Multiple pieces of independent evidence suggest
that America is embarked in a premeditated path that will lead inexorably to the use of nuclear weapons against Iran in the very near future.
Facing clear evidence of this peril,
we cannot wait for the final proof – the smoking gun – in the form
of a mushroom cloud. Whether you are liberal or conservative, antiwar
or pro-war, if you believe this would be catastrophic for America and the world,
the time to act to derail it is now!
"You know we have used force in the recent past to secure our country,"
said Bush when asked about Iran in August 2005, oblivious to the fact that "secure
our country" had proven to mean attacking a country without an ounce of WMD
and with no links to al-Qaeda.
"One of the reasons we are so concerned about the Iranian nuclear program is
that Iran is a government with a long track record of supporting international
terrorism. … Our deepest fear is that one of these terrorist groups could
one day obtain a nuclear weapon," said the assistant secretary of state in 2004.
"The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to
counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat,
the greater is the risk of inaction and the more compelling the case for taking
anticipatory action to defend ourselves" is official U.S. policy. The saber-rattling and propaganda against Iran attributed to "Western intelligence" have dramatically risen in volume and
tone since these statements were made. How do we stop Bush from pulling the
Congress should enact immediate emergency legislation to take away from President
Bush the authority to use nuclear weapons preemptively against non-nuclear countries.
This is a power granted to Congress under the U.S. Constitution.
15 Reasons Why Iran Will Be Nuked
To do the utmost to try to prevent it, we need
to be reasonably certain that it will happen if we don't act. Below I summarize
15 reasons, many discussed in more detail in previous columns. The links provide support for the assertions
These reasons taken together indicate both that U.S. military action (aerial
bombing) against Iran is exceedingly probable and that military action without
the use of nuclear bombs is exceedingly improbable.
- The diplomatic path being followed by the Bush administration in regard
to Iran's nuclear ambitions does not appear to be designed to lead to diplomatic
compromise: rather, it appears designed to reach a diplomatic impasse.
- The "nuclear posture" and "nuclear doctrine" [.pdf] recently adopted by the U.S. envisage
nuclear strikes on non-nuclear countries that fit the Iran pattern.
- Iran stands accused by the U.S. of possession of WMD (chemical and biological), of pursuing nuclear weapons, of possessing threatening missiles, of being the prime sponsor of terror [.pdf] among the world's nations,
and of being an enemy of the United States.
- A doctrine of preemption has been adopted by the administration
against potential threats to the U.S., one already put into practice in the
case of Iraq.
- There are underground targets in Iran (nuclear facilities , , missile silos and production facilities, suspected chemical and biological facilities) against which the use
of nuclear bombs would be more effective than conventional bombs.
- Earth-penetrating nuclear bombs (B61-11) were incorporated into the U.S. stockpile in September
2001, according to the Congressional Research Service Report to Congress of October
2005 [.pdf]. Some of these are very low yield and will cause small collateral damage.
- If a military confrontation with Iran starts, 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq will be at risk of Iranian missiles
and of potentially overwhelming conventional Iranian forces. Early use of
nuclear weapons may deter Iran from responding to an aerial attack.
- The "legal" framework to support the nuking of Iran has been put in place:
(a) the IAEA's Sept. 24 declaration of Iran's noncompliance with the NPT,
which allows the U.S. to nuke Iran "legally," and (b) several UN resolutions adopted under Chapter VII that the
U.S. can claim apply to Iran.
- The people in the upper levels of the Bush administration (Cheney,
Rumsfeld, Hadley, and the other "nuclear hitmen") can be expected, given their record, to
be strongly in favor of the use of nuclear weapons against Iran.
- There is no indication that anybody in the upper levels of the administration
recognizes the potentially catastrophic consequences of using low-yield nuclear weapons
- Israel and its influential lobbies in the United States are applying pressure on the U.S. to act to stop Iran's nuclear
- Various reports indicate that U.S. preparations for an air strike on Iran
are ongoing (Philip Giraldi, William Arkin, Seymour Hersh, recent news). The U.S. recently issued a warning for U.S. citizens not to travel to Iran.
