Who To Conquer Next?


Pakistan? See this report in today's Christian Science Monitor, which pulls together some earlier reports from both The New York Times and The Washington Post. It speculates that Pakistani scientists may have been the source of nuke technology for both Iran and North Korea. Combine this with Pakistani sources' known past, and possibly present, support for the U.S.'s Taliban enemy in Afghanistan, and the casus belli is there. It's a big, expensive, bloody world to subdue, and a rigorous application of Bush administration foreign policy wisdom could see the red, white, and blue mixing it up in 2004 from Persia to Peshawar to Pyongyang.

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  1. Right on, mak nas.

    If you are going to get raped, or for that matter nuked until you glow, might as well lie back and enjoy it.

    Besides, everybody knows that if you force a country to foreswear H-bombs, you condemn it to a future of third world abject poverty and misery by stunting its development. Like Japan. Or Germany.

  2. Pakistan already has a bomb. They also harbor terrorists within their borders.

    Why didn’t we attack Pakistan instead of Iraq?

  3. Maybe if Pakistan invades two of it’s neighbors and refuses to play ball with the US or the UN for over a decade while slaughtering hundreds of thousands of it’s own citizens, you just might get your wish.

    Keep hoping Shane, keep hoping.

  4. I’m concerned about one country in particular. It’s a Middle Eastern country that periodically sees nationalist/relgious fundie governments come to power. It has a secretive WMD program, including fully operable nukes. It is in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It has invaded its neighbors in the past, and currently occupies large amounts of territory over which it has no legal claim. It continues to engage in ethnic cleansing in those territories, and once attacked a peaceful American naval vessel with bombers and helicopters.

    Whaddya say – time for a little regime change?

  5. “Maybe if Pakistan invades two of it’s neighbors and refuses to play ball with the US or the UN for over a decade while slaughtering hundreds of thousands of it’s own citizens, you just might get your wish.
    Keep hoping Shane, keep hoping.”

    What two neighbors did Iraq invade?

    And what about the terrorists? No mistake you didn’t include that in your response is it?


  6. of course, germany and japan have had nuclear weapons — along with much of western europe — for most of the years since 1945. they had ‘usa’ painted on them, but they were essentially theirs/ours.

    now that this has changed — the dissolution of our common nuclear enemy, that is — i would not be surprised to see these nations and many other western states develop their own nuclear capacity in coming years as a hedge against the unforseen.

  7. joe –

    is your mystery country pointing out the hypocrasies of the United States? If so, reasonably clever although we haven’t invaded neighbors since roughly 1840… I suppose various caribbean adventures such as Cuba (spanish-american) or Granada count as happening in neighbors. (And further, what’s the incident with helicopters and bombers to which you allude? I’m not buying a-bomb testing on tropical atolls or Billy Mitchell)

  8. Shane’s World wrote: “Maybe if Pakistan invades two of it’s neighbors and refuses to play ball with the US or the UN for over a decade while slaughtering hundreds of thousands of it’s own citizens, you just might get your wish.”

    Thank you for your pathetic display of ignorance with regards to basic history. Pakistan has fought three wars with India in the past 55 years, fought border skirmishes with Iran and China, openly supports terrorist groups in India and killed as many as three million Bengalis (as well as driving over 10 million refugees into India) during Bangladesh’s struggle for independence. Of course, the military clique that’s been running Pakistan for decades does pretty much never “refuses to play ball with the US”, and that’s the key, isn’t it?

  9. Keith, Joe is fairly obviously referring to Israel.

  10. Thank you Jack.

    It just seems like the same old hypocrisy in U.S. foreign policy at work. We help build and support a dictator, who then “refuses to play ball”, and is subsequently deposed for connection with the War on Terror.

    Our snuggling up to Musharif is typical Washington double-standards.

    Some War on Terror.

  11. Although I am, as Keith says, “pointing out the hypocrasies of the United States” with my example.

    Shane, Iraq invaded Iran in the 1980s and Kuwait in the 1990s. Just before “Desert Shield” became “Desert Storm,” it mounted a raid into Saudi Arabia, but I’m not sure that really counts.

  12. keith:

    Methinks he is speaking of Isreal. The biggest indicator though isn’t in what joe said in his post, it is the simple fact that to any liberal Isreal is the only threat in the mideast. Maming, murdering, blowing up civilians is OK for the “oppressed” and poor arabs of the region, but if Isreal tries to crack down on them nutjobs it is time to get wild in the streets.

    Personally though I don’t want to conquer anybody else (Jewish, Arab, Asian or otherwise) anytime soon. We need to play out this whole Iraq thing to its reasonable conclusion over the next few years. From how things turn out in that little testbed I think we can apply what seemed to work out well, but also pull back and rethink those aspects that didn’t work or even led to more oppression, violence, and insecurity in the world.

