Sunday, June 15, 2008

The ghost of AQ Khan

Fox has an interesting story about the state of nuclear weapons technology proliferation.

A draft report released by a former U.N. weapons inspector found that the international smuggling ring that supplied nuclear designs to Iran, Libya, and North Korea also obtained the blueprints for an advanced nuclear warhead, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

David Albright, a well-known nuclear weapons expert, said that designs for a nuclear device small enough to fit on a ballistic missile were found on computers belonging to the now-defunct smuggling ring of rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Swiss authorities, under the direction of the IAEA reportedly destroyed the computer contents, said the Post. But Albright — who is known for exposing the location of Iran's secret nuclear facilities — warns the electronic blue-prints, made up of hundreds of pages of documents, could easily be copied and shared with a number of countries, according to the newspaper.

"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," Albright wrote in his report, which was obtained by the newspaper.

I think any reasonable person can deduce several very probable things from this information. First, that a number of regimes, including but not limited to, Iran, Libya, and North Korea, are interested in developing nuclear weapons outside of the non-proliferation regime. Second, that nuclear weapons design information is already available to them, and possibly to any private party with the money to purchase it.

It is less probable, but certainly reasonable to conclude that because elements of the Pakistani government have been involved in AQ Khan's activity, it is by no means impossible that al-Qaeda has the weapons design information.

It is therefore possible that the only thing standing between the world and a rogue nuclear weapon or weapons are industrial and engineering difficulties. That is, the stockpiling of fissile material the development of the weapons components (such as fuses) themselves and the refinement of delivery systems. The existence of an advanced design means that a delivery system could be fairly small. A small cargo aircraft, a large executive jet or a pallet on a 747 freighter.

Since all the industrial and engineering difficulties are probably going to be solved over the course of several decades there is a real probability of a future nuclear September 11. Like the original September 11, it may feature multiple simultaneous attacks. Perhaps upon the original cities, perhaps upon a dozen or more.





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89 Comments:

Blogger bobal said...

Bush is a failed President because he didn't attack Iran. We will all of us live with the results of that weakness in our society.

6/15/2008 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard -- why not simply "borrow" a few nukes from Pakistan or Iran?

If both Iran and Pakistan have nukes, each can point credibly to the other and have a good case as to why NYC, Chicago, and DC went up in ash the other day. They can rely on the desire for "proof" and lawfare to restrict any US reaction from at best, UN sanctions that are meaningless, to worst a few impotent missile strikes.

To my mind this is the reaction likely to happen with a Democratic Congress in office, certainly with President Obama. If of course the Democrats and/or President Obama are wiped out, then the response will be strategic in nature, as will the response to follow-on attacks wiping out secondary cities such as LA, Denver, Dallas, etc. It will be then a matter of survival. BOTH nations will have to be wiped out completely, and the US and all other nations fall into isolation to prevent nuking.

The corollary to that of course is that naked, brutal imperialism will be the order of the day. A nuked US will simply take from Arabia and other places what it needs, and leave desolation when it is finished. As will other powers: China, India, Japan, etc.

Though perhaps the US could combine with India to wipe out both Iran and Pakistan, as a measure of making sure. It's uncertain as to what will happen.

But it's very sure that we already in the West do not have any framework to respond to the existing reality of nuclear weapons that can be deniably handed off to AQ and other terrorists. It's not as if Pakistan is a strong state with rigid controls on it's nukes. It's entirely foreseeable that nukes could be handed off to ease domestic pressure from Islamists. Iran as well. North Korea sits under China's nuclear umbrella and will sell to anyone, with no consequences.

We are probably seeing the death of the international system since 1945 given the existing reality of nuclear proliferation which is unstoppable. No global trade. No global institutions. Merely every major power and alliance for itself.

6/15/2008 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

If nuclear weapons are ever available to terrorist organizations it may mean the collapse of accountability, and with it, deterrence. This has wider implications than dealing with the consequences of an attack on the USA, which ironically, has an extreme but inhumane solution to hand.

A terrorist organization may not attack the US directly, after the post September 11 response showed it was willing to engage in disproportionate response. It might be more feasible, hence lucrative, to threaten a small and medium sized country. Suppose for example, a nuclear weapon vaporized Auckland? A US President might hit all possible suspects following the destruction of New York, but Auckland?

What about Kiev? Or Riyadh? Would America destroy whole countries and populations in response to their destruction? Probably not. Therefore the emergence of a commercial nuclear weapon would, in the first instance, induce small and medium sized countries to abandon Cold War structures, such as implied Nuclear Umbrellas. Those umbrellas will leak like seives in a world with widespread WMD proliferation.

Therefore the emergence of a deniable nuclear strike capability among terrorist organizations is likely to produce its mirror. This means that if Riyadh is reduced to ash, then guilty or not, Teheran will follow. No questions asked and no answers given.

It's interesting to speculate on what will happen in a world where proliferation is nearly universal. My guess is that it will force each society to clean up its act, because even the appearance of association with a terrorist group may mean that whoever has been nuked will nuke back.

Maybe the disproportionate response following September 11 will some some American cities by creating uncertainty as to the American response. My guess is that in the near future the small, prosperous, but law abiding countries will be at greatest risk.

6/15/2008 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Therefore, at the first plausible evidence that terrorists have acquired a secret nuclear weapon, I predict countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Singapore will immediately buy their own.

Countries like Japan, on the other hand, will probably build ready to assemble devices in case they become victims of an attack, so that they will be free to retaliate against whoever they suspect should the occasion arise.

6/15/2008 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

That is, the stockpiling of fissile material the development of the weapons components (such as fuses) themselves and the refinement of delivery systems.

For several years now, I have been laboring under the cheerful assumption that yes, these countries *do* have the blueprints, and yes, they *are* trying to build the weapons, and yes, they probably have stolen enough uranium or whatever they need from the ex-USSR, BUT ... they simply do not have the capability to produce a really really round ball bearing in a sand-free environment.

I'm remembering that the Oppenheimer's team had to meet extremely teensy and strict requirements, and it's my fondest belief that the Arabs simply can't do it. That "inshallah, close enough for Allah's work" ethic, you know.

They'll have to hire a Frenchman or a German to do it for them eventually.

6/15/2008 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Wretchard wrote:

"A draft report released by a former U.N. weapons inspector found that the international smuggling ring that supplied nuclear designs to Iran, Libya, and North Korea also obtained the blueprints for an advanced nuclear warhead... ...small enough to fit on a ballistic missile"

The first question that pops into my head:

Was this design actually proven to work with a weapon's test (an ex-Soviet design) or was it unproven?

The NorKs one nuclear test probably fizzled. That failure could have been due to poor workmanship but was probably due to their failure to understand some key physical aspect of nuclear weapon's design. There is considerable "devil in the detail" to building a thermonuclear weapon. Fiddly details like "How do you alloy the plutonium bomb pit?" are not obvious.

Bobal said:

"Bush is a failed President because he didn't attack Iran. We will all of us live with the results of that weakness in our society."

I disagree. President Bush had only a finite amount of political coin that he could spend in combating Islamic Fascism.

I would argue that his cup is half full.

Taking down Saddam Hussein, killing thousands of Islamic Fascists in Iraq and removing al Qaeda from Afghanistan were huge successes. Unfortunately, his political coin is now exhausted. However the President can bask in his triumph against very evil enemies abroad and treacherous political opponents at home.

Yes, it's regretable that Islamic Fascists still rule Iran but Bush did the best he could. Let us hope that McCain will be our next President and can finish what Bush began.

6/15/2008 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Bush is still President and will be for another few months. If you're PResident of the United States, you can cause a lot of mayhem in 5-6 weeks, let alone 5-6 months.

All the media whores are calling this Bush's farewell tour, that he's trying to make amends with the Yurps for his bad behavior.

I, on the other hand, think he's filling them in on plans to nuke Iran. He's moved the Navy fleet into that part of the world, so they're ready. He's met with Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, so the Saud's are ready. I think Israel is been in on the plan from the get-go so they're just waiting for the flag to drop so they can do their part. He's met with the Pope, so His Holiness is filled in.

I'm watching to see if his next visit is to Australia to touch bases with Rudd. And Canada, although of the two, no one cares what Canada thinks because they don't actually *do* anything except kangaroo courts any more.

I'm predicting that Bush will nuke Iran before he leaves office which means he's in the final stretch of months (or weeks) before that happens. He's just making courtesy calls to all the biggest Iraq nay-sayers now, to fill them in and loopify them about plans to take out Ahmadinnerjacket and his mullah buddies.

Be interesting to see if they can keep the secret.

6/15/2008 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Willie G said...

In the 60s, the era of MAD, it was the certainty of the response that served as the deterrent.

The rise of the non-state actor has made that equation obsolete. But the "gun-totin cowboy" has been the substitute, much to the chagrin of the sophisticated.

If it were perceived, as well it might be, that the likely response to attack would be deep soul-searching and an eagerness to discuss the underlying socio-ecomonic problems that led to such an action, then IMHO the likelyhood of an attack grows by an order of magnitude.

But all of this assumes some rationality on the part of all actors. Willing martyrs on one side will tip the scales in their favor, regardless of consequences.

