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Mainstream, Vol XLVIII, No 51, December 11, 2010

Destructive Face of Nuclear Attacks

Sunday 12 December 2010, by Bharat Dogra


We are all aware how destructive modern war, particularly nuclear war, can become, but still very few people may be aware that for a considerable period of recent history as many as 170 to 290 million (17 to 29 crore) killings were to be carried out in a single overwhelming nuclear attack. This doesn’t include deaths from the longer-term impact of nuclear weapons.

This happened around the year 1960 when the US military prepared its first formal nuclear war plan called the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP).

According to declassified information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Fred Kaplan, Senior Fellow with the New America Foundation, the US strategy was that if the Soviets attacked the US or Western Europe with or without nuclear weapons, the US would launch all its nuclear weapons against every target in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China. In the event of a sudden war with the Soviet Union, the US would shoot 1459 nuclear bombs, totalling 2164 megatons, against 654 targets in the USSR, Eastern Europe and China, killing 175 million people.

According to another option (Plan I-A of SIOP), if the US launched its entire arsenal in a pre-emptive first strike, such an attack would involve 3423 nuclear weapons totalling 7847 megatons and killing 285 million persons.

This information reveals how destructive actual planning of nuclear weapon attacks has been and how such planning can become completely insensitive to the sufferings of fellow human beings as well as all forms of life.

Bharat Dogra

C-27, Raksha Kunj, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi-110063

(Ph.: 25255303)

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