Effect Measure

Medical education and the military

Medical education in the US is four grueling years on top of four years of undergraduate college education. The spectrum of topics is hugely wide and the depth of coverage hugely uneven. Some things are covered in ridiculous detail and others with breathtaking superficiality. And some things hardly at all:

Medical students are woefully uninformed about military medical ethics and a physician’s responsibilities under the Geneva Conventions, a situation that could be a problem if they’re ever drafted, according to an article by Harvard Medical School researchers.

The researchers surveyed students at eight medical schools nationwide, and 94 percent said they had received less than one hour of instruction about military medical ethics.

Just 37 percent knew that the Geneva Conventions applied whether or not war was officially declared, and the same percentage were unaware that the conventions prohibit threatening or demeaning prisoners, or withholding food or water for any length of time. The survey found that 34 percent did not know that the conventions call on doctors to “treat the sickest first, regardless of nationality.” An equal percentage did not know when they would be required to ignore an unethical order from a superior. (Chronicle for Higher Education)

Failure to comply with the Geneva Conventions seems fine to the Bush administration but that doesn’t make it ethically acceptable for physicians. It’s not just theoretical. There have recently been cases where doctors have falsified death certificates to cover up mistreatment related deaths of prisoners and some doctors have advised US military interrogators on how much torture a prisoner could tolerate without dying.

Here’s another thing over 95% of medical students didn’t know:

Only 3.5 percent of the students surveyed knew that in 1987 Congress established a process for drafting civilian physicians if they’re in short supply in the military. That prospect is becoming more likely, the authors say, because of the drop in the number of doctors volunteering for the military and in students accepting medical-school scholarships in exchange for military service, as well as “a war on terror that has no end in sight.”

Some of us remember what a doctor’s draft means. We went through the wrenching ethical issues in the Vietnam years. Now it is our students that may be facing the anguish we faced. It’s a pity there is little or no time set aside to prepare them to think it through and so few of us left on the faculty who know what it means from personal experience.

American medicine has changed a great deal in the thirty plus years since the end of the war in Vietnam. But it hasn’t changed so much that torture is now acceptable. We can hope it never does.


  1. #1 herman
    November 2, 2007

    During World War II, German doctors performed medical experiments on those in concentration camps. These experiments resulted in the death of many prisoners, and many suffered horrible pain before dying. The Third Reich also started a systematic process of killing the mentally ill, retarded, and disabled.
    A division of Haliburton is building detention centers to hold large numbers of illegal immigrants in case they try to cross the borders into the US in large numbers. And the FBI and CIA have lists of at least one million in the US that are under surveillance. The Patriot Act gives these agencies the power to arrest anyone at any time and detain them. You are not allowed to phone an attorney.
    The CIA also has a rendition program, which consists of arresting both US citizens and non-citizens, many in the United States, to be taken to prisons in foreign countries where they are sometimes tortured to obtain information.
    National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-51 empowers the President to declare Martial Law and cancel the presidential elections. Martial Law means the military takes control.
    So the issue is not whether terrorists captured in Iraq can be tortured. The issue is whether those US citizens on the lists of the CIA and FBI can be arrested, taken to the Halburton constructed detention centers, and then tortured.
    Will President Bush then issue a new executive order to execute those in the detention centers after they are tortured? Will they use cyanide gas, like the Germans?
    Will the mentally retarded, disabled, and insane be arrested and killed, as happened in Germany during the Third Reich?

  2. #2 Avenel
    November 2, 2007

    Science Fiction author Susan Mathews explores the issues of doctors as torturers in her “Jurisdiction Space” novels. I highly recommend the first, _An Exchange of Hostages_. Brillantly literary, but definitely not a ‘fun’ read.

  3. #3 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 2, 2007

    Revere-I think that these guys get the right to due process and by making a statement like the above that death certificates were falsified is not a judge or military courts. I am big on this kind of stuff. Dont say it unless you have direct proof and a conviction in your hands.

    As for medical students and doctors being drafted its caveated to your design above. The insinuation that they have done something wrong. No charges have been filed just an article from someone several thousand miles removed from the situation. How nice. Convicted in the media once again. I have read the prison report and it would seem to me that instead of running a prison, the commanding general ran a torture house for the CIA or perhaps the NSA. There are rules for this and if it is correct then the general is responsible and all of those soldiers involved have been into military courts. No one else because of a lack of jurisdiction. There lays your problem Revere. But dont start smacking around Army doctors on the insinuation as they are due the presumption of innocence.

    BTW-Under the miltiary courts system if you were in, just writing that above would have had you before the military courts system under the UCMJ. Better hope they never get to drafting doctors.

  4. #4 revere
    November 2, 2007

    Randy: There have been several well accepted accounts of this. But give me a break. Death certificates were falisfied. It happens. This isn’t a question of due process any more than any of your criticisms of Clinton are due process. The military won’t prosecute because they are complicit. You think waterboarding never happened? It’s a war crime. We’ve prosecuted and convicted people for it in times past. Not under George Bush.

  5. #5 Caledonian
    November 2, 2007

    Hell, waterboarding is probably happening now.

    If it wasn’t happening, saying so wouldn’t make it any easier for terrorist groups to train their members to resist interrogation, because they’d have no idea what we *did* use. The only way the administration’s excuse holds water is if we actually ARE using it, and if so, it’s an atrocity that’s useless for information-gathering.

    Military courts are a joke. They should be abolished and replaced entirely with the civilian system – most especially if we return to a draft.