  13. Keith –

    Shane is regurgitating the extreme-left party line on Israel, the only relatively pluralistic democracy in the entire middle east.

    Shane is lying, too. Not just twisting the facts about the wars waged against Israel.

    It takes a particularly twisted mind to condemn the only state in the ME with a democratically elected government as repressive, and to describe a state that allows free practice of any (or no) religions as “fundamentalist.”

    I could suggest a motivation for this very peculiar reading of the facts, but it’s Christmas and I’m not in the mood.

    Shane (re Pakistan) –

    Only somebody who gets his political ideas from plackards could devise an “analysis” of the Pakistan problem as incredibly simple-minded as yours. There are different solutions for problems in different countries. I know this is waaaay beyond your pay grade, but trust me on it. Pakistan is a mess (you’ve regurgitated that bit correctly), but wasn’t in violation of its cease-fire obligations like Iraq was. It hadn’t committed genocide. It hadn’t invaded ONE of its neighbors. It hadn’t ever actually USED WMD, as Saddam did (in carrying out an act of genocide).

    When people like you condemn the US or its presidents for not treating all countries exactly the same RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT, what you reveal is that you oppose all such action. Despite what you say, it’s not that you actually want us to invade Pakistan, it’s that you want us to do nothing but talk and tsk-tsk.

    Or, are you really suggesting that we should invade and occupy ALL unstable/erratic WMD-possessing countries that threaten us AT THE SAME TIME (!) so that simpletons like yourself don’t pull out the tired and stupid “hypocrite” card?

  14. GoonFood –

    No, man, you just don’t get it. We have to invade ALL the bad countries ON THE SAME DAY or we’re hypocrites. Get it?

    See, if Iraq has WMD and we invade, then we are obligated to invade Israel, Pakistan, Russia, Libya, etc. etc. etc. at the same time, on the same day, the same MINUTE. To do otherwise – like, say, taking one problem at a time – is to prove that the whole thing was about getting oil contracts for Halliburton on account of that conspiracy between the Freemasons, the Skull and Bones Club, the Carlisle Group, and Jews.

    I mean, you were aware of that, right?


  15. It is preposterous to suggest that the case for war in Iraq necessarily makes a case for war in Pakistan, or that failure to support both ideas is inconsistent. The two are completely different problems — yes, both are problems, but different in origination and implication. Plus, no way would any reasonable American commander or commander-in-chief think it wise to intervene with our current military structure in a country with hundreds of millions of inhabitants, rife with religious and regional conflict, with existant nuclear weapons. You are talking about Iraq with a sizable exponent.

    Come on. Hawkish types like me are aware of and prefer the alternatives to military force in addressing security threats. Don’t infantilize the discussion.

  16. Actually, I’m not condemning Israel as the only threat in the Middle East, or even suggesting that it is a threat. GoonFood and Slippery Pete’s pointing out the obvious, unfair “justification” I offered for invading Israel only serves to demonstrate my point; that the case made for the invasion of countries under the Bush doctrine is one of those government doctrines, like loitering laws, developed to allow the man with the gun to hassle anyone he wants, at any time, no matter what the true reason, and have a ready-made excuse for why he’s allowed to do it.

    Of course my characterization of Israel was unfair. That was the point; to demonstrate that the thought process you’ve adopted when analyzing world affairs is a steaming pile of politician crap.

  17. Besides, we have a lever with Pakistan involving little cost or risk to ourselves: no one seems to seriously doubt India could kick the shit out of Pakistan, and that it wouldn’t take a lot of encouraging to get them to do it.

    But while this is a credible threat (and one we would employ, if need be) India wouldn’t stay, and a post-bellum Pakistan would still be a problem: albeit more like Chechnya or Bengladesh.

    Another scenario: why not dissolve Afghanistan? Give the Pashtun areas to Pakistan and the rest to Iran. SEVERAL problems get solved at once.

    (Musharif can be a new founding father, who nearly doubles the size of his country, without firing a shot, and merely concedes Kashmir– something neither he nor Jenna could get, anyway.)

    This is a solution that reeks of genius…and, so, would be resolutely opposed by the UN.

  18. Why not just break Afghanistan into a few sovereign states and let those that want to affiliate with neighboring countries?

    The Pushtun areas could decide whether they want to be independent or part of Pakistan. The Tajik region could decide whether to be independent or part of Tajikstan, the Uzbek area could make the same decision with regard to Uzbekistan. The area where people speak a dialect of Persian could decide whether to join Iran or be independent (assuming Iran wants them), and if there’s anything left they could either be independent, join another region, or join another country.

    If the US forced the Afghans to accept the rule of foreign nations, it would simply make us a few more enemies. Why bother with that? Oh, wait, people here don’t care what anybody else thinks, so there’s nothing wrong with making enemies. But for those who actually like to sometimes get along if it doesn’t hurt our own self-interest, giving each Afghan group its own state might make us more popular, not less popular.

