(These writings present the views of the author, not of the Physics Department nor of the University of California San Diego)

President Obama's new Nuclear Posture Review of April 2010 is a great step forward. It acknowledges the qualitative difference between nuclear weapons and all other weapons, meaningfully reduces the role of nuclear weapons in US military stragegy, and states explicitely that "the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations."
Nevertheless, future presidents could revert to the previous posture unless Congress passes legislation forbidding the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries.
And, unfortunately even the new nuclear posture leaves out Iran, as predicted here.

Bush is gone, but US law still allows for a single person, the President, to make the decision to use US nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon countries.
Ask Congress to pass legislation (example here) outlawing nuclear attacks on non-nuclear countries!
Articles by this author
Documents with supporting information

*Physicists urge Congress to rule nuclear strikes on non-nuclear states illegal (Feb. 1, 2007)
*Congress' Nuclear Liability
* Congress' Liability in a Nuclear Strike on Iran
* How Congress Can Stop the Iran Attack - Or be Complicit in Nuclear War Crimes
* Why your November '06 vote mattered ... however, we are not out of the woods yet!
* American Physical Society Statement on nuclear weapons use, April 21, 2006
* ZNet interview, April 10, 2006
* A powerpoint presentation on the danger of a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran (March 15, 2006)
* Letter to President Bush by eminent physicists, April 17, 2006
* Hear President's Bush response on nuclear option, April 18, 2006 ; read his strike options planning document

A 10-minute movie, discussing why the US is likely to use nuclear weapons in a confrontation with Iran, and how to prevent it from happening (March 25, 2006)

The new U.S. Nuclear Posture defined in 2001 and reaffirmed in 2005 and in 2006 envisions the U.S. use of nuclear weapons against underground facilities of non-nuclear countries. Such nuclear earth penetrating weapons (B61-11) are in the US stockpile since September 2001. The escalating rift with Iran over its nuclear program is likely to lead to the U.S. using low yield earth penetrating nuclear weapons against Iran.

The article by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker (4/17/2006) presents independent evidence [1], [2], [3] for the plan to nuke Iran , which has been evident for many months. Daniel Ellsberg asks those in the know to come forward with today's "Pentagon Papers" that would reveal preparations for the use of nuclear weapons.

Over 2000 physicists have joined in a petition expressing strong repudiation of the new US nuclear weapons policies.

If America uses nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear country it will have catastrophic consequences for America and the world.

Please ask your representatives in Congress [1], [2] to enact emergency legislation requiring congressional approval for the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries. This is a power granted to Congress under Article I, Section 8, Clause 14 of the US constitution.