  6. #6 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 3, 2007

    Clinton is fair game Revere. He is a public figure the Army guys arent. The anti war and anti Bush crowd had a field day when they put an inept commander in charge. It was the Generals responsibility and those that did it were held accountable

    Those soldiers get to go to a war zone willingly and unwillingly and get put into situations by their commanders. No, Revere they get benefit of the doubt automatically as far as the constitution and UCMJ are concerned. Clinton got a BJ, went to Kosovo (we are still there too), and left a DNA sample to convict himself. If the things happened then the officers and soldiers will be held accountable. Waterboarding is not torture. I can tell you for a fact I have seen torture in 79 and 80 and we didnt do it, it was the troops of two other nations. The guys they had were talking within about an hour or two. Pretty messed up.

    Waterboarding is simply pouring water onto someones head and it forces them to gag as they inhale some water along with air. Plenty of air. I wouldnt use it unless I thought someone had some fairly decent intel to deliver. You can in most cases get them to talk by giving them cookies of things they want, or by telling another prisoner that the other guy ratted them out.

    You could waterboard for hours and no one would die. The President, C. Rice and several others have signed off on this process as they have a legal opinion from two judges who reviewed the processes. They indeed did not recommend it as a 24 hour information gathering process and they insisted that all waterboarding should be monitored by a physician and videotaped.


    Finally Revere one of the reasons we havent been successful is that there is a group in this country who have stood in the way of the operations in Iran from day 1. The simple idea is that we invaded a peaceful well behaved country that adheres to international law and rights of others like they were a group of 3 graders in a Catholic school on the way to visit Bambi at the zoo. That is patently wrong. I just cant see anyone supporting the idea that we shouldnt have gone into Iraq. The numbers of casualties are being pumped upon pump and that handle wont go up anymore. Even the anti war people are beginning to call that bullshit. 600,000 indeed. The Lancet ? Oh so unbiased. The article writer… even more unbiased. But they get to say what they want I guess.

    Now we have given Iran 2 more weeks to make a decision to sign on for nuke fuel from Russia, then send it back for reprocessing. Al Baradei’s patience is also wearing thin with the Iranians. Some would suggest its about oil. Not really, they could not make nukes, sit back and pump now couldnt they? They could use the natural gas from their well fields to power gas turbines so that electrical noise is another crock of crap. It sounds so good in the press. I fear what could happen in the next two weeks if they dont stop. Either we get them or the Israelis do. We can do it and get away with it. They cant and they WOULD have to use nukes to bust those underground facilities. We on the other hand could do continuous strikes until we get a radiation reading with conventionals. Once done its over. The land would be poisoned for about 3000 years and we could go home. Some assert that this would make them stronger and unite them. Good, makes for fewer targets when they bunch up together. Me, I would make a point by blowing up the facilities down near Kharq Island. Shut down their oil refineries and they are done. Sure as hell cant maintain control of the country if thats down. They would indeed overthrow the Imams then. Rafsanjani and the others are all billionaires now from the stolen oil money of Iran. The will be quietly fueling their planes for Dubai if a new revolution starts. And for once, here is a concept dont fix a goddamn thing. Leave it broken as a monument to the lunacy of war and to those who hate to fight them. No one hates them more than the guys who get to go Revere. Right, wrong or indifferent. It would seem that every time we have been to war in the last 100 years without the desire to “win” we have gotten our foot mired in the dirt. Lets win this one and bring everyone home for a change. Dead leadership orders no attacks, goatherders keep on herding. Leave it broken and they inherit their earth.

  7. #7 revere
    November 3, 2007

    Randy: 70% of the American people thought it was a mistake. You disagree. It is your right. Regarding the “rights” of military doctors you say I have violated, give me the name of a single soldier I have accused. I have named no one. The fact is you object to my criticizing the military for anything but it’s OK to criticize political leaders you don’t like (Clinton) on any grounds you please. Also your right but what’s sauce for the goose, etc. If Bush had not gone in to Iraq you would be definding him for that. How about going in to China? Should we do that? Pakistan? How about some place even worse but without oil? Stalin had nukes and he was a madman. North Korea has nukes. Israel has nukes. Etc. Iran doesn’t and by the time they do (if they ever do) it won’t make any difference. The fact is you have only one solution to every problem: kill them. That is the solution that is bankrupting this country and turned the US into a second rate paper tiger. You and those who agreed with you goofed and now you won’t face the music. You’ll nver admit it was a catastrophe so what’s theuse of arguing about it?

  8. #8 daedalus2u
    November 3, 2007

    MRK, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. The main Iranian nuclear site of concern is where they are housing gas centrifuges. Gas centrifuges process natural uranium with 0.7% U235 into slightly enriched uranium of 3% for use as fuel, or as 70%+ highly enriched uranium which can be used for weapons. There is no radioactivity present other than present in natural uranium. Bombing such a facility won’t release any radioactive materials other than uranium. The land poisoned for 3000 years? What comic book did you get that from?

    The only radioactivity of significant concern is fission products. That only comes from fission, from a reactor that has been operating for some period of time, or from the fission that occurs during a nuclear explosion. There are no reactors in Iran, so there are no fission products. No fission products to release, no fission products to detect, no fission products to “poison the land”.

    A material can be highly radioactive, or a material can have a long half life. No material can have both. If you take spent fuel (which is intensely radioactive, producing the blue glow of Cerenkov radiation seen in cooling pools) with no reprocessing at all, and let it sit, in 700 years it becomes less radioactive than the ore from which the uranium was originally mined.

    A comic book view of radioactivity is about as useful as a comic book view of warfare. No doubt Sergeant Rock or Rambo could make short work of those Iranians single handedly. Why don’t we send them in?

