Lieberman’s Tough Questions

While you’re anxiously awaiting a determination by the neo-crazies as to whether the Bush-Cheney White House must launch yet another war of aggression in the Middle East to remove a "threat" to our Major Non-NATO Ally, Israel, or whether launching that war can be safely left to the Whoever-Lieberman White House, you might reflect upon the Senate hearings Lieberman chaired last month, featuring charts purporting to show the "horrific effects of a small nuclear device detonating near the White House."

Quoth the Senator representing Wherever;

“The scenarios we discuss today are so hard for us to contemplate and so emotionally traumatic that it is tempting to push them aside. However, now is the time to have this difficult conversation, to ask the tough questions, then to get answers.”

Why is "now" the time? Because, by consensus, the risk of such an attack is far, far greater than it was when Bush-Cheney and the neo-crazies took possession of the White House.

Of course, the risk today might not be much less if Gore-Lieberman and the neo-crazies had taken possession of the White House in 2001. After all, the successful al-Qaeda second attempt to bring down the World Trade Center Towers would have taken place on September 11, 2001 no matter who was in the White House.

Furthermore, after 9/11, the neo-crazies – many lifelong left-leaning Democrats, who had a lot of power in the Clinton-Gore administration – might have had even more power in a Gore-Lieberman administration.

Don’t forget that it was the Clinton-Gore White House that in 1998 defied the UN Security Council – ignored the definitive reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Saddam Hussein’s illicit uranium-enrichment program had been utterly destroyed in 1991 and that subsequent exhaustive go-anywhere see-anything interview-anyone IAEA inspections had resulted in "no indication" that any attempts had been made to revive it – and launched Operation Desert Fox, a thinly disguised attempt to effect "regime change" in Iraq from 20,000 feet.

So, perhaps while Gore and the eco-wackos busied themselves attempting to prevent "Global Warming" – a bigger threat to us than Terrorism, according to Al Gore – the neo-crazies (in league with Human-Rights activists, End-of-Timers, radical feminists, inside-the-Beltway think-tanks, the military-industrial-media complex and The Best Congress Money Can Buy) might have had a free hand to implement the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

And after 9/11, a Gore-Lieberman White House might have even more quickly focused on Iran, Iraq and Syria than did Bush-Cheney. With basically the same crazy people in charge, bent upon establishing an American Hegemony, the threat to our Homeland, today, from Iran, Iraq and Syria might not be much different. That is to say, nonexistent.

True, perhaps Gore-Lieberman might not have provoked the North Koreans into withdrawing from the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and into developing their very own stockpile of Plutonium-239 based nuclear weapons.

But that gets us back to Lieberman’s hearings on the consequences of an attack on the White House lawn by terrorists, significantly armed with a Uranium-235 – not a Plutonium-239 – based nuke, somewhat similar to the one we dropped on Hiroshima.

According to one of the "experts" called by Lieberman, a 10-kiloton nuclear device, which could be delivered in a van, "could kill about 100,000 people," "destroy almost all buildings within a half-mile radius" and – are you ready for this – "shatter windows" as far away as Union Station!

Did the Bush-Cheney White House defy the UN Security Council – ignoring the IAEA’s definitive reports that Saddam Hussein’s illicit uranium-enrichment program had been utterly destroyed in 1991 and that years of exhaustive go-anywhere see-anything interview-anyone inspections had resulted in "no indication" that any attempts had been made to revive it – launch a 2-3 trillion-dollar war of aggression against Saddam, costing the lives of thousands of our soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, in order to prevent Saddam from potentially eventually producing a Uranium-235 based nuke, giving it to terrorists, to be delivered by van to the White House lawn and detonated, killing all the people standing around on the Mall, and shattering windows as far away as Union Station?

(Presumably, according to Lieberman’s "expert," the terrorist attack would not shatter windows on Capitol Hill, which is about the same distance from the White House.)

But what about Hiroshima?

Well, in the first place, that Uranium-235 based nuke was detonated over Hiroshima – which, unlike Washington DC had very few reinforced concrete buildings – at the optimal height to produce optimal blast damage on the ground and to start fires amongst the largely flimsily-constructed buildings, flattened or left standing.

The vast majority of those killed at Hiroshima were killed outright, by blast, or died within a few days of acute burns, resulting from prompt thermal radiation and the ensuing fires.

But, how about radiation exposure? Prompt radiation would be less on the Mall, but the radioactive cloud would be worse inside the Beltway than at Hiroshima, because the Uranium-235 based nuke would be detonated by terrorists on the ground.

However, the results of a 60-year long-term U.S.-Japanese epidemiological study of about 87,000 survivors who had been within 10 kilometers of "ground zero" at Hiroshima and had received significant radiation exposure, were that about 700 of them eventually died as result of prompt and "fallout" radiation they received.

  • 87 died of leukemia;

  • 440 died of tumors;

  • 250 died of radiation-induced heart attacks.

  • 30 fetuses developed mental disabilities after they were born.

Why haven’t these results – and results of similar studies conducted in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in 1986 – been more widely publicized?

Because both the neo-crazies and the anti-nuclear-everything eco-wackos want you soccer-moms to stay scared to death that somehow the Iranians (and perhaps the Syrians) could somehow – without the IAEA being any the wiser – produce tens of kilograms of almost pure Plutonium-239 or Uranium-235 in their IAEA safeguarded facilities and somehow – without the IAEA being any the wiser – produce relatively crude nuclear weapons with it?

So, here’s a Tough Question. Is it okay by you if the neo-crazies decide the Bush-Cheney White House "must" launch yet another war of aggression in the Middle East to remove a "threat" from Iran/Syria to our Major Non-NATO Ally, Israel, or would you rather leave the launching of that war to the Whoever-Lieberman White House?

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.