Monday, April 12, 2004

9/11 As an Excuse

BushCo. has been excotiated by nearly all those left of Newt Gingrich for using 9/11 as an excuse to implement a mix of neo-con pipe dreams and far-right wet dreams. Everything from invading Iraq to Patriot Acts I and II, from CAPPS I and II to continuous warfare in the Middle East. There have even been those that accused them of wishing to facilitate the coming of the Apocalypse in some strange twist of Religious-Right prophecy mid-wifery. This last has usually been met with skepticism from all but the most rabid conspiracy theorists.

Is this proof that these folks were not so off the wall after all?

Rather, the task force wants to see the U.S. nuclear arsenal expanded to include more precise, lower-yield weapons -- especially those that could penetrate targets buried deep underground where conventional weapons can't reach. The idea is to give a President the option of incinerating enemy weapons, leaders and command-and-control systems with as little damage as possible to civilians. Having the option of highly precise nuclear weapons with greatly reduced radioactivity would also make the threat of their use more believable to terrorists contemplating attacks on the U.S. or allies.
Yes, the specter of low-yield nukes are back in the spotlight and back in consideration.

What this would allow, I contend, is lowering the threshold for use of nuclear weapons when things become too difficult to manage in more conventional ways. It is also a continuation of the fallacy that BushCo. has operated under since the beginning: That terrorists can be threatened with the destruction of a state actor. Al Qaeda has already shown this to be false as has Hezbollah and other non-state, non-local terrorist organizations. If al Qaeda were to launch an attack on the US again using the same staging areas as they used for 9/11 (not at all likely, but the example is instructive), would we use a couple of low-yield nuclear weapons on Germany? On Saudi Arabia?

The other uses contemplated by the administration are much better solved using other tools than the most horrible weapons ever imagined by man.

This administration, however, seems singularly incapable of learning a single lesson from history.

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