    Revere, what about Pakistan? They are an unstable Islamic state, headed by a military dictator, who is the subject of assassination attempts all the time, it is Al Qaeda’s headquarters, most likely where Bin Ladin is, and they already have nuclear weapons.

    Iran is Shia, not Sunni (as is Bin Laden and Al Qaeda). The 9/11 perpetrators were all Sunni.

    Tom Toles illustrates this very well.


  9. #9 M. Randoph Kruger
    November 3, 2007

    And so we just sit and wait for the big bright flash in the sky Revere? I dont think so. As I said, we dont go to win wars any more. We try to be politically correct in them instead. Sanity in a war zone goes about 10 seconds into the first attack where no prisoners are declared. The polls go and come, but all I ever see is that no one ever wants to take a stand on anything in the US because of PC.

    Re: The Army officers…. You are diparaging them without proof. If you were in you would be likely hit with articles 80-82 and 117. You could request even as an E-1 an investigation via the internal or legislative channels but by saying something without direct, indictable proof is wrong. The CIC and others, the AG along with 2 out of 3 tribunal justices that waterboarding is legal. In addition, those same three justices required that strict guidelines be developed for it an other practices such as sleep deprivation, hypothermal. That makes it legal under the definitions of our laws and the Geneva C. There are those that would disagree of course, that we should do nothing to them. Of course those same detainees never have or had anything to do with killing our people or those of the world. Why, just this morning Al Qaeda threatened Mo G. Now isnt THAT special? They are beginning to eat their young.

    I wonder what you will be saying if Israel takes matters into their own hands, or if the US goes into Iran.

    Here is the likely story line

    -They are years away from making a bomb…. So we leave them to their devices

    -Pakistan should be left to their own internal squabbles…So they walk in and take over the country and get a bomb or two.

    -I dont want any more of my money spent on wars….So we sit back and someone else does Iran and starts WWIV. This is of course after they telegraphed their intentions for a year or more if they didnt stop building the bomb. .

    -We need to bring the troops home, spend all the money on social programs….Didnt Jimmy Carter say that? Lets see they took Afghanistan and our hostages while he cut the guts out of the miltiary. The defense… We had supported the Shah of Iran? So what did he do? He let the guy into the US for medical treatment and we got an embassy taken over and very likely the start of all of these events we see today.

    -The Great Leader of Australia is an idiot, just like GWB….. Havent seen anyone bombing New York or Sydney lately with these two in charge. But they did sneak into the security area. Currently under charges for the incident.

    -It just unites and strengthens them…..Maybe, but anytime they stick their heads out we hand them a few of those heads back.
    -It will create a situation in Iran like Iraq and human suffering will be off the scale…..Ever seen what happens in a nuclear blast? Now there’s human suffering.

    -Iran never had any nukes or WMD’s and neither did Iraq. Lets just negotiate until they do…… I guess we should just wait for them to test one, or worse use it? One thing is sure, if we take them down they never, ever get the chance to do it again.

    -Iran only had a peaceful nuclear program…..Debated for years afterwards by people living in mud huts having been knocked back to the Stone Age by nuclear wars…. Hand me that duck. No, not that one. The one with the really big tumor on it.

    Thats about the bent that this will take, but Iran is done. All of the warnings, all of the usual political masturbation that goes on that prolong the situation is worthless. Both Germany and France both have had to acknowledge that their lunch plate may be in the heater on this one. Iran is rapidly accumulating enough metal to make a bomb. Its not for a nuclear plant. Both countries have moved to the right of center as Chirac is now gone having made millions off of the trade sanctions…Hey, has anyone ever responded to a trade sanction?

    Plan on things to change for a while and their bomb program is going to be the key. And yes Revere, I would be more than happy to talk to them if they ceased activities. Else we take away the threat and therein lies the dilemma. Do we invade or do we just break things? It will cost a fortune…..These things always have. The country has been bankrupt since Johnson and I just wonder what your thoughts on Harry Truman are.

    When a Republican does something like this its tyranny, injustice, unnecessary and of course ill thought. I’ll be sure to remember that. The first shots of this war were shot over 40 years ago and its just now coming to a head. On the other hand this is the first war thats fought without battle lines and thats the problem. No army to hit thats visible. Hence thats the reason we might have to kill them all Revere. We know they are there, but their paymasters live in Teheran. So why hit a single chicken ranch when you can take out the KFC?

    To me though its always about preserving the security of the world rather than the possibility of bankruptcy or any small war. Its much better to have a small war than a big one. I wonder what its worth NOT to have nukes going off in the atmosphere? What number is on that Revere? Is there any diplomatic approach that you can think of that would stop the Iranians? Even the damned Russians tried.

    I would like to hear that you dont want any country, a carrier battle group or anything going up in a bright flash. Its a moot point what the Lancet says, the guy in Minnesota or even you or I if and when the Kodak moment happens. Diplomacy hasnt worked for 30 years. It was pure brute force that brought the Russians down, the same will apply here. There will be casualties. Trick is to keep them to a minimum. We have been to Iran before for like type reasons. Its in the national interests and if GWB doesnt do it the next president will. If we wait then all I can see is a massive diplomatic flurry followed by a toppling of Pakistan and THEN we go to a big war. Bigger than we have now. IMO.

    God help us all.

  10. #10 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 3, 2007

    Deadie-if they are making bombs old son and the material is there and you blow it into the atmosphere its a dirty bomb regardless of whether you hit it conventionally or with a nuke. I’ll also be sure to tell the Navajo’s that you said it was okay.

