Mitt: Nuke me and I’ll nuke you back

posted at 3:30 pm on September 1, 2007 by Allahpundit

A gimme question which he answered correctly, of course. I’m posting it not because it’s newsworthy in itself but because it’d be nice to push this subject onto the national agenda and have Hillary, Obama, and Silky enjoy a golden deer-in-the-headlights moment when someone finally broaches it with them.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says that if terrorists detonated a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city while he was president he would retaliate “in a very dramatic and clear way.”…

“The answer is you would retaliate and you’d retaliate in a very dramatic and clear way. I don’t want to be terribly more specific than that,” the former Massachusetts governor said.

“But there’s no question that people understand that the reason that we have the thousands upon thousands of nuclear warheads we have is that we intend to protect ourselves. And I would never shrink from protecting the American nation, the American people, nor shrink from retaliation if somebody used something as awful as a nuclear device. We will be safe.”

The key is preventing nuclear proliferation, Romney said. He cited Iran, which has been accused of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge its leaders have denied while claiming it’s interested only in a nuclear energy program.

I wrote about this subject a few months ago but I’ll pose the exit question again: If it happens and you can’t ID the perpetrators, what do you do?


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Some of the comments on this thread, including my own, have help me to understand Russia’s opposition to a missile defense system.

rockhauler on September 1, 2007 at 8:13 PM

I think that Russia and China must realize that it is entirely plausible that we could develop a missile defense system capable of shooting down virtually every missile that a rogue state, or more importantly Russia and China, could launch at us. It’s really only a matter of time. Unless we are willing to take out Pakistan’s nukes and prevent any other Islamic nation from obtaining them, (or a nation that could be toppled by Islamists), we will be relying on a missile shield for our very survival. Our missile defense will be shaky at first and will gradually get better, then at some point it will be perfect, or close to it, and it will be the end of MAD.

The farther Pakistan can hurl their nukes, the harder they become to get rid of without a missile defense.

Also, I’m sure it suits Russian interests if America and Europe are weakened by our vulnerability to rogue nations.

Of course, terrorists don’t need missiles, but nations who want to prevent us from killing terrorists in their territory do.

FloatingRock on September 1, 2007 at 9:21 PM

I still don’t understand why Bush didn’t nuke Mecc@ and a bunch of those places…

Tim Burton on September 1, 2007 at 9:28 PM

I think that NY is worth far more than Mecca. If they nuke us and we respond by merely destroying a few religious sites or by seizing some oil fields, we are devaluing ourselves in the eyes of the world and the entire strategy will not be nearly as successful in preventing such a scenario from occurring in the first place. The ratio should not even be 1:1; it should be 2:1 or better and then multiply from there. The entire point of the strategy is to scare the enemy out of their minds so that they will be to paralyzed with fear to continue their Jihad.
FloatingRock on September 1, 2007 at 7:36 PM

You have to face the political realities at home. Already the left thinks 3000 lifes are not really a problem. They’d find a way to rationalize the loss of a city too. So you have to think of strategies that don’t seem too blood thirsty at home but cause severe psychological pain to the enemy. Holy sites is one thing, but that doesn’t seem really that painful to me. Christians and Jews have already lost most of their holy sites to Muslim violence as it is.

The Arabs with the power to prevent a terrorist nukes are the ones with the money. No oil, no money. If they think we would take away their lifestyle, they will be motivated to prevent a nuke attack from happening in the first place. If the only threat is to vaporize them, they would just be fatalistic about it, because that’s the way Muslims are.

pedestrian on September 1, 2007 at 9:30 PM

Frankly, Putey Poot reinstituting the cold war bomber tactics and reving up his military engines while strutting around the country side dressed like one of the Village People on a casting call for Broke Back Airport Mensroom scares me more than the kooky Muslims.

Alden Pyle on September 1, 2007 at 10:04 PM

Nuke Iran.

Bugler on September 1, 2007 at 3:15 PM

Nuke Iran and North Korea and bulldoze CAIR HQ.

MB4 on September 2, 2007 at 12:00 AM

I’m still waiting for Hill to asked when was the first time she had sex with Bill and was it consensual.

