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Subject: U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability
frenk    2/3/2005 1:39:48 AM
if this two nations gets angry to each other and goes to nuclear war...which we hope wouldnt happen...who has the capability of winning the the nuclear war? frenk
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gixxxerking    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/10/2005 2:35:26 PM
Absolutely false. There is no weapon so terrible that possession by both sides ends all chance of meaningful victory. Wargames was a nice movie, but largely motivated by the anti nuke crowd during a time of hysteria. NUCLEAR WAR, CAN BE WON.
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Shooter    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/10/2005 9:57:44 PM
I agree. You just have to define victory!
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gixxxerking    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/10/2005 10:04:35 PM
Technically speaking. the US already won 2 nuclear wars. WW2 and WW3(cold war). Victory being to force the enemy to accept surrender or eliminating his means to retaliate in kind.
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gixxxerking    RE:U.S.A and Russia's Nuclear Capability   2/10/2005 10:07:21 PM
Example, we could exchange with China. Inflict enough damage to destroy their country and still have the means to strike again while the Chinese would not. Hell we could do that to any country now and still recover from our damage within 5 to 10 years.
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elcid    Gix made a big mistake   2/11/2005 6:32:30 AM
He didn't have to reveal his ignorance of strategic nuclear warfare. But he chose to make it clear. He said: Absolutely false. There is no weapon so terrible that possession by both sides ends all chance of meaningful victory. Actually, this is absolutely false. But before I elaborate, let me make it clear that I am not saying ALL nuclear weapons are the same, that there are no legal or moral applications of nuclear weapons (at least theoretically), or that my hands are clean (because I served on a nuclear armed warship and I participated in the development of US nuclear weapons systems). I wrote a paper Are US Nuclear Weapons Legal? and did not offer a simplistic yes or no answer. No law bans nuclear weapons per se, and if used in ways that do not cause excessive casualties they can be legal. Any weapon when misused is illegal. The problem is, it is awfully easy to misuse large nuclear weapons legally, and no way at all to target a city with a hydrogen bomb without breaking the law. Technically, this is true EVEN if one of our cities has gone up in a mushroom cloud. It is not a pleasant subject, but I never tried to escape the truth by pretending things are either better or worse than is indicated by the science. The biggest reason Gix is quite wrong is the combination of numbers and size. It is not so much that ONE weapon is so terrible as that the effects of many thousands of weapons are quite literally beyond our capacity to fully comprehend. The only good news is that in a real nuclear war lots of these weapons will not get used - because they will be destroyed by other nuclear weapons - both friendly and enemy. [Look up the term fratricide - killing your own warheads - it is an actual term in nuclear theory]. Also, a major fraction will not work. We like to think it might be 10% of US weapons - but it is much worse than that in some cases. Older Russian systems never had less than a 1 in 3 failure rate. Both these factors mean that number crunching can be somewhat misleading - you cannot get 1000 warheads on target by firing 1000 warheads for example. But you can get 700 or 800 there. It turns out this is not a trivial thing. Numbers make it look way to sanitary - it is easy not to grasp their significance. After the betrayal of the Metrokin Archive of the USSR we learned the Russians almost launched an attack on Western Europe in 1983. Unlike decades of NATO planning, the Russians NEVER planned a conventional march to the Atlantic. They ALWAYS planned for a theater nuclear war. Starting with 400 nukes plus nerve gas (2/3 of some missiles were armed with nerve gas - both persistant and nonpersistant - for use on different targets.] Studies of the effect of this "small" nuclear war are instructive. Oh - yes - why? Seems a NATO missile exercise was misinterpreted as an attempt to decapitate. The Russian General Staff recommended the attack to the head of state. They believed that the USA would not hit Russian cities (completely misunderstanding NATO doctrine or political imperatives) because they held US cities hostage in exactly the sense Gix thinks cannot be done. Oddly, like Gix, I too do not believe in nuclear deterrence theory. However, it is incidents like this which make me not believe it. They show miscalculation can be profound, near total, and it can lead senior leaders to propose massive attacks. It is not the first time. The first time I know of was 1961, when Kennedy was advised by Gen Tower and JCS to launch a limited attack on the USSR in a non-crisis situation - to prevent it from achieving mutual deterrence! Like his Russian counterpart in 1983, Kennedy refused the recommendation. The last commander of SAC wrote to me that a major nuclear war between major nuclear powers is sure to escalate. Worse, there is no way to end it. Communications systems would generally fail, and leaders would in many cases not be alive, or at least not be in any useful place, to make decisions to end the war. Nor would there be much interest in trying - so strong would be the emotional demands for revenge. The numbers - even given many failures and many destroyed by enemy weapons - are so vast that no major target would go unhit. The world economy would cease to function. The effects on climate and shipping alone would cause a majority of the population of the planet to perish in about two months - the time it takes to starve to death after consuming local food resources - to the extent they were not also destroyed. Add to this the problem of radioactive fallout in a no longer functional modern society. Many people could not tell the food they ate was contaminated. Much food would not even grow properly for periods measured in years. This is a very conservative picture - it might be a lot worse - depending on the targeting strategies and weapons types. There is reason to think the Russians use some nasty radioisotope generating systems, for example. Ther
