Wingnut Congressman Wants to Nuke Iran


Rep. Duncan Hunter, apparently worried that he’s not getting enough attention in the ongoing competition for the title of the most extreme and dangerous member of the House Republican caucus, went on C-SPAN earlier this week and said that we should use nuclear weapons against Iran.

HUNTER: I think a ground war in Iran with American boots on the ground would be a horrible thing and I think people like to toss around the fact that we have to stop them in some way from gaining this nuclear capability. I don’t think it’s inevitable but I think if you have to hit Iran, you don’t put boots on the ground, you do it with tactical nuclear devices and you set them back a decade or two or three. I think that’s the way to do it with a massive aerial bombardment campaign.

Hunter — a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — explained that the U.S. experience in those countries have shaped his view. “I think America now knows its limitations in that area and what we can do and do we want to spend 20 years there after we tear it down to build it back up again so that it isn’t run by a crazy tyrannical leader like has happened in, let’s say Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said.

Here’s the video. And let me just say this: Anyone suggesting the use of nuclear weapons has pretty much surrendered any right to be taken seriously ever again.

Comments

  1. davidwhitlock says

    70 years ago, guys with slide rules built nuclear weapons “from scratch”, not knowing if it could even be done in 3 years and 7 months.

    You can’t set a nuclear weapons program back a decade.

    You can’t set it back more than a couple of years.

  2. infraredeyes says

    Deep down inside, these guys are just dying to use nuclear weapons against somebody, anybody.

  3. pocketnerd says

    Apparently it’s finally sinking in for the GOP that our wars of choice in Afghanistan and Iraq were not the glorious triumphs they expected. Unfortunately, they seem to think the problem is they weren’t aggressive enough.

  4. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    I saw this attitude satirized thirty years ago or more as “Just drop one little bomb on Minsk or Pinsk.”

    In the “You can always serve as a bad example” category, Congressman Wingnut demonstrates the need for better history and geography standards in American schools.

  5. Brandon says

    If we all agree that nuclear weapons shouldn’t ever be used (which I assume we all agree on here?), doesn’t that imply that stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons actually would be a good thing? If we’re going to insist on having a dozen freaking carrier groups, tactical bombing of sites where nuclear weapons development is occurring seems like something we could use them for. If it’s not, we really should think about scrapping those carriers.

  6. daved says

    “We have to use nuclear weapons on Iran to keep them from building nuclear weapons.”

    Uh huh.

    This is reminding me of that line from Yellowbeard: “I’ll kill anyone that tries to stop me from killing anyone.”

  7. Loqi says

    If we all agree that nuclear weapons shouldn’t ever be used (which I assume we all agree on here?),

    Have you met conalgo? He doesn’t bother with porn when he jerks off. He just admires how much his penis looks like a mushroom cloud and it gets him right off.

    we really should think about scrapping those carriers.

    Yes, we should.

  8. Artor says

    Brandon, that may be. But there’s a world of options between, “Something must be done!” and, “Nuke ‘em back to the Stone Age!” It’s aggressively ignorant to pretend otherwise.

  9. Brandon says

    Artor, I agree completely. I don’t have much of a policy stand on this at all, it just seems intuitive to me that if we’re going to have a monstrously large military (and that seems to be a foregone conclusion) and we’re basically agreed that unfriendly states shouldn’t have nukes, it stands to reason that military options should be on the table. Maybe they shouldn’t be, I don’t know. I surely wouldn’t go with the “nuke them sumbitches!” line of thinking at all though. So, yeah, Hunter’s a loon with regard to using nuclear weaponry, but I don’t think his notion that we can strike targets without putting boots on the ground is necessarily wrong.

  10. Wylann says

    I don’t get this wordsalad:

    “I think America now knows its limitations in that area and what we can do and do we want to spend 20 years there after we tear it down to build it back up again so that it isn’t run by a crazy tyrannical leader like has happened in, let’s say Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    Is he saying that conventional bombs would leave us to move in and rebuild for the next 20 years and that’s bad? But nukes magically make everything ok and different because….reasons?

    Or is my wingnut translator broken again?

  11. says

    Of course he doesn’t consider that the US using tacnukes just opens the door for someone else doing it. I’m sure Moscow and Beijing have a few places they’d really like to drop one on if they figured they could get away with it. Or India. And there might be a few countries that might revive their nuclear programs if suddenly non-strategic weapons were acceptable to use.

  12. vmanis1 says

    Rachel Maddow had this clip on her show on Wednesday night. She noted that Rep. Hunter only espoused tactical nukes, and then explained what these were, `tiny, tiny nukes’, holding her fingertips a centimetre or so apart. If the esteemed Congressthing had any sense of shame at all, that alone should have made him go beet-red and consider resigning.