Documents with supporting information

  • Nuclear Posture Review excerpts, 2001 "Nuclear weapons... provide credible military options to deter a wide range of threats, including WMD and large-scale conventional military force ...U.S. military forces themselves, including nuclear forces will now be used to dissuade adversaries from undertaking military programs or operations that could threaten U.S. interests or those of allies and friends... Composed of both non-nuclear systems and nuclear weapons, the strike element of the New Triad can provide greater flexibility in the design and conduct of military campaigns to defeat opponents decisively... Nuclear weapons could be employed against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack, (for example, deep underground bunkers or bio-weapon facilities)... North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Libya are among the countries that could be involved in immediate, potential, or unexpected contingencies..."
  • Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations, 2005 ..."Geographic combatant commanders may request Presidential approval for use of nuclear weapons... To demonstrate US intent and capability to use nuclear weapons to deter adversary use of WMD...Integrating conventional and nuclear attacks will ensure the most efficient use of force and provide US leaders with a broader range of strike options to address immediate contingencies... "
  • Conditions under which nuclear weapons may be used ..."For rapid and favorable war termination on US terms."
  • National Security Strategy, 2006 "...the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively... using all elements of national power...Safe, credible and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role..."
  • National Military Strategy to Combat WMD, 2006 ..."Offensive operations may include kinetic (both conventional and nuclear)...to deter or defeat a WMD threat..."
  • New DOD website on Nuclear Matters, 2006 "...there is no conventional or customary international law that prohibits nations from employing nuclear weapons in armed conflict".
  • Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress, August 10, 2006, "US Nuclear Weapons: Changes in Policy and Force Structure": "the Bush administration has stated that the United States would develop and deploy those nuclear capabilities that it would need to defeat the capabilities of any potential adversary whether or not it possessed nuclear weapons"; "The emphasis on the development of penetrating nuclear weapons that can destroy hardened and deeply buried targets, along with the 'capabilities'-based approach that states the United States will seek the ability to destroy threatening capabilities possessed by any potential adversary, are a part of this new strategy."
  • Linton Brooks, NNSA Director, to Congress, 2004: "The Nuclear Posture Review represented a radical departure from the past and the most fundamental rethinking of the roles and purposes of nuclear weapons in almost a quarter-century... Instead of treating nuclear weapons in isolation, it considered them as an integrated component of American military power...To provide a practical means to implement this new, integrated aproach, the President established a new Strategic Command, with responsibility for global strike - both nuclear and non-nuclear ..."
  • Gen. Cartwright, StratCom head, to Congress, 2005: "...We are active participants in all three legs of The New Triad: offensive nuclear and non-nuclear strike, ... The New Triad concept will enable more precisely tailored global strike operations. With a full spectrum of nuclear, conventional and non-kinetic options available, regional combatant commanders will be enabled to achieve specific local effects against high value targets in the context of the strategic objective..."
  • Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Forces in 21st-Century Deterrence: Implementing the New Triad (2006): Maj Gen Richard Y. Newton, III Director, Plans and Policy, U.S. Strategic Command: "...The new triad, as we've discussed this morning, formulated four years ago during the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review, embraces a flexible mix of offensive and defensive capabilities... If we break down the new triad, offense capabilities include both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons ...STRATCOM has transitioned from focusing solely on nuclear warfighting to a much more globally focused command... We think in terms of how we can provide capabilities to the other combatant commands... our newest mission area, combating weapons of mass destruction...
  • Earth-penetrating nuclear weapons, FAS report
  • The B61-11 "The United States has one type of nuclear earth penetrator, the B61-11 bomb, which was accepted into the stockpile in September 2001" (Congressional Research Service)
  • National Research Council report on nuclear earth penetrators ..."in remote, lightly populated areas, casualties can range from as few as hundreds at low weapon yields to hundreds of thousands at high yields and with unfavorable winds"
  • Physicists petition on nuclear weapons policy "...we express our repudiation of these dangerous policies in the strongest possible terms."

Articles and Op-eds by this author

Baltimore Chronicle, Opinion, 2/15/2007: Congress' Nuclear Liability
San Diego Union Tribune Op-Ed 1/3/2006: America's nuclear ticking bomb

America's nuclear ticking bomb [pdf] (1/2/2006)
San Diego Union Tribune Op-Ed 3/29/2006: Iran's Migrating Birds and Preemption Policy
Letter to The Nation: "Nuking the nukes" (scroll down to 4th letter)
Letter to Washington Post: "The 'Iran Threat' Is From the United States" (scroll down to 2nd letter)
Letter to Physics World, 12/2005: "No longer a last resort?"

Articles in website antiwar.com : many links in these articles to official documents and news reports provide support for the information discussed.

