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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > US conducts sub-critical nuclear test.

US conducts sub-critical nuclear test.
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lurkalot
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Sep 20, 2003, 09:09 AM
 
Nuclear weapons have probably been a hotly debated issue on this board before but I just wanted to post this as a heads up.

The sub-critical test was conducted just days after the CTBTO issued its final declaration and conference report at the end of a Conference that tried to get global support for the signing and ratifying of the CTBT.

The United States did not send a delegate to the conference but did manage to convey a message with this latest test that has been heard before from the Bush administration. Namely that the US has no intention to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

According to the news releases the test was conducted to ensure reliability and safety of existing nuclear weapons stockpiles. It could also be a precursor for new test regimes -announced earlier- for the development of a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons that might be used rather than serve as a nuclear deterrent. Deterrent ostensibly the reason for still maintaining the largest existing WMD cache on the planet.

A message that was not just heard in Vienna but was no doubt loudly received in counties like Iran and North Korea currently criticized for their desire to develop their own "defensive" nuclear capabilities and other states around the world that already possess nuclear weapons that are reluctant to get rid of their own toys or sign treaties that limit their ability to play with them.

Sub-critical tests are not needed. Safety is best served by disassembling the existing weapons and not producing new ones.
     
version
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Sep 20, 2003, 09:28 AM
 
I'm against any nation having WMDs, but since the Us seems to think it has the right to arm itself whatever way it wishes, then I'm with N.Korea , Pakistan, and others developing their own WMD. Fair is fair, might as well have the right to defend yourself.
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Developer
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Sep 20, 2003, 09:44 AM
 
Why do Americans even want new nuclear weapons "that are small enough to be used"? Other than using them? I don't like that prospect.
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version
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Sep 20, 2003, 09:52 AM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
Why do Americans even want new nuclear weapons "that are small enough to be used"? Other than using them? I don't like that prospect.
To back up there arguments for 'liberating' people from oppressive regimes. Might as well be hypocritical about it. Typical.

Viva la North Korea!!!
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Developer
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Sep 20, 2003, 11:13 AM
 
I'd like to hear a serious answer by an American.
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christ
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Sep 20, 2003, 12:51 PM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
I'd like to hear a serious answer by an American.
What are 'WMD' anyway? Chemical weapons don't 'D', and nor do bological weapons. The only true WMD is nuclear, so why don't we call a spade a spade?

I'm not American, but I come from a nuclear power if that is any good.

Deterrence.

Having a nuclear capability is a deterrent. It is supposed to deter others from using nuclear weapons. For it to work as a deterrent, the powers that have them have to be prepared to use them, and they have to demonstrate that they are still available for use.

But

Deterrence only works against other countries. I have no idea how deterrence is supposed to work against terrorists. A nuclear strike won't work as retaliation for terrorist acts, e.g. 9/11, it will only work against other countries that lie there presenting a target.

So, in summary - if deterrence is still a valid doctrine (which it is, but only against countries e.g. North Korea, and it maybe even worked against Iraq, in that they were prepared to use their Chem and Bio weapons against folk that didn't have a nuclear capability, but not against those that did) then the nuclear powers must conduct tests to emonstrate to themselves and others that the deterrent still works. Some other form of war must, however be waged against terrorists, as a nuclear deterrent won't work.

Nuclear powers trying to stop others from becoming nuclear powers is a bit more hazy. The idea is that you can't get the genie back into the bottle, it is easier to not let the genie out in the first place, but it i not immediately clear that the nuclear powers have the legal or moral right to stop others joining their club.

Serious enough?
Chris. T.

"... in 6 months if WMD are found, I hope all clear-thinking people who opposed the war will say "You're right, we were wrong -- good job". Similarly, if after 6 months no WMD are found, people who supported the war should say the same thing -- and move to impeach Mr. Bush." - moki, 04/16/03
     
Uday's Carcass
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Sep 20, 2003, 01:34 PM
 
very few want nuclear weapons to use, but in certain circumstances they keep the peace. They, through Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), kept the Great Satan and the Lesser Satan from obliterating each other during the Cold War. And NATO's policy helped insure Western Europe's peace and freedom all those long decades.

additionally, Israel's nukes insure it's territorial and national integrity and sovereignty.

but you folks are hitting a good point with terrorists--they're so dispersed and integrated among civilian populations across the globe that any kind of nuclear strikes against them would be in poor judgement. Tactical nuclear development seems more of a traditional battlefield thing rather than a war-on-terror armament.

and in terms of reducing nuclear weapons: just look at former stockpiles by the USSR (now Russia) and the United States, and you'll see that thousands have been deweaponized and destroyed. There are ongoing programs and negotiations to further decrease stockpiles. Putin wants the tally to get around 1000-1500. The US, imho, will eventually go along, as long as it has ways to ensure that the stockpile would remain viable over the very long term.

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Developer
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Sep 20, 2003, 02:19 PM
 
Originally posted by christ:
Serious enough?
No. You didn't answer the question.

Why do Americans want new nuclear weapons that are small enough to be used? Obviously the deterrent effect is smaller the smaller the weapon.

Why the urge to use nuclear weapons again?
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version
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Sep 20, 2003, 02:30 PM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
No. You didn't answer the question.