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elcid    we could exchange with China   2/11/2005 6:46:08 AM
Gix wrote: Inflict enough damage to destroy their country and still have the means to strike again while the Chinese would not. Hell we could do that to any country now and still recover from our damage within 5 to 10 years This is illusion. It is worse than fiction - it is the opposite of the truth. Actually, I did think we could get the Chinese deterrent at need - we once could have done. But something caused me to check in 2004, and I got a rude shock. The Chinese deterrent (which does NOT include its lone SSBN - it has no weapons and never made a deterrant patrol) is based on an ICBM system much harder than anyone else ever fielded. There are 4 rounds per launcher forward in the firing units and 4 more held at brigade - plus unknown others at the "base" (consider it division) level. China has only 4 ICBM launch brigades. Their TO&E is 8 firing units (but one is not yet at that number). This sounds pretty small. The fact that they are not one round per launcher is not something many know. But the fact we cannot take out the firing units at all is almost unknown. A PRC ICBM firing unit is more secure than NORAD HQ - for a similar reason. It has several exit tunnels, and we do not have them all located. Probably some do not have visible exit points at all - and would be opened only at need. Also, PRC firing units can move by transporter to presurveyed launch points and fire from any one of many (see The People's Liberation Army as Organization, RAND, 2003). The reply I got was that, no matter what, we cannot try to preempt because we are GUARANTEED statistically to lose 2 or more cities. At least 3 launch systems would have functional exit tunnels, and given we think only 1 in 3 would fail, that is probably two on target. We also lack the ability to take out UK or French or Russian SLBMs. The chances of failure are high enough to say it is probable - perhaps not absolute in the smaller cases - but more than 50%. Facts of strategic life. I invite you to consult with a moderate academic expert (say Pat Morgan) or anyone who served as commander of Strike Command or SAC (you can find Gen Butler has done this quite openly for 15 years). I must tell you that US general and flag officers use stronger language than I do here.
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gixxxerking    RE:we could exchange with China   2/11/2005 5:33:13 PM
elcid elcid elcid. You really are being hysterical. Victory can be achieved through nuclear war. Especially with China. I know the though of pulling the trigger frightens and humbles most people. We are not natural born killers and no one wants the blood of 1000000+ on their hands. But as terrible as it would be. A nuclear war can be won. Its easy to say that China has secret launch facilities in mountains with nuclear firing revolvers. But its not so secret that we cant discuss it here. This means the truth about those facilities id likely to be well known to include launch points. At a minimum the DoD and us intel knows where the could launch from. So all these possible sites could be targeted. In the worst case we lose a city or two. No let me take that back. I refuse to promote false hysteria on nuclear weapons effects. Worst case we get struck by 2 to 10 warheads. China would recieve 10x more in return. And it takes many nuclear weapons to destroy a major city. And the US is developing technology today that can actually stop some warheads from reaching their targets. There are many scenarios where one nuclear power could strike without warning and completely destroy an enemies ability to retaliate or reduce the effect of retaliation. I requires vision and skill but just like all wars nuclear wars are winnable.
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AussieEngineer    RE:Gix made a big mistake   2/11/2005 9:03:47 PM
There has to be a reason someone coined the term nuclear winter.
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Roman    RE:we could exchange with China   2/11/2005 9:12:37 PM
Gixxxerking, elcid is an old China hand and knows what he is talking about. Trust him on this. We have been discussing this topic for some time now and I have done certain calculations on the matter. The conclusion is very clear: The number of warheads required to destroy even KNOWN (I mean where you know the exact location) Chinese ICBM capability is very high. It is so high, that although the U.S. has sufficient number of warheads to do so, there would be a large amount of fallout reaching the U.S. from the U.S. warheads alone plus there would be a global climatic disaster - think nuclear winter for several years with massive crop failures and global mass starvation + freezing - including in the U.S., which after a decade or so would be followed by a global warming on a scale like nothing predicted today. But you have a further problem - the U.S. does not know about all of the locations of the tunnel exits and tunnel entrances - especially since some of them are still not bored through (but with equipment ready inside to do so after a nuclear attack). It is simply not possible to take out the Chinese ICBM arsenal. Furthermore, many of the tunnel holes are well protected by natural features. For example, they may be built in steep valleys where a warhead cannot penetrate from the angle coming from the East... etc. On top of that, that is just their ICBM capability. China also has about 100 (80-120) strategic bombers and 2 SSBN submarines (I believe the second one has been launched by now - elcid will correct me if I am wrong on that). It is simply not possible to take out China's deterrent Gix.
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gixxxerking    RE:we could exchange with China   2/11/2005 9:24:56 PM
Well I respect elcid to the fullest but I dont believe in the myth of nuclear weapons being to terrible to use.
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