Memo To: The Dean Machine
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Getting Ahead of the News
If you folks are really going to be the Democratic presidential nominee next fall, you will be entitled to periodic “briefings” on foreign policy and national security from the Bush administration. If I were you, I would of course “trust” the veracity of the briefers, but would want to “verify” the accuracy of the facts they present. You already know the Bush team has had an abysmal record in its “intelligence” performance, which Dr. Dean seemed to have figured out when he opposed the war in Iraq as he did. The fact is, the people around the Oval Office really, really wanted to war with Iraq, so they only allowed the President to get the briefings that would assure that objective. Gosh knows, if you get the same briefings, you might turn into instant hawks, and where would your campaign go then?
As for example, the Washington Post Sunday and the New York Times this morning ran stories about how Pakistan may have been the source of the crucial technology to enrich uranium for North Korea, Iran and who knows what other countries. When I saw the front-page headlines, I almost yawned, as this was no news at all to me. That’s because I have been reading Dr. Gordon Prather’s weekly column at worldnetdaily.com for the last three years, and found it completely reliable on matters nuclear. The reason is that Dr. Prather does not want to go to war with anyone, nor does he NOT want to go to war. He’s only interested in getting to the bottom of the stories being churned out by the administration on which countries are “threats,” which are “imminent threats,” and which are no threats at all.
Before he was sworn in as Vice President, I suggested to my old political friend Dick Cheney that he hire Dr. Prather, just to make sure he got the straight scoop on weapons of mass destruction. Alas, the folks who advise the Veep on such matters made sure that did not happen. THEY wanted to do the briefings and did not want Dr. Prather getting in their way.
In any event, Dean people, Dr. Prather is still available, living not far from the Pentagon, and he is quite willing to dispense wisdom to Democrats as well as Republicans. He was the army's chief scientist in the Reagan years and was the author of the Nunn, Lugar, Domenici legislation to keep loose nukes under control, a program Dr. Dean says he thinks highly of. If you want to keep ahead of the news instead of being surprised by it, urge Dr. Dean to give him a call. I've tried, but can't seem to get his attention. Before you do, though, here are four columns Dr. Prather wrote about the Pakistan nukes, out of his archives. The first I provide in text, the other three I provide the links. Read all four and you will know a lot more about the issue than President Bush, who is still being briefed by the same folks who talked him into Iraq.
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It's Pakistan, stupid
Posted: August 31, 2002
By Gordon Prather
© 2002 WorldNetDaily.com
For the past decade, the warhawks have been itching to invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. The excuse for the invasion – by the U.S.-led Gulf War Coalition – was to have been Saddam's continued desire to have his very own nuke stockpile. But, alas, the Gulf War Coalition was shredded back in December 1998, when Slick Willie unilaterally attempted to depose Saddam with a cruise missile.
But then came the horror of Sept 11. Congress immediately authorized President Bush to wage War Against Terrorism. Secretary Powell assembled a powerful international coalition – including nearly all members of the defunct Gulf War Coalition – and set about eradicating Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.
So, the warhawk excuse for the invasion – by the U.S.-led WAT coalition – became Saddam's continued desire to have a nuke stockpile. Except, now the warhawks argue that Saddam will give his nukes, once he has got them, to Islamic terrorists, so that they can nuke us in our jammies.
However, almost every member of the WAT coalition has warned President Bush that there can be no invasion of Iraq unless a definitive link can be established between Saddam and the terrorists responsible for Sept 11.
So who cares if one more U.S.-led coalition is shredded? Well, perhaps you should.
You see, the Islamic terrorists and their nukes are in Pakistan – not Iraq. Any attempt to prosecute the loose-nuke problem in Iraq may be counterproductive.
Recall that May 28, 1998, was a red-letter day in the Islamic world. In response to Indian nuke tests earlier that month, the Pakistanis successfully tested several sophisticated boosted, highly-enriched uranium implosion nukes.
It had been assumed that Pakistan had a few gun-type nukes. In a gun weapon – like the Little Boy we dropped on Hiroshima – you just shoot one sub-critical mass of Highly Enriched Uranium at another sub-critical mass. It hardly needs testing. We never tested the Little Boy, which contained about 140 pounds of HEU but weighed about five tons.
In 1993, it had been revealed that South Africa had developed an indigenous cradle-to-grave gun-type nuke capability. They stockpiled a half-dozen such nukes, each requiring 120 pounds of HEU, and each weighing about one ton. The South African nukes were much lighter than Little Boy, but still too heavy to be delivered by intermediate-range ballistic missile.
Now, a critical mass of Pu-239 is considerably less than a critical mass of U-235, and is, therefore, the fissile material of choice for nukes. But a gun weapon can't be made with Pu-239. The two sub-critical pieces of Pu-239 can't be assembled fast enough. So, in an implosion device, a sub-critical sphere of Pu-239 is surrounded by high-explosive shaped charges, and is driven super-critical by imploding shock waves.
We discovered after the Gulf War that Saddam had tried – but failed – to produce a U-235-based implosion nuke. He had a design, but he never had the necessary U-235. His design probably wouldn't have worked, anyway.
But Pakistan did have the necessary U-235 and their design did work. Furthermore, the Pakistani nukes were boosted, as are virtually all nukes currently in the U.S. stockpile. You can read about boosting in the Cox Committee Report. It's the secret of warhead miniaturization that some mole at Los Alamos is supposed to have given the Chinese Commies. The Pakistanis claim their boosted nukes are small enough to be delivered by ballistic missile and there is no reason to doubt them.
How could the Pakistanis have developed such a sophisticated cradle-to-grave nuke capability? You hear allegations that the Chinese helped them, technically, and that the Saudis bankrolled them.
Well, what we do know is that virtually all members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference – including Saudi Arabia – view the Pakistani nukes to be "Islamic" nukes. The OIC supports Secretary Powell and the WAT-coalition efforts to keep Pakistan's military dictator, Pervez Musharraf in power, and the Islamic nukes under his control. But all OIC members vigorously oppose any invasion of OIC member Iraq.
If the warhawks disregard the opposition of the OIC and the WAT coalition and invade Iraq on the pretext of keeping the nukes Saddam doesn't have out of the hands of Islamic terrorists who aren't in Iraq, the chances of those Islamic nukes that really are in Pakistan falling into the hands of Islamic terrorists that really are in Pakistan will go way up. So will your chances of getting nuked in your jammies.
Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.
September 19, 2001
Safeguarding Islamic Nukes
November 30, 2002
Whose little Nuke are you?
January 4, 2003
The Nuke World Order