Barry Goldwater, 2.0

California congressman says if war with Iran comes, let’s use nukes

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Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

Rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr.

A California congressman who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq said Wednesday that the U.S. should use nuclear weapons if forced into a war with Iran over its nuclear program.

“I don’t think it’s inevitable but I think if you have to hit Iran, you don’t put boots on the ground,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, Jr., a Republican member of the armed services committee, said in an C-Span interview. “You do it with tactical nuclear devices and you set them back a decade, or two, or three. I think that’s the way to do it with a massive aerial bombardment campaign.”

Barry M. Goldwater

Getty

Barry Goldwater, 1909-1998

Hunter is a former Marine representing the same part of California his father represented as a congressman from 1981 to 2009.

There’s an echo of history in Hunter’s remark. In 1964, Senator Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., advocated the use of “low-yield atomic weapons” in Vietnam to defoliate the jungle (makes Agent Orange look pretty good).

Hunter added that crossing the nuclear threshold would be “a huge undertaking.” But he wasn’t thinking of the human or diplomatic toll, or what such a move might mean for the U.S. position in the world. His concern was less fissile and more fiscal. “It would cost,” he said, “billions and billions of dollars to do it.”

47 comments
aliantonet
aliantonet

Around the time Bush decided to invade Iran wasn't some controversy with North Korea settled by negotiation. What's the lesson? We will invade your if you do not have weapons of mass destruction as indeed Iraq did not. Is it any wonder Iran is interested in nuclear power. Somebody explain to me what the heck we are doing in continuous wars continents away with countries that do not present real threats to us. I assume there is some reason beneath the plethora of fabricated excuses a la Bush.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

Another psychopath leading the country. Great.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

The latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program raises questions once again about the Bush administration’s veracity in describing a nuclear threat. But President Bush’s worst misrepresentations about the Iranian nuclear issue do not focus on whether Tehran is currently pursuing a nuclear weapons program or when Bush knew the U.S. intelligence community was revising its previous assessments. Rather, the real lie is the president’s claim that his administration has made a serious offer to negotiate with the Islamic Republic, and that Iranian intransigence is the only thing preventing a diplomatic resolution.

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear activities started in the fall of 2003, initiated not by the United States, but by the “EU-3″ — Britain, France and Germany. Iran, for its part, agreed to suspend its nuclear activities as talks proceeded. But, contrary to Bush’s statement at his press conference this week, the United States did not “facilitate” these negotiations. Indeed, the Europeans had launched the talks to fill a diplomatic vacuum, after the Bush administration cut off its post-9/11 dialogue with Iran over Afghanistan and rebuffed an Iranian offer to negotiate a comprehensive resolution of U.S.-Iranian differences earlier that year.

On the day the EU-3 and Iran announced the opening of their negotiations, one of us was in Paris, meeting with a senior advisor to then-French President Jacques Chirac. This official said forthrightly that the point of the European effort was to “drag” the Bush administration into talks with Iran that it had refused to enter on its own. For more than two years, the Europeans tried to “drag” the administration in, but to no avail.

In the spring of 2005, in the face of European pleas for U.S. support, President Bush grudgingly approved token gestures: modifying the U.S. trade ban against Iran to permit the sale of spare parts for civilian airliners, and dropping his previous veto of Tehran’s application to the World Trade Organization. But still he refused to join negotiations. Shortly thereafter, in the summer of 2005 — before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office, after Tehran had suspended its nuclear activities for almost two years — Iran resumed nuclear development.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Iran offered to negotiate with us back in 2003 and we turned them down. Thanks to GWB and his idiocy we are now 10 years closer to them getting nukes. Funny how the GOP never mentions that.

Bulos_Qoqish
Bulos_Qoqish

Based on this kind of rhetoric from an American politician, if I were in the Iranian government, I would break off all negotiations with the United States and implement a crash program to develop a (deliverable) nuclear weapon. Iran is being threatened with a genocidal nuclear first strike by the only nation that has ever used nuclear weapons on a non-nuclear armed opponent. It would be utterly irresponsible of any national leader not to take this kind of a threat seriously, and not to do the utmost to protect his country.


And Americans WONDER why people elsewhere in the world despise and fear them.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

No need for America to do that. If push comes to shove and with their backs to the sea, Israel will probably send some nuclear bombs come Iran`s way gift wrapped with best wishes card. At least Iranians will know what an atomic bomb is. The only difference is that they are on the receiving end. 

MattMcLaughlin
MattMcLaughlin

This topic seems to be the puberty test for uppity GOPers that wanna save the world. Sorry bunch of chaps who won't win in California for a 1000 years.

grape_crush
grape_crush

'Nuking the entire site from orbit' sounded good in Aliens but coming from a Representative, it sounds completely asinine considering that we're in the beginning stages of making peace with Iran.

Let Netanyahu play the bellicose statesman-bad cop and have dopes like Hunter stop making noises with their mouths.

zeustiak
zeustiak

Someone check this guy into the hospital for PTSD treatment please.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

The Hunters, pere et fils, represent the highest achievement of American Exceptionalism  The father wrote a crazy book "Victory In Iraq: How America Won" and the son is no less incredible. It's only a question, to him, of how many Persians should be killed in order to make the government obey the US.  Pick a number, and there's your weapon. Incredible.

eagle11772
eagle11772

Nuke em now and be done with it !