- Iran's growing role as a regional power is incompatible with Cheney's strategic plan for a one-superpower world.
- The Bush administration wishes to establish the value of the U.S. nuclear arsenal to "dissuade" and "deter" adversaries from pursuing paths contrary to U.S. interests.
- The president as commander in chief has sole authority (without consulting Congress) to initiate
hostilities against Iran and to order the use of nuclear weapons against Iran. The responsibility to save American lives is foremost among the duties of the chief executive.
Low-Yield Nukes for High Crimes
The B61-11 nuclear earth-penetrator has yields that reportedly range from 0.3 kilotons to 340 kilotons and can
penetrate up to 7 meters into the ground before detonation.
The following are some of the conclusions of a 2005 National Academy of Sciences study [.pdf] on nuclear
earth-penetrators tasked by Congress:
- Many important hard, deeply buried targets (HDBT) are beyond the reach of
conventional explosive penetrating weapons and can be destroyed only with
- Nuclear earth-penetrators need to penetrate only a few meters to achieve
maximum effectiveness for destruction of underground facilities.
- The yield required of a nuclear weapon to destroy an HDBT is 15 to 25 times
smaller if the weapon is detonated a few meters below the surface than if
it is detonated at the surface.
- For attacks on HDBTs in remote, lightly populated areas, casualties can
range from as few as hundreds at low yields to hundreds of thousands at high
- For urban targets, civilian casualties from a nuclear earth-penetrator
weapon are less by a factor of 2 to 10 than those from a surface burst having
25 times the yield.
So for a quick estimate, the yield of the Hiroshima bomb was 15 kilotons and it killed about 100,000
people. According to the numbers given above, a 0.3 kiloton bomb (factor of
50 smaller) detonated below the surface (up to a factor of 10 smaller effect)
would kill only 200 people, "small" collateral damage.
According to the aforementioned Congressional Research Service Report of October
2005, the B61-11 entered the nuclear stockpile in the year 2001. Many of Iran's
facilities are underground and probably require nuclear weapons to be completely
destroyed, e.g., parts of the Natanz site for uranium enrichment and the underground tunnels
at the Isfahan uranium reprocessing facility. Iran's ballistic-missile production facilities and some missile silos are reportedly underground.
The yield of the B61-11 bomb is in doubt: the Nuclear Posture Review describes it as a "single-yield weapon,"
and recent reports indicate that the yield is 400 kilotons.
However, we know that "every current U.S. nuclear weapon has one
or more low-yield settings." According to Bob Peurifoy, a former Sandia labs
weapons-design manager, "I know how to give you most of those [low] yields today with
a pair of wire cutters and a wrench." Information on nuclear weapons' yields
The 1998 Rumsfeld report (by the Commission to Assess the Ballistic
Missile Threat to the United States, tasked by Congress) asserted the following:
- Iran has acquired and is seeking major, advanced missile components that
can be combined to produce ballistic missiles with sufficient range to strike
the United States.
- Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction.
- Iran has a nuclear energy and weapons program and aims to design, develop,
and produce nuclear weapons.
- If Iran were to accumulate enough fissile material from foreign sources,
it might be able to develop a nuclear weapon in only one to three years.
- Iran also has an active chemical weapons development and production program.
- Iran is conducting research into biological weapons.
You don't have to believe all of those claims (I don't). But you had better
believe that Donald Rumsfeld believes them, and he has his finger on
Premeditation Shows Criminal Intent
The Bush administration will present the nuking
of Iran as a "grave decision," the "gravest decision" a president ever had to
make, reached after much "agonizing," necessary to save American, Israeli, Iraqi,
and Iranian lives. In order to appreciate the magnitude of the crime, we must
understand that this is not so; it is a premeditated act, and the elements
to make it happen were carefully and methodically assembled over many years.
