Tuesday, January 22, 2008

By the shadow of our hand

The Guardian describes an extraordinary manifesto authored "by five of the west's most senior military officers and strategists ... following discussions with active commanders and policymakers, many of whom are unable or unwilling to publicly air their views. It has been presented to the Pentagon in Washington and to Nato's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, over the past 10 days. The proposals are likely to be discussed at a Nato summit in Bucharest in April." The gist of the proposal is that the West should stand ready to conduct a pre-emptive nuclear strike against "key threats" like "political fanaticism and religious fundamentalism" and "international terrorism, organised crime" which are on the brink of acquiring weapons of mass destruction.



The Telegraph adds that the report "includes Lord Inge's comments on the controversy surrounding nuclear weapons policy: 'To tie our hands on first use or no first use removes a huge plank of deterrence.'" But to really grasp the rationale behind this proposed pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons, it's important to read the manifesto's other demand: the reform of NATO. The Guardian article makes it clear that the West's defense alliance does not have the conventional power to resist the threats emerging against it.

To prevail, the generals call for an overhaul of Nato decision-taking methods, a new "directorate" of US, European and Nato leaders to respond rapidly to crises, and an end to EU "obstruction" of and rivalry with Nato. Among the most radical changes demanded are:

A shift from consensus decision-taking in Nato bodies to majority voting, meaning faster action through an end to national vetoes.

The abolition of national caveats in Nato operations of the kind that plague the Afghan campaign.

In reaching this conclusion, the five ex-senior commanders of NATO have essentially endorsed US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' criticism of the alliance as an underfunded, tentative force that is unable to even campaign effectively against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, a subject discussed in an earlier Belmont Club post. NATO, having been shown to be unequal to the task of fighting in Afghanistan, is logically unable to meet a serious challenge in several simultaneous theaters. Having confessed to the emptiness of its conventional defense capability, the alliance must naturally turn to other means to restore its credibility.

This would not be the first time. Historically NATO relied upon American nuclear weapons to defend Europe against the post-World War 2 Soviet threat because a) it was cheap and b) Europe refused to re-arm; the French in particular fearing any resurgence of German strength. Nuclear deterrence was the consequence of conventional weakness, a technological way of compensating for the lack of normal forces.

The situation is being reprised today, not before the Soviet threat, but against an array of enemies against which NATO can mount no effective conventional response. GWB's Global War on Terror was an attempt to defeat Islamic extremism and other forms of transnational terrorism by conventional and intelligence warfare. Now, with the Bush administration reaching its end in Washington, there are probably grave doubts about whether there is enough political will to sustain this approach. It has become fashionable to criticize the Global War on Terror without bothering to consider the alternative. Now the alternative is before us. Given the catastrophic consequences of allowing terrorist or fanatical groups to acquire WMDs, it was only natural for the ex-NATO commanders to turn once again to nukes. By proposing the "pre-emptive" use of nuclear weapons, the proposal hopes to serve notice that any attempts by unnamed parties whose identities are an open secret will be met with nothing less than the ultimate weapon.

At first glance, the manifesto appears to mark a return to the policy of deterrence; a rueful admission that nothing but a revival of the balance of terror can now secure the West against forces that its publics are unwilling to mobilize against. That thought will ironically comfort many of those who lived through the long shadow of East versus West. After all, if deterrence kept the West safe against the Soviets for the long duration of the Cold War might not containment and the mutual balance of terror also safeguard it indefinitely against radical Islam?

But on closer examination the manifesto might not signal a return to deterrence at all. Deterrence is based on the idea of rational choice where actors are presumed to examine all the options before them and choose the one in which their preferences are best served. Deterrence worked because it made peace the only alternative to utter destruction. But it worked against the Soviets because for all their belligerence could always be counted on to choose life. The Commissars may have been stupid but they were not crazy. Can the same assumption be made about Islamic radicals who desire death? From the point of a theocratic zealot the rational choice may be to hasten Armageddon.

On closer inspection the manifesto might not be about deterrence at all. It is about committing to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMDs at all costs. The reason Lord Inge's remark that "to tie our hands on first use or no first use removes a huge plank of deterrence" is so significant is that it brings the trigger point back from second-strike or launch on attack to one in which WMD acquisition itself becomes the casus belli. It is almost a form of pre-deterrence.

No other recent political development has underlined the destructive effects of the Left's opposition to the War on Terror as much as this manifesto. To now stake the safety of the West upon pre-emptive nuclear attack rather than endure the constant sniping of the Left exposes the full bankruptcy of the "pacifist" position. This alternative may take the world to the brink of a catastrophe. One wonders whether any NATO majority will have sufficient confidence in their intelligence agencies to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the basis of a warning. In all probability they will not. What will likely happen is that the West will be left waiting for the descent of the first nuclear blow in order to generate the political capital to strike back, and then in the only way they can -- with atomic fires -- in place of the men who could not be mustered to defend it under the galling fire of their critics. Having refused to fight limited wars to preserve the peace, the West may now be left with threatening global catastrophe to preserve itself. The price of appeasement has always been high. It's always possible to kick a live grenade down the road as you walk down it. Some may see that as an advantage, but it isn't really.

Update

Here's a link to the actual report, in PDF format. It's entitled "Towards a Grand Strategy in an Uncertain World". Some of the subheadings are suggestive: 'Decline of Sovereignty', 'Loss of the Rational', 'Scale and Complexity'. The chapter on the 'Loss of the Rational' for example, describes how with the breakdown of community, there are no more reference points to provide perspective, simply cults and fads; no basis upon which to evaluate things according to their ratio. "Taken together, these symptoms enhance the political frivolity of large parts of the developed world’s populations, leaving people intellectually, culturally and politically vulnerable." The choice of the word "frivolity" is inspired, as no better term can describe the obsession with the relatively petty -- the fate of whales, Kyoto, speech codes, etc -- while simultaneously ignoring very serious threats threats. It's a topsy-turvey world and the "loss of rationality" signifies the abolition of proportion, such as afflicts the madman who keeps looking for his bus ticket while his house is burning. But the presence of this kind of philosophical digression in what is ostensibly a strategy paper is disturbing, akin to having to pinch ourselves to ensure we are awake, so strange is the situation we find ourselves in.

65 Comments:

Blogger buck smith said...

I do not understand why the pre-emptive strike needs to be nuclear. Isn't cheaper and easy-to-clean up after conventional weapons?

1/22/2008 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

buck smith,

The manifesto is intellectually puzzling. The object seems to be to prevent the enemy from playing the nuclear game at all. But in order to do that they zip right up to the top of the escalation ladder. The only way I can make sense of it is that it's based on a muddled kind of "deterrence" logic. That's why the word "nuclear" is there, as a sop to deterrence. And yet the whole reason for pre-emptively striking is because of fears that classic deterrence won't work.

So we deter "them" with nukes from building WMDs because we doubt they can be deterred with nukes once they have them. It's a crazy kind of logic, which is why it has the air of desperation about it, rather than firmness.

1/22/2008 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Dead on. Exactly what I have been thinking.

Back in the late 70’s with the Soviets building up their conventional forces to seemingly beyond what NATO could handle, some in Great Britain proposed much the same thing. A Warsaw Pact incursion would be met with a single nuclear strike, sending the message “If you want to start this thing to start it is going to very, very nasty very, very fast.” This was opposed to the usual strategy that said that the “Race to the Rhine” would start conventionally and only go nuclear if the Soviets broke that threshold.

Going nuclear in the first hour was based on a belief that the West was unwilling and possibly even unable to match the Warsaw Pact tank-for-tank. Ronald Reagan upset that belief, amongst much caterwauling in Europe over nuclear Pershings and Tomahawks on their soil.

As we have heard said many times, fighting the war against Islamic Fascism requires marshalling every element of our society. The New Nuclear Option appears to be focused on avoiding that fact. It was all well and good in the 1980’s for you to have protestors lined up at missile bases because you still built the bases. The modern protestors seek to deny us the non-military elements required to defeat the enemy. Europe wants to have its cake and eat it too.

1/22/2008 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

Detterance will no stop the zealots. They want their 72 virgins and believe every other Mulsim wants the same. You would be doing them a favour.

No. The only solution is to give them what they want and relax. Apart from the taxes, occassional pogram, and the sending of your sons to serve as soldiers against the infidel, the life of a Dhimmi is pretty uneventfull.

1/22/2008 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

On closer inspection the manifesto might not be about deterrence at all. It is about committing to prevent terrorists from acquiring WMDs at all costs.

I don't see that. The intent seems to be simply to retain the possibility of first use in the case of a conflict. I think there is some intention to tie NATO's hands by a "no first use" policy. The articles quoted just seem to suggest that there should be no "no first use" policy and that NATO should retain maximum flexibility, as it did against the Soviet threat in Europe.

There are quotes that say there is
simply no realistic prospect of a nuclear-free world.

and

The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.

I conclude that the authors recognize that there will be further proliferation and that it is the use of nukes that must be prevented, not simply obtaining them.

1/22/2008 07:35:00 AM  
Blogger USpace said...

