Features
Reviews
Must Hear Music
Reviews Archives
Archives
Bargain Basement
Downloads
Music DVD
Upstart
Pipsqueaks
 
 
 
Features
Reviews
Archives
Send Us Mail
Contact Us
 
 

The Thermonuclear Men’s Club:  United States

The Thermonuclear Men’s Club:    France | Great Britain | India | Israel |
Pakistan | Russia | United States | The Up and Coming: Iraq and Iran

The only nation which has used nuclear weapons in wartime, America has come close to using them again on quite a few occasions. The Cuban Missile Crisis is the most famous example; the U.S. government engaged in nuclear sabre-rattling throughout the Korean War and gave serious consideration to the use of H-bombs in Vietnam. The crumbling of the Soviet Empire and the end of the Cold War brought us a brief respite from the tension.

The U.S. is not likely to launch any ICBMs any time soon; they were never intended for use. The big bombs were always one part deterrence, one part primate aggression display, and one part corporate welfare for the military/industrial set. There would be little point in launching an H-bomb against Afghanistan. The unavoidable civilian casualties would cause a world uproar, and might well provoke a nuclear or conventional response from China. If the Americans were to deploy nuclear weaponry in Afghanistan, they would be far more likely to use smaller, tactical bombs. The most likely candidate would be one of the B6-1 “earth-penetrating” bombs. These can be set up with yields ranging from 300 to 340,000 tons of TNT (as a point of comparison: the Hiroshima bomb had around a 13,000 ton yield), and can destroy command bunkers buried hundreds of meters beneath the ground.

There are plenty of non-nuclear options in the U.S. arsenal. In combat the U.S. has traditionally relied on superior weaponry and on numbers, dropping bomb after bomb in the hopes of pounding the enemy into submission; this is why large chunks of Vietnam look like the moon. The 15,000 pound BLU-82, also known as the “Commando Vault” or the “Daisycutter,” releases a cloud of inflammable ammonium nitrate, aluminum dust, and polystyrene slurry which is then ignited by a detonator. The result is a firestorm that incinerates an area the size of five football fields, consumes oxygen, and creates a shock-wave and vacuum pressure that destroys the internal organs of anyone within range. During Desert Storm a BLU-82 was dropped on a minefield; there were mass defections among Iraqi troops who witnessed the subsequent explosion. The BLU-82 has been used several times in Afghanistan; the firestorm it creates can suffocate troops hidden in a cave or otherwise protected from the blast and heat, while the blast pressure ruptures eardrums and explodes lungs.

So far, the War in Afghanistan is going reasonably well for the United States. There have been no major setbacks; the Taliban have vanished for now into the mountains to wait out the winter. On the other hand, we are no closer to catching Osama Bin Laden now than we were on September 12. Our continuing efforts to root out Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations will require not only force (something America does very well) but also finesse and diplomacy (areas in which America has frequently come up short). If the current Afghan campaign is to be something more than “We beat the hell out of somebody because… well, we had to beat the hell out of somebody after September 11,” we will need broad-based initiatives requiring cooperation from various countries. Our “coalition against terrorism” has held up so far, despite being cribbed together on short notice. It could easily fall apart if we try “bully-boy” tactics on other countries… or if we find ourselves stuck in an unwinnable quagmire. We madelarge chunks of Vietnam look like the surface of the moon… but we still lost. It’s a lesson we should keep in mind when considering our options in Afghanistan.


Mike Doughty



none now
-------


South By Southwest 2014
David DeVoe

South By Southwest 2013
David DeVoe

Red Hook Music Festival
George Dow

SXSW 2012
David DeVoe

Our Favorite Records 2011
Hybrid Staff

AWOLNation
Rachel Fredrickson

Kanrocksas
Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour 2011
Rachel Fredrickson

Eddie Spaghetti
Melissa Skrbic-Huss

Murder By Death
Mike DeLeo


Mike Doughty
Boulder, CO

Epilogues
Denver, CO

Imagine Dragons
Denver, CO

Sebadoh
Cambridge, MA

Young Magic
Denver, CO

Warped Tour 2012
Denver, CO

Thrice
Denver, CO

Mike Doughty
Denver, CO

MuteMath
Kansas City, MO

Other Lives
Lawrence, KS

Los Campesinos
Boston, MA

The Civil Wars
Lawrence, KS

Ha Ha Tonka
Lawrence, KS

Thrice
Lawrence, KS


 
hybridmagazine.com is updated daily except when it isn't.
New film reviews are posted every week like faulty clockwork.
Wanna write for hybrid? Send us an e-mail.
© 1996-2009 [noun] digital media. All rights reserved worldwide. All content on hybridmagazine.com and levelheadedmusic.com is the intellectual property of Hybrid Magazine and its respective creators. No part of hybridmagazine.com or levelheadedmusic.com may be reproduced in any format without expressed written permission. For complete masthead and physical mailing address, Click Here.