In a message dated 3/22/2003 7:09:28 PM Eastern Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes:
> [Unable to display image] Thank you for perhaps the most thoughtful response I've heard on-list regarding our having gone to war.
> I'm curious, Tom. What would it take to convince you that Bush's aggression is warranted? Or is it too late, since he didn't effectively enough seek to garner popular support? Should that be a bar for any military action? It seems you may be saying no, if your point about world opinion is at all comparable to domestic opinion.
Tom K replies:
If Bush were right about the threat to the US, he would be right to go to war if the entire world opposed him. I would be convinced that aggression was warranted if Iraq were proven to be complicit in the 9/11 attacks or other serious attacks against US interests, or if the propsect of an attack by them, upon us, were shown to be imminent.
[log in to unmask] also wrote:
> And if we find Saddam's plans had included the use of nuclear or germ weaponry, would that justify a nuclear or germ response? It seems your "action proportionate to the threat" line might approve of such an action.
> I realize it's not a good idea to play semantics with a lawyer, but your idea seems, at least to those convinced of the need for war, to actually overstep the degree to which we are responding.
> Justin Blessinger
That's an interesting take on what I wrote, but not what I meant to convey. By proportionate, I meant "sufficient to meet" rather than "equivalent to." I can forsee no scenario where the US would require resort to nuclear weapons or other so-called WMD (as if carpet-bombing isn't "mass destruction") in order to achieve its objectives in this war.
While "strategic amibiguity" about such use is to be expected, the current rhetoric seems to go beyond that, and stray into irreponsible chest-thumping. As the only nation yet to have used nukes, we can't expect to be taken seriously when we tell the rest of the world it can't have them, while we're threatening to use them against non-nuclear enemies we should be able to defeat pretty readily by conventional means.