War-Mad Democrats

The great unwhite-male hopes of the Democratic party — Clinton and Obama — are now in a campaign fussdoodle over who would nuke Pakistan first. While not actually saying we should do it (Obama started out saying we never should, but quickly backpedaled), both are making muscular statements about the need to “keep all options on the table” — a phrase that in the Bush years has been used to warn the rest of the world that a rapture-lunatic had his finger on the button, so watch out.

The Democrats, being more reasonable, peace-loving folk, stress that its not meant as a threat. But it’s important that an American President not have his/her options limited by such niceties as international treaties, common sense, basic human decency, or the will of the American people. So, they say, since it is possible that Pakistan might someday engage in some anti-american activity, we need to keep our nuclear options fired up and ready to go.

Juan Cole points out the obvious:

Is Senator Clinton saying she would entertain the option of nuking Pakistan or Afghanistan? Wouldn’t that kill a lot of innocents and spread radioactive materials around on the grass that cows eat, putting it into milk and thence into local children, increasing their chances of contracting cancer….

Pakistan, by the way, is a) an ally, b) a nuclear power in its own right, c) a major Muslim country of 160 million, the population of which will soon equal that of the United States, and d) an opinion leader among other Muslim states. Most Pakistanis are not fundamentalists but rather Sufis, traditionalists, mild reformists or secularists. Or at least that is the case now. If US presidential candidates push them to the wall, they can after all decide to turn radical.

(The certifiable Tom Tancredo is talking about holding Islamic holy sites Mecca and Medina hostage to nuclear blackmail. Can’t one of Tancredo’s family members have him committed, sign the papers and get rich off his estate while he is in a padded room for a few years?)

As for the mostly sane Democrats, could we please stop talking about whether we are going to nuke our allies? I mean, I know that Obama and Clinton are afraid that their Republican rivals will talk tougher than they and will depict them as soft on terrorism. But I can’t imagine that the electorate wants to hear that nukes are on the table with regard to the tribes of northern Pakistan!

Of course, the neocons and rapture-nuts are thrilled with such talk, but the rest of us recognize it for what it is: reckless and irresponsible bluster that can only lead to tragic consequences. Obama needs to stick with his original instincts. Clinton needs to stop projecting her inner muscle man. We all need a President who removes illegal, immoral, and irrefutably stupid options from the table.

Michael Sky