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Tactical Nukes Against Iraq?

 
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 09:08 am
timber
Quote:
Its far easier to imagine evil, chortling gnomes and trolls slavering over the prospect of an ill-got meal than to conceptualize principled, concern-ridden individuals with homes and lawns and kids to educate and dogs to walk swept along in a current not of their making or choosing, hoping to influence its course by the strength of their resolve. Its so much more convenient when folks one would rather not like for whatever reason and likely never will meet can be seen lesser beings than oneself. That is comforting to some, I suppose. I almost envy them. At least they don't have to think about the problems.
I'll assume, correctly or not, that you might be referring to an earlier post of mine portraying Rummy and Wolfowitz.

For myself, it is absolutely easy to imagine principled men caught up in ugly circumstances and having to procede along distasteful paths. In the immediate case, Colin Powell comes quickly to mind. As do, for the most part, soldiers in any army at any time.

Unfortunately, it is equally easy to imagine, or remember, men who believe themselves to be directed by worthy or correct principles whose actions (and principles) are far less noble and far more destructive than the singular option you allow. Allowing but this singular option is surely as comforting as any other position, given it be fixed.

You, and others, believe a war here and now in this situation to be an optimal solution. I, and still others, do not and think it more likely to cause more problems than it will solve. Both positions have voice inside and outside your country.

You, and others, believe (I'm assuming) that the key players in this administration's drive to Iraq are well intentioned men, insignificantly swayed in their world views by either dogma or special interest. I - I'll speak just for myself here, though the opinion would find reflection elsewhere - think them well intentioned in some regards only. Firm resolve is admirable only where that which is resolved upon is a clear good, and only where it is the only possible/probable alternative. Firm resolve can also have very unhappy or destructive consequences.

Why did Brent Scowcroft make his comment regarding Perle? Scowcroft is no mincingly-footed, effete Frenchman (with a small penis). What of Perle's rejoinder that Bush now has to continue as a matter of 'confidence'? (the argument earlier from HoT that Perle is merely a 'consultant' is a touch dismissive, given his long term relationship with Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz...and one might suggest that Scowcroft is more likely in the know that my friend ). What of Woodward's note regarding Sept 12 and the clear disengenuousness of subsequent attempts to link Sadaam and 9-11? What of the new official doctrines of pre-emption and of hegemony (it is the best word)? You, and others, wave aside these relevant and highly questionable issues too easily, I think.

Trying to understand and discuss why you and others do dismiss these issues, in my opinion far too easily, is what is causing the sparks here. I've likely lost one or two friends already because this is impermissable territory to enter, most particularly for someone from outside. But the exterior view has some advantage in objectivity.

Do I think the US is too militaristic? I do. The argument is essentially that of Eisenhower and Jefferson, but from the perspective of the present. Surely this is possible, even if very difficult to establish in any statistical sense, but much is like that, yes?

Do I think the US suffers from a distinctive tendency to function unhumbly, and with too great a self-certainty that its values and perceptions are superior to others? I do. And I find the clearest understanding of these dynamics through the work of Hofstadter. The greeks knew hubris is always dangerous, and most of all in a situation where such singular power is held.

Do I think the US is a greater force for betterment of the world than for the converse? I do. But the caveat is all the above.

So what do I do? Fall into line for the sake of unanimity? The push for unanimity, though a part of group life, when it is enforced, can become the precursor to a totalitarian dynamic.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 09:18 am
Thanks, blatham.
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georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 10:01 am
Blkatham,

I would not take particular issue with anything in your last post. I am pleased to discover that you regard the U.S, as a force more for good in the world than the converse as you say. The faults of too much militarism and/or focus on our own values & interests as opposed to those of others, as well as an excessive presumption that we are somehow always in the right, - even hubris, are undoubtedly true to some degree. We might differ on the specifics and the degree of it, but I would not argue with the basic point. Indeed these criticisms are not restricted to the present age, they go back a long way to the European views of insensitive, uncultured, materialistic Yankees from the last century. Was it Bunin (a Russian) who wrote "A Gentleman from San Francisco" in the last century?). It is likely there is both some truth and some reaction on the part of the observers in these long-held views.

However, in view of many of the facts of our history, it is neither fair nor accurate to characterize ALL of our actions in this manner. In addition that same history reveals sufficient blindness, duplicity, cruelty, and indifference to the sufferings of others on the part of our present critics as to give a prudent person pause before announcing, with a certainty fully equal to that our critics accuse us of, that we are certainly wrong in the political and strategic matters under discussion.

What I have disliked in many of your posts is the certainty with which you claim to know the inner motives of our leaders and the absolute rightness of the views you espouse. I enjoy vigorous debate, but believe that debate should be based on clearly stated assumptions and arguments - not presumed knowledge of intent and motive in the absence of specific evidence.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 10:10 am
I disagree, blatham, that I characterize "War" as any sort of "Optimal Solution", though I acknowledge that some others may do. I fail to see in my own replies any "Dismissal" of any of your Talking Points. I confess to the offering of the occasional criticism, rebuttal to, or refutation of any number of them on my part. I make no statement regarding the statements of others ... reading what folks have to say seems to me preferable to reading what other folks think about what other folks say if the object is to consider what was said.