"A man's got to know his limitations." I'm afraid BHO has overlooked a few.

6/15/2008 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

As technology diffuses the point will inevitably be reached when nuclear or biological weapons will be within the reach of "ordinary" countries and large organizations.

That possibility will make the penalty for tolerating societal chaos prohibitive, because the implied responsibility and cost of tolerating miscreants in one's midst becomes unacceptably high.

Consider if radical Islam could exist at all in a world where nuclear weapons were widely available. The religious authorities would clamp down on radicals for dear life in case they went off and suicided themselves with a nuclear weapon. Because in a world where proliferation was widespread, no one wuld wait for a Security Council resolution or act of Congress to get back. If a society even remotely looked like it might have produced a nuclear terrorist from one of it's mosques or madrassas it too would be vaporized -- by persons unknown or unwilling to fess up.

I wrote elsewhere that Islam might not survive nuclear weapons because even after they had killed all the infidel they would start on themselves. Physics and the Koran cannot coexist. The real secrets of God, which are expressed in the universe, cannot be managed by a conception like Allah.

6/15/2008 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger sbw said...

The only alternative is a change of mind, able to be convincingly presented across cultural boundaries, that addresses why there is nothing for them to gain and more to lose by such action. In fact, there is everything to be lost.

Of course, if there is no reason, there is no purchase. That may be true of some, but not all.

Such a presentation is possible, but not the way society -- interaction between two individuals or two cultures is conventionally understood.

6/15/2008 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Willie G said...

"Because in a world where proliferation was widespread, no one wuld wait for a Security Council resolution or act of Congress to get back. If a society even remotely looked like it might have produced a nuclear terrorist from one of it's mosques or madrassas it too would be vaporized -- by persons unknown or unwilling to fess up."

And Voila! we're right back in the Old West. "An armed society is a polite society."

Perhaps non-proliferation wasn't the best of ideas, given that half of the engineering battle is the knowledge that something is, in fact, possible?

6/15/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

Wonder if people will ever credit Mr. Bush (and Mr. Bolton) for the effectiveness of the Proliferation Security Initiative. Where words and diplomatic suasion has failed, these free nations have acted.

6/15/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard, I agree with most of your conclusions except that small, relatively unarmed nations would be prime targets.

Reading Wright's "the Looming Tower" I am struck by how AQ and both bin Laden and Zawahari were bound to big projects by both a sense of messianic destiny and the desire to compete with other groups as the big cheese among Islamists. That even when things they do according to takfir provoke horrific responses, not least from other Muslims, they kept doing it out of the sense of power it gave them.

Thus, the murder of Abdullah Azzam and his sons provoked a response, but Zawahari and bin Laden did it anyway. The denuciation of the House of Saud provoked predictable reprisals but bin Laden did it anyway (and he knew well what would happen). Zawahari tried to kill Mubarak and failed, with predictable reprisals. Bin Laden and Zawahari found themselves the predictable enemies of Algeria for arming and supporting the GIA. Zawahari personally executed two little boys who had been blackmailed by the Egyptian secret services despite his council being opposed to the action.

At all instances, and all times, the senior leadership of AQ embraced making enemies they could not destroy but could destroy them. Their actions in Iraq were presaged by their actions in Sudan, in Pakistan, and elsewhere. Their response was to choose bigger targets. Always upping the ante to keep their followers around and in line.

From an organizational perspective, bin Laden and/or Zawahari cannot afford to attack say, Denmark over the US. They must attack the US to keep jihadis in their camp instead of competitors.

Nor in fact does history show that weak Muslim regimes can or will clamp down on jihadis, even if it's suspected but not proven they have nukes. Saudi did not kill or take any serious measures against bin Laden despite his ignoring the King's direct order to cease: fomenting war in unified Yemen. Sudan did not stop bin Laden from doing the same in Algeria or Egypt, neighbors who could make life miserable for Sudan.

The cost of clamping down in a tribal society is too high, and there is a lack of ability to do so even if there is a will. Who will enforce the orders by penalty of summary execution of cousins or uncles in a tribal society where cousins and uncles and unswerving loyalty to same provides protection?

There is also every reason for tribal actors accustomed to every day brutality to believe America is weak, decadent, divided, and unable to muster any will to respond to attack. What was the point of either the 1993 WTC bombing aimed at killing 50,000 to 150,000 people, or 9/11? What exactly did either Sheik Abdul Rahman or bin Laden hope to accomplish? Nothing but attracting more members to his side in the fantasy that there would be no real US response. Obama, Dems, the Media, all feed that fantasy and it's probably correct in the short term.

6/15/2008 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

The fundamental issues go back to those explored Benedict's Regensberg address. The issue between Paleologos and his unnamed Muslim interlocutor was whether God had to be consistent with reason and beauty. Paleologos claimed that any true word of God had to be. On the other hand the Islamic scholar argued that Allah was beyond all conceptions of Good and Evil.

But God speaks to man in many ways. One of these ways are the revealed laws of nature. The word of Allah must be compatible with the word of God as revealed in nature, else we have a contradiction and the word of Allah must be false or nature must be false.

This contradiction would not be revealed for so long as radical Islam existed in a world of ignorance, where the women are kept illiterate and the acme of masculine learning was to memorize the Koran in classical Arabic.

Today information has spread to the point where the contradiction is unavoidable. Radical Islam must find a way to reconcile its beliefs with logic, truth and beauty. The Koran's strictures will be taken to their technological conclusions, in a memetic syllogistic exercise. The QED will be what it will be. If Allah cannot coexist with God there ain't room enough in the Universe for the both of them. The Wild West indeed.

6/15/2008 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Firstly, Wretchard said:

"A terrorist organization may not attack the US directly, after the post September 11 response showed it was willing to engage in disproportionate response."

We should note that the truth of this statement vindicates George Bush's post 9/11 policy, and constitutes the very definition of a 'Jacksonian' response to an enemy attack. Only a disproportionate response can signal the appropriate intent, and thereby ward off future attacks. Properly understood, this is the response pacifists actually ought to want.

Wretchard went on to say:

"...It might be more feasible, hence lucrative, to threaten a small and medium sized country. Suppose for example, a nuclear weapon vaporized Auckland? A US President might hit all possible suspects following the destruction of New York, but Auckland?

What about Kiev? Or Riyadh? Would America destroy whole countries and populations in response to their destruction? Probably not. Therefore the emergence of a commercial nuclear weapon would, in the first instance, induce small and medium sized countries to abandon Cold War structures, such as implied Nuclear Umbrellas."


There are additional reasons why the impact of nuclear proliferation and blackmail is likely to target smaller countries:

(a) The entire political elite and cultural future of for instance the UK or France can be obliterated by a single detonation, in a way that the US's cannot because it's resources are distributed across a whole continent.

(b) Likely uncertainty regarding the source of an attack makes small nations' deterrent even less credible, since their nuclear forces are insufficient to destroy multiple suspect capitals, and nobody believes that European allies for instance would support each other in such a retaliatory enterprise.

The only way to be even relatively safe in a world in which multiple deranged opponents have moderately large nuclear arsenals is to be distributed across an entire continent, to possess an arsenal large enough to destroy multiple opponents while still having a strategic deterrent left over, and to have demonstrated a willingness to respond 'disproportionately'. Only the United States will (thanks to GWB) be in this position in the foreseeable future.

One can imagine quite a number of surprising possibilities arising out of the environment Wretchard is projecting. One is that many of the smarter people in our European and other allies may over time develop a growing interest in moving themselves and their kids to the US.

6/15/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...many of the smarter people in our European and other allies may over time develop a growing interest in moving themselves and their kids to the US.

They already are:

Waves of Emigrants Leaving the UK

"Give us your tired, your poor, your overtaxed Englishmen yearning to work free."

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/waves-of-emigrants-leaving-britain/

6/15/2008 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I hope you are right, Nahncee, but I fear you are not. Bush is going out with a whimper, not a bang. Time will tell.

6/15/2008 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

I don't know what will happen. I am simply making the argument that if if terrorists get nuclear weapons then the nonproliferation regime will collapse completely and universally. No country will be able to tolerate the idea that a deranged individual can destroy its capital. Therefore if nonproliferation collapses everyone will arm, or make such arrangements as to ensure it can effectively, unilaterally and subsidiarily retaliate. Can radical Islam or other extremisms exist in such a world? That's a big question.

6/15/2008 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

On the other hand the Islamic scholar argued that Allah was beyond all conceptions of Good and Evil.

Which is he definition of insanity. I could quote Blake, but simply put, let divinity a human face display, in the light of day.

6/15/2008 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Wretchard said:

"Therefore if nonproliferation collapses everyone will arm, or make such arrangements as to ensure it can effectively, unilaterally and subsidiarily retaliate."

Wretchard, once again you've scared the crap out of me (gotta go change my shorts).

At least in our brave new world, aerospace engineers will be in high demand. My continued employment prospects are excellent assuming I'm not vaporized along with my innocent children or die slow from radiation poisoning....

6/15/2008 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger george said...

