The Null Device

If we can't have it, no-one can

This may be true or may be apocryphal, but it's scary: apparently, the U.S. conventional arsenal has, as a last resort, a supply of cobalt jackets to be placed around missiles in the event of defeat. The jackets will effectively turn the missiles into dirty bombs, contaminating wide areas; they are kept at arsenals worldwide.
"They're for a situation where the U.S. government is crumbling during a time of war, and foreign takeover is imminent. We won't capitulate. We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we arm everything with cobalt--and I mean everything; we have jackets at nearly every missile magazine in the world, on land or at sea--and contaminate the world. If we cant have it, nobody can."

If the United States (in whatever form it takes) goes out of existence, that could mean the extinction of all life on Earth. This means that this civilisation, whose culture is intellectual property manufactured in Los Angeles and beamed around the world by satellite and whose dominant species is the corporation, in whose guts we are all but microorganisms, has the means and a strategy to be the last one.

Alternatively, this could be disinformation to discourage people from agitating against the system too much (if its collapse could mean the extinction of all life, then any evils and iniquities in the system are, by comparison, endurable). (via Gimbo)

There are 8 comments on "If we can't have it, no-one can":

Posted by: Mario http:// Fri Sep 12 18:20:59 2003

Holy fucking christ!

Posted by: Tristan http://livejournal.com/~rozencrantz Sat Sep 13 00:34:49 2003

The article sounds fake, the guy in charge wouldn't know why they were used, just how to use them and who would give him the order to use them

Posted by: Tristan http://livejournal.com/~rozencrantz Sat Sep 13 00:34:54 2003

The article sounds fake, the guy in charge wouldn't know why they were used, just how to use them and who would give him the order to use them

Posted by: mark http://donotuselifts.net/ Sat Sep 13 08:06:37 2003

Funny you just mentioned Dr Strangelove, eh?

Posted by: mitch http:// Sat Sep 13 08:18:52 2003

In the nuclear lore, you will find something called a "cobalt bomb". This is a nuclear weapon with a cobalt jacket. The neutrons from the nuke lodge in the cobalt nuclei, creating a radioactive form of the atom. (The stability of an atomic nucleus has to do with the balance of protons and neutrons in it.) So the cobalt plays no part in the actual nuclear explosion (except possibly as a "neutron reflector" helping to sustain the chain reaction in the actual fissile materials), but it's intended to be present in the fall-out. So a cobalt bomb is a "radiological nuclear weapon". (cont'd)

Posted by: mitch http:// Sat Sep 13 08:26:22 2003

In the story related by Paul Krassner, the officer says that the cobalt jackets are supposed to cover conventional ordinance. This doesn't fit the cobalt-bomb picture, since the cobalt is only rendered radioactive by the nuclear explosion within the cobalt casing. In theory you could have a stockpile of cobalt which had been rendered radioactive at a nuclear test site, and then salvaged for use as described. But the whole thing sounds like a fabrication to me. (Note the contrast with depleted uranium, which by definition is uranium in which radioactivity is low because most of the radioisotopes have already decayed.)

One more thing. The British appear to have tested a cobalt-laced bomb at Maralinga in 1957, with the cobalt meant to act as a tracer for the distribution of fallout.

Posted by: EvilPundit http://evilpundit.com Sun Sep 14 11:18:47 2003

"Alternatively, this could be disinformation to discourage people from agitating against the system too much."

Or it might just be a complete fabrication, based on no evidence whatsoever.

Posted by: David Golding http://pah2.weblogs.com/ Mon Sep 15 06:08:01 2003

Last time I checked in with my military-obsessed inner child, the efficacy of dirty bombs was under a big question mark. Promotion of them as a big evil in recent times is mainly due to the Pentagon, repeats of Doctor Who, and copies of the Guiness Book of Records from the seventies (where they optimistically claim a single device could wipe out all life on Earth).

Of course, the US does have a nuclear arsenal that could wipe everyone out. Check out this quaint article from 2001: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0617-04.htm

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