Representative Steve Buyer (R.-Ind.) discusses U.S. use of nuclear device (comments by Russell Hoffman, October 18th, 2001)

From: "Russell D. Hoffman" <>
Subject: Representative Steve Buyer (R.-Ind.) discusses U.S. use of nuclear device
Cc: California Senators

To: Editor, Indy Star
From: Russell Hoffman
Re: Representative Steve Buyer (R.-Ind.) discusses U.S. use of nuclear device
Date: October 18th, 2001

To The Editor,

In a sane world, U.S. Representative Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) would be recalled by his constituents and denounced by his peers in the U.S. House of Representatives for uttering the nonsense that we should consider using nuclear weapons in Afghanistan (see article from the Indy Star, shown below).  Calling any nuke bomb a "precision" weapon is ludicrous.  It is a weapon of mass destruction with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.

Here's an essay I wrote a few years ago about THE EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS, which I hope Representative Buyer will read:

When President Harry S. Truman decided to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few days apart in August, 1945, he had other choices.  For example, he could have wiped Tokyo off the face of the Earth.  Or he could have blown off a mountaintop as a demonstration, with much less loss of human life.

Truman decided on the size of the towns and their civilian/war production makeup very carefully.  His staff took into account whether the towns had been previous targets of U.S. bombing raids.  It was a psychological attack, and while it may have shortened the war (I say "may have" because there is a lot of evidence that the Japanese were trying to sue for peace at the time and were being rebuffed), the nuclear bombings failed in one big way:  Politically.

A large segment of the world has denounced the United States as heartless bullies ever since, and each time we threaten the use of nuclear weapons, the world's tension level necessarily escalates, and our opponents try more desperately to obtain their own nuclear weapons.  Many of them already have done so.

One should expect a nuclear attack by one side to be followed by a nuclear attack by the other side.  The retaliators would not even need to bring a suitcase nuclear bomb into the United States, or fire an intercontinental ballistic missile at us.  We have already provided them with The Bomb, by placing nuclear power plants, spent fuel pools, and dry fuel storage casks full of nuclear waste out in the open, near our population centers, where they can easily be targeted.  Although a nuclear power plant can't explode like a nuclear device, it can spread 1000s of times more radioactivity than even a large nuclear bomb would release into our environment, killing millions and rendering large areas uninhabitable for hundreds of millennia.

Attacks on our enemy's civilian infrastructure, such as their water treatment plants and power stations, something we did in Iraq and Yugoslavia to name a few places, legitimizes our own nuclear power plants as targets of war.

A Rocket Propelled Grenade shot into a Spent Fuel Pool at any of the 103 "civilian" nuclear power plants in the United States would probably be adequate to cause a nuclear disaster which would be many orders of magnitude worse than the World Trade Center disaster was.  A .1% successful terrorist attack on a nuclear power plant is a disaster many times worse than a 100% successful terrorist attack on, for example, a coal-fired plant or an office building, even one with millions of square feet of office space.

Here's a list of "25 simple ways to attack a nuclear power plant":

Another problem with remarks such as those made by Representative Buyer is that such remarks further legitimize nuclear power plants as appropriate targets of war because the components for the nuclear weapons Buyer wishes to use are created inside of America's commercial nuclear power plants.  Whatever proponents said at the time about "the peaceful atom" and energy "too cheap to meter", the fact is, the so-called "commercial" nuclear power plants were built to produce materials for nuclear weapons.  For that reason they received trillions of dollars in government funding, and an insurance policy (Price-Anderson) which absolves the industry from any significant financial responsibility.  Nuclear power has also received biased press and official blessings for 50+ years.

But none of that changes the facts, and so our commercial nuclear power plants are legitimate targets of war because of their key role in weapons production.  They should be shut down permanently on that basis alone (although there are many other good reasons to do so).

We should put the nuclear weapons away for good and Representative Buyer and others should stop threatening their use.  His "precision" nuclear attack would undoubtedly only be the first shot in a very sloppy back-and-forth exchange with no happy ending and unimaginable amounts of civilian suffering, both in Afghanistan and in the United States, and perhaps in other places around the world (there are over 430 commercial nuclear power plants worldwide).

Because of dispersion of radioactive fallout around this small globe, a nuclear accident anywhere is a nuclear accident everywhere, and a nuclear attack anywhere is a nuclear attack everywhere.


Russell Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA


At 11:55 AM 10/18/01 , a downwinder's poster wrote:

Published at
Buyer discusses U.S. use of nuclear device
Staff Report
October 18, 2001 
    U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., said Wednesday that he would support
limited use of a nuclear device under certain specific
    Speaking to reporters for WTHR (Channel 13) at Indianapolis
International Airport, Buyer said that if the United States can
prove a causal link between the anthrax and bin Laden's organization, "I
would support the use of a limited precision tactical
nuclear device. What does that mean? When there are hardened caves that
go back a half a mile . . . don't send in Special Forces
to sweep. We'd be naive to think biotoxins are not in there. Put in
tactical nuclear devices and close these caves for a thousand
    He added: "I am not a warmonger. I am not someone who says use
offensive nuclear weapons. We're the ones attacked.
This is a bio-attack. It's also important to figure out who is doing it.
But I want you to know . . . if he (Bush) has to make difficult
decisions -- like Truman did to save lives -- that he'd have support
    Buyer added that he has yet to speak with anyone in the
administration about the topic.


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First posted October 18th, 2001.

Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman