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Letter to LATimes

Letter to LATimes

January 28, 2003


Arkin reports that the Bush administration is considering attacking Iraqi facilities located so deep underground that they might be impervious to conventional explosives.

Putting aside the exceedingly dangerous consequences the use of a nuclear weapon would bring about in terms of destroying nonproliferation and arms control efforts, it should be pointed out that the use of a nuclear weapon might not achieve its goal.

Several independent scientists have noted that success would depend on a number of factors and that there may be unintended consequences.

For example, if a defender blocks off portions of the facility with heavy, insulating walls, agents beyond those walls are unlikely to be neutralized. For poorly designed underground facilities in soft rock or earth, damage may extend beyond the rupture zone, even though the fireball does not extend that far; in such cases live agents may be released into the atmosphere.

David Isenberg Senior Analyst British American Security Information Council Washington

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