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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 07:43 AM
Original message
I've seen recent stories about Iran
emphasising that they intend to build or have built tunnels to hid their nuclear program. Tunnels so deep that they would even resist our bunker buster bombs is the point that seems most in focus in these reports. Does anyone else think this is posturing to sell the use of nuclear weapons in iran? GW gets on the podium and says: we know iran has nukes and our intelligence tells us that they are buried so deep that nothing in our conventional arsenal can touch them. and they can be deployed in 15 minutes. so in the interest of national security and for the spread of freedom we have no choice but to use tactical nuclear weapon against these sites. sadly most of whice are hidden underneath downtown tehran. god bless murika.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 07:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. Almost scary enough to be plausible. n/t
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 07:47 AM
Response to Original message
2. So THAT'S where Iraq's WMDs are
and I'm the Easter Bunny
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DoYouEverWonder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. I think that one was right next door
Edited on Fri Mar-04-05 07:58 AM by DoYouEverWonder
to Osama's Tora Bora Fortress. Remember that one?

Russert: The Times of London did a graphic, which I want to put on the screen for you and our viewers. This is it. This is a fortress. This is a very much a complex, multi-tiered, bedrooms and offices on the top, as you can see, secret exits on the side and on the bottom, cut deep to avoid thermal detection so when our planes fly to try to determine if any human beings are in there, it's built so deeply down and embedded in the mountain and the rock it's hard to detect. And over here, valleys guarded, as you can see, by some Taliban soldiers. A ventilation system to allow people to breathe and to carry on. An arms and ammunition depot. And you can see here the exits leading into it and the entrances large enough to drive trucks and cars and even tanks. And it's own hydroelectric power to help keep lights on, even computer systems and telephone systems. It's a very sophisticated operation.

Rumsfeld: Oh, you bet. This is serious business. And there's not one of those. There are many of those. And they have been used very effectively. And I might add, Afghanistan is not the only country that has gone underground. Any number of countries have gone underground. The tunneling equipment that exists today is very powerful. It's dual use. It's available across the globe. And people have recognized the advantages of using underground protection for themselves.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 07:48 AM
Response to Original message
3. For those who hate America & wish to see the US's massive downfall,
urge bush to invade the rightwingnuttery are doing.

Despite the rightwingnuttery being, as usual, utterly dense, obtuse and entirely ignorant of that fact, hopefully bush is not.

Although "hope for the best and prepare for the worst" is always appropriate where bush is concerned.

An attack on Iran, and even worse an invasion of Iran, will make 'Nam casualties look like a handful of US troops got boo-boos.

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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. ah...but nuking Iran will just leave a big smoking crater n/t
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. And a matching one in America.
The US so often forgets...we're not the only ones with nukes.
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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I wish I could forget
I'm terrified about it.
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LynnTheDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Pakistan terrifies me.
If Mushie falls...
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 07:56 AM
Response to Original message
4. In September 2000, the PNAC drafted a report entitled
Edited on Fri Mar-04-05 08:00 AM by bigtree
"Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century."

The authors warned that, "U.S. nuclear force planning and related arms control policies must take account of a larger set of variables than in the past, including the growing number of small nuclear arsenals from North Korea to Pakistan to, perhaps soon, Iran and Iraq and a modernized and expanded Chinese nuclear force."

In addition, they counseled, "there may be a need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements, such as would be required in targeting the very deep underground, hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries."

Stephen Hadley, the new NSA, co-wrote a National institute for Public Policy paper portraying a nuclear bunker-buster bomb as an ideal weapon against the nuclear, chemical or biological weapons stockpiles of rouge nations such as Iraq. "Under certain circumstances," the report said, "very severe nuclear threats may be needed to deter any of these potential adversaries."

