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Here's Why U.S. Tactical Nukes Are a Bad Idea.

Rogue Valley

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Here's Why U.S. Tactical Nukes Are a Bad Idea.

12/10/18
Policymakers in Washington are making a case for low-yield nuclear weapons. But these weapons aim to solve a problem based on major and unsubstantiated assumptions about Russian doctrine. Such weapons will not meaningfully affect Russian calculations if the Kremlin fears the existence of their state is at stake. They may, however, reinforce a view in Moscow that the United States seeks superiority across both the nuclear and conventional domains. across both the nuclear and conventional domains. U.S. policymakers worry that were Russia to begin losing a conventional conflict, it might escalate to the use of nuclear weapons to de-escalate and settle the conflict on terms favorable to Moscow. They also argue that Russian aggression against U.S. allies in Europe becomes more likely if the United States does not have low-yield nuclear warheads to symmetrically match Russia’s escalation. Having such weapons would deter the Russians from considering nuclear preemption and strengthen U.S. deterrence. Russian declaratory strategy is not one of “escalate to de-escalate” or nuclear preemption. The most conclusive evidence for a Russian strategy of limited nuclear use is its large arsenal of sub-strategic nuclear weapons. Russia continues to see value in this arsenal, and continued modernization indicates that the Russians see a role for these weapons also in their future arsenal and concepts. Russia clearly states that it would consider using nuclear weapons when “the very existence of the state is under threat.” Although that formulation may be subject to interpretation, it signifies some requirement of aggression against Russia proper.

Will a new U.S. low-yield nuclear warhead sway their calculus in that situation? Put more succinctly, will a new low-yield nuclear warhead convince Russian leaders that the war they are fighting is not worth nuclear escalation, despite their perception that the Russian state is under threat? Russian doctrine and strategy signal there are no nuclear taboos when their existence is threatened. They signal that there will be no crisis stability in a large-scale confrontation with Russia if its vital interests are threatened. The United States will not be able to convince Russia that it should accept fighting America on its own turf with conventional means only. The reason Russia has modernized the world’s largest nuclear arsenal is precisely that a conventional fight with the United States will not be fair and that they will lose. New American low-yield nuclear warheads is a strategic response based on not the most likely, but the most dangerous possible interpretation of Russian strategy, one directly at odds with Russian declaratory nuclear strategy. Russia does not have a doctrine of nuclear preemption, and it remains uncertain about the efficiency of escalating to de-escalate. But Russia will consider using nuclear weapons earlier than America in a conflict when its existence is at stake. New U.S. nuclear weapons will not persuade Russia of the reduced utility of its nuclear weapons.

US/Russia nuclear weapons aren't going to magically disappear and there are no plans to scale back further on inventories. On the contrary, both nations are in the midst of modernizing their nuclear arsenals. From my point of view, Russia's Novator missile system is in material breach of the INF and has been so since at least 2010. Besides range-violation issues, the Novator mobile launch vehicle is also in INF material breach because it can accommodate the nuclear capable Iskander-M missile. This situation makes verification impossible. Putin's military excursions into Europe since 2008 makes it clear that [forced] territorial expansion is a tenet of current Kremlin geopolitical doctrine. Thus I have few meaningful reservations concerning US tactical nukes. They could very well be that great 'unknown' that alters Putin's current calculus regarding future Russian expansionism on the European continent.
 

chuckiechan

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It should be as obvious as the nose on your face that nuclear wrapons are too large to use. Russia recognizes this and developes and has fielded low yield tactical nuclear weapons. These are designed to destroy square kilometers and operate below the theoretical threshold that could cause the use of stragetic nukes.

Note: lets not let Russia conflate the existence of the former Soviet Union with existance of russia.
 
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Rexedgar

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Bullets are bad if you’re in the wrong place .......:shock:
 

Oozlefinch

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Wow, how to even begin to explain.

The US really does not have any tactical nuclear weapons. Yes, we do still have many of the warheads in storage, but what we lack is their delivery systems.

And we also have to specifically exclude weapons like the B-61 and others are "variable yield" and can be scaled down from their strategic to a tactical size, that is not likely.