If we could only lure all the radical Imans to some deserted island paradise for a 'World Sharia Convention' or something. Then just take out the whole island.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
let NEW Hitler have nukes

don't fear his religion
he really loves Israel


absurd thought -
God of the Universe knows
Iran never nuke Europe

if they swear to Allah
or embrace full dhimmi life


http://absurdthoughtsaboutgod.blogspot.com/

http://haltterrorism.com/
.

1/22/2008 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

davod makes an interesting observation.

I've heard that the real reason the Roman Empire fell was corruption and ruinous taxation of subjugated lands that led them to ask "How much worse could the Huns (or whoever) be?"

1/22/2008 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Gut reaction… the report’s proposal is a fantasy.

There’s not a virgin’s chance in Little Rock that NATO nations will carry through with an actual vote to give someone authority to strike first. Worse, by pretending they might have that political will one day, it undercuts support for viable solutions to Islamist WMD development. Why would nations maintain conventional forces at high readiness and deploy them proactively at great political and financial costs when they can just pretend they could nuke a nuclear facility or two to save themselves?

If nukes are ever used on Islamists, it’ll be by the US, Israel, Russia or India, probably without NATO or UN consent. We shouldn’t give Europe this phony loin cloth to hide the deterrent’s nakedness. If they want to be recognized as fighting terrorism, shame them into meeting or increasing their Afghan and Southern Lebanon commitments while ratcheting down their ties with terrorists states.

1/22/2008 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Right on bill.

It would seem that this so called manifesto was intentionally leaked with some kind of pernicious hope that a threat can substitute for military muscle and political will.

1/22/2008 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger geoffb said...

Though I like much of this proposal this part,

A shift from consensus decision-taking in Nato bodies to majority voting, meaning faster action through an end to national vetoes.

The abolition of national caveats in Nato operations of the kind that plague the Afghan campaign.


is worrisome. Does this give a majority of the European nations the ability to direct US forces to be deployed anywhere for anything that they, not we, want?

1/22/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

This kind of a threat would only have credibility if it were actually carried out once .... if the rest of the world were to wake up and find much of Iran (for example) a radioactive wasteland, other potential builders of WMD would very likely be deterred, even if they were pretty crazy. Of course, if they were thoroughly crazy, they might only redouble their efforts....

Otherwise, this is so much bluff ... if the squeamish Europeans won't even let the US or Israelis fight our own wars without piling on the humanitarian concerns, does anyone seriously think the Europeans would countenance the actual use of nuclear weapons?????? NFW

I think the intellectual basis of this is a peculiar variant of deterrence theory: we'll, they're too crazy to be deterred by the threat of retaliation of they use nukes, but not so crazy that they won't be deterred by the threat of first use or a preemptive strike.... you know this isn't meant as cover for the Israelis to nuke Iran.....

1/22/2008 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger JimMtnViewCa said...

" The choice of the word "frivolity" is inspired, as no better term can describe the obsession with the relatively petty -- the fate of whales, Kyoto, speech codes, etc -- while simultaneously ignoring very serious threats threats."
This part is puzzling. Is it only human weakness in facing difficult choices? Or did a lot of the political class keep smoking dope for so long that they're addled? There seems to be such widespread lack of intellectual perspective and false memory. Didn't Al Gore recall singing union songs that hadn't yet been written, wasn't Hillary named after Sir Edmund but was born before his fame, didn't Maureen Dowd recall driving with her Dad past the Wash DC Mormon Temple which was only built when she was in her 20s....etc, etc.
Maybe when Sen Harry Reid says the Iraq war is lost he is just mentally confused, not duplitious.

1/22/2008 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger djelinek2001 said...

Once again the Europeans scramble beneath an umbrella that only the US has a willingness to provide and use. It is shameful how for 60 years the US protected Europe (and Japan, Taiwan, etc.)at a huge cost in men and treasure only to be assailed time and again for being brutish in our conduct of international affairs.

Aside from Britain, no nation has stepped up in a significant way to provide conventional forces for their own defense, let alone to assist in protecting the "Western world".

The threat of a nuclear first strike just provides more cover for more of the same non-action in building conventional capabilities.

Furthermore, the idea that a nuclear first strike could possible defeat a globally dispersed asymetrically aligned foe is folly. Nothing like incinerating a few tens of millions of Islamic civilians to calm the Islamic extremist rage. (Cartoons anyone?)

The West must face the reality that this is a cultural war that must be fought using all possible weapons - ranging from targetted foreign aid, to outlawing certain primitive Islam rituals being practiced in the West, to deporting Wahabbist immans, to restricting immigration into the West from radical areas, to military capabilities.

Some of these run against 20th and 21st century liberal ideals of live & let live and cultural equivalency. If our societies are to survive we must open the discussion about these steps sooner rather than later.

1/22/2008 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger djelinek2001 said...

Once again the Europeans scramble beneath an umbrella that only the US has a willingness to provide and use. It is shameful how for 60 years the US protected Europe (and Japan, Taiwan, etc.)at a huge cost in men and treasure only to be assailed time and again for being brutish in our conduct of international affairs.

Aside from Britain, no nation has stepped up in a significant way to provide conventional forces for their own defense, let alone to assist in protecting the "Western world".

The threat of a nuclear first strike just provides more cover for more of the same non-action in building conventional capabilities.

Furthermore, the idea that a nuclear first strike could possible defeat a globally dispersed asymetrically aligned foe is folly. Nothing like incinerating a few tens of millions of Islamic civilians to calm the Islamic extremist rage. (Cartoons anyone?)

The West must face the reality that this is a cultural war that must be fought using all possible weapons - ranging from targetted foreign aid, to outlawing certain primitive Islam rituals being practiced in the West, to deporting Wahabbist immans, to restricting immigration into the West from radical areas, to military capabilities.

Some of these run against 20th and 21st century liberal ideals of live & let live and cultural equivalency. If our societies are to survive we must open the discussion about these steps sooner rather than later.

1/22/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Bush understood immediately after 9/11 that if we didn't have a viable conventional response to terror attacks from the third world (the conventional wisdom at the time, remember, was that the US armed forces could not operate in third world cities) then we would end up lobbing nukes at them. No matter which party was in the White House.

The whole Iraq war project was thus a humane and essentially a Christian response. It has also been successful: it's now apparent that a high-tech defense is available if we are willing to fund it and man it.

Europeans clearly prefer to stand behind the capacity to lob nukes though, because it's cheaper and easier. Wrapping this up with lots of words to look like a morally superior position is the sort of project on which they can bring themselves to act.

That said, nuclear deterrence can work against Islamic societies. You just have to remember that you are not out to deter the young men, the target of the policy is the families, specifically the parents' generation. As Iraq is showing, they can restrain or arrange the killing of the young hotheads if they want to.

1/22/2008 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Off topic: Scary stuff happening on the stock market. If the Fed had not intervened, the Dow would probably have lost over 500 points. How long can Bernanke keep propping up the market?

1/22/2008 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

The Ann Coulter option to "invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity" just keeps sounding better and better...

Jests aside, this underlines what I wrote a few weeks back about the preventive warfare strategy (here and here).

Having been a wee sprat in the 60s in the midst of MAD hysteria, and having been frightened out of my socks by Duck and Cover and similar films, I see Preventive War and the spread of Liberty as the alternative to fear that gives hope to Americans. It also offers hope to those who are oppressed by dictators or threatened by Jihad/Hiraba terrorists and brigands like al-Qaeda, that things might get better.

Now we see the NATO generals presenting a stark contrast between the two roads we can travel. We can take the road of preventive war and ban caveats and grandstanding from NATO or we can take the road of pacifism while placing the entire world under a cloak of nuclear terror. Wretchard is correct. This exposes the stark choices we have, between the GWOT and the alternative, which is not peace but nuclear war.

I think this is a valuable line of discussion, but fear that it will be trivialized by the toxic and frivolous (love that word) political atmosphere.

1/22/2008 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Pangloss said:

"Now we see the NATO generals presenting a stark contrast between the two roads we can travel. We can take the road of preventive war and ban caveats and grandstanding from NATO or we can take the road of pacifism while placing the entire world under a cloak of nuclear terror. Wretchard is correct. This exposes the stark choices we have, between the GWOT and the alternative, which is not peace but nuclear war."

We are sandwiched between two enemies:

1) Islamic fascists
2) Moonbats

In order to avoid nuclear war, both enemies must be defeated. Thanks to President Bush, we've had some initial success against the Islamic fascists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unfortunately back at home, the moonbats are winning.

Will this sort of discussion have any relevance at all after Hillary becomes president?

1/22/2008 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

In the face of Islamofascism and its tactics of coercion, assassination and mass murder, we have no rational choice other than to preempt their terror. Not to do so is not only foolish, it is immoral. Our just war of preemptive strikes can be either conventional or nuclear, but in either case lives will be saved in the long run, and our children and grandchildren can live under God-given liberty.

1/22/2008 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger tlear said...

There is a big difference between building a nuke, blowing up NY or London and then having yourself nuked and just getting nuked while building the bomb.

