Archive for the 'Nuclear' Category

The Worst OPSEC Violation In My Lifetime

BY Herschel Smith
4 months ago


Joe Biden just announced a new working group with Britain and Australia to share advanced technologies — including the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines — in a thinly veiled bid to counter China.

The trio, now known by the acronym AUKUS, will make it easier for the three countries to share information and know-how in key technological areas like artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, underwater systems, and long-range strike capabilities.

Biden, joined virtually by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday afternoon, detailed the reasons for the trilateral effort.

“This is about investing in our greatest source of strength, our alliances and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow,” Biden said from the White House in between two monitors showing the other world leaders. “AUKUS — it sounds strange, all these acronyms, but it’s a good one.”

“We must now take our partnership to a new level,” said Morrison.

“We’re adding a new chapter in our friendship,” Johnson added.

All three countries will work over the next 18 months to figure out how best to deliver the technology, which the U.S. traditionally has only shared with the U.K., the official said. U.S. officials and experts noted that Australia currently doesn’t have the requisite fissile material to run a nuclear-powered submarine, meaning the next year and a half of negotiations will likely feature nuclear-material transfer discussions.

Let’s leave behind for the moment the issue of Australia imprisoning their own people who have not taken the mRNA vaccine, or the draconian lockdowns, the street beatings administered by the cops, and other highly objectionable behavior.

I know folks who left the Navy nuclear program, and while they are allowed to report on their CV or resume what ship they worked on, they cannot publish the type of nuclear reactor, or vice versa, they can put the nuclear reactor type with which they have had experience, but not connect it to a specific ship.  Many of the engineers and scientists at KAPL stay for a long time, but some leave because they can’t publish.  Publishing what they know isn’t allowed.

Because I know nuclear engineering and have been around so many people for so long who work in the same discipline I do, I know things like the allowable SUR (startup rate) they are allowed to achieve when returning to power from a reactor trip (it’s important to get power back in a submarine), as well as many other things about Navy nuclear power propulsion systems.  I know many of the things they cover in their nuclear prep / nuclear fundamentals course, I know fuel enrichments, etc., etc.

I would never divulge the information I know, regardless of whether the information was classified or FOUO or not, and regardless of whether I am under any specific NDA.  It isn’t wise.  I stand to gain no benefit, while potentially divulging sensitive information.  I care about things like that.

Australia is owned to a literal degree by China even more so than the U.S.  Not only is Biden risking violation of NDAs by Australians, whether intentional or not, he is also putting sensitive information in the hands of a country that is beholden to China.  This information spans not just the nuclear technology we have, but defense technology and how the two interrelate and support each other.  You can’t design a core without the software to do it, so this transfer must include things like highly proprietary and sensitive computer codes, from Monte Carlo transport and depletion codes to thermal hydraulics codes using CFD, critical heat flux correlations, DNB correlations, etc., etc.

My mind is racing at the technology we’re getting ready to package up and deliver to people who might not protect it.

In a time when the Department of Defense is concerned about whether TV shows, movies or the gaming industry divulges TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) of its SpecOps community, potentially endangering them in future engagements, Biden is committing OPSEC violations of his own.

This is the worst OPSEC violation in my lifetime.  I’ve never seen worse.  Admiral Rickover is turning in his grave.

Do What FedGov Says Or We’ll Incinerate You With Nuclear Weapons

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 2 months ago

From WiscoDave and others, this is nice.

And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.

— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) November 16, 2018

By finding common ground, he means that you agree with whatever he thinks.

I’d like to make a personal request here.  After the missiles are sent, the tactical nuclear weapons are exploded, and the bombs are dropped, the grunts are going to need some training in the difference between an Alpha, Beta and Gamma, the basics in time, distance and shielding, how to put on anti-Cs and how to decon, how to operate a GM detector, etc.  Also, since all of the food in America will be contaminated, folks will need to know how to scan their food (I once was in a training class with an engineer who lived in Kiev, and at the time of the training he and other residents of Kiev still had to scan their food before consumption because of the core melt event at Chernobyl).

I’ll leave the booming mortuary business to someone else.  I’ll leave the import of food from Africa to America to someone else.  I just want the training contract for the Army grunts you’re going to send into the bombed out cities and countryside.

Please?  A little love this way, how about it?

Uranium One Investigation: Have The Clintons Been Caught Shipping Uranium Out Of The Country?

BY Herschel Smith
4 years ago


The Justice Department has reportedly started questioning FBI agents about evidence they discovered in a previous investigation into the controversial Uranium One deal, as the country’s top law enforcement agency deals with allegations of bias from Republicans and President Donald Trump.

The internal questioning comes after an assistant attorney general told the head of the House Judiciary Committee, in a letter sent last month, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had “directed” federal prosecutors to determine if another special counsel was needed to investigate Uranium One, NBC News reported Thursday.

A little late to the game, yes?  Hey, I’ll bet you thought that the whole Uranium One deal prevented the Clintons from shipping Uranium out of the country, right?  Sucker.