Let us review some key pieces of evidence:
- The IAEA vote. The U.S. pursued a declaration of Iran's noncompliance
for several years. The U.S. finally succeeded in getting
the very weak Sept. 24, 2005, resolution passed, which has no practical consequences other than allowing for
the U.S. to use nuclear weapons against Iran "legally." The relentless
pursuit of this declaration over several years, and making ElBaradei's reappointment conditional on it , , , was motivated by the exclusion clause in the 1995 negative security assurance,
and indicates that the decision to nuke Iran was made several years ago.
- Executive Order 13292 was issued March 2003, making the items "weapons of mass destruction" and "defense against transnational
terrorism" classified. When the public finally learns that the administration
had classified information about these items (shared with selected members
of Congress, including Democrats), which justified the forward deployment
of nuclear weapons in the Persian Gulf, it will be clear that the executive
order was made so that this information could be kept classified and not subject
to public scrutiny, thus also indicating that the decision to nuke Iran was
made several years ago.
- StratCom news release. The Strategic Command news release of Nov. 18, 2005, which stated that its "global strike"
plan (already leaked earlier) had reached "operational capability,"
had one clear purpose: to remind China and Russia that they are in the U.S.
crosshairs, and that any intervention by them in response to the U.S. strikes
on Iran will be met with a "nuclear preemptive strike."
- Hadley's appointment. Stephen Hadley, a nuclear weapons "enthusiast," was appointed deputy national
security adviser in 2001. As a consequence, he could be moved smoothly and
silently to the key position of national security adviser in the second Bush
term with very little media attention (though it did get some). This indicates that the plan was in place
as far back as 2001.
- John Bolton and other "nuclear warriors." John Bolton's appointment as ambassador to the UN, against
extraordinary bipartisan opposition, bypassing Congress, placing him in a position where he clearly does not belong, does not appear to make sense. It is understandable,
however, if the reason for the appointment was that he would be the best person
to defend the U.S. nuking of Iran at the UN. Several other "nuclear warriors" were placed in key positions at the beginning
of the second Bush administration, positions that do not require special expertise
in nuclear weapons. The use of nuclear weapons was apparently a given for the second
- Nuclear Posture Review. The "leaking" of carefully selected "excerpts" of the Nuclear Posture Review
of 2002 was a deliberate effort to prepare the nation and the world
for the nuking of Iran, several years before it was to take place.
- NSPD 35. The classified presidential directive that, as we will learn
soon enough, authorizes the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Persian Gulf,
was signed in May 2004.
- B61-11. The development and deployment of the B61-11 nuclear bunker-buster
gathered momentum around 1995, at the same time that the
U.S. began voicing serious concerns about Iran's nuclear program and Clinton imposed an economic embargo on Iran.
- Accusations against Iran. Accusations with no basis in reality
have built up over many years. The "nuclear" aspect was always emphasized
so that the public would accept the nuking of Iran. In particular, the baseless
assertions in the 1998 Rumsfeld report that (1) "[Iran] has a nuclear energy and
weapons program, which aims to design, develop, and as soon as possible produce
nuclear weapons," (2) "Iran has acquired and is seeking major, advanced missile
components that can be combined to produce ballistic missiles with sufficient
range to strike the United States," and (3) "[Iran] might be able to develop
a nuclear weapon in only one to three years" are meant to prepare Congress
and the public for a nuclear strike on Iran.
- Invasion of Iraq. The U.S. invasion of Iraq makes no sense in isolation; in fact, it has left Iran in a much stronger position in the region. Iran
is the real regional power that can challenge U.S. interests in the long term, but in order
to attack Iran in 2006, the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a necessary prelude. Preparations for the Iraq invasion,
and hence for the Iran attack, began at least as far back as 2001.
All of this evidence indicates substantial planning and premeditation.
A well-established principle in criminal law dictates that substantial planning
and premeditation is a severe aggravating circumstance.
