Whether or not Saddam Hussein actually intended or had the capacity to build nuclear weapons is of trifling weight in the strategic balance. Everyone is planning to build nuclear weapons. They involve 60-year-old technology no longer difficult to replicate. It hardly matters where one begins. "Kill the chicken, and let the monkey watch," as the Chinese say. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, the theocrats of Iran, the North Koreans and soon many other incalculable reprobates have or will have such plans. It hardly matters which one you attack first, so long as you attack one of them.
But isn't it cruel to cast the die for war before it is proven beyond doubt that war cannot be avoided? Given the frightful cost of war, should peace not be given every chance? Some wars of course should not be fought, such as the threatened hot war between the United States and the Soviet Union. In many cases, however, risk and reward are highly asymmetric; the cost of a short and nasty small war vanishes toward insignificance compared with the price of a grand war of attrition, particularly when nuclear weapons are concerned.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
An article from the Asia Times praises George Bush for striking Iraq pre-emptively, Weapons of Mass Destruction or no. An interesting logic; whether one agrees or not, he does actually make a historical case for his position. Worth reading.