Calling beltway critter Jonah Goldberg.  Jonah?  Are you there?

Uranium One, Shep Smith And Jonah Goldberg

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 2 months ago

There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle going on over the accusations of treason against the purveyors of the deal that sent ownership of Uranium to Vladimir Putin.  Jonah Goldberg is up first.

My real objection is to the way people on late-night shout shows and talk radio blithely and irresponsibly throw around claims that our national security was gravely damaged, or insinuate that treason has been committed. It’s neither of those things. Sebastian Gorka’s repeated invocation of the Rosenbergs is dangerous, demagogic, and dippy.

As Shep notes, the uranium the Russians bought can only be sold . . . in America to American facilities. We weren’t giving ammunition to an enemy (an enemy usually only for the purposes of the Uranium One story, by the way) to kill us with nuclear weapons. Russia already has vastly more Uranium than we do. The U.S. has 1 percent of the global reserves of uranium. Russia has 9 percent. So when you hear radio talkers screaming about how Hillary Clinton gave the Russians TWENTY PERCENT!!!!!! of America’s precious uranium supply, they’re talking about one-fifth of one percent of a fairly common metal (Australia has 29 percent of the known uranium reserves).

In fact, one way you can tell if a commodity is rare is by looking at its price. Gold today is at a bit under $1,300 per ounce. Rhodium, mostly used in things like catalytic converters is around $1,400 per ounce. Platinum (which I always thought until this morning was more expensive than gold) is around $1,000 bucks per ounce. Uranium? It sells for less than $25 bucks – per pound.

To underscore his derision, he embeds a video by Shep Smith who relies mainly on MSM reporting and then displays his own derision for the scandal.

So let’s take a shallow dive into the facts – a deep dive will likely lose most readers.  We are no longer enriching weapons-grade Uranium or Plutonium (or creating Tritium, but I’ll get to that in a moment).  Even the Reliable Replacement Warhead program doesn’t do that.  Despite this conflated and rambling entry at Global Security, the program to date consists mainly of calculations performed to demonstrate that what we have will still work despite decay.

At some point in the future the piper will come playing and he must be paid.  We can only kick the can down the road for so long.  Before that happens, if we have any sense at all, we will have begun a new weapons program.  When that happens, the price and availability of raw material matters.  What Jonah cited is yellowcake, not weapons grade material.

This material must be enriched a great deal to fissile isotopes like U-235 (not fissionable, like U-238) or Pu-239.  That requires industrial and reactor operations (separation and transmutation).  We don’t get a pound of weapons grade material for every pound of yellowcake removed from the earth.  In fact, we don’t get very many at all.

Furthermore, this enrichment must occur just to be able to operate commercial nuclear reactors, and I consider their operation vital to national security (try living in America without the electricity supplied by commercial nuclear power).  Most fuel assemblies loaded into commercial nuclear reactors today are enriched to 4% – 5% by weight U-235.  Fuel assemblies aren’t light.  Each one typically contains just below half a metric ton of enriched Uranium (0.45 – 0.5 MTU).  Hundreds get loaded into commercial nuclear reactors every year.  For this enrichment to occur to make operational feasible, we must have many more pounds of yellowcake than what we get out as fissile or fissionable material in commercial nuclear reactors.

There is no indication that Putin would stop with his current level of ownership, or that he wouldn’t find some way to abscond with the raw material via nefarious means.  Moreover, with any ownership, one can begin to control pricing and certainly stands to make a handsome profit.  Why else would Putin want ownership?

Andy McCarthy seems to admit some level of accuracy to what Goldberg says by replying that “when Jonah says, “The Uranium One story is crap,” I take him to be talking about the story as it is being related by a number of commentators, as if it involved a major national-security crisis. (Note that Jonah is careful to acknowledge that an investigation of the Uranium One transaction might be warranted.) It is true that hyperbole about national security and treason is not helping people’s understanding of what this is about. Uranium One has never primarily been a national-security controversy. It is a corruption controversy with some national-security aspects, which are related to domestic energy supply, not nuclear weapons.”

He’s wrong, and it’s almost a waste of time and air to say that Goldberg and Smith are wrong since they are such lightweights on the matter.  We need a reliable and inexpensive source of raw nuclear material for nuclear security, and we also need universities to continue to have and fund nuclear engineering programs.  Without commercial nuclear power, there will be no nuclear engineers, and without nuclear engineers there will be no nuclear weapons program.  Without nuclear engineers and reactors, there will be no Tritium for weapons, which is created by activation of Lithium, because we won’t be able to create the high neutron flux necessary to make enough Tritium.  In order to have these reactors to create the Tritium, we need enriched nuclear fuel.

This is all vital to our national security.  There is no further discussion necessary over this question.  Better said, there isn’t even a question about it.  This isn’t primarily about a scandal, and secondarily about appurtenant national security issues.  This is about a scandal that runs so far, deep and wide that certain people would sell out the national security of nation for small payoffs.

