Nuclear Weapons

The photo above is the second most powerful hydrogen bomb ever tested. As 70% of the polled US citizens now say “nuclear war” is the biggest threat to the country, we should have a little enlightenment about the weapons they think will destroy them.

Just about everyone is aware that we’re the only nation that has ever used the “super bombs”, as they were once called, in war to kill people, but more importantly, destroy specific portions of the Japanese war machine. Hiroshima was chosen not to just send a message (although it definitely did), kill 100,000 people instantly, and roughly 70,000 later. Hiroshima was the location of their ship-building yards and factories. By this point in our war with them, firebombing had already utterly destroyed Tokyo and over 100,000 people who lived there. It was a wooden city. Firebombing had an enormous effect on that.

I’m not familiar with the reasoning behind using an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Probably the same. A target that had a military purpose. Nearby mountain ranges muted the shock wave of that one. Again, the reasoning wasn’t to kill a lot of people. The target was destroyed. But unless we understand the difference between hydrogen bombs and the kind used on Japan, people will continue to conflate the two.

Atomic bombs need a name that defines the reaction they use. Fission bombs are accurate. They split uranium or plutonium atoms.  And they don’t split all of what they bring with them. Usually not more than 50%. But roughly 1% is converted into pure energy. Thank you, Einstein. His equations demonstrate how much energy that amount of matter converted into energy releases; It’s fucking enormous. But fission reaction pales in comparison to fusion. I’m referring to hydrogen bombs.

They’re called that because of what they fuse. They’re typically comprised of a small fission bomb attached to tritium (an isotope of hydrogen). The fission reaction creates enough heat to start fusion.  Let me put this another way. Imagine the core of a star (where fusion is going on) that exists for a fraction of a second.  But not 90 million miles away, buried by the rest of a star. Right here. Amount of energy released by that is 4% conversion into energy. It’s thousands of times the amount released by fission. These are what the military refers to as “city killers.” Terminator 2 did a decent depiction of that. Fission bombs are measured in kilotons. Hiroshima was 13. 13 thousand tons of TNT. Fusion required a new measurement. Megatons. Millions of tons of TNT. The photo above is roughly 6 megatons. Robert McNamara said we’ve tested a 100 megaton bomb in the atmosphere. That’s ridiculous overkill.  We probably were just making sure we could.

So, N. Korea. They’ve tested several fission bombs. They deserve a little credit by abiding by UN regulation to not do above ground testing.  We’ve been told by them they’ve tested a fusion bomb. Seismic activity measurements by S. Korea suggests they weren’t lying. But these are large, very heavy devices. As far as we know, they haven’t miniaturized them enough for a missile to carry. But S. Korea, Japan, and China all have reason to worry. For the time being, we pretty much don’t. But if they attack those 3 allies, using only conventional weapons, Trump is the kind of man to counterattack N. Korea with both kinds of nuclear weapons. Joe Scarborough reported last year that during a one-hour meeting with national security advisors, Trump asked 3 times that if we have them, why can’t we use them? That scared the shit out of one of the people in the meeting to the point of running straight to Scarborough to have him say something in his show. Trump seems to not grasp their purpose; deterrence. If we use them with no nuclear attack on us or our allies, we open Pandora’s Box. Every country that has them suddenly has permission to use theirs for whatever reason they want. Pakistan. India, Israel, the UK, France, Russia. Probably more. If you’re worried about WWIII, that’s what will begin it. Us. The USA. Using nuclear weapons without them being used first.

On a personal note, I find fusion bombs to be beautiful. A star existing for a fraction of a second. Right here. But they should never be used in war. Or we should all update our bomb shelters.


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