical or biological weapon against the US justifies using a nuclear weapon in response?

Yes.

 

 

I don't see how you can just lump chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons into the same category as if they're the same thing. They're certainly not.

That they are one and the same has been the US policy for a long, long time -- and that policy will be reinstated in January 2013. Making this sea-change in policy was not all that bright. Making it a public pronouncement, as opposed to a top-secret executive order, is dumber than dumb.

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What? You think the use of a chemical or biological weapon against the US justifies using a nuclear weapon in response? I don't see how you can just lump chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons into the same category as if they're the same thing. They're certainly not.

 

yes, these are different types of weapons. However, in terms of destruction, chemical and biological agents have the potential to inflict as much, if not more, harm as nuclear weapons. As such, a nuclear response might be considered insufficient...

 

I am hopeful that these types of weapons would not be ever developed (though this policy encourages their development, IMO); or if developed would be practically useless. It is encouraging that during WWI, it was found that chemical weapons were insufficient to create a meaningful tactical advantage. Though this doesn't really apply to the assymetrical warfare that is common today. If we are lucky, perhaps biological and chemical weaponry will always be simply too unpredictable and impractical to use by anyone capable of developing them.

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ZolarV, I cannot believe you just said that. Chemical and Biological weapons don't cause as many casualties as Nuclear Weapons if you go pound for pound.

 

And is death by Nuclear weapons really a quick death? Radiation poisoning is certainly not quick and painless, also if one is far enough from the blast, and instead of being incinerated, he/she suffers severe burns all over the body is that quick and painless. Is it quick and painless if you survived the initial blast all right, yet you are asphyxiated because all the oxygen was burned up by the blast?

 

Again, though. I think everyone is missing one of the point. The idea of using nuclear weapons in defense is like using a grenade to defend yourself against someone who is ten feet away. A thermo-nuclear bomb can have drastic global effects. Nuclear weapons, no matter where detonated can have affects on large regions if not the whole world. It is simply not a defensive weapon.

 

To take the analogy a little further, even if someone ten feet away in a crowded room throws a grenade at you, I fail to see how it would be justified, reasonable, or practical for you to throw a grenade back at him.

 

And the article isn't terrible, but the feature of it on Fox's front page is incredibly biased. Also, I will acknowledge that it is an extreme policy change, but I could not see the United States government nuking a country because they attacked us with biological weapons, it would be completely counter-productive.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
yes, these are different types of weapons. However, in terms of destruction, chemical and biological agents have the potential to inflict as much, if not more, harm as nuclear weapons. As such, a nuclear response might be considered insufficient...

 

I am hopeful that these types of weapons would not be ever developed (though this policy encourages their development, IMO); or if developed would be practically useless. It is encouraging that during WWI, it was found that chemical weapons were insufficient to create a meaningful tactical advantage. Though this doesn't really apply to the assymetrical warfare that is common today. If we are lucky, perhaps biological and chemical weaponry will always be simply too unpredictable and impractical to use by anyone capable of developing them.

 

We could make the planet an uninhabitable rock if we detonated our nuclear weapons, we could not do that with all biological weapons in the world. I fail to see how how any biological and/or chemical weapons, provided both were used to maximum capability, could inflict as many casualties as nuclear weapons, let alone more.

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Yes.

 

 

 

That they are one and the same has been the US policy for a long, long time -- and that policy will be reinstated in January 2013. Making this sea-change in policy was not all that bright. Making it a public pronouncement, as opposed to a top-secret executive order, is dumber than dumb.

 

So DH, if you poison me, I am justified to douse you in gasoline and light you on fire?

 

And Pangloss I feel that Fox is implying that nuclear weapons should be left on the table as an option for defense. If one nuclear device is detonated, regardless of the reason, it has the potential to harm/kill many if not everyone on the planet, and I feel as if Fox is legitimizing that.

Edited by toastywombel
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... Chemical and Biological weapons don't cause as many casualties as Nuclear Weapons if you go pound for pound... The idea of using nuclear weapons in defense is like using a grenade to defend yourself against someone who is ten feet away...

 

I think you overestimate the potential of nuclear weapons and underestimate that of biological.

IIRC, it has been determined the theoreticalpotential of biological weapons greatly exceeds that of nuclear weapons.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_warfare

 

This area of contamination:

Around 1950 the Chemical Corps also initiated a program to weaponize tularemia (UL). Shortly after the E61/N failed to make standardization, tularemia was standardized in the 3.4" M143 bursting spherical bomblet. This was intended for delivery by the MGM-29 Sergeant missile warhead and could produce 50% infection over a 7-square-mile (18 km2) area.[citation needed
is certainly at least comparable to a nuclear blast. Certainly it is possible to develop as many of these missiles as it is for nuclear warheads.

 

I can imagine worse, for example:

The Native American population was decimated after contact with the Old World due to the introduction of many different fatal diseases.[8] There are two documented cases of alleged and attempted germ warfare. The first, during a parley at Fort Pitt on June 24, 1763, Ecuyer gave representatives of the besieging Delawares two blankets and a handkerchief that had been exposed to smallpox, hoping to spread the disease to the Natives in order to end the siege.[9] William Trent, the militia commander, left records that clearly indicated that the purpose of giving the blankets was "to Convey the Smallpox to the Indians."[10]

 

Again, a nuclear response might be inadequate to a similar attempt, perhaps from a genetically modified smallpox.

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ZolarV, I cannot believe you just said that. Chemical and Biological weapons don't cause as many casualties as Nuclear Weapons if you go pound for pound.