Speakup on September 1, 2007 at 3:57 PM

A better question would be “Mrs. Clinton, have you had sex with Bill in this century and if so was it sympathy sex on Bill’s part?”

MB4 on September 2, 2007 at 12:05 AM

Also Mrs. Clinton, a follow up question “Were either Ted Kennedy or Chris Dodd involved in any way?”

MB4 on September 2, 2007 at 12:08 AM

A better question would be “Mrs. Clinton, have you had sex with Bill in this century and if so was it sympathy sex on Bill’s part?”

MB4 on September 2, 2007 at 12:05 AM

You may not realize the context of the proposed question.
Mitt was asked directly, when was the first time you and your wife had sex?
Only a Republican would be asked such an ugly question.

Speakup on September 2, 2007 at 12:44 AM

Mecca and Medina are the big plums, but far from the only sites important to Muslims. They have all kinds of shrines at tombs of Islamic saints. We needn’t finish of Mecca right off..it gives us nothing to escalate to. That is, if the retailiation is against their biggest symbol, it seems that the deterrent factor of the retaliation is negated. If, however, they understand we’re serious (bombs have fallen), and that Mecca is next, so to speak, I think that would have more value in creating some actual deterrent and therefore security for the U.S.

TexasDan on September 2, 2007 at 1:17 AM

If it happens and you can’t ID the perpetrators, what do you do?

There are ways to ID where the material came from at the very least based on the radioactive signatures. The first thing to do is to try to determine who. The last thing is to start firing off nukes at mideast targets. This is why the phrase “we reserve all options” is used. To say if x occurs then y will happen is practically inviting another country or group to detonate a device in one of our cities just to elicit this response.
The Israelis would have a motive
The North Koreans would have a motive
And of course the Iranians have a motive
And there are some groups in the west who would love to cause the annihilation of hundreds of thousands of arabs.

At this point in time the concern seems to be a dirty bomb not a detonation. But a couple of beakers of weapons grade anthrax released in the NYC subways will kill far more people than a dirty bomb. Nightline did a special on this in the mid nineties.

But once the button is pushed there are other consequences that must be considered:
(1) the global economy will go into instant decline for some period if the oil supplies are significantly impacted or the Arab states decided to withhold all oil for sixty or ninety days
(I don’t think Americans are willing to sacrifice their creature comforts and there would be demands we use our military to just “take the oil”, meaning we are fighting other countries such as China for the oil)
(2) radioactive fallout going into other countries will cause problems with allies
(3) The people who dream of airbursts over the countries seem to be unaware of the effects of EMP. Google it. But China and Europe will not sit idly by if we fry half of their electronics. the Chinese may even see that as an act of war

There would be no good reason to just pop off a nuke right away until better information could be ascertained. If a terrorist group did this, they wouldn’t have an arsenal full of nuclear devices.

The first response should be a classified executive order unleashing the CIA types on all known targets and giving operatives operational control to make the call on collateral damage concerns.

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 1:21 AM

America would be a complete basket case until the public believed the threat of further attack had been – without question – eliminated. Nuke response? Absolutely. Who to attack if you couldn’t identify the perps and their supporters? Obviously, any and all countries that a majority of our citizens BELIEVED were involved.

Public opinion would be all important. Until the fear of further attacks was eliminated, the U.S. would be desperately dysfunctional.

T J Green on September 2, 2007 at 1:52 AM

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 1:21 AM

This is why the phrase “we reserve all options” is used.

“We reserve all options” means nothing. Of course “we reserve all options”. That’s always true, no matter what we say, so it adds nothing to our deterrence, and probably even degrades it. You see how they threaten all the time in the arab/persian/muslim worlds. That’s what they are used. That is the culture. They never say “we reserve all options” to each other. That would be laughed at and pounced on in no time. Israel’s been doing it for decades, and all its gotten Israel is a new war every ten years or so, like clockwork. But the Israelis haven’t learned, either.

To say if x occurs then y will happen is practically inviting another country or group to detonate a device in one of our cities just to elicit this response.