  19. Slippery Pete,

    So, now we should invade all countries that committ genocide?

    When did we occupy Rwanda?

    And I never mentioned Israel. Your emotions clearly got the better of you. Wasn’t my argument at all.

    And the whole “obviously above your pay grade” didn’t come from a plackard?


  20. Thoreau– you are buying the basic idea, but getting hung up on some fairly artificial notions of sovreignity and democratic mandates, that likely don’t apply to Afghan society.

    Re your snark– do you think ANYTHING we do won’t make enemies, or that the UN types would buy your alternative?

    There are excellent reasons to bring Pakistan and Iran INTO a deal like this, and make them commited to it. It is dumb to bring in the Tads and Uzbeks just to satisfy the (mostly imputed) preference of every goddamn village, farm and valley.

    But I could be persuaded of your alternative, I s’pose. The point is, Afghanistan as such is just a “target-rich” environment for crazies and ass-holes. Lets make it go away.

  21. So now ‘nation-building” isn’t enough. We must now be “nation-creators” or partitioners.

    Isn’t what got the middle east into such a mess was the Euros arbitrarily drawing nationalist borders across ancient tribal bonds?

  22. Shane-

    There’s a big difference between my idea and what happened after WWI when the Middle East and Central Asia were carved up. My idea is to divide Afghanistan into more-or-less homogeneous units, recognize them as independent, and let them decide their own fate. They can join with other independent units of the former Afghanistan, remain independent, or join up with a neighboring country if the neighbor is up to it. This idea gives the Afghans control over their own fate.

    On the other hand, after WWI the former Ottoman empire was divided into countries by the victorious west. Some borders were drawn rationally, others not-so-rationally. The peoples of the former Ottoman empire generally did not decide their own fate.

    Now, undoubtedly the purist libertoids will say that every single Afghan should decide for his or her self which country to join, or even to remain independent. Well, however wonderful that may be, it’s beyond our power to achieve. However, defining 5 or 6 large units and giving each unit control over its own future it eminently achievable, and far superior to the status quo.


    You say I’m “getting hung up on some fairly artificial notions of sovreignity and democratic mandates, that likely don’t apply to Afghan society“. What is so artificial of saying that people should vote on what government to have, rather than have it imposed from the outside? Yes, we can debate all day long about majority rule, “republic not a democracy”, etc. etc. At the end of the day, however, letting people decide (either via a referendum or by elected representatives) whether to join a foreign country or remain sovereign is far better than having an outsider impose that alliance.

    As to whether “It is dumb to bring in the Tads and Uzbeks just to satisfy the (mostly imputed) preference of every goddamn village, farm and valley“, I don’t see anything dumb about it. The ongoing civil war in Afghanistan tended to pit Taliban-allied Pushtun warlords against warlords from smaller minority ethnic groups (although I hasten to add that in such a complicated and long-running war there will be many exceptions). How do we know that the Uzbeks and Tajiks won’t fight to secede from Iran just as they fought against the Pushtun warlords? Let’s give each group a choice: Go independent, join their ethnic brethren in a neighboring country, or join with other groups.

  23. It makes more sense to employ dynamics already there. It is obvious the current borders don’t work, and aren’t observed by the actors (that’s kinda what the article was about). Why not triangulate in on a solution?
    On your simpliste analysis the russians shouldn’t have been doing so well, But they were, sorta– perhaps because it is a problem that WANTS to be solved. Why not solve it, to be done with it? Problems that want to be solved have a way of coming back at you.

  24. Mr. Doherty,

    Perhaps you can turn some of that withering sarcasm on the radical Islamists and the North Koreans and they’ll curl up with humiliation, apologize and play nice in the world…

    On the other hand…perhaps we need some additional ‘withering’ factor…?

  25. Uh, Shane? I was parodying you, not being serious. But then, you’re not being very serious, either, so we’re even.

  26. thoreau,
    But what would the makeup of these units be? IMO, it would be no closer to a soultion to break the Afghan state into smaller pluralistic units who would then commence fighting for territory than if it remained as is and dissolved into tribla fighting.

    My point is that the Europeans divided a land held under by the Ottomans for centuries and it was quickly divided into nation-states without those societies evolving from their repressed tribal loyalties.

    It has to evolve, not have a system of government alien to their culture and society at this point.

    I’m optimistic. You need to give more specifics.

    Would it be a confederation?

  27. Talk of splitting countries up into more convenient, easy-to-carry mini-countries is the kind of social engineering we should avoid. I can understand the benefits in theory (sort of), but do we really want to be held accountable of the different dismembered bits wage holy war on one another after we’ve concluded the project?

    Freeing people from tyranny is one thing – I’m all for it if we can do it and have a reasonable expectation of success, if it won’t upset our friends and neighbors too terriby much, if it serves some national interest, etc.

    But splitting them up? Who wants that job? And why? Couldn’t they do that themselves if they’re so inclined?

