The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Nyah Nyah Nyah Doctrine

The Bush administration and the influence of the neocons has meant a whole lot more than destabilizing the Middle East. I've written several posts in the last few years on BushCo's massive spending on missile defense, and also PNAC's determination to create orbital weapons systems. But, as I'm sure you know, they've also been pushing hard for "tactical nuclear weapons." A sort of next generation of small, portable nukes. Smart, huh?

I'm all for having a military advantage over dangerous countries, and a strong national defense is a great thing. But this calls to mind the silliest of Cold War brinkmanship-- from back in the days when people said the US and the USSR had enough nuclear warheads to destroy the human race several times over. The other unfortunate aspect of today's politics is that, just like the Cold War, promoting anything less than that is likely to get you branded a traitor.

Check out this interesting report on conventional bunker busting munitions at Defense Tech. It's a bit technical, but the upshot is that conventional munitions can do a remarkably good job of destroying underground bunkers, better, in fact, than extant nuclear bunker busters. Drop enough "Deep Diggers" and the result is an earthquake that will collapse just about any bunker or, at the very least, the access tunnels to extremely deep bunkers. Moreover, there's no reason to think that the limits of conventional bunker busting munitions technology have been reached, suggesting that additional research could produce even more impressive results.

To add to what the author of the post rightly says, there's no practical, logical, or rational reason to push for more nuclear weapons (although there's an clear need to contain their spread)-- it's just a way for reactionaries to poke a stick in the eye of political, not military, opponents.