Declassified effects of nuclear weapons and other threats: minimizing weapons effects on civilians

Can Britain and America prevail over an alliance of Russia, China, Iran and North Korea in WWIII? American sanctions on Japan in 1940 led to Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, so beware of the lessons of history Mr President, and get civil defense

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Is a new Islamic State in the Middle East a real world wide threat in the making like a new USSR?


Joseph S. Howard, II, and Edward I. Whitted, “The Future of Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces, are these capabilities still needed”, report LA-12063-MS, April 30, 1991, originally classified Secret – Formerly Restricted Data, Nuclear Weapon Data, Sigma 3.  The executive summary on page 3 states that tactical nuclear weapons are vital to credibly deter nuclear proliferation for coercion of the West, and: "As a deterrent to regional Soviet or Russian aggression as long as resurgence or reconstitution remains feasible."  By pandering to irrational fears and claiming to "reduce" the "risk" of nuclear war by eliminating tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, we're increasing the risk of WWIII by removing vital, Cold War-proved deterrence of escalation of enemy aggression.  Similarly, by disarming in the 1930s, Britain didn't reduce the risk of another World War.  The removal of overwhelming force by the democratic side doesn't historically "reduce world war risks".  It increases the risks.
Credible deterrence criteria, taken from page 15 of the Summer 1989 issue of Los Alamos Science: an incredible deterrent is worse than useless since it encourages aggression such as the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan.  After American withdrawl of the W54 Davy Crockett tactical nuclear weapons (fully one point safe implosion systems) from Europe in the early 1970s, the Soviet Union accelerated its civil defense and nuclear war preparations, instead of ending them as "arms control experts" claimed would occur with a "reduction of tensions".  Similarly, the disarmament of Britain to reduce tensions with Germany in the 1930s did not exactly reduce tensions or the threat of war, instead it encouraged rampant aggression, and sowed the seed of another world war.  "Speak softly and carry a big stick" failed in 1914 because Britain's Liberal Foreign Secretary Edward Grey obfuscated and did not make the big stick a credible deterrent, only spelling out that Britain would definitely declare war if Belgium was invaded after Germany had mobilized and it was too late to for it to change its plan of attack.  It is vital to deter not only a direct attack, but also escalation through piecemeal aggressions, which were the way WWI and WWII started in Europe.  America tried economic sanctions against Japan after it invaded China and other countries in the far east: the sanctions backfired by leading to a surprise attack on America's Pacific Fleet, 7 December 1941.  Thus, "pacifist options" always encourage exploitation, coercion, aggression and ultimately a more serious and costly war than preventative first strikes.

There is a Jewish State, Israel.  So why not a Islamic State?  Islam at its basis is anti-corruption so at that level it will be stronger than the Marxist doctrines of the USSR.  The problem is of course that there are different sects of Islam, e.g. Shia and Sunni, which differ from each other just as the Catholic and Protestant sects of Christianity differ.  In countries where nationalism is replaced by dogmatic faith, and several dogmatic faiths exist, there is no real unity, and civil war is only averted by dictatorial style force, censorship, coercion, and suppression of civil liberties.  This is how and why Gadaffi held Libya together with brutal force, and why you had people like Saddam in Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and a series of hard liners in the USSR.  In a militantly culturally divided, ethnically diverse country, any weakness of leadership leads to economic failures through political compromise, until an effective dictator emerges.

However, there is a failure to acknowledge that the founding of a new state is often due to what can be described as violent terrorism.  Israel was founded in British Palestine following Jewish terrorist attacks on the British Army forces in Palestine, immediately after WWII when Britain was trying to demobilize troops and grant independence to such countries.  So terrorist tactics can be used to found new states, which once founded may become more peaceful (until attacked).  Is the new Islamic State a new threat to global security, like a new variant on the USSR, but replacing Marxism with Islamism?  Will it be supported by an alliance of Russia and other generally anti-Western states (China, North Korea, Iran, etc.)?  Will it seek to spread over the world, just as Marxism aimed to do during the Cold War?  Should it be opposed somehow, either by force or by deterrence and preparations for terrorist attacks, or should it just be ignored?