    I have a better idea Deadie, since you are so sure I want you to head on over and tell them you are are either an American? or someone from the EU and that you dont believe that they are making a bomb. You are so positive? You are sure they dont have a reactor going? You are very likely right, but then you dont need one if all you are doing is reprocessing material to make a bomb. Lots of that shit around and gas centrifuges over 3000 of them are in Iran… Now what could they possibly be doing with that? I am sure its for peaceful uses.

    There is speculation that they dont run all the time. Okay, but what are they for? Centrifuges have but one purpose and thats to either make control rods and/or bombs. Try denying that. Dont need that if you get your fuel from Russia if you dont want to buy from the French. Just not necessary for them to do what they are doing. We also know that Dr. Khan passed basically the entire Paki nuke program files to them and theirs wasnt for peaceful purposes…lets just call it joint use. Same as ours. Why are you guys always defending these guys that upset the apple cart. Saddam was a murdering SOB and right or wrong GWB didnt kill anyone until the US was attacked. I am sure that Iran, Norko and Iraq all have and had such peacful intent towards us. Sunni/Shia it doesnt matter. We get preached out every weekend.

    I am sure that our vaunted Madeline Albright who ragged on Eisenhower post 40 years for invading the place has all the answers. It was for direct strategic reasons then, it is now.

    Quick, go call Sargeant Rock and Rambo and tell them they have been activated.

    You know the Iranians could always just open the facilities up and let everyone take a look. The old saying of trust but verify would come to mind here. I am not saying that you are wrong, just you or the Iranians prove me wrong else we get another war in under six months. The Iranians who you seem very quick to defend could also do that. Its very simple Deadie, they can stop, open up or else. With the exception of the Russians and Chinese military action has already been authorized and their patience is beginning to wear as well. We went in 53 without the UN Security Council and we will do it again.

    Either you dont understand the ramifications of a nuclear tipped Iran or you dismiss it. Both will land us all into hot water pretty quick if they get it. Up until Pakistan, there has never been a Muslim nuclear power. I personally wouldnt want to find out if someone had the cajones to use it. Its been my experience that they very likely would.

  11. #11 marquer
    November 3, 2007

    Having to navigate the American medical system and deal with arrogant, entitled and professionally inept US physicians is already a pretty good analogue for torture.

    I thus don’t see what the big deal is about this.

    If we really wanted to scare presumed jihadi operatives, we would enroll them in one of our HMOs.

  12. #12 MoM
    November 3, 2007

    Another thing they fail to teach medical students is the value of reporting disease and public health surveillance. In my corner of my state there are thousands of physicians. I can count on my fingers those that report anything and on one hand those that report in accordance with our reporting rules.

  13. #13 daedalus2u
    November 3, 2007

    RMK, you don’t understand the first thing about the nuclear fuel cycle. There is no radioactivity associated with centrifuges other than small amounts from the natural uranium. That is the same uranium that is used in depleted uranium munitions. The same depleted uranium that the US used tons of in Iraq.

    Centrifuges are not used to make control rods. Control rods are made from neutron absorbers such as boron not from uranium Most bombs don’t use uranium because plutonium works better and is easier to make. Power reactors use uranium, low enriched uranium, a material which is completely useless for making bombs. All US civilian power reactors use enriched uranium, as do all the power reactors in Europe.

    You say GWB didn’t kill anyone until the US was attacked, when exactly did Iraq attack the US?

  14. #14 marquer
    November 3, 2007

    Most bombs don’t use uranium because plutonium works better and is easier to make.

    I was with you up to this point, at which I must demur and clarify. Sophisticated nuclear explosives built by advanced nation-states — for whom cost, if no object, is certainly a minimal object — will as you say use plutonium, as Pu implosion is a more efficient, higher yielding, and weaponizable approach.

    Backward nation-states, and non-state actors, will almost certainly opt to use uranium in a nuclear explosive, for several reasons, including but not limited to ease of access and simplicity of design.

    Power reactors use uranium, low enriched uranium, a material which is completely useless for making bombs.

    It is true, neverthelesss, that the same enrichment processes which take rude uranium from ore up to reactor grade, will also suffice to enrich reactor-grade uranium to weapons-grade. The technology is almost identical. All that matters is intent.

    All US civilian power reactors use enriched uranium, as do all the power reactors in Europe.

    Electricite de France uses MOX fuel in some reactors, which has a substantial component of plutonium.

  15. #15 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 4, 2007

    So Deadie is as I said, you give aid and comfort? Still think Saddam wasnt a threat? http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/06/25/sprj.irq.centrifuge/

    The nuke fuel cycle is in minimus. You simply keep refining it until you get where and what you want.

    “A single centrifuge might produce about 30 grams of HEU per year, about the equivalent of five Separative Work Unit (SWU). As as a general rule of thumb, a cascade of 850 to 1,000 centrifuges, each 1.5 meters long, operating continuously at 400 m/sec, would be able to produce about 20-25 kilograms of HEU in a year, enough for one weapon. One such bomb would require about 6,000 SWU.

    A typical centrifuge facility appears to have a capacity of 10-20 SWU/meter square, and to consume in the range of 40-50 kWh per SWU. A facility capable of producing one bomb per year would thus require about 600 square meters of floor space, and consume in the range of about 100 kW”

    Note that it goes right from the “fuel cycle” as you put it directly to the bomb making material… Guess they forgot to consult with you Deadie.

    Oh and here is what Iran had as of 2003. Nothing new except they have completed construction but Global only reports what they have confirmed by at least two sources. http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/iran/nuke-fac.htm

    By the way, Iran fired up their second load of centrifuges in the last month. No one knows exactly how many they have but they do know they have more than 3000. The hours of operation are not posted on their websites.