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 

Negotiating with Iran would be like negotiating with your mugger. No matter what, you still get mugged.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mantisdragon91 Mantis, mantis please please. What makes you believe Iran is serious when they offered to negotiate with us ? Do you have more back channels to the Iranians than Dubya ? Here is a country which built their nuclear facilities under the mountains to escape detection, willing to kill its citizens, face starvation turned down our offer of most favored nation trade status, offered them money, technological know how among the many others to stop the enrichment of uranium ? They have been covering their butts from the IAEA inspectors for years, Mantis for years. Oh by the way there are some prime Pacific Ocean beach side properties in Idaho would you be interested ?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ReneDemonteverde No Rene they won't. Israel is smarter than idiot GOP war mongers. They want us to put boots on the ground in Iran for them since that is the only way to stop this other than negotiating like adults.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@MattMcLaughlin You are right, but not in what you think. In a hundred years, California will be part of Mexico. It is evident you do not have an idea what you are talking about. Viva La Raza, arriba Mejico.


Bulos_Qoqish
Bulos_Qoqish

@Don_Bacon That's exactly right, and what I think ordinary, sane Americans (many of whom I count among my personal friends) fail to appreciate is how much damage to your country's reputation, that belligerent, yahoo raving like Mr. Hunter is now engaging in, does.

When people outside the U.S. hear senior American politicians seriously advocating nuclear first strikes on Third World nations like Iran, that is by far the biggest incentive for them to develop their own, indigenous nuclear deterrents, as quickly as possible. The image that Mr. Hunter is projecting is of the U.S. as a rogue state, at least some of whose leadership is willing to advocate genocide as an acceptable foreign policy option.

I'm aware that he doesn't speak for all of you and that in a country with freedom of speech he's allowed to say whatever he wants... but ask yourself, if, for example, you had senior members of the Chinese Politbureau making public statements about "a Chinese nuclear first strike against Japan, to eliminate the threat posed to China by the existence of the Japanese domestic nuclear industry"... how, do you suppose, American voters would view something like that?

jmac
jmac

@Don_Bacon  Hunter also said:     I think that we should proceed with sanctions so that the Iranians know that this is not an American deal with them … this is a Kerry/Obama deal with them and that the rest of Congress is not behind them. 

Republicans and their supporters have become scarier and scarier.   They simply are not happy unless they have an evil empire to flex their muscles at.  Any empire will do - even one as weak as Iraq.  It's always about the win; it's always a football game.    


mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@eagle11772 Spoken like a true idiot. So what happens when the residue from the nukes drifts over the airspace of Israel which these Right Wingers hold so near and dear?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ReneDemonteverde @mantisdragon91  

October 30, 2002: Bush Refuses to Open Negotiations with Iran Over Nukes   Mohamed ElBaradei, the president of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), meets with President Bush in the Oval Office to discuss the news of Iran’s restarted nuclear program (see August 2002 and December 12, 2002). ElBaradei tells Bush that the Iranians want to meet with an American delegation to discuss the program, obviously with the intent of negotiating a cessation in return for American concessions. ElBaradei offers to help set up the talks, and even keep them low-profile. But Bush is uninterested. His goal, as he later tells British Prime Minister Tony Blair, is to “free Iran.” Author J. Peter Scoblic will later write that any negotiations that might succeed in shutting down Iran’s nuclear program would also serve to strengthen and legitimize Iran’s government; it is, therefore, worth the risk of a nuclear Iran to continue working towards “regime change” in that nation. This also helps explain why, several months later, Bush officials refused to consider Iran’s offer of the so-called “grand bargain” (see May 4, 2003

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mantisdragon91 @ReneDemonteverde Put boots on the ground ? After several regional wars in the area, never did Israel asked for our military personnel for help except for the military equipment and hardware and maybe intelligence. Come on Mantis. Bigotry does not become you.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

@jmac @Don_Bacon The knuckle-draggers can't appreciate that the agreement is actually a six power deal with Iran. Kerry wasn't even in the room. And neither were they.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mantisdragon91 @eagle11772 Mantis you have to ask the Israelis which they prefer. The nuke residue or the core of an atomic explosion at the heart of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Let us wait for their reply and not presume to speak for them. Doubtful you want to be there when that happens.

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @paulejb @mantisdragon91  It's the Republicans and Fox News who followed every word Bush lied about in Iraq as he ignored the real threat of Iran (and Syria and North Korea)

who were mugged and patted on the head.   Good job, Brownie/ReneDemonteverde!

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mantisdragon91 @ReneDemonteverde Let us call this a day, Mantis. And stop inhaling that meth while we are discussing. It leads to nowhere. Just chill and let us start when your meth addled brain is free from its effects.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ReneDemonteverde @mantisdragon91 And you should face reality. This country is not dumb enough to launch a preemptive nuclear strike as that would make us a rogue state. No conventional armament can ensure anywhere near 80% or better success rate in an air strike. What does that leave if not diplomacy?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mantisdragon91 @ReneDemonteverde @eagle11772 Right. And Bibi is my  brother brother in law.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@mantisdragon91 @ReneDemonteverde @eagle11772 I was talking about Israel Mantis, about Israel. When your very own survival is at stake what do you do ? You have to remember in all the years never did Israel threaten to wipe out its enemy off the face of the earth. Iran which does not even have a nuclear weapon have already been shooting its mouth off. Do you think Israel will wait for the first atomic blast before responding ?

Irony
Irony

@mantisdragon91 @ReneDemonteverde @eagle11772 They would consider us a rogue state. They would probably also feel that they needed to wipe us out or we would soon do the same to them on any flimsy excuse. They would be right on both counts.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ReneDemonteverde @mantisdragon91 @eagle11772 The only way Israel will have a core atomic explosion in the heart of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem is if their own stockpile of nukes explode. More importantly if we preemptively nuke a country that never attacked us, how would that look to the world?