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Speaking About the Unspeakable

Reader comment on item: Hold Damascus Responsible [for Hezbollah Violence in Southern Lebanon]

Submitted by Douglas Boggs (United States), Aug 2, 2006 at 04:42

Herman Kahn published his classic on thermonuclear war, Thinking About the Unthinkable, in 1962. This observer spent most of his 71 years involved in the anti-nuclear movement during the cold war so I hardly have a reputation as a hothead.

This country has spent hundreds of billions of dollars stockpiling nuclear weapons during the past sixty years. Iran is calling our bluff and the West has developed a reputation, especially in the Muslim world, for cowardice and timidity, for not following through. Iran is becoming bolder and bolder, has threatened to annihilate our number one ally in the War Against the Islamists, Israel, as soon as she can.

At the present time, Iran is the number one enemy of the United States and the world. I am deeply sorry to have to bring this up, but it appears obvious that, if we miss our moment of opportunity, Ahmadinejad and the mad mullahs will likely turn the world into one of nuclear bedlam.

Therefore, I reluctantly suggest that a few well-placed nuclear bombs, Hiroshima-sized and larger, would virtually win the War Against the Islamists immediately. Those states ranting against the United States, Israel, and the West would find their attention focused. Syria would cease to threaten anyone, for instance.

How would such an attack be carried out effectively and as humanely as possible? After hitting a couple of Iranian cities with nukes of various sizes, we should attack Iran's nuclear capabilities in concert with Israel in a joint raid. Smaller nukes designed to burrow underground, could be used when necessary. It would suddenly become unnecessary to fight the war against any other state or on another front.

Another nuclear threat, perhaps equal to Iran, is looming in a few years: Pakistan has announced, in recent days, the development of a reactor that will multiply her ability to manufacture nuclear bombs by tenfold. With Musharraf the only one standing against a shift in allegiances for that government, it would get Pakistan's attention as well.

One nuclear danger that might not be so-subdued is North Korea who still could sell nuclear technology to Islamic terrorists. But it would probably be generations before any Islamic state would threaten the West again the way Iran does now.

Such an attack by the U.S. and Israel would best be carried out without much advance warning to avoid as much world-wide outcry as possible, ideally before Russia or anyone could threaten nuclear retaliation against us before hand, an unlikely, yet possible, event. Yet, humanely, it would be necessary to give the Iranian people perhaps two weeks warning to avoid as many deaths as possible. A declaration of war would help.

What is the alternative to this plan? In order to avoid a terrible world-wide nuclear Armaggedon in a very few years, such a raid might be the most humane possible. If we aren't prepared to use a very few nukes at a time like this, then let us disarm and stop wasting taxpayer money. Big sticks are of no use in the long run if the bearer is not prepared to use them in extreme cases.

Can anyone think of a more extreme case, and one that might save billions of lives if we acted, than the one facing us now? Short of waiting until the bombs are raining down on us and our allies, I cannot think of a workable alternative other than prayer as we hunker down.

Douglas Boggs, Kansas City

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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