  28. Slippery Pete,
    Just trying to make a point. 🙂

  29. Wow, we agree SlipperyP.

  30. Thoreau– I think the idea of a half a dozen warlord states has about as much appeal as a Kurdistan: none, and for the same reason. Who needs it? How is this going to defuse conflict?

    Don’t you get it? The idea is to make A. disappear, not multiply it by six? All of the major countries in the region will be left with significant minorities, no matter how fine you slice it. In some cases the minority might outnumber the correlate mini-state (there are more Moslems in India than in Pakistan). Give a minority group a nearby host state, and international recognition for their identity-politique, and you have a new terror problem.

    Pakistan and Iran head to head have little incentive to fight each other: give them some proxy states and they will play it like a video game for centuries.

    You are taking a basically good idea and loading it down with too much Wilsonian gift wrap.

  31. You seem to assume that Iran and Pakistan would want those territories and minority groups Andrew.

    Are you sure those minorities would just willingly become a part of Iran?

    I could see a separatist nightmare developing out of that too.

  32. Andrew-

    OK, I’m not necessarily convinced that dividing a country up and then letting things play out is a good way to go. I am convinced that a foreign power dividing a country in two and handing the parts to other countries is a very bad way to go. We’d surely make some enemies but we would solve few problems for ourselves (I don’t know if we’ll be any safer by dividing a terrorist haven between Iran and Pakistan), and we’d certainly not make many friends.

    In any case, if one did decide (however rightly or wrongly) to embark on a Wilsonian project of dividing Afghanistan into autonomous regions and letting each region choose between independence, affiliating with a foreign state, or remaining Afghan, the only way to do it would be to take the pre-existing provinces. A foreign power trying to draw new boundaries would only cause more problems.

    But I’m by no means convinced that a secession project is the way to go.

  33. Thoreau don’t get me wrong– I like the way you think. It is fresh; and after 9/11 we need some fresh thinking to replace the “stability” model that collapsed with the towers.
    I am not overly committed to anything. But it is sad to think of leaving Afghanistan– even on a “successful” note– and leave 25 million in the dark ages. Pakistan and Iran are already to some extant modern societies, and in hopeful scenarios apt to get more modern still (if they don’t, we have bigger problems than afghanistan).
    They have both shown an interest in the region, claim to see vital interests, and have put dogs in the fight. As they modernise, it would be nice to see them carry backward areas with them– do some of the heavy lifting. I’d like to bring them in, MAKE them responsible. Lots of plebecites in war-lord land just puts sand in the gears.
    It would be great to put a democracy in the region. We have fought for one– we are good at fighting wars. We can’t buy one, here or in Iraq, as easily a snapping together a modeller railroad set. Our government isn’t good at building highway systems here– how does it work in Iraq?

  34. I wasn’t planning to comment, but I just got off of Fark.com and saw a new story: although we have managed to convince Libya to abandon its nuclear program, we ourselves are going ahead with the production of new nuclear weapons, including “battlefield nukes.” Perhaps one reason a lot of countries hate America is because we have the attitude “We are allowed to have these weapons, but you can’t.”

  35. Jennifer –

    Oddly, I agree. There is a terrific (technical) case to be made for tactical nukes. The solve all kinds of problems with minimal…er…side effects.

    Politically, they are inconceivable. We cannot use them, ever, except in retaliation against a WMD strike. And even then, it’s debatable.

    There is a taboo against using nukes, and to that we should all say thank God (metaphorically).

    We pay significant costs with decisions like these, and there’s no benefit because there’s no conceivable circumstance under which we will ever actually use tactical nukes.

    (Caveat: I haven’t read your source, so I have no idea if it’s true. But if it is, it’s a terrible decision.)

  36. Oh Jennifer– If you think we’re bugged about NK nukes, how do you think anybody in Asia feels about it?
    If you think we were bugged about Saddam’s nukes, what about his neighbors? (Iran was getting nukes partly for that reason, and may be retiring from the game, in part because they can rest assured they won’t have that problem any more.)
    Today they say the French are praising us. Gotta be because they didn’t want Q’Daffy…and THEY have nukes.
    Is anyone in the neighborhood of INdia and Pakistan not worried sick?
    We play a role in nonproliferation because we have nukes. The world would not be safer if we didn’t.

    (The world would be no less safe, and probably a bit more, if Frand abandoned their nukes.)

  37. I agree with Slippery Pete. The whole deal is just goofy.

  38. I don’t find the employment of neutron bombs “inconceivable”. It is the weapon of choice against North Korea, and I think is likely to come down to that. I expect that war.

  39. I agree, tactical nukes make a lot of sense. Strategic stockpiles won’t do us much good as a response to a nuclear terrorist attack. It’s not politically feasable to wipe an entire country off the map these days. Tactical nukes offer a way to keep your nuclear deterrent credible without having to kill millions of civilians.

