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October 06, 2004

Deterrence

Ejectejecteject.com has the must-read post of the day, in two parts.

But how do we deter people who want to die? How do we deter people who need only the skill and the means to push a button on a briefcase, or open a box cutter and be prepared to do bloody work with it? How do we deter the assassin lost in the crowd at the Superbowl? How do we deter enemies who are so dispersed, so ethereal and fragmentary, that hostile governments can arm and shelter them knowing full well that we will not retaliate with a nuclear attack against millions of genuine innocents in Cairo, or Tehran, or Riyadh?

If a suitcase nuke detonates in Times Square, or Long Beach harbor, or outside the Capitol building, what do we do? Nuke Mecca? Incinerate Damascus? Because – so help me God, I tremble to say it – that is exactly the response our enemies would hope for. They care not a whit about their own people because they have no allegiance to anyone but themselves and their vision of a vengeful and bloodthirsty Allah. A million, ten million innocents under American mushroom clouds are just that many more martyrs gone to paradise. It is they, not we, who dream of a clash of civilizations, with its promised sweeping away of the decadent and godless by the blood and faith of the Believer.

We might yet be able to stop this on the cheap. If we do not, I fear the day will come when 3000 civilians and 1000 American soldiers will look like a very, very small bill to pay.

I think others, like Steven den Beste, have tried to make this point. There are two clocks ticking. One clock is ticking down the time until an Islamist, pro-terrorist government gets the atomic bomb. The other clock is ticking down the time until this period of homicidal madness passes from the Muslim world.

The first clock is considerably closer to zero than the second.

Senator Kerry is wrong. Al Qaeda is not our enemy-- not in the sense of being our only enemy. Al Qaeda is just the most malevolent outgrowth of the homicidal mania metastisizing throughout the Islamic world.

I don't want to be alarmist, but sometimes tough questions have to be faced. Politicians don't like talking about them, but then politicians don't like talking about much of anything.

What would we do if we get nuked? Continue to "hunt down the terrorists" who nuked us? At what point does the the desire to survive outweight the desire to be merciful and sparing in the use of force?

Liberals like to talk about "the underlying causes" for Islamist hatred of America. Well, whether Bush will ultimately turn out right or wrong -- and I admit, the outcome is in doubt at this point -- he does seem to have a theory as to how to reverse those "underlying causes." He wants to spread democracy in the Middle East, toppling dictators by force if necessary, to speed along the hoped-for conversion of the Islamic world to freedom, democracy, and, most importantly, normalcy as regards the non-support of mass-murderers.

What is John Kerry offering? A kind word, a smile, and just hoping that things turn out all right?

That's not enough for me, personally.

Thanks to Random Birkel for the tip.


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posted by Ace at 03:57 PM

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