Frosted mini-nukes: new classes of "usable" nuclear weapons are on the Pentagon's menu. Who's buying?BUNKER BUSTER THE FRIENDLY NUKE To erase.
nuke - /n[y]ook/ 1. To intentionally delete the entire contents of a given directory or storage volume. "On Unix, "rm -r /usr" will nuke everything in the usr file system." Never used for accidental deletion. Opposite: blow away.
2. WAS LAUNCHED by the Friends Committee on National Legislation The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) a public lobby organization founded in 1943 by members of the Religious Society of Friends. FCNL is a 501(c)(4) public interest lobby. It is neither a political action committee (PAC) nor a special interest lobby. recently. "He's cute; he's small; and he won't blow up the world" is FCNL's satirical introduction to this adorably animated little nuke, but the Quakers' ironic rhetoric is not far off from the actual verbiage verbiage - When the context involves a software or hardware system, this refers to documentation. This term borrows the connotations of mainstream "verbiage" to suggest that the documentation is of marginal utility and that the motives behind its production have little to do with the Pentagon and White House have deployed to improve the palatability of their longed-for retooling of America's nuclear weapons.
Turns out the problem with the nation's current nuclear arsenal is that it was designed for the era of Mutually Assured Destruction, those MAD, halcyon days when nukes were intended to end civilization as we know it with a Strangelovian exchange of nuclear megatonage. These days the Pentagon capabilities--big enough to knock out to force out by a blow or by blows; as, to knock out the brains s>.
See also: Knock bunkers full of weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or and scurrying Al Qaedis, but not big enough to whip up a radioactive dust storm across, say, the entire Middle East.
The bunker buster, or Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP RNEP Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator
RNEP Ring-Necked Pheasant (bird species) )--and other new weapons like 5-kiloton, "usable" mini-nukes--keep showing up on Pentagon budget proposals like unappealing chef's specials. Proponents argue an RNEP detonation offers substantially less likelihood of large-scale radioactive fallout. Dropped from afar, the bunker buster allegedly drills toward its underground target where its smallish nuclear warhead detonates with devastating effect on the enemy below the surface.
Sadly this new and improved nuke simply may not work as advertised. According to the Federation of American Scientists The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) is a non-profit organization formed in 1945 by scientists from the Manhattan Project who felt that scientists, engineers and other innovators had an ethical obligation to bring their knowledge and experience to bear , the RNEP is not likely to penetrate deeper than 30 meters, a depth at which its 1.2 megaton meg·a·ton
n. Abbr. MT
A unit of explosive force equal to that of one million metric tons of TNT.
meg warhead would throw up a radioactive cloud that would Chernobylize the atmosphere for hundreds of miles around. In a computer simulation run by the Union of Concerned Scientists The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a nonprofit advocacy group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. The UCS membership includes many private citizens in addition to professional scientists. , one RNEP strike claimed 3 million lives.
There are a couple of other slight problems with the hoped-for bunker buster. First, after getting their toraborealis blown off in Afghanistan, our Islamic fascist antagonists may be seriously rethinking their hunker-in-the-bunker strategy; B, we're still waiting on the 411 for those weapons of mass destruction the RNEP would be hunting down; and 3, wagging fingers at Iran and North Korea about nuclear proliferation while poring over "Bunkie's" blueprints may turn out to be not the smartest arms-control strategy.
The Bush administration claims it can develop new nukes without lowering the overall threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, but that strategic doublethink dou·ble·think
Thought marked by the acceptance of gross contradictions and falsehoods, especially when used as a technique of self-indoctrination: "Doublethink . . . doesn't last long under an analytical microscope. The deployment of low-yield nuclear weapons will surely help make the unthinkable at least ponderable pon·der·a·ble
Considerable enough to be weighed or assessed; appreciable: ponderable results; ponderable issues.
pon when a tricky strategic threat presents itself--as one surely will--in the future. And how are other nations to esteem America's big talk on nonproliferation while it develops new classes of nuclear weapons? If the world's greatest military needs mini-nukes and bunker busters, lesser powers will surely wonder why their national security interests shouldn't require them as well.
WE ARE POISED TODAY AT THE PRECIPICE OF AN UNPRECEDENTED outbreak of nuclear proliferation with indications of weapons research taking place in both Koreas, Japan, and Iran. Pakistan and India are already laying the radioactive foundation for their regional version of mutually assured destruction. How long will it be before other small powers throughout Southeast Asia and the Islamic world begin their own nuclear weapons programs?
There is a world of need at our doorstep, hungry for leadership, desperate for new solutions to the seemingly intractable problems of the past, and anxious over the new confrontations lurking in the future. What the world needs now is not better nuclear weapons but better ideas about economic justice, managing cultural clashes, and responding to the deprivation of two thirds of the planet's inhabitants.
Having somehow survived the most violent century in human history and as the only nation to have ever actually used nuclear weapons for their intended and dreadful purpose, let's not place the development of a more user-friendly nuke at the top of the geopolitical agenda for the next century--even one that won't destroy all of God's green creation, just a little piece of it.
KEVIN CLARKE, senior editor at U.S. CATHOLIC and managing editor of online products at Claretian Publications.