This report recognizes the fact that even the biggest crazies want to take some of us with them before they join the virgins in the paradise. Other benefit is that crazies are surrounded by enablers who are usually not as crazy. Problem is that nobody except Russians, Indians or Chinese have the balls to do it atm.

You would also be surprised how polite and accommodating muslims everywhere would become if half Iran and Saudi Arabia became a nuclear wasteland tomorrow.

1/22/2008 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

interesting article.

1/22/2008 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

By and large, I see the threat of a pre-emptive nuclear strike as a second-best option. It would have been far better to have relied on smart conventional interventions, intelligence and information warfare because the potential for catastrophic escalation is less.

But the West has chosen to devote its resources elsewhere. However, there's something wrong with a civilization that can't muster the energy to argue with radical Islam yet able to nerve itself to nuke them if they go too far, possibly because the latter is cheaper than the former. But it's a false economy and one day we'll realize that.

1/22/2008 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

By proposing the "pre-emptive" use of nuclear weapons, the proposal hopes to serve notice that any attempts by unnamed parties whose identities are an open secret will be met with nothing less than the ultimate weapon.

Finally, Europe begins to wake up.

The reason Lord Inge's remark that "to tie our hands on first use or no first use removes a huge plank of deterrence" is so significant is that it brings the trigger point back from second-strike or launch on attack to one in which WMD acquisition itself becomes the casus belli. It is almost a form of pre-deterrence.

Curious term that, "pre-deterrence".

No other recent political development has underlined the destructive effects of the Left's opposition to the War on Terror as much as this manifesto.

This is the butcher’s bill that liberals try their damnedest to ignore.

I have long opposed any first use of nuclear weapons in the war against Islam. Recent events in Iran and Pakistan have begun to erode that opposition. Ahmadinejad’s irrational obsession with hastening the 12th imam’s arrival represents far too great a threat to be ignored. The same goes for Pakistan's radicals getting anywhere near a nuclear device.

While I agree that the notion of broaching first-use as a viable deterrent is pathetic at best, at least there is some forward motion in examining large-scale measures against global jihad. Conducting limited theater mop-ups of Islamic aggression does nothing to address the bigger issue of Islam’s supremacist doctrine. What follows is a treatment I posted at another forum about the various forms of a functional deterrent to terrorism. Please comment as you see fit. This NATO paper is some sort of attempt to begin considering exactly what it will take to bring Islam into line. I can only note how NATO’s approach only hastens the advent of a Muslim holocaust. This catastrophe something that I continue to predict and little has presented itself to counter such a notion. Our only hope of averting such a horrendous outcome is to find a functional deterrent.

I have been working on this idea for a long time. While an extremely difficult concept in practice, I feel it is something that needs to be addressed. Far too much of current counter-terrorist policy is dedicated to stalling, appeasement, police action or stopgap military strategies that are ineffective at best. Nor do these measures address the overarching issue of how nuclear proliferation has foreshortened our schedule of response. Recent instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan has only highlighted this reduced timeframe.

NOTE: All of the following tactics are mentioned with the explicit intent of reducing the overall loss of human life. Irresponsible recommendations to "nuke 'em all" or variations thereof are unwelcome. That said, this admonition should not be construed as dismissing limited engagements like those used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most military historians have finally conceded that the World War II nuclear attacks saved Japanese lives. The exceptionally violent nature of Islam makes it irresponsible to exclude from consideration similar "limited use" scenarios.

To continue: Here is a list of the major goals that functional deterrence should achieve. Any given approach need not succeed at enacting all of these features in order to qualify. Append this roster as you see fit and repost it if I have omitted any significant elements.

Stopping major terrorist atrocities: This should always be the primary focus of deterrence. It may not be possible to halt or adequately deter low-level jihad in places such as Thailand but attacks such as the 9-11 atrocity, Beslan, Madrid, Bali and London should come to an end or be met with distinct penalties.

Attaching a heavy price tag to further attacks: Be it through disproportionate retaliation, appropriation of assets or denial of access to worship, Islam must begin to experience reciprocal predation, discomfort or deprivation for its continued assaults upon the West.

Encouraging or coercing Muslims to self-police: Deterrence should possess sufficient dissuasive power whereby Muslim populations take it upon themselves to dismantle jihadi terror networks within their own sphere. Whether through outright fear or more subtle methods of penalty and reward, Islam must be made to clean its own house. Due to language or cultural barriers, the West is ill suited to such a job. What’s more, we have absolutely no obligation to perform such a rigorous and time-consuming task. Muslims know best who is and who is not participating in jihad. Let them taste the fruits of having embraced taqiyya as they attempt to winnow out the terrorists from their own midst.

Actively eroding support for jihadism: Although similar to the foregoing item we also need to address methods that reduce the glamour and attraction of participating in terrorist activity. Propaganda methods involving ridicule, humiliation, shame or condemnation and fear are one path. Collective punishment, especially within terrorist family networks, is another. Comprehensive biometric tracking of known and suspected jihadis could be yet another.

Support for or mandate to reform Islam: I include this option for the dreamers and optimists. There is little evidence to date that Islam can be rehabilitated into a peaceful entity. All indications are that it already has reformed into a more violent and intolerant version of itself when compared to its state some 50-100 years ago.

Some potential measures to consider on an individual basis or in combination:

Targeted Assassinations:

One exceptionally economical way of deterring people from engaging in terrorism is to make sure that they die for doing so. The problem of recidivism no longer remains an issue. Obviously, we cannot pursue every last jihadi on earth. That has already been addressed with respect to Islam cleaning its own house. Still, it would set a powerful example if the top tiers of jihad’s commanders, financiers, indoctrinators and scholars all began to experience severe physical attrition. The high context nature of Muslim culture both encourages and rewards people for being indispensable. To eliminate such irreplaceable elements of terrorism’s network structure will weaken it significantly. Doing so might possibly allow for other methods—less likely to work on their own—to realize some measure of success.

More than anything, it would represent major progress if jihadi leadership no longer felt comfortable making personal appearances before large assemblies or maintaining a conspicuous public presence of any sort. Again, in high context cultures this diminishes personal power in the very strongest sense. Without going into why Western governments are so loath to implement such a program, suffice to say that is would be very inexpensive when compared to our current rate of monetary expenditure in fighting Global Terrorism.

Propaganda — A Cautionary Tale:

Islamic terrorists continue to agitate for the use of nuclear weapons against the far better armed West. Muslim populations need to be informed of how exceptionally dangerous such a notion is. Making them aware of this would involve creating a really well produced Middle East version of "The Day After Tomorrow". Not the more recent global warming movie but that 1980s American video about the aftermath of a nuclear war. The program should show retaliation for a nuclear terrorist attack on a major American city. Explicit recreations should portray Cairo, Islamabad, Tehran, Riyadh and Damascus all vaporizing in nuclear explosions. Extremely vivid and graphic detail should be used to demonstrate just how devastating and gruesome such a response would be. Accurate recreations of firestorms, burning cement, boiling lakes and disintegrating buildings should all be included. The footage would also show easily recognized landmarks within each metropolis being destroyed along with its more affluent neighborhoods.

Subsequent footage should document the immense human suffering from radiation poisoning, exposure, starvation and epidemics that would sweep the affected areas. All of this should be burned onto millions of DVDs with sub-tracks in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Hindi and so forth. These would then be airdropped over the entire Arab Middle East and made to coincide with peak viewing cycles during Ramadan. To enhance public notice of this, airings of the video would also be electronically piggybacked onto al Jazeera, al Manar and other Arab state television broadcast channels. This would guarantee a splash of publicity and assure follow up viewing of the airdropped DVDs.

I can think of few other ways for America to clearly communicate the incredibly perilous position Muslims are being placed in by their jihadi co-religionists. Whether they agree with them or not is entirely of zero consequence. Islam is currently headed directly towards such an outcome and if there is some way of inspiring Muslims to begin reforming Islam or killing off their jihadist clergy and followers then this catastrophe might be averted.

Taking The Shrines as Hostages:

Through unilateral or coalition military action the shrines at Mecca and Medina are taken and held hostage against future terrorist attacks. Somehow, we need to reach out and touch over ONE BILLION Muslims. The haj (pilgrimage), is annually attended by over one million Muslims. For many, it is a once-in-a-lifetime event that may well involve the most costly financial outlay they ever make. Missing such an opportunity due to terrorist atrocities might well cause individuals who are denied the haj to rethink their support of jihad. Once the shrines are captured, a span of thirteen months must pass without a single major terrorist atrocity before the haj can resume.

The shrines would be surrounded by a no-man’s land of minefields covered by computer controlled automatic weapons fire directed by night vision systems. If anything, the captured shines would also serve as the ultimate “flypaper” in how they would attract the most fanatical jihadis thereby distracting them from attacking other Western targets. Additionally, all attendees of the haj would have to undergo comprehensive biometric analysis in order to participate. The database assembled would provide a powerful tool in profiling terrorist families and groups.

