Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My comments on Tom Tancredo’s extension of MAD to the War on Islamist Terror gets Blogged

Two weeks ago Lawrence Auster celebrated the now infamous comments by Tom Tancredo suggesting that we may bomb Mecca in response to nuclear attacks on the homeland. PBS Watch posted a blog entry on my off-the-cuff response to Auster’s optimistic perspective.

I apologize for the belated response.
My original comments, when addressed, will be in a bullet.
PBS Watch comments will be italicized.

  • Does MAD work with Islamists? I'm not sure that they would believe that a President Tancredo would nuke Mecca.
“Credibility is essential to MAD doctrine. A President Tancredo implies a President who has been through a campaign, which thoroughly airs this issue. If he or someone espousing a similar doctrine were to be elected, the Islamic world would be forced to believe he would act in accordance with the doctrine. This is absolutely crucial. If the threat is credible, it never need be made good. If not, it is a huge incitement.”

Essentially, everything rests on credibility. The sad fact is that many Republicans have made campaign promises and proposals that buoyed conservatives and enraged both liberals and enemies of the US, only to cave once in office. Eisenhower is remembered more for undermining the last vestiges of the British and French empires than for stopping communist expansion. Nixon, whose saving grace was anti-communism, went to China and undermined Taiwan. President Reagan’s tenure was marred by the Arms for Hostages scandal. President George HW Bush signed over part of Alaska to the USSR in 1990. There are powerful liberal, internationalist, and fifth column institutions undermining us in the War on Islamist Terror. All of these are attacking Tancredo now and the drum beat would only get louder. The Arab states may well intervene politically and economically by playing a small part of the oil-card, by having OPEC switch from US Dollars to Euro Dollars as the currency of exchange for oil transfers.

MAD with Muslims also means that we must convince not only corrupt Gulf princes and North African dictators, but also the Mullahs in Iran and the Jihadists.

I like Tom Tancredo, but he has broken campaign promises in the past, such as his term-limit pledge. This may make him seem indecisive.

  • Moreover,how much would this comment help in recruiting more terrorists willing to do everything but use a WMD on us?

The terrorists would not only have to know amongst themselves that they were not going to use WMD, but they would also have to convince their friends, family, associates, governments, etc. that they did not pose a WMD threat. A rational person would not be willing to give them that leeway. Either way, it is victory if we take WMD off the terrorist option list.

Assuming that terrorists are bound by the rules MAD, we need only worry about non-nuclear risks. Unfortunately, we remain far too unprepared for other scenarios. Al Qaeda likes bold statements.

  • What would the result of bombing Mecca, Media, and/or Qom?
    Would it shatter the faith of Muslims or lead to a new militancy? (I hate to bring this up, but Jerusalem was destroyed in 69CE, but Jews rebelled against Rome in 117, 135, and 617CE.)

This is another argument against the Tancredo tit-for-tat exchange. It is a moot point in the overwhelming response scenario. [side note -- spare me the PC CE's, A.D. suits me fine]

Your solution of nuking all Muslim countries due to an attack by one or by a terrorist group affiliated with one is disproportional. Not only would innocent Muslims die by the hundreds of millions, but we would irradiate the entire region, hurting allies.

It would also mean further attacks on the US. Turkey is a member of NATO and the UK and France would be obligated to respond in kind. Likewise, Russia would be obligated to respond to an attack on Kazakhstan. India, which sits between Pakistan and Bangladesh would be none to pleased, even if we did solve the Kashmiri problem.

[Side note: I use the term “Common Era” as I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was neither the Messiah, nor son of God. As a Jew, I await the Messiah and pray to the one God. Were I to use BC or AD, I would have to be disingenuous.]

  • If multiple U.S. cities where bombed, we would be weakened and dependant on European and Japanese support. Were we to nuke Mecca or Medina, the entire Muslim world would declare war on the U.S., sell off its U.S. currency reserves, and suspend oil sales. At what point would Europe and Japan be neutralized?

Again an argument against tit-for-tat but moot in the total destruction response strategy. Clearly there would be huge global economic dislocation in either scenario, but in the latter case the analysis proceeds on the assumption of no Islamic players. Third parties may be key to this analysis. See the China comments below.

Did I forget to mention the issue of OIL, in my comments above? It still applies here. Light-sweet crude almost bubbles out of the Arabian Peninsula and the world runs on it. Oil funds jihad as well as the dabblings of Venezualan "President" Hugo Chavez in aiding communists in Columbia and Nicaragua. We must reduce our dependence on it.

Tancredo joined 274 other Congressman in passing the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which does little to reduce our dependence on Muslim energy sources.
I suppose that if more nuclear plants are built and energy from this source is used to create ethanol for fuel cells and gasoline additives, we will marginally reduce our dependence. However, given the direct threat, I believe that a crash programs on fuel cells and safer nuclear power are necessary. I believe that a tax on oil would be worth while. This cost could be offset by streamlining regulations on fuel composition by nationalizing environmental standards.

  • Unless Tancredo sees this, his response is still shallow. Sadly, it indicates a greater understanding of the threat than any statement by the other presumptive presidential candidates.

I can't comment on the level of analysis which Tancredo has done. I believe I read that he wanted to open a public dialogue on this topic. I certainly agree with that. It is sad that most of the blogosphere, let alone any known potential presidential candidate, finds this topic to be off limits.

A losing presidential candidate opens a public dialogue. (Buchanan and Perot did this in 1992.) A winning president has an agenda with clear solutions and defined principles.

This isn’t Littleton, Colorado and Tancredo is no longer just looking to be one of 535 members of Congress. He is toying with running to be the most powerful man on earth.

  • Cui bono; China. If I were the ChiComs, I might just launch nuclear tipped cruise missiles from an "Iranian" oil freighter, just to watch the West crumble. It's not like they care about human life or even their short term wealth.
The possibility of third party instigators is troublesome. Here again I think this point favors the all out response scenario over tit-for-tat. But careful analysis is needed of the capabilities and intentions of possible instigators, counter instigation strategies, our own ability to accurately determine the source of an attack, and the probabilities and penalties of mis-identification.

Since there is no way that we would ever take out the entire Muslim world, this is not an option.


At 8:14 PM, Blogger NYgirl said...

True, our politicians say one thing to get elected & do another thing when they get into power.


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