Los Angeles Times, January, 2003: The Nuclear Option in Iraq.
WASHINGTON — One year after President Bush labeled Iraq, Iran and North Korea the “axis of evil,” the United States is thinking about the unthinkable: It is preparing for the possible use of nuclear weapons against Iraq.
At the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) in Omaha and inside planning cells of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, target lists are being scrutinized, options are being pondered and procedures are being tested to give nuclear armaments a role in the new U.S. doctrine of “preemption.”
Twelve years earlier, Bush the Elder and his Vice-President also threatened to nuke the Iraqis.
Let’s say not your best headline CL – unless it was a quote from ABC.
Got anything on the Holodomor?
It’s not meant to be a clever headline, Chris.
It’s just a historical fact.
You’re not denying that America used nuclear weapons against civilians, are you?
Got anything on Stepan Bandera? This game is easy. Pro tip: to take the moral high ground one must behave in an ethical manner.
I agree with Chris M, the headline had me a bit confused. I think referring to the Americans use of the two Atom Bombs in 1945 is an inappropriate analogy. In that case the killing of perhaps 200,000 people put an end to the Pacific war, and literally saved millions of lives, a good number of them allied soldiers. It was a morally and militarily justifiable tactic of war, completely different from the cynical, slow motion, project of the forever wars.
To be sure, it is utterly hypocritical for the US politicos to condemn Putin as a killer in the context of Ukraine. Their foreign policy based on regime change and starting wars all over the planet has led to untold deaths, almost all civilians. But back in 1945 the US were still the good guys.
‘atomically incinerated 200,000 civilians’
Add that again and then some from conventional incendiaries (just in Japan).
Double it again for Germany.
Of course, both pale in comparison to industrial ovens and orchestrated famines.
I wonder where the vaxxdemic might eventually rank amongst various democides.
Yes, the raids on Dresden and the firebombing of Tokyo were war crimes in their own right.
That’s an opinion, though, Jannie, not a fact,
In any case, it is never morally licit to do evil that good may come from it.
The war in Ukraine has been deliberately and relentlessly escalated by the West and, however fantastic it may seem to us, the Russians view Western military aggression on their borders as an existential threat. In strict national interest terms, this is rational.
Putin’s remarks are lamentable and dangerous in and of themselves – but they are not unprecedented. It’s just that nobody was bothered very much about loose Administration talk of the US using them in the Middle East.
But then you are stuck with pacificism … and if you want to go all the way, you can’t even vote because there’s never a perfect innocent candidate and ultimately voting puts dangerous power into the hands of irresponsible politicians.
But then … refusing to vote is also kind of a vote, and refusing to act is itself an action.
We don’t know what it would be like if Hillary had won in 2016 … maybe Trump “saved the lives of millions” from Arkancide … or maybe not. Hard to say.
Putin no doubt also claims to be “saving the lives of millions” from the threat of NATO medium range missiles and dodgy gain-of-function biolabs. Hard to prove though … other than to say, yes there were some labs and some missiles, but we don’t know what would have happened. Whatever side wins will immediately militarily justify any and every tactic used … because they ended up the winner. If you argue otherwise … what would you know? How many wars did you win?
Killing someone in self-defense is not an evil.
And they write the history.
But what’s paramount is that it must succeed.
No matter how many die, how much it
costs, the perpetrators must be on
the winning side and never subject
to prosecution for anything by anyone.
That is a coup d’etat.
– X to Jim Garrison, JFK
Well CL, I guess that is true insofar as its a projection based on data rather than an accomplished fact. But if we are talking about the aerial subjugation and invasion of the Japanese islands in November 1945, by the conventional military means available, it was a statistically inevitable outcome.
There is however, an opinion that the Japanese would have surrendered if they had a bit more time, and a bit more conventional bombing to persuade them, especially with the Russians breathing down their neck. That was a revisionist theory developed outside of Japan in the 1960s, with a definite anti USA cold war flavour. I think the evidence is that this was most unlikely, but I agree it is an opinion.
That is a difficult question, and maybe above my pay grade. But I have to disagree.
Dover notes that self defence is not immoral, and while I personally agree with that, I wonder if it is actually compatible with strict Christian philosophy, given Christ’s teaching is to turn the other cheek.
On the other hand would it be moral to kill one innocent person to save two (or ten) other innocent people? I think it would be the right moral thing to do, and it is a reality that military leaders have often faced. Personally I would do it, and think it would be cowardice not to do so. If God chooses to punish that sort of thing, he didn’t do a good job creating human nature.
The bombing of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima was also a scientific experiment.
Jannie, a problem with this is that number is doing all the work? If 2 is better than 1, how can we ignore age, mental and physical capacity, and so on. Seems to me the choice is not 2 or 1 but to do everything to stop the 3 from being murdered.
I agree in principle Dover, but when confronted with the question in practice, such as Truman did in August 1945, “doing everything to stop the 3 from being murdered” has already failed. With large numbers, differences in age and mental and physical capacity are averaged out.
I don’t have the philosophical or theological training to argue the point confidently. My instinct tells me that one wailing mother is better than two. I would have done what Truman did, and if not sleep easy, my conscience would be ok.
Say there’s a shooter firing at people from a medium-sized building with a high-powered rifle and so far he has killed 7 people. The police know that he is an expert, ex-military, and has wired the stairwells and lifts with explosives. They can’t go in. His marksmanship is so good that he can shoot people a long way away, on distant bridges and streets and parks. Authorities cannot very quickly shut down so vast an area. There are 15 office workers in the building. Should an airstrike be ordered that would kill those 15 innocents but might prevent him from potentially shooting another 20 or 30 or 40 people?
That’s a hard one CL. I guess its a question of probabilities. But if I was satisfied in the calculus, with a decent margin of error, I would call in the airstrike. I know they would never let me sleep again, and my conscience would be racked, but that would be my call.
On the other hand if I didn’t call in the airstrike, and he killed another 30 people, it would be worse. Especially if he surrendered when he ran out of ammo, and was taken for a circus trial, and assumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
Vlad and his guys would serve the aims of their country much better by shutting up about nuking people. There’s been a long line of Russia pollies threatening everyone and sundry for months now, including Medvedev, who should know better.
All this does is come over as obnoxious and hardens the resolve of wet Euroweenie types, thereby forcing them to continue backing Ukraine – which they’d prefer not to do for their own national interests.
For example both Hungary and Serbia have overnight been much less supportive of Putin than hitherto. Losing the friendship of those two countries would be pretty darn bad, seeing they are the best supporters Russia has had.
Daniel Greenfield says it today:
Nuclear Threats Are a Sign of Weakness, Not Strength (22 Sep)
Well, Putin may have sounded threatening in saying Russia would protect Russian citizens with everything at their disposal (or something similar, in translation), yet he did not actually mention nuclear weapons.