Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Comments on Belmont Club
"Afpak"


Bibi understands that you can have Peace or a Process but not both.
My prediction now is that within the next four years the Russians will demand Alaska, a new Narco-Hezbollah government in Mexico will demand Texas, the Islamized Dutch will demand New York, the Swedes in the name of the Moslem Brotherhood will demand New Jersey and Denmark will demand Delaware, just because.

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Habu,
If by "dirty bombing" you are referring to the W79 Enhanced Radiation Weapon (The Neutron Bomb) I believe that these are no longer available. It was never an air launched weapon and the program was canceled. The idea of making the area uninhabitable by essentially dumping waste on it, a sort of toxic Agent Orange on steroids, is not only morally unacceptable but tactically ineffective. It would make more sense to kill the current inhabitants and repopulate a productive region than to poison the land and produce millions of murderous refugees. If you do want to kill about half of the million plus population in Waziristan there would be far more effective ways to do it than spreading poisons, radioactive or other, that would effect people over a range of time and would prompt a mass migration. Hypothetically what would be needed are several hundred thousand troops to seal off the region followed by the introduction of persistent chemical and biological agents. The costs, not just political, would be astronomical and given the rural nature of the target population the process would be slow and incomplete at best. Consider that the Russians have been fighting Chechens in the hills for centuries and their inability to end the conflict is not the result of their being to soft. The subsequent cleanup might prove more costly than the initial operation. India being downwind might have strong opinions on these issues. Given all these factors it might make more sense to rely on 50 plane B-52 raids on identifiable targets combined with serious long term support for civilized alternatives. This does not mean that I am calling for us to sing Kumbaya with the Taliban but I do think that we need ideas that are not only morally acceptable but tactically effective.

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On the question of whether we would respond to an attack by China on our Navy that used a ballistic missile launched carrier targeting maneuverable reentry vehicle with a nuclear warhead by destroying the Three Gorges Dam.

buddy larsen,
The problem with targeting the dam is that until we cross the line to full Counter Value targeting it is asymmetric with the value of our CVBG. The result of destroying the dam would be the death of tens of millions of civilians. The opportunity and the problem is the same as that posed to Israel by the Aswan High Dam. The Egyptians essentially built a bomb over Cairo knowing that the Israelis could use it but will not except maybe under existential threat. The fact that if the positions were reversed many if not most arab leaders would not hesitate to use such an opportunity to destroy Israel does not change the equation. Counter Force is Counter Force and Counter Value is Counter Value. That does not mean that things could not quickly escalate. For example in the case of China we might respond to an attack on our forces using nuclear weapons by attacking military installations and port facilities in a manner that would cause massive collateral damage to the adjacent civilian population. That could lead to a Chinese attack on our allies or a ballistic missile launch at US territory.

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