Why do Americans want new nuclear weapons that are small enough to be used? Obviously the deterrent effect is smaller the smaller the weapon.

Why the urge to use nuclear weapons again?
Oh I guess they might be used for destroying one of their own cities and blaming it on AL-Qaeeda; or maybe they have a new war in mind which requires such devices. Suffice to say, it makes a mockery of nations disarming themselves of such weapons. If they feel the need to protect themselves against another nations; then other nations should have the right to develop WMD for their own national security. So, I'm firmly behind nations like Iran, N. korea who want to have WMD, it's only fair. We shouldn't let the playground bully\, bully the rest of us.
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Meneldil
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Sep 20, 2003, 02:38 PM
 
Presumably they like the idea of things like this.

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_C...uclear_device)

It's a very small nuclear device capable of being operated by three soldiers, but has an explosive yield of something like 0.1 kilotons. Can't find the exact number, but I've read about them before, and it is adjustable to a point in any case. Anyway, you have a weapon that can be carried in a small vehicle that is equivalent to somewhere between 10 and 100 tons of TNT.

That being said, I think the use of nuclear weapons is morally wrong, and a commander who orders their use should be tried for war crimes. The impact you have on innocents is just too great, even for these smaller bombs.
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Wiskedjak
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Sep 20, 2003, 02:43 PM
 
Originally posted by version:
... So, I'm firmly behind nations like Iran, N. korea who want to have WMD, it's only fair. We shouldn't let the playground bully\, bully the rest of us.
Personally, I'm not behind nations like Iran and N.Korea wanting nuclear weapons, but I'm certainly understand WHY they want them. If I were threatened by the world's only superpower, I would seek any means possible to defend myself.

Making bigger guns only makes your enemies want bigger guns too.
     
christ
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Sep 20, 2003, 02:51 PM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
No. You didn't answer the question.

Why do Americans want new nuclear weapons that are small enough to be used? Obviously the deterrent effect is smaller the smaller the weapon.

Why the urge to use nuclear weapons again?
Oh - that question. Sorry, I'm with you, I don't know (The nuclear power that I belong to is not developing that sort of weapon).
Chris. T.

"... in 6 months if WMD are found, I hope all clear-thinking people who opposed the war will say "You're right, we were wrong -- good job". Similarly, if after 6 months no WMD are found, people who supported the war should say the same thing -- and move to impeach Mr. Bush." - moki, 04/16/03
     
Lerkfish
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Sep 20, 2003, 05:22 PM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
No. You didn't answer the question.

Why do Americans want new nuclear weapons that are small enough to be used? Obviously the deterrent effect is smaller the smaller the weapon.

Why the urge to use nuclear weapons again?

hard to answer for a normal american because for the most part, americans don't know about these things until after they happen. We aren't consulted, actually. Its the military industrial complex that wants and develops such things, and that is controlled by a small handful of highly secretive folk who are not subject to control by the normal citizen. We find out about the same time you do.
     
kvm_mkdb
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Sep 20, 2003, 05:24 PM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
Why the urge to use nuclear weapons again?
Because countries like North Korea might be difficult to 'liberate' without them.
     
version
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Sep 20, 2003, 05:32 PM
 
Originally posted by Wiskedjak:
Personally, I'm not behind nations like Iran and N.Korea wanting nuclear weapons, but I'm certainly understand WHY they want them. If I were threatened by the world's only superpower, I would seek any means possible to defend myself.

Making bigger guns only makes your enemies want bigger guns too.
Sorry, my apologies, I'm agree with you here. I'd love to see a world free of such things; but I can understand why other nations desire a defense system akin to others.
A Jew with a view.
     
chabig
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Sep 20, 2003, 06:45 PM
 
Why do Americans want new nuclear weapons that are small enough to be used? Obviously the deterrent effect is smaller the smaller the weapon.

Why the urge to use nuclear weapons again?
There is no "urge" to use nuclear weapons. In armed conflict it is sometimes useful to blow things up. Weapons such as these would simply be a good tool to fulfill that need. That fact that the explosive energy comes from nuclear reactions rather than chemical reactions is secondary to the fact that it makes a big bang.

Chris
     
kvm_mkdb
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Sep 20, 2003, 06:46 PM
 
Originally posted by chabig:
That fact that the explosive energy comes from nuclear reactions rather than chemical reactions is secondary to the fact that it makes a big bang.
Well said - no big deal. We just need bigger bangs.
     
Joshua
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Sep 20, 2003, 07:16 PM
 
Originally posted by Developer:
No. You didn't answer the question.

Why do Americans want new nuclear weapons that are small enough to be used? Obviously the deterrent effect is smaller the smaller the weapon.

Why the urge to use nuclear weapons again?
I'd argue it's still (mostly) for deterrence. Outside the context of the cold war, the big nukes don't have that much meaning: it would take some sort of monumental attack on our interests for us to drag out nukes capable wiping out whole cities. In that respect, they don't really deter much.

If we develop smaller nuclear weapons that other nations might reasonably foresee us using, the deterrence factor comes back.

There are probably some realistic military applications too, but I'm not an expert in military technology. I do know that the general strategy over the past decade or so has been to develop a faster, smaller, and cheaper arsenal.
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