Friday, August 25, 2006

Moral Values, Townhall style publishes the following, from the pen of columnist Walter E. Williams, and Mark Levin at the National Review Online endorses it.

Does the United States have the power to eliminate terrorists and the states that support them? In terms of capacity, as opposed to will, the answer is a clear yes.

Think about it. Currently, the U.S. has an arsenal of 18 Ohio class submarines. Just one submarine is loaded with 24 Trident nuclear missiles. Each Trident missile has eight nuclear warheads capable of being independently targeted. That means the U.S. alone has the capacity to wipe out Iran, Syria or any other state that supports terrorist groups or engages in terrorism -- without risking the life of a single soldier.

Terrorist supporters know we have this capacity, but because of worldwide public opinion, which often appears to be on their side, coupled with our weak will, we'll never use it. Today's Americans are vastly different from those of my generation who fought the life-and-death struggle of World War II. Any attempt to annihilate our Middle East enemies would create all sorts of handwringing about the innocent lives lost, so-called collateral damage.
To summarize:

  1. We have the capacity to annihilate entire Middle Eastern states.

  2. This capacity consists of a whole lot of nuclear missiles,

  3. which we won't use because of our concern for world opinion and our "weak will".

Let's be clear about this. Williams is not just suggesting that we threaten Iran or Syria with nuclear weapons; one doesn't wring hands over the innocent victims of a threat. He is suggesting that we use them to "annihilate" our enemies. He does issue a disclaimer, of sorts:

I'm not suggesting that we rush to use our nuclear capacity to crush states that support terrorism. I'm sure there are other less drastic military options.
But notice that what Williams is disclaiming here is not the use of our nuclear arsenal, but just the rush to use it; perhaps less drastic measures will suffice. This doesn't mitigate his argument that to recoil at the thought using nuclear weapons to "wipe out" entire countries displays a weakness of will unworthy of the Greatest Generation. (Which, by the way, doesn't quite include Williams, despite his eagerness to be associated with what he calls "my generation"—according to Wikipedia Williams was at most nine years old on V-J Day.)

The commenters at Townhall certainly understand what Williams is talking about, and they're all for it:

  • I thought I outlined reasons for eliminating whole bunch of them. . . . If all the people who find comfort in the koran [sic] were gone the greater world world [sic] would miss nothing of value...nothing.

  • Mr. Williams, you are correct. Unfortunatley [sic] our country does not have the stomach for what really needs to be done.

  • Nuclear deterrance [sic] doesn't work if the enemy knows you won't actually use the nuclear weapons. Lets [sic] create a surprise of our own.

Of course Williams is right—sort of—about one thing: A concern for world opinion should prevent us from "annihilating" entire countries. But that's like saying that a concern for world opinion should have prevented Hitler from annihilating Jews. There's a much better and more cogent reason for not slaughtering many thousands or even millions of innocent people.

It. Would. Be. Wrong.

Tell me again how the Democrats are the party of death and the Republicans the party of moral values.

Via Glenn Greenwald