Celebrating for Nothing (Revelation 15)

https://i2.wp.com/leftopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Nuclear-powers-rebuked-as-122-nations-adopt-U.N.-ban-696x365.jpgCelebration as UN adopts historic nuclear weapons ban
Tim Wright
For more than seven decades, the international community has grappled with the threat of nuclear weapons. At the United Nations on Friday, July 7th, the vast majority of the world’s governments made clear their total rejection of these abhorrent devices, concluding a treaty to prohibit them, categorically, for all time. It was a moment of great historical significance.
Prolonged applause broke out as the president of the negotiating conference, Costa Rican ambassador Elayne Whyte Gomez, gavelled through the landmark accord. “We have managed to sow the first seeds of a world free of nuclear weapons,” she said. Diplomats and campaigners who had worked tirelessly over many years to make the treaty a reality embraced in celebration of the extraordinary achievement.
Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and long-time champion of disarmament, became overwhelmed with emotion as she welcomed the formal adoption of the treaty, backed by 122 nations. She asked delegates to pause to feel the witness of those who perished in 1945 or died later from radiation-related illnesses. She was a 13-year-old schoolgirl when hell descended on earth.
“Each person who died had a name. Each person was loved by someone,” she told the crowded conference room. “I’ve been waiting for this day for seven decades, and I am overjoyed that it has finally arrived. This is the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons.” She urged nations never to return to the failed policy of nuclear deterrence, and never to return to funding nuclear violence instead of meeting human needs.
The treaty recognizes the harm suffered both from nuclear weapons use and the two-thousand-plus nuclear test explosions that have been conducted across the globe since 1945. It obliges nations to provide assistance to the victims of these heinous acts. Its overriding mission, as reflected in the preamble, is to ensure that no one else ever suffers as they have.
Abacca Anjain-Maddison, from the Marshall Islands—a Pacific nation devastated by US nuclear testing in the 1940s and 1950s—delivered a powerful closing statement on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, whose 400 non-governmental organizations in 100 nations worked for more than a decade to bring about the treaty.
“The adoption of this landmark agreement today fills us with hope that the mistakes of the past will never be repeated,” she said, emphasizing the special meaning that it has for those who have suffered nuclear harm. “The international community has at last acknowledged what we have always known: that nuclear weapons are abhorrent and immoral.”
Governments, too, delivered impassioned statements in celebration of the treaty’s adoption. Among them was South Africa, which played a pivotal role during the negotiations and is the only nation to have built a nuclear arsenal before eliminating it completely. “Working hand in hand with civil society, [we] took an extraordinary step [today] to save humanity from the frightful specter of nuclear weapons,” its ambassador, Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, said. “For us, as a country, it was a duty to vote ‘yes’ for this treaty … to have voted ‘no’ would have been a slap in the face to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
One nation participating in ban negotations, the Netherlands—which hosts US nuclear weapons on its territory—did opt to vote against the treaty. Its government opposes meaningful disarmament efforts, despite overwhelming public support.
All nine nuclear-armed nations boycotted the negotiations, and therefore were absent for the vote. Some had exerted great pressure on other nations not to participate. But ultimately they failed to thwart the process. The commitment and resolve of the international community to declare nuclear weapons illegal was evident from the beginning of negotiations.
The treaty prohibits its state parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using, or threatening to use nuclear weapons. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging, or inducing anyone to engage in any of those activities, and they must not permit nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory.
A nation that possesses nuclear weapons may join the treaty, so long as it agrees to remove them from operational status immediately and destroy them in accordance with a legally binding, time-bound plan. One that hosts another nation’s nuclear weapons on its territory may also join the treaty on condition that it will remove them by a specified deadline.
The treaty will open for signature in New York on September 20th, when world leaders meet for the annual opening of the UN General Assembly. “If you love this planet, you will sign this treaty,” said Setsuko Thurlow. Fifty nations will need to ratify it before it can enter into full legal force. Much work will then be needed to ensure that it is implemented and becomes universal.
With close to 15,000 nuclear weapons remaining in the world—and efforts underway in all nuclear-armed nations to bolster their arsenals—the ultimate goal of eliminating this paramount threat to humanity is far from being realized. But now, the United Nations has established the foundations for making a nuclear-weapon-free world possible.
The treaty establishes a powerful norm that, many expect, will prove transformative. It closes a major gap in international law. Nuclear weapons—like other indiscriminate weapons, including biological and chemical weapons, anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions—are now categorically and permanently banned.
This post is part of Ban Brief, a series of updates on the historic 2017 negotiations to create a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Ban Brief is written by Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will.

