This Is The Way The World Ends

James Rogers jamesr@best.com
Mon, 17 Mar 2003 15:17:41 -0800


Robert Harley wrote:=20
> IIRC, in the Gulf War, Iraq launched 39 Scuds at=20
> Israel and managed to cause a grand total of... 2 (two)=20
> casualties.  And they have a lot less now than they did then,=20
> mainly due to destruction by U.N. teams in the 90's.  They=20
> aren't being attacked now because of lots of terrible=20
> weapons, but because they have so little.  If they had=20
> serious WMDs like nukes, Saddam would be sitting pretty and=20
> there would be no war.  I guess the take home lesson for=20
> every other country on the planet is that the U.S. will=20
> attack you if they feel like it, unless you get the bomb ASAP.



This is an odd way of parsing it.  The Iraqis could have nuclear =
missiles
and still be in the exact same boat with respect to Israel.  And they =
would
still be in the exact same boat with respect to the US.

Among the serious problems that Iraq has is the lack of an accurate and
survivable regional delivery system.  If you recall, some of the Scuds
launched at Israel didn't even hit the country.  The CEP on Iraqi Scuds
seems to be measured in miles, which can effectively neutralize the
practical effectiveness even when the warhead is carrying nuclear or
chemical weapons unless you are delivering multi-megaton city killers =
(very
improbable).  An Iraqi plane delivering a nuke to an Israeli target is =
even
more dubious. With rapid improvements in deployed terminal intercept
weapons, the threat is reduced even more.

If you want to pose a REAL nuclear threat you have to have a loads of =
nukes
and accurate survivable delivery systems, not just a couple primitive
fission weapons.  Nukes don't make a country omnipotent by a long-shot, =
nor
does it make a country a credible threat.  The only thing the US having
nukes really prevents is someone else nuking the US wholesale.  At best =
it
is an umbrella that keeps things conventional.  The US is at no =
disadvantage
playing either game, nor is Israel in its region.

-James Rogers
 jamesr@best.com