Here’s a suggestion for Andy McCarthy.  Stay in your own lane.  Here’s a note to Shep Smith.  You’re a good mouthpiece for your progressive buddies, but some of us know you to be a buffoon and clown, just a talking head who uses unction and a suit to convince people you’re something other than a carnival actor.

Here’s a note for Jonah.  All it takes is a little understanding of nuclear science – and I have more than a little understanding – and human nature to know that this is more serious than you indicate in your silly commentary.  The next time you decide to play the court jester over some issue, stop and reconsider if you’re tempted to couple yourself to a buffoon like Shep.

If you want to comment on engineering, then go get a degree in engineering.  You are unqualified by training, experience or education to make decisions like this on technical matters and issues of national security.  It’s like watching a first grader challenge Alvin Plantinga to a debate on concepts of rationality and epistemic warrant.  Or watching my granddaughter try to field strip a 1911.  When you couple yourself to moronic prose and moronic people, you play the moron.

God help us all when people like Shep Smith and Jonah Goldberg are the “experts” on national security.

Preparing For Nuclear Disaster

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 5 months ago

CBS Detroit:

As the rhetoric ramps up over North Korea and nuclear weapons, the cash registers have been ringing at a local Army Supply store, where some are apparently prepping for a third World War.

Ben Orr, the manager of Joe’s Army Navy in Royal Oak, says he’s been selling a lot of “prepper items” over the past week or so.

“We’ve been very busy. Unusually busy, I’d say,” Orr told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “It’s definitely an increase, just in selling all the normal prepper stuff, end of the world stuff. A lot of water prep stuff, food, MREs — the military meals.”

And there’s been a substantial increase in the sale of a particular item they don’t sell much of — a so-called radiation antidote called potassium iodide.

“It actually stops your thyroid from absorbing any radiation. So, it fills your thyroid with iodine, which it normally does anyways,” said Orr. “Your body can’t tell the difference between bad, radioactive iodine and acceptable iodine, so it actually will stop you from getting thyroid cancer.”

Oh good Lord!  Stop it.  Just stop it.  Your ignorance is dangerous and you could hurt yourself and perhaps hurt your family too.  Stop the hysterics.

Let’s discuss a few things concerning radiation, radioactivity and nuclear events.  If you’re a layman, most articles you will read on these subjects will either be written way above your head, or by people who only pretend to know what they’re talking about because they lack the proper education and experience to speak intelligently.  Even the man who wrote this article on surviving a nuclear attack is in that category.

I could wax haughty and throw words around showing what I know about photon, electron and neutron shielding, the theoretical and mathematical difference between a Rad, Roentgen and a Rem, committed dose equivalent to organs, total effective dose equivalent, albedos, Keff (criticality) calculations, the Boltzmann transport equation and reactor kinetics.  But it would do you precisely no good.  None.  You wouldn’t be one bit better off after having read an article like that than you are right now.  You would have to take an advanced engineering degree or train in the radiological sciences in order to stay with me in such a discussion, and you can’t right now, so that’s that.  Something else needs to be done because the conversation the “journalist” had with that prepper above is off the charts stupid.

Potassium Iodine, or KI, doesn’t stop the thyroid from “absorbing radiation.”  It isn’t a magic radiation pill, regardless of how pepper and survivalist web sites market it.  There is nothing magic about it.  There is a little bit it can do under the right circumstances, and it can’t do anything else.  If you take it – and be aware that taking KI when you don’t need it can lead to severe health problems, especially in the young and old – it will load your thyroid with iodine and prevent the absorption of any more iodine, radioactive or not.  The intent behind this is to prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid and thus the absorbed radiation dose from such a localized source.

What it doesn’t do is prevent the thyroid from “absorbing radiation.”  The entire whole body, including every organ in your body and the skin (which is treated as an organ by the ICRP) will still attenuate and absorb radiation from external sources, such as immersion in a cloud of radioactive material.  Charged particles (such as betas, or in other words, electrons) can be essentially stopped by clothing, skin and just a little tissue overlying the organs.

You cannot wear enough shielding to stop gammas or neutrons, although being inside a structure deep in the ground could help.  But you cannot stay in such structures unless you have millions of dollars worth of engineered safety features, like leak tight doors, HEPA and charcoal filtration for breathing air, food stores, water purification systems, and so on.  That’s because part of the problem isn’t just penetrating particles from radioactive material, but the transport of that radioactive material into your living space, food and on to and into your person through breathing or ingestion.

Radioactive iodine isn’t nearly the biggest problem.  Cesium is a thyroid-seeker as well, and the half lives for Cs-134 and Cs-137 are significant compared to the longest-lived iodine isotope, I-131 at 8.01 days.  The heavy elements such as the actinides are bone seekers and can cause cancer from ingestion and inhalation.  You name an organ, and I can name you an isotope (produced in nuclear fission) or list of isotopes that seek that organ.  For your own study, you can reference Federal Guidance Report No. 11.