Why Nuking Iran Will Be Catastrophic
None of the accusations leveled at Iran by the
U.S. are facts, other than that Iran has a substantial missile arsenal with missiles that can
reach Israel (Shahab-3). Iran claims its missiles are for defensive purposes against regional enemies and, in
particular, a deterrent against Israel. This is certainly not unbelievable given
that Iran was attacked by Iraq in the '80s, and Israel has repeatedly threatened
to strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. It should be remembered that Iran
has never launched an aggressive war in modern times.
To get a vivid snapshot of the stark contrast in the mindsets of the adversaries
involved, visit the following two Web sites , : At , from the Federation of American Scientists, we "learn" that
- Isfahan is said to be the primary location of the Iranian nuclear weapons
- Isfahan is also reportedly the site of Iran's largest missile assembly
and production plant.
- Isfahan is said to be one of Iran's major chemical weapons facilities.
- Isfahan area is a major center for Iran's advanced defense industry.
- The main operational facilities for the army's aviation units are located
At , an Iranian Web site, we learn of Isfahan that
- In addition to being a unique cultural, historical, and religious center,
the city is famous for its rich, precious heritage, its charming artworks
and handicrafts, as well as prominent scholars and scientists.
- It is home to archaic mosques, including the 1,400-year-old Grand Mosque
and Seyed Mosque, the largest and most famous mosque of the city dating back
to two centuries ago.
- Handicrafts such as enamels, handwoven carpets, and tilework.
- The city will be named as the Second Cultural Capital of World of Islam
at an official ceremony concurrent with Eid al-Qorban (Jan. 11).
- At the ceremony, which is scheduled to be held at the historical majestic
Imam Square, the flags of 57 Islamic states will be hoisted and Iran's national
anthem will be played.
This suggests that Iranians and others in the Muslim world may not take
it calmly when Isfahan is attacked with American nukes (hopefully not on Jan.
11!). Even if the American nuclear attack initially targets only facilities with
high accuracy, a violent reaction from Iran and an escalation of the conflict
are likely to occur and lead to devastating consequences.
By now, it has become clear and widely known, even if not yet in the mainstream
media, that the stage was set long ago by the United States for this scenario
to unfold: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  (I apologize for the very many omissions). The fact
that the Bush administration has not brought up the issue for wide discussion
in the country, given the careful preparations that have been made, reveals
the duplicitous nature of the plan and the complete disregard the administration
has for the will of the American people. The premeditated nature of the crime
will become widely apparent to the whole world after it happens, with catastrophic
consequences for the U.S.' role in the world.
The rest of the world rightly regards nuclear weapons as qualitatively different
from all other weapons because of their enormous destructive power and their
potential to destroy humanity. The rest of the world understands
that there is no sharp line dividing small nuclear weapons from large ones,
nor between nuclear weapons targeting underground facilities and those targeting
armies or cities; that an escalating nuclear war can lead to the death of every
man, woman, and child on the planet; and that there is no reason in the world
why the U.S. should have a monopoly on nuclear weapons. In the eyes of the rest
of the world, a premeditated nuclear attack on Iran, a non-nuclear country,
will be seen as a criminal abomination. America's status as the leader of the
civilized world will be obliterated. And the new world will be an infinitely
more dangerous place.
What Can Americans Do to Prevent It
If the majority of Americans abhor these events,
they should not allow them to proceed. Every one of us should do all we can
and a bit more to avert them. Some suggestions:
- Contact your representatives by fax, telephone, letter,
or in person.
- Call radio talk shows.
- Write letters and opinion pieces for local newspapers.
- Bring the topic up with relatives, friends, newsgroups, and blogs, and
encourage them to do the above.
- Contact antiwar groups to organize events and rallies around this specific issue. A major demonstration should be planned for the moment
Bush issues an ultimatum against Iran.
- Think about one or two people who are above you in the opinion-shaping
food chain whom you can perhaps convince that this is important. Eventually,
the issue may reach celebrities who can give it wider publicity, then to government
officials who could make a difference.