If nothing else, the lesson of Saddam will be that if you brag about having a nuclear weapons program (or play shell games with inspectors) then you damn well better have it because we have no other recourse now than to take you at your word. It also shows that you can only play chicken with the US for so long. We took out two countries with fewer casualties than a good day's fighting during WWII and we could have done it with next to no casualties had we decided to go that route.

The other lesson is that even though Russia and China are just as much infidels as we are (more so since they aren't even people of the book) they are not a target of the mad mullahs and Islamic terrorists. Were religion solely the root motivation of the terrorists then this would not be the case. It is difficult to tease out what the other motivators may be but I think the clue lays in looking at who their sympathizers are in the west.

If we could figure out what causes BDS or causes five supreme court justices to ignore 200 years of legal precedent, the plain wording of the constitution, the other two branches of government, the will of the people and the purpose of having rules of war such as the Geneva convention... just so they can make a ruling under which no country could possibly wage war, then we would be a long ways down the path to understanding the psychology of our enemies.

Like calls to like. Zealots understand zealotry. What they can't abide is the thought that their philosophy is bankrupt to the point that the only way it will be embraced is if it is forced upon everyone. And thus they force it upon everyone while pretending that they are the victims.

6/15/2008 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Well spoken, George.

6/15/2008 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Another way of phrasing Wretchard's conjecture here is that small countries may become non-viable, from a strategic point of view, in a world with widespread nuclear proliferation.

This would be because no paper alliance between governments can ever substitute for the guarantee of retaliation implied by belonging to the same country.

This development, should it occur, would be consistent with a long history of advances in military technology leading to greater centralization at the level of the state.

This might lead European countries towards creating a more effective union, but the problems posed by rivalries between the ruling elites in each country and the overall credibility deficit of the EU as a whole appear insurmountable.

In the long run some of the smaller EU members might end up applying for admission instead to the United States. Perhaps the prospect of that humiliation will finally goad Europe into addressing its security problems.

6/15/2008 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger TJ said...

Wretchard,
Awesome post, but Benedict doesn't quite hit the point on head. He made the typical Enlightenment mistake of placing the concept before the person. The issue is actually God's character. Truth, beauty, and yes even reason are byproducts of His asietal nature. They are categories we assign to aspects of His intrinsic personality.
You are correct in stating that Allah is capricious. In this respect he is not very different from the polytheistic deities of the ancients. The twist Mohammed added was to borrow the Judeo-Christian concept of a universal God. What he failed to borrow was God's personality. In denying the trinitarian doctrine, Mohammed could not speak of a God capable of relationship either within Himself or with any kind of creatures. He destroyed everything except Will. This as you noted, could take us into three conjectures territory.

6/15/2008 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

God damn, these muzzies are crazy.

And, everyone else is who blabs on about 'God', and his 'personality' and 'character'.

And you all know I'm speaking the truth, you can feel it in your own bones.

The best we can do, is let 'a human face display, in the light of day'.

6/15/2008 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

tj--you are full of crap.

6/15/2008 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Truth, beauty, and yes even reason are byproducts of His asietal nature.

What a lot of shit.

6/15/2008 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

I wish we could leave God or Allah out of it, seeing as we humans don't know squat about the Solar System, let alone God. Unfortunately, God or Allah seems an unavoidable term in the 21st century. If you had told a Marxist in 1950 the 21st century would be all about God and religious wars, you could have knocked him down with a feather. When Sam Huntington was being reviled for predicting a clash of civilizations Francis Fukuyama was predicting the End of History.

I think the Crystal Ball industry isn't all its cracked up to be.

6/15/2008 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

For millions of years now the shark has cruised the beneficent sea. The hawk has insisted on his pecking order..ordnung, ordnung!

And you are blabing on about the 'personality', the 'character' of 'God'.

Let us fight for women's rights. That would be doing something.

6/15/2008 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger jaaake said...

"What he failed to borrow was God's personality. In denying the trinitarian doctrine, Mohammed could not speak of a God capable of relationship either within Himself or with any kind of creatures."

This tomfoolery supposes several contentious things:
1) A certain form of Christian belief, that not all Christians agree upon.
2) A historical view of Christianity that ignores the wildly different nature of the allegedly Christian Deity in the old testament.
3) An eye to history that ignores the massive strides the Christian West has made over the last several centuries in promulgating the notion of a truly benevolent deity-- a view of the god that is by no means exclusive to Christianity nor does it perfectly describe every Christian concept of god over the centuries.

In short, your argument is convenient and short-sighted. Furthermore, by using the Enlightenment as some sort of negative modifier, you seem to be denigrating one of the fundamental triumphs of western civilization.

6/15/2008 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger F said...

Wretchard:

As usual, a very thought-provoking article. Particularly ironic, too, to mention Auckland as a possible target as it was the Kiwis who so thoroughly pissed off the USG by not accepting our "no comment" policy on nuclear weapons on board USN warships. In other words, if the USN were not willing to guarantee that a particular warship carried no nukes, it could not stop at a New Zealand port. It is, of course, clear why we could not accept such a proposition: our cold war enemy (the USSR) would only need to wait out several port visits to establish which of our warships carried nukes and which did not. So the question now would be: after having so totally pissed us over nuclear policy, would we use a nuke in response to the nuking of a NZ city? So your "little country" attack makes eminent sense, and Auckland makes even more sense. I think if I lived in Auckland I'd move to New York. F

6/15/2008 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

The issue is actually God's character.

And the shark cruises the beneficent sea.

Absolute nonsense.

And we should try to make a human society, getting away from all that, as best we can.

6/15/2008 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

If nuclear attacks on Western (but non-U.S.) targets are met with weak response, will that spur the creation of Anti-Islamic terrorist groups? (Or armed NGOs?) Something like a new Knights Templar. Does the West need it's own plausible deniability before Mecca and Damascus go up? (Or are Europe and the U.S. expecting Israel to take that role?)

Would a nuclear capability be a useful corporate asset for Blackwater, or some future permutation thereof? Rather than implicit deterrence, a public, signed contract with a third party (incorporated everywhere and nowhere) stating that a WMD attack on your nation's soil will be answered with an attack on Cities X and Y - whether or not Cities X and Y have any provable connection to the initial attack.

6/15/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

At least in our brave new world, aerospace engineers will be in high demand.

You'll probably also have first dibs on the ships leaving to colonize Mars after the Muslims have pissed us off enough to retaliate and obliterate the part of the globe they infest. I wonder what *that* will do for Al Gore's global warming hysteria.

6/15/2008 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger TJ said...

Thing requires thought, thought requires thinker. It's a simple exercise in formal logic. I would additionally point out that profanity is a poor substitute for actual counterarguments.
To expand on my point about the trinity (which by the way is agreed upon by 99.9% percent of christians throughout most of the last 2000 years), the concept of relationship must have a formal originating cause, it cannot be merely a semantic convenience. The existence of a godhead is the only explanation I've ever heard possessing internal consistency and explanatory power. The illustration also served to provide a contrast to Allah, who is the ultimate Other. He is capable of contradicting himself, of violating what we understand to be moral constraints. In short, ironically, Allah is the archetypical nietzchean uebermensch, existing as pure dominant will.
I will never apologize for my belief. If we pursue truth, should we not hold onto what we find, even if it contradicts the majority view?
One more thing. If there is no God, I say we nuke all the muslims now just to be safe. Men, women, children, none of them possess any worth because worth is defined by strength alone. There is nothing in this world stronger than a 5 Megaton warhead.

6/15/2008 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

The optimal situation would be the preservation of nonproliferation -- what Barack Obama calls "a world without nuclear weapons". Unfortunately a nonproliferation regime in practice means a nuclear monopoly by a select few and the disarmament of the rest.

Think about it. The two models of law and order are either to concentrate force in the police and disarm everyone else; or allow a universally armed society like the Wild West where the peace is preserved because because even granny's packing.

Barack Obama's idea is that creating a world without nuclear weapons should begin with an American disarmament, which is a little bit like arguing that a neighborhood without guns starts with the police disarming themselves. Ha, ha ha.

So what Barack Obama's policy will probably result in is an acceleration of the collapse in nonproliferation which is already under way. AQ Khan did his damage a long time ago.

So through technological diffusion and polic idiocy, the odds are that nonproliferation will collapse sooner or later. Then what will we have then? I claim that once nonproliferation implodes everyone will want to get a nuke and won't be shy about using it.

6/15/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

If NPT breaks down and lots of countries get the bomb there will be mutual-defense treaties, both public and private, made among many groups of countries. Smaller countries will protect themselves either with alliances with other small countries or with the large powers (US, Russia, China).

As an example the Saudis reportedly helped fund the Pak nuclear program, although the quid quo pro isn't really clear.

It's conceivable that a system of mutual-defense treaties would produce a stable system of MAD but it's hard to believe that there won't be any detonations. Terrorists and other proxies will remain a problem however a 'shoot first and ask questions later' policy may rule the day.

This world-wide arms race is the probably the biggest down side to Iran getting the bomb.

6/15/2008 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

The two models of law and order are either to concentrate force in the police and disarm everyone else; or allow a universally armed society like the Wild West where the peace is preserved because because even granny's packing.