The Energy Department plans to assemble teams at three U.S. laboratories to begin constructing these new powerful "mini-nukes." Work on preliminary designs for the weapons known as "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrators" would begin first at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. / /

Lawrence Livermore's scientists will attempt to modify the existing B83, a hydrogen bomb designed for the B-1 bomber, while those at Los Alamos will work on the B61, which already has been modified for earth-penetrating use.

Are they posturing to justify the use of these weapons in Iran?


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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 08:58 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Despite the posturing and the rhetoric...
... the technology that the neo-cons desire isn't yet available (thank goodness that Congress limited funds to just feasibility studies and some initial design work):

As the article above shows, we already have "bunker-busters" in some form, but there are simply limitations imposed by the physics. To make the so-called "mini-nuke" effective, it has to go off close enough to the buried target to destroy it without lifting significant quantities of dirt into the air (which would come down in the form of highly radioactive fallout). As the article above indicates, that's not possible right now.

If Iranians have buried facilities, most estimates are that they would be several hundred feet underground. Current bombs used by the military, conventional and nuclear, might be able to burrow in, at most, thirty feet or so (in the case of modified B-61), which means that using a small nuclear warhead would create huge amounts of fallout and wouldn't succeed in destroying a facility buried at a much greater depth.

I think the military knows this very well, so they would reasonably have strong reservations about their use against deeply buried targets. However, the idiocy of the current crop of civilians in the Pentagon and the White House could conceivably overrule the military.

Setting aside for the moment the obvious destruction of human life which would occur, use of nuclear weapons on Iran, unprovoked, would cause a raft of unintended consequences, which likely would include trade embargoes against the US (including oil), a profound hardening of world Muslim community opinion against the US (certainly creating conditions for accelerated terrorist attacks), renewed Japanese anti-American sentiment, and would probably set off an entirely new arms race.

The US would become even more isolated from the world community than it has become in the last four years, and this would create some severe economic shocks.

Are the Pentagon and WH civilians crazy enough to do it? Yes, I think so, but one can't underestimate the military in this--if we begin to see wholesale resignations in the Pentagon, this might be an indication that they've dug in their heels. And, there's a large civilian bureaucracy of tenured, rather than appointed, officials which could put the brakes on such a plan.

We definitely need to hope that cooler heads prevail.
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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. True, but in the defense budget that was just passed
Edited on Fri Mar-04-05 09:57 AM by bigtree
Congress approved 'research' on the casings that would be used on the bunker-buster, hoping to avoid the scrutiny that their last Defense budget ploy for new nuke research ginned up.

As you state, Congress, so far has held off the funds for the construction of plutonium pits that would be necessary to actually begin to build one of these bombs, but nonetheless, money has been allocated for new nuke research, in bothe the last Defense bill and this year's bill, and they have several funding provisions in the stalled Energy legislation. Thank God for Democratic opposition.

Pentagon's mini-nukes are just too cute-
Asia Times Online

In the new military budget request that was released last week, the Pentagon asked the Energy Department to spend US$18 million over the next two years to finish a study on the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), which congressional opponents of nuclear weapons killed last year by cutting all funding. Representative David Hobson (Republican-Ohio), chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, led the House conference on the annual Energy and Water Bill, which funds the Energy Department, to cut all funding for RNEP.

The request stands in sharp contrast to what it experienced last year when Congress denied the administration's fiscal-year 2005 request for $27.5 million to enhance the bunker-busting capability of an existing high-yield warhead and redirected the administration's $9 million request to investigate "advanced concepts", such as new low-yield warheads, to the Reliable Replacement Warhead program.

The Department of Energy's fiscal-year 2006 budget request includes $4 million for research on the RNEP. It also envisages spending $14 million on the project in fiscal year 2007. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense's fiscal-year 2006 budget request also includes $4.5 million for work on the project, and it foresees spending $3.5 million in fiscal year 2007.

