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Having learned from the Israeli destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, the Iranians have taken the step of locating most of their facilities well beneath the surface. Further, they've located many of them beneth civilian centers.

The Israelis (military) remain convinced that they can take out these facilities with conventional weapons, but the US has been working for several years to conduct conventional tests to simulate the effect of a low yield nuclear weapon on geological formations similiar to the conditions at Iranian facilities.

The name of this program is Divine Strake, officaly it has been cancelled due to intense public opposition in Nevada, and later in Indiana when news leaked of an intended test in that state.  In the latter case, the test was to occur in a limestone quarry in the southern part of the state.  Although the test consisted of multiple tons of conventional high yield explosives, the  yield being appromiately 0.5 kiloton, roughly in the same range as nuclear artillery deployed by the US in Europe during the Cold War. (It may have taken the Soviets 15 minutes to take Berlin, but a nuclear counterforce option could have annihlated a Soviet tank division crossing through the Fulda Gap.)

The point of nuclear weapons is that by raising the stakes of conflict to unacceptable levels, they help ensure peace.  That's MAD doctrine, mutually assured destruction, however a second doctrine called NUTs, nuclear utilization theory (no I am not making this up), argues for the development of subkiliton weapons to fill the gap between the blockbusters of the Second World War and Thermonuclear Armageddeon.

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And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 05:31:52 AM EST
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