Actually the Wild West was a tribal society and was the opposite of law and order. Traditional tribal societies exist(ed) because of a lack of law and order. There was no central authority that could maintain the peace and adjudicate disputes fairly.

Tribal societies were stable and did/do have means of settling disputes without warfare (e.g., paying blood money). However, the blood feud and the threat of the blood feud were a means of maintaining order in the lack of the law.

Realistically there is no central authority that can maintain the peace between countries, so warfare won't be going out of style any time soon.

6/15/2008 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I claim that once nonproliferation implodes everyone will want to get a nuke and won't be shy about using it.

It's not like the Saudi's or Libya or even North Korea will be armed to the eyeballs like Russia used to be.

IF you've only got one nuke and it cost you a billion dollars to buy and it's never been tested and you're not sure that it'll even go off, are you gonna waste it on New Zealand?

Or even on New York, because you know for certain sure that your one nuke taking out Wall Street one morning will take out your whole country that afternoon.

With nuclear proliferation what you'd see are the toe-to-toe chest-bumping of India and Pakistan, and Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria and South Africa. Maybe South Korea might tickle North Korea although they're being pretty chummy right now. Probably a couple of lunatic tries by friends of the Palestinians to bomb Israel, but I think we've given them some pretty good defensive technology so that wouldn't even be assured.

I just don't see even crazy Muslims being *that* suicidal to do something that would guarantee the deaths of themselves, their families, their mullahs and their mecca's within the week.

6/15/2008 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger randian said...

Even if the Arabs have problems making nukes, that's no real obstacle to them building nukes because crazy countries like Russia seem to have no problem selling the relevant parts to the highest bidder. This despite the atrocities at Beslan, as clear a warning as it is possible to give as to what Muslims want to do to Russia. As Stalin said, the capitalists will sell you the rope you use to hang them.

6/15/2008 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger randian said...

It's conceivable that a system of mutual-defense treaties would produce a stable system of MAD but it's hard to believe that there won't be any detonations.

MAD isn't sustainable when one of the parties thinks dying in an attempt to kill the enemies of his god is a holy act.

6/15/2008 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

IF you've only got one nuke and it cost you a billion dollars to buy and it's never been tested and you're not sure that it'll even go off, are you gonna waste it on New Zealand?

People will get the one nuke because the collapse of the NPT will signal that the international monopoly on nuclear weapons has collapsed. That means it's every man for himself. If you can afford one nuke, then one nuke it is.

Saudi Arabia will know that since the "international community" failed to prevent Iran from arming, it will similarly fail to avenge a deniable nuke detonated in Mecca during the Haj season. Imagine you are Taiwan and receive a not from al-Qaeda saying pay $100 Billion into this account or Taipei is ash. Who cares about Taipei? Taiwan isn't even a recognized country. Or think of Singapore. It can be entirely, completely and comprehensively wiped out by a single strike from Islamic radicals. And God knows they hate Singapore. So, if their intel hears the bad guys have a nuke, what's Singapore going to do? Ask El Baradei to give a speech? No. They're going to get a nuke of their own, as will Taiwan.

That one nuke will signal that if we go down, you go down. In Philippine prisons there are large rocks in jail showers. Why? Because the shower is where people are commonly knifed. The rocks are there so that, if a man's going to die, he can crush the skull of his killer in return as his last act. That one nuke is the rock on an international scale.

6/15/2008 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Nomenklatura --

While I disagree with Wretchard on the likely target, which due to internal jihadi dynamics is likely to be "big" and dramatic, it is possible that a small group with relations to nuclear gate-keepers in Pakistan or elsewhere (perhaps even India) could "borrow" a few nukes to say, obliterate Copenhagen and establish the Danish Islamic Republic.

Of course, in that case obliterating the European Elite will simply unleash a combination of Napoleon/Cromwell/Caesar to "save" quite legitimately the people of his nation, from surviving military, criminal, and police organizations. Wipe out the king and his court and a new more dangerous one, will take his place. More dangerous because his legitimacy will be based SOLEY in his ability to wipe out native Muslims by an angry/scared population and strike back devastatingly at their enemies.

Nuke Copenhagen, as the recent NATO White Paper speculated? The surviving Danes would wipe out the native Muslims in three months and build nukes enough to wipe out Pakistan and Iran in three years. They'd use it too. If the race is soley on who has the most nukes, and the will to use them in a war of total destruction, bet on the Europeans vs. Muslim groups.

Already there are military rumblings in Europe, about the lack of political will by domestic leaders to do what must be done. Wipe out the current Bourbons and replace them with a cross between Cromwell, Napoleon, and Caesar and you'd get an ocean of blood.

Can Denmark NOW afford a fleet of say, 20 ICBM submarines capable of reaching anywhere in the ME, with say, a total of 500 nuclear warheads? I'd say YES so there is no reason for small nations to disappear. Merely to re-arm with nukes like crazy. I'm sure the Russians would be delighted to make them on contract. Switzerland I am sure is exploring this possibility now, though likely with mountain-shielded ICBM bases.

NanCee -- why not simply "borrow" one or two out of a hundred? You might even be able to conceal or at least believe you could conceal the theft/borrowing forever? Particularly if it keeps peace with powerful tribal leaders. As for suicidal, what did either WTC attack hope to accomplish?

6/15/2008 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

One word, video gamers:

Fallout.

Any of the kind of attacks being fantasized about here would generate massive amounts of fallout that would wreak fatal environmental havoc on places far distant, literally around the world, from the impact zone.

Sorry guys, but these kinds of nuclear attacks are off the table and always will be.

I know that will disappoint some of of you deeply, but you might want to spend a litte time thinking about why that didn't occur to you in the first place.

6/15/2008 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

Wretchard said:

"The rocks are there so that, if a man's going to die, he can crush the skull of his killer in return as his last act."

Doesn't do you any good unless you see from which direction the knife arrived. As a city state exposed to complete annihilation, you essentially need enough bombs and delivery capability to destroy the entire Islamic world in order to be safe. And even then you would be exposed to a detonation arranged by a third party which wanted to see your deterrent unleashed.

The genie is out of the bottle, there's no denying it.

I suspect the only feasible equilibrium occurs once there are no political entities left on the planet unwilling to account to the others for what goes on within their borders. The American 'Wild West' period ended only after all the outlaws had either been killed or had been persuaded to adopt a different way of relating to their neighbors (it took a mixture of both, with losses on all sides).

6/15/2008 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger The Count said...

Can radical Islam or other extremisms exist in such a world? That's a big question.

It also leads to many others:
Yow much destruction will take place before the extremists are eliminated? Where will the destruction take place? Does eliminating extremists make more or less of them take their place?

Right now it's Mark Styen who's considered the extremist- in Milquetoast Canada of all places. If the 'big one' hits Canada who will get rounded up- extremist muslims or the neo-cons? It's a toss up I'd say.

Right now a logic is being set up by which those who point out the problem are being considered the primary problem. I don't like it.

6/15/2008 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Towering Barbarian said...

[Pats McDaddyo on the head and hands him a lollipop].

Hey McDaddyo,
Dudes like you sometimes express real sw33t sentiments, but just because *you* think that way doesn't mean the rest of the world does. Silly noobs in the 1900s were singing your song about how nobody would ever go to war because the machine gun made war too terrible. Guess what? WWI and WWII happened anyway. :P

So much for "fatal environmental impact"! ^O^

Sing Kumbaya at the terrorists, McDaddyo! Sing Kumabaya at them. Maybe then they'll listen to you. ^_^

Then again? *Maybe* not! ^_~

6/16/2008 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Melissus said...

TJ:

Good job in bringing out a point so profound that as Socrates before you, earned you the scorn of the materialists... But you are right.

If God can smile, then reality (as a gratuitous gift non-necessarily given by God) is the effect of the divine smile. But if God does not have a face, a personality, then He cannot smile, and this world is meaningless. What is a smile if not the celebration of goodness, of GRACE? Does a (normal) person smile for pay? The devil and his cohort know how to smile on the basis of a calculation. But the authentic smile is born of goodness and recognition of goodness given for no other necessity than the joy of being good or doing good or celebrating the good. This is why the creation (our reality) can be called God's smile -- it is given freely by God not because he needs it, not because there is a profit in it for him -- for there is none. Our reality exists because God wanted to smile -- for the joy of it, and no other recompense. No one was there to force him. Therefore, a God who smiles makes beauty and goodness REASONABLE, not an idiotic, sarcastic, sardonic or diabolical exercise of deception. Moreover, a God who smiles is one who wants to help us fight against evil (e.g., nuclear terrorism), and offers the REASONABLE HOPE that victory is possible (not withstanding a Supreme Court and Congress allied with the enemy).

Let me submit that the psychological and spiritual basis for any struggle against evil starts in this radical conviction that the good truly is that, good, that it is better and stronger than evil, and must triumph, for it radiates from God's omnipotent smile. Behold: this is the basis for human existence without which we are reduced... reduced to what? Look at the other side, at the terrorists: we are reduced to zombies of evil. Zombies come in many forms: demented terrorists and YES, demented politicians who have lost the rational capacity to tell good from evil; whose loveless lust for power has reduced to automatons of evil.

