Friday, July 18, 2003

So long, Mom, I'm off to drop the bomb...

...So don't wait up for me! (Tom Lehrer)

No, but wait, there's good news tonight: The Bush administration didn't have mini-nukes in the Iraq war!

Though that won't stop this administration from trying to get them. Bennet Ramburg of the Herald Trib writes:

The Bush administration is scrambling to reverse the House Appropriations Committee's recent deletion of new nuclear weapons funding.

With a new preemptive doctrine, the Bush administration called on Congress to overturn the 1993 prohibition on mini-nuclear weapons and give it the right to explore the option. However, its requested authorization to cut in half the 36 months required to ready the Nevada test site to resume nuclear detonations suggests that the Department of Energy's plans to do more than simply weigh the possibility of new nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the Iraq war has already called into question the mini-nuke rationale. At the time the conflict began, intelligence had "identified" 800 suspected weapons of mass destruction sites. We now know how faulty this estimate was. Had mini-nuclear weapons existed, might the United States have been tempted to use them? Seduced by representations from the labs that the warheads are sufficiently small to minimize collateral damage, the mini-nukes would have burrowed and exploded on bogus sites, lifting tons of radioactive debris into the atmosphere. The radioactive plumes would have left Iraq with large contaminated zones.

Fortunately, the president did not have this nuclear option on his desk.

Jeebus be praised! And it's funny how things turn out, isn't it?

Having real intelligence—not politicized (copy), "technically accurate," exaggerated, bogus intelligence—could be really useful in preventing things like, oh, turning large portions of the Middle East into radioactive death traps in a strike under the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war. Who knew?