"A website with close ties to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has outlined why it would be acceptable to kill all Jews and annihilate Israel."
12. What are the ramifications of a tactical missile? A ballistic missile? A nuclear missile?Submitted by MikeChalberg on Mon, 2012-03-05 12:07
More FAQs in:
Because of the reduced range of tactical missiles, an attack on American soil remains unlikely unless a Club-K delivery system or something similar were used or tactical missile installations were built in South America. That said, U.S. military basis, naval fleets, and other installations located abroad are within range of tactical missiles. If the tactical missile is non-nuclear than the damage would be rather limited. If, on the other hand, the tactical missile is armed with a nuclear warhead, then the damage, though less than what a ballistic missile could do (due to payload capacity), would be quite severe.
It is hoped that the destructive capabilities and certain retaliation/mutually assured destruction (MAD) that would come from a nuclear attack (particularly long-range) will keep nations in check so long as rational actors are in charge. Advocates of missile defense systems, nonetheless, argue that the United States needs to be able to defend itself against a long-range missile attack, accidental launch, or unauthorized launch as well as tactical missiles launched from systems such as the Club-K.
Some argue that the smaller, tactical nuclear missiles pose a bigger threat to worldwide stability. They are easy to use, and though they cause less destruction, they are still tremendously dangerous weapons. This may open the door for some nations or independent groups to use these weapons in the future.
For the last 50+ years, scientists have speculated what the world would look like if there ever was nuclear war. So far, we have only witnessed the use of two (comparatively weak by today’s standards) nuclear bombs. Those bombs were dropped by the United States in 1945 during World War II on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The poisonous aftermath remained dangerous for decades. Hence, since the advent of nuclear power, numerous treaties and armament agreements have been signed. An image of the aftermath from Hiroshima is below:
The nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima (named "Little Boy") was approximately 15 kilotons in size. The Nagasaki bomb (named "Fat Man") was roughly 21 kilotons. (Source: Strategic-Air-Command.com) Today, a tactical nuclear weapon is 6 to 20 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. A strategic nuclear weapon can be hundreds of times more powerful. (Source: Brookings Institute)
If a nuclear weapon were to be detonated in a U.S. city, the deaths would likely be in the millions and the destruction would be immense. If a nuclear weapon were to be detonated in the atmosphere above the United States it would be considered an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack. If that were to happen, there would be less immediate destruction of life, but the EMP would destroy nearly all electronic equipment in its wake, rendering most of our modern civilization useless. Because food, water, sanitation, and health care networks would likely be knocked out, many believe that such an attack could kill tens of millions of Americans over several weeks as food, water, health care, and more would be limited to local supplies.