    Also Deadie, the original nuke program in the US didnt use centrifuges. It used a gas diffusion process which caught the metal in screens by heating/cooling it. Now they use centrifuges almost exclusively. The centrifuges are being made with French (Jaques Chirac) CNC machines thru reverse engineering. Part of the electrical problem in Iraq is from Iran. They steal miles of electrical wire and then sell it to the Iranians.

    Add in the fact that they bought tritium gas from a S. Korean facility in ’03 and ’05 and I think that effectively ends the debate as to whether they are building a bomb. You dont use tritium in control rods, and you dont use it to make electricity. Its used solely to sex up a nuke weapon. So if you can get tritium gas and have just a small nuke it can be made big with that. Very, very big.

    All they have to do is keep processing until it reaches the desired level of enrichment…..


    “The Zippe centrifuge is an improvement on the standard gas centrifuge, the primary difference being the use of heat. The bottom of the rotating cylinders is heated, producing convection currents that move the 235U up the cylinder, where it can be collected by scoops. This improved centrifuge design is used commercially by Urenco to produce nuclear fuel and was used by Pakistan in their nuclear weapons program. The Zippe-type technology was transferred by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan to North Korea, Libya and Iran, allowing them to develop their nuclear industries and to develop nuclear weapons. (In October, 2006, North Korea announced a successful test of a nuclear weapon, although it is clearly known that the fuel for this weapon was not produced from gas centrifuge technology, and the U.N. confirmed it. Iran denies having a nuclear weapons program, however several nations claim that Iran intends to use its civilian enrichment program to make actual weapons.)” -Urenco

    And FYI the reactors in our nuke boats and carriers are about 50% weapons grade material in the rods. That is an unclassified FACT….

    Your memory is pretty short Deadie, they damned near sank one of our ships in the 80’s which is my assertion. We keep living in our la-la land and havent a clue whats happening anywhere else. If Pakistan falls then we will invade there to keep the nukes out of Iranian hands. Our war, THIS war has been raging on other peoples soil for 40 or so years. Now its come to us. Its going to come again and I think soon. Bird flu would be a deliverance from the ills of even a four weapon event in the world. I would rather face down a pissant nation without one than one with. They are Muslims, they will do it for God.

    Two schools of thought on this.

    One is that we do nothing they are years away. No proof of that. I think the UN is witholding information on where they are really. The IAEA is pissed off at them too.

    But, the other is that we take them out and ensure that they dont at all. Uh-the sanctions aint working (never have) so whats left? Iran refused to participate in talks about their program. No gays in Iran day….previous commitments at Columbia, uh-too busy buying controlled export things under the table for an indecent profit. You know that kind of thing. And dont be unkind to the Aussies. They had a crapload of their people killed a couple of years ago and its the reason that their government is getting more conservative at each turn. We all want to be libs but its just not possible in this world we are in today.

    As for the materials think they cant get it? We find illegal weapons all the times in whole container loads, how many 40′ footers does it take to build a nuke program. Even Framatome was shipping with their name on the containers during the first day of the invasion. Found at the beach. Gimme a break.

    Iraq as a problem ceases about 15 minutes after we start sending the SLAM’s into Iran. No support, no weapons from Iran to back up the militias. Aw gee, peace might just break out and two democracies might be fully born. It could go the other way but I doubt it with more conventional capabilities on hand than we had during all of WWII in Europe. Invasion? For what? Break them down and let the EU rebuild them. Seize all of the Imam’s assets around the world. That would surely pay for it.

    I fully oppose a war with Iran. Iran has and has had every opportunity to come clean with the rest of the world. Revere doesnt want us in Iraq. Shit I want us out too. But the job isnt done and shortly the biggest air armada in the world is going to take off and and let them know that they should have come clean. The same with Iraq. Bad intel on part of it in Iraq. The Syrian thing from Sept. proved that. But its either these little wars or we get into the big one. Take your pick.

  16. #16 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 4, 2007

    Marquer-Thank you… Even though we butt heads a bit I always find your stuff informed. I rebutted Deadie but it has to be reviewed by Revere due to the number of cites. They all pretty much say what you said. HEU in the new torroidal type of centrifuges removes a step that used to be done by hand which was removal of the material post of the run. Using this type allowed for the technicians to remove the material without having to do anything but shut it off. There all sorts of ways to enhance the production as well in this manner. Electromagnetics increases the yield, heating the material and by simply recycling the material back into the centrifuge it increases the ability of the material to adhere to the walls. Its also as I understand it, fifty times stronger after its gone thru three times.

    The French are quantum leaps ahead of us here in the States on nuclear reactors because we cant get one built due to the opposition to them. They want us clean, but they dont want any Three Mile Islands either. I think you are in England if I recall. Whats the read over there about Iran? Do them or not? Wait, try to negotiate or impose even more sanctions? I cant honestly say what I would do, but the wheels have started to turn already and there are 5 carrier groups in the Straits. US 3, Brit 2, and one French. I cant decide what the French will do.

  17. #17 daedalus2u
    November 4, 2007

    The first nuclear explosion that every nation state has detonated has been a plutonium device except for China and Pakistan. South Africa did make some uranium devices, but never set any off, and destroyed them before apartheid ended.

    The isotope separation technique may be the same, but the configuration of the equipment is quite different to produce 3% vs. 70% enrichment. When the US isotope separation plant was first operated, it ran for a year before producing any product. It took that long to fill the “dead volume” in the cascade with material. It is trivial to tell the ratio of U238 to U235 in a piece of equipment from external measurements. It is trivial to tell if a cascade is set up to make low enriched uranium or highly enriched uranium merely by external inspection.

