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Quite Insane

This is quite insane. It’s like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections. ~Charles Krauthammer

Yes, I’d say that full-scale conventional bombardment and the wreckage of major cities with air strikes and shelling is comparable to community service, wouldn’t you? I often associate carpet bombing and working at a soup kitchen. There’s nothing “loopy” or “bizarre” about that comparison, is there?

There is some crazy thinking in this debate, and it is to be found among those who seem to think that a refusal to nuke Argentina in response to the highly improbable Argentinean sarin gas attack on the U.S. (or make up whatever scenario you like) is equivalent to lying down and dying. One need only look over the list of NPT signatories and consider which states have both the desire and the means even to launch such a strike. I doubt anyone can find a plausible candidate. Even if there were a state that might want to launch such an attack, when faced with massive conventional retaliation none of them would risk it.

After having spent decades dismissing the possibility of deterring “rogue” regimes, Krauthammer and his colleagues cannot stop talking about deterrence all of a sudden, but they aren’t willing to acknowledge that vast conventional military superiority is also a deterrent against attack. All that Obama has committed to with this review is that the overwhelming retaliation such an attacker would face would not include nuclear weapons. That isn’t saying much, and it is actually no different from the status quo.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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