You're right. Pound for pound, nukes are not the way to go. Biological weapons are. Critical mass for 22 pounds for 239Pu, 115 pounds for 235U. A nuke comprises multiple subcritical masses, very carefully constructed high-power explosives to force the critical masses to join, precision electronics to make those explosives fire together, and shielding, lots of shielding. A nuke is not a small device. A few ounces of some particularly nasty biological agent is enough to bring down a city, and the delivery device can be very small. A disposable human carrying a disposable aerosol can will do quite nicely.

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And Pangloss I feel that Fox is implying that nuclear weapons should be left on the table as an option for defense. If one nuclear device is detonated, regardless of the reason, it has the potential to harm/kill many if not everyone on the planet, and I feel as if Fox is legitimizing that.

 

Okay. So then you feel, for example, that this statement that you mentioned in the OP:

 

"You decide: Is Obama Limiting Nukes too much?"

 

Is basically code for questioning the decision, yes?

 

Reason I ask is that conservatives often point to code like that in reporting they perceive as liberal-biased, only to see it rebuffed by the liberal community along with a hefty dose of ridicule.

 

Do you support the general practice of translating that type of code to mean a rejection of the questioned policy? And how do the other members feel? My fingers are kinda itching to go pull up some CNN and MSNBC articles, if that rationale is commonly held here.

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Nuclear weapons are at least a relatively narrow category. Intentionally sneezing on a doorknob when you have a cold is deploying a biological weapon, but that isn't a "weapon of mass destruction" unless it's a Martian doorknob.

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Okay. So then you feel, for example, that this statement that you mentioned in the OP:

 

 

 

Is basically code for questioning the decision, yes?

 

Reason I ask is that conservatives often point to code like that in reporting they perceive as liberal-biased, only to see it rebuffed by the liberal community along with a hefty dose of ridicule.

 

Do you support the general practice of translating that type of code to mean a rejection of the questioned policy? And how do the other members feel? My fingers are kinda itching to go pull up some CNN and MSNBC articles, if that rationale is commonly held here.

 

What I am saying is that it is a stupid question, "Is Obama limiting Nukes too much?" I believe there should be no nukes at all.

 

I am not talking about biased here I am talking about plain stupidity. Responding to any kind of attack with Nuclear weapons is simply counter-productive to any goal one might have, because nuclear weapons have the capability of killing everyone on the planet in a relatively short period of time.

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Is basically code for questioning the decision, yes?

 

Reason I ask is that conservatives often point to code like that in reporting they perceive as liberal-biased, only to see it rebuffed by the liberal community along with a hefty dose of ridicule.

 

Personally I don't think that's unacceptable. "Is Obama limiting nukes too much?" is reasonable. From FOX I would be expecting something more like "You Decide: Is Obama limiting Nukes because he's a Communist traitor?"

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You're right. Pound for pound, nukes are not the way to go. Biological weapons are. Critical mass for 22 pounds for 239Pu, 115 pounds for 235U. A nuke comprises multiple subcritical masses, very carefully constructed high-power explosives to force the critical masses to join, precision electronics to make those explosives fire together, and shielding, lots of shielding. A nuke is not a small device. A few ounces of some particularly nasty biological agent is enough to bring down a city, and the delivery device can be very small. A disposable human carrying a disposable aerosol can will do quite nicely.

 

A single useage of a biological weapon could conceivably be a threat to the entirety of humanity, if it is an infectious one. Of course biological weapons can also be made from a bacteria that normally is not particularly infectious. A single nuke is definitely not enough to threaten humanity, whereas a biological weapon gone wrong (or designed to be infectious) certainly could.

 

We're not talking about retaliating against a phosphorous grenade with a nuke. But if someone hits us with casualties comparable to a nuke, whether they be biological or chemical or nuclear, they better be afraid we'd nuke them back. There's no reason to encourage the usage nor development of biological weapons.

 

I hope that this decision gets reversed.

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What? You think the use of a chemical or biological weapon against the US justifies using a nuclear weapon in response? I don't see how you can just lump chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons into the same category as if they're the same thing. They're certainly not.

 

I think they are, though it's a matter of scale. A biological weapon is not necessarily a WMD if it's a letter containing anthrax. But a weaponized bioweapon that takes out a good fraction of a city's population is.

 

——

 

And policy schmolicy. We can always use the "So, we lied" gambit.


Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
Also, why aren't nuclear devices considered a chemical weapon? Radiation fallout is a chemical that serves as weapon is it not?

 

Fallout is nuclear as well. The predominant effect is radiation from decay.

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A single useage of a biological weapon could conceivably be a threat to the entirety of humanity, if it is an infectious one. Of course biological weapons can also be made from a bacteria that normally is not particularly infectious. A single nuke is definitely not enough to threaten humanity, whereas a biological weapon gone wrong (or designed to be infectious) certainly could.

 

We're not talking about retaliating against a phosphorous grenade with a nuke. But if someone hits us with casualties comparable to a nuke, whether they be biological or chemical or nuclear, they better be afraid we'd nuke them back. There's no reason to encourage the usage nor development of biological weapons.

 

I hope that this decision gets reversed.

 

Don't you think there is a point though, where if someone devises a chemical/biological weapon that threatens humanity, what good is it going to do to threaten humanity even more with a nuclear strike? Its like I said before, If someone throws a grenade at you in a crowded room, what good does it do to throw a grenade back at them? Sure it may teach a lesson, but what good does a lesson do if everyone is dead.

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