December 24, 2006


Reacquainting ourselves with the unthinkable (THOMAS P.M. BARNETT, December 24, 2006, Knox News)

Quick! Name the country we turn into a parking lot the next time al-Qaida's network pulls off a 9/11. If your knee jerks toward Pakistan instead of Iran, your instincts are sound because conditions are falling into place for that scary scenario to unfold.

No, we won't be toppling a regime - much less nation building - anytime soon in a country of 170 million Muslims (eight times the size of Iraq). But the United States could readily find itself unleashing the "gravest possible consequences" (remember that spooky Cold War phrase?) inside Pakistan's borders - specifically the federally administered tribal areas that border Afghanistan.

This swath of remote mountain ranges has never been effectively governed by distant Islamabad, but it's where the Taliban have - according to The New York Times - recently set up a virtual mini-state. The tribal areas are also where most terrorism experts believe Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida's senior leaders operate openly in secure sanctuary.

This mini-state grew out of a series of peace deals that Pakistan's government felt it had no choice but to offer to thousands of Taliban fighters who've taken up permanent residence in the tribal areas since fleeing Afghanistan. The accords offered the warriors respite from the Pakistani military in exchange for a cessation of cross-border attacks into Afghanistan. [...]

Let me remind you that America's the only government in human history to employ nuclear weapons against an enemy state, and with the Taliban back in the mini-state-sponsoring saddle, a politically correct target now exists.

I neither advocate this possible response nor condemn it. I just think it's essential we know what path we're on in this long war because, under the right conditions, nothing remains unthinkable.

Obviously once enough of them are adhering to the flypaper we ought to nuke them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 24, 2006 9:42 AM

Just as Iran will probably need to be taught the responsibilities that come with becoming a nuclear power. Welcome to the Big Leagues, kid.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 24, 2006 11:37 AM

Unleash India.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at December 24, 2006 5:48 PM

Unleash India.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at December 24, 2006 5:51 PM

Why the obsession with nukes? Kill them off by peaceful means.

Posted by: erp at December 24, 2006 9:10 PM

Kill them off by peaceful means?

The sub-replacement birth rate method takes several generations.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at December 24, 2006 10:17 PM