Too Little Too Late (Revelation 15)

More than 120 nations adopted the first international treaty banning nuclear weapons on Friday at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The initiative—led by Austria, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and New Zealand—was approved by 122 votes, with only the Netherlands opposed, and Singapore abstaining. The nine countries generally recognized as possessing nuclear weapons—the U.S., Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel—were noticeably absent from the negotiations, as were most members of NATO.
Despite being a victim of atomic attacks in 1945, Japan also boycotted the meeting. Nevertheless, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki informed Friday’s dialogue—and the conversation thereafter. “It’s been seven decades since the world knew the power of destruction of nuclear weapons,” the president of the UN conference, Elayne Whyte Gómez, told The Guardian. The agreement, she added, “is a very clear statement that the international community wants to move to a completely different security paradigm that does not include nuclear weapons.”
Friday’s ten-page treaty is extensive in its demands, prohibiting signatories from developing, testing, manufacturing, possessing, or threatening to use nuclear weapons. Nations are also prohibited from transferring nuclear weapons to one another. Having now been approved by the UN, the treaty will be open for signatures on September 20, at which point it will need to be ratified by 50 states before entering into international law.The major obstacle, of course, is that many prominent members of the international community—and their allies—remain vocally opposed. In a joint statement on Friday, the UN ambassadors for the U.S., Britain, and France said they had no intention of joining the treaty, arguing that it “clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.” Of particular concern, they said, was the fact that the treaty failed to address of the growing threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Earlier this week, North Korea claimed to have tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, which experts say may be capable of striking Hawaii and Alaska. The nation has also conducted five nuclear tests since 2006—and could be preparing for its sixth.Rather than ban nuclear weapons and risk vulnerability to a North Korean attack, the U.S., Britain, and France hope to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which provides nations other than the five original nuclear powers—the U.S., Russia, Britain, France, and China—from pursuing nuclear programs. In exchange, the five powers have pledged to make steps toward nuclear disarmament and give non-nuclear states access to nuclear technology for producing energy. But many nations have criticized the NPT for failing to elicit a speedy disarmament. At the very least, Friday’s treaty introduces the concept of a nuclear-free world, and could even put pressure on nuclear powers to adopt a new set of standards. “The key thing is that it changes the legal landscape,” Richard Moyes, the managing director of Article 36, a U.K.-based organization that aims to prevent harm caused by nuclear weapons, told Agence France-Presse. As Moyes sees it, the newly-approved treaty “stops states with nuclear weapons from being able to hide behind the idea that they are not illegal.”

World War 3 Will Soon Happen (Revelation 15)

Donald Trump’s attack on the Syrian regime could be viewed as a direct affront to Moscow
Could World War 3 actually happen? How chemical warfare and nuclear weapons could lead to a global conflict

By Neal Baker, Tom Gillespie and Mark Hodge
Tensions between the US, Russia, China and North Korea continue to escalate
TENSIONS between the US, Russia, China and North Korea continue to escalate, with each power refusing to back down.

And after Kim Jong-un tested the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile – are these signs of an outbreak of World War 3?
Tensions between US, Russia, China and North Korea are increasing.
Kim Jong-un laughed as he fired North Korea’s first ICBM declaring it was a special “gift for American b******s” on July 4 – the nation’s Independence Day.
It launched the Hwasong-14 – said to be capable of hitting the US – as Donald Trump warned of “severe consequences” for his “bad behaviour”.
Prior to that, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests in 2016 alone, defying six UN Security Council resolutions banning any testing.
And this year, one of the nation’s additional missile tests failed when it blew up soon after launching.
The secretive country has shown no signs of slowing down, warning that it is ready for “full out war”.
It has even warned that it would be a “piece of cake” to nuke Japan – and that anyone supporting their detractors would also be in the firing line.
The hermit state has threatened that “nuclear war could break out at any moment”, but most experts believe it would not launch an attack as it would not survive a revenge strike by the US.
Paranoid Kim Jong-un has even dubbed America’s leaders a bunch of “rats sneaking around in the dark” amid claims the CIA plotted to wipe him out.
The tyrannical country has threatened the US with a “full-scale” nuclear war and claims the superpower is running scared of Kim Jong-un’s missiles.
Russia, along with China, is said to have sent a spy ship to the area to ward off the task force amid rising tensions in the region.
And Putin urged the US to show “restraint”.
There was a time when it seemed like the prospect of war with the likes of Russia and China had disappeared with the end of the Cold War.
But tense relationships between the world’s major military players means the outbreak of another global conflict has been raised higher than ever before.