    (Serious note: this is the flaw in the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction: there are people to whom the whole idea of using nukes DOESN’T seem crazy. `If using nukes is MAD, then only madmen will use them’.)

  13. steve84 says

    Hunter is ex-military. So much for the absurd notion again that veterans make better politicians or the equally absurd notion that they’d want to avoid war (except for when they have to fight in it).

  14. Chiroptera says

    If we are so concerned that “Mad Mullahs” are going to get their hands on nukes, or that somehow will allow terrorists to acquire them, then why isn’t Pakistan the number one concern?

  15. Pierce R. Butler says

    If we implement Hunter’s strategic vision, we can heal the split between Sunni and Shia in a shared jihad against, uh, us.

    What a historic ecumenical breakthrough!

  16. freehand says

    timgueguen: Of course he doesn’t consider that the US using tacnukes just opens the door for…

    Among other things, it might make countries with which we are currently friendly nervous. What would – or could – a nervous Russia, China, Japan, or France do?

    I can imagine reasons which would justify shooting somebody. But if I am having a feud with my neighbor, I am not at all sure that gardening while openly carrying is a good idea (neither self-serving nor morally defensible).

    steve84: Hunter is ex-military. So much for the absurd notion again that veterans make better politicians or the equally absurd notion that they’d want to avoid war (except for when they have to fight in it).

    Paint with a broad brush much? I’ve never heard anyone (on this blog, anyway) suggest that military service invariably makes anyone a good potential politician. Do you think that it’s a plus on one’s curricula vitae to be college educated? But surely I can find an example of an idiot who has a legitimate PhD.

  17. says

    Bush Doctrine didn’t work*, but Bush Doctrine + Nuclear Weapons is sure to work.

    If anything, he’s understating the case. They have the material to make dirty bombs right now. Clearly, the only solution is to use tactical dirty bombs on them before they have the chance…

     
    * Thanks, Obamacare!

  18. Michael Heath says

    vmanis1 writes:

    Serious note: this is the flaw in the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction: there are people to whom the whole idea of using nukes DOESN’T seem crazy. `If using nukes is MAD, then only madmen will use them’.

    For decades mutually assured destruction was the establishment, status-quo position within the D.C. power-centers. Only liberals and then President Reagan gagged on it in those quarters.

    I bring this up because I’m continually amazed at how we repeatedly see positions held by moderates that are extreme. And I note this irony as a moderate myself. An example of one now is how the President and congressional Democrats have reacted to the debt issue relative to how the GOP has insisted taxes not be raised. By promoting spending cuts in the 80% range with the rest covered by tax hikes and economic growth.

    To me this both positions are crazy, obviously the GOP’s is far worse since it’s contractionary. Here we’re not even considering working our way out of our debt issue with policies that would maximize employment and growth. That would be via domestic spending increases with a balanced draw-down of military spending coupled to tax hikes. While I’m comfortable self-identifying as a moderate, the position I promote here would be described by today’s GOP in terms I can’t imagine given how they falsely describe President Obama’s far right-wing argument as socialism, communism, or Marxism.

  19. lorn says

    I’m a little divided as how to take this. He has seen enough of war to know how bad it is and that we really need to avoid any protracted engagement. We were spread thin in Iraq and Iran is something like three times the size of Iraq. A much larger meat grinder to jump into.

    On the one side I think he is serious about the nuclear weapons as alternative to a costly ground invasion but is unaware that for strategists tactical nukes, variously and loosely defined as under 1 Kt or a few Kt, have been largely replaced by high yield conventional explosives delivered with high precision.

    Typical attack plan on a difficult to destroy underground complex replaces a few MT devices, intended to convert the complex into a crater, with dozens of conventional warheads that seal the entrances, and destroy both the power supply and ventilation. This may or may not include one or more deep penetration bombs that damage the inside of the facility to make it uninhabitable. Analysis of these structures shows that the weak points are primarily the vital links with the surface and that there is little need to break through the hardened shell. After a few days, perhaps weeks, even the most well equipped underground shelter runs out of air, water, power and becomes a tomb.

    It must be noted that there is a long history, dating back to WWI of “impenetrable” fortresses being sealed with soldiers still inside and marked as tombs. One particularly solid fortress was, in part, abandoned after a soldier caused a fire lighting a small stove. The heat and smoke, trapped by the multiple layers of concrete and steel, was impossible to fight and after an initial recovery effort a large part of the fort was simply walled off.