Furthermore, immersion in airborne radioactivity causes dose to your whole body and all of your organs from exposure to externally generated particles.  Federal Guidance Report No. 12 outlines dose coefficients from each of the relevant radionuclides (immersed in a semi-infinite cloud, or an infinite hemispherical cloud).  Dr. Keith Eckerman and his group (before he retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory) created these wonderful documents using ICRP models.  I know Keith, and I know they did a great job on these documents.  If you have any doubts about the potential dose from airborne radioactivity, you can refer to these documents (available on the web).

So what are you to do to prepare for nuclear disasters?  I would like to divide my simple and practical counsel into three categories: commercial nuclear power plants, so-called “dirty” nuclear weapons, and nuclear warfare.

Concerning commercial nuclear reactors, in America they are designed per the code of federal regulations with an overall negative power coefficient.  This means a number of complicated things as it pertains to Doppler broadening of resonance peaks for capture and fission of neutrons and the resultant power, and moderator temperature feedback in a nuclear reactor.  Let me simplify it for you, since we don’t have the time to convey an advanced engineering degree.

Commercial nuclear reactors, upon sustaining transients, shut down.  They do not explode like nuclear bombs.  Ever.  But what about Chernobyl?  Well, Russian nuclear reactor design is in fact designed with a potential overall positive power coefficient (the RMBK-1000 design), in part because they wanted the reactor to be neutronically loosely coupled, graphite moderated rather than water moderated, and capable of being refueled online where weapons grade Plutonium could be taken from the fuel.  It’s a complicated story, but the moderator (water) was a neutron poison rather than a positive reactivity feedback in the reactor.  Once a heatup occurred due to testing they were conducting, it fed the power excursion and led to an increase in power by a factor of 100 within one second, according to multi-dimensional analysis performed for this reactor accident.

This was still a steam explosion, not a nuclear explosion.  But what about Fukushima Daiichi?  For that Japanese reactor, it was designed safely.  They experienced a Tsunami of over 30 meters, leading to destruction of the plant equipment and transport of the resultant radioactive material off site.  And the death toll from radiation exposure?  Zero.  None.  The death toll from the Tsunami itself?  Over 15,000 souls.

If you are ever told by the authorities to evacuate due to a nuclear power plant accident, your best bet would be to stay put and watch the circus unfold around you in the safety of your own home.  The U.S. had our core melt – it is called TMI, or Three Mile Island.  Total radiation exposure offsite?  Zero.  Nothing.  American nuclear reactor designs, in addition to have negative overall power coefficients, have hard containment designs.  You are unsafe if you put your family on the road around all of the other panicked, foolish people who think nuclear reactors explode like bombs.  They don’t, so please end that myth and tell everyone you know who thinks their local nuclear reactor explodes to get educated about it.  Stop fearing what they don’t see.

As for so-called “dirty” nuclear weapons, those are mainly for instigating terror, not any tactical value.  In order to make such a weapon effective, one must be able to aerate radioactive material in order to cause dose from intake and uptake of that material.  That first requires radioactive material, and secondly requires that it be capable of aeration, and thirdly (and most importantly) that the space the terrorist intends to target be a confined space.

Confined spaces are dangerous.  Crowds are dangerous.  You can get trampled, you can run out of oxygen, you can be exposed to toxic gases, you can be shot, and you can be assaulted and unable to fight back.  I’ve seen the results of unintentional deployment of a Cardox system on humans, and it’s not pretty.  And … humans can breath radioactive material in confined spaces.  Dispersal is your friend, and there is no possibility of dispersal to the point of being at a safe concentration if you are in a confined space.  Stay out of confined spaces.  That means concerts by your favorite band, that means bars, that means fire trap buildings.  It means tunnels, it means tanks, ravines and caves.  Do not go spelunking.

Anyway, the value of dirty weapons is mitigated by the fact that they are like chlorine.  When AQI was deploying chlorine in Fallujah, I said they were stupid.  They could have exploded conventional ordnance and done far greater damage than deployment of chlorine.  The same is true of dirty weapons.  If a terrorist wants to deploy the greatest tactical advantage, he won’t choose dirty weapons or chlorine (or other chemical weapons).  He will explode conventional ordnance.

As for nuclear war, this is a very complicated topic, and one on which I am less of an expert than the above topics.  It’s certainly possible to survive a nuclear blast, witness some of the Japanese survivors of WWII.  Yet if nuclear war occurs with a real nuclear power such as Russia, it would be very bad.  Seats of power and government, military installations, ports and the littoral regions would be hardest hit, and many millions of people would perish.

Those left would be breathing aerated radioactive material (intake), and eating food that had radioactive material in it (uptake).  This subject requires a whole host of articles, including such topics as engineered safety features such a HEPA and charcoal filters, leak-tight doors, food stores, anti-contamination clothing and dress-out procedures, and bunkers and structures to help shield humans from external exposure from radioactive material.  We can wade through the details later on this in multiple posts if readers want that, but something tells me that you don’t.

The most useful thing I can tell you is that the cheapest, best way to protect your family in such an event is to scan your food.  I was in training once with a Russian engineer who lived in Kiev, and even years after the event at Chernobyl he was still scanning his food for beta and gamma radiation, as was everyone else in Kiev.  They had been given GM detectors and taught the simple procedures for doing that.

