Tag Archives: Low-yield nuclear weapons

The US Bombed Japan in 1945 to Demonstrate Its Power to the USSR, by Scott Ritter

Japan was defeated and suing for peace, the atomic bombs were unnecessary. However, Truman and company had their eyes on the post World War II order and the Soviet Union. From Scott Ritter at lewrockwell.com:

As the world reflects on the decision by the US to drop two atomic bombs on Japan at the end of World War II, the reality is that the US nuclear enterprise remains the greatest threat to world peace.

Seventy-five years ago this week, two American B-29 ‘Superfortress’ bombers departed Tinian Island, in the northernmost part of the Mariana Islands, some 1,500 miles south of Tokyo, armed with the world’s newest and most horrific weapon: the atomic bomb. On August 6, a B-29 nicknamed the ‘Enola Gay’ dropped a single bomb containing 64 kilograms of highly enriched uranium over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb, nicknamed ‘Little Boy,’ detonated with the force of 15 kilotons of TNT. At least 66,000 people were killed outright, with another 69,000 wounded, many of whom subsequently died of their injuries.

Two days later a second B-29, nicknamed the ‘Bockscar,’ dropped a bomb containing 6.4 kilograms of plutonium over the city of Nagasaki. This weapon, nicknamed ‘Fat Man,’ detonated with a force of 21 kilotons, killing some 39,000 Japanese outright and wounding another 25,000, most of whom, like those injured in Hiroshima, later died from their wounds.

American historians have struggled with the morality of dropping weapons that could destroy a city and its population in one mighty blast. Over the years, a consensus has been reached that justifies the horror of using the atomic bomb on the grounds that it helped shorten the war with Japan and, in doing so, saved hundreds of thousands of American lives that would have been lost in any invasion of the main Japanese islands, along with the lives of millions of Japanese, who would have died defending their homeland.

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Tactical Nukes: Armageddon on the Installment Plan, by Daniel Lazare

Low-yield nukes will encourage nuclear warfare, which won’t remain low-yield for long. From Daniel Lazare at antiwar.com:

How’s this for a nice little nightmare? Imagine that Iran responds to another Qassem Soleimani-style provocation with a missile barrage that sinks a $40-billion aircraft carrier with 6,000 personnel on board. The US response is ferocious. But then comes the unexpected: a nuclear-tipped SLBM, or submarine-launched ballistic missile, that scores a direct hit on central Tehran, incinerating buildings and killing civilians by the tens of thousands. The world reels in horror as a 75-year-old anti-nuclear taboo falls by the wayside.

Impossible? Unfortunately, it’s a little less so now that the Trump administration has made the Strangelovian decision to begin arming nuclear submarines with low-yield nuclear devices. Expressly designed for small-scale theaters of operation, such weapons are all too tempting for use against a regional power that refuses to bow to US diktat.

Low-yield means somewhere around five kilotons, a third of the power of the bombs that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Atomically speaking, this is hardly more than a firecracker. But such devices dwarf conventional weapons like the record-setting GBU-43/B MOAB (“Mother of all bombs”) that the US dropped on an ISIS tunnel complex in Afghanistan in 2017. In a 2003 test, a MOAB prototype created a mushroom cloud visible from twenty miles away. Yet a five-kiloton bomb is 500 times greater.

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