Kim Jong-un

Russia and America’s involvement in the war in Syria has created a situation where the two nations’ planes are reportedly flying dangerously close to each other on bombing runs.
Putin threatened in June to shoot down all RAF and US jets in western Syria in retaliation for a US Navy fighter downing a Syrian plane.
If World War Three does kick off it seems the Russians could have something to do with it.
But it is more likely that if it ever did happen, it would be sparked hundreds of miles away from Syria.
One expert claimed Latvia will be Ground Zero — the country where the next global conflict will begin.
Professor Paul D Miller of the National Defence University in Washington DC — who predicted the invasion of Crimea and the Ukraine conflict — said the Baltic state is next on Russia’s hit list.
But Putin won’t use conventional troops. Instead, he will recreate what happened in Ukraine and stir up the patriotism of ethnic Russians in the country.
“Putin will instigate an ambiguous militarised crisis using deniable proxies, probably in the next two years”, he said.
A Russian jet came within just five feet of a US reconnaissance plane in the Baltic in June, reports claimed, with one official quoted as saying the SU-27 was “provocative”, “unsafe” and flying “erratically”.

A missile is driven past the Kim Jong-un during a military parade in Pyongyang

It is impossible to say who would win with any certainty, but the US has the best arsenal.
The US is the only country in possession of fifth-gen fighter jets – 187 F-22s and an F-35 that is not yet out of the testing phase.
Russia is developing one stealth fighter and China is working on four.
In terms of submarines the US Navy has 14 ballistic missile submarines with a combined 280 nuclear missiles.
They also possess four guided missile submarines with 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles each and 54 nuclear attack submarines.
Russia has only 60 submarines but they are said to have outstanding stealth capabilities.
They are also developing a 100-megaton nuclear torpedo.
China has five nuclear attack submarines, 53 diesel attack submarines, and four nuclear ballistic missile submarines to date.
But the emerging superpower is developing more.

North Korea say U.S. bombers push tension ‘to the brink of nuclear war’
On the brink

Of Course There Will Be a Nuclear Armageddon (Revelation 15)

FactCheck Q&A: Could there be a nuclear Armageddon?

