Saturday, April 08, 2006
Truly Terrifying---UPDATE
Sy Hersh has an article in the April 17th New Yorker that details a couple of the military options against Iran being weighed by the White House and the Joint Chiefs.

One of the options, which is being given serious consideration, is to use a "bunker-buster" bomb equipped with a small nuclear warhead.

That's right. A nuclear warhead.

Some paragraphs:

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. One target is Iran’s main centrifuge plant, at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. Natanz, which is no longer under I.A.E.A. safeguards, reportedly has underground floor space to hold fifty thousand centrifuges, and laboratories and workspaces buried approximately seventy-five feet beneath the surface. That number of centrifuges could provide enough enriched uranium for about twenty nuclear warheads a year. (Iran has acknowledged that it initially kept the existence of its enrichment program hidden from I.A.E.A. inspectors, but claims that none of its current activity is barred by the Non-Proliferation Treaty.) The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete.


The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. “The White House said, ‘Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.’ ”

The New York Times is going to publish an article in tomorrow's paper that contains a denial of Hersh's account by "four Pentagon, military, and administration officials who participate in high-level deliberations on Iran." They're saying that the Government is not seriously considering using nuclear weapons against Iran.

It's going to be interesting to see how this develops. Did Hersh jump the gun? Can the Pentagon do anything other than deny it?...

In Sunday's Washington Post there is an above the fold article that supports Hersh's claims. It seems the Post talked to Hersh and also some other people. But it's not clear to me if they also talked to Hersh's sources, are just using Hersh's article, or have their own sources.

New campaign slogan---
Bush and Cheney: Determined to Destroy the World.
Few remember this, but during the second (I think) 2004 Presidential debate John Kerry talked about the bunker-busting nuclear weapons. If memory serves, Bush just kind of brushed the comment off and no one has heard of these nuclear weapons since. I, on the other hand, have been having nightmares about them since that debate.

I'm more scared now.
From the second debate:

Q: Yes, Randy. Iran sponsors terrorism and has missiles capable of hitting Israel and southern Europe. Iran will have nuclear weapons in two to three years' time. In the event that U.N. sanctions don't stop this threat, what will you do as President?

SENATOR KERRY: I don't think you can just rely on U.N. sanctions, Randy, but you're absolutely correct, it is a threat -- it's a huge threat. And what's interesting is it's a threat that has grown while the President has been preoccupied with Iraq where there wasn't a threat. If he'd let the inspectors do their job and go on, we wouldn't have ten times the numbers of forces in Iraq that we have in Afghanistan chasing Osama bin Laden.

Meanwhile, while Iran is moving towards nuclear weapons, some 37 tons of what they call yellow cake -- the stuff they use to make enriched uranium -- while they're doing that, North Korea has moved from one bomb, maybe -- maybe -- to four to seven bombs.

For two years the President didn't even engage with North Korea -- did nothing at all, while it was growing more dangerous, despite the warnings of people like former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who negotiated getting television cameras and inspectors into that reactor. We were safer before President Bush came to office. Now, they have the bombs and we're less safe.

So what do we do? We've got to join with the British and the French, with the Germans who've been involved in their initiative -- we've got to lead the world now to crack down on proliferation as a whole. But the President has been slow to do that even in Russia. At his pace, it's going to take 13 years to reduce and get a hold of all the loose nuclear material in the former Soviet Union. I proposed a plan that can capture it and contain it and clean it within four years.

And the President is moving toward the creation of our own bunker-busting, nuclear weapon. It's very hard to get other countries to give up their weapons when you're busy developing a new one. I'm going to lead the world in the greatest counter-proliferation effort. And if we have to get tough with Iran, believe me, we will get tough.

MODERATOR: Mr. President, a minute-and-a-half.

PRESIDENT BUSH: That answer almost made me want to scowl. (Laughter.) He keeps talking about letting the inspectors do their job -- it's naive and dangerous to say that. That's what the Duelfer report showed. He was deceiving the inspectors.

Secondly, of course, we've been involved with Iran. I fully understand the threat. And that's why we're doing what he suggested we do -- get the Brits, the Germans and the French to go make it very clear to the Iranians that if they expect to be a party to the world, to give up their nuclear ambitions. We've been doing that.

Let me talk about North Korea. It is naive and dangerous to take a policy that he suggested the other day -- which is to have bilateral relations with North Korea. Remember, he is the person who is accusing me of not acting multilaterally. He now wants to take the six-party talks we have -- China, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Japan and the United States -- and undermine them by having bilateral talks. That's what President Clinton did. He had bilateral talks with the North Korean, and guess what happened? He didn't honor the agreement. He was enriching uranium. That is a bad policy.

Of course, we're paying attention to these. That's a great question about Iran. That's why, in my speech to the Congress, I said there is an axis of evil, Iran, Iraq and North Korea, and we're paying attention to it, and we're making progress.

MODERATOR: We're going to move on, Mr. President, with a question for you. And it comes from Daniel Farley (phonetic).
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