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“Will you station police-officers at every henroost; and keep them watching and cruising incessantly to and fro over the Parish, in the unwholesome dark, at enormous expense, with almost no effect: or will you not try rather to discover where the fox’s den is, and kill the fox?” – Thomas Carlyle.
I’ve just come across an article (published on World Net Daily) advocating the use of tactical nuclear weapons against the very much Islamic State. The author of the piece – Larry Klayman – justifies his position thus…
“If we really want to destroy ISIS” he writes “…and set an example for other radical Muslims and the Putins of the world to fear us and leave us in peace, we must use the tools that can do this. Put simply, we should employ tactical nuclear weapons to wipe out the enemy. We cannot worry that Islamic civilians will be killed in the process. In the end this strategy, as was true of the Japanese in World War II, saves not just American but Muslim lives as well.”
I don’t know much about Mr Klayman or his background. If he is a Christian (as he implies elsewhere in the article) he ought to be thoroughly ashamed of himself. There are Christians in ISIS controlled territory (some of whom descend from the earliest generations of the church) desperately struggling to survive, desperate to ensure their faith stays alive in the cradle of its first vitality. To drop a nuclear weapon on that kind of situation (or even to advocate it) is the lowest Talibanic barbarism.
Still, I will agree with Klayman that drastic measures need to be considered. And while nuclear weapons are clearly too large and clumsy to achieve a moral end, there are other high-yield, non-radioactive weapons that might fit the bill.
The Massive Ordnance Air Blast device (or MOAB – to give it its mock-biblical acronym) has an explosive power exact to 11 tons of TNT. Properly deployed, the weapon can flatten a neighbourhood, a strategic headquarters or a spread out training camp, all the while leaving surrounding areas perfectly in tact. These bombs have rarely been used in modern combat, if at all, since the conditions that would recommend their use have never before arisen. They have now.
I believe that ISIS represents the first post-WWII conflict in which very intense firepower can play a constructive (if you’ll allow that phrase in this context) and effective role. Innocent people are crying out to us for relief, and we are plainly failing to supply it.
It is clear to any reasonable person that simply fighting the tentacles of ISIS when they choose to unfurl is a foolish game, and one that fails to yield any lasting reward. Bombs of high explosive power dropped on known regime headquarters (which can be exactly ascertained by satellites) is the only way to substantially degrade the potential of ISIS to wage war. Nuclear weapons will only kill the citizens we wish to protect. Light, conventional weapons (JDAMS and the like) are pin pricks. There is a happy middle-ground to be occupied if we develop the moral courage to do so.
As to a general strategy, we should make be making placing greater emphasis on local anti-ISIS forces. While Islamic State has yet to openly threaten the Israelis, a photo-shopped propaganda picture released last month shows a column of ISIS trucks advancing towards the walls of Jerusalem. It is painfully obvious that ISIS fosters genocidal ambitions towards the Jewish State and so pre-emptive air raids by Israel would surely be greeted by the world as both justified and heroic.
To repeat my core argument, we cannot win by simply reacting to ISIS movements and fighting battles at the time and location of their choosing. The headquarters of ISIS must be attacked with overwhelming force. As Mr Klayman was right to say, we cannot be obsessively concerned with civilian casualties when such people are being randomly killed anyway.
Let’s fight ISIS – and fight like we want to win.