By Martin Williams
4 JUL 2017
After a successful missile test, North Korea claims it is now a “full-fledged nuclear power” which is “capable of hitting any part of the world”.
Russia and the US believe this is a slight exaggeration, saying the missile actually had a medium-range and posed no immediate threat to either country.
But the development has scared many about the prospect of nuclear war. So how likely is it?
Who’s got nuclear weapons?
The US and Russia both reduced their nuclear weapon arsenal after the Cold War. But since the 1990s, the speed of this reduction has slowed down.
What’s more, because of constantly improving technology, the potential impact of each warhead is now far greater than it once was.
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) says: “Comparing today’s inventory with that of the 1950s is like comparing apples and oranges; today’s forces are vastly more capable.
“The pace of reduction has slowed significantly. Instead of planning for nuclear disarmament, the nuclear-armed states appear to plan to retain large arsenals for the indefinite future.”
As far as we know, nine countries have nuclear weapons: Russia, the US, France, China, the UK, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. Between them, they are thought to have around 15,000 nuclear weapons.
Of these, Russia and the US have by far the most. But the FAS says that China, Pakistan, India and North Korea appear to have been increasing their stockpiles, while the others are either reducing the numbers or making no significant changes.
We can’t be sure of exact numbers because of the high level of secrecy, not least in North Korea.
Israel has also refused to confirm or deny its arsenal, but it is widely suspected to have about 80 nuclear warheads and enough plutonium to make many more.
Out of the 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, the majority are not immediately deployable. A report by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in 2012 estimated that the US, UK, France and Russia had around 1,940 warheads which were “ready for use on short notice”.
The report said the numbers were so high because of “circular (though flawed) logic”.
“US nuclear forces are maintained on alert because Russian nuclear forces are on alert, and vice versa for Russian forces. Put in another way, if nuclear forces were not on alert, there would be no requirement to keep nuclear forces on alert.”
What would happen in a nuclear war?
After the US dropped a nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, an initial report said that two-thirds of the people who were within half a mile of the blasts had been killed. People suffered skin burns up to two miles away.
The final death toll of Hiroshima alone is now estimated to be between 66,000 and 150,000.
That was more than 70 years ago, though. Nuclear weapons today can be many, many times more powerful.
And that’s to say nothing of the economic, political and social consequences, which could potentially be monumental.
Bill Perry, a nuclear weapons expert who served as President Clinton’s Secretary of Defense spoke to Vice earlier this year. He said a worst case scenario would now mean nothing short of a total Armageddon.
“An all-out general nuclear war between the United States and Russia would mean no less than the end of civilisation,” Perry said. “That’s not being dramatic; that’s not being hyperbolic. That’s just what would happen.”
How likely is a nuclear war?
The world survived the Cold War without nuclear weapons being used. And with the main two nuclear powers reducing their arsenals, it might be tempting to think the risk is reducing.
But global security threats are very different to what they once were. And one bomb could lead to retaliation strikes.
Bill Perry said he believes the most likely scenario for a nuclear attack would be if a terrorist group got hold of a small amount of enriched uranium, allowing them to make an improvised nuclear bomb.
“Of all of the nuclear catastrophes that could happen, this is the most probable,” he said. “I think I would say it’s probably an even chance that this will happen sometime in the next ten years.”
He added: “We have the possibility of a regional nuclear war, between Pakistan and India, for example. Even if they used only half of their nuclear arsenal, those bombs would put enough smoke in the air – enough dust in the air – that will go up and settle in the stratosphere and then distribute itself around the planet and would block the rays of the sun for years to come.
“It could be millions of people who die from that alone.”

Sweden Prepares For Nuclear War (Revelation 15)

Sweden preparing nuclear fallout bunkers across the country amid fear of Russian war

War preparations come as Nordic country reintroduces military conscription
NUCLEAR war shelters are being readied in Sweden to prepare for a surprise Russian attack, according to reports.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has reportedly been ordered to carry out a review this year of bunkers the coming weeks as the Scandinavian country also reintroduces military service.
Bunkers are being reviewed in Sweden in case war breaks out with Russia
Bunkers are being reviewed in Sweden in case war breaks out with Russia to protect as many as seven million people
A system of 65,000 bunkers was established in the Cold War to protect the population from nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
According to MSB, the bunkers currently protect against blast and radiation as well as chemical or germ warfare.
With a distinctive logo, they can easily be located by civilians seeking shelter.
But with fears growing over threat posed by Vladimir Putin and his resurgent Russia they are being reviewed to make sure they are ready.
Russian military drills in the region have raised fears among neighbouring nations that an attack could happen in the coming months.
Civil defence measures are therefore being stepped up, especially in the Island of Gotland where Sweden has already re-opened a garrison.
Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Radio reported that Mats Berglund had ordered a review of the island’s 350 civilian bunkers.
Should you be in Sweden and need to take shelter this is a public nuclear bunker sign
Should you be in Sweden and need to take shelter this is a public nuclear bunker sign
The network of public bunkers originates from the Cold War but are now being dusted down, according to reports
The network of public bunkers originates from the Cold War but are now being dusted down, according to reports

The Wealthy Merchants Prepare For The End (Revelation 6:15)