I also submit you'll have to try harder to lose me, old freind. Cool



timber
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 10:44 am
So, somewhere, once again, a thread specific to a consideration of the possible (very likely?) war in Iraq has wandered away from specificity to the question which tortures the minds of so many--i.e., the question of why a war at all.

As for the specific question of tactical nukes in Iraq, bad idea, very bad idea. For all the reasons articulated so well here. The damage to America's relations with the rest of the world far outweigh any military advantages. This has been discussed well enough here that i need add no more to that side of the debate.

As to the question of motive and character raised by BLatham, my cynical side casts Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Rice, etc. in a vary bad light--self-serving, heartless, inconsiderate of the views of the population they ostensibly serve. Even if i were to revise that opinion based on a natural tendency i have to be generous about the motives of others (no, really, i do--i know it probably doesn't show here), i would still say this crowd has risen too far, and is imbued with a degree of hubris which will prove fatal for many, and which can do generations worth of damage to America's genuine interests in international diplomacy. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 11:27 am
timber

Damn....well, I'll have to keep trying them. You're a kind old fellow, even with those beady eyes.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 11:38 am
george said:
Quote:
What I have disliked in many of your posts is the certainty with which you claim to know the inner motives of our leaders and the absolute rightness of the views you espouse. I enjoy vigorous debate, but believe that debate should be based on clearly stated assumptions and arguments - not presumed knowledge of intent and motive in the absence of specific evidence.
Thank you first of all for the gracious post. As regards this paragraph, the problem of course is that we must make inferences about motive based on whatever information we can find and on our own intutitions about people. In the case of the present (at least) political representatives, motive is often disguised for reasons of vote-getting (Hillary Clinton's book 'It Takes a Village' presents someone who isn't really her, someone quite neutered). When matters as serious as these we are discussing are in play, it seems to me that it is even more critical to be alert to clues for intent and motive. Instances of deception do not bode well. Instances of elements like financial ties (oil) become increasingly grounds for suspicion. If I've seemed self-righteous, I apologize.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 12:36 pm
Blatham,

Well you have seemed self-righteous to me (and guilty of the odd ad hominem attack too!). However (and you will undoubtedly find this hard to believe) some people have found that I am occasionally caught up in the grip of my ideas and opinions and become quite insensitive to the reactions of others. For that I too apologize. Perhaps we can forgive each other. Thank you.

The motives and insights you ascribe to the main actors in the U.S. administration may be true. I doubt it and do not see any evidence that would compel a reasonable man to make that conclusion. You make a different conclusion. Perhaps we can agree that neither of us knows with certainty and may not be able to know the truth for a long time.

I do recall that many of the same accusations were made against the key figures in the Reagan Administration after his Westminster speech in 1983 and during the Pershing missile imbroglio in Europe. Now as history unfolds, as more of the background comes into public view, the picture changes. In this case, at least, the critics who accused him of reckless warmongering and an unrealistic view of Soviet weakness have been proven wrong.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Jan, 2003 08:18 pm
Setanta wrote:
So, somewhere, once again, a thread specific to a consideration of the possible (very likely?) war in Iraq has wandered away from specificity to the question which tortures the minds of so many--i.e., the question of why a war at all.

As for the specific question of tactical nukes in Iraq, bad idea, very bad idea. For all the reasons articulated so well here. The damage to America's relations with the rest of the world far outweigh any military advantages. This has been discussed well enough here that i need add no more to that side of the debate.

As to the question of motive and character raised by BLatham, my cynical side casts Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Rice, etc. in a vary bad light--self-serving, heartless, inconsiderate of the views of the population they ostensibly serve. Even if i were to revise that opinion based on a natural tendency i have to be generous about the motives of others (no, really, i do--i know it probably doesn't show here), i would still say this crowd has risen too far, and is imbued with a degree of hubris which will prove fatal for many, and which can do generations worth of damage to America's genuine interests in international diplomacy. Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.


Hear, hear (or is it Here, here?) Setana! And if I may add, they will not only do damage to international diplomacy, but to the (as you so aptly put it) "population they ostensibly serve".
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Jan, 2005 02:47 am
littlek wrote:
I don't like all this assumption that a deeply exploded nuke would stay contained underground. That is a very dangerous assumption in my opinion.


It isn't really an assumption. We know how deep an explosion has to be to be contained.

Something that penetrated 30 meters underground could contain an explosion equivalent to 50 tons of TNT. For this version of the weapon, I doubt they would make the nuke bigger than 10-20 tons.

And the 1.2 MT version was never intended to be containable.
0 Replies
 
 

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