Our entire "tactical nuclear arsenal" was based primarily on 4 different systems. The Pershing missile, the land based TOMAHAWK cruise missile, the W48 atomic artillery shell, and the M29 Davy Crockett Atomic Recoilless Rifle. And none of those systems are in use anymore, and have not been in decades. Half of them were destroyed due to treaty agreements.

Of all of those systems, the only one we are even capable of bringing back again would be the W48, or an updated version (like the cancelled W82). A nuclear 155mm artillery shell. Which only produced a 72 ton explosion (not mt, not kt, literally 72 tons). It was also a very dirty weapon, and was possibly as hazardous to those that used it as it was to those it was used against.
 

joko104

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I wouldn't be surprised if some on the leftwing don't start ranting about Hilary Clinton only giving Russia 20% of our uranium instead of 100% plus giving Putin all our nuclear weapons too.
 

Mr Person

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I wouldn't be surprised if some on the leftwing don't start ranting about Hilary Clinton only giving Russia 20% of our uranium instead of 100% plus giving Putin all our nuclear weapons too.

Now why am I not surprised that you actually believed that bull**** 20% right wing spewing point.
 

RamFel

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Here's Why U.S. Tactical Nukes Are a Bad Idea.



US/Russia nuclear weapons aren't going to magically disappear and there are no plans to scale back further on inventories. On the contrary, both nations are in the midst of modernizing their nuclear arsenals. From my point of view, Russia's Novator missile system is in material breach of the INF and has been so since at least 2010. Besides range-violation issues, the Novator mobile launch vehicle is also in INF material breach because it can accommodate the nuclear capable Iskander-M missile. This situation makes verification impossible. Putin's military excursions into Europe since 2008 makes it clear that [forced] territorial expansion is a tenet of current Kremlin geopolitical doctrine. Thus I have few meaningful reservations concerning US tactical nukes. They could very well be that great 'unknown' that alters Putin's current calculus regarding future Russian expansionism on the European continent.

I think that there is good reason for maintaining inventories of nuclear weapons. And we should increase their numbers and effectiveness. Reading the second part of your post here (as bourne out by the nose on my face,) that Putin's military excursions into Europe since 2008 makes it clear that [forced] territortial expansion is a tenet of current Kremlin geopolitical doctrine. Thus I have few meaningful reservations concerning US tactical nukes. They could very well be that great 'unknown' that alters putins current calculus regarding future Rushian expansion on the European continent.

and that is why we need a very powerful set of US tactical weapons.
 
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Cordelier

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I don't really draw a distinction between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.... once one side or the other crosses the Rubicon and uses a tactical nuke, then it's a very short fuse until the other launches their strategic force and pretty much ends civilization (if not humanity) as we know it.

So I don't really see what tactical nuclear weapons add to the equation.... it seems to me that they're a relatively cheap way of purchasing deterrence that comes with the added risk premium of increasing instability.
 

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This article claims that the US has already used tactical nuclear weapons, at least once in the battle of Baghdad.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/08/15/vt-nuclear-education-nukes-in-iraq-confirmation/

Nuclear technology has come a long way baby, since 1944.

Veterans Today is an American propaganda and conspiracy theory website. It describes itself as a "military veterans and foreign affairs journal", but the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had said "the anti-Israel bent on VT can slide pretty quickly into overt anti-Semitism."[SUP][1][/SUP]

Veterans Today - Wikipedia


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Today



Veterans Today is an American propaganda and conspiracy theory website. It describes itself as a "military veterans and foreign affairs journal", but the Southern ...
 

VanceMack

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Veterans Today is an American propaganda and conspiracy theory website. It describes itself as a "military veterans and foreign affairs journal", but the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had said "the anti-Israel bent on VT can slide pretty quickly into overt anti-Semitism."[SUP][1][/SUP]

Veterans Today - Wikipedia


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Today



Veterans Today is an American propaganda and conspiracy theory website. It describes itself as a "military veterans and foreign affairs journal", but the Southern ...
:lamo

From the article he cited....according to Al Jazeera, in their intereview with an Iraqi military leader...

"In an April 9 interview reported by Al Jazeera, Saifeddin Fulayh Hassan Taha al-Rawi says that, “U.S. forces used neutron bombs during their assault on Baghdad airport before the April 9, 2003, capture of the Iraqi capital.”

The bombs incinerated about 2,000 elite Republican Guard troops but left the buildings and infrastructure at the airport intact, he added."
 