    The most important factor in the acquisition of nuclear weapons is the will of those involved. North Korea is the poorest, most backward, most primitive country in the world, so poor that many of their people are starving and trying to “escape” to a better life in China. All of the nuclear materials that NK used were made either during the administration of GHWB, or GWB. It was the belligerence and confrontation of GWB that drove NK to withdraw from the NPT, expel inspectors, remove spent fuel and reprocess it for plutonium and turn that plutonium into bombs.


    GWB is repeating that confrontational approach with Iran. He is trying to goad them into doing “something”, so he can attack them. Why? Was that approach successful in Iraq? In North Korea? In Libya? In Pakistan?

    It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

  18. #18 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 4, 2007

    Again Deadie you need to read. It was Clinton who blew it in Korea. They happily took the food, money etc. not to fire up their program. But the implied threat was always there as they had their control rods under IAEA lock and key. Even at the end of the Clintonians, they snatched them open and started making bombs after expelling the inspectors. This broke the agreement and Bush held back on sanctions after they stopped, for a bit. Then the Norko’s stunned the Chinese when they blurted out on the way to a meeting that they had nukes. The Chinese were both blindsided and pissed. They had set the meeting up and they didnt want the Norko’s to have them either. Beijing is in easy range of the things from the Norko border.


  19. #19 daedalus2u
    November 5, 2007

    MRK, you have your timing a little off. It was only after GWB started talking trash to the NKs that they caught “my missile isn’t big enough” from Bush and went nukular.

    Blame Clinton because the NKs did nothing with the reactor they built and ran during GHWB’s term? Huh? If GWB had continued Clinton’s policy, NK would still be sitting on unreprocessed fuel eating ding-dongs or what ever food it was that was being sent to them.

    GWB wanted to be a “war president”, never mind that nearly every “problem” he has gone to war over could have been solved faster and cheaper and more reliably with other means.

  20. #20 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 5, 2007

    Deadie, thats in correct. They hosed Clinton before he left office. It simply freed up money that they would have had to buy food with. But what the Hell they got a fizzle when they tried to pop their cap, they pissed of the Chinese and now they are shuttering the plant. Desired effect finally achieved.

    And I am glad you have 20/20 hindsight that operates so well for you. Pakistan for instance….Musharaf goes and we might have to roar in there to keep the Taliban and Al Qaeda from getting nukes directly. On one hand we are crying the blues kind of that he did what he did. On the other, civil war is likely to ensue and we will NOT allow those missiles to fall into the wrong hands. Nor do I think that our friends the Indians will either.

    I still dont understand why anyone gets so wired up about Iraq for. It was inevitable and I dont think that GWB wanted to be a war time president Deadie. I think that was set the second they took the WTC’s.

  21. #21 daedalus2u
    November 5, 2007

    MRK, I really don’t understand you. The “implied threat” that NK might in the future build nuclear weapons under Clinton is worse than the actual building of nuclear weapons under GWB?

  22. #22 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 5, 2007

    You are changing the argument Deadie. Clinton was furious that they started their program back up. They did it each time we refused to feed their people for them. It happened on his watch and rightfully so. I dont give WJC much of a pass on anything but they did support the regime to prevent it from happening and they slipped around behind the UN and IAEA inspectors backs and removed the seals.

    Even Madeleine Albright suggested an attack on the facilities but the threat of a release of material into the atmosphere was too great and would have likely ended up on Chinese soil.

    So the argument for both of us is now moot. They are ceasing their program and happily exporting it now to people who can afford it. No restrictions on that particular crime against humanity. Iran and Syria in particular. We interecepted (Navy) boarded three ships in the springtime that had missiles and parts on board. Had to cut them loose as they were legal (if there is such a thing with this kind of stuff) and they ported up in Bandar Abas. And we got it all on real time TV…..

  23. #23 JJackson
    November 6, 2007

    While I am always wary of leaping into another US foreign policy debate with Randy – as they tend to go on a bit and we never convince each other of anything – I have posted a link to a very informative document below which I came across while researching the ‘dirty bomb’ effects of some of the US air strikes on Iran proposals ( http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/briefing_papers/pdf/wouldairstrikeswork.pdf ). This is an academic report called ‘Would Air Strikes Work?’ for the Oxford Research Group (UK) but it should clear up some misunderstandings as it has a clear section on the basic nuclear technologies and on all potential sites in Iran (which include two longstanding active research reactors – one supplied by the US). While this is not really the forum for this discussion, for those that are interested, the thing to watch at the moment is the shipment of fuel from Russia to the Bushehr LWR. This reactor is basically complete but the US is applying pressure on Russia not to deliver the ~100 tonnes of fuel for the core. The US do not want to the reactor active as it limits their military options, the Russians are trying to corner the reprocessing market and the US has just lost an anti-dumping case against them (on the grounds this is a service and therefore outside the courts jurisdiction.) The Russians are contractually bound to supply the fuel but are trying to renegotiate the deal so all fuel must be returned to Russia for reprocessing. Iran – depending on how you look at it – either want to keep the whole fuel cycle in-house because every time they allow an important project to include a mission critical component that is externally sourced it comes back to bite them (think spares for the air force (US) or air defense radar (Russia)) or are trying to build a bomb. The fuel was IAEA inspected and sealed for shipment in September but the Russians have claimed Iran failed to make a $25 million dollar monthly payment (highly unlikely given how badly they want it) then wanted to discuss it in Putin’s October visit to Tehran (nearly cancelled due to an unspecified assassination threat) … This farce is likely to continue to run and run. For those with as dark a sense of humor as I try this link to VPOTHUS Dick Cheney’s interview on Iranian military action http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/opinion/28dowd.html?_r=1&em&ex=1193716800&en=9760f169dbded406&ei=5087&oref=login .

