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What Is Mini About Mini-Nukes
By Rosemary I Patterson
Last edited: Saturday, September 12, 2009
Posted: Friday, April 02, 2004

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What is mini and new about the Pentagon's Request To Develop And Deploy Mini-Nukes?

What Is Mini About Mini-Nukes? By Rosemary I. Patterson, Ph.D., Author "Mission Mururoa", a spy novel with mini-nukes in its plot. Their very name is suggestive of cute, little nuclear devices but very little is really mini about mini-nukes. The Pentagon wants to develop these weapons again and the price tag is certainly not mini. At least half a billion just for studies to develop them. Goodness knows what the final price tag will be to have them at a state to be deployed whenever needed. What most people don't know is that these versatile mini-nukes, bunker busters, and nuclear land mines were in production in the past and deployed from 1965 to 1986. What happened to the couple of thousand of them that existed and why do we have to do this all over again? The SADM (note the similarity to another Sadam), the Special Atomic Demolition Munition and particularly its bigger brother the MADM, the Medium Atomic Demolition Munition, were nuclear land mines designed to destroy tunnels, bridges, dams and enemy troop movements. The W54 warhead, which was used in the SADM and the MADM was also used in the Davy Crockett Missile, which was launced from a recoilless rifle that could be mounted on a Jeep. The Davy Crockett only weighed 76 pounds. One thing really mini about these devices was the names of the tests used to fire them. The test call "Little Feller II" on July 7, 1962, with the warhead suspended three feet above the ground yielded 22 tons. "Little Feller 1" on July 17, 1962 (don't ask me why Little Feller II was fired before Little Feller I)from a stationary launcher went 1.7 miles and yielded 18 tons when it exploded. What is not mini about the detonation of these so-called low yield landmines and missiles is that the plutonium released in the dust cloud of their detonation is quite deadly if it gets inside your body and that it will be around for half a million years before all the radioactivity is dissipated. Not to mention the radionuclides Strontium 90 and Cesium 137, also extremely hazardous to your health. Presumably with the development now of similar weapons that will likely be able to be launched and detonated with even more distance and precision we can expect combatants on both sides of the battle field to be contaminated by this plutonium. Not to mention numerous children and civilians likely to enter the area long before the half million years is up. As far as the bunker busters are concerned, it is not possible for them to burrow deep enough to contain their radioactive dust cloud upon explosion so we would have the identical problem with them. Do we really want our own members of the armed forces as well as children, women and civilians counted in with the collateral damage that would result. What is truly mini about the development and deployment of mini nukes, including modernized SADM's, MADM's, bunker busters and Davy Crockett missiles (would he really want his name associated with such diabolical weapons) is the mindset that considerers the use of such weapons justifiable. A snail probably has a larger amount of compassion for other life forms than the military and political individuals and groups advocating further development of mini-nukes. Several decades ago, Edward Teller, the man in charge of the U.S. Nuclear program, was quite put out when not allowed to excavate a harbour near St. Petersburg, Alaska using nuclear bombs (nuclear excavation). Teller was so put out when not allowed to detonate a massive Hydrogen bomb near an Inuit village in Alaska he detonated an exact same-size bomb in the Nevada test site, scooped up the contaminated soil, and then flew the soil all the way to the proposed bomb site in Alaska where it was placed next to a river leading down to the Inuit village that had scuttled his plans with their protest (see the book "The Firecracker Boys"). Can you imagine the long-lasting fall-out over Alaska, Canada and the northwest if those bombs had been allowed to be detonated? This kind of arrogance and faith in man's ability to control the consequences of nuclear detonations is apparent again with the new call to develop again nuclear weapons that will cause less collateral damage than their existing big brothers. Instead of an improvement in Ethics, the deployment of myriads of these smaller weapons will more likely result in their actually being used. We have to ask ourselves why the original mini-nukes (land mines, Davy Crockett missiles and tunnel blasters) were taken out of action in 1986. Could it have something to do with the fact that they are like mustard gas, expensive and barbaric weapons of mass destruction whose fall out lands back on the people deploying them themselves?   

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Reviewed by Franz Kessler
Thanks, Rosemary for this brilliant and informative article. It is stunning, indeed, how little compassion these weapons-developer and killer-business-salesmen seem to have. It is worrysome to see weapons being developed for a short-time application with a multi-generations fallout. Not to mention, of course, that this new weapons will find their way to the hands of terrorists - it always was like this, and money seems to open all the necessary doors in this world. Franz

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