Holding these shrines as physical hostages would also serve another purpose. Should there be a chemical or biological attack on a Western city, Medina would be contaminated with a similar agent. A second one would result in Mecca being contaminated as well. This is a significant deterrent as cleaning up either site would cost untold BILLIONS of dollars. In the case of a nuclear terrorist attack, first Medina and then Mecca would be obliterated.

Food Embargo:

Water Poverty is endemic throughout the MME (Muslim Middle East). As populations grow, increasing amounts of water previously used for agricultural purposes are diverted into municipal drinking supplies. Deep aquifers are being pumped out at unsustainable rates and corrupt Arab governments are not willing to expend the massive amounts of money required to build expensive desalination plants or the nuclear reactors needed to power them.

One ton of grain requires ONE THOUSAND tons of water to grow. The average human diet consumes one third of a ton of grain per year, requiring over 300 tons of water. A Western diet rich in livestock can see that number rise to 800 tons of water needed to sustain such intake. Iran recently overtook Japan as the world’s largest grain importer. The MENA (Middle East North Africa) region ranks as the fastest growing market for imported grain. The water needed to accommodate this region’s combined consumption requires a volume roughly equivalent to the entire annual flow of the NILE RIVER. Bringing in foreign grain is just another way of importing water.

An immediate halt to exports of grain by America, Canada and Australia to the MME would bring about mass starvation in a matter of months, if not weeks. It borders on the ludicrous to consider how Islam continues antagonizing the West even as it is helplessly dependent upon it for their daily bread. An embargo of food shipments is one strategy that Russia and China—both major food importers—could not possibly triangulate against. One or two terrorist nuclear atrocities against the West could easily help it overcome any moral compunction about halting food shipments. No amount of money or any other lever could make the needed food magically appear. Even an oil embargo would not impact the West soon enough to counter the almost immediate onset of starvation.

Appropriation of Assets:

The 9-11 atrocity easily cost America on the order of ONE TRILLION dollars. A vast majority of the hijackers involved came from Saudi Arabia and were indoctrinated by Saudi Wahhabists. The USA would be well within its rights to appropriate the Ghawar Oilfield as compensation for this attack. Similarly, confiscation of other MME petroleum sources could serve as a form of retaliation against future attacks. Deprived of massive petrodollar wealth, the building of mosques and furnishing of weapons or money to terrorist organizations would come to a screeching halt.

Massively Disproportionate Retaliation:

For each new terrorist atrocity a major MME city ceases to exist. To date, Islam has not even begun to feel the West’s pain. World War II saw the firebombing of Tokyo and Dresden as direct retaliation for military aggression. At present, reluctance to identify Islam itself as an actual military foe is one of the only things inhibiting recognition of disproportionate retaliation as a useful tool. Again, a few more atrocities may change all that.

One way or the other, Muslims must be made to quake in fear with the announcement of each new terrorist attack. Uncertainty—a favorite tool of the jihadists—must be turned against Islam until homeless outraged Muslims scurry down to the local mosque and slit the jihadi imam’s throat. This is the self-policing that is currently absent and so badly needed.

Another form of massively disproportionate retaliation involves issuing a proclamation that even one single terrorist nuclear attack upon the West will result in rogue regimes like Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Syria all undergoing nuclear bombardment. This might inspire such terrorist havens to begin reversing the damage they have done.

Reverse Immigration and Containment:

The deportation of all Muslim immigrants back to their countries of origin may well prove necessary. Taqiyya makes it impossible to trust the followers of Islam. Much like World War II, Muslim citizens may need to be placed in internment camps if they refuse repatriation to their countries of origin. Like Mexico, Islam continues to export excess population that might otherwise agitate for change. The West needs to reassemble Islam’s diaspora and make Islamic nations confront their own shortcomings. With populations returned to their true levels, water poverty would loom even larger as a threat against further terrorist atrocities.

Outright Demolition of the Shrines:

This is an extreme measure suggested by someone else I know that is aimed at crushing Islamic morale by demonstrating the fallibility of Allah. I include it for the sake of discussion.

In closing I will ask that you please post your own reactions to the various measures I have listed. I do not pretend that my list is comprehensive nor do I advocate their immediate use, save only for the targeted assassinations. However gruesome or morally objectionable any of them might be, we are confronted by an enemy who would not flinch to simultaneously inflict all of them upon the West if it was within their power to do so.

This is the one motivating factor that drives me to examine such ideas. All options must be kept open if we are to have any hope of deterring Islam much less defeating it. Far more likely is that one or more of these measures will need to be used before this conflict concludes. I believe it is vital that the West begins to understand the potential dimensions of what may be required to survive. None of this is pretty but—then again—neither is the prospect of life under shari’a law.

1/22/2008 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Wretchard said:

"there's something wrong with a civilization that can't muster the energy to argue with radical Islam yet able to nerve itself to nuke them if they go too far..."

I totally agree. Why doesn't everyone see this?

1/22/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Funny, same report, different gist.

A shift from consensus decision-taking in Nato bodies to majority voting, meaning faster action through an end to national vetoes.

No role in decision-taking on Nato operations for alliance members who are not taking part in the operations.


Seems the "gist" of the article.
The political ramifications to the US. Not being able to veto offensive NATO operations when they are not in the best interest of the US.

So any agreement by any 14 of the following countries can instigate a general war, then use the nuclear capacity that has been assigned to NATO Command.
The assignment of those weapons considered by some signatory nations to be a violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, by removing US command and control, replacing it with NATO Command & Control, the violation is assured.

Which of these 14 countries will operate, in the unknowable future, in their own and not the US interests?
Belgium
Bulgaria
Canada
Czech Rep
Denmark
Estonia
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Turkey
United Kingdom
United States

This is a proposed surrender of national soverignty to an international governmental body commanded by military buerocrats, that is interesting.

That so few are concerned about going down that road, interesting as well.

That the US could allow itself to be led by the Lilliputiens of Europe and next to no one here notices, even more interesting

Article I, Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
"Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosives or devices directly or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices".
...
More than 100 nations including South Africa, Egypt and the entire Non-Aligned Movement, have consistently expressed concern that members of NATO, especially Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, as well as the United States, are themselves nuclear proliferators, acting against the intent and even the letter of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

These concerns arise because, under NATO nuclear sharing arrangements, European non-nuclear-weapon states (NNWS) could be given wartime access to some of the 180 American-owned and controlled nuclear free-fall bombs stored in Europe. In fact, pilots from these NNWS states are already trained to fly nuclear missions and their aircraft are equipped to allow them to do so.

All of this is done in the name of NATO's nuclear sharing arrangements. NATO recently reaffirmed this policy: "A credible Alliance nuclear posture and the demonstration of Alliance solidarity and common commitment to war prevention continue to require widespread participation by European Allies".
...

The legal status of the nuclear sharing arrangements depends on whether NPT states accept the US's legal view of how these arrangements are compatible with the Treaty.

NATO members argue that nuclear sharing is in compliance with Articles I and II of the NPT on the basis of an interpretation that the NPT does not apply during "general war".


So now, with the proposed new regieme, any 14 NATO members can declare preemptive "general war".

Which the US could not veto, the weapons already forward deployeed in the host countries. The NATO aircraft mission ready.

NATO as controllable, by US, as the UN, without veto power.

1/22/2008 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

From the start I believed that a failure to pursue the truly guilty with vigor would inevitably endanger the great majority of ordinary Muslims. It requires time and patience to win over the Muslim masses and to separate them from the insanely fanatical, as occurred in Iraq, because it means gathering intelligence, waging information war and taking casualties. But when societies are unable to afford that road then what is the alternative? We are looking at it. And the question is, how do we like it?

When you disallow the targeted and painstaking methods of warfare under the banner of a false pacifism you wind up substituting the threat of nuclear war -- pre-emptive nuclear war at that -- to pay for this so-called peacefulness. But what sort of peacefulness leads to this result? I don't for a moment believe the NATO chiefs are stupid, evil or are acting in bad faith. But have their societies left them any choice? Simultaneously demanding safety while denying their militaries the means to provide that safety with conventional means leaves only unconventional means by a process of ghastly elimination. It is ironical that a culture which can't nerve itself to publish the Mohammed cartoons; which cheers on the persecution Mark Steyn by a "Human Rights Commission" for the crime of using words to fight radical Islam; that condemns the use of small arms as instruments of war criminality; that calls Bush=Hitler should now find it both moral and necessary to brandish nukes to defend its pacific way of life.

1/22/2008 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Seems like there's a lot of this going around. Just last Saturday we read that
Russia warns of nuclear defence.


In a speech to a military conference broadcast on state-run cable TV, Gen Baluyevsky said there were potential threats to Russia from international terrorism or countries seeking global or regional hegemony.

"We do not intend to attack anyone, but we consider it necessary for all our partners in the world community to clearly understand ... that to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia and its allies, military forces will be used, including preventively, including with the use of nuclear weapons," he said.


Same story, decline of conventional forces in the face of increasing threats.

Interesting times we live in. I thought we were past this point in history. We used to be, back in the 90's. History had ended.

So, if they'd use nukes pre-emptively now, that is such a low threshhold that surely the attacks of 9/11 would have warranted the same. No?