Rationality depends on being able to see the good, and there is no seeing the good if you cannot recognize what I have been calling God's smile, that is, grace, goodness as such. And this is your point at bottom: truth derives from goodness, goodness is (theological) love, and God is Love (cf 1 John 4). Therefore, to affirm integral and complete truth, one must affirm love: REASON DEPENDS ON LOVE. But only persons love. Therefore, rationality presupposes the Christian revelation that God is Love(!). (Just wait till the atheists read this!) So one must affirm God as a person who loves to achieve fully the capacity of reason and truth. That is what I understand you to be saying and I say, Bravo! Right on!

That is why your observations are easily the most important that I have read on this blog. They are simply too darn profound for many of the fine folk on this blog to appreciate. Especially your mentioning that Benedict XVI emphasizes truth when he can also mention "personality" (the capacity to smile, to give grace, to constitute the human person as person, as the being that can smile). Of course, Benedict was speaking in a given context. Can the Islamic believer insofar as Islamic, "love" ("smile", recognize and rejoice in real goodness)? But the problem with Islam is precisely that it kills the capacity to love (or exercise charity and grace) in the human being. It destroys that most human in the person. Islam creates "zombies". Of course, I know nice and good Islamic people. Nonetheless, I submit and insist that they are good and nice in spite of their Islam, not because of it. The history of Islam in general bears me out on this point and on this blog I doubt there is need to insist. Getting back to Benedict's address at Regensberg, he was trying to find common ground with the mind and spirit of Islam, trying to evoke a response from the Islamic intellect, given that the heart of Islam is gravely impaired by its hate-filled ideology.

Congratulations to you JP. I follow this blog almost daily, though rarely comment. The folks here are given to discussing the practical details of fighting wars... things of which I, a priest and philosopher, know next to nothing. I follow to learn. Wretchard is an effective educator. But you put your finger on something so radical and fundamental that I felt obliged to speak up.

6/16/2008 03:54:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fallout

The radio-biological hazard of worldwide fallout is essentially a long-term one because of the potential accumulation of long-lived radioisotopes (such as strontium-90 and caesium-137) in the body as a result of ingestion of foods containing the radioactive materials.

In a land or water surface burst, large amounts of earth or water will be vaporized by the heat of the fireball and drawn up into the radioactive cloud. This material will become radioactive when it condenses with fission products and other radiocontaminants that have become neutron-activated.

There will be large amounts of particles of less than 100 nm to several millimeters in diameter generated in a surface burst in addition to the very fine particles which contribute to worldwide fallout. The larger particles spill out of the stem and cascade down the outside of the fireball in a downdraft even while the cloud rises, so fallout begins to arrive near ground zero within an hour, and more than half the total bomb debris is deposited on the ground within about 24 hours as local fallout.

The chemical properties of the different elements in the fallout will control the rate at which they are deposited on the ground. The less volatile elements will deposit first.

Severe local fallout contamination can extend far beyond the blast and thermal effects, particularly in the case of high yield surface detonations. The ground track of fallout from an explosion depends on the weather situation from the time of detonation onwards.

For example, as a result of a Castle Bravo surface burst of a 15 Mt thermonuclear device at Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954, a roughly cigar-shaped area of the Pacific extending over 500 km downwind and varying in width to a maximum of 100 km was severely contaminated.

6/16/2008 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger sbw said...

But if God does not have a face, a personality, then He cannot smile, and this world is meaningless.

Unsubstantiated premise. Inappropriate conclusion. Try again.

The face of God is not at issue, but what is at issue is that which mankind can manufacture. Our task -- the race we are in -- is to transcend cultures with a compelling presentation, accessible solely from other cultures' experience, that establishes a framework for peaceful problem resolution that is the hallmark of society.

Thought experiments show it can be done -- in all instances but insanity. Faith is not, de facto, an abdication of reason. Despair is not the only alternative.

For 2500 years we have been playing a game on too small a field, where the full capacity of reason has not been exercised. The stakes have been raised by the advent of personal nuclear weapons, so isolation is no longer effective. Now we have to try society.

6/16/2008 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

vbofifvhNomenklatura - The entire political elite and cultural future of for instance the UK or France can be obliterated by a single detonation

Garbage. Not even with 100-400KT boosted fission weapons. You need to look at blast radius and get a map. You will see that it would take over a dozen bombs to wipe out either country's future, and then only temporarily because elites needed to retaliate are disbursed in the nuclear age down to elites in the persona of Brit and French sub captains. And "wiping out culture" might have had impact in 1750 Europe where wiping out Paris, London, or Vienna would wipe out "culture" - but no more. The culture is now diffused and recorded faithfully throughout countries...and into foreign nations as well.

************

The modern design found on the Tinner's computer appears to be a sophisticated HEU implosion device that weighs about 500 kilograms. Perhaps it, like the design of an older bomb assembly found in Libya, has Chinese fingerprints all over it.
I kept hearing how it was "impossible" for a new country to get nukes without going through all iterations of technology from the start. Starting with Hiroshima or Nagasaki 20,000 lb bombs it would be "impossible" to reach the USA with.
That was technological ignorance. Like as if they wanted phones, they must 1st start with telegraphs, then manual switching mechanical relays with land lines covering the country with a magneto crank on each phone, then electromechanical relays, then radio phones, then finally fiberoptic cellular. #rd world just skipped all the unwanted steps and went cellular...and in doing that, added innovations the US and Europe followed.

1. People are smart. Once you know something can be done, that is over half the technological battle. And non-1st tier nations have done some impressive things autonomously. The "Little Dragons" weren't 1st tier 40 years ago..

2. When they can't do it all autonomously, they can acquire technology by hook or crook..

*************
McDaddyo said...
One word, video gamers:

Fallout.

Any of the kind of attacks being fantasized about here would generate massive amounts of fallout that would wreak fatal environmental havoc on places far distant, literally around the world, from the impact zone.


Not really, both the US and the Soviets, then the Chicoms and Brits and French did hundreds of air and ground shots 1947-1968. While blamed for future cancers, they had little impact on the vitality of human settlements and civilization - which flourished close to blast zones in the USA, S Pacific. Nor was it an environmental disaster for wildlife - free of men hunting them - wildlife flourishes more inside nuclear zones like Novya Zemla, Bikini Atoll, CHerobyl evacuation zone, than outside them.

Sorry guys, but these kinds of nuclear attacks are off the table and always will be.

Why? Because some NORK that nukes S Korea and kills millions is worried Japs might get fallout and some cancer deaths 10 years later? And will care so much that he may think 10 million dead Asians is OK but mildly contaminating some place 300 miles away from there is monstrous and unacceptable?

Also, doing high level airbursts maximizes killing power while reducing fallout.

I know that will disappoint some of of you deeply, but you might want to spend a litte time thinking about why that didn't occur to you in the first place.

Unlike you, you smarmy little shit, many of us have been involved in the military in some aspect of strategic war or at least qual'd in NBC and know the expected fallout effects, even patterns anticipated in a theater or following a small to large scale national attack. Fear of fallout is a media thing. Unless we are talking massive in size and number surface bursts with dirty 3-stage thermonuclear devices - we know that 95% of nuke bomb casualties come from blast, heat, fire, and direct gamma, neutron radiation in scenarios run. Fallout is 5%.

6/16/2008 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger F451-2.0 said...

ahncee, my little friend...

http://realcombat.blogspot.com/2006/09/canadian-army-raid-in-afghanistan.html

6/16/2008 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I follow this blog almost daily, though rarely comment.

Good. Keep it shorter if the mood should strike again.

6/16/2008 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

f451 - 2 years ago???

6/16/2008 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger randian said...

subscribing - because $#U%^ blogger won't let you subscribe without posting

6/16/2008 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

Somebody please explain the part to me about exactly why a death cult would be deterred by the "threat" of retaliation? Do they not strive to become martyrs?

6/16/2008 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

"The two models of law and order are either to concentrate force in the police and disarm everyone else; or allow a universally armed society like the Wild West where the peace is preserved because because even granny's packing."

Wretchard, with all due respect, there are more than two models of law and order (it's normally the anti-self-defense left that thinks those two are the only options.)

In particular, the historical British perspective, and the current American one in most states, is a third way best characterized by one of Sir Robert Peel's "Nine Points":

"Police... should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence."

I.e. we have both aspects: individuals are not disarmed, and may lawfully intervene to defend both themselves and third parties, but we also do have an active and (in most places) useful police force to investigate crimes, apprehend suspects, and deter crime in general.

Apologies if this breaks your metaphor; but on the other hand perhaps that third way might have some useful analogies here, too.

6/16/2008 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger CBI said...

I'm mainly a lurker here.

Wretchard: Therefore if nonproliferation collapses everyone will arm, or make such arrangements as to ensure it can effectively, unilaterally and subsidiarily retaliate. Can radical Islam or other extremisms exist in such a world? That's a big question.


"Such a world" has parallels to the situation on the Arabian peninsula during the time of Mohammed. I think that radical Islam has already shown itself to be effective in such a world, given at least some parity.

