Frosted Mini-Nukes: New Classes of "Usable" Nuclear Weapons Are on the Pentagon's Menu. Who's Buying?

By Clarke, Kevin | U.S. Catholic, September 2005 | Go to article overview

Frosted Mini-Nukes: New Classes of "Usable" Nuclear Weapons Are on the Pentagon's Menu. Who's Buying?


Clarke, Kevin, U.S. Catholic


BUNKER BUSTER THE FRIENDLY NUKE WAS LAUNCHED by the Friends Committee on National Legislation recently. "He's cute; he's small; and he won't blow up the world" is FCNL's satirical introduction to this adorably animated little nuke, but the Quakers' ironic rhetoric is not far off from the actual verbiage the Pentagon and White House have deployed to improve the palatability of their longed-for retooling of America's nuclear weapons.

Turns out the problem with the nation's current nuclear arsenal is that it was designed for the era of Mutually Assured Destruction, those MAD, halcyon days when nukes were intended to end civilization as we know it with a Strangelovian exchange of nuclear megatonage. These days the Pentagon capabilities--big enough to knock out bunkers full of weapons of mass destruction and scurrying Al Qaedis, but not big enough to whip up a radioactive dust storm across, say, the entire Middle East.

The bunker buster, or Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP)--and other new weapons like 5-kiloton, "usable" mini-nukes--keep showing up on Pentagon budget proposals like unappealing chef's specials. Proponents argue an RNEP detonation offers substantially less likelihood of large-scale radioactive fallout. Dropped from afar, the bunker buster allegedly drills toward its underground target where its smallish nuclear warhead detonates with devastating effect on the enemy below the surface.

Sadly this new and improved nuke simply may not work as advertised. According to the Federation of American Scientists, the RNEP is not likely to penetrate deeper than 30 meters, a depth at which its 1.2 megaton warhead would throw up a radioactive cloud that would Chernobylize the atmosphere for hundreds of miles around. In a computer simulation run by the Union of Concerned Scientists, one RNEP strike claimed 3 million lives.

There are a couple of other slight problems with the hoped-for bunker buster. First, after getting their toraborealis blown off in Afghanistan, our Islamic fascist antagonists may be seriously rethinking their hunker-in-the-bunker strategy; B, we're still waiting on the 411 for those weapons of mass destruction the RNEP would be hunting down; and 3, wagging fingers at Iran and North Korea about nuclear proliferation while poring over "Bunkie's" blueprints may turn out to be not the smartest arms-control strategy. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Frosted Mini-Nukes: New Classes of "Usable" Nuclear Weapons Are on the Pentagon's Menu. Who's Buying?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.