On January 26, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board moved the iconic ‘Doomsday Clock’ closer to midnight, from three minutes to two and a half minutes. The Doomsday Clock was last reset on January 22, 2015, at 3 minutes to midnight, when its minute-hand moved up two minutes; the clock then stood at 11:57 pm. This year,  humanity moved 30 seconds closer to global calamity thanks to nuclear threats, cyber threats, artificial-intelligence arms race, climate change, biosecurity, and bioterrorism.
With Donald Trump taking control of nuclear weapons capable of wiping out all of humanity on our planet, United States’ paranoid tech billionaires have started preparing for the apocalypse by buying island properties; stockpiling guns, gold coins, spare passports, motorcycles, helicopters and food; investing in luxury underground bunkers; taking archery classes; and undergoing corrective laser eye surgeries.
Steve Huffman, co-founder and CEO of the social networking website Reddit, is one of the super-rich who are getting ready for the day when civilization falls apart. Huffman, who recently underwent a laser eye surgery to improve his odds of surviving a natural or man-made disaster, told The New Yorker:
“If the world ends — and not even if the world ends, but if we have trouble—getting contacts or glasses is going to be a huge pain in the ass. Without them, I’m fucked… I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time.”
Huffman is not the only richest of the rich survivalist prepper preparing for doomsday, former Facebook product manager Antonio García Martínez has bought a homestead piece of property on an island in the Pacific Northwest and has stocked it with generators, solar panels and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
“When society loses a healthy founding myth, it descends into chaos. All these dudes think that one guy alone could somehow withstand the roving mob. No, you’re going to need to form a local militia. You just need so many things to actually ride out the apocalypse. I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.”
Larry Hall, CEO of the Survival Condo Project – a fifteen-story luxury apartment complex built in an underground Atlas missile silo north of Kansas, says he has erected a defense against the fears of a new Cold War-era that can withstand a nuclear strike.
“It has enough food and fuel for five years off the grid; by raising tilapia in fish tanks, and hydroponic vegetables under grow lamps, with renewable power, it could function indefinitely. In a crisis, the SWAT-team-style trucks will pick up any owner within four hundred miles. Residents with private planes can land in Salina, about thirty miles away. You can send all the bullets you want into this place. If necessary, his guards would return fire. We’ve got a sniper post.”
A record number of Americans reportedly bought property in New Zealand, one of the most popular places in the world for tech moguls to buy ‘apocalypse insurance’, after Donald Trump’s shock election win in November 2016. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder, who is planning to buy a property in New Zealand, observed:
“Saying you’re ‘buying a house in New Zealand’ is kind of a wink, wink, say no more. Once you’ve done the Masonic handshake, they’ll be, like, ‘Oh, you know, I have a broker who sells old ICBM silos, and they’re nuclear-hardened, and they kind of look like they would be interesting to live in’. ”
Late January, Ron Paul, former Congressman from Texas, warned the Economic Doomsday is nearer than expected. He predicted the second financial bubble is going to burst in the next two years, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it; even Donald Trump can’t stop it. How are financial experts readying to safeguard themselves against the impending financial ruin and protect their future?
Tim Chang, managing director at venture-capital firm Mayfield Fund, notes:
“There’s a bunch of us in the Valley. We meet up and have these financial-hacking dinners and talk about backup plans people are doing. It runs the gamut from a lot of people stocking up on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, to figuring out how to get second passports if they need it, to having vacation homes in other countries that could be escape havens.
“I’ll be candid: I’m stockpiling now on real estate to generate passive income but also to have havens to go to. I kind of have this terror scenario: ‘Oh, my God, if there is a civil war or a giant earthquake that cleaves off part of California, we want to be ready’.”

And The Merchants Hid Themselves In Caves (Revelation 6:15)

Steve Huffman, the co-founder and CEO of Reddit, didn’t get laser eye surgery just for the convenience–he got it to increase his chances of surviving the apocalypse.
“Survivalism,” or preparing for societal collapse, has become serious business among some of America’s super rich, as illustrated by a recent article from The New Yorker which takes a look at the great lengths to which some of the richest from Wall Street to Silicon Valley have gone to protect themselves against cataclysmic civil unrest.
“The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely,” Yishan Wong, Reddit’s former CEO and one of Facebook’s first employees, told The New Yorker. He also got eye surgery in preparation for doomsday.
But Antonio García Martínez, former Facebook product manager and author of Silicon Valley tell-all book Chaos Monkeys, seems to be banking on impending social chaos. “I think people who are particularly attuned to the levers by which society actually works understand that we are skating on really thin cultural ice right now.” Martínez purchased five acres on an island in the Pacific Northwest, tricked out with ample ammunition, solar panels, and generators.
Preppers in the venture capital world include Tim Chang, managing director at Mayfield Fund, and Max Levchin, a founder of PayPal and lending startup Affirm.