  24. #24 daedalus2u
    November 6, 2007

    Excellent article on the Iranian nuclear program and what air strikes would do. A quote the report emphasizes:

    “armed attacks on Iran would very likely lead to the result they were meant to avoid”

    The conclusion states:

    “In the aftermath of a military strike, and if Iran devoted maximum effort and resources to building one nuclear bomb, it could achieve this in a relatively short amount of time: less than the two years muted as the time military strikes would set back its current programme. The argument that military strikes would buy needed time is flawed. It does not take into account the time already available to pursue diplomacy; it inflates the likelihood of military success and underplays the possibility of hardened Iranian determination leading to a nuclear crash programme. Post military attacks, it is possible that Iran would be able to build a nuclear weapon and would then wield one in an environment of incalculably greater hostility.”

    “In the long-term, Iran cannot be deterred from attaining
    a nuclear weapons capability by bombing its facilities,
    and presumably continuing to do so if Iran reconstitutes
    its programme.”

  25. #25 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 6, 2007

    JJ-Funny but it is Maureen Dowd and the NYT’s. I am surprised that they even let her comment in that manner. Its not funny at all. Nukes know no bounds and if for no other reason the Iranians should be denied the capability because of the threat they pose. This is Persia and not former goat herders in the rest of the mid-east. They are actively pursuing the overthrow of Pakistan, and would roll into the rest of the Middle East like a steam roller once they are able to get first and ten and goal to goal.

    Deadie understands that they could get one, but either doesnt understand what it means for them to have even three or doesnt care. He is more involved with what Bush is doing at any given time. Bush has done a poor job of selling the case and it was prepositioned on WMD’s that were never found, that is until they killed 150 at a Syrian missile site 200 miles from Haifa when one expanded and the case cracked open.

    My position is clear. The response of ANY attack on Israel with any WMD will be responded to with a horrific response. Be it chemical or nuke, they will fry the capital of the people shooting it. LIkely this is the reason we are going to be tasked with doing Iran because we are used to people chanting and rioting about what we do. We have them here, but this isnt going into Vietnam nor is it Iraq. We do it then it will be because the Iranians might just get a bomb and then a space delivery system that can hit anywhere in the EU and eventually the US. They have the missiles to hit just about most of eastern Europe now. Sling it east and they could easily hit China, India. But that either escapes them or they dont care.

    Iran once they are knocked down from Deadie’s assumption would reconstitute its nuke program again, and again. And we would knock it down again and again.

    But its all about Bush. And surely Iran is making electricity instead of bombs. NOT if the Russians offer up fuel and reprocessing.

  26. #26 daedalus2u
    November 7, 2007

    MRK, I fully realize what could happen if Iran got 3 nuclear devices. At most 3 cities could be destroyed. Total casualties likely under a million.

    What you seem incapable of realizing is what would happen if the only deterrent against an unprovoked military attack and invasion is possessing nuclear weapons.

    What will happen then is that every nation that fears being attacked will seek to acquire nuclear weapons as their highest priority. North Korea did, the poorest, most backward, most primitive country in the world, and if NK can anyone can. You heap scorn on their “fizzle”, but a yield of 0.4kT has a 100% lethal radiation range of about 600 meters.

    South Africa used to have nuclear weapons and destroyed them because the leaders at the time thought they were more of a liability than an asset. In the world you are advocating, the only asset of any value is nuclear weapons. Because nuclear weapons are fragile and easily destroyed, no doubt nations with few will deploy them with a “launch on warning” policy. Only when they have “many”, such that “enough” will survive a counterforce first strike will they stand down from launch on warning. Regional conflicts will turn nuclear very rapidly as each side tries to destroy the nuclear capability of the other. The “solution” to that is to disperse nuclear weapons widely, which makes them vulnerable to theft and sale on the black market. What would a nuclear warhead be worth on the black market? Where will nuclear weapons on the black market be used? On the enemies of those rich enough to buy them, who would be rich enough? Oil states, drug lords, military dictatorships, Bill Gates?

    What kind of foreign policy would be successful when 50 nations have nuclear weapons deployed with a launch on warning policy? What happens when one of them is the subject of a terrorist nuclear attack? Who do they retaliate against? The usual subjects? The way the US retaliated against Iraq for 9/11 but with nuclear weapons? Why wouldn’t al Qaeda (Sunni) attack Israel to provoke an attack on Iran (Shia)?

  27. #27 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 7, 2007

    Deadie–Which particular three cities IYO are expendable? You posture that this is acceptable? It takes a long time to build a bomb, not long if you topple Pakistan. In one corner they are cheering Musharraf, in the other they wish he would just do the elections.

    As for 50 nations getting it? Not a chance. Too expensive. Launch on warning…We dont launch on warning as it is now. We launch when we get both a radar track and a satellite confirmation of a launch AND when it crosses the airspace on downward ballistic track. Even then if it was a single one from Russia we might ride it out and see if it was a verifiable accident. If it was from Iran, a nuke boat would do them in 45 minutes or less.