That such a world would produce a winnowing effect is a straightforward conclusion. The question remains, however: who would be winnowed out? Radical Islam . . . or the West?

whiskey_199: Can Denmark NOW afford a fleet of say, 20 ICBM submarines capable of reaching anywhere in the ME, with say, a total of 500 nuclear warheads? I'd say YES so there is no reason for small nations to disappear.

I don't think that Denmark has a significant enough industrial base--both shipbuilding and aeronautical--for what you propose. Naval personnel number less than 5500. Such a buildup might be doable, but there'd not be much other Danish economic activity. (Of course, if doing so could convince Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar,etc. to pay Danegeld, it might work! [grin] ) Yet, on a smaller scale--or for somewhat larger nations--I think your point has some validity.

Cedarford: Thank you for your knowledgable response on the matter of nuclear fallout. You noted that the excess panic concerning fallout is "a media thing". I'd posit that, at least in part, it was a "propaganda thing" designed to mold public opinion on nuclear weapons, and was, in part, successful because it fit into the aims of both the pro- and anti-nuke agendas.

One final thing. I've been impressed on this thread how much trolls are just ignored. A mature group here, methinks.

6/16/2008 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger ADE said...

mellisus, TJ, and W

But if God does not have a face, a personality, then He cannot smile, and this world is meaningless.

Yet again, complete confusion of cause and effect. You don't want the world to be meaningless, ergo God has a personality. But you have no evidence that God has a personality, you just want it to be so.

Theoretically, the islamics are right - God could be capricious. I daresay that if you lived the life of a Bedouin, you'd think that God is capricious too. Only in the blessed lands of Europe and North America in God benevelent - because the culture is benevelent.

God = in my image.

Now to TJ's nonsense:
To expand on my point about the trinity (which by the way is agreed upon by 99.9% percent of christians throughout most of the last 2000 years), the concept of relationship must have a formal originating cause, it cannot be merely a semantic convenience. The existence of a godhead is the only explanation I've ever heard possessing internal consistency and explanatory power.

Try this one for internal consistency, if not explanatory power: The father and the son are engaged in a (genetically long-forgotten) fight for sexual dominance. With the evolution of a brain, and the recognition of a future, a fight to the death is not optimal, indeed, sub-optimal.

And so, the Trinity: Father, Son, and Spirit. The dilemma? How do you bring up a son without destroying his spirit?

You are right that islam doesn't have this worry (it just takes a son's wife, as Mo did), but in the civilised world, it is a problem.

It's a problem, for which there is an explanation, and the explanation is not a philosophical rant.

Go for Ockam's razor - the simple explanation: my willie wants it now, but part of what I transmit are my beliefs.

Now here's the nub of why a discussion about nuclear Armageddon moves to the Trinity - the next generation.

And the next generation, under threat, will require the nuking of the other.

islam is under threat of extinction. It will nuke.

ADE

6/16/2008 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger docbill said...

All this conversation about proliferation is mental manstrubation. The problem is ISLAM. The only answer is to kill every believer to the last child. When this political system wrapped in a death cult spewed forth from the cesspool of the desert 1,400 years ago they signed their own death warrent. They are not willing to live in a world with anyone else.

At some point in their medieval stupidity they will do something so agregious as to pull the trigger on themselves.

God bless us, let the killing begin.

6/16/2008 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

.."No country will be able to tolerate the idea that a deranged individual can destroy its capital."..


No country will tolerate the idea that a deranged government will allow deranged individuals to destroy its capital. Iran is a test tube case. But so is Pakistan, Syria, Libya, and a host of other Jihadi governments. My feeling is that the less the wait the better.

6/16/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Somebody please explain the part to me about exactly why a death cult would be deterred by the "threat" of retaliation? Do they not strive to become martyrs?

I keep thinking (maybe wishfully) that the sure and simple knowledge that not only their black rock will disappear but the whole entire Mohammad's religion will go away would deter them even more than their own personal martyrdom. We know that they also don't give a tinker's damn about their wives, children and parents but if they are *that* fanatic about Islam, shouldn't they care about the religion in and of itself being wiped out?

6/16/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Willie G said...

"...but if they are *that* fanatic about Islam, shouldn't they care about the religion in and of itself being wiped out?"

Sadly, I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that they do not care - sort of the ultimate nihilist theology, as it were.

DocBill's comment above may be our only choice.

6/16/2008 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Cetera said...

nahncee,

Only those who don't really believe in Islam would care about it being wiped out. The true believers will believe that Allah will protect them, Islam won't be destroyed, etc. Or, alternately, if Islam is destroyed, its Allah's will anyway, and therefore not preventable. Everything comes back to their Inshallah ethic.

Allah, being capricious, doesn't need to follow any logic, his will being sufficient. Remember, if Allah demands idolotry, the Muslims will worship idols. Somehow, the inherent contradictions of the Muslim faith are never brought up forcefully enough to cause its own end. The absolute destruction of one's faith brought about by belief in one's faith is clearly not something that concerns most Muslims, if they even believe in that.

6/16/2008 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger InternetFred said...

The US could destroy the nuclear capability of any rogue state, like Iran, whenever it wants. Then what? They rebuild and the US hits them again?

Iran, for example, would hit back with terrorism and the Left would claim there were no nukes in Iran under the rubble.

Perhaps US Democracy is obsolete in a post-proliferation world?

6/16/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

InternetFred said:

"Perhaps US Democracy is obsolete in a post-proliferation world?"

A stronger statement:

"Perhaps democracy is obsolete in a post-proliferation world?"

My guess is that our current form of democracy will end in the United States after one or two major cities get cratered. The rest of the world will probably follow suite. This will probably lead to some form of authoritarian government that plays lip service to democratic symbols. There may still be an elected US President but he'll be little more than a beauty queen. Likewise the US Congress would become something like the Supreme Soviet. The real power would either be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or some shadow figure with a mundane title like "Advisor to the President" or "Secretary of the National Security Council". My guess is that a World War would follow with some sort of World Government created by the survivors (A NATO on steroids that's not shy about using nukes). Wretchard's Third Conjecture would play out during this World War.

Obviously, this is not an attractive future. Unfortunately we are approaching a historical branch point where one of the forks leads to this undesirable outcome.

6/16/2008 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"..My guess is that our current form of democracy will end .."

I really wish people will stop with their apocalyptic nonsense. Israel bombed Iraq's and Syria's nuclear sites and it wasn't the end of the world. Iran's economy can very easily to be put off balance and tripped. The problem for Israel with the mission of Iran's nuclear sites is the logistical problem of Iran's long distance from Israel, but for the US with bases nearby that's not a problem. As for Mullah's supposed retaliation, I would make it very clear to them that all their ill begotten oil revenues are at stake, and from there all their other ill begotten assets, and from there their ill begotten government. And if that's not enough, I'd nuke them.

6/16/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

..As for ^the Mullah's supposed retaliation..

6/16/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I really wish people will stop with their apocalyptic nonsense.

Agree. As long as it's the West that's supposed to be the apocalyptic target, because I see nothing whatsoever apocalyptic about the Middle East going away. That just seems like good old-fashioned horse sense.

6/16/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger sbw said...

"Perhaps democracy is obsolete in a post-proliferation world?"

Actually, democracy becomes more important than ever because there ends up being personal advantage in a process of peaceful problem resolution.

What is called for is accessible explanation why, regardless of culture, democratic processes are in one's advantage. It is not the democracy so much as the continuous processes to detect fallibility and consideration that there might be a better way.

What is needed is to encourage a sense of time and one's place in it, along with developing the habit of projecting various potential futures.

6/16/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

If anyone deigns to immerse himself in the theology, the scriptures, the feelings, the psychological makeup of, and the history of Islam the Westerner like me will find himself confronted with something utterly alien. They don't have The Golden Rule. Muhammad's sock puppet deity is not loving, but is violent, capricious, and cruel. The only guaranteed salvation from the wrath and cruelty of this Satanic deity is martyrdom. The shaheed is GUARANTEED paradise. And it is pretty much a male one and its blandishments fit in with all of Muhammad's narcissistic egocentrism.

Now, I ask all of you: do you honestly think that the nuclear strategic doctrine called Mutually Assured Destruction is a deterrent against this kind of beast? In the final analysis, this is what it comes down to, when you become too skittish about using a pre-emptive strategy against Islamic nations that acquire these weapons. And furthermore, why does anyone think that when the Mullahs and their political representatives issue threats about what they will do when they get these weapons that we should not take them at their word?

Do any of you honestly believe that they are bluffing? Maybe Washington, D.C.'s elites believe that we have some margin for error and breathing room, but I assure you that the folks in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem know that they have no margin for error.

So much about the above discussion has revolved around: how can we manage this or contain this? What if it cannot be managed or contained, and that the diplomats and politicians who stall for time only add to the butcher's bill?

These people are not like us. If they imitate a man who is a malignant, narcissistic personality-disordered criminal who managed to pull off the biggest con job in history, we are dealing with this psychosis writ large. It's either them or us, and I don't have to explain myself when I declare that if they force this conflict towards a most sanguinary crescendo I would rather it be their blood that runs in rivers rather than ours.

They made their pact with the Devil. Let them stew in it.