That’s always in play. Whatever rules we make, someone will try to circumvent them to their advantage, or exploit them (as you are saying) to have us do their work for them. That has been a truth of humanity since the dawn of Man. Bringing it up for any particular defense strategy (and I agree, our main strategy should not be public, but our deterrence MUST be) addresses nothing but the overall consequences of a false firing and the probability of it happening. But this is real Nature we are looking at, here. It is much more raw than most are used to, or comfortable even discussing. There are no easy outs, unless the situation is cleaned up before it gets totally out of hand. But that takes more than people are willing to do without another “reason”.

At this point in time the concern seems to be a dirty bomb not a detonation. But a couple of beakers of weapons grade anthrax released in the NYC subways will kill far more people than a dirty bomb. Nightline did a special on this in the mid nineties.

Or chemical attacks – though the first one might be a dud, which would give us another chance before real disaster.

But once the button is pushed there are other consequences that must be considered:
(1) the global economy will go into instant decline for some period if the oil supplies are significantly impacted or the Arab states decided to withhold all oil for sixty or ninety days
(I don’t think Americans are willing to sacrifice their creature comforts and there would be demands we use our military to just “take the oil”, meaning we are fighting other countries such as China for the oil)

Hey, if a US city got hit by WMD, you can kiss the world financial system goodbye, anyway. I mean to even think that there would be something to save is fantasy. A whole city. Given the leverage in markets these days … No way. Creature comforts after a US city goes? I don’t think so.

So, point (1) is moot.

(2) radioactive fallout going into other countries will cause problems with allies

Doesn’t have to be nukes, but I don’t think any of them would complain too much. I mean, we’d be into real life, at this point.

(3) The people who dream of airbursts over the countries seem to be unaware of the effects of EMP. Google it. But China and Europe will not sit idly by if we fry half of their electronics. the Chinese may even see that as an act of war

Maybe. There are risks to every strategy. I think, if the Chinese saw that we were REALLY ticked off, they would stay quiet. They’re smart people.

There would be no good reason to just pop off a nuke right away until better information could be ascertained. If a terrorist group did this, they wouldn’t have an arsenal full of nuclear devices.

The first response should be a classified executive order unleashing the CIA types on all known targets and giving operatives operational control to make the call on collateral damage concerns.

Look, no one says that we have to do what we threaten to do. No one says we can’t do what we say we won’t do. We can do anything we want at any time. This is all about the proper public deterrence (and some of the actual actions that should be taken). In the end, none of us know what our reaction, as a Nation, will be. We’re just talking about how we’d like to hear it publicly addressed – as with JFK’s address. I’ll post it again for you:

Third: It shall be the policy of this Nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.

I mean, all of your points applied to JFK’s threat, as well.

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 1:55 AM

I mean, all of your points applied to JFK’s threat, as well.

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 1:55 AM

The most important difference is that JFK could refer to a specific nation. It is simply not the same with the terrorist threat. To believe this is in my opinion foolish.

And to go back to my original point. It is absolutely irresponsible to say “we will nuke ___ and ___ if we get hit with a nuke. You are basically inviting any nation or group with a beef with the mideast (or whatever country you promise to deliver this retaliation on) to ensure we do their dirty work.

Do you really think the Chinese would sit idly by if by detonating a nuke with no reason other than “we said we would and we really don’t care if the target country was responsible” and caused their economy and defensive systems to collapse?

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 2:11 AM

Obviously, any and all countries that a majority of our citizens BELIEVED were involved.

Public opinion would be all important. Until the fear of further attacks was eliminated, the U.S. would be desperately dysfunctional.

T J Green on September 2, 2007 at 1:52 AM

This is why we have elections and put people in charge of our defense in the decision making posts. you are suggesting that we should take a poll to determine which country gets nuked?

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 2:31 AM

LegendHasIt on September 1, 2007 at 6:20 PM
They’re finding more parts of Herod’s second temple in Jerusalem. So we should also help Israel by tearing down the Al-Aqsa mosque and let them continue with their restoration.

pedestrian on September 1, 2007 at 7:14 PM

I’d not heard that. Interesting revelation.

soundingboard on September 2, 2007 at 3:06 AM

Yes Doomsdayers have been predicting “The end is near” for hundreds is not thousands of years. The difference now versus then is technology. The United States and other countries possess the means to bring this to bay. Most nuclear powers understand “mutual destruction” and that helps ensure that the missiles kept in the solos. However; there are elements out there who believe so strongly in their cause that using a nuclear warhead is NOT out of the question.

