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The Burrowing Nuke

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Six out of 10 Americans think it would be OK to nuke Iraq. And the president wants the option to use H-bombs preemptively in the war on terror. So what would be the Armageddon punch of choice for the Butcher of Baghdad and a million or so people standing too close to him?

Since The Washington Post spoke for the people on deployment of nukes, it would be good for some people to know that the go-to bomb would be the B-61—one of the nightmare weapons of the thermonuclear armory.

Also affectionately known as the “burrowing bomb,” the newest edition of the B-61, called the Mk-11, was developed just for use against non-nuclear third-world patsy-tyrants who have heard the call of “Dig we must,” and buried themselves and their alleged caches of biological and chemical weapons deep underground.

Built ram tough with a heavy metal casing for smashing through earth and concrete, the B-61 explodes with the force of an estimated 340,000 tons of TNT. It is lots of bang for the buck, literally two apocalypse bombs in one—a boosted plutonium firecracker called the primary, and a heavy hydrogen secondary for that good old-fashioned H-bomb fireball. The B-61 also features a detonation option called the Dial-a-Yield for those times when 340 kilotons is just a little too much.

To get a handle on the full power of the B-61, consider that the WW II A-bombs produced fireballs about 800 yards across. Seventeen times more powerful, a B-61 over the tip of Manhattan would probably provide decent annihilation, engulfing most of the borough while extending the same courtesy to Brooklyn, Queens, and a good chunk of Staten Island.

Saddam has dug but he won’t be able to hide. One B-61 will bring on a calamity of biblical proportions between Tigris and Euphrates. The sky will turn the color of sackcloth, the Arab world will supernova, our European allies will try our leaders in absentia as war criminals in the Hague—but, hey, anyone who contemplates using the thing plans on America’s hair getting a little mussed.

Strangeloves in the administration and the weapons labs believe future B-61 blasts will be contained below ground, making this a great war-fighter, not a doomsday device. But the only people who believe that get paid by the government to do so.