Monday, November 20, 2006

Muclear Myths

When it comes to Weapons of mass destruction, the media perpetuates quite a few myths.

Those who support rogues states claim that the nuclear watchdog is biased, and use Israel as an example. Others raise fears about weapons in the hands of rogues by states, or their sponsored terrorists.

Is the Nuclear Watchdog Biased?

Before you clamour for justice or bias, consider this; at least Israel is honest about its nuclear program.

Yes, I hate to admit it myself, but the fact is that: it is not party to the NPT or the CTBT, and could therefore develop weapons if it so chooses.

The French claimed a similar logic when they carried out their last test before signing the CTBT. We did not like it, but they though they needed more data. Then they signed the treaty.

Other countries have chosen the path of lies and deceit; signing in to the NPT to get the necessary “official” support, while cheating on its actual provisions to develop the “military” component. Israel did not sign those treaties. True, it had strong support early on to develop its nuclear arsenal.

Nukes as Effective Weapons

The use of Nukes as weapons was necessitated by the comparatively lousy precision of 20th Century “vectors”; witness the high difference between the yields of the warheads deployed by Russians (3-4 Megatons) and American (1-2 Megatons).

Incidentally, the Russians, based on a lot of tests, think their missiles are inaccurate. The Americans, based on few tests, believe their missiles are more accurate.

The fact is that neither really knew for sure; those babies were being launched in East-West flights. In case of war, they would have been fired across the North Pole, where the earth magnetic field does many weird things.

Glad no one ordered a realistic test; Global Warming is bad enough, a nuclear winter would have been far worse. It would have turned Earth into Venus. Then again, none of the boffins who devised those systems knew much about climatology; long after the last Venera probes melted on Venus did they realise how close we had come to hell…

But I digress…

Today, the weapons are getting better and smaller, but not because the eggheads had any bout of wisdom. The 21st Century has seen much improvement in navigation and targeting, so much so that “precision long-range conventional weapons may be [increasingly] capable of performing some of the missions currently assigned to nuclear weapons (1)”.

A new type of bomber is already under study; based in the United States, it could potentially hit any region of the world within 2 hours. One version of those new toys maybe satellite-based systems that can generate a high yield without a nuclear payload, thanks to the projectile’s high kinetic energy. They can be so fast and so small as to be virtually undetectable, thus ensuring complete deniability.

I can’t help but think of a certain Mr Kim, Sung I., from Pyong-Yang, North Korea. He escaped a peculiar train accident on his way back from a business trip to China.

Again, I digress…

Nukes as Effective Terror Weapons

Granted, there are few things more dangerous than Bin Laden with a nuke.

However, you will not stop him or his franchisees by wiretapping people willy-nilly, or randomly imprisoning anyone who looks Arab, or shooting any kid throwing a stone…

You should be able to stop them by:

1- Arrest the guy. If you pay enough money, no Jirga will protect him; some guys will sell their own mothers for the right “incentive”, regardless of any tribal "jirga" pseudo-code. Many may have already done so.

2- Use some intelligence when dealing with extremists. I am talking about the type that is generated between your ears, and which comes free; hire linguists that speak Arabic, Farsi… whatever, and who understand the culture. That means many among the Arab looking you had mistakenly arrested.

3- Remember Tim McVeigh. The next one may not be the one you expect. Recall that Bin Laden was an unforeseen byproduct of the cold war and the struggle against communism. The current “War on Terror” may be cooking another brew; with his “known knowns and known unknowns”, the Donald made some sense. The demons we are awakening may not be the ones we currently fear.

So, what scares me more than Bin Laden with a Nuke?

Rambo.

Someone should tell those new warriors/liberators that “Rambo” was killed in Lebanon, near Quarantina. One can never extol enough the virtues of a flak jacket, or the wisdom of ducking if you have none.

Unless one plans to shoot first, regardless of potential victims.

And that was no digression; cowboys do really scare me, whatever ungulidae they come riding.

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REF: (1) Report by Stephen M. Younger, Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear Weapons, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM.

2 comments:

:: Katrin said...

Huh - comments are on!! You did it :-)

Just stepped by to tell you I'm very angered and worried about the Gemayel murder. It's obvious why they picked him - made me think of Sabra and Shatila when his uncle was killed.
But there won't be another Sharon around and I hope no civil war, neither.

Jeha said...

Sorry about the long disappearance; you cannot blog and shout at the same time.

Still, Google did it; all I had to do was report it...