  40. My understanding as a physicist is that tactical nukes are fairly small nukes, comparable in explosive power to the strongest conventional explosives. The main differences are size and the fact that, unlike conventional explosives, they also produce radiation that causes problems long after the initial blast. Their compactness makes them excellent terrorist weapons, because they would be easier to smuggle into a city than a conventional explosive of comparable power. Also, since the goal of a terrorist is to damage a society, not just disable a military target, the radiation effects make them excellent terrorist weapons.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong here.

    If my understanding is correct, I can see no reason to ever use tactical nukes. Yes, I know, delivering conventional explosives of comparable strength is more difficult, but the tactical nuke could have a very dangerous “genie out of the bottle” effect that would make our enemies more likely to retaliate with larger nukes. Larger nukes would increase the number of civilian casualties exponentially.

    Oops, I forgot, nobody here cares how other countries, especially enemies, respond to our actions. Screw ’em all! Well, for those of us who actually do care whether other countries are tempted to toss aside their few remaining inhibitions, I see too huge of a downside to using tactical nukes.

    I see one other big problem with tactical nukes: Their small size makes them easier for terrorists to steal. So I can’t think of any net positive effect from having tactical nukes.

  41. OK Thoreau. You got it wrong. Tatatical nukes produce intense non-persistent radiarion. The explosion is minimal, and the radiation will not cause long-term problems, but they will kill all life in their shadow (well under a mile) even in the most hardened defenses, and disable all electrical system and other nuclear devices. They are ideal for attacking the highest value military targets, and especially defended nuclear devices. The relevance to the North Korea, is obvious.

    The devices were pioneered during the Carter era, and can probably only be mass-produced by fairly sophisticated industrial countries– perhaps only the US. Stupidly we abandoned them after the Intl. orchestrated a campaign against them.

    You are probably thinking of dirty bombs…another story.

  42. PS the snarking is stupid. Nobody you interact with here has given you any reason to think they take these issues with anything less than the same moral seriousness that you do. Why presume to be superior?

  43. Andrew-

    I think my understanding is about half-right. You said that the shadow is well under a mile, so I was probably right in my assumption that they have explosive power comparable to the stronger conventional bombs. I was mistaken about the persistence of the radiation.

    I guess I see their military value, but I firmly believe that they should not be used except in retaliation for a nuclear strike, i.e. after SOMEBODY ELSE let the genie out of the bottle.

  44. thoreau,

    A tactical nuke is a small nuke, but it still has yields in the several kiloton range. As big as a Daisy Cutter is, you’d know the difference.

    Any nuclear weapon at this stage of the game (as opposed to the 1960s, when the Soviets were building nuclear topedoes and the French were building nuclear battlefield artillery) is a political tool rather than a military one. All interactions between people and countries have a basis in raw power. There are a lot of folks running around who have either forgotten this or are in denial. Especially when dealing with tin pots who could make themselves local gods by blowing us up, the underlying threat is very important.

    The development of the tactical nuclear weapon enhances the political tool in the same way the B2 enhances the tool – it lends an air of credibility to the implicit threat. People may not believe that we will dump 100 megatons on Baghdad, but they might believe we would drop 2 megatons on a ‘military installation’.

    The stealth bomber and the tactical nuclear capable submarine fleet (boomers) are all part of the package, and they all deliver nuanced messages.

  45. There is a unique circumstance in the Korean case: massive and hardened artillery batteries just across the DMZ that could literally reduce Seoul to rubble in about 40 minutes after the commencment of hostilities– this is no shit,and like a hammer over South Korea. It was believed to make NK “pre-emption-proof”.

    Until now.

    Could and should we strike first?


  46. Thoreau didn’t just coin a neat phrase when he spoke of letting the “genie out of the bottle”. That’s a common term in IR and it represents the single biggest deterrent against our ever using tactical nukes, except in retaliation for a first strike with WMD against us or an ally (we’ve always reserved the right to respond with nukes in the event of an attack with other WMD such as biological weapons – and rightfully so).

    You guys have to realize the gargantuan political repercussions involved in our using nukes. It doesn’t matter, politically, whether the radiation is limited in scope and time. It doesn’t matter if the yield is comparable to our large conventional weapons. What matters is this: France and the UN can condemn our use of nuclear weapons. Our credibility will be devastated.

    Remember, I’m the guy who’s always supported the invasion of Iraq. I’m the guy who’s referred derisively to the UN as a tool that allows tinpot dictators to punch above their weight. I’ve always acknowledged that IR is still essentially a state of nature where raw power counts above all else. But credibility and moral stature matters a lot, too.

    I maintain that there is no conceivable way we would ever use tactical nukes except in retaliation for a first strike with WMD, and probably not even then. The taboo is too great, and too valuable to us and everybody else.

