Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Deterrence is dead

Dear Editor,

Peter Huessy’s “deterrence” thinking (Playing Games with US Security, July 3, 2008) is based on lethally dangerous pre-9-11 logic that relies primarily on ‘feel good’ cold war policies that have no real relevance in protecting Americans from the current world catastrophic threats that we now face from both nuclear and non-nuclear sources.

How quickly Huessy forgets that our nation’s unprecedented and unmatched nuclear weapons and conventional weapons capacity was useless against a handful of determined mass murderers -- who only had a simple plan, minimal resources and access to everyday technology. Imagine what others can do with other even more powerful technologies that our civilization depends on and makes more affordable, available and powerful each daily.

Huessy’s fixation with the rogue state nuclear threat or reviving America’s fears of a Russian or Chinese nuclear attack ignores the destructive powers that these nations and even invisible rogue groups can now obtain using biological, chemical, cyber and even conventional technologies. An oil tanker filled with a ‘Oklahoma City Federal Building bomb mixture of fuel oil and fertilizer could yield a near nuclear size detonation capable of leveling the city of Baltimore -- or any other vital US port city. The direct damage alone is unimaginable, but the indirect damage to trade, our economy and our precious freedoms would be even greater. And, within a decade nano technology will likely yield even more catastrophic destructive power with minimal cost and like other means of destruction -- no return address.

Huessy also seems to forget that some murderous groups even seek death as their ultimate reward. This simple factor makes Huessy’s unyielding dependence on deterrence laughable. Given the additional fact that most forms of mass destruction (or disruption) are difficult to trace with absolute certainty means the tactic of deterrence should go the way of the Calvary charge. In summary, deterrence is dead.

Huessy is correct on one point. Going to ‘zero nuclear weapons” would be a mistake. They may actually prove useful in taking out a Earth killing asteroid or meteor. But as far as making us safe. Investing in measures to defend Americans against bird flu, weaponized smallpox, oil embargos and climate change…or making more friends in the world who can assist us in reducing these threats or more effectively responding to their catastrophic outcomes would be a fare wiser use of existing and potentially shrinking federal resources.

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