Nuclear War Fever in Campaign Boasts

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has said that Donald Trump has “questionable judgment,” and he ought to know. Cruz said during the debate Dec. 15, “Let me be unequivocally clear: If I am elected president … we will carpet-bomb them [people of the Islamic State] into oblivion.”

This evangelical Christian of unquestionable judgment said in Cedar Rapids Dec. 8, “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.” Sen. Cruz’s seemingly glib statement was a thinly veiled threat to use nuclear weapons in the Syrian civil war. Back when the magnitude and ghastly effects of nuclear weapons were more generally known, Barry Goldwater was pilloried for such talk and lost an election.

This is what nuclear looks like

What Cruz is threatening is described by Helen Caldicott in her book Nuclear Madness. “Population centers would be smashed flat. Each nuclear weapon’s shockwave would come with a searing fireball with a surface temperature greater than the sun’s that would set firestorms raging over thousands of acres. The fires would scorch the earth, consuming most plant and wildlife.”

If warning had been given to civilians who could find a bomb shelter, “People caught in shelters near the center of the nuclear blasts would die immediately of concussive effects or asphyxiation brought on as a result of oxygen depletion during the firestorms. Exposed to immense amounts of high-energy gamma radiation, anyone who survived near the epicenter would likely die within two weeks, of acute radiation sickness.

“Those who survived, in shelters or in remote rural areas, would reenter a totally devastated world, lacking the life-support systems upon which human beings depend. Food, air, and water would be poisonously radioactive.”

Far-ranging wind-blown fallout would radioactively contaminate territories and populations not party to the conflict. Enraged resentment and hatred of the United States would result in retaliation and reprisals like Paris, ad infinitum.

Back-door nuclear war already tested

The US has already made the sands of southern Iraq “glow” with radiation -- having fired some 360 tons of (armor piercing) uranium-238 munitions (so-called “depleted uranium” or DU) into the region in 1991’s Desert Storm, and another 170 tons in the 2003 invasion. The government of Iraq has formally asked the United States to fund decontamination efforts, but our government has refused. The US has not acknowledged any connection between its use of uranium as a weapon and the skyrocketing rates of birth abnormalities and childhood illnesses in southern Iraq.

Chicken hawks’ coldblooded squawks

I can understand why Sen. Cruz has to try and verbally man-up, or rather inhuman-up Mr. Trump who has set the bar so bloody high. Last August 7 Trump said, on Meet the Press, that he’d “absolutely” use nuclear weapons against the Islamic State.

“It starts with the deployment of four or five of our Ohio-class nuclear submarines to the Persian Gulf. … I’m talking about a surgical strike on these ISIS stronghold cities using Trident missiles,” Trump said.

CNN military analyst Peter Mansoor wrote that using Trident thermonuclear weapons against ISIS-held areas, like the city of Al-Raqqah, would cause an astronomically high number of civilian deaths. “Al-Raqqah alone has a population of over two hundred-thousand people, the vast majority of whom are not affiliated in any way with the Islamic State,” Mansoor said. “A strike of this magnitude would … result in the loss of millions of innocent lives….”

US warheads ready and waiting

Although Chicken Hawks Cruz and Trump may not know it -- neither was ever in the military -- about ninety US B61 H-bombs are deployed at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Force Base. The US warheads at Incirlik are 100-500 kiloton gravity bombs 8-to-40 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. The warheads on Trident submarine that Trump spoke of are 475-kiloton bombs, 38 times the force of the Hiroshima blast. Trump and Cruz have not read Gen. George L. Butler, USAF Retired, a former commander of all US nuclear weapons. Butler has written, “First-use policies are in direct contradiction to our self-interest, and the patent rejection of the use of nuclear weapons by American presidents in conflicts from Korea to Indochina to the Persian Gulf.”

Today, Turkey has reluctantly joined in the bombing of Syria, and could justly be afraid of Islamic State retaliation for it, especially now that nuclear war-fever is being spread by US presidential hopefuls. Indeed, using the 2003 rationale of Vice-President Dick Cheney, Islamic State operatives could justify a pre-emptive self-defense attack on Turkey’s US nuclear weapon base – and credit the United States for the idea.

The irrationality of nuclear weapons could hardly be more obvious.