The author of the Cold War Fourth protocol, Frederick Forsyth, has written a new article on the threat from Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Daily Express, 22 August 2014, p13): 


The Cold War has been replaced by a new nightmare... the Muslim world gone mad "... in Gaza the ruling Hamas ... even with 2,000 Palestinian dead, still avers its sole ambition is to wipe out Israel.  In Syria the Free Syrian Army was first eclipsed by the Al Nusrah brigades, so extreme even Al Queda disowned them.  They have now melded into the genocidal Islamic State.  Other mass-murdering groups infest Iraq, Yemen, the Horn of Africa ...  Will this madness-for-killing ever turn on we who try to live in peace ... It already has, in Western embassies in Africa, in two office block towers on Manhattan Island ... Either we live in submission or permanent fear or we fight back.  The latter will take - like the Cold War - time, trouble, and huge sums of money we would prefer to devote to hospitals, schools ..."

The fact is, as we've shown using the true scaling laws of damage above in the previous blog post, a few nuclear weapons - even if of megaton yields - don't hold a candle to the really weapons of mass destruction, the huge numbers of conventional weapons used in conventional warfare.  Hence, contrary to CND's anti-nuclear propaganda lies on nuclear weapons effects, it is not nuclear proliferation, or the use of nuclear weapons in WWII, that have caused mass destruction. It is conventional wars with their millions of smaller yield bombs which kill more and destroy more.

Nuclear weapons have proved better at deterring and ending wars - WWII by actual nuclear airbursts, Korean War in 1953 by the threat of using tactical nuclear weapons from newly elected President Eisenhower, Cuban Crisis on 22 October 1962 by Kennedy's threat of a "full retaliatory response" if even a single Russian IRBM missile was launched from Cuba by accident - than conventional weapons ever did in the arms races before WWI and WWII.  This is historical fact, not speculation.  If you have a massive stockpile of nuclear weapons and are prepared - credibly with civil defense to mitigate retaliation - to use weapons, you can end threats quickly without mass civilian casualties or civilian property damage.  If we had been able to drop one H-bomb on Hitler's Berchtesgaden during his 1938 meeting with Prime Minister Chamberlain there, the fanatical leader and his British anti-Jewish collaborator would have both been disposed of, the anti-Hitler elements in the German Army would have been able to take charge, and WWII would have been averted by nuclear deterrence, or preferably anti-Nazi nuclear coercion based on a lack of nuclear stockpile balance.  Asymmetry with a large excess on the part of free democracy permits coercion, as Reagan argued when re-arming America in the 1980s to overcome Russia.

The filmed beheading of American journalist James Foley by a London-accent British Islamic State terrorist has been discussed by Leo McKinstry (Daily Express, 22 August 2014, p12):

" It has been estimated that about 1,000 British Muslims have fought for the Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, while more than 4,000 joined the cause of the Taliban in Afghanistan.... there are thought to be more British Muslims in the Islamic State terror network than in our Armed Forces ... Yet our political and civic leaders also bear a terrible responsibility ... extremism has flourished in a climate formed by the twin strategies of mass immigration and multiculturalism.

"Open borders have led to a phenomenal expansion in Britain's Muslim population to almost three million ... the dogma of cultural diversity has become one of the central obsessions of the state. We are constantly told that we must celebrate the vibrant enrichment of our society. But, by its emphasis on cultural differences and its loathing for traditional British values the doctrine of diversity has been a catastrophe for Britain. In place of integration it has promoted division and separatism.  We are a land increasingly without a mutual sense of belonging or shared national identity. It is little wonder that, according to one recent survey, 26 per cent of Muslims here said they feel no loyalty to Britain.  Enthusiasts for multi-culturalism love to blather about tolerance, yet it is richly ironic that their pernicious creed has promoted intolerance, misogyny and reactionary oppression. In predominantly Muslim areas diversity means the triumph of the burka, sharia law, fundamentalism in state schools ... reinforced by the cowardice of the authorities, so afraid of accusations of racial prejudice that they even fail to uphold the basic standards of our Western civilisation. ... In one appalling example of official attitudes in 2008 the West Midlands police urged that Channel 4 producers should be prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred after the broadcast of a programme exposing the activities of Muslim hate preachers in Birmingham's mosques. ... our public bodies have refused to demand from migrants any allegiance to Britain or any understanding of our heritage. ... 

