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The United States has had as many as 10,000 nukes in our arsenal,
most of them intended to be used on the battlefield, but none of them
ever were. The Soviet Union had as many as 30,000 nukes at one time,
most of them intended to be used on the battlefield, but none of them
ever were.

The use of nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki don’t really count as
battlefield use. They were more nearly “demonstrations.” The killing
of perhaps a hundred thousand defenseless civilians, by setting on fire
their rice paper and bamboo shacks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, probably
ended the war, but the U.S. bombers that dropped those two nukes and the
thousands and thousands of incendiaries on Tokyo and other Japanese
cities – the fire bombs killing many more Japanese civilians — were
essentially unopposed in the air.

Post-War, in the U.S., UK, France and in the Soviet Union, the
development and stockpiling of nukes, while conducted by civilians, was
driven by military requirements. That is, the Army, Navy and Air Force
told our Atomic Energy Commission what kind of nukes they needed, and
the AEC supplied them. In that sense, “silo-busting” and Star Wars nukes
were also intended for battlefield use.

There are two principal reasons U.S. nukes have never been used in
battle. One, there was a fear — perhaps well founded — that if U.S.
battlefield nukes were used against Soviet “client states,” things might
get out of hand, and the Soviet backup city-busters would inevitably
also be used against us. Two, battlefield commanders were never able to
make a good case — even to themselves — for their use. So far as we
know, no U.S. battlefield commander has ever even thought of asking the
president to authorize the use of a nuke.

Excepting only the Gulf War, there was never a good nuke target on
the battlefield. But if ever nukes were to be used on the battlefield,
the Gulf War was the ideal place to use them, and since they were not
used there, they may never be used.

That fact of nuke non-use, combined with the collapse of the Soviet
Union in the winter of 1991, caused the Bush administration to begin –
essentially unilaterally — recalling, decommissioning and dismantling
most U.S. battlefield nukes. The Russians, once they had re-established
command and control over all the Soviet nukes, began — essentially
unilaterally — to do the same. Many of those battlefield nukes had
been intended by both sides for use in the Fulda Gap in Central Europe,
in a NATO-Warsaw Pact conflict. But now there was no Warsaw Pact and
the Fulda Gap was in the West.

The Nunn-Lugar Act, passed in December of 1991, authorized the Bush
administration to assist the Russians — technically and financially –
in Russian unilateral efforts to decommission and dismantle their
battlefield nukes, including the silo-busters. Nunn-Lugar-Bush
considered it to be in our vital national interests to help the Russians
get rid of those battlefield nukes.

Then the Clinton administration came to town and never seemed to
understand Nunn-Lugar, nor did it seem to understand one of the
principal lessons of the Gulf War. They never understood what Bush and
Gorby had been up to — dismantling all those battlefield nukes — or
why.

Now, Clinton-Gore-Greenpeace did want to get rid of all nukes,
everywhere. So, they did pay lip-service to Nunn-Lugar. But, they spent
all their time and energy getting the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
extended indefinitely, which they somehow believed would result in the
complete elimination of all nukes, everywhere.

And to demonstrate how little they understood about what Reagan and
Bush had accomplished, Clinton-Gore proceeded to rub salt in the Russian
wound by pushing NATO eastwards, once again presenting Russia with
potential targets on its borders for battlefield nukes. Russia promptly
began to reconsider its decision to get rid of all its battlefield
nukes.

Now, the other “lesson” Clinton-Gore “mislearned” from Bush’s Gulf
War, was that the administration — acting under the flag of NATO or the
United Nations — could do any damned thing they wanted to without
nukes, using “smart” munitions, instead. If Bill and Madeleine decided
they wanted to kill Serbian civilians who had moved into the houses of
Muslims who had fled Kosovo — for whatever reason — they could
pinpoint the houses by satellite and then order a zillion dollar B2
stealth bomber to fly about 10 thousand miles from Tucson to Kosovo and
put a smart 750 lb. conventional bomb right down their two-holer.

Meanwhile, the lesson the Russians learned from the Gulf War was that
they had better keep their Kursk class nuclear submarines. They
understood what Clinton may never understand: that the U.S. cannot
exercise its power, worldwide, by relying on zillion dollar B2 stealth
bombers to drop smart bombs on Third-World outhouses or aspirin
factories. If the U.S. is going to exercise non-nuke power, ala
Bush-Cheney-Powell in the Gulf War, then they are going to have to have
Bush-Cheney-Powell-like forces and the means of projecting those forces
around the world, which is more than 70 percent covered with water, and
that means having a Reagan-Bush U.S. Navy.

So why keep the Kursk? Although one of their most modern nuclear
powered submarines, it was not armed with nukes. It carried, as its
principal armament, 24 underwater-launched supersonic (Mach 1.6)
sea-skimming missiles with a range of up to 300 nautical miles, each
packing a large, 750-kg, non-nuke, high-explosive warhead. In other
words, the Kursk was a non-nuke-battlefield naval force-projection
killer. (The Russians have eight more like the Kursk.) As the Brits
found out in the Falklands war, the enemy doesn’t need nukes to decimate
an invasion fleet of warships, troopships and cargo ships. The problem
the Argentines had was that they only had a few sea-skimming Exocets and
the French wouldn’t or couldn’t sell them any more when they ran out. If
the Argentines had had more Exocets, the Falkland Islands campaign might
well have turned out differently.

Numerous countries, including China and Iran, now have, or are
acquiring, supersonic sea-skimming naval force-projection killers, and
the surface ship or submarine or aircraft needed to launch them. As of
today, Clinton-Gore has not recognized the danger to U.S. Naval
force-projection and has failed to develop effective counters to the
Kursk and other supersonic sea-skimmer platforms. Until we do develop
counters, we cannot ever again project U.S. power as we did in the Gulf
War.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Clinton-Gore has been fixated on
getting all the nations of the world to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban
Treaty. The administration has never fully recognized the threat to
U.S. civilians of “loose nukes” and has failed to effectively cooperate
with the Russians in safely and securely disposing of their
weapons-useable fissile materials. So, the threat of nuke terrorism is
far worse, now, than it was when they came to town. Although our armed
forces may now have less reason to fear nukes, the same cannot be said
for our civilians. If for no other reason, in vainly attempting to
project U.S. power around the world, using smart munitions and without
incurring U.S. casualties, Clinton-Gore has made a lot of potential
terrorists in Iraq, Sudan and Kosovo very, very unhappy. The terrorists
know how to project their force; and they don’t need either ballistic
missiles or supersonic sea-skimmers to do it.

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