Just like during the last "Vietnam" when the West openly disdained war, today's hateful "peace" movement is bringing more war in years to come.

Ps. LOVE/HATE THIS:

The choice of the word "frivolity" is inspired, as no better term can describe the obsession with the relatively petty -- the fate of whales, Kyoto, speech codes, etc -- while simultaneously ignoring very serious threats.

1/22/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodriver said...

dkI am curious how they think Israel fits into this.

1/22/2008 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Marzouq the Redneck Muslim said...

1) Islamic fascists
2) Moonbats

eggplant,

They are my mortal enemies too.

The manifesto is just a trial baloon (IMH0).

Salaam eleikum!

1/22/2008 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

Europeans clearly prefer to stand behind the capacity to lob nukes though, because it's cheaper and easier. Wrapping this up with lots of words to look like a morally superior position is the sort of project on which they can bring themselves to act.

Actually, that's the sane and moral position.

I suggest you look up such things as:

"Strategic Air Command"
"Curtis E. LeMay"
"Thomas S. Power"
"Massive Retalitation"

1/22/2008 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Bullshark said...

The Target Audience is not the MAd Mullahs. The target audience is the weak sisters in Londonistan and Neuw Amsterdanm. Jack Straw and Hillbama and Huckcain need to know that the generals have lost faith in their determination. Thet either come together and deal with the Mad Mullahs now or we destroy the world!

1/22/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

I've written elsewhere that "Civilization fights with the humanity it can afford" - and the world has yet to appreciate that the U.S. can and does afford as much as it does - because it appears none other will sacrifice even the smallest amount of its comfort and financial security to achieve same.

After the Syrian incident when Mr. Bush repeated the words used several weeks earlier by an unnamed British official who observed that we were hours away from WWIII, and now we see this statement of strategic intent by Europe, I suspect that Mr. Bush will eventually be canonized or whatever is the equivalent practice in the Islamic faith for what will be seen to have saved all those millions of innocents (if only for a few years more) at the cost of U.S. blood and treasure.

We seem to bleed all over the world for our friends, as well as for our enemies. No greater love..

1/22/2008 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

In essence, what the Europeans want is a return to the glory days of SAC; where 1,600 nuclear armed bombers stood ready at a moment's notice to hurl nuclear armageddon into the Soviet Union in one single massive overwhelming blow which would leave the USSR a "Smoking Radiating Ruin" within two hours.

1/22/2008 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

1. I do not understand how the NATO that cannot or will not take the fight to itty-bitty Afghanitan is poofing itself up to a world-wide nuclear armageddon. Are the generals who are hunkered down over their soup bowls in Afghanistan the same generals who are proposing a pre-emptive strike at Iran?

2. In the list of countries that Desert Rat provides, how many of those countries actually have a bomb of their own? One of the signators of the NATO prospectus being discussed is Denmark. Does Denmark have a bomb of its own? Is this a handy-dandy way for Denmark to FEEL like it has a bomb of its own, without the necessary hard work and expense involved in developing one?

3. When NATO was first created as a force-back against Russia, was there anything in its articles or bylaws that if one NATO member (say, for example, Turkey) got into trouble, the NATO members who *do* have nuclear bombs would automatically, ipso facto, enter into a nuclear exchange with whoever the agressor was? In other words, if Russia was to act aggressively towards Estonia, perhaps by turning off their gas or electricity, then is there an automatic commitment that UK/US will nuke Russia in retaliation?

This whole proposal simply does not make sense. Therefore I have to conclude that it's another example of European wishful thinking and pretending to be grown-ups, and jacknapery

1/22/2008 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger El Baboso said...

I scanned the whole darn thing and the dear graybeard generals seem to be saying that you need to turn NATO into a kind of supranational warfighting entity that will defend Western Civ even if the people and their elected officials won't.

The nuke part was only one aspect of a discussion on granting NATO all of the instruments of policy (or the instruments of power as Bani al Amriki calls them).

I saw the paper as a recap of the debate that has been going on in the blogosphere since, oh I don't know, 9-12-2001.

I thought that the recommendations smacked of centralism and maybe even had a whiff of caesarism. While a Caesar may very well decisively put an end to the current time of troubles, empowering a big civilizational bureaucracy called NATO (as opposed to a big national bureaucracy) isn't going to help any.

I thought that there was some really good discussion of certainty vs. uncertainty as informational weapons (though they don't call them weapons -- that's me putting words in their mouths).

Overall, I would give everyone here a happy face for being so far ahead of the dudes who get paid to protect us with violence from violence. I would give the generals a sad face for just figuring this all out and being so damn unimaginative. I mean it has been over six years now. But as the Soviets used to say, this is a "progressive" development. Perhaps in another six years, even the politicians will figure it out.

1/22/2008 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Nahncee -- let me explain this to you.

Nuclear proliferation means you don't know who was responsible. It might have been a group in Pakistan that simply "borrowed" a nuke to wipe out Copenhagen because of a Mohammed Cartoon. Or a faction in Tehran that nuked out of existence Amsterdam because Gert Wilders criticized the Koran and Mohammed. Or it might be Syria's generals, Cairo's factions, Yemen's tribes.

No one would know. And that is the problem for Denmark, the Netherlands, and other countries that don't have the military, and realistically don't have the means to spend on militaries that can use conventional means to prevent nuclear proliferation.

Once proliferation spreads (it was VERY BAD to let North Korea to proliferate, as it was VERY BAD that Clinton did nothing to stop Pakistan, and the NIE killed any means to stop Iran) -- no small country can escape. Uncertainty means there is no realistic response, meanwhile perhaps 25% or more of a small nation ceases to exist. And globalization means that what Gert Wilders or Jyllands Posten do will guarantee an attack. An attack from a distributed, decentralized, aggressive Islamic world that demands submission to Islam as price of safety.

There IS no deal to be made -- too many actors who like Indian braves or settlers can break any treaty, and no deal anyway. Neither Denmark nor the Netherlands will convert to Islam (and which one btw?)

THIS Nanhcee is why the Report. Denmark and the Netherlands could together build five or six aircraft carriers and still not be able to prevent proliferation.

Because once proliferation breaks out, they are sure to be attacked.

The POINT is to destroy the society that threatens proliferation. Only the US has the ability to "Shermanize" such a society, which does not mean killing everyone but destroying the ability to proliferate. Which means destroying electrical generation/transmission and transport (since most proliferators post-Saddam distribute their facilities).

The US can do this with their aircraft carriers and land-based aircraft in the Gulf (Iraq or Dubai or Oman). You can't move/hide roads, bridges, railways, power plants, and transmission lines. Protected yes, but still hittable.

All Britain or France have is nukes. Theoretically Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc. could build nukes and ICBMs fairly quickly and cheaply.

Nukes would kill lots of people, Wretchard, but I don't think the NATO leaders want a massive death toll. THEIR CONCERN is preventing the nuking of their own cities by preventing proliferation by the only means they have.

Because once proliferation happens, anything a Westerner does guarantees the death of a major western city. It might be something the Pope says. Or a cartoon. Or a politician. Or a book.

1/22/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Whiskey,

I went over what could happen if terrorist organizations had the capability to conduct nuke attacks ad infinitum back in the Three Conjectures essay. Because no deal can be reached with entities unbound by command and control the logical outcome will be a horrible spiral of tit for tat exchanges until someone simply works up the nerve to annihilate all plausible enemies. And even then it might not work.

While that describes the structure of the problem, in actuality the total damage is bounded by the amount of fissile material available. That's the constraint. But before anyone breaks out the champagne, it's possible that some easily made biological terror weapon will make its debut and then the fissile constraint goes away and once again the damage possibilities become unbounded.

In the main post, I threw out the term "pre-deterrence", which I think partly captures a key aspect of this problem. The real problem is to keep the horses from getting out of the barn because there's no getting them back in. But, as NATO backhandedly admits, there is no known way of keeping the horses in the barn, at least conventionally. And perhaps some think that by making a magic nuclear threat the seeping horror can be kept in the bottle.

I don't know that it can, but I've reached the stage, where, like a cancer patient, it becomes useful to think in five year increments. What can we do to keep the peace for five more years? And when we get to 2013, we'll aim for another five. It's a heck of way to plan, but maybe, like the cancer patients to which I have compared the problem, that is all we can hope for.

1/22/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Whiskey_199: Nuclear proliferation means you don't know who was responsible.

This is only true to a minor extent. Right now, proliferation is not wide spread enough to overcome some very important measures that have been in place for many decades.

All fissile material has a unique isotopic "fingerprint" or signature of minute trace elements like cesium, thorium, strontium and so forth. Each reactor and purification facility all have distinctive isotopic signatures to the point where post-attack analysis can readily determine the nuclear material's point of origin.

This is why potential leakage of ex-Soviet nuclear weapons is of such great concern. If one of their atomic bombs is sold to the highest bidder and used against the West, are we prepared to launch a first strike against Russia?

Past that one rather thorny problem, the rest remains—for the nonce—rather straight forward. Up until now that is and by "now" I mean Iran. Due to IAEA programs, we have samples from North Korea and—most likely—Pakistan. No such thing applies to Iran as they will most assuredly NOT comply with IAEA demands to hand over samples of fissile material for trace analysis.