"In 2000 the Government's own Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain argued that "British history needs to be revised, rethought and jettisoned" and that we should no longer be considered a nation but rather "a community of communities". Self-abasement by our authorities also means that any problems that Muslims face in Britain can always be blamed on racism and so-called Islamophobia. ... From the burka to sharia law they demand separatism and then complain about marginalisation. Their social exclusion is voluntary. But the fashionable narrative of victimhood has been eagerly seized on by the extremists to encourage a climate of hatred to the West. In reality the jihadists are not the victims but the exploiters. That was graphically illustrated by an address in 2013 by the notorious extremist Anjem Choudary to his followers: "The normal situation is for you to take money from the Kuffar (non-believer). So we take the Jihad Seekers' Allowance. We are going to take England."  It is telling that, before the advent of multi-culturalism generations of Muslim migrants were much better integrated into British society."

This backfiring of appeasement-kindness sentiments is of course nothing new.  The road to hell is always paved with good intentions.  The British appeasement and disarmament "peace" policy of the 1930s which encouraged Hitler to rearm and exploit British weakness was fundamentally responsible for fostering the disasters which led to WWII.  The Foreign Enlistment Act of 1870 should rescind the nationality of all those fanatics who join a foreign army: once they go, they should no longer be considered British, their passports should be electronically cancelled and they should be arrested on attempt to enter Britain, and preferably deported to Guantanamo Bay for debriefing instead of costing British taxpayers a fortune for a lengthy trial, expensive and comfortable basic hotel-standard "prison" accommodation, and endless legal appeals to every court in the land plus the European Court of Human Rights.  Unfortunately, the threat of deporting terrorists is made impossible by Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.  The USSR murdered 40 million against Hitler's 6 million.

But it became fashionable to try to separate the evil doers in the USSR like Stalin from the gullible or self-serving party apparatchiks of the USSR, but the same was not done with Nazism simply because it was defeated militarily.  Thus, nobody tries to excuse the Nazi political dogma of fascist eugenics by blaming all the evil on a handful of gas chamber camp commanders or a few maligned leaders.  Instead, the politics and its adherents take blame, together with fellow-travellers of the Nazi political message.  But because of fierce left wing fanaticism during the Cold War, backed by the USSR's overseas propaganda efforts, this dismissal of flawed political dogma was generally not applied to the USSR during the Cold War, with the exception of Ronald Reagan's 1983 "evil empire" speech.  In other words, you can't excuse Nazism of its crimes by simply putting all the blame on Hitler who died long ago.

But this is precisely the excuse that the USSR used.  So there is no consistency: the biggest evil, the USSR, is still being treated by historians with kid gloves, essentially because it developed nuclear weapons and ICBMs during the Cold War.  The Palestinians killed in Gaza are a consequence of the integration of Hamas terrorists with within the civilian Palestinian population, just like the Vietnam kids napalmed in Vietcong villages in 1972.  You can't fight insurgents who blend into the civilian population with conventional weapons, without civilian casualties.  It's not a matter of surgical strikes or precision conventional raids.  If insurgents blend into the civilian population, you have only unpleasant choices: either you must segregate that civilian population with checkpoints to provide security, deter attacks using a credible threat which is adequate to achieve real deterrence (not soft prison in Britain), you must surrender to terrorist coercion, or else fire on civilian targets and cause civilian casualties.

As we stated in previous posts, irrational views of nuclear weapon escalation caused the Vietnam fiasco. By blowing down a 10 miles wide belt of trees between North and South Vietnam using air burst H-bombs, a properly defensible border could have safely established to protect South Vietnam.  Instead, all sorts of irrational and specious arguments were used to prevent any course of action that would provide security and safety.  Closing down real arguments as "taboo" is the trick of the dictators.

