Ok, I had to publish this since I spent so much time retorting this woman's email response to her article, "Hippies still trying to ruin the country", published in the Lexington Herald-Leader. I discovered the article linked from HuffPO and being a native Kentuckian, I immediately got that "Oh shit...not another redneck pundit embarrasing my home" feeling which I have to admit I've had quite often in my life. Turns out the article wasn't as bad as the headline led me to believe it would be. That's no to say it wasn't bad, the woman is suggesting we launch a preemptive nuclear attack against Iran, N. Korea, and for some reason Iraq. However, the article itself wasn't without merit.
So I sent her an email on a single issue....her assumption that America was under some impending nuclear threat from these countries. Here is the communique:
- Must we surrender our country to our enemies because our weapons are
too terrible to use?_
just out of curiosity....what the fuck are you talking about? who exactly
are we surrendering the country to?
I'll ignore the 4-letter word and tell you.
The questions is the result of a book I read by a Ph.D. in history named
Sahr Conway-Lanz called Coollateral Damage. It's history and its full of
minutiae, but worth reading because of the issues he talks about: American
nuclear weapons are so terrible (kill so many people, destroy so much
infrastructure, contaminate the environment, etc.) that we hesitate to use
them EVEN THOUGH VICTORY WOULD BE DECISIVE AND ABSOLUTE. Having said this,
my quesiton is, since we cannot use nukes to fight terrorists, must we
surrender our country to ANY enemy who IS willing to use nukes against us?
In other words, at what point do we pull out all the stops and use these
meg-weapons? Before Iran and N. Korea have nuclear warheads and missiles to
deliver them? After we are attacked by a dirty bomb? After we lose New York
We have to think abut it now. We are years behind the curve (1945-2006) in
comtemplating the import of our weapons capability, and making decisions
about their use.
Surely you understand that if we had dropped aven a "Hiroshima" bomb on
Bagdhad, Iran and N. Korea would have said "Yikes! Americans mean
business." We could then say, OK Iran and N. Korea. If you do not stop your
nuclear enrichment, we are coming after your nuclear reactors and/or your
citizens too. Now behave yourself. But, and I am sure you will say that
taking out Bagdhad that way would have been impossible, immoral etc., since
World War II,Americans have been reluctant to face the realties of the
dlemma of weapons and victory v. humantiarianism and defeat.
Conway-Lanz didn't offer any solutions to the dilemma, and neither did I. I
just wanted people to think about the questions. They didn't. The headline
(which I did not write) obscured the objectivity of the reader to what I was
sayting. Such is media today. And such is the readership who thinks the word
F---- is appropriate to any discussion.
Fuck is just a word...you're a big girl, get over it. You're writing an essay suggesting we wipe out millions of human beings in a preemptive nuclear attack...if you can handle the H-bomb you can handle the F-bomb.
I did ignore the headline the Herald chose for your article...it was egregious and it suprises me that you are so flippant about the Herald using it to denote the essay. I would have serious misgivings about publishing anything else in that paper.
What confuses me is that you seem to be under the assumption that we are under an impending nuclear threat from Iraq, North Korea, and Iran. We are not. Only one of these countries, N. Korea, has actually detonated a nuclear device, but their ability to implement such a device on U.S. soil is highly improbable. Iran may be trying to develop a nuclear device, but at best estimates they are some two decades away from actually being able to carry that out.
So as I understand it, you are suggesting that we launch preemptive nuclear attacks against these countries as a deterrent. That is a policy of escalation. Were we to actually do this, we would be setting the precedent for other nuclear powers to follow suit. China pulls the trigger on Taiwan, India sets off a nuclear nightmare with Pakistan, etc. The only correct nuclear policy we should implement is to never use them. It's not a matter of doves vs. hawks, it's simply game theory. The moment we launch a nuclear attack, especially a pre-emptive one, we have let the genie out of the bottle and a domino effect will most certainly follow along with a probable global economic collapse. It is a zero sum game....no one wins...no one.
"Victory" is never decisive and absolute in global warfare. Battles may be decisive, but not the overall war. We are currently learning that the hard way in Iraq. I would defer to Chuck Hagel's recent article in the Washington Post to validate this. He is a far more versed in the purpose of warfare than either of us:
While a nuclear attack may provide a limited temporal resolution to conflict, the repercussions in the long run would undoubtedly be more destructive to us than the short term solution the attack may provide.
Aside from economic prowess, the reason this country has held such a high status in world opinion is because of our strong conviction to "human dignity". No country in history has adopted this tenet with as much conviction as America. While much has been done to tarnish this image in the past 6 years, we are still the guiding light when it comes to human rights and "humanitarianism" as you put it. It is the core of who we are as a nation. We value human life...all human life, even if those humans don't agree with us. Humanitarianism is not synonymous with defeat, nor is weaponary synonymous with victory. As a matter of fact, weaponary itself can be engineered "humanely".
There is nothing humane about a nuclear device....it is an instrument of utter annihilation and to implement it, one must ask the question, "When is utter annihilation a logical goal?" The answer to that would be as a defense against an overpowering enemy whose irrational motivation was to annihilate you....none of the countries you mentioned are overpowering enemies and none have the capacity to annihilate us. If we have the intention to do so to them, it would make perfect sense for them to escalate their destructive capabilities...once again, it is a zero sum game.
WWII can't possibly be compared to the current conditions of conflict in the world. Today's brand of conflict transcends national borders and enemies and allies are not so easily understood. Iran is a perfect example....their culuture is distinctly different from Arab culture, although most Americans assume they are the same "people" as the Sauds. They are not. There is a younger generation of Iranians who are highly educated and if given time and support, would undoubtedly launch reform from within the country to stabilize it and bring the country in to the world stage as a stablizing force in the Middle East. Our policy should be to empower that generation to create reform from within the country...weapons are not the tools for this job. Books, computers, schools, the internet, and an increased level of communication are the best tools we have to resolve conflict in Iran and the Middle East in general. While Iran understands the need for better education, unfortunately the Saud's have been lacking in their effort to invest their petro-dollars in institutions of higher education for it's populous....it seems they would prefer ignorant subjects which may be easier to control as a whole. Unfortunately, they have yet to realize this as a recipe for disaster and many of the terrorists we are seeing emerge onto the world stage were incubated in this climate of ignorance and oppression Saudi Arabia has maintained...once again the importance of human dignity or lack thereof manifests itself in dramatic fashion.
We have much better solutions to conflict resolution than raw force. We should start with an increased level of understanding and knowledge on our part...Americans in general have become frighteningly idiotic. We need a better understanding of world culture and the reasons behind tribal, religious, national conflict. Even our leaders are horribly deficient in this skill. Most people have no idea what the roots of the Sunni/Shiite conflict are. If you are interested in educating yourself, I would highly recommend Reza Aslan's, "No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam". He is an incredible writer and I can promise you won't want to put the book down.
Your statement, "If you do not stop your nuclear enrichment, we are coming after your nuclear reactors and/or your citizens too. Now behave yourself" is shockingly infantile. It seems you think of these countries as children who should be punished for pursuing nuclear technology...."Little Johnny, I'm going to spank your ass for making bombs in chemistry class." If that is your perception of global politics and culture, I find it wanting.