* Congress' Liability in a Nuclear Strike on Iran (2/19/2007):... Every one of the 535 members of the 110th Congress is liable to face criminal indictment from the International Criminal Court in de Hague if the U.S. uses nuclear weapons in the impending conflict with Iran... Congress has the constitutional power to legislate under which conditions nuclear weapons, the most terrible weapons created by mankind, will be used in military operations. By funding the research, development and manufacture of these weapons, at the rate of over 6 billion dollars per year, and handing them over to the Executive without putting any restriction on their use, members of Congress have made themselves liable for crimes that may be committed with "their" weapons...Is there any doubt that a U.S. nuclear strike against a non-nuclear-weapon country and its foreseeable consequences would qualify as a "serious crime of international concern"?
* How Congress Can Stop the Iran Attack - Or be Complicit in Nuclear War Crimes (1/20/2007): President Bush is invoking his "commander in chief" authority to escalate the war in Iraq, and he will likely also invoke it to launch an aerial attack against Iran. Congress has long ago abdicated and delegated to the president its constitutional responsibility to initiate wars. Yet Congress still has one surefire way to influence events: it has the constitutional authority to make the "nuclear option" against Iran illegal. In so doing, it would stop the relentless drive to war against Iran dead in its tracks...If Congress doesn't legislate on the US use of nuclear weapons, and President Bush orders the use of nuclear weapons against Iran, he will be doing it in the name of each and every member of the 110th Congress.
* The Meaning of the UNSC Iran Vote. Were Russia and China given private assurances by Bush? (12/26/2006): ...Their support of UNSC 1737 doesn't seem to make sense...the evidence clearly indicates that any private assurances given by Bush to Russia and China that he will not resort to military action against Iran were only given to induce them to support the UN action, and he has no intention of honoring them... To prevent a military confrontation with Iran and facilitate a diplomatic solution it is essential to focus on getting the U.S. nuclear option against Iran off the table... Rep. Dennis Kucinich has taken the lead...each member of Congress will be fully responsible for choosing to ignore this issue.
* Voting Against Nuclear War with Iran (10/16/2006) ...In casting or not casting a vote in November, each of us will contribute to determine events of potential consequences immensely larger than local taxes, illegal immigration or even the Iraq war...Congress has a role to play, perhaps the most important one in its history... (includes contents of next article)
Nuclear Strike on Iran Is Still on the Agenda: What will Congress do? (10/16/2006): ...A US attack on Iran will lead to the US use of nuclear weapons and will be disastrous for America. It is the path that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, with the advice of Kissinger [1], [2], are hell-bent on pursuing. Whether the military would refuse to to carry out immoral orders is uncertain at best. Congress could block the authority of the President to order the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon countries by passing legislation under Article I, Sect. 8, Clause 14 of the Constitution to "make rules for the government and regulation" of the Armed Forces... (see an example here)...
* Nuke Iran, Blame the Jews: Who Benefits from the Israel-Lebanon Flare-Up? (7/24/2006): ...In the short term, Israel certainly will benefit from the destruction of Iran's military capabilities. But Israel will not enjoy peace as a result, because the (US) nuking of Iran will create enormous animosity against Israel in the Muslim world and beyond. To the extent that the world buys the US fable that the nuking of Iran was required by "military necessity" and not premeditated, Israel (and Jews worldwide) will bear a heavier than deserved brunt for having contributed to "precipitate" these events...
* Nuking Iran Is Not Off the Table (7/6/2006): "Hersh's powerful microscope reveals a treasure trove of raw data invisible to the naked eye [1], [2], [3]. But as in science, it is essential to analyze the experimental observations to understand their true meaning ...news report of July 2011: "The White House is considering a tactical nuclear strike against underground facilities of [fill in your favorite 'rogue state'] suspected of hiding WMD, in what would be the first use of a nuclear weapon in a conflict since Natanz. The leadership of [rogue state] is very worried..." "
* Nucleoholic, Hypocritical, and Dangerous: America's imminent nuclear relapse (6/30/2006): The United States is a recovering nucleo-holic. It used 60 years ago and has miraculously stayed "sober" ever since. But lately it has been drifting dangerously close to using again... The instant the U.S. uses a nuclear weapon again, 60 years of nonuse go down the drain and we have to start from scratch with abstinence. And it will be that much harder to stay sober the second time around.
* Trapping Iran with a Tripwire (6/10/2006): Once Iran stops enriching and the IAEA places its seals, the tripwire is in place. The split-second Iran breaks those seals again, the US cruise missiles will be launched... Iran should ask that the United States formally renounces the nuclear strike option as a precondition to talks...
* What I Didn't Find in the Middle East. A Future OpEd by Dr. S. Ward Casscells on the Iran War? (5/20/2006) ...What distinguishes Dr. Casscells' expertise in avian flu from that of others is that Dr. Casscells has been interested in the possibility that avian flu could be used as a bioweapon... it will be enough for the administration if Dr. Casscells testifies that he "cannot rule out" that the "scientific evidence" he gathers on avian flu in the Middle East could point to a hidden underground Iranian bioweapon program to create a deadly mutation of the H5N1 virus...