This in no way prevents us from telling Iran that any attack using nuclear material of a previously unencountered fingerprint will result in Tehran being vaporized. The point remains that proliferation must be stopped in Iran and not be allowed to spread any further. Note that the NATO report specifically infers how—as Wretchard notes—"it brings the trigger point back from second-strike or launch on attack to one in which WMD acquisition itself becomes the casus belli".

This is no small matter and prepresents a shot-across-the-bow for Iran. It is all the more reason why Iran needs to be taken offline right away. Only instability in Pakistan merits any greater sense of urgency. As Whiskey_199 observes, ruining enough infrastructure can still paralyze Iran's nuclear program. At the very least, this is what should be done. Of far greater importance is deposing Iran's mullahs as a global message that political Islam will not be countenanced any further.

We still have the means to determine whoever launches a nuclear attack. Iran has promised to proliferate nuclear technology to other Muslim countries. This must not be allowed to happen. It truly is a casus belli in and of itself as such dissemination of weapons technology would erode the actual deterrence of tracing an attack back to its place of origin.

Of far greater importance is that we begin to pursue an even more significant form of deterrence. It is why I posted the list of possible candidates. I'm still hoping that participants here might review them for discussion in this light. As others have noted, the NATO report bypasses incrementalism and escalates far too quickly to irreversible nuclear conflict.

I believe that somewhere buried in all this muck is some sort of measure that will work against Islam without resorting to a Muslim holocaust.

1/22/2008 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Whiskey - you're real certain, are you, that NATO (i.e., Europe) is worth saving?

I'm positively certain that Islam needs to be reworked or totally eliminated.

But increasingly, I cannot see that life as it's being lived in France or Denmark or Holland is worth the price of American intercession be it monetarily, with American blood, or with an American nuclear umbrella.

I'm not quite sure what your argument overal is, because this -- "Nuclear proliferation means you don't know who was responsible" -- I've read elsewhere is not true. You *can* tell, I believe, because radioactive isotopes have a DNA-like signature. I think I've read some lone erudite discussions on this right here on Belmont Club, in point of fact.

So what difference does it make one way or the other if we know, absolutely, that North Korea lobbed a bomb made with technology supplied by Dr. Khan from uranium stolen from the ex-USSR? If such a device were to explode in a city in some NATO country, is that America's problem, since we've been jumping up and down and waving our arms madly for seven years now, and have had a gushing stream of hateful, envious juvenile anti-Americanism in return?

If Europe AND the Middle East were both simultaneously turned into a slag heap, how will that hurt us?

1/22/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard (and Nahncee) -- I see this document coming from European NATO generals sense of urgency.

Their objective is to save their cities. You are right about the constraint of tit-for-tat nuclear exchanges, but that won't help Denmark or the Netherlands which will be essentially destroyed by one nuclear bomb. You might not even have more bombs from ad-hoc groups because proliferation now gives any group that can grab nukes the ability to nuke Copenhagen over cartoons that Jyllands Posten published.

Or anything else. And nothing short of full-on Sharia and forced conversions will prevent ad-hoc groups under proliferation from nuking say Amsterdam over some slight. Or perhaps it will be Rome.

So Europeans face a choice -- kill to save their cities or don't kill and see them die. [Nahncee it is quite possible that the US will do nothing in response to the death of say, the Netherlands. Or Paris.]

I probably wasn't clear on this, I apologize. The question of deterrence is likely secondary, i.e. too many actors to deter. The real issue is likely too many players in each unstable conglomeration of tribes known as "nations" to deter -- when any little trivial thing can trigger an attack merely for the sake of the attack itself.

My view is that NATO's generals aimed this squarely at Iran. If Denmark felt pressed it probably could build about 50 ICBMs and nuclear warheads to reach targets in Tehran. To eliminate the ability to make nukes by destroying transport, electrical power, and the like. Or maybe it might be Italy. Or the Netherlands. But globalization means that groups in Iran, or maybe even Yemen can kill European cities over some inane slight.

[I don't think the inherent violent aggression and lunacy and outright stupidity can be dealt with in Islam. Millenia of cousin marriage have resulted in the equivalent of the Hapsburg Emperor Ferdinand ("I am the Emperor! And I want noodles.") Polygamy and "women hoarding" leave men unmoored and dangerously violent. This social organization has persisted over 1500 years and is quite resistant to any change.]

The "happy thought" such as it is would be that what the NATO authors propose is put into place. A "few millions" die in Iran or someplace, to stop proliferation, by a small and fearful Western nation (perhaps Denmark, Italy, or France). Red lines are drawn. Muslim nations understand that nuclear power plus Jihad agitation equals a first strike by a fearful West. So they can't have both. And somehow the world muddles through without a global nuclear war but with a much higher death toll due to the idiot Pacifist Left projecting the suburbs of Scarsdale NY to the world.

1/22/2008 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger shivermetimbers said...

I dislike the mullahs in Iran and everything they represent. A part of me would like to see the US/Western forces strike a devastating blow at those who have attacked us for the past 30 years.

I also don't like North Korea, and feel for those who are enslaved there. It is an evil regime. My heart goes out to those poor folks who try to escape.

But, striking a country on this scale would pretty much wipe a lot of decent people off of the map along with those who we really want to target.

To use Iraq as an example, I have read a lot of military blogs, including this one, and the impression I get is that if you were to ask our armed forces today, they would have great empathy for the iraqi people.

I think it was on this site that discussed that our forces could pick up the phone and call an iraqi elder and speak with them, having established a common bond - a band of brothers, so to speak.

I applaud this, as I am sure most of the readers on this site do.

But this seems to me to be the hard long approach that requires sacrifice of lives and treasure. But, it seems to be the decent and right approach.

I am sure most of us have scene photos of Michael Yon and are moved by the humanity of the iraqi people, and I am sure the everyday folks of Iran and North Korea are no different.

First strike via WMD's seems the cowardly approach.

1/22/2008 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Manny C said...

Brilliant Richard. Absolutely brilliant. One of your best.

1/22/2008 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Shivermetimbers said...

"The impression I get is that if you were to ask our armed forces today, they would have great empathy for the iraqi people. I think it was on this site that discussed that our forces could pick up the phone and call an iraqi elder and speak with them, having established a common bond - a band of brothers, so to speak...."

This is the moral dilemma of war, i.e. the people at the grassroots are regular folks but have been deceived or coerced into serving an evil political system.

"First strike via WMD's seems the cowardly approach."

First strike with WMDs against civilian populations is cowardly and immoral.

What honor is there for some guy a thousand miles away, perfectly safe in a command bunker launching weapons to vaporize young children, grandparents and newly weds? Nuclear weapons are morally acceptable only against deep hardened targets where no conventional weapon is operative, e.g. the Iranian uranium isotope separators. Even in this extreme case, the hardened targets must be enemy WMD technology ultimately intended for use against civilians.

Using nukes to take out Iranian nuclear technology maybe morally acceptable. However to preemptively exterminate the Iranian population would be totally unacceptable.

1/22/2008 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Shiver -- from the perspective of a small European country the target of ad-hoc groups nuking them, first strike is the best option.

It saves their cities. It "doesn't kill that many" of the enemy. It's "doable" in that they can construct nuclear ICBMs to hit the infrastructure. IF you're say, Italy say and Muslims object to something the Pope or someone else said, will you bet that the US will protect you?

Or take matters into your own hands?

Globalization can kill both ways. 9/11 matched by say, a first strike by fearful Dutch or Italians.

People will do what they have to in order to survive.

1/22/2008 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

Do Stratfor's ruminations on Russia's EU policy strangely dovetail with this topic? Europe, forced to face the music has determined to change not just the tune but the player as well.

Russian and Islamic options to the change of format are limited, according to Stratfor, to aggressive bullying. Interesting and timely, manifesto.

1/23/2008 03:09:00 AM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

Eggplant....

First strike with WMDs against civilian populations is cowardly and immoral.

We're not targeting the population. We're targeting the facilities like power plants and military airbases. It just so happens that the civilian population lives next to them.

What honor is there for some guy a thousand miles away, perfectly safe in a command bunker launching weapons to vaporize young children, grandparents and newly weds?

Tell that to a SAC Trained Killer.

However to preemptively exterminate the Iranian population would be totally unacceptable.

Sounds like someone has forgotten the halycon days of Strategic Air Command.

SIOP-62; launching 1,459 nuclear devices, for a total of 2,164 megatons against 654 targets in the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe; killing roughly about 175 million Russians and Chinese. Fun fact, Albania would be annihilated, because within it's borders was a very large air search radar which had to be taken out with high assurance to let SAC bombers through.

1/23/2008 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger Marzouq the Redneck Muslim said...

Support for or mandate to reform Islam: I include this option for the dreamers and optimists. There is little evidence to date that Islam can be rehabilitated into a peaceful entity. All indications are that it already has reformed into a more violent and intolerant version of itself when compared to its state some 50-100 years ago.