I have an Eberline GM detector with a pancake probe.  That may be a little expensive for your tastes, but there are detectors on the market cheaper than that.  This reminds me of a science project where I used this to help my son with his High School project, but more on that in a moment.

Now let’s deal briefly with North Korea.  They aren’t going to go to war with the U.S. – at least, that’s my judgment.  They don’t want to perish.  They are starving to death and they want grain, other food stuffs and money.  They do this every so often, we make deals with them to sustain and support them for another decade, and they are happy to enslave their people unimpeded.

We created the problem of North Korea.  It’s like the welfare state.  If we would have left them alone and ignored them, and told South Korea to defend itself, we would not be where we are.  North Korea would be much more open and competitive – or they would have starved.  But we must provide that umbrella of protection for Japan, Taiwan and South Korea because we are imperialists.  It’s what imperialists do.

It reminds me of the Elk in the preserve near Jackson Hole.  I stayed right across from the National Elk preserve one week a couple of years ago.  It’s a vast, grassy plane where the Elk can feed in the winter after they come down out of Yellowstone.  They return to Yellowstone for much better eating and cooler temperatures in the spring.  The environmentalists got the bright idea to feed the Elk.  Now the Elk won’t go back to Yellowstone, and they have a new welfare state in Jackson Hole.

I have my doubts that NK has been able to miniaturize nuclear weapons.  I also have doubts in their solid fuel rocket program.  I also have doubts in their electronics and ability to design and construct nose cones that don’t burn up upon reentry.  In any case, this is the welfare state we’ve created, and we’re better off to cut the cord of dependence right now, ignoring them for good.

In summary, until I can put something better together that is more detailed and useful, here are a few tips.  When faced with a commercial nuclear reactor accident in America, stay home, watch the festivities, and have a cookout that night.  Concerning chemical and radiological (“dirty”) weapons, stay away from confined spaces (structures and buildings if and when you can, subways, trains, tanks with limited egress, corridors and hallways with limited egress, roadways and byways and any other situation where your means of escape, evasion and egress have been restricted or limited).  If you are really concerned about nuclear war, then purchase a GM detector and do a little research on how to scan your food before deciding to consume it.

Now a brief lesson in just how stupid the public school system is.  My oldest son Joshua had a science project due back when he was in High School.  I have a radioactive rock at home.  God made it.  It was given to me by someone who visited a Uranium ore mine.  It’s natural.  God made it.  It cannot hurt you unless I throw it at you.

I suggested that we experiment with it, and Josh liked that idea.  I suggested that we learn things concerning Gauss’s law, and so we used the rock as a point source (it loosely approximated a point source) and learned about 1/R^2.  Then we tested Gauss’s law on sound by borrowing a sound meter from the sound engineer at church, and then just for good measure tested Gauss’s law for light by using a light meter from one of the safety technicians where I worked.

Then I suggested that we test radiation attenuation.  First I covered the pancake probe with a credit card to block the betas, and then we tested gamma radiation at a certain distance.  Then we got an aluminum sheet that reduced the dose rate to half of that value.  I asked Josh what he thought would happen if I put another sheet of that same aluminum in front of the probe, and he speculated, but was surprised to see that instead of reducing it to zero, it reduced it to half again.  And half again, and so on.  First, the dose rate was 100% of its value, then 50%, then 25%, then 12.5%, and so on.  So I had him chart this all out, and then explained the exponential curve he’d just drawn.  He understood that you can never stop all radiation, you can only exponentially attenuate it.

When I sent him to school with the rock and story board, I figured that no one would believe it unless I sent the GM detector with him.  So I did some calculations on dose rate at one meter converting counts per minute to dose rate, compared it to ICRP limits, showed it was safe, and sealed it with my PE stamp.  I have since considered sleeping with it under my pillow at night just for good measure, but my wife wouldn’t like the décor.  Later that morning we got a call from the school.  We were told to come get the rock before they called the Charlotte Hazmat team to confiscate it.

I had plans for that rock.  I wanted to go in where they had it under lock and key, invite the school authorities to watch, remove it from the bag, and lick the rock.  Sadly, my wife got there before me and took possession of the rock.  Josh failed that science project because the teacher didn’t understand what he did.

This happened because public schools suck, do not teach the STEM courses, and staff their positions with idiots who have been trained in colleges of communism.  For many years I invested in Christian schools for my children, but stopped when I figured out that they were full of cliques that impede education.  I transitioned to public schools partly because of the expense of Christian schools (I spent as much every year as you would for a college education), and was turned off by virtually every experience I had with the communists in public education.  If I had it to do over, I would have home-schooled them all twelve years.

Don’t be like that dumbass teacher, always turning to the state, and never willing to learn.

UPDATE: As I was saying

The Final Collapse Of Obama’s Foreign Policy: A Nuclear Iran

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 4 months ago

We’re all painfully aware of the impotence of the curent administration in the area of foreign policy.  The world simply doesn’t listen to us – or, they do, but it’s only to gauge the timing of their next move.

