Friday, August 25, 2006

Nobody Likes Nuclear War, But Sometimes It's Necessary

Glenn Greenwald on the normalization of nuclear war by the right. Glenn quotes from a Townhall column by Walter Williams who, after spending the major part of his essay making the case for nuking the entire Middle East, tells us that he is "... not suggesting that we rush to use our nuclear capacity to crush states that support terrorism."

It's the far right's version of incrementalism -- getting people comfortable with the most unimaginable horrors by suggesting, backing off, suggesting again, and so on, until the concept becomes -- well, normal:

Many Bush supporters routinely play this game of leapfrog where they inch closer and closer to being explicit (rather than coy) about what they really want -- the use of unrestrained force, meaning nuclear force, in Iran, Syria, against Hezbollah and even in Iraq. Williams advances that ball rather substantially. He goes so far as to mock as "handwringing" concerns over the (hundreds of millions or so) innocent lives that would be eradicated if we dropped nuclear weapons and eliminated whole countries. Those who think we ought not to vaporize Syria and Iran off the face of the earth are, to Williams, weak, appeasing losers who can't stop their annoying "handwringing" over all this "innocent life" garbage. What is there to say about that? It would be funny if it weren't quite so sick. Maybe it's time to hear some more life-affirming sermons from Ramesh Ponnuru about how amoral Democrats are the Party of Death.

It is tempting to dismiss insanity like that spewing forth from Williams because, well, because it's so insane, patently so. Some ideas are so self-evidently outrageous that even analyzing them rationally is impossible. ...

Yet, if the right is going to start treating nuclear war as reasonable and thinkable, then sane people have to call the idea of using such weapons outrageous lunacy and make it clear that those who even suggest such a course are dangerous lunatics.

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