[Beowulf] Re: "hobbyists"

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Thu Jun 19 13:19:28 EDT 2008

Kilian CAVALOTTI wrote:
> On Thursday 19 June 2008 06:58:44 am Robert G. Brown wrote:
>> Getting too big
>> or two small an explosion can either kill your own troops or not kill
>> all of the enemy on an actual battlefield.
> To add some more OT stuff to this thread, I don't think a nuclear weapon 
> has ever been used (or even considered being used) to kill troops on a 
> battlefield. Some cluster bombs (hey, back on topic! :)) are probably 
> enough for this purpose.

Tactical nukes (aimed at armies) were on the table for a few of the NATO 
scenarios involving responses to Soviet invasion of western Europe 
(based upon some of the historical reading, though I am not sure how 
serious they were).  The western Europeans were understandably 
un-enthusiastic about such scenarios.

> IMHO, a nuclear weapon is mainly a dissuasion weapon, ie, one you claim 
> you own to make your ennemies think twice before they strike you. Or 
> that you use against civilians to make your point louder, and let your 
> ennemies understand they'd better surrender.

This makes a number of fundamental presumptions, which may not be true 
in all cases.

First and foremost, it assumes that the potential recipient of the 
attack or response to attack is a rational actor.  As seen on the world 
stage, this isn't always the case.  A rational head of government will 
balance the lives lost in an attack against any possible gains.  An 
irrational apocalyptic head of government will not likely make that 
calculation, but an alternative one in which they somehow come out a 
winner regardless of the events.

Second, it assumes that the potential recipient of the attack or 
response to attack is state based.  This has also been demonstrated to 
be problematic on today's world stage.


Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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