Don't nuke Iran

Pre-emptive peace strike, step one: keep NATO out of nuking Iran

Feature story - 11 April, 2006
An exposé by respected insider journalist Seymour Hersh reveals that the US is considering the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. But where would those weapons come from, and where would they strike? Those questions bear deep implications for NATO and innocent civilians in Iran.

Under something known as ‘nuclear burden sharing’ there arecurrently some 480 US/NATO nuclear bombs spread across six countries:the UK, Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

The UScould decide to use any or all of these without consulting the hostcountries governments, or people, to use against Iran.

Take Action: Tell NATO to stay out of nuking Iran

Hersh writes in the New Yorkerthat "Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets andteams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran under coverto collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-governmentethnic-minority groups..."

Here's what a set of likely striketargets might look like, drawn from publicly available information.Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) made an analysis of likelycasualties using the US Department of Defense's own methodology andconcluded there would be around 3 million immediate deaths.

Got Google Earth? Click on the image for more information on casualties and the

cities and intallations likely to be targetted. 

According to the physicians,

Weestimate that within 48 hours... over 3 million people would die as aresult of the attack

. About half of those would die fromradiation-related causes, either prompt casualties from the immediateradiation effects of the bomb, or from exposure to fallout. Forexample, the entire city of Isfahan would likely be covered in falloutproducing 1000 rems of radiation per hour, a fatal dose. Over 600,000people would suffer immediate injuries...

...within 48 hours,prevailing winds would spread fallout to cover a large area in Iran,most of Afghanistan and then spread on into Pakistan and India. Thereis little likelihood, in most seasons, that rain would mitigate thespread of fallout.

In this scenario, over 35 million people inIran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India would suffer significantradiation exposure

of 1 rem per hour or above within four days..

PSR used a different warhead for itscalculations than Hersh suggests is likely to be used.  But rather than argueshades of destructive magnitude, we'd think it a good idea if the Bushadministration simply put this option back in the box.  But some folkshave suggested that already...

Practice bombing runs

According to Hersh US Navy pilots operating fromthe Arabian Sea have been practicing nuclear bombing runs against Iran sincelast summer. He says, “Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought toremove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran - withoutsuccess." Some senior staff have even threatened to resign.

One insider is quoted as saying that themilitary attack is premised on the belief that "a sustained bombingcampaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead thepublic to rise up and overthrow the government." Hersh says theofficial added, "I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, 'Whatare they smoking?'"

Preventive war: illegal, unethical, ineffective. Everyone's invited

The preventive war doctrine -threatening to attack before any attack or overt threat appears -- isbeing operationalised. Preventive war is the US military standard now -rather than the exception - as enshrined in the Nuclear Posture Reviewof 2001, the National Security Strategy from March 2006, andparticularly the new Global Strike Mission -- otherwise known by thecatchy name of "CONPLAN 8022." 

Citizens of many Europeancountries need to know that The Global Strike Mission means that if theUS decides to strike with nuclear weapons, their own countries willlikely be part of that war effort -- whether they like it or not. 

Innocent people, and perhaps unwilling governments, will share in the responsibility andrepercussions.

According to Hans M. Kristensen in a report for Federation of American Scientists"Global Strike incorporates not only strategic long-range weaponslaunched from the United States, but also - potentially - nuclear bombsdeployed in Europe or weapons that could be moved into a theatre incase of a crisis. A preemptive strike could use a B61 nuclear bombdeployed in Turkey or a strategic warhead launched from a Tridentsubmarine off Japan."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Strawtold BBC Television that a US military strike was "not on the agenda"and any idea that Washington could use tactical nuclear weapons againstIran was "completely nuts." 

But according to theWashington Post, "The British government has launched its own planningfor a potential US strike, studying security arrangements for itsembassy and consular offices, for British citizens and corporateinterests in Iran and for ships in the region and British troops inIraq. British officials indicate their government is unlikely toparticipate directly in any attacks.

So it appears that British thinking runs, "It may be nuts, but crazy people do crazy things so its best to beprepared!"  What a special relationship.

Fortunately for British personnel, we know from the Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operationswhich was published on the Pentagon's internet site, (and then yanked),that the military chiefs have had some discussion about the etiquetteof alerting allied troops that a nuclear attack is coming their way.

Time for a preventative peace strike

If the US decides on a nuclear attack against Iran,they could use US nuclear bombs currently spread throughout a number of NATOcountries: the UK, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy and Turkey.

We'reseeking the assurance from the Heads of State and Defence Ministers ofthese countries that they will not provide any political or practicalsupport for any military action against Iran, especially action thatinvolves nuclear weapons. You can join us in that call. All we ask is a simple promise thatthe US would be prohibited from using European bases, equipment, andintelligence for any military strike, and that the US would not begranted over-flight rights.

As part of the diplomatic path to a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East and a nuclear-weapons-free world,  the six NATOcountries which currently host US nuclear weapons should immediately instruct the USto take the weapons back and dismantle them.

Military action at any juncture in this crisis would have catastrophic consequences, unleashingyears or decades of regional and global violence.  Nuclear disarmament is essential to the cause of  peace.

Tell NATO not to nuke Iran!

Ask the Foreign Minsters of the six European nations which currently host US nuclear weapons to state clearly that they won't help with plans to attack Iran.