When Iran Has the Bomb: Rethinking the Unthinkable

Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, May 05, 2015


Had several days of funk, read old Agatha Christie books and did little else, but I did keep up on my exercises. Today I put on my 2 pound ankle weights and walked down to what used to be Corvallis, about ¾ mile round trip. Broken sidewalks are a little tricky, and I think I’ll get one of those walkers with four wheels for outside the house. Not sure which one. But I much enjoyed the walk.

John is here for a story conference and lunch, so I will leave this for later. It is depressing that we are back to MAD and thinking about the unthinkable.




US policy toward Iran, get any kind of deal at any cost, ensures that Iran will get the bomb; and our policy toward Russia pretty well ensures that Russia will place Iran under some kind of nuclear umbrella. Meanwhile, the Iranian Supreme leaders make it clear that it is the Will of Allah that if Iran can destroy Israel, Iran must do so; and that it is the duty of the Faithful to bring about End Days if they can. The selection process for choosing the Ayatollahs to be added to the Council that selects Supreme Leaders makes it certain that all of them believe this.

Putin is rational and knows this; the US State Department officially believes that to believe this is racist, or at least bigoted.

President Putin knows this as well. Being rational, he also knows that he plays a dangerous game, and that we are back in the Cold War again, where nuclear deterrence is important. He also knows that if Iran nukes Tel Aviv, there will be enormous pressure from Americans –- Christian and Jew alike – to nuke Iran into the Stone Age. Can he deter this? In particular, would a limited strike against the US deterrent, against the war fighting capability of the US – the ground based missiles and the bombers – thus disarming the US with a million or more casualties, but sparing the cities – cause the US, now helpless, to forgo using the submarine city busters on Iran?

Of course this is a convoluted scenario, and is only one of many, but it is needed: it is time to rethink thinking about the unthinkable; and there are many details, including career paths for those manning the second strike force; building a second strike war fighting capability which can survive a first strike against it, or at least present the credible threat of survival and launching a disarming counterstrike without harming large Russian cities. We’ve disarmed you. Now we take out Iran. Stand Down or else.

Another scenario. And there are many others. Mutual Assured Deterrence – MAD – rises again when we rethink the unthinkable; and we have no choices. Iran will have the bomb not long after the next President takes office.

I note that NORAD has reclaimed Cheyenne Mountain. We have no SAC, and no Lemay to build one; perhaps we should find one, poste haste. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/05/04/military-eyeing-former-cold-war-mountain-bunker-as-shield-against-emp-attack/

It is 1964 again, and we must redesign the force as we did then. It was my first major assignment in strategic planning: I was editor of Project 75, a compilation of everything we knew about ballistic missile technology and evaluation of force structure alternatives. One conclusion was that we needed higher ICBM accuracy, and to get that we needed better guidance at lower weight, which meant massive investment in Large Scale Integrated Circuits; larger yields and bigger missiles would not give us a war fighting capability. We had to plan and design in 1964 in order to have a survivable second strike force in the future.

Now it is 2014. We need to start planning now, because we will soon have no survivable second strike force. We must rebuild SAC.

If the US State Department cannot understand this, we must be sure that Putin can and does.



running from the police

Dear Mr. Pournelle:
I’ve been thinking about your comment that it is in general not a good idea to run from the police. I’m in part concerned because I’m seeing elsewhere some tendency to argue “well, it was their own fault they’re dead”; and I don’t think that leads us in good directions. But I think the issue is worth discussing.
A first question would be: how much do you trust the police?
A second could be: how much is at stake? For you?
It seems that, in some communities, people have come to expect that any interaction with the police is dangerous; and that your innocence or guilt is of only marginal importance. Reframe the question: would you run from an armed mugger, or submit? Some measure of trust is essential.
The second question turns out complicated. I’ve recently read articles pointing out that, for people without money, “deadbeat dad” laws are producing perverse results. In many states, you are *presumed* to be able to pay child support; evidence of your actual salary is irrelevant, the law presumes you make an average wage. Therefore if you do *not* pay child support, you are a deadbeat; therefore you are arrested, put in jail, and you lose your job… Debtor’s prison, anyone?
In such a situation, it would be not unreasonable to fear that any interaction with the police will escalate. You’ve been stopped in traffic? Now your child support comes up on the screen; and now your life crashes and burns. Running, I think, seems less insane.
I think this question is going to be difficult. I tend to trust the police, and would be much inclined to follow their instructions. But then I’ve never been given any reason to think that they are anything other than my defenders, who deserve my respect. On the other hand, it seems clear there are communities who have been given many reasons to think of the police otherwise.
This is not a stable situation, let alone just. Resolving it is important. I am inclined to think that most of the opportunities for resolving it rest with the police and with governments, not because “it’s their fault” but because they have actions and decisions available which could be productive. And of course, beyond that, as citizens who are *not* afraid of the police, it is our responsibility also.
Allan E. Johnson

Avoiding the police is often a good idea.  Actually running from them is not likely to be successful, particularly if you leave property behind.  Your points are valid, of course.


If you have nothing better to do, here is a very old piece that is still funny: Dogs in Elk http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/dogsinelk.html#Follow



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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