Cordelier

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This article claims that the US has already used tactical nuclear weapons, at least once in the battle of Baghdad.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/08/15/vt-nuclear-education-nukes-in-iraq-confirmation/

Nuclear technology has come a long way baby, since 1944.

I call Bull**** on that one.

1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Div. was cheek-to-jowl with the Republican Guard for 2 days (3-4 Apr 2003) to capture and hold Baghdad Airport. There was plenty of air support - I'm not ruling out the use of thermobarics - but there's no way in hell they could have snuck a Neutron bomb in there without the whole world knowing about it instantly.
 

Cordelier

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I think that there is good reason for maintaining inventories of nuclear weapons. And we should increase their numbers and effectiveness. Reading the second part of your post here (as bourne out by the nose on my face,) that Putin's military excursions into Europe since 2008 makes it clear that [forced] territortial expansion is a tenet of current Kremlin geopolitical doctrine. Thus I have few meaningful reservations concerning US tactical nukes. They could very well be that great 'unknown' that alters putins current calculus regarding future Rushian expansion on the European continent.

and that is why we need a very powerful set of US tactical weapons.

Little known tidbit... Russia puts on a good show, but it's acting out of weakness.

Did you know Saudi Arabia spends more on defense than Russia does?
 

Thoreau72

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Veterans Today is an American propaganda and conspiracy theory website. It describes itself as a "military veterans and foreign affairs journal", but the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had said "the anti-Israel bent on VT can slide pretty quickly into overt anti-Semitism."[SUP][1][/SUP]

Veterans Today - Wikipedia


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Today



Veterans Today is an American propaganda and conspiracy theory website. It describes itself as a "military veterans and foreign affairs journal", but the Southern ...

A typical response for you Jack, but not a persuasive response. Rather than any discussion of the science or technology or record, you offer only an effective ad hom against VT. I get it.
 

Thoreau72

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I call Bull**** on that one.

1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Div. was cheek-to-jowl with the Republican Guard for 2 days (3-4 Apr 2003) to capture and hold Baghdad Airport. There was plenty of air support - I'm not ruling out the use of thermobarics - but there's no way in hell they could have snuck a Neutron bomb in there without the whole world knowing about it instantly.

I haven't read that article at VT in years, but I think it included some photos or reference to the unique differences between photos taken of a nuclear event with conventional film cameras, and photos taken with digital cameras. It turns out there is some sort of pixilation effect, and a nuclear event recorded on digital media has a distinct quality to it. People did take photos of the Battle of the Baghdad Airport, with digital cameras. By that standard a tactical nuke event was recorded.
 

Jack Hays

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A typical response for you Jack, but not a persuasive response. Rather than any discussion of the science or technology or record, you offer only an effective ad hom against VT. I get it.

VT is not worth any honest person's time.
 

Cordelier

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I haven't read that article at VT in years, but I think it included some photos or reference to the unique differences between photos taken of a nuclear event with conventional film cameras, and photos taken with digital cameras. It turns out there is some sort of pixilation effect, and a nuclear event recorded on digital media has a distinct quality to it. People did take photos of the Battle of the Baghdad Airport, with digital cameras. By that standard a tactical nuke event was recorded.

That's pretty thin gruel, Thoreau... if it were a Neutron Bomb, there'd be a crap load of radiation poisoning casualties... both fatal and non-fatal, and in both the Iraqi and US forces - and depending on which way the wind was blowing, among Iraqi civilians as well. There wouldn't be any ambiguity about it. I think the damage described is consistent with AGM-114 Hellfire II's armed with a thermobaric warheads.
 

Oozlefinch

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Veterans Today is an American propaganda and conspiracy theory website. It describes itself as a "military veterans and foreign affairs journal", but the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had said "the anti-Israel bent on VT can slide pretty quickly into overt anti-Semitism."[SUP][1][/SUP]

This is why when people throw out a comment without a reference, I ask for a credible and verifiable reference. And Veterans Today is not such a reference.

It is purely a Russian influenced propaganda site, with very little credible information. In fact, I trust the information that comes from RT and PressTV (the Russian and Iranian news outlets) more than I do that which is vomited up from VT.

VT is a vile, Anti-Semitic website, and anybody who takes their vomit seriously is an individual who I question as to having more than a single digit number of functioning brain cells operating.

