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Thursday, August 2, 2007
posted by Timotheus | 12:38 PM | permalink
Barack Obama had some comments today to share about nuclear weapons that everyone in this country should be concerned about. I give you the whole article:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday he would not use nuclear weapons in any circumstance. "I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance," Obama said, with a pause, "involving civilians." Then he quickly added, "Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table."

The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf earlier this week that he would use U.S. military force in Pakistan even without Musharraf's permission if necessary to root out terrorists. However, when asked by The Associated Press after a breakfast with constituents whether there was any circumstance where he would be prepared or willing to use nuclear weapons to defeat terrorism and al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Obama replied "There's been no discussion of using nuclear weapons and that's not a hypothetical that I'm going to discuss."

When asked whether his answer also applied to the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons, he said it did. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is politically unstable, raising concerns that the current military leadership could be replaced by religious fanatics who would be less cautious in using the weapons. Obama, in a major foreign policy speech Wednesday, warned that terrorists in the mountains of Pakistan are planning another attack on the United States, after already killing 3,000 Americans in their 2001 attacks. "It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaida leadership meeting in 2005." he said. "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."

Obama may have just shown his true colors. Which, frankly, I am not too surprised about. What concerns me is that he said it. Whether or not you intend to use nuclear weapons or not is really beside the point. The issue is perception. We need our enemies to think that in an appropriate circumstance, we would use any force available to us. Why?

Well, the questioner was getting close to this possibility. What happens if when Obama invades Pakistan to go after Al Qaeda, as he has suggested, the government falls under the outcry of the country's population and nuclear weapons fall into the hands of someone worse than President Musharraf? Wouldn't it be nice for whoever was controllig those missiles to be absolutely convinced that if they dared launch one, they would be obliterated from the map?

Now, I must confess a bit of skepticism about deterrence and concepts of mutual assured destruction working effectively against whoever would take control in a chaotic takeover in that country. It may work against the Soviets, but it is less clear when you are dealing with an unstable country. Nevertheless, they have the nukes. They aren't giving them up and hoping to stem the tide of proliferation isn't going to help this situation. As a result, we need to make sure everyone understands that our full arsenal is at our disposal if needed.

I have written previously about how Romney clearly understands the value of a flexible deterrent. He will work on the problem from all angles and leave open his options so that he has the big stick if we really need it. Consider this exchange between him and Hugh Hewitt some time back:

HH: "Now Governor Romney, China's been pretty helpful with North Korea. They've done some good things. But with Iran, they have not been helpful at all, and now Iran announced yesterday 3,000 more centrifuges towards uranium enrichment. They're on a path towards nukes. And the question I hope gets asked of every presidential candidate is if George Bush comes before the people of the United States in the next two years and says absent military action, Iran is going to go critical and acquire nukes, and therefore, I'm going to take that action. If he made that statement, would you support him in that, Governor Romney?"

MR: "Well, you know, the challenge with threatening a military strike is that that becomes a headline in and of itself. I think America has to maintain the option of military action, any time its interests are threatened. And certainly, having a nuclear weapon in Iran would threaten not only our interests, but the interests of our friends, and would threaten the entire world. It's a setting which would justify military action. The only time one could ever consider such an action is if every other reasonable option had been exercised to keep from having to use that option, and we're a long way from there at this point. You point out, one of the key ways of influencing and putting pressure Iran, and that is through China. China really is the
key, both to the nuclear armament of North Korea, as well as to Iran. They're a huge trading partner with both. And China, of course, wants the oil very badly to keep their economy going, and therefore, they don't want to iritate the Iranians. But we're going to have to build our own type of pressure, to make sure that we get from them the kind of support that we need from someone who we want to become more of a friend in the world, and that is by them putting in place very tough restrictions, and
supporting our tough acts against the Iranians, our sanctions against the Iranians, as they develop nuclear weaponry."

After listening to Obama for the past week, I am not sure if he is going to be able to control the military bureaucracy. He is hawkish on going after Al Qaeda, but then slips up on nukes? Compared to Romney's cool headedness and problem solving mentality, I know who I want as Comander-in-Chief.

Related: Make sure you check out the reaction from Pakistan over Obama's threat to launch unauthorized attacks in their country. Hillary Clinton is also piling on.

Response: For those of you who might say Obama corrected himself after he, misspoke, imagine a grand theft auto suspect being interviewed by the police. "Did you know the car was stolen?" Response, "Yeah, I knew. Wait not this car. Scratch that. No one has ever mentioned the car being stolen, that subject is off the table."

Romney on the Subject: Gives Obama the benefit of the doubt.

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