6/16/2008 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

CBI --

Denmark 2007 GDP 311.9 billion USD.
Industry % of GDP = 26%.

Pakistan (existing nuclear power):
GDP 143.8 billion USD
Industry % of GDP 26.8%.

Given Denmarks much higher GDP, wealth, native skilled industrial labor force, and ability to purchase raw materials, it should be easy for them to construct a nuclear force capable of destroying much of the nuclear ME. Why not? They have twice the wealth of Pakistan, and a much better, industrialized workforce. They can afford a fleet of nuclear submarines, capable of destroying likely enemies no matter what happens to Denmark. Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Norway, all are also capable of constructing rapidly 100-200 ICBMS. They can purchase submarine plans and missile plans from either the US or Russians.

Nuclear proliferation pretty much means that if Pakistan or North Korea get nukes, anyone with a modern industrial base not only CAN get nukes, they WILL get nukes as the nuclear umbrellas leak and they look to their own.

6/16/2008 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Mətušélaḥ said:

"Israel bombed Iraq's and Syria's nuclear sites and it wasn't the end of the world."

Destroying an isolated nuclear reactor hardly compares to New York or Long Beach getting blown away where the human casulties are in the millions and the economic loss is in the trillions.

6/16/2008 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Cedarford makes some good points and I may have overstated the case or been overly dismissive of the prospect of actually using nuclear weapons.

I still think it is revealing that some people here fail to even consider the blowback, both in terms of long-term health effects and geopolitics, of nuclear war fighting.

The effects of nuclear blasts are long-lasting and geographically uncontrollable.

Reindeer in Finland, Caribou in Canada and topsoil in Bikini Atoll have all suffered contamination from nuclear tests or, in the reindeer's case, Chernobyl.

Perhaps the effects of a single nuclear weapon detonated over the top of a city need not create dangerous levels of fallout that would spread globally. But the scenario being discussed here isn't the use of a single "silver bullet" nuclear attack panacea.

The scenario is of a series of nuclear attacks, including the use of "bunkerbuster" weapons that create much more fallout.

Beyond that, there is a more fundamental problem that terrorists need not use nuclear technology to carry out massive destruction.

As 9/11 showed, relatively low technology, deployed properly, can be massively lethal.

In video game terms, it's perhaps somewhat thrilling to envision a global nuclear war aimed at wiping out ALL the bad guys at once.

In the real world, no such scenario exists. Open industrial democracies are simply too vulnerable to attacks on water supplies, office towers, the electrical grid and so on to make invulnerability possible, even with a nuclear attack.

September 11 demonstrated beyond doubt that the only effective tactics against terrorism are diplomacy, security and law enforcement.

The U.S. will always have enemies and friends. As communications, explosives and transportation technologies make us more and more vulnerable, we have no choice but to do everything possible to try to turn enemies into friends.

You can dismiss and deride all you like, but that is the reality, not the video game.

6/16/2008 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger PharmaGuy said...

Interesting that a thread about nuclear proliferation should contain a twist about Trinity. An area in New Mexico, circa. July 1945 comes to mind...

Re: Fallout: Keep in mind that radiation can be detected easily at minisicule levels. Even a silk thread of an old Coleman lantern, with its Thorium Oxide, will make the active zone of a homemade cloud chamber look like 4th of July fireworks with it's alpha trails....

As mentioned, there have been many atmospheric tests 1945-1968. Fallout isnt good, but isnt necessarily the end all either.

6/16/2008 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

McDaddyo said:

"September 11 demonstrated beyond doubt that the only effective tactics against terrorism are diplomacy, security and law enforcement.

The U.S. will always have enemies and friends. As communications, explosives and transportation technologies make us more and more vulnerable, we have no choice but to do everything possible to try to turn enemies into friends."

McD,from my humble perspective, I believe the case can be made that limiting ourselves to the tactics you describe in fact leave us frightfully exposed in the modern world, as 9/11 so clearly demonstrated. Contrast that with zero homeland hits since then while considering the much more aggressive tactics now in use...

As for turning enemies into friends, this might be possible in cases where both sides of a dispute are governed by persons of genuine goodwill, but as many of our local islamic scholars have so clearly explained, the typical islamic jihadist isn't a person of goodwill who can be converted into a friend.

He kills infidels, or is killed by them. There is no room for accommodation within islamic fundamentalism. As horrifically distasteful as it may be, the math here seems rather depressing: either we kill them, or they kill us, or Islam goes through such a Reformation that it ceases to be Islam.

6/16/2008 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

McDaddyo -- 9/11 demonstrates the total failure of diplomacy, law enforcement, and intelligence. They failed, absolutely and spectacularly.

They failed because Civil and Criminal Courts cannot deal with trans-national, stateless terrorist organizations that are protected in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan, where court writs from foreign nations are just ignored, as are diplomatic pressure or intelligence pleas.

Intelligence agents cannot get at people like Osama or Ayman Al Zawahari because they are protected by regime elements. Diplomacy fails also because terrorists can kill regime leaders while US diplomats offer at best a sternly worded letter of regret.

You cling to a fantasy of doing the same thing over and over and over again in the 1990's and somehow because people will "love us" they'll stop being stone cold killers wanting a giant massacre of US civilians to keep their own group of stone cold killers together, unified, and not drifting off to the other tribalistic chief.

Andrew McCarthy devastates your argument in Willful Blindness, and he's the man who prosecuted Abdul Rahman.

Bottom line -- if you don't want NYC nuked, you have to use the military hammer, not with "black clad ninjas" climbing out of helicopters or impotent missile strikes or even mass air strikes, but either total nuclear annihilation or massive conventional invasions, to get rid of a regime, replace it with an ally, and credibly threaten the same.

Guys like Osama can knock off local leaders and their allies any time. What do we have to respond to those threats? We better have a worse threat, unless you think the Care Bears are a guide to dealing with a dangerous world.

6/16/2008 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

.."Destroying an isolated nuclear reactor hardly compares to New York or Long Beach getting blown away where the human casulties are in the millions and the economic loss is in the trillions."..


Well, I don't see that happening unless we allow Iran (and perhaps other Jihadi regimes) the opportunity to allow it to happen. There are very few states that qualify as having the wherewithal to construct a nuclear weapon and the lunacy and incentive to pass it on to Jihadi terrorists.

6/16/2008 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger jaaake said...

Some of the malarkey spouted above is laughable, while some of it is lamentable.

I've got news for the haughty and self-important Christians commentating in the this thread, as well as for the handful of blood-thirsty ones-- none of the wondrous things you ascribe to Christianity are particular to that faith. Taken in sum, Christianity amounts to second hand Greek philosophy (most notably Stoicism), grafted to the monotheism of the Jews and the particular obsession concerning reincarnation that characterized many an eastern mystery cult. Two thousand years of pontificating (pun intended)-- now persuasively, now through force, now peacefully again, ad infinitum-- doesn't change the fact that the most compelling part of the New Testament (and, not coincidentally, the only part that claims to impart any actual teaching) are the parables. Had Western Civilization spent the last centuries dedicating ourselves to pursuing the corpus of philosophy and knowledge the Greeks (and their Roman admirers-cum-imitators-cum-successors) so painstakingly initiated for us, I don't doubt we would have been much the better for it. Indeed, the rediscovery of this heritage of thought helped to propel the West to heights unparalleled by the rest of the world (In an odd twist of fate, this happened just as the Middle East and Far East made the very errors in embracing dogmatism and insularity that earlier retarded the west.)

There is good in Christianity, to be sure, but I caution you to not imagine yourselves as snowflakes, unique to the world in your beneficence, as this sort of thought is both ahistorical and contrary to your own teachings.

6/16/2008 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Mətušélaḥ said:

"... I don't see that happening unless we allow Iran (and perhaps other Jihadi regimes) the opportunity to allow it to happen."

I agree.

Mətušélaḥ also said:

"There are very few states that qualify as having the wherewithal to construct a nuclear weapon and the lunacy and incentive to pass it on to Jihadi terrorists."

One is way too many.

6/16/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

sbw said:

"Actually, democracy becomes more important than ever because there ends up being personal advantage in a process of peaceful problem resolution."

After having been properly positioned and embalmed, a corpse can appear very peaceful.

6/16/2008 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Garbage. Not even with 100-400KT boosted fission weapons. You need to look at blast radius and get a map."


LOL! You iz funny! I guarantee you that even an eetzybeetzy 1 kiloton nuclear bomb is enough to send them all scurrying to Australia or some other forgotten world off the map. And me aint just talking about the brave souls comprising French elite.

6/16/2008 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"you smarmy little shit"

Listen up, folks, this is C-fudd's greatest area of knowledge, expertise and personal experience.

6/16/2008 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Triton writes:
``Contrast that [9/11] with zero homeland hits since then while considering the much more aggressive tactics now in use...''

That would be true, except that "zero homeland hits" was Bill Clinton's record for eight years, whereas Bush's reliance on military aggression has only achieved that for seven years, so far, and at many hundreds of times the economic cost and thousands of times the cost in fatalities.

Recall that Islamic extremists first struck the World Trade Center in 1993. The plot was uncovered, the perpetrators arrested and tried in the U.S. will full civil rights and convicted.