    I can understand developing them as a political tool – I forget who wrote that here, but I concede that that’s a more legitimate purpose, but I don’t think it’s worth even that. We’d still be breaking an important and valuable taboo. Our standard blast-em-all-to-hell nukes are deterrent enough. The thought of making nukes easier to hide scares the bejeezus out of me.

  47. Andrew –

    If small nukes were the only safe way to save Seoul from NK, I’d support developing them. That’s why we refused to sign the land mine treaty, and I supported the US position on that for those reasons.

    The fact that most younger residents of Seoul refuse to acknowledge the dire threat they face from the North is no excuse for our abandoning that city. But I have nowhere near the background to know whether tactical nukes are necessary to defend Seoul.

  48. Slippery Pete-

    What? There are circumstnaces where you care about what other countries think? That’s it, somebody confiscate his libertarian credentials now!

    I’m not making fun of you, I think caring about international opinion in some cases and not in others shows nuanced thinking. But we can’t have nuanced thinking on this message board!

    OK, now that I’ve vented about some of the extreme opinions encountered here, back to the matter at hand.

    It’s not just about France and the UN. It’s about everybody. Even the Soviets and Chinese refrained from using nukes in the darkest moments of the Cold War (yes, they most likely came close on one or more occasions, but in the end their hands were stayed). Any taboo that could evoke good decisions by Stalin and Mao must be a powerful and good thing. Breaking this taboo except in retaliation for WMD wouldn’t just tick off France and the UN (been there, done that), it would lose us the support of every decent person on the planet. Not to mention a lot of indecent people.

    Let me reiterate that: Breaking the nuclear taboo except in retaliation for WMD would lose us the support of every decent person on the planet, including a lot of American citizens.

    Why? Because even the tiniest tactical nuke is still at the top of a very short and very slippery slope that quickly leads toward weapons that can kill millions of civilians and render places uninhabitable for centuries.

    OK, I have this hunch that some of the people here will think I’m a wimp or weenie or whatever for condemning the use of even the tiniest tactical nuke under all but the most extreme circumstances. I also have a hunch that I’ll be condemned for caring what other countries think. Every few months I start to think I should stop posting here because I’m tired of the nonsense from over-the-top extremists. I’ll probably continue, though, just as I did before.

  49. It’s a big, expensive, bloody world to subdue, and a rigorous application of Bush administration foreign policy wisdom could see the red, white, and blue mixing it up in 2004 from Persia to Peshawar to Pyongyang.

    what an frightening, abhorrent concept. can’t we simply understand that we do not and were never meant to control the world?

  50. Which is scarier to you, mak nas, unbridled nuclear proliferation or US “control” over the entire world?

  51. Yes, Mak, by all means. Let’s lie back and let them bomb us some more, only with nukes. We are only meant to do what we choose to do.

  52. big boi and andre3000 are needed in the studio.. we need something funky about bombs over peshawar… karachi, islamabad.. something.. make it a “protest” song…

  53. ok, fellas, let’s talk about the real world, where you have only realistic options. option one is to attempt to control all beyond your periphery that you find unacceptable — in this case, wmd.

    exactly how long do you imagine this can be done? how long can we, acting more or less alone, continue to retard science and development in these nations in order to jam the genie back into the bottle? do you naively believe that time is infinite? that you CAN put the genie back in the bottle, despite the innate curiosity and intense motivation of the other nations of the earth — all of whom posess the intellectual capital and have only to muster the financial resources to purchase the physical?

    and exactly how much damage are you willing to incur on these nations in order to keep yourself as unchallenged global hegemon? how much ire and wrath of their peoples are you willing to incur? how many iraqs?

    and, if (and in fact, when) you are wrong about the genie, where will those years of repression and warfare leave you? is your plan b to apologize when they succeed?

    i think it far more realistic to simply accept that technology cannot be uninvented, that ideas spread, that nations develop and that it is a matter of time before every nation on earth posesses the nuclear capability we now have.

    that is a difficult world, indeed, but it will come about and there’s nothing we can do to stop it — and i submit that actually doing what we might do to slow it will eventually seal our fate.

  54. joe’s description @2:38PM of the Israeli State is accurate :

    “(it) periodically sees nationalist/relgious fundie governments come to power. It has a secretive WMD program, including fully operable nukes. It is in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It has invaded its neighbors in the past, and currently occupies large amounts of territory over which it has no legal claim. It continues to engage in ethnic cleansing in those territories, and once attacked a peaceful American naval vessel with bombers…”

    We may add that Sharon supports a “Jews Only” housing law on Israeli government land, in open discrimination against the countries 20% Arab population.

    What should be done? Our government should stop supporting the Israeli government’s thieving, murderous occupation of Palestinian land.

    Slippery Pete @3:14PM wrote:
    “…regurgitating the extreme-left party line on Israel”

    Trying to lable criticism of Israel this way or as being “neo-fascist” (as he has done before, what ever you can get away with; right Slippery Pete?) is totally inaccurate and of course makes the criticism itself no less valid.