All of this will help. Unfortunately, no matter how much publicity and public
opposition arise, the administration can still go ahead with its plans. To prevent
it from doing so, here is a concrete proposal to present to your congressional
representatives: the Nuclear Responsibility Act, an emergency bill in Congress
dealing with the authority to order the use of nuclear weapons. This can be
initiated in the Senate, the House of Representatives, or both. There are
ways to do this quickly! The Terri Schiavo bill was introduced on March 19, 2005, passed
by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on March 20, and signed into
law by President Bush in the early hours of March 21. Granted, there is one
more step here – the presidential veto that will take one more iteration
and a 2/3 congressional majority to override.
Under the U.S. Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 14, Congress has the power
"To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land
and naval Forces." Hence, Congress can regulate, i.e., control and
direct, the use of nuclear weapons by the armed forces. The full authority for
the use of nuclear weapons rests now with the president. That authority should
be curtailed. Because traditionally there has been reluctance to limit the
powers of the president in times of war, the practical approach is to shoot
for as small a limitation as possible to avert the immediate danger, the nuking
What should be prevented at the very least is the ability of the president
to use a nuclear weapon preemptively. The discussion about whether it
is reasonable to respond with nuclear weapons to major actual attacks
with other "WMD" (e.g., chemical weapons) is important and long overdue but
should perhaps be left for another day. What is urgent is that the president
not be allowed to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear country like Iran
on the argument that "intelligence" (which can later be proven to be false) shows that an enemy
attack with non-nuclear WMD is "imminent."
The decision to use nuclear weapons is an extremely grave one. The extreme
urgency necessitating exclusive presidential authority for the use of nuclear
weapons against a nuclear country does not exist in a conflict with a
non-nuclear country. There is no good reason why, in such a situation, the decision
to use nuclear weapons should not be shared by Congress. Congress has the constitutional
right to demand, not just ask , , to be part of this decision.
Given that the administration has chosen to define a radically new nuclear posture [.pdf] that makes the use
of nuclear weapons much more likely, it behooves Congress to fulfill its duty to
represent the will of the people in this matter of overwhelming public importance
and create the law that will allow it to exercise its oversight responsibilities.
Hence a possible bill could say:
- Purpose: to affirm the Congress' authority under Article I, Section 8,
Clause 14 of the U.S. Constitution to make rules for the government and regulation
of the armed forces, and apply such authority to the United States' use of
nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapons states.
- Resolved: The United States armed forces shall not employ nuclear weapons
against a non-nuclear-weapons state in the absence of an explicit congressional
authorization to that effect.
- The president retains sole authority to authorize the use of nuclear weapons
against a non-nuclear state in the presence of previously issued congressional
- If a verifiable massive enemy attack with weapons of mass destruction against
United States citizens or armed forces takes place that results in thousands
of casualties, the president may authorize the emergency use of nuclear weapons
against a non-nuclear-weapons state in the absence of prior congressional
authorization, in anticipation that Congress will grant authorization a
- Congress shall grant a posteriori authorization after it certifies
that a massive enemy attack with WMD did occur prior to the U.S.' use of nuclear
- If Congress does not certify that such an enemy attack took place, it shall
decline to grant a posteriori authorization and the president shall
be determined to be in violation of this law.
You may pick your favorite penalties for a president who violates this law.
If America is going to nuke a non-nuclear country, all Americans will be held
responsible by much of the world. So either we stop it or we have Congress vote
that it is the will of the country to do so. Then, if you don't agree with how
your congressperson voted, you can throw him/her out at the next election. That's
This plan to stop a nuclear attack on Iran is, of course, a very long shot.
But perhaps just the introduction of such a bill would be enough to derail the
Bush administration's plans. Write to your representative!
The alternative is to sit back, let it happen, and live with the consequences.
There is little doubt that the rest of the world will consider the use of nuclear
weapons preemptively against a non-nuclear country as a morally repugnant act,
and its perpetrators and condoners as worthy of opprobrium and universal condemnation.