On Nuclear War

Vexing:

RT @iaincorby: If a foreign power explodes a dirty nuclear bomb in the UK what are LibDems going to do? A strongly worded letter to the UN?

This attitude presupposes that the appropriate response to having an instant genocide visited upon you, is to commit your own genocide in return. We have largely banished the ‘eye-for-an-eye’ philosophy from our political debates, with regards to both justice and strategic military matters, but when it comes to the biggest and most despicable act of mass-murder one can imagine, we are perfectly happy to imagine ourselves returning the favour. Killing a million innocents and making sure that the earth’s atmosphere, already crippled from one nuclear bomb, is truly buggered by the detonation of a second… all perfectly acceptable, because “they started it”? I think a very good case could be made which says that the one time when you definitely do not want to be using nuclear weapons, is right after you have been nuked yourself. A military policy based on revenge is not what we should be aiming for, surely?

As an aside, I’ll note that the protracted military response from the USA to the September 11 attacks managed to be incredibly violent and punative without resorting to nuclear bombs. Now Mohammed Atta and his terrorist friends weren’t using dirty bombs, of course, so its not a like-for-like comparison. But the attacks were unexpected, spectacular, and traumatic, as a dirty bomb would be. I mention this only to show that a President or a Prime Minister has other military options after suffering such an attack. “Writing a strongly worded letter” on the one hand, and pressing the Big Red Button on the other, are never the only options. It is wrong to ridicule Nick Clegg or anyone else who points this out.

Update

Generals add their fire to Clegg’s attack on Trident

5 thoughts on “On Nuclear War”

  1. Are you drunk-blogging,​ Edgar!? You really wish Thatcher had ordered the vapourisation of tens of thousands of Iranians? I don't have the highest opinion of her policies, but she was on a higher moral plane than that.Of course you can't un-invent. But that is not the same as being forced to commission a like-for-like replacement to Trident, which we can't afford, and is utterly useless against the (arguably) greater threat – terrorism.

  2. Thatcher had the option of destroying the I Ran Away in less than 24 hours in the early eighties-God I wish she had done that. I am still uncertain over Afghan issues-they survived the Soviets and it is now ironic the US are hunting AQ in the same place.

  3. Are you drunk-blogging, Edgar!? You really wish Thatcher had ordered the vapourisation of tens of thousands of Iranians? I don't have the highest opinion of her policies, but she was on a higher moral plane than that.Of course you can't un-invent. But that is not the same as being forced to commission a like-for-like replacement to Trident, which we can't afford, and is utterly useless against the (arguably) greater threat – terrorism.

  4. Surely if the existence of even the remotest threat that there would be retalliation on such a scale was sufficient to prevent the original attack, it is worth having. I agree that if we suffered such an attack then the primary purpose – deterrence – has failed but we have to hope that the risk, if not to the perpetrator themselves but to their family, or to a minor accomplice or their family, is enough to trigger a tip off which could save thousands of British lives. Would we actually press the button – who knows – but all you need is a level of uncertainty sufficient to make those with evil intent pause for thought, and the deterrent has worked.

    Of course, no-one would ever believe a LibDem would press the button, so it would be a waste of money for them to renew Trident.

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