    As for your last para, its a legitimate question with about 4000 different answers to it. First and foremost is that it would be DUMB to launch against Israel with one nuke or even three. They can handle that with their ARROW and PATRIOT batteries. The Syrians were loading up some 600 missiles with VX, Tabun and some other nasties last month when they got caught and the Israelis took out their storage facilities. The idea I believe was to coordinate an attack on them and overload their missile defenses. 600 would do it and which one is carrying the bomb, or chemical weapon? The would surely be carrying a conventional load in the others. But point taken. If they launch they will hit the ports and adjacent cities and if they do its over. 3 bombs even by Israeli commanders best estimate will take Israel out if its in the ports.

    I dont think that the Iranians give one big rats ass about the Palestinians, its about domination of the region and they cant do it with Israel on the left, the US on the NE, and in Iraq. They are surrounded and they have to break out. They will use diplomacy, the law and whatever else is available to them to effect their game.

  28. #28 daedalus2u
    November 7, 2007

    MRK, the reason the US doesn’t have a policy of launch on warning (any more), is because the US has thousands of warheads in hundreds of different places. Some of them virtually invulnerable (submarines at sea). It is inconceivable that all US warheads could be destroyed in a counterforce strike. In any case, the only credible threat would be Russia, and we don’t have that level of dispute with Russia (any more). In the event of a sufficiently massive counterforce strike to take out 95% of US ground based missiles, the fallout would be horrific every place on Earth. The fallout would kill people in Russia, even if the US didn’t relaliate. The US doesn’t “need” a launch on warning policy.

    A two-bit dictator with only 5 warheads can not be confident those warheads would survive a first strike. It is either use them or lose them.

    I didn’t say “launch” against Israel, how about smuggle one in and set it off in Tel Aviv? Who do the Israelis retaliate against if they don’t know where it came from? What if the Israelis capture a group of terrorists with a nuke? Do they retaliate? Against what?

    North Korea is one of the poorest nations on Earth. They can’t even feed their people. If NK can afford nuclear weapons, then anyone can.


    NK is #92 in GDP, Israel is #53. There are 52 nations more wealthy than Israel and 91 more wealthy than NK.

    If Israel can afford a few hundred warheads, there are at least 50 that can afford a dozen. They just need to make it a priority. Bush is doing his best to incentivize everyone to get nuclear weapons ASAP.

    I agree that the chances of 50 nations getting nuclear weapons is slim because likely there will be a global nuclear war before that many get them.

    I don’t like the idea of losing any cities. But I would rather lose a few cities than have a global nuclear war that renders the Earth uninhabitable and uninhabited. There are religious crazies on both sides that think global nuclear war just might be God’s plan.

  29. #29 M. Randolph Kruger
    November 7, 2007

    Gee Deadie, now there’s the rub you really wanted to get at and its Bush. Bush, Bush, Bush…. not terrorists, not Saddam, not Al Qaeda, not Osama, not Kim Jong, not Ahmadinejad. Broaden your horizons Deadie. If Hitler was knocking your door would you be ragging on Roosevelt or Churchill?

    Better get this one thru your head Deadie… First one thats not a superpower that launches a nuke into adjacent territory and contaminates the atmosphere is going to feel the full brunt of probably all the UN Security Council members. I dont think that any of them are going to go nuclear, they would just respond with so much firepower that they will think it was a nuke going off. You saw what the Israeli’s did to S. Lebanon. They ground it up so badly that I read it will cost 30 million just to clear the roads and rebuild them. Figure it like that only times x the number of participants. That Russian bear is still very potent as are the Chinese. Fallout would land on both. I think that a Russian invasion would be imminent on Iran if they launched it and Israel responded. Why? Self-defense on the part of Israel and the acts of madmen on the other.

    As for being able to afford it, you either have to have a dictator-Saddam, Kim, MoG or, a country hell bent on making them US, China, France, Russia, Great Britain, Pakistan, India, and now…….Iran. Dif is that we know pretty much how the big powers work and to a limited part Pak and India. But not Iran. They are just flat bent on the destruction of Israel. They like 100 buck barrels oil. Easier to finance the nuke program. Norko didnt have oil…. too bad for them eh? Might as well sell the technology instead.

    As for packing a nuke into Israel…. Good luck. You might get close but they thought of that a long time ago with the advent of our NEST aircraft. We have them flying about right now in the US especially in the port areas. Not very likely that they could get it in.

  30. #30 daedalus2u
    November 8, 2007

    What Israel did in South Lebanon? You mean when primitive missiles were being launched daily into Israel and a month of Israeli attacks didn’t stop them? The month of attacks that destroyed the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon and actually strengthened Hamas?

    The UN Charter allows use of any weapon in “self-defense”. The Bush Doctrine now “defines” a preventative war as “self-defense”. Why would any nation attack another nation with nuclear weapons because the UN told them to? Are you saying that the US military should take orders from the UN now?

    Huh? We “know” how Pakistan works? How come the testing of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan took the CIA by surprise? Just like we “knew” that Saddam had WMD.

    Hitler isn’t knocking on anyone’s door. Iran has massive internal economic problems that military expansion by them isn’t going to make go away. The people of Iran live crummy lives because they have a crummy government. That crummy government is trying to stir up sanctions and an attack by the US because that gives them political cover for the economic disaster their mismanagement of the economy has caused.

    Right now, Saddam, Al Qaeda, Osama, Kim Jong, Ahmadinejad don’t have thousands of nuclear weapons. Bush does. When Bush tells Ahmadinejad that “all options are on the table”, Bush has the “option”, of launching thousands of nuclear warheads against Iran. The Iranians have to take that threat seriously. The only response that makes sense for the Iranians is to acquire nuclear weapons ASAP. If Iran had nuclear weapons, diplomacy would look a lot better to Bush.

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