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July 27, 2006

US would not need to go nuclear in overwhelming response to terrorist nuke

Various places online speculate about an overwhelming nuclear response by the United States to a terrorist nuclear bombing of a US city.

This may not be necessary and may not be the response. Right up there in death toll with the Hiroshima (140,000) and Nagasaki (70,000) bombs was the two day firebombing of Tokyo (100,000+ dead)

Modern conventional weapons have advanced with fuel-air explosives and other Thermobaric weapons There is Napalm B, also called super napalm. It burns for 20-40 times longer than regular Napalm

cluster bombs and large conventional bombs are also available in the conventional arsenal.

If the medical, utility and transportation infrastructure of an enemy is destroyed using conventional weapons then disease and starvation would rack up a big toll.

Clearly this is not something that anyone would want. Therefore, terrorists would be miscalculating if they thought positive objectives would result from the nuking of a US or western city.

The thing to understand is that whatever death toll is desired, overwhelming conventional can get you there if you have air superiority. Is there any question as to which country will have air superiority?

Against the Soviets the response to nuclear attack was counter nuclear attack. The reason is that they had far more weapons available so you needed a fast destructive response to try to limit the damage being inflicted upon you. If the new terorist enemy has mostly shot its load in the first wave, then you can take your conventional time of days, weeks and months extracting your price in response.

1 comments:

Chuck the Lucky said...

I do not see any practical benefit from a nuclear strike, even if a specific nation is clearly identified. None of the regimes that would consider aiding a nuclear terrorist strike are very stable and the use of conventional means to take out their ability to rule (police and army) would result in regime change and if it was not changed well the first time a second military response would be appropriate. Unlike the "you break it you bought it" policy for Iraq and Afghanistan, there would be no requirement to rebuild the nation yourselves. After a nation facilitated nuclear terrorism, no nation or body on the planet would have the moral justification to even criticize you (though that would not stop them) and a sufficient number of nations would stand against any attempt to halt your actions.