* April 18, 2006: America's Step Off the Nuclear Edge. Take the nuclear option off the table now! (5/12/2006) ...Floating over the nuclear abyss, we just have to look down, and following the laws of cartoon physics, we will plunge down into the new world of unrestrained use of nuclear weapons. Can we still reach back and get hold of firm ground?...
* War Against Iran, April 2006: Biological Threat and Executive Order 13292 (4/1/2006) ...the US will attack before the 30-day deadline imposed by the UNSC for Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment activity, i.e. before the end of April. The "justification" is likely to be an alleged threat of imminent biological attack with Iran's involvement....
* Iran and Bird Flu: The Perfect Casus Belli (3/15/2006) ...the H5N1 disaster scenario lends itself to a casus belli against Iran. Iran has the "weapons" and the "means of delivery." Time is of the essence. All that is missing is the bioterrorism connection, which the Bush administration is about to kindly provide...
* General Pace to Troops: Don't Nuke Iran (3/10/2006) (Click here to hear General Pace). ...The chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff has warned everybody in uniform that if they execute an illegal or immoral order or they instruct their subordinates to execute an illegal and immoral order involving the use of any kind of weapon of mass destruction, they are derelict in their "absolute responsibility," and consequently fully responsible for the "crimes against humanity" resulting from their choice...
* America and Iran: At the Brink of the Abyss (2/20/2006) ...The United States is preparing to enter a new era: an era in which it will enforce nuclear nonproliferation by the threat and use of nuclear weapons. The use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran will usher in a new world order...
* How to Stop the Planned Nuking of Iran : Congress should enact emergency legislation (1/9/2006) ...Under the U.S. Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 14, Congress has the power "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces." Hence, Congress can regulate, i.e., control and direct, the use of nuclear weapons by the armed forces. The full authority for the use of nuclear weapons rests now with the president. That authority should be curtailed...
* Nuking Iran with UN's Blessing (12/28/2005) ...The U.S. will claim the right under Chapter VII of the UN to enforce UNSCR 1540 by aerial bombing of Iran's nuclear and missile facilities ("means of delivery"), once negotiations between Iran and the European Union on Iran's nuclear program reach a stalemate... Given that there are a large number of underground targets in Iran to be destroyed, and that using nuclear bombs will be expected to deter Iran from responding with missiles and conventional forces to the U.S. attack, it is almost inconceivable that nuclear bombs would not be used...
* Nuclear Deployment for an Attack on Iran (12/16/2005) ...Note that there is no obvious reason why the national security advisor, the deputy national security advisor, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, the chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations have to be people with experience in nuclear weapons policy. This was not the case in other administrations...
* Chemical Saddam Met Nuclear Uncle Sam (12/5/2005) ...it is more plausible that the U.S. was deterred from invading Iraq by Saddam's chemical weapons than that Saddam was deterred by the nuclear threat from using chemical weapons... The much-touted nuclear deterrent is not a credible strategy against "rogue" non-nuclear nations...until the U.S. demonstrates, by doing it once, that it is actually willing to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear countries. And it is planning to do just that in the upcoming war with Iran...
* Nuking Iran Without the Dachshund : The meaning of the Philip Giraldi story (11/26/2005) ...Once plans to nuke Iran are in place, they can be implemented without the "9/11-type terrorist attack"...
* Can a Nuclear Strike on Iran be Prevented? Or will the world allow it to happen? (11/21/2005) ...Because the United States is counting on the "nuclear option" to ensure the success of military action against Iran, it is not seriously pursuing diplomatic alternatives, such as negotiating directly with Iran...
* A 'Legal' US Nuclear Attack Against Iran. The real reason for the IAEA Iran resolution (11/12/2005) ...The IAEA resolution of September 24 2005 allows the United States to carry out a nuclear attack against Iran "legally"... Any "negotiating proposal" of the EU and the US towards Iran will be carefully tailored so that Iran cannot possibly accept it... the US plan to nuke Iran will continue moving forward, focused and unrelenting.
* The Real Reason for Nuking Iran : Why a nuclear attack is on the neocon agenda (11/1/2005) ...no one in his or her right mind would believe that the greatest democracy in the world would do such a thing. Unless the U.S. demonstrates, by actually doing it once, that it is indeed prepared to do so...
* Israel, Iran, and the US: Nuclear War, Here We Come (10/17/2005) ...The upshot: a nuclear superpower will have nuked a non-nuclear state that is an NPT signatory and is cooperating with the IAEA, at the instigation of a state that is not an NPT signatory, that reportedly has over 100 nuclear bombs of its own, and that initiated hostilities with an unprovoked act of military aggression...
* Chemical Weapons, Nuclear War : What's at stake in a war on Iran (10/7/2005) ..."The danger is clear: using chemical, biological, or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iran, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other"... Conventional bunker-busters will be used, as well as some nuclear bombs.
* The Meaning of the IAEA Iran Vote (9/29/2005) ...Because when Iran's case comes before the SC and no sanctions are passed due to Russia's and China's vetoes, the U.S. will be left with no diplomatic options - not a desirable position to be in, unless the purpose all along was to resort to a military option...

The negotiating positions of the European Union and of Iran are given in the links below