SPIFF1669 on September 2, 2007 at 9:44 AM

Well, let’s think about that for a minute. Do you believe that the firebombing of Dresden, Tokyo, and a number of other Axis cities, and the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were products of derangement?

Were President Harry S. Truman, Gen. Curtis LeMay, and Cmdr. “Bomber” Harris all deranged?

Were the pilots and airmen that dropped incendiary ordnance on cities with large civilian populations deranged?

No, no and no.

Allow me to clarify. The targets you mention above all had strategic value. All I meant was that committing random acts of genocide in the Middle East would be of no use and quite mad. Think General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove.

aengus on September 2, 2007 at 9:45 AM

Yes Doomsdayers have been predicting “The end is near” for hundreds is not thousands of years. The difference now versus then is technology.

You’re forgetting the plague. If you go back and read some of the accounts written at the time many people believed the human was coming to an end. I realise this is somewhat irrelevant to the point you were making but I just thought I’d throw it out there.

aengus on September 2, 2007 at 10:02 AM

The targets you mention above all had strategic value. All I meant was that committing random acts of genocide in the Middle East would be of no use and quite mad. Think General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove.

aengus on September 2, 2007 at 9:45 AM

The morons we are fighting are all quite mad too. There is no way to reason with these idiots, they only understand and respect total, unrestrained warfare without quarter.

Texas Nick 77 on September 2, 2007 at 10:03 AM

The morons we are fighting are all quite mad too. There is no way to reason with these idiots, they only understand and respect total, unrestrained warfare without quarter.

Texas Nick 77 on September 2, 2007 at 10:03 AM

If you truly believe that fighting terrorism means we should conduct unrestrained warfare without regard to where and whom we target, then you are basically saying that you believe our national philosophy be identical to that of the jihad.
Maybe a new philosophy called “cowboy sharia” that you could write a book about.

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 1:08 PM

If it happens and you can’t ID the perpetrators, what do you do?

I can’t imagine us NOT identifying the perps. They seem to find enough information to know who does what bombing, especially if it’s on a big scale.

Hopefully we are monitoring all that we need to be monitoring to be able to catch something before it happens.

As for nuking mecca or other symbols, I’m not sure if doing so would be a deterrent. I’m not necessarily against it or against using it as a chip in the game but I don’t think these barbarians can be deterred in that regard and the way to beat them is to keep killing them and their armed forces structure that are running things. Of course we need to make sure our military’s hands are untied….like if islamists use a mosque to shoot from..bye bye mosque.

Highrise on September 2, 2007 at 3:06 PM

If it happens and you can’t ID the perpetrators, what do you do?

You hit the whole list of capitals you should have taken out years ago.

Kralizec on September 2, 2007 at 3:22 PM

If you truly believe that fighting terrorism means we should conduct unrestrained warfare without regard to where and whom we target, then you are basically saying that you believe our national philosophy be identical to that of the jihad.

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 1:08 PM

That’s just ridiculous and simple-minded.

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 4:45 PM

Here’s a thought. I don’t think that issuing a threat of “nuke Mecca” would get us anywhere with people that are hell-bent upon attacking us anyway. I think, though, that such foreknowledge would give them the impetus to attack us at such a time as would be least palatable for any human being to attack Mecca. I’m thinking namely of the Hajj. I’d be willing to bet that, if we said, “You hit us, we hit Mecca,” no matter whether conventional or WMD, they’d hit us during the Hajj to dare us to kill that many more millions of people. Would we do it then?

flutejpl on September 2, 2007 at 6:33 PM

Would we do it then?

Shouldn’t do it in any case. It’s a symbolic/religious target, no strategic value whatsoever. You calculate what target contributes most to the global jihad and hit that.

aengus on September 2, 2007 at 7:08 PM

You calculate what target contributes most to the global jihad and hit that.

aengus on September 2, 2007 at 7:08 PM

The global jihad starts and stops with the power of the gulf oil fields. There is nothing else. The oil fields provide:

1) Political power – countries offer diplomatic help for the oil
2) Financial power – raw petro dollars that fund the jihad
3) Security power – Not only worries about embargoes, but the actual security of the fields is in doubt from the current owners, themselves – as Saddam Hussein so graciously showed the world in Gulf I. Many ignored that lesson.