>>>>According to Matt Martin, deputy director of the British American Security Information Council in Washington, DC, "When they got funding two years ago, they got a line item in the Future Years Defense Plan , which over five years totaled half a billion dollars . After losing funding last year, they have apparently gotten smart. They are not including money in the FYDP. They are requesting $4 million this year and possibly spending a little more next year, possibly $11.5 million the year after. They also made a separate account to see what you can do to harden the case for the bomb. That is $4.5 million for non-nuclear shell-casing testing, included in the air force budget. They may want to see how conventional munitions work, in order to justify the case for a nuclear weapon."

President Bush recently signed into law a Defense bill for 2004 which includes $9 billion in funding for research on the next generation of nuclear weaponry.

US scientists designing new generation of nuclear arms

$8,933,847,000 has been provided in the 2004 Defense bill to the Department of Energy for the activities of the National Nuclear Security Administration, to be allocated as follows:
-For weapons activities, $6,457,272,000.
-For defense nuclear non-proliferation activities, $1,340,195,000.
-For naval reactors, $788,400,000.
-For the Office of the Administrator for Nuclear Security, $347,980,000.
-Test capabilities revitalization, phase I, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, $36,450,000.
-Exterior communications infrastructure modernization, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, $20,000,000.
-Project engineering and design, various locations, $2,000,000.
-Chemistry and metallurgy research (CMR) facility replacement, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, $20,500,000.
-Building 12-44 production cells upgrade, Pantex Plant, Amarillo, Texas, $8,780,000.
-Cleaning and loading modifications (CALM), Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina, $2,750,000.
-Mission relocation project, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, $8,820,000.
-Project engineering and design, facilities and infrastructure recapitalization program, various locations, $3,719,000.
-$360,000,000 for defense nuclear waste disposal.
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. As I mentioned...
... the money allocated for this particular weapon is mostly for design and feasibility studies, right now. As for production of new pits, I don't think that's necessary, in the short term--over the years, groups of weapons have been recycled into newer designs. That's happened with the current weapon, the B-61, and others.

The real design work has to concentrate on two areas--physical shape and size for optimum penetration to very deep targets, and protection of the weapon itself from shock loads, which reveals new problems (heavier tampers, no levitated cores, new designs for electronics packaging and components, etc.).

All that isn't going to be accomplished in a few months for use in Iran. That's my point--if there are plans to attack Iran with nuclear weapons in the near future, it will have to be with what is in the inventory now, and those won't do the job, and have the additional problem of being very destructive to civilians on the surface--which then potentially trigger all those unintended consequences.

What does bother me about the 2004 budget line items you mention are the monies allocated for Savannah River and Pantex--those are production facilities which are now horrible messes. Add into that the money for a "Phase I revitalization" plan, which signals the end of the underground test ban, and you have all the elements for a reinvigorated production capacity, precisely the opposite of what recent treaties have intended.

That's more than a little worrisome, but it's not going to have an effect on near-term decisions about Iran.

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bigtree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. You bring such a detailed understanding to this. Most folks glaze over.
I'm just a bookworm novice with a grudge and a mission.

Good to have you on our side. :hi:
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Thanks, but I've just tried to keep up...
... with the subject for quite a while, and can't be considered as any more than a reasonably well-informed layman.

BTW, spend some time at:

You'll find a lot of info on the subject there, probably more than you realize existed. But, the article I cited pretty much covers the physics problems associated with what Bush and the neo-cons want. The analogy is sort of like shooting a bullet into the dirt. Lots of kinetic energy which is very quickly absorbed by the soil. To get a weapon a couple of hundred feet underground requires so much energy that most known materials wouldn't survive the impact.

When we need a hole that deep, do we pound on the ground harder and harder, or do we use a drill and remove the dirt? Maybe someone will figure out that problem eventually, but not in the next few months.

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shadowknows69 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-05 09:08 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. then it's all over but the dyin folks....what're we gonna do?
Edited on Fri Mar-04-05 09:10 AM by shadowknows69
whether the neocons think they can engage in regionalized nuclear war is irrelevant. the repercussions of a nuclear attack anywhere would snowball into a worldwide conflagration
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