By preventing a full survey of all possible options using specious groupthink-based dogmatic censorship, democracy fails in its claim to defend the principles of free liberty.  To the extent that democracy fails to defend itself and its own so-called ethical principles, perhaps it is sensible to take seriously the idea of tolerating an Islamic State in Iraq-Syria.  But this is too much like the argument that existed for pulling out of the Vietnam War.  The French pulled out after defeat in the 1950s, and the Americans moved in through gradual escalation under the democrats, first Kennedy and then Johnson.  By not using the 1945 nuclear option of fellow democrat Harry S. Truman, they fought a battle against insurgency that could not really be won, because the Vietcong were masters of propaganda and prepared with hardened tunnels for a sustained, survivalist long war of attrition.  They merely had to wait for the debt, propaganda defeat, and casualty count on the American side to mount up to breaking point, just as it had when the French were in Vietnam.  The recent problems of insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan after Western wars of intervention to topple the regimes of Saddam and the Taliban are examples of the same mindset of the Vietcong: to view the war as American and British interventionism in matters that are none of their business.  However, as the Munich example in September 1938 demonstrated clearly, the appeasing non-interventionist view of Prime Minister Chamberlain that foreign wars are "quarrels in a faraway country between peoples of whom we know nothing" is ignorant, callous, short-sighted, and a sure fire way to encourage potential aggressors to start a World War.


There is a declassified 1991 Los Alamos report on the need for tactical nuclear weapons to provide CREDIBLE deterrence of Russia in the post-Cold War era, to avoid the 1930s style appeasement culture that encourages enemy coercion, aggression and finally a World War:

Joseph S. Howard, II, and Edward I. Whitted, “The Future of Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces; are these capabilities still needed”, report LA-12063-MS, April 30, 1991, originally classified Secret – Formerly Restricted Data, Nuclear Weapon Data, Sigma 3. Vital extracts:

Page 7: “Executive Summary … [tactical nuclear weapons are vital]

“ * As a deterrent to future non-superpower nuclear-capable adversaries in a proliferated world. 
“ * As a deterrent to regional Soviet or Russian aggression as long as resurgence or reconstitution remains feasible. …”

Page 16: “Deployment of nuclear weapons to Europe created an extended deterrence umbrella for conventional force deficiencies. … The US, after fighting a war against totalitarianism, turned to a grand strategy of containment of Soviet imperialism. … therefore, the NATO alliance was formed to draw the line against further Soviet expansion.  Unfortunately, the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO) alliance deployed forces far beyond those required for its own defense.  Unable and unwilling to match the conventional force goals of the 1952 Lisbon Conference, the US deployed its first theatre nuclear weapons for NATO in 1953.  Over the past 45 years, NATO nuclear doctrine has evolved from ‘massive retaliation’ in MC 14/2, to ‘flexible response’ in MC 14/3, then to the development of provisional political guidance (PPG) for initial and follow-on nuclear use … now to the proposed ‘weapons of last resort’ … the presence of theatre nuclear weapons (now NSNF) gave an aura of credible response options before the ultimate response.”

Page 18: “The presence of NSNF in Europe contributed to the long peace of 45 years.  These weapons helped to DETER the Soviet Union from initiating nuclear coercion or overt aggression against the NATO alliance. … We argue that the existence of theatre nuclear weapons was a major factor for the past 45 year peace in Europe.  Prior to the stabilizing effects of NATO, due in part to its nuclear weapons, the European continent had been the scene of several major wars and periods of crises, largely stemming from rampant nationalism [no, invading over countries is socialist imperialism, not nationalism, and expansionist socialism is the OPPOSITE of nationalism, it is dictatorial socialism where one group tries to create a world government akin to the Roman Empire, USSR, or EUSSR; truly nationalist countries are concerned with their OWN AFFAIRS, not with invading other countries for Marxism or Nazi Liebestraum].  The strategies of NATO worked.  They worked in spite of ambiguities in NATO declaratory policies; ambiguities necessitated by political constraints and public acceptability. … But it all worked to keep the peace.  The US policy of extended deterrence within NATO’s nuclear declaratory and operational strategies made the cost of aggression too high to Soviet leaders.  These weapons engendered cautious behavior. …”

