Sunday, April 09, 2006

Readying a massive (nuclear) strike on Iran

Update: Iran claims to have shot down an unmanned airplane from Iraq on Sunday.

In the Czech Republic, it is the news #1 at major servers such as idnes.cz but no one seems to care in the U.S.

According to the April 17th issue of

and its investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the White House is finalizing plans for a major air attack against selected targets in Iran.

The situation has developed quite a bit during the last year.

The theory behind these plans is that an attack is the only method how to stop Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a modern potential counterpart of Adolf Hitler as the White House officials describe him in private discussions, from developing nuclear weapons and using them against Israel and, with the help of terrorists, against the whole civilized world. The attacks are meant to humiliate the Iranian religious government and to make the people overthrow it.

I personally don't believe that the bombing would encourage Iranians to follow America. I did not believe similar idealistic predictions in Iraq either. The support of Hussain was clearly significant.

Environmentalists who like sustainability should like the bombing campaign because the "coercion" attacks will be "sustained".

Another theory is that Ahmadinejad sees the West as "wimps who will cave in". Some sources argue that it is a public misconception that Bush has been mostly thinking about Iraq since 9/11 - the main and more ambitious ideas were always about Iran. Even Quantoken agrees that the real danger is Iran. The White House is secretly communicating with the members of the U.S. senate and no one really objects to the idea of a war. There is no international opposition either because no one really likes the regime of Iran, Hersh argues. Even ElBaradei agrees that the Iranian leaders are 100% certified nutcases. On the other hand, no other country - not even Great Britain - is going to actively support nuking.

Some plans are already underway. Some of the Iranian nuclear facilities are deep underground (25 meters) and Pentagon believes that they will require a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon such as B61-11, the "earth penetrating" thermonuclear daughter of the old B61-7 gravity bomb, developed in 1997 under Clinton. The energy from this key nuclear product is able to penetrate up to 100 meters of soil (not rock) and the bomb explodes 6 meters beneath the surface. One of the main targets is Natanz, 300 kilometers south of Tehran. This particular plan is not technologically new because the U.S. was thinking about bombing a similar facility near Moscow in the early 1980s.

Rather detailed plans already exist how big a part of the air force of Iran has to be eliminated for the fix and what to do with the mess that would probably emerge in Iran and Southern Iraq. Controversy exists how many places would have to be bombed and whether the nuclear option is useful.

I definitely recommend you to read the article.

What about the Reference Frame? I am always afraid of a war - and I am always repelled by its obvious negative consequences. On the other hand, there seems to be a rather clear danger in the air (athough I can't rigorously prove it), and if this operation became necessary and remained a job for the air forces and avoided ground battles, I would be moderately optimistic because all these operations in the past were rather successful. Incidentally, the U.S. troops in Iran will mark the facilities by lasers to increase the accuracy of the operation and reduce the civil casualties.

Nuclear weapons have been silent for 60 years but they're not really a hot new technology.

At the high school, during the first Gulf War, our classes were often cancelled and we were watching. Most of the boys in our class were truly impressed. Whenever the U.S. technology edge is being displayed, one can always see the natural authority of America, especially if a maximum effort is made to minimize civil casualties.

The Reference Frame recommends all readers in Iran - and everyone they know - to move at least 50 kilometers from the neighborhood of the potential targets, especially Natanz (plus other targets enumerated in Wikipedia in the link at the bottom). We also recommend all citizens of Iran to start a revolution and establish democracy and freedom in Iran. This blog can't guarantee that the story from New Yorker is accurate but there are very good reasons to think that it might be true.

Hersh, the author of the article, has won a Pulitzer prize in 1970 for uncovering a massacre in Vietnam by the U.S. troops and he was also the reporter who broke the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. That's a pretty good record, I think. He likes to expose things that look anti-Bush but whether his new article is really anti-Bush remains to be seen. The contingency planning is obviously what many people in Pentagon are paid for but I can tell you neither how many decisions have actually been made, nor whether such a thing could work out as smoothly as some successful operations in the past.

Other sources:

The hypothetical bombing poses many dilemmas - moral, strategic, tactical, psychological, economical - and question marks but the psychological pressure could not be that bad. The Reference Frame also recommends Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to establish democracy, give up nuclear ambitions, and resign. Such a reasonable decision could hypothetically save millions of lives.

3 comments:

  1. The fact is that either we choose to allow the Islamic Republic of Iran to develop the nuclear system that would allow for nuclear weapons or we don't. Bring on the apocalyptic rhetoric.:)

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  2. As always, your reference frame is a few months late in learning some current events. I have previously meantioned this article by a UCSD physicist about why he was so sure the US is planning to nuke Iran.

    I think at this stage, all have been planned and WILL be carried out. Bush is the kind of guy that once he decides on something no one can persuade him to change mind. There is no question to me that US will attack Iran and nuclear weapons will be used in the attack. It's set in motion already and there is nothing any one can do about but just watch it to happen.

    The question to ask is not whether US will nuke Iran or not, but "what will happen next"? I do not think Iran is a sitting duck. It has the ability to completely sabotage Saudi's oil production, as well as seal off all oil shipments through the Holmutz Strait, causing total chaos to world economy and a full breakout of the energy crisis.

    I think it is a complete foolish strategy. Let me not to argue whether the attack will be successful or not, althrough that's a serious question to ask. Let's just assume the military success is 100% and we wipe out Iran's nuclear capability completely, and kill the Iran president as well. Is that good?

    The end result is the Islamic world will be so mad that we used nuclear weapons against a none-nuclear nation. The strong man Mosharaf in Pakistan, who is already unpopular because he is American-leaning, will be overthrown by his people and replaced by some one more dangerous than Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. And remember Pakistan is already an Official Islamic Nuclear Club member. Instead of continuous helping us to hunt down the Oh Son of B*ch Forgotten, they would be co-operating with him. So we replaced a less dangerous enemy with a much more dangerous one.

    And that was the best case scenary presuming Iran is a sitting duck. I don't think they are. Maybe they have some caverns deeper in the mountains to hide some of their most critical nuclear gears. More than 20 meters underground, even nuclear bombs are in-effective to destroy. Remember even a very modest earthquake would release energy equivalent to thousands of nuclear bombs going off at the same time? Most buildings have no problem with earthquakes unless they are directly above the semsmic center.

    What about the terrorists who had allergedly smuggled a few suitcase nuclear bombs onto US soil, and are getting ready to set them off? They may still hesitate to carry it out because they know what the potential consequences are, (like we will bomb Meca etc). But if we use nuclear weapons first, all bets are off.

    The world is becoming a dangerous place and increasingly so in the future. The only way to achieve safety, is for all governments of the world to reach a consensus to destroy not just all nuclear weapons, but all nuclear materials for "peaceful" purpose. Any material that contain radioactivity at all, should be completely dis-solved and diluted into the ocean so one one can re-acquire them any more.

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  3. "Any material that contain radioactivity at all, should be completely dis-solved and diluted into the ocean so one one can re-acquire them any more."

    ??? Is that even possible? And if it is, it isn't at all desirable. There are many 'radioactive' materials that are useful for things other than weapons and energy.

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