Zenster,

I am one of them dreamers and optimists. Once the West grows some balls (moonbats are shut up or a jihadist offensive occurs) you proposed methods would be implemented. As an American Muslim I would be one who would be deported. Man, would I have a choice to make!

What I see at this juncture in history is a closing with the enemy, belt buckle to belt buckle. Astute American military personnel shall return from their theatres of operation with first hand knowldge of the heart of the ummah. America shall be better equipped to decide on the future.

Bush's gamble inspired by Sharanski has more benefites in the long run than I can mention at this time.

BTW, Rafah is breached and Gazans are pouring into Egypt. Wonder what kind of welcome they get.

Salaam eleikum Y'all!

1/23/2008 05:05:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

"“Red lines are drawn. Muslim nations understand that nuclear power plus Jihad agitation equals a first strike by a fearful West. So they can't have both”" - wiskey_199

This presumption that our enemies would back down after our strikes reminds me of a similar one published yesterday in Airforce News Hypothetical attack on U.S. outlined by China. It seems some strategists in China imagine scenarios of the US similarly backing away from defense of Taiwan after surprise strikes against US facilities and communications. I’m unaware of any non-lethal surprise 1st attack that did anything other than harden the enemy. So what if our enemy also refused to roll over when nuked? Imagine another series of plausible outcomes from a US nuclear attack on Iranian…

1) Europe, Russia and China immediately wash their hands of any previous responsibility for managing Islamic radicalization.
2) Most of the world joins our political party out of power, finding opportunity in demagoguing our aggression.
3) Anger at us is exacerbated as the world is thrown into its deepest recession from interruption of oil and material supplies from all over, triggering uncertainty in our interdependent, efficient but fragile economies.
4) Muslims and leftists are radicalized while withering terrorist organizations expand.
5) Moderate governments of people already hostile to us are either overthrown or forced to align with those against us.
6) As propaganda from the human and economic destruction is joined by nations organizing against us, socialist and Islamist movements gain moral high ground over weakened democratic reformers.
7) The next US administration submits to economic blackmail and shame, accepting great restrictions on our WMD and use of our military.
8) Conservatives are polarized, shrinking in numbers while growing more defensive in promotion of ever more extreme responses to their collapse.
9) Reacting to our radicalized conservative minority, nations capable of producing biological or other WMD deterrents race to do so.
10) Israel and Taiwan face increasing pressure to acquiesce as their enemies sense opportunity.
11) Bio proliferation into terrorist organizations proves impossible to restrain.
12) Players from around the globe race to the UN to carve out their piece of the pie under some kind of peaceful international cooperation and protection proposal (in honor of the women and children who died in Iran.) that relies on taxation for international trade, evolving into a world government.
13) The 200 year era of international democratization, enlightenment and freedom through US leadership literally ends in a bang, historically disgraced with our opposition defining the results of radical capitalism and freedom.

I doubt something so dynamic would unfold exactly like that, but I think it is many times more likely than the world simply giving us a slap on the wrists for nuking Iran and Muslims de-radicalizing.

1/23/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Marzouq the Redneck Muslim: I am one of them dreamers and optimists. Once the West grows some balls (moonbats are shut up or a jihadist offensive occurs) you[r] proposed methods would be implemented.

Which ones do you see as being an effective deterrent to terrorism? I am very interested in your own opinion and still hope that others here would review my post about deterrence. Either we begin using some of the methods I mentioned or it will only be a matter of time before we use ALL of them.

1/23/2008 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

I earlier said:

"However to preemptively exterminate the Iranian population would be totally unacceptable."

MKSheppard said:

"Sounds like someone has forgotten the halycon days of Strategic Air Command."

No, I grew up doing duck-and-cover.

Despite being a dictionary definition agnostic, I have to say that we survived the Cold War through the Grace of God. History has shown that there were many close calls during the Cold War. If memory serves me right, at the peak of the Cold War, about 20,000 thermonuclear weapons could have gone off at once. That would have been the end of everything.

It amazes me that people could have been so stupid. It is vital that we never repeat the error of basing our defense upon wiping out civilian populations.

1/23/2008 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Sergey said...

I believe now that the only hope for West to win Long War is to repeat worldwide what was done in Anbar province: turn tribesmen and their sheikhs against jihadists and make them American allies in this battle. For this you need no nukes and almost no tanks, but many COIN commandos knowing how to say "Salam Aleikum"

1/23/2008 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I believe now that the only hope for West to win Long War is to repeat worldwide what was done in Anbar province: turn tribesmen and their sheikhs against jihadists and make them American allies in this battle.

The problem with this is the tacit approval of the tribal society of misogyny and anti-Semitism. It's OK in the short run for Marines and young Anbar men to both be shooting at the same Al-Queda targets. But I'm damned if I want to support for any length of time some sheikh with four wives (2 of which are his first cousins) who thinks that Jews mix Arab baby blood into their matzo balls. It really doesn't make any difference, either, if the sheikh is a rich oil tick or a poor Bedouin living in a tent.

I simply am not willing to give Arab society a "pass" on the atrocities they routinely commit in the name of Islam simply because we think we need allies in that part of the world.

And if that means the genocide that eggplant is plaintively wailing against, then the Arabs have the option of growing up very very fast and becoming civilized ... or else.

(Back in 2002 Steven den Beste wrote the best analysis of the coming genocide that I've yet seen. And according to Mr. den Beste, no, it is not unthinkable.
http://denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2002/07/Triage.shtml )

1/23/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

The rationale behind a decision to use nuclear weapons preemptively would not be deterrence, but effectiveness.

A nuclear strike --- which may consist of several types of nuclear devices, including deep-penetrating and bunker-busting weapons --- would be likely to be effective against any facility built by or for the use of terrorists. Possibly less so against a facility prepared over many years with the resources of a national government.

This is because terrorists are generally furtive, mobile, unstructured, and both unwilling and unable to remain sequestered in one base of operations, unless it is within a much larger culture that will sustain and protect it, as the Taliban did for Al Qa'eda.

At least the nature of the operations of producing weapons-grade fissionable material require large-scale industrial processes that cannot readily be hidden or disguised. (However, once enough plutonium-239 or U-235 has been accumulated for warheads, THAT can be hidden pretty effectively.)

As a Nation, Iran presents a much thornier problem, just as have Iraq, Syria, and North Korea, and to a lesser extent Libya. When a national government undertakes nuclear weapons development, it has resources many orders of magnitude beyond those of any terrorist group, especially territory and construction tools.

Americans and Europeans --- especially the latest generations --- don't seem to grasp that Russia's experience both before and during World War II dramatically demonstrated to the post-war Soviet leaders that the deaths of tens of millions of citizens and the loss of a substantial fraction of its industry, agriculture and infra-structure did not prevent its recovery and victory over the Nazis. (We in the West tend to regard ourselves as having defeated Nazi Germany, but it turns out that the Soviet Union destroyed much more of the German Wehrmacht than did the West.)

Similarly, we in the West seem unable to grasp that the Jihadists' readiness to blow themselves up is not always reducible to an act of despair. In many instances it is much more akin to the determination of the Japanese Kamikaze pilots. And like those pilots, it was much better to destroy their planes and airfields at a great distance, than to wait until they were diving out of the sky.

(p.s. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, and the first time I recall being concerned about war --- especially Nuclear war --- was the Cuban Missile Crisis, in the third year of Democrat John F. Kennedy's administration.)

1/23/2008 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Dear Marzouq the Redneck Muslim,

I had not understood that you are actually Muslim. I would love to correspond, but if that is not reasonable, maybe you could share some resources. I would particularly be interested in your recommendations of sources for someone like me to understand Islam better. I'm Christian, not affiliated with any denomination, having been raised as a Navy brat attending chapel on various bases.

Thanks for your posts and thoughts.

1/23/2008 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger MKSheppard said...

No, I grew up doing duck-and-cover.

You mean during the period where the Russians had nothing, and SAC was an overwhelming force, and we could have blown them away for virtually no losses?

It was only in the 1970s that the Soviets actually became a threat to the US Homeland through their buildup of strategic forces while American Strategic Defensive and Offensive forces stagnated and declined.

It amazes me that people could have been so stupid.

Agreed; Damn Robert Strange McNamara and John Fitzgerald Kennedy for making the Cold War last another thirty years, by squandering our complete immense strategic superiority in manned bombers and strategic (ABM) defenses. Instead; they threw it all away to get money to raise a land army to go die in Vietnam. There's a reason why everyone is so upset and trying to stop our ABM program once again; because once we get the basic system fully operational; we can quickly and cheaply add interceptors to it; the expensive part is the command and control complex; the missiles can be added easily; which will render a lot of people's nuclear arsenals obsolete (hint; MIRV and decoys don't work).

It is vital that we never repeat the error of basing our defense upon wiping out civilian populations.

A National Security Council Document from the 1950s summed up American policy in the 1950s as:

"America doesn't fight it's enemies; it destroys them"

Under Ike; we had no army worthy of the name; just Pentomic divisions which were field detachments protecting the nuclear weapons such as Honest John and Davy Crockett; which meant that anyone engaging a US force would be met by a hail of nuclear devices; followed by Strategic Air Command showing up and making the Enemy's Homeland very peaceful and quiet.