    “It takes a particularly twisted mind to condemn the only state in the ME with a democratically elected government as repressive”

    A monument to illogic! As if a “democratically elected government” can’t be repressive!

    “I could suggest a motivation…but it’s Christmas and I’m not in the mood.”

    This means Slippery Pete is repressing an urge to make his usual unfounded charges of; racism, against posters who attack the Israeli regime. Good Pete, that act is getting old and tired anyway.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  55. These tactical nukes are designed specifically to destroy underground facilities so deep and well fortified as to be totally immune to conventional hardware. They are far, far more powerful as a diplomatic and political weapon than they would be as destructive military devices. And as weapons, they are awesome. No command and control structure (thats NONE) could withstand their force when attached to current bunker-buster armaments. Essentially, the US will have the power to decapitate any regime in the world. I, for one, am very, very glad.

  56. thoreau,

    To clarify what some others have stated, “tactical” nuclear weapons have been around since at least the early 80s, and I recall a 10Kt unit that could be launched from an artillery tube. These were developed to fight a massive conventional war in Europe, to be used against troop formations and also to interdict major choke points. Bu-61s can be carried by American F-15s and also fit the definition of “tactical”.

    “Strategic” weapons are WMDs through and through, intended to wipe cities off the earth. As such, they are almost useless except in a doomsday scenario. For responding to a single device attack, even then no President would really kill millions of innocents with a 5Mt blast. Very large weapons were at one time thought to be the best way to pre-emt missile silos, and that’s really what the last generation of weapons was about.

    The new mini-nukes being discussed are in this light are really perversely humane. They are intended to destroy a hardened target such as an NK nuclear reactor, while containing the blast as much as possible and reducing civilian death and environmental destruction.

    Of course your argument about never ever crossing the nuclear threshold because the “genie” would be out is valid. That taboo should never be broken.

    Now think about that.

    Consider that the govt is getting to work on this because thay are certain the time will come when the taboo WILL be broken, and not by us but against us. And what then? We can’t respond with Minuteman IIIs or Titans that take out geographical regions. But maybe when that day comes whe can launch 100 mini-nukes against every facility known to be a plutonium production or enrichment facility (these really can’t be hidden from sattelites.) A valid response, and maybe even a new kind of deterrent….?

    A small side argument is that our nuclear knowledge is withering. Who wants to study Nuc Engineering when no power plant might ever be built again and your only career option is the Navy or tending aging missiles? Some research might revitalize that industry.


  57. All tactical nukes are questionable.

    My dad captained a nike hercules anti-aircraft site in the Pudget Sound area-Washington state in the early ’70’s.

    They were conventional and nuclear.

    Nuclear anti-aircraft missile?

    I guess if an armada flies over, you could take them out wholesale, but really.

  58. The no-first-use doctrine is still official policy, as I understand it, but I had heard that the Bush administration has already lifted the moratorium on designing and producing enhanced-radiation weapons.

    The no-first-use doctrine can be debated by reasonable men. Tactical nukes would probably be not only the most efficient, but most humane way to rebuff a NK conventional attack on the South– not to mention that they claim to have a couple of devices.

    It would make a timely thread. Negotiations with NK are approaching…and who is optimistic?

  59. we do not and were never meant to control the world?

    Says who? It seems just as reasonable a conclusion as any.

  60. Says who? It seems just as reasonable a conclusion as any.

    says history, i submit. even establishing dominion over any part of it is a temporary exercize, and the examples of nations who attempted and destroyed themselves in so trying far, far outnumber any that experienced even moderate, time-limited success.

  61. If splitting the mesopotamian plateau is part of the menu, I’d rather see Afghanistan regain her territories along the Durand line in accordance with the treaty. Eliminate part of Pakistan. She’s just another recently constructed state anyway. Let them join greater Kashmir or let India reabsord her.

    And, Joe, no. Afghanistan didn’t do well under the soviet boot. Mass executions, jailing of intellectuals, mass redistribution of property.

    The period of time you bring to mind is the period under the monarch.


  62. Thanks, dj. Does it make any more sense if you recite it backwards?

  63. The USA is currently in a powerful position in the world.
    This window of opportunity, this time of possibility will not last long.
    Will we act, react, or sit back
    and wait for someone else to?

    IF the world were a chess board,
    then the USA has a strong position.
    We have one military boot in Afghanistan,
    a reaction to Nineleven, to the past,
    and another in Iraq, an action for the future.

    Between those two combat boots is Iran,
    mighty Iran, caught right in the middle.

    Bordering Afghanistan and Iraq
    are some important places to US:
    Saudi Arabia,
    the Persian Gulf,

    A step away are:
    Georgia(former Soviet shaky ground)
    a couple of countries I can’t say or spell,
    the Caspian Sea,
    & the borders of China and India.

    Did I forget to say, OIL, black gold, Texas tea,
    the lubricate to the world economy?

    Did I mention 85% of the world reserve
    of high quality, easy to get at,
    easy to transport, OIL?

    If I forgot, you did not. You knew that.

    How much OIL is predicted to be under the Caspian?

    Did I say not only the USA,
    but the world has interest
    in the secure supply of OIL,
    and its continued increase?

    But you knew that…

    We knew we would have to get out of Saudi Arabia.
    That’s Osama’s number one gripe with us, not Israel.
    The Palestinian dilemma serves bin Laden.
    (Osama wants to overthrow his homeland.)

    So, as we must go from S. Arabia,
    still we must stay, well, stay close, and
    Iraq was seemingly auditioning for the role since 1989.
    Saddam not only emulated Stalin and Hitler,
    he wore the mustache and uniform of a dictator and
    talked the talk of world villian.

    We knew we couldn’t depend on carrier groups in the ME.
    Turkey was possible as a spare,
    but Pakistan was to be put in check, never taken. Egypt is Egypt, land of pharoahs & pyramids,
    home of Sadat, untouchable, but a great go-between.
    Libya would have been a good move for a knight
    — over two, up one — the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt/Syria.
    There is oil, sand, no place to hide,
    another long time proven terrorist Tyrant in uniform,
    with Egypt next door to cozy up to, calm down,
    and the Sudan, Chad, Algeria, to temper,
    in short, the key to northern Africa.

    Where is the idealism?
    Where is the morality?

    There is no idealism to war.
    There is no morality to war.

    There is an idea, and a will,
    and if there is a way,
    why not impose it upon others, your way,
    when you can, while you can.

    Let the idealists create the facade
    of why they or we, or all of us,
    would be better off if we win.

    Let them quote history, quote verse,
    argue pro and con, condemn and praise,
    let them talk all they want.

    They are there for that, the details,
    with their microscopes and micrometers,
    but this country, or another one a decade away,
    will have a big picture to follow, a space age view,
    one which echoes Alexander, Greece, Rome, Attila,
    Ghengis, Xerxes, Ghengis Khan.

    Bad company you might say.
    One way or the other, another will rise.
    Rise up from us, or over us.

    The USA will be satisfied, I think,
    with the free flow of oil to the world,
    which will promote economic growth.

    Can the US, sitting in tanks in Iraq,
    bring hope to the Palestinian people,
    who are NOT living a free life?

    Can the US, with military pressence in Iraq,
    bring security to the Israeli people,
    who have a homeland, not given by God,
    so much as taken by force?

    Let the UN handle North Korea without US.
    Let the UN prove their worth.

    Maybe one day there will be a court,
    a court of consequence, not opinion,
    in this world that can say a war is legal,
    or is illegal, and act with authority.

    Right now, the legality of war, the rules,
    are like the Commandments, without consequences stated or imposed.

    Perhaps wrongs in this world will be righted in the next.

    Right now, the questions are two,
    one is what is the right thing?
    the other, the right thing to do?
    They are not always one and the same.
    Well, Santa is on the radar, says the TV,
    and looks like the toys are up and going here.
    I wish you all well, as I go to bed to pray for peace,
    knowing well, that peace follows a war, not vice versa.
    Peace does not lead to war.

  64. The dj of raleigh made more sense in one verse then Richard Perle and Rumsfeld have all month.

  65. Some claims addressed:

    Germany has never had nuclear weapons to my knowledge; NATO units in Germany have had nuclear weapons, but these were not controlled by the West German government. I don’t think that the Soviets ever allowed the DDR its own independent nuclear arsenal.

    And of course nuclear weapons are forbidden by law from production, use, etc. by Japan.

    Slippery Pete,

    Again, you throw about logical fallacies, in this case a the fallacy of the “false dilemma” or “false choice” as it means something.

    Pakistan has invaded India (indeed, its air strike against India in 1971, set off the India-Pakistan war of that year – they did of course have their head handed to them in that war); it has committed human rights atrocities that rival the Ba’athist atrocities (indeed, Pakistan continues to refuse to try individuals for war crimes from the 1971 war and other military actions committed by the Pakistani government and irregular forces associated with it). It has not “played ball” on the nuclear arms issue; if it had, it wouldn’t have them. And the government of Pakistan continues to sponsor terrorists; particularly in Kashmir.

    You would think that after your rather embarressing fuck up regarding the use of chemical weapons by Libya that you would do some research on the historical claims that you make.

  66. EMAIL: draime_2000@yahoo.com
    DATE: 01/25/2004 03:48:28
    In this grand B movie we call life, there is always a girl.

  67. EMAIL: nospam@nospampreteen-sex.info
    URL: http://preteen-sex.info
    DATE: 05/20/2004 11:37:33
    ‘Of course’ is cyanide of the mind.

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