yidsrus, is this defensible?

  1. 6,931 Posts.
    From an environmental point of view and from many other points of view this is just outrageous. One would have thought they learnt something after the depleted Uranium issue, let alone actual nuclear based bombs.
    From the Australian.



    US considering lifting ban on "mini-nukes"
    March 7 2003

    The Bush administration has formally proposed lifting a decade-long ban on the development of small, low-yield nuclear weapons, a move that arms control advocates predicted could touch off a new global arms race.

    The proposal to allow development of so-called "mini-nukes" is contained in a draft of the 2004 Defense Authorisation bill that the Pentagon sent to Congress this week. The weapons would have an explosive yield of less than 5 kilotonnes - about one-third the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 and far smaller than most current nuclear weapons.

    Some policy-makers and military planners have suggested that such weapons could be used to eliminate nuclear, chemical or biological weapons that may be produced by nations such as Iraq, North Korea or Iran.

    Bush administration officials have said there is no need for the smaller nuclear bombs right now, but weapons scientists at the nation's nuclear laboratories, such as Lawrence Livermore in California and Los Alamos in New Mexico, should not be prevented from exploring the options in case mini-nukes are needed in the future.

    "My personal view is that anything that inhibits thinking about the future should be looked at sceptically," Linton Brooks, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in response to a question about the ban on low-yield weapons during a Senate hearing last week.

    Pentagon officials could not be reached for comment on the proposal yesterday.

    Representative Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat, blasted the Bush administration for proposing to develop new nuclear weapons while it is on the verge of war with Iraq in order to prevent that country from developing such weapons. But they will have a tall task with Republicans now in control of both chambers of Congress as well as the White House.

    "The American people I think would be absolutely apoplectic, and should be, to find out this administration is on the one hand holding people responsible for weapons of mass destruction but at the same time we are basically starting a new arms race," she said. "I still can't find anybody in the military who can tell me why they need them."

    Tauscher said she is likely to join with the co-sponsor of the 1993 ban, Representative John Spratt, in proposing an amendment to remove the administration's proposal from the legislation.

    Spratt said yesterday that Democrats will fight to retain the ban and criticised the Bush administration for its move.

    "I think that they're backsliding into systems and military doctrine that I thought we'd left behind with the Cold War," he said. "They believe that nuclear weapons are an entitlement of superpowers like the US. We should get back to nuclear weapons as the weapons of deterrence and last resort."

    Research and development on low-yield nuclear weapons was banned in 1993 and arms control advocates said that led Russia and other nuclear nations to stop developing such weapons as well.

    In recent years, some congressional Republicans have tried unsuccessfully to lift the ban, arguing that new types of low-yield nuclear weapons, such as those to destroy underground bunkers were needed. Last month, the House Policy Committee, an arm of the House Republican leadership, released a report on the future of the US nuclear weapons program that said Congress should reconsider the ban.

    "We do not know what threats will face us from new adversaries who are seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them," the report said. "It is wise to have an active program considering these potential challenges and how we might address them."

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