Most of the arab/persian/islamic problems in the world will disappear the minute they lose the control and wealth of the oil fields (and that can be done without killing anyone, if the West ever gets a brain).

The arab/persian/muslim problems in the world will NEVER stop so long as petro-dollars are flowing into their hands.

This is the simple truth of the matter at hand, today.

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 7:44 PM

That’s just ridiculous and simple-minded.

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 4:45 PM

Not nearly as ridiculous and simple-minded as suggesting that threatening to nuke large numbers of Arabs, set off a global depression, and draw other countries against us is the answer to global terrorism.
Or that telegraphing our specific response wouldn’t tempt other countries or groups to set off that response by setting off a wmd in the US.

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 8:07 PM

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 8:07 PM

You already said all that. I already responded. You ignored my responses and offered nothing more than a silly analysis of why JFK’s quote doesn’t apply to today’s situation. Then you went on to claim moral equivalence without any reference to specific context. Now you’re just repeating yourself.

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 9:03 PM

FrankJ answered this question a long time ago…We Nuke the Moon!

Melba Toast on September 2, 2007 at 10:27 PM

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 9:03 PM

Exactly where is Al Qaida a sovereign state? There is the difference in regards to JFK. American education strikes again. geez

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 11:18 PM

Exactly where is Al Qaida a sovereign state? There is the difference in regards to JFK. American education strikes again. geez

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 11:18 PM

What does the paper notion of sovereignty have to do with real war? In the case of real war, what does the sovereignty of a nation mean, when there is no sovereignty but that that can be physically implemented and maintained?

To put it simply, the political organization of the enemy is not our concern, except for where its structure can be exploited to our advantage.

The question is one of best managing the actions and reactions of a large group of people, and especially of the subgroup which springs forth from them which represent the armed attack wing. In that event, the people who are being threatened don’t care what “sovereign nation” they belong to; all they care about is what might happen and what they might suffer for it. The issue of the nation-state has nothing to do with this. It is between international groups of people.

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 11:30 PM

progressoverpeace on September 2, 2007 at 11:30 PM

A long winded way of acknowledging you can’t answer the question as it relates to JFK’s remarks about Cuba. Your “final solution” entails killing as many of the 1 billion plus Arabs that exist, just to get the ones who might be a terrorist.
Fortunately we have leaders with a more realistic viewpoint.

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 11:37 PM

A long winded way of acknowledging you can’t answer the question as it relates to JFK’s remarks about Cuba.

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 11:37 PM

Asked and answered … multiple times already. Get a new tune, man.

Your “final solution”

Huh?

entails killing as many of the 1 billion plus Arabs that exist,

1 billion arabs? Are you out of your mind? there are only around 300,000,000 arabs in the world. Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? I don’t think so.

progressoverpeace on September 3, 2007 at 1:10 AM

Bradky on September 2, 2007 at 2:31 AM

Sorry to be so long responding – work gets in the way.

No poll would be taken. But it would take a Churchillian level of leadership to identify the enemy and destroy him completely, do it swiftly and pull the public along every step of the way. It would require 9-11 Rudy times 100. I don’t think we have any idea just how deep and how wide the fear would be after the nuking of a city. Just think on it – your job, your ambitions, your family’s future – all irrelevant if your town could be gone any moment.

Public opinion would be critical. Decisive leadership, lots of disclosure on information and plans, public declaration of what we would soon do – all the right steps would be vital to keeping Americans in the loop and confident that the threat was being eliminated. Then, just like we did with the Japanese gov in ’45, give the enemy a chance to surrender before we light the big fuse.

But, Bradky, it’s interesting to speculate on the role the press would play. If our government KNEW Country A was responsible, but the press provided endless speculation that Country B was also deeply involved… how could you not take both of them out to restore a sense of order here?

T J Green on September 3, 2007 at 8:44 PM

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