Thursday, April 27, 2006

Physicists Chastise Bush Over 'Tactical' Nukes

Found this article over at the Information Clearing House. It's a letter from 13 leading physicists to G.W. Bush criticizing him for considering the use of tactical nukes to destroy underground bunkers in the planning of a future airstrike on Iran. For more background on the Iranian situation, including a link to the Seymour Hersh article that broke the news of Bush considering the use of 'tactical' nukes, you can refer to my earlier post.

By Dr. Jorge E. Hirsch

04/23/06 "ICH" -- -- Thirteen of the nation’s most prominent physicists have written a letter to President Bush, calling U.S. plans to reportedly use nuclear weapons against Iran “gravely irresponsible” and warning that such action would have “disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.”

The physicists include five Nobel laureates, a recipient of the National Medal of Science and three past presidents of the American Physical Society, the nation’s preeminent professional society for physicists.

The letter echoes a petition signed by over 1800 physicists and scientists across the US and the world

Join Dr. Jorge E. Hirsch, Professor of Physics, UCSD To deliver the letter to President Bush Wednesday April 26, 5 PM, Lafayette Park, opposite the White House, Washington, DC

Letter to President Bush

The Honorable George W. Bush

President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President: Recent articles in the New Yorker and Washington Post report that the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran is being actively considered by Pentagon planners and by the White House. As members of the profession that brought nuclear weapons into existence, we urge you to refrain from such an action that would have grave consequences for America and for the world.

1800 of our fellow physicists have joined in a petition opposing new US nuclear weapons policies that open the door to the use of nuclear weapons in situations such as Iran's. These policies represent a "radical departure from the past", in the words of Linton Brooks, National Nuclear Security Administration director. Indeed, since the end of World War II, US policy has considered nuclear weapons "weapons of last resort", to be used only when the very survival of the nation or of an allied nation was at stake, or at most in cases of extreme military necessity. Instead, the new US nuclear weapons policies have significantly lowered the threshold for the potential use of nuclear weapons, as clearly evidenced by the fact that they are being considered as another tool in the toolbox to destroy underground installations that are "too deep" to be destroyed by conventional weapons. This is a major and dangerous shift in the rationale for nuclear weapons. In the words of the late Joseph Rotblat, Nobel Peace Prize recipient for his efforts to prevent nuclear war, "the danger of this policy can hardly be over-emphasized". Nuclear weapons are unique among weapons of mass destruction: they unleash the enormous energy stored in the tiny nucleus of an atom, an energy that is a million times larger than that stored in the rest of the atom. The nuclear explosion releases an immense amount of blast energy and thermal and nuclear radiation, with deadly immediate and delayed effects on the human body. Over 100,000 human beings died in the Hiroshima blast, and nuclear weapons in today's arsenals have a total yield of over 200,000 Hiroshima bombs.

Using or even merely threatening to use a nuclear weapon preemptively against a nonnuclear adversary tells the 182 non-nuclear-weapon countries signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that their adherence to the treaty offers them no protection against a nuclear attack by a nuclear nation. Many are thus likely to abandon the treaty, and the nuclear non-proliferation framework will be damaged even further than it already has, with disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.

There are no sharp lines between small "tactical" nuclear weapons and large ones, nor between nuclear weapons targeting facilities and those targeting armies or cities. Nuclear weapons have not been used for 60 years. Once the US uses a nuclear weapon again, it will heighten the probability that others will too. In a world with many more nuclear nations and no longer a "taboo" against the use of nuclear weapons, there will be a greatly enhanced risk that regional conflicts could expand into global nuclear war, with the potential to destroy our civilization.

It is gravely irresponsible for the U.S. as the greatest superpower to consider courses of action that could eventually lead to the widespread destruction of life on the planet. We urge you to announce publicly that the U.S. is taking the nuclear option off the table in the case of all nonnuclear adversaries, present or future, and we urge the American people to make their voices heard on this matter.


Philip Anderson, Michael Fisher, David Gross, Jorge Hirsch, Leo Kadanoff, Joel Lebowitz, Anthony Leggett, Eugen Merzbacher, Douglas Osheroff, Andrew Sessler George Trilling, Frank Wilczek, Edward Witten


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now is the time for a war mobilization by all of us whose contribution to the war effort is made with a keyboard instead of a rifle. Many of us having been saying for years that Iran is the ultimate enemy in the War on Terrorism—and now war with Iran is openly being considered and debated. This is the moment we have been waiting for. This is the time for us to make the case for war with Iran.Use whatever medium is open to you: blog entries, letters to the editor, phone calls, e-mails, and letters to your congressman and to the White House, one-on-one debates with friends and coworkers. Make the case that war with Iran is not just “thinkable”—it is mandatory. We need to attack Iran, not just to keep it from developing nuclear weapons, but to topple the largest remaining state sponsor of terrorism, and to discredit Islamic rule.

10:12 PM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

Right. And how do you feel about bunker busting Nukes? I get the feeling I'm talking to a spambot anyway. Anyways, just another sign the sane part of humanity needs to expose the lies and half-truths of the neocons and their ideological enemies in Iran. The US wants war to ensure its 'full spectrum dominance' and much of the Iranian theocracy wouldn't mind it because they savour a 'worthy' Jihad and know a US attack will only strengthen their hold on the country. The warmongerors are loose and screaming for more bombs for peace. It's time for those who know real peace doesn't come through the barrel of a gun to shout back just as loudly.

12:02 AM  
Anonymous M.D. van Zuijdam, BSc. said...

So, and now some comments from the Old Wold.

Since we here in Europe have to deal with rising threads by terrorist (as you call them)I have started to wonder Why this all is happening. Imagine.

No, wrong! Have you ever really THOUGHT about how US foreign politics is ruining world-equilibrium? Do you KNOW what is said what makes it instable? Have you ever wondered why a western country (The USA that is!)is hated in so many other western countries?

I won't give an awnser here, but I must say, Since George W. Bush is your president I feel a whole lot less safe in this world.... And our Prime Minister who is ki**ing Bush's behind is enlargening the risk we are facing here in The Netherlands. I am a western citizen, I cannot vote for your president, but he is bringing us into great trouble here in Europe! For that, and the fear that is in our harts, I blame the government of The United States. And NOT the threatened people in Arabic countries who in hart just do not want to confermate to our (somtimes even ridiculous) culture, and are fighting for their own.

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks For Killing Us All America.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow it shows how many ignorant people are out there, iran is not a dangerous country, and yes war with them should be unthinkable. becasue THERE IS NOTHING THERE...oh except oil

5:33 PM  
Anonymous said...

Blame our Government,not the entire people of the US.Its as ive told my friends before we put our nose in other peoples bussiness so much that we piss off everyone.There are alot of people here that despise bush,and there are states currently starting on the possible impeachment and court trial against Bush and Dick cheney for thier "War Crimes" and the fact they both own big time into Oil companies and them getting payed big money for the Middle eastern wars.

6:23 AM  

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