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Josh Marshall: North Korea's test may have been a failure

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No Exit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:05 PM
Original message
Josh Marshall: North Korea's test may have been a failure
No one seems willing to come out and say it yet. But it's really starting to look like that North Korean nuclear test didn't work. An unnamed intel official tells the Times that "We have assessed that the explosion in North Korea was a sub-kiloton explosion." I don't want to wade very far in at all on the technical details of evaluating this blast. I can't imagine a topic more distant from any expertise I have. But that would be really, really small for a nuclear blast.

Is it possible that the North Korean nuclear test was as big a failure as President Bush's nuclear policy?

Late Update: From what I can tell, the foreign press is entertaining the thought that this might have been a failed test more than the US press. The French Defense Minister has already said the meager yield suggests the test may have failed. I'd like to follow this closely. So if you see press reports that shed more light on this question, please let me know.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com /

See the links at talkingpoints memo.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. generally -- europeans are ahead of us
Edited on Mon Oct-09-06 07:12 PM by xchrom
on foreign intelligence curves.

if they are entertaining the thought -- there is at least something to it.
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Truly, which only points out how bad our regime's judgment is, in
general.

If this proved anything at all, it's that incurious george remains asleep at the switch.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. ronald reagan was out of his mind -- so george
is simply keeping ''good company'' in that warped conservative way of thinking.

and mary lyon is right -- this is a FAILURE of bushco's tactics -- other wise known as cowboy diplomacy.

why should the security agencies show any more initiative than the commander{ :spray: } in chief?
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wakeme2008 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
2. Why do ppl jump to conclusions so fast....
:shrug:

North Korea is a small country with limited places to test this. They could not take the bomb to a South Pacific Island like the French do.


All the really need to do is TEST THE DESIGN and it worked....

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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. UGD or implosion
60 year old methods. If the shot fizzled that is still a major deal. or 8 transfer trailers of anfo..
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razors edge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. I agree.
Did it go "nukular" and did it produce fallout?

Pretty big seismology for just a detonator, and the fallout is worldwide political at the least.
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tocqueville Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. the test place is relatively unimportant
look how close to Las Vegas the US tests were done, even the atmospheric ones. What you need is a pit of several kilometers or even a tunnel inside a mountain like it was in this case. The explosion seals the cavity itself. Of course if you want to be tricky you can create a big chamber allowing the device to expand before triggering the seismic wave. But this later technique is only used if you want to conceal your technique which is irrelevant in this case.

I google earthed the probable test site and there was a zillion places where it could have been tested.

What is probable is that they got a preexplosion. In a fission bomb only 25% of the material was used in the MOST efficient weapons. Only 1.4% was used in Fat Man and it yielded 15 kt. If you cannot transform the subcritical mass into a supercritical one VERY rapidly, it's like a wet firecracker. And to achieve that rapidity you need very advanced engineering even if you have a crude device of Hiroshima type.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. Strange criticism since the US is also on to building tactical nukes
that have low yields, thus being somewhat more useable.

If you lived on a little peninsula and thought you might need to live in the area you bombed would you really want wopping big bombs? Probably not. Anyone know if a small yield weapon is any easier to smuggle?




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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. They are all dirty
larger two stage bombs are more efficient, and "cleaner".

No way to know what they did.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
9. There's an interest in being able to say it failed.
If it failed, then the problem with N. Korea can be dismissed, or nearly so. They may be working on a bomb, but it's not really that serious--nothing a resolution or a bit of jammering around a table can't resolve, if done just right. But if N. Korea tested a prototype and it worked, then it's a bigger problem and something might need to be done--they've done something that everybody has to at least take a moral stand against.

I do a similar kind of thing when our old car makes a funny sound. If we're well ahead of the bills for the last month or two, funny sounds are a serious matter. If we're behind or barely keeping up--or there's something expensive that we want to buy--then funny sounds are trivial.
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