It became clear after the Seoul nuclear summit that the USA sticks to the old policy that goes back to 1945 – to monopolize the right to use nuclear weapons by making their non-proliferation part of international law in combination with new restrictive measures against others including Russia. It all should lead to the return of US global nuclear superiority.
In his book Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War Michel Chossudovsky tells us about the interconnection between the Pentagon and US corporations. The book says the US Congress okayed the use of tactical nuclear weapons in non-conventional wars in 2003. According to congressmen it was quite “safe for civilians” (1).
Indeed military technology moved far ahead after two nuclear bombs were used against Japan, especially in the field of developing nuclear munitions of low and super low yields. Back in 1950s the Davy Crocket “nuclear gun”, the smallest weapon system with the range of to 4.5 km, joined the armed forces’ inventory (2). It was destined to be deployed in great numbers in West Europe to fight back a sudden attack by the Soviet Union.
The US armed forces possess 3400 nuclear munitions of variable yield (about 2000 deployed). An operator dials the required yield depending on the situation (for instance reducing it to strike enemy in the immediate vicinity from US army or navy forces or in the territory or waters of a friendly/allied state).
Unmanned aerial vehicles can be used as delivery means. The MQ-9 Reaper, that is in the armed forces inventory now, can be armed with up to 14 AGM-114 Hellfire air-surface rockets, each weighing 50 kg. It’s quite possible to use it as delivery means for small nuclear systems.
In intensive warfare conditions the up-to-date tactical nuclear weapons can create an illusion of their absence on the battlefield in case they are used together with conventional ones. For instance, according to Russian military experts nuclear munitions of new generation were used in Lebanon in 2006 during the operation against the Hezbollah. Back then the Israeli military used so called bunker busters. The soil samples taken from craters had traces of enriched uranium. At the same time it was made precise there was no gamma radiation and isotope of cesium 137 resulting from radioactive decay. The radiation level was high inside the craters but went down approximately by half at the distance of just a few meters away. It’s not excluded the weapons could have been transported to Israel from the USA to be battle tested.
There is a very important legal aspect. The “pure” thermonuclear munitions are not controlled by any international agreement and formally stand in line with conventional high precision systems, though their destructive power is by far more superior. Experts have not come to common vision of how far the USA and other states have gone in the field of developing “pure” fusion thermonuclear arms. The specialists of one of Russian military research institutes say the new nuclear weapons are beyond legal restrictions of any international agreement on development, tests, proliferation or use of nuclear weapons (3).
Something like this was said after the September 11, 2001. While investigating the New York twin towers incident some experts from different countries came to conclusion the towers went down (together with the third one that was seldom mentioned in the Trade Center attack report) as a result of small yield thermonuclear explosions (4). The scenario advocates point to seismic shocks on the day of the attack and the fact that some fire fighters and policemen who were at the place of destruction died years after because of cancer.
In the midst of START-3 and European missile defense deployment debates the USA quietly reorganized the Air Force Global Strike Command. Formally the reorganization terminated in December 2011. Now the reshaped command will have the AIR Force strategic forces under its control (5).
Andrew C. Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs said "Some people say we never use nuclear weapons. The truth is we use nuclear weapons every day to keep the world safe…" Of course the verb to use may have a meaning of dealing with. But Peter Eyre, a Middle East consultant, said the US used tactical nuclear weapons at least once in Iraq and a few times in Afghanistan, in Bora Bora mountains (this flagrant violation of the Geneva convention was sanctioned by the US presidents that makes them military criminals (6)). Against this background the reasoning shared by Weber becomes ominous.
There is an assumption the Air Force Global Strike Command reorganization has a mission to give more “flexibility” to the global use of nuclear weapons throughout the whole world. Once the weapons have been used in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan what stands in the way of using it in some other place?