    A heavily fortified deep underground complex is, possibly, the most difficult of targets. Unprotected strategic targets such as communication hubs and power plants are generally quite easy to destroy with strike capabilities we had before the first Gulf war. As demonstrated during the first forty days of that war. Those capabilities have improved with time in both power and precision.

    As an alternative to a ground invasion precision strikes with conventional weapons are indeed attractive. Perhaps too attractive. Change the wording to using nuclear weapons and people, the Iranians, are shocked into trying to avoid a war. This seems to be the intent. Or at least it is if representative Hunter is serious, or to be taken as serious.

    Yes, being a Republican in congress, making sense, even having the ability to make sense, is not a job requirement. Bachmann, the obscene clown act that she plays, still holds office and regularly gets calls to appear on national TV in rolls other than comedy relief or cautionary tale. It is impossible to overestimate the depravity and uselessness but, in this case, he may be making a useful point. That a ground war is so useless as to make a nuclear response, another profoundly useless and counterproductive end, seem reasonable.

    This used to highlight a need to find other methods, like diplomacy perhaps, without having to appear anything but hawk-like in his demeanor. It isn’t as if he could openly advocate diplomacy without getting primaried. This may be how Teabaggers have to talk about their preference for a diplomatic end. It is a bit like aiming and cocking the hammer on a loaded gun at the dinner table to get someone to pass the salt but when it is ideologically impossible for a faction to show any hint of weakness this may pass for communication.

  20. jba55 says

    My brother used to say that anyone who wants power probably shouldn’t have it. He was referring to political power but I think it’s just as good for WMDs.

    freehand @19: ” I’ve never heard anyone (on this blog, anyway) suggest that military service invariably makes anyone a good potential politician.”

    If I’m not mistaken it’s a reference to something a different, physically at least, wingnut had said recently not to anything anyone claimed here. I remember some discussion of it in an earlier comment section, but can’t remember which.

  21. says

    HUNTER: I think a ground war in Iran with American boots on the ground would be a horrible thing…

    And tactical nukes are not horrible? He doesn’t even qualify as a nutcase.

  22. DonDueed says

    Then every city the whole world ’round
    Will just be another American town
    Oh how happy we will be
    We’ll set everybody free
    You’ll have a lovely burqa, babe,
    There’ll be Persian rugs for me

    They all hate us anyhow,
    So let’s drop the big one now,
    Let’s drop the big one now

  23. matty1 says

    Ed

    Anyone suggesting the use of nuclear weapons has pretty much surrendered any right to be taken seriously ever again.

    First comment colnago80

    Tactical nuclear weapons? Not a bit of it. Tsar bombs.

    Is there an award for total obliviousness rising to self parody?

  24. alanuk says

    Would it be such a bad thing if Iran did develop nuclear weapons? India and Pakistan were always at each others throats, which sometimes broke down into actual war, until both sides had nuclear weapons. The US seriously considered destroying the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons before they had time to develop ones of their own. Afterwards, both sides were more concerned with using their weapons as a deterrent.

    If Iran had nuclear weapons it would stop attacks by Israel and. conversely, Iran could not think about attacking Israel as the consequences of nuclear retaliation by Israel alone would be disastrous even if Russia prevented the US from joining in.

  25. Michael Heath says

    alanuk @29,

    Yours is a classic illustration of the mutually assured destruction argument. In the short- and intermediate term it appears compelling, I think because we humans tend to think in probabilities where the base line is 50%.

    I think the reason “MAD” lost its attraction because we’ve advanced our critical thinking skills to the point we can now consider options not in terms of percentages rounded to tens, but instead in defects per some large number, where even 1

  26. Michael Heath says

    Accidently hit a key above that posted my comment prior to typing it out and proofing it. Rev. 2 below:

    alanuk @29,

    Yours is a classic illustration of the mutually assured destruction argument. In the short- and intermediate term it appears compelling, I think because we humans tend to think in probabilities where the base line is 50%.

    I think the reason “MAD” lost its attraction in the 1980s is because we’ve advanced our critical thinking skills to the point we can now consider options not in terms of percentages rounded to tens, but instead in defects per some large number, where even one defect in this case is potentially catastrophic.

    So from this tougher standard, the objective isn’t merely to establish parity. That’s given the premise that an increase in inventory increases the odds we’ll ultimately use them at some point. Instead it’s to drive the inventory down to zero, to work towards a defect rate that approaches zero even when the denominator is a very large number.

    So from this perspective, Reagan and Gorbechev’s argument is far more compelling; as is then-Senators Obama and Lugar in continuing their work to drive down inventory to zero.

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