In short.

"If the place isn't a threat, we shouldn’t be there.

If it is a threat, it shouldn’t be there. -- That’s what we’ve got our bombers for."

1/23/2008 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The command and control complexes are in place, "network warfare" is the term to Google. Let's all take a knee and thank Al Gore for inventing the 'Interweb' or whatever it was, perhaps we can imagine that "netwar" is only software.


Shock Waves From Syria
Did Israel bomb a secret nuclear facility equipped by North Korea?

1/23/2008 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Bill --

You completely DON'T understand my point.

The US can survive a first strike against say NYC and DC. We are a big nation, geographically spread out. If that happened of course the US would reduce the world population of 1 billion Muslims to something along half that number. But that's not the point.

SMALL nations like Denmark or Norway or the Netherlands can't afford even one nuke. Kill Copenhagen and you kill Denmark. Kill Amsterdam and Rotterdam and you kill the Netherlands. Kill Rome and you partially kill Italy.

What do they do? ANYTHING can set Muslims off. ANYTHING. A cartoon or a politician or some Imam somewhere.

To avoid being nuked they must strike first. The Netherlands can't build 20 Aircraft Carrier groups. They certainly can build nuclear ICBMs quite quickly.

And thoughtful, concerned, scared generals are quietly preparing to what they have to do in order to survive.

By their very nature Islamic nations with nuclear weapons and weak controls over same pose life-and-death threats to small nations like Denmark.

Why shouldn't Denmark or the Netherlands do what they have to in order to survive? That's the red line. The US can afford (at great cost, but still survive) not to draw them, and then end up killing half a billion people. Denmark can't.

Nuclear material just sits there if there is no transport to take it somewhere to be milled and assembled. No electricity to operate clean rooms and all the precision machining needed for nukes.

The point is that the US is no longer the only player. European nations can't do much other than create ICBMs with nukes, but that they can do. Heck PAKISTAN and IRAN can do it. Nuclear proliferation cuts both ways -- European nations uncertain that the US will PREVENT them from a "one bomb wipes them out" may just act on their own FIRST.

[That was the whole thing about the non-veto language in the report.]

If say Denmark wiped out Iran's nuclear program with it's own nukes there'd be loss of life, sure, but Denmark would survive. And places like Yemen would understand, they can have their tribal-jihad societies and not nukes, or nukes but not tribal-jihad societies.

But it's not the US's choice. Players like Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands also have choices.

1/23/2008 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

whiskey- thank you for elucidating. I, too, didn't understand that's what you were arguing for in your comments about proliferation.

Your theory does make a lot of sense. I'm just wondering if Denmark, Holland, et al, have the technical skills and the financial wherewithal to build nukes. I suppose if France could do it ... but then, didn't we GIVE France their nukes at the same time we GAVE them their Security Council seat?

Iran and North Korea have thrown a wad of cash at the problem and still haven't managed to get them to explode upon command. I've never, ever, understood how Pakistan could do it given the lamentable lack of education in that part of the world, not to mention the poverty.

1/23/2008 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Whiskey_199, I think your point is mirrored in how Iran's own acquisition of nuclear weapons would probably drive a number of other MME (Muslim Middle East) nations to arm themselves with atomics. Wretchard noted this in his "Three Conjectures". It is a similar response scenario, especially so in light of how Muslims simply cannot help but kill each other over niggling issues of Islamic purity and what constitutes sufficient piety.

I wonder if Islam will ever understand how severely compromised it was by Danish imam Ahmed abu Laban's intentional insertion of unrelated but far more incendiary images (scroll down to three small panels) that were not published in Jyllands-Posten. It was those inflammatory graphics that prompted much of the really violent response. This is yet another sterling example of Islam overreaching itself, one of its hallmark behavioral traits.

By falsely agitating in such a fashion, abu Laban caused Islam to prematurely tip its hand and reveal how even relatively innocuous events—by Western standards—could trigger conditions approaching outright war. As you also noted:

SMALL nations like Denmark or Norway or the Netherlands can't afford even one nuke. Kill Copenhagen and you kill Denmark. Kill Amsterdam and Rotterdam and you kill the Netherlands. Kill Rome and you partially kill Italy.

Due to heavy reliance upon tourism, I'd wager that even a larger country like Italy could not withstand the loss of Rome.

What do they do? ANYTHING can set Muslims off. ANYTHING. A cartoon or a politician or some Imam somewhere.

To avoid being nuked they must strike first. The Netherlands can't build 20 Aircraft Carrier groups. They certainly can build nuclear ICBMs quite quickly.


It's important to remember that Western actions have little to do with these sporadic Muslim convulsions, as they are an inherent feature of Islam itself. Again, as Wretchard observed, long before the 9-11 atrocity, Iran and Iraq squandered 500,000 Muslim lives in their own little keruffle. Any Islamic tendency to lash out is merely symptomatic of an overall malaise that would manifest regardless of external events.

This is what makes it rational to assume that someway, somehow, something, that is done by one or another small European nation will eventually be used as the pretext for a terrorist nuclear attack. The fragility and brittleness of Islam's collective ego literally assures this.

In no way imaginable can I blame any of the smaller and more vulnerable European nations for launching a pre-emptive strike against its belligerent Islamic foes. They have too much to lose and Islam could give a damn for all of its obsession with paradise.

1/26/2008 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

NahnCee: I'm just wondering if Denmark, Holland, et al, have the technical skills and the financial wherewithal to build nukes.

Yes, they do. Holland is largely responsible for inventing the microscope. Read Tom Clancy's "The Sum of All Fears". Shaping of the HE (High Explosive) lenses is delegated to optometric specialists. Denmark produces some of the most sophisticated stereo music electronics in the world and are leaders in wind power systems. Little stands in the way of either nation developing nuclear weapons. Launch systems would be a bit trickier but nowhere out of their reach.

1/26/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

“SMALL nations like Denmark or Norway or the Netherlands can't afford even one nuke. Kill Copenhagen and you kill Denmark. Kill Amsterdam and Rotterdam and you kill the Netherlands. Kill Rome and you partially kill Italy . Wiskey_199

Due to heavy reliance upon tourism, I'd wager that even a larger country like Italy could not withstand the loss of Rome.” - zenster

Just as Louisiana survived an “attack” on New Orleans, I think any western nation would survive a nuclear attack on one or more of its largest cities. They would immediately be protected and would have virtually limitless help.

I can’t see giving a super majority of NATO authorization to use our nuclear weapons or proactively offering them in their defense. Nations incapable of developing and maintaining them while pursuing the cold war and the WOT over half a century should not be trusted to judiciously use them.

1/27/2008 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Bill: Just as Louisiana survived an “attack” on New Orleans

It is totally meaningless to compare a temporary inundation with a nuclear explosion. One leaves behind salvagable infrastructure, the other a radioactive wasteland.

Disregarding any catastrophic structural damage, treating untold tens of thousands of survivors for radiation poisoning would break the economies of most small European nations.

I think any western nation would survive a nuclear attack on one or more of its largest cities.

A geographically vast country like America? Most definitely, yes. A small country like Denmark or the Netherlands would be much harder pressed to ever recover from such devastation.

They would immediately be protected and would have virtually limitless help.

All the help in the world isn't of much use when the core of your entire economy and culture has been vaporized.

This is why Whiskey_199's observation is so pertinent. As Islam continues to ratchet up its threat level, at some point "pre-deterrence" will suddenly become a valid concept. We are already facing this exact equation in the need to disrupt Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Given the intrinsically hostile and aggressive nature of Islam, the pursuit of WMDs by any Muslim majority nation should automatically constitute a casus belli. All during its 1,400 year history, the only time Islam has not demonstrated military aggression is when it has been too weak to do so.

As Buck Smith notes, preemption need not use nuclear weapons but "pre-deterrence" will soon become the norm as we continue to let Islamic countries make progress towards nuclear capability.

1/27/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger John F. Opie said...

Hi -

As always, great post...

To understand why deterrence is no longer an option, please see this:

http://21stcenturyschizoidman.blogspot.com/2008/02/escalatio-and-salami-tactics.html

John

2/07/2008 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Fen said...

You *can* tell, I believe, because radioactive isotopes have a DNA-like signature.

NO. You cannot trace back the more primitive nukes to the source, not with the certainty needed to order a retaliatory strike that will incinerate millions of innocents. Too many comonalities.

And you're also operating under the assumption that CIA is competent ;)

2/07/2008 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Fen said...

"I think any western nation would survive a nuclear attack on one or more of its largest cities."

A geographically vast country like America? Most definitely, yes.

I'm not so certain. Look at the fallout from Chernobyl. Imagine a nuke detonation in the Mississippi valley, look at where the routine weather patterns would carry the radiation. Thats without even considering the secondary effects like retail sales after 9-11 b/c people avoided the local malls.

Has anyone studied the cascade effects of a nuke attack on all the things we don't notice [trucking industry, medical supplies, etc].

2/07/2008 03:53:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger