The Words None Dare Say: Nuclear War
By George Lakoff
“The elimination of Natanz would be a major setback for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but the conventional weapons in the American arsenal could not insure the destruction of facilities under seventy-five feet of earth and rock, especially if they are reinforced with concrete.” – Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, April 17, 2006
“The second concern is that if an underground laboratory is deeply buried, that can also confound conventional weapons. But the depth of the Natanz facility – reports place the ceiling roughly 30 feet underground – is not prohibitive. The American GBU-28 weapon – the so-called bunker buster – can pierce about 23 feet of concrete and 100 feet of soil. Unless the cover over the Natanz lab is almost entirely rock, bunker busters should be able to reach it. That said, some chance remains that a single strike would fail.” – Michael Levi, New York Times, April 18, 2006
03/01/07 “ich” — – A familiar means of denying a reality is to refuse to use the words that describe that reality. A common form of propaganda is to keep reality from being described.
In such circumstances, silence and euphemism are forms of complicity both in propaganda and in the denial of reality. And the media, as well as the major presidential candidates, are now complicit.
The stories in the major media suggest that an attack against Iran is a real possibility and that the Natanz nuclear development site is the number one target. As the above quotes from two of our best sources note, military experts say that conventional “bunker-busters” such as the GBU-28 might be able to destroy the Natanz facility, especially with repeated bombings. On the other hand, they also say such iterated use of conventional weapons might not work, e.g., if the rock and earth above the facility becomes liquefied. On that supposition, a “low yield” “tactical” nuclear weapon, say, the B61-11, might be needed.
If the Bush administration, for example, were to insist on a sure “success,” then the “attack” would constitute nuclear war. The words in boldface are nuclear war, that’s right, nuclear war – a first strike nuclear war.
We don’t know what exactly is being planned – conventional GBU-28s or nuclear B61-11s. And that is the point. Discussion needs to be open. Nuclear war is not a minor matter.
As early as August 13, 2005, Bush, in Jerusalem, was asked what would happen if diplomacy failed to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear program. Bush replied, “All options are on the table.” On April 18, the day after the appearance of Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker report on the administration’s preparations for a nuclear war against Iran, President Bush held a news conference. He was asked,
“Sir, when you talk about Iran, and you talk about how you have diplomatic efforts, you also say all options are on the table. Does that include the possibility of a nuclear strike? Is that something that your administration will plan for?”
“All options are on the table.”
The President never actually said the forbidden words “nuclear war,” but he appeared to tacitly acknowledge the preparations – without further discussion.
Vice-President Dick Cheney, speaking in Australia last week, backed up the President.
“We worked with the European community and the United Nations to put together a set of policies to persuade the Iranians to give up their aspirations and resolve the matter peacefully, and that is still our preference. But I’ve also made the point, and the president has made the point, that all options are on the table.”
Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain, on FOX News, August 14, 2005, said the same.
“For us to say that the Iranians can do whatever they want to do and we won’t under any circumstances exercise a military option would be for them to have a license to do whatever they want to do … So I think the president’s comment that we won’t take anything off the table was entirely appropriate.”
But it’s not just Republicans. Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards, in a speech in Herzliyah, Israel, echoed Bush.
“To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table. Let me reiterate – ALL options must remain on the table.”
Although, Edwards has said, when asked about this statement, that he prefers peaceful solutions and direct negotiations with Iran, he has nonetheless repeated the “all options on the table” position – making clear that he would consider starting a preventive nuclear war, but without using the fateful words.
Hillary Clinton, at an AIPAC dinner in New York, said,
“We cannot, we should not, we must not, permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons, and in dealing with this threat, as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table.”
Translation: Nuclear weapons can be used to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Read the rest here.