"Nuke 'em"

Norris, Robert S.; Arkin, William M.
April 1991
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists;Apr1991, Vol. 47 Issue 3, p48
This article reports the results of a Gallup poll taken January 23-26 which found that 45 percent of the American public favored using nuclear weapons against Iraq "if it might save the lives of U.S. troops." An equal percentage opposed the use of nuclear weapons. This represented a dramatic shift from earlier in January, before war broke out, when only 24 percent polled by Newsweek favored using nuclear weapons if this would quickly end hostilities and save U.S. lives, and 74 percent opposed such use. In the November poll, however, 60 percent favored using nuclear weapons if Iraq used them, and 49 percent favored their use if Iraq used" poison gas." Americans also seem to be under the misapprehension that nuclear weapons are a kind of" magic bullet" that can defeat an enemy decisively and quickly. In 1973 John E. Mueller analyzed U.S. public opinion about the use of" atomic" weapons in the Korean and Vietnam wars.


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