The Dire Option If The Iran Negotiations Fail


Attack on Iran could set back bomb effort two years

Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY
3 hours ago

WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) — U.S. airstrikes aimed at Iran’s nuclear facilities would likely set back the regime’s quest for a weapon by one or two years and require waves of attacks spearheaded by the ultra-heavy conventional bomb known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, according to military officials and experts.

A comprehensive attack aimed first at taking down Iran’s air defenses and destroying its deeply buried nuclear facilities would provide a “moderate confidence level” that Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon would be set back by as much as two years, said a senior officer familiar with the planning.
Two senior officers involved in planning potential Iran attacks spoke to USA TODAY. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

President Obama wrote an op-ed piece this week that ran in papers across the country, saying that if Iraq violates the recently negotiated agreement, “it’s possible that we won’t have any other choice than to act militarily.”

A U.S. attack on Iran, according to two officers involved in planning and several others interviewed for this story, requires more than pinpoint strikes against that country’s nuclear facilities. It could spawn retaliatory attacks in the Persian Gulf if Iran retaliates by attempting to choke off shipping.
“A strike would try to reduce as much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure as possible, recognizing it wouldn’t be perfect or permanently eliminate it,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow and military expert at the Brookings Institution.

An air war such as that, with as many as 1,000 aircraft sorties over several days to a week, would likely destroy power plants and other infrastructure associated with Iran’s nuclear facilities, O’Hanlon said. He estimates that would set back Iran’s nuclear program, which it maintains are for peaceful purposes, from one to five years.

The first wave of a “two-pronged attack”

Even before the first bombs fall and missiles are fired for such an attack, the Pentagon would need to shift people and weaponry to the Middle East.

Public diplomatic overtures to allies in the region will likely be made seeking access to bases and port facilities for U.S. forces, said a second senior planning officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Patriot missiles, which can shoot down enemy missiles, would be deployed to protect bases and other facilities in the region. The Air Force might even announce weapons testing of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a huge bomb capable of destroying deeply buried, fortified facilities, the second officer said.

The first wave of attacks would be aimed at Iraq’s air defenses, the first officer said. Missiles fired from a safe distance — so-called stand-off weapons — would likely be used initially, O’Hanlon said.
Among the initial targets: surface-to-air missile sites and radars that would be used to track and attack U.S. warplanes. Intelligence would have to be gathered on a “fairly quick timeline” — a matter of hours — to determine if follow-on airstrikes could be safely flown, the first officer said.

The hard part

Targeting facilities where nuclear material is produced is relatively easy, the first officer said. The sites are large and hard to mask. The location of Iraq’s nuclear facilities are not much of a secret, the officer said. Spy satellites and other means, including monitoring of social media, result in an assessment known as “all-source fused intelligence.”

Uranium-enrichment facilities, those with thousands of centrifuges, are large complexes that “are incredibly hard to hide,” the first officer said. The other route to a bomb — using plutonium — requires a heavy water reactor and produces tell-tale elements that air sampling can detect. There are about 20 nuclear facilities in Iran that would need to be attacked, some with as many as 60 individual strikes.

The Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound bomb capable of burrowing through rock, soil and even concrete, would probably be the weapon of choice, O’Hanlon said. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told CNN in April that the MOP can destroy Iran’s buried production facilities.
Much more difficult is pinpointing the labs and factories that manufacture the means to deliver the nuclear weapon, the first officer said. The sophisticated work of building warheads, engines and guidance systems for a missile can be done in scattered locations, including populated areas where civilian casualties would be nearly impossible to avoid.

A comprehensive attack could require as much as a week’s worth of bombing and 1,000 sorties, O’Hanlon said. And the Iranians wouldn’t be expected to take it laying down. The Pentagon would have to prepare for attacks on its ships in the Persian Gulf, he said.

A U.S.-launched attack on Iran would likely result in American servicemembers being killed, O’Hanlon said.

Asking the wrong question

To retired Air Force general David Deptula, airstrikes in Iran make little sense — and could be counterproductive — unless they’re tied to a strategy.

In Iran’s case, that strategy needs to account for Iranian leaders and their desire for a bomb. Unless that desire is changed, a U.S. attack is a temporary solution at best, said Deptula, who led the Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts.