01 March 2007

Talking About Nuclear War

An article by George Lakoff on the US website, Common Dreams, highlights how the media and the US government are getting people used to the idea of attacking Iran with nuclear weapons.

The Natanz facility -- where US attention is focused with regard to the Iranian nuclear programme -- is deep underground, so it's unclear that "bunker buster" bombs would be able to conclusively damage it.

Perhaps the "smallest" tactical nuclear weapon we have is the B61-11, which has a dial-a-yield feature: it can yield "only" 0.3 kilotons, but can be set to yield up to 170 kilotons. The power of the Hiroshima bomb was 15 kilotons. That is, a "small" bomb can yield more than 10 times the explosive power of the Hiroshima bomb. The B61-11 dropped from 40,000 feet would dig a hole 20 feet deep and then explode, send shock waves downward, leave a huge crater, and spread radiation widely. The idea that it would explode underground and be harmless to those above ground is false — and, anyway, an underground release of radiation would threaten ground water and aquifers for a long time and over wide distance.

What we are seeing now is the conservative message machine preparing the country to accept the ideas of a nuclear war and nation destruction against Iran. Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water – if the heat is turned up slowly the frog gets used to the heat and eventually boils to death – the American public is getting gradually acclimated to the idea of war with Iran.

- First, describe Iran as evil – part of the axis of evil. An inherently evil person will inevitably do evil things and can't be negotiated with. An entire evil nation is a threat to other nations.
Second, describe Iran's leader as a "Hitler" who is inherently "evil" and cannot be reasoned with. Refuse to negotiate with him.
- Then repeat the lie that Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei says they are at best many years away.
- Call nuclear development "an existential threat" – a threat to our very existence.
- Then suggest a single "surgical" "attack" on Natanz and make it seem acceptable.
- Claim, without proof and without anyone even taking responsibility for the claim, that the Iranian government at its highest level is supplying deadly weapons to Shiite militias attacking our troops, while not mentioning the fact that Saudi Arabia is helping Sunni insurgents attacking our troops.
- Give "protecting our troops" as a reason for attacking Iran without getting new authorization from Congress.
- Never mention the words "preventive nuclear war" or "national destruction." When asked, say "All options are on the table."
- Intimidate Democratic presidential candidates into agreeing, without using the words, that nuclear war should be "on the table." This makes nuclear war and nation destruction bipartisan and even more acceptable.


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