But this recent signal from an administration representative is about as clear a statement of withdrawn interests and intentions as one can imagine.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of U.S. armed forces, said he does not wish to be “complicit” in a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran.

Dempsey said Thursday that such an attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program,” the London Guardian reported. He added, “I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it.”

This statement does three things.  First, it demonstrates the administration to be liars when they have claimed that they will not allow Iran to go nuclear.  Second, it clearly shows that if Israel launches an attack on Iran, she will go it alone.  Essentially, Israel is thrown under the bus.  The additional assertion in the report that we do not know Iran’s nuclear intentions, “as intelligence did not clearly reveal them,” is code for saying that we will never know because our intelligence community will never go on record saying that Iran has designs on a nuclear weapons program.  Timing isn’t germane to this conversation according to the statement.  The context is whether we know Iran’s “intentions,” a precondition that always supplies plausible deniability and makes everything else irrelevant.

Third, and most important, it explicitly acquiesces to a nuclear Iran.  Read again:  ” … such an attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”  This also makes everything else about intentions an irrelevant obfuscation.  The balance of the communication from Dempsey is just a smoke screen.  This administration believes that they cannot stop an Iranian nuclear program.

The signals to the Iranian Mullahs couldn’t be clearer.  Proceed apace with your nuclear weapons program, we don’t think you can be stopped anyway.  There are others within the U.S. military community who foolishly believe that the U.S. can live with a nuclear Iran, John Abizaid for one ( I suspect that there are many more).  But here, Dempsey is speaking for more than just himself.  Despite what the administration has claimed, they do not believe they can know the intentions of the Iranian program, they do not intend to assist Israel for fear of appearing complicit, and they don’t even think they can stop Iran if they tried.  Case closed.

Upon inauguration, Mitt Romney’s second duty should be the dismissal of the joint chiefs of staff, including the chairman, and replacement of them with men who have some backbone.  That includes flag officers who work for them and make excuses for green on blue violence in Afghanistan by asserting that the pressures of the Ramadan fast made them do it.

But the 50,000 foot view is one of wreck.  The Obama foreign policy has collapsed, and it is obscene and unseemly.  It’s as if I am passing by some awful, bloody crash on the highway, and want to look away but can’t.  It should shame every American to witness what our country has wrought.

“Will The U.S. Attack Iran?” Having The Wrong Conversation

BY Glen Tschirgi
9 years, 4 months ago

Last week, Lee Smith published an article in Tablet that gave three, main reasons why the United States is not going to attack Iran now nor will it attack Iran under a President Romney, notwithstanding all the talk to the contrary.

This article got quite a bit of play in the Statist Media because, it was argued, the article seemingly showed that Mitt Romney is carrying on a charade of getting tough on Iran and that any criticisms of President Obama’s current Iran policy are hollow or hypocritical.

Lee Smith advances three, main arguments for why no Republican president would openly attack Iran:  1) Domestic politics;  2) History of Iran-U.S. relations, and;  3) the disguised reliance upon nuclear deterrence.

The article makes perfect sense at a certain level.   On domestic politics, Smith is correct, but for the wrong reasons.   While Smith points to the desire to avoid destabilizing economic effects of any attack, the real bar to Republican action is entirely political.   The Democrats established a clear precedent with George W. Bush that any military action abroad, even if a broad authorization is obtained from Congress in advance, will be subjected to the worst partisan attacks and scurrilous accusations.   Democrats will mobilize every resource to demonize a Republican president who dares to use force against America’s enemies.   Use of force is an exclusive, Democrat prerogative.

On the history of dealings with Iran, Smith also scores points:

No American president has ever drawn red lines for Tehran and enforced them by showing that transgressions are swiftly and severely punished.

It’s true that it was a Democrat, Jimmy Carter, who sat by idly when Ayatollah Khomeini and the founders of the Islamic Republic stormed the U.S. embassy and held Americans hostage for 444 days. But GOP hero Ronald Reagan provided the Iranians with arms—after the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese asset, Hezbollah, killed 241 U.S. Marines in the 1983 bombing of their barracks at the Beirut airport. When the FBI said Tehran was responsible for the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers, Bill Clinton failed to respond or even name Iran, lest it derail the “dialogue of civilizations” promised by the newly elected reform-minded president Muhammad Khatami. And the last Republican in the White House was no more proactive in countering Iran’s actual attacks on Americans: The more than 100,000 American servicemen and -women that Bush had dispatched to Iraq were targeted by the IRGC and their local allies, a fact that U.S. officials tended to obscure and did little to change when they did acknowledge it.

As to a hidden reliance on nuclear deterrence, Smith is also likely correct:

If you can kill Americans without any consequences and the Americans will in fact collaborate in covering up your malfeasance, you can certainly build a nuclear weapons facility without too much concern that the Americans are really keeping “all options on the table”; the White House is not and almost surely never will—no matter who’s calling the shots. Short of an American city suffering thousands of casualties in a nuclear attack that the Iranians boast of publicly, it is difficult to know what would compel a U.S. president to take military action against Iran.