It would be another 8 years before terrorists would strike again and that period of safety was achieved with zero compromise to American's civil rights, no torture, no hundreds of billions of dollars in extra military spending and no Pentagon propaganda campaigns and no speculative invasions.

No one should believe that luck didn't play a part, just as no one should believe that favorable winds may not have been what's helped the U.S. prevent further attacks since 9/11.

But the historical facts show beyond doubt that the U.S. was kept safe for longer under Clinton's law enforcement and intelligence-driven efforts, than it has so far under the Cheney-Bush speculative aggression doctrine.

Another important point is that we can never really know whether what's prevented further attacks in the U.S. is the fomenting of a civil war in Iraq, tortures of detainees and "extraordinary renditions" or the simpler, less video-game worthy efforts like stepped up airport safety, stiffened border controls and heightened local law enforcement awareness of the threat.

The 9/11 attacks were carried out using no military assets, less than $500,000 and fewer than 100 people.

It seems to make sense that the next attack, if there is one, will be similar. It won't be the product of any intensive training or skill or accumulated military assets, but will result from cunning, absolute commitment and whole lot of luck.

It seems beyond obvious the best defense against that is law enforcement, intelligence and local security measures.

China, on the other hand, is a legitimate long-term strategic threat where one could imagine a powerful military would be a requirement for maintaining the peace.

To the extent that we squander military resources chasing our own shadows in Afghanistan and Iraq, we empower China.

6/17/2008 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger steve said...

I'm not sure how laying either WTC I or II at the feet of presidents newly inaugurated somehow means they were "responsible."

Perhaps the savages were testing the resolve of the presidents. I don't see that either response was perfectly right or wrong.

However, it just "feels" nicer to imagine that taking a terrorist to court is somehow much more effective than going after them in their home countries.

6/17/2008 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger sbw said...

Eggplant: After having been properly positioned and embalmed, a corpse can appear very peaceful.

Please. If some people choose, by their actions, not to live under the umbrella of peaceful problem resolution -- to live only by the law of the jungle -- then the rest of us are welcome -- no, obliged for our own safety's sake -- to vacuum them up.

A clear understanding of the advantage of society firms up commitment to society into the resolve to defend it. Courage is the product of understanding.

When the reason behind the minimums of society is made accessible to all, it inoculates more against anti-social indoctrination. The vaccine is not 100 percent effective, so some clean-up will be needed.

No action at all is not an option. It's too dangerous.

6/17/2008 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

McDaddyo: Any of the kind of attacks being fantasized about here would generate massive amounts of fallout that would wreak fatal environmental havoc on places far distant, literally around the world, from the impact zone.

Sorry guys, but these kinds of nuclear attacks are off the table and always will be.

I know that will disappoint some of of you deeply, but you might want to spend a litte time thinking about why that didn't occur to you in the first place.


Because the Islamic Radicals won't care. To a devout Islamic, Allah recreates the world moment to moment, Allah isn't just the first cause, Allah is the only cause. The enemy doesn't live in our world of cause and effect, and you cannot deter someone who seeks martyrdom.

"Reindeer in Finland, Caribou in Canada and topsoil in Bikini Atoll have all suffered contamination from nuclear tests or, in the reindeer's case, Chernobyl."

And the enemy doesn't care. If they get nukes, they will use them, somewhere, sometime. And a lot of the nations we're talking about would indeed respond with a nuke, and also not care about fallout somewhere else.

6/17/2008 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger chachapoya said...

"It seems beyond obvious the best defense against that is law enforcement, intelligence and local security measures."

Let's see, just what did Clinton's best defense give us. Did it gave us the head of bin Laden when it was offered by the Sudan. He declared war on us, he was tracked, located and offered, but Clinton's justice department didn't think they had legal justification to try him in court. Did it stop the attacks on US assets around the world? The comments coming from AQ after Clinton's 'best defense' were that the US was a paper tiger that would fold it's tent and retreat at the first sign of difficulty. (sound familiar?)

I'll stick with the overwhelming force, myself.

6/17/2008 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

NahnCee: I, on the other hand, think he's filling them in on plans to nuke Iran.

NahnCee, would you please get over your entirely misguided notion that nuclear bombs are required to take Iran—and its nuclear R&D program—offline? All we need to do can be achieved with conventional weapons.

Do I have to remind you one more time that the USA must studiously avoid any first use of nuclear weapons in order to maintain the moral high ground? First use by America would automatically invite nuclear reprisal and we would have no right to complain about it.

There is absolutely nothing nukes would achieve that makes their use worthwhile. Rest assured how I, too, hope that Bush will close the show with a crippling strike against Iran.

Wretchard: Consider if radical Islam could exist at all in a world where nuclear weapons were widely available. The religious authorities would clamp down on radicals for dear life in case they went off and suicided themselves with a nuclear weapon.

Either that, or they would quickly disappear into high temperature plasma amidst echoes of “Allahu Ackbar!”, never to be heard from again. Nuclear weapons represent the death knell for both radical and ordinary Islam. Not that there’s much difference between the two. Both entities simply refuse to restrain their violent tendencies enough to make nuclear weapons anywhere near manageable.

whiskey_199: At all instances, and all times, the senior leadership of AQ embraced making enemies they could not destroy but could destroy them.

I would venture that your statement applies to Islam as a whole.

From an organizational perspective, bin Laden and/or Zawahari cannot afford to attack say, Denmark over the US. They must attack the US to keep jihadis in their camp instead of competitors.

A superb point that only cements your constant reminding that Iran’s primary target is, was and always shall be America.

Obama, Dems, the Media, all feed that fantasy and it's probably correct in the short term.

Yes, but feeding that short term illusion comes at the cost of a long term outcome which literally guarantees a Muslim holocaust. Neither Obama, Bush nor anyone else in high office can bring themselves to make this clear and they need to rot in Hell for it.

Wretchard: On the other hand the Islamic scholar argued that Allah was beyond all conceptions of Good and Evil.

This is a complete and total fallacy. Any functional concept of God must have at its fundamental core the primacy of good, most importantly in the form of love. Any vision of a god that can transcend or make equivalent good and evil can only be evil in nature. As “a concept of which no higher concept can be conceived of”, God absolutely MUST be life giving, benevolent and loving or be nothing at all.

For Islam to worship an ostensible god that rewards with paradise the mass slaughter of innocent life represents an automatic and comprehensive repudiation of religious devotion, proper worship and honorable human spirituality. One look at the Neanderthal condition of nearly every single Islamic nation on earth confirms this perception.

Radical Islam must find a way to reconcile its beliefs with logic, truth and beauty.

Sooner will our sun explode.

Nomenklatura: Only a disproportionate response can signal the appropriate intent, and thereby ward off future attacks.

As with your suggestion (per the “Thinking the Unthinkable” post), that it might be best to execute the 100 nearest relatives of captured and convicted terrorists. Lack of disproportionate response only mandates a future resort to Massively Disproportionate Retaliation.

Properly understood, this is the response pacifists actually ought to want.

Which no liberal on earth would ever admit to, even as they are led to Islam’s chopping block.

Only the United States will (thanks to GWB) be in this position in the foreseeable future.

For that one gesture upon his part he has my grudging respect.

george: If nothing else, the lesson of Saddam will be that if you brag about having a nuclear weapons program (or play shell games with inspectors) then you damn well better have it because we have no other recourse now than to take you at your word

More’s the pity that the vast majority of Western leadership has yet to learn this one essential lesson. Be it bluster for public consumption or a genuine threat,. we must learn to take these Islamic nutjobs at their exact word and respond accordingly. No other, repeat: NO OTHER course will serve to teach these Muslim maggots to keep their gaping yaps shut and stop stealing so much of our precious oxygen.

McDaddyo: One word, video gamers:

Fallout.

Any of the kind of attacks being fantasized about here would generate massive amounts of fallout that would wreak fatal environmental havoc on places far distant, literally around the world, from the impact zone.

Sorry guys, but these kinds of nuclear attacks are off the table and always will be.

I know that will disappoint some of of you deeply, but you might want to spend a litte time thinking about why that didn't occur to you in the first place.


Yet more rubbish from the delusional. Martyrdom obsessed Islamic terrorists will give precisely one rip about fallout. In fact, they’ll absolutely love the global disruption it would cause. You are so far off base that you could catch one that went out of the park.

Triton'sPolarTiger: There is no room for accommodation within islamic fundamentalism. As horrifically distasteful as it may be, the math here seems rather depressing: either we kill them, or they kill us, or Islam goes through such a Reformation that it ceases to be Islam.

Correction: There is no room for accommodation within Islam. Fundamentalism, radicalism, sectarianism and whatever “ism” you want to dredge up mean exactly squat. As Fred so aptly pointed out:

These people are not like us. If they imitate a man who is a malignant, narcissistic personality-disordered criminal who managed to pull off the biggest con job in history, we are dealing with this psychosis writ large. It's either them or us, and I don't have to explain myself when I declare that if they force this conflict towards a most sanguinary crescendo I would rather it be their blood that runs in rivers rather than ours.

End of story.

6/21/2008 10:42:00 PM  

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