Barack Obama’s statement, last Thursday, that he would not use nuclear weapons “in any circumstance” to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan and drew criticism from chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton and accolades from anti-nuclear activists.
It appears Sen. Obama is the only leading Presidential candidate who is willing to consider the multifaceted implications of a foreign policy where ‘all options’ are on the table.
During the Cold War the U.S. public was intimately aware of the threat nuclear war posed to the country and the world. While the bombs have become more powerful the country has become more complacent about our leaders threatening their use. It is a shame that in all the rhetoric condemning or applauding Obama’s statement no one has questioned the destructive position of Clinton and the other candidates.
Nuclear weapons are never an acceptable form of force, but especially in this circumstance would be devastating to our world and to our national security – moreover, they would be ineffectual in their purpose.
Nuclear weapons cannot weed terrorists out of the mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Nuclear weapons are designed to decimate a region or country – they have no purpose but to kill civilians for years after the initial explosion with cancer and birth defects. By definition, their use is in itself is a terrorist act because they so specifically target civilians. Our threats of a ‘nuclear option’ only further inflame a difficult diplomatic situation in the Middle East and radicalize new terrorist recruits.
Those candidates who would not take the nuclear option off the table are callus and arrogant – preferring to placate to the minority of the country who support the Bush administration than to stand up for a new direction in U.S. foreign policy. They are
naïve for believing the nuclear option should ever be on the table.