But here, do not take my word for it. See for yourself if any of these "articles" are even worth the digital paper they are printed on:

Which brings us to the title of this article and it’s reference to Hitler’s infamous claim that Germany lost World War One because the Zionist Jews stabbed her in the back. Of course, orthodox history insists this was a great lie, but let me assure you, it was absolutely true and I will explain how the stabbing took place.
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2018/11/12/hitler-was-right-germany-was-stabbed-in-the-back/

Adolf Hitler, himself, in many ways was a tragic figure. He never married. He never had children. And, while he intended to save humankind, instead, he has been vilified with the epithet of being the most hated man—and most evil ruler—in human history (at least here in the West).
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2018/10/08/apology-adolf-hitler/

We believe that Countryman was covering up Ukraine’s illegal possession of tactical nukes. Perhaps Russia did sabotage this ammunition dump in order to destroy Ukraine’s nukes, if so, it looks like Trump gave Putin the green light on this one.
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/03/25/exclusive-nuclear-explosion-in-ukriane/

The last part is particularly telling, since VT is a rabid fanboi for Russia. They have been blasting the Ukraine as "Nazis" since the skirmishes with Russia started. They talk about the Ukraine having nukes, and the Russians having gone in and destroyed them. Even though after the dissolving of the USSR the Ukraine turned over all nukes to the new Russian Federation, and all were accounted for.

The Ukraine is even a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

No, the site is pure garbage, and should never be taken seriously. In fact, if I see somebody trying to use them as a serious reference I pretty much dismiss that individual immediately.
 

braindrain

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Thoreau72

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That's pretty thin gruel, Thoreau... if it were a Neutron Bomb, there'd be a crap load of radiation poisoning casualties... both fatal and non-fatal, and in both the Iraqi and US forces - and depending on which way the wind was blowing, among Iraqi civilians as well. There wouldn't be any ambiguity about it. I think the damage described is consistent with AGM-114 Hellfire II's armed with a thermobaric warheads.

Thin gruel perhaps, but factual. Very thin gruel if it threatens one's view of the world.

Nuclear technology has advanced considerably since 1944.
 

Cordelier

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Thin gruel perhaps, but factual. Very thin gruel if it threatens one's view of the world.

Nuclear technology has advanced considerably since 1944.

Agreed... but no so much that they've eliminated fallout.
 

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Little known tidbit... Russia puts on a good show, but it's acting out of weakness.

Did you know Saudi Arabia spends more on defense than Russia does?


Oh, where have we heard this song before .......... Russia is Nigeria with Snow :roll:


Except it uniquely retains the ability to reduce the US to a pile of smouldering rubble.


Regarding tactical nuclear weapons, the alleged use in Iraq is a joke. But US doctrine is clearly interested in renewing and deploying them physically. For a long time Washington has wanted to use them flexibly, and increasingly incorporate them into offensive force scenarios.

It's not all about Russia. I think the Us would like to use them against ISIS ........ boys and toys and all that.
 

Jack Hays

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Oh, where have we heard this song before .......... Russia is Nigeria with Snow :roll:


Except it uniquely retains the ability to reduce the US to a pile of smouldering rubble.


Regarding tactical nuclear weapons, the alleged use in Iraq is a joke. But US doctrine is clearly interested in renewing and deploying them physically. For a long time Washington has wanted to use them flexibly, and increasingly incorporate them into offensive force scenarios.

It's not all about Russia. I think the Us would like to use them against ISIS ........ boys and toys and all that.

The correct reference is "India with snow." Alternatively: "a large, cold India."
 

Fledermaus

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Oh, where have we heard this song before .......... Russia is Nigeria with Snow :roll:

Except it uniquely retains the ability to reduce the US to a pile of smouldering rubble.

Regarding tactical nuclear weapons, the alleged use in Iraq is a joke. But US doctrine is clearly interested in renewing and deploying them physically. For a long time Washington has wanted to use them flexibly, and increasingly incorporate them into offensive force scenarios.

It's not all about Russia. I think the Us would like to use them against ISIS ........ boys and toys and all that.

The ability to lob nuclear missiles is no indicator for civil or military funding or stability.

And your claim of the US "wanting" to use tactical nukes is ludicrous...
 
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