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Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Pakistan, the surrounding Stans, “nukular” domination, and the point…

At some point over the last couple of years, Jonah Goldberg wrote a column where the basic premise was “what if the US went to war with the entire Muslim world?” (I spent about 20 minutes trying to find it last night but couldn’t come up with it) As I recall, it was a rather fanciful scenario in which Jonah went through the military capabilities of all the major players and came to the inevitable conclusion that it wouldn’t be much of a title fight. It was entertaining, as most of Jonah’s columns tend to be, but I just didn’t understand the point of the exercise. I must say that I was reminded of that column by the central discussion that has been taking place here in my absence. That’s not to say that the discussion initiated by MiltaryMark was pointless, or fruitless for that matter. The conclusion is silly however on several fronts. First of all, there is no foreseeable or even remotely feasible scenario in which we would carpet bomb an entire population with nukes – it just wouldn’t happen. The era of carpet bombing cites and civilian populations with even conventional weapons has really come to an end. Such a move would likely galvanize the whole world against us – and rightfully so. Second, it’s not like we’d be dropping these puppies in a bubble. You’d be screwing not just Pakistan, but pretty much all the Stans for two to three generations, and depending on atmospheric conditions, you’d be at least “affecting” much of the planet in one way or another. I could go through another dozen or so practical reasons why this wouldn’t and couldn’t ever happen, but in the end, it's pointless, because it just ain’t us. It isn’t who we are or what we’re about, and even MilitaryMark knows that.

Pakistan, like most Muslim dominated nations in the world, presents a number of problems for the western world in general, and the US in particular. I think this was recognized by the Bush administration early on after 9/11. I’m sure the ultimatum to Musharef went something like - we’re going take Afghanistan, we’re going to eliminate Al Queda, and we’re going to eliminate the Taliban. As the only country and government in the world that recognizes and has relations with the Taliban, it would be pretty easy to take you out too. You’re choice. - At least that’s how I picture it. And let’s face it, they made the right choice. That doesn’t take away from or mitigate any of Mark’s arguments, but it does show that Musharef has a useful desire to save his own skin, and keep his country out of a conflict with the US. This was a trait that Saddam did not share.

You need not know Mark, as I do, to understand what his views are, where his views and motivations stem from, or to see that he’s a “finisher” and has a rather strong distaste for fractional efforts or jobs left undone. You can certainly see that in his posts. We are all shaped by our own experiences and our own personal (and interpersonal) realities. If I had friends, neighbors, colleagues and loved ones that were put in harms way – and were dying – on an all to frequent basis, my views might be a little more to the extreme as well. But in the end, whether it’s LTC Orlando, or Mark’s wife, or Mark, they do the job that they do, a courageous, noble, important and self-sacrificing job, to protect and defend America, Americans, and American values. Mark’s proposal doesn’t represent what it is that they’re there do defend, kill and dye for. Mark’s “list of reasons” was irrefutable, so I won’t attempt to refute them – but they were only reasons why Pakistan represents a problem, not reasons why Nuking the entire nation is the only solution to that problem.

Hang in there Mark. I didn’t know LTC Orlando, but we will certainly keep him and his family in our thoughts and prayers – as we have with Mrs. MilitaryMark.

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