Page 21: “A future nuclear-proliferated world would present enormous challenges to US defense interests. … Several of these nations maintain profoundly hostile relations to the US. … a future resurgent and mobilized Soviet Union remains feasible.  While intentions can move towards amicability, they can subsequently be reversed … the greater Russian Republic, should some republics become autonomous, may have future cause to counter US vital interests … Therefore, we are incredulous of US forces without NSNF [tactical nuclear weapons] to prevent war or to terminate war against hostile nuclear-armed states.  The rationale for NSNF must rest upon its capabilities to deter a plausible resurgent Soviet Union, or any of several regional powers with potential nuclear capabilities.  As NSNF kept the long peace in Europe because it engendered cautious behavior, so should NSNF be kept as an incalculable risk towards any nuclear state contemplating aggression.

“The rationale for NSNF [tactical nuclear weapons] also involves the element of credibility: the NCA should have options other than central strategic forces for an appropriate response.”

Page 27: “Credible deterrence necessitates WILL to employ nuclear weapons as expressed in declaratory strategies and roles, and effective military CAPABILITY.”

Page 32: “Based upon IC projections we assumed … three future regional threats …

“ 1. Reconstituted Soviet Union or greater Russian Federation. …
“ 2. Pacific Basin, regional nuclear adversary, e.g., North Korea …
“ 3. Middle East, regional adversary, e.g., federation of Iran and Iraq [currently IS, Islamic State]…

“… It is not necessary for our purposes to spell out the road to crisis or to war.  It might be a future combination of nuclear coercion, renewed interest in East European domination, oil proclivities towards the Middle East, or others.”


Update (13 September 2014): there is a new article out in Foreign Policy by WHITNEY KASSELwhich advocates American employment of Putin's type of tactic (helping guerillas fighting for democracy, instead of a costly direct invasion):

In a world where our enemies don't wear uniforms, our allies don't have to, either.

"The White House is enthusiastically touting its plans to put together a coalition to fight the Islamic State that will include Britain, Turkey, and, among others, Poland. But the United States' most recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have demonstrated the limits of even the broadest-based coalition warfare - over 40 countries in the case of Afghanistan - in places where the host government has its own ideas about what an acceptable end state could and should look like. In Iraq and Syria, where both host governments are, at best, questionable allies, the most effective way to take on the Islamic State (IS) isn't going to be with conventional armies or airplanes. It will be armed guerrillas with mismatched uniforms, languages, and objectives who will likely have the most impact in fending off the extremists. ... In a world of non-state enemies that exploit the fissures between nation states, the United States should similarly seek to find allies wherever it can, whether they wear uniforms or not."


However, this assumes that Putin will stick to helping his guerillas when they are are opposed by American backed pro-democracy guerillas.  The problem remains that as his position erodes in this way, Putin could step up direct involvement (supplying more and more "retired" Red Army generals and more and more troops on "training exercises who accidentally cross the border into Ukraine" with their BUK surface to air missile launchers, tanks, APCs, etc., etc.).  Then America will have to do the same, or face defeat of the pro-democracy guerillas.  It's there that you need local tactical nuclear deterrence to bolster NATO, just as you did when the conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact overwhelmed those of NATO in Europe during the first Cold War.  When in the early 1970s hard communist "arms control" ideologues tried to equalize the tactical nuclear weapons in Europe (thereby disarming the West in the face of overwhelming conventional Red superiority), tensions and "risks of escalations" did not ease, but the Reds escalated the Cold War with new deployments of nuclear missiles like the SS-18, SS-20, etc., and stepped up their aggressive pace, e.g. invading Afghanistan on Christmas Day 1979 as a trial run for an invasion of Western Europe.  

USSR 1963 factory poster: "He puffs like a chimney, but it is of no use. Hey you, stop smoking and get back to your machine."  Although true communism doesn't work because it demotivates the workers, true communism never actually existed in the USSR: money was never eliminated and the situation during the Cold War is pretty similar for the majority of the population that it is today, in the sense that strong propaganda, state police coercion, and the threat of starvation keep the public in order to earn their meagre wages.  Those who oppose the regime end up jobless or in prison.