Maybe U.S. policymakers just believe, in spite of what they say publicly, that Iran really isn’t that big a deal. Remember that even today, a number of American officials, civilian and military, cut their teeth on Cold War strategy, an era when the United States faced off against a real superpower. Washington and Moscow fought proxy wars against each other on four continents with the fear of an eventual nuclear exchange leading to mutually assured destruction looming in the background. Perhaps, if seen in this context, for American policymakers Iran just doesn’t rise to a genuine threat level.

The problem with Smith’s analysis (and many others who have been endlessly debating the pros and cons of attacking Iran to stop its nuclear weapons development) is that it fundamentally is the wrong conversation.

The focus of the debate should not be about stopping a totalitarian, Islamist regime devoted to martyrdom from getting nuclear weapons.   The focus should be on removing the Regime itself.  The Iranian people have lived long enough under the hand of an oppressive theocracy to know that the next government must be anything but that.  The Green Movement that began with the phony elections of 2009 explicitly called for a true, secular, democratic government.  The Regime immediately recognized the counter-revolutionary nature of the Greens and put it down with absolute brutality.  The Regime knows that the people of Iran want normalized relations with the U.S. and the West in general.  Any change in government is going to be a sharp repudiation of the current leadership and the mullahs.

Fortunately for the U.S. and the West, the Regime is clinging on to power on a cliff’s edge of explosive public unrest and simmering revolution.   All that is needed to effect the removal of the Regime is a little… more… time.

This plays directly into the debate over Israel’s decision whether to attack Iran.

The current debate suffers from the same mistake.   Critics endlessly point out that even if Israel could muster the nerve and assets to attack Iranian facilities any such attack would “only” delay the Iranian nuclear program, not end it.   If any attack could end Iran’s nuclear program that would certainly be preferable.   But that is, of course, highly unlikely.   Delaying the program, however, is the very point.   Delaying the program is more than a sufficient goal because it gives more time to change the leadership of Iran.

Obama has been doing everything in its power to subvert and forestall an attack by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities.   This is directly contrary to U.S. interests in bringing down the Iranian Regime.  An attack by Israel, even if incomplete, would undeniably set back the Iranian nuclear program by some years according to most estimates.   This additional time could be the crucial difference in allowing the U.S. to work, covertly, toward bringing down the Regime.

In the end, the U.S. must realize that it is not the possession of nuclear weapons in and of itself that should be feared.   It is the government that possesses such weapons.   Simply seeking to keep nuclear technology out of the hands of totalitarian regimes is, ultimately futile.  As North Korea demonstrated, with enough determination and sacrifice, even a poverty-stricken country can get nuclear weapons.  The goal must always be to eliminate any regime that evidences any intention to go nuclear.   It is a red line that cannot be crossed.

How and when we go about doing that is the conversation we should be having.

Apocalypse Now: Top Secret U.S. Nuclear Weapons Plant Infiltrated

BY Glen Tschirgi
9 years, 5 months ago

(H/T Instapundit)

From time to time, The Captain’s Journal has posted items dealing with the shocking vulnerability of U.S. infrastructure to attack by hostile forces, as for example here.

And normally the hypothetical involves sleeper cells from Hezbollah or Iran or perhaps other hostile groups or nations.

These scenarios are scary enough on their own but it is human nature to discount the likelihood of such attacks occurring in order to avoid facing the grim possibilities.

Then we have something like this happen:

Three peace activists — including an 82-year-old nun — infiltrated the highest-security area of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in a predawn protest Saturday, reportedly evading guards and cutting through three or four fences in order to spray-paint messages, hang banners and pour human blood at the site where warhead parts are manufactured and the nation’s stockpile of bomb-grade uranium is stored.

It was an unprecedented security breach at the Oak Ridge plant, which enriched the uranium for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II and continues to be a mainstay of the U.S. nuclear defense program.

The protesters, who called themselves, “Transform Now Plowshares,” were identified as Michael R. Walli, 63, Washington, D.C.; Sister Megan Rice, 82, of Nevada; and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, of Duluth, Minn. They were apprehended inside the plant around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, interviewed later by members of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General, and then transported to the Blount County Correction Center, where they reportedly face conditional federal charges of vandalism and trespassing.

Supporters of the activist group said an arraignment is set for Monday.

Steven Wyatt, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration at Y-12, declined to discuss details of the early-morning events at the Oak Ridge, but he acknowledged that the unapproved entry into the plant’s inner sanctum — a high-security zone known simply as the Protected Area — was unprecedented.
(emphasis added)

And it gets better.   The break in occurred just shortly after the nuclear facility announced plans to cut back on the number of security personnel guarding this critical facility.

Stock up folks, it’s going to be a long, nuclear winter.

Time For Lugar To Go

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 8 months ago

Professor Jacobson has lost the love for Dick Lugar.

I’ve been traveling without a computer this weekend but this story at IndyStar is worth a PDA post, so excuse some formatting issues like no embedded links.

The inclination I’ve had to feel sorry for Dick Lugar that his career may reach an inglorious end is rapidly dissipating. Lugar demonstrates daily why it is time to defeat him.

Lugar still refuses to say he will support Mourdock, still seeks to have non-Republicans decide the Republican primary, and feeds the left-wing narrative that the Tea Party just shouts.

Lugar is insulting and arrogant.

Check out the article.  I never did have any respect for Lugar.  This silly Washington Post commentary by Dana Milbank is a good example why.

For years Dick Lugar has been the leading Senate Republican on foreign policy, shaping post-Cold War strategy, securing sanctions to end South African apartheid and bringing democracy to the Philippines, among other things. His signature achievement, drafted with Democrat Sam Nunn, was the 1992 Nunn-Lugar Act, which has disarmed thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads once aimed at the United States.

Enter Richard Mourdock, a tea party hothead attempting to defeat Lugar in the GOP primary. A cornerstone of his effort to oust Lugar is the six-term senator’s bad habit of bipartisanship — never mind that Lugar’s bipartisanship was in the service of protecting millions of Americans from nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism.

Oh stop it.  Just stop it.  The START treaty (and New START) did nothing of the sort.  Russia had become essentially economically incapable of maintaining their nuclear arsenal, and as a good excuse for cutting back on ours and spending the money on entitlement programs – and even disparaging the Reliable Replacement Warhead program, something that even the DoD says that we need – we pursued a strategy with Russia which allowed them to maintain approximate parity with the U.S. by investing absolutely nothing in their defense.

Look around you.  Everyone alive knows one, or two, or three or even more men who are alive today, or who have lived and died and been loved by their families and friends, as a consequence of nuclear weapons.  Nothing has contributed more to world peace in the second half of the twentieth century than the existence of nuclear weapons.  Thank God for them.  Their existence has saved untold lives and prevented untold suffering.

Left to Dick Lugar, who wants to cement his reputation (I suppose for his obituary one day to show that he was a good man or something), we wouldn’t have had this wonderful deterrent.

Yea.  It’s time for him to go alright.

Obama Would Sell Out America On Nuclear Weapons

BY Herschel Smith
9 years, 9 months ago

Concerning the recent open mic moment with lackey Dmitri Medvedev, Glen Tschirgi has suggested that the relationship of Mr. Obama with America is analogous to one of an attorney representing a client he really doesn’t want, or doesn’t believe in, or doesn’t like … or something.  It’s hard to tell with Obama because his actions are so inexplicable concerning the projections of American power, at least for a President of the U.S.  This sounds right, but I’ll expand the observations to include the notion that he always intended to sell out America on nuclear weapons and missile defense.

In spite of repeated warnings by the Department of Defense concerning an aging nuclear stockpile, Obama has always said that he would target a reduction in nuclear weapons.  He continues to press for a “world without nuclear weapons,” and regarding the U.S. nuclear arsenal, there are more cuts coming if he is reelected.

“My administration’s nuclear posture recognises that the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited to today’s threats, including nuclear terrorism,” he said.

The administration was now conducting a “comprehensive study of our nuclear forces,” added Mr Obama, saying: “Even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need.”

America currently has about 1,950 deployed nuclear warheads, compared with 2,430 for Russia.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise.  Laura Holgate is an Obama adviser on weapons of mass destruction.  Her CV describes her position on nuclear weapons.

Ms. Holgate joined the office of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator at the National Security Council in 2009 as the Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism and Threat Reduction. In this role, she oversees and coordinates the development of national policies and programs to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons; detect, identify, secure, and eliminate nuclear materials; prevent malicious use of biotechnology; and secure the civilian nuclear fuel cycle.

From 2001 to 2009, Ms. Holgate was the Vice President for Russia/New Independent States Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative. The Nuclear Threat Initiative is a public charity devoted to reducing toward zero the risk that nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons will ever be used, and to preventing their proliferation. Working closely with governments and international organizations, Ms. Holgate led NTI’s activities to secure and eliminate fissile materials, develop new employment for former weapons workers, reduce risks of the nuclear fuel cycle, and enhance national threat reduction programs.

Prior to joining NTI, Ms. Holgate directed the Department of Energy’s Office of Fissile Materials Disposition from 1998 to 2001, where she was responsible for consolidating and disposing of excess weapons plutonium and highly enriched uranium in the U.S. and Russia …

Burning Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX, produced from the weapons program) in commercial reactors is a nice idea, but only because we don’t intend to use it for anything else and don’t really believe in deterrents, and need to use the Plutonium for something.  The biggest contributor to world peace since the mid-20th century has been the existence of nuclear weapons.  Untold millions of lives have been saved and immeasurable misery prevented because America sought power and force projection, specifically with nuclear weapons.

Our current goal is to rid ourselves of that power, and yet it should be remembered that it was always Mr. Obama’s goal.  The only reason that you hire an adviser who believes in zero nuclear weapons is because that’s where you want to go too.

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