Saturday, August 4, 2007


Thomas Riggins

The Friday New York Times has a story, "Nuclear Weapons Comment Puts Obama on the Defensive" by Michael Luo (NYT 8/3/07).

It seems Obama is getting flack for saying he doesn't think using nuclear weapons against al-Qaeda is a good idea. "His remarks about removing nuclear weapons as an option in the region drew fresh attacks from Democratic rivals who had already questioned his foreign policy experience."

In reality his critics are the ones whose experience should be questioned. The US and every other country should have a no first use or first strike policy as the use of nuclear weapons would be in itself an unthinkable crime against humanity.

Obama should be congratulated for stating that we would not commit a crime against humanity. His critics, by leaving the use of crimes against humanity as an option, show they are completely unworthy to be leaders representing the American people.

Sen. Clinton, when asked if she agreed with Obama, said, "I'm not going to answer hypotheticals." This is a ridiculous response and a typical dodge for politicians lacking the courage of their convictions. A hypothetical is any question with an "if". Sen. Clinton, "IF the US is attacked would you take appropriate actions?" "I'm not going to answer hypotheticals!"

Sen. Clinton also said, "I don't believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or non-use of nuclear weapons." We are not talking about pea shooters here. Any person who can't make the blanket statement that they would never be the first to use nuclear weapons is not fit to be president.

Sen. Dodd (yes he's running too, but far back in the pack I think), also criticized Obama for making "unwise categorical statements about military options [i.e., use of nuclear weapons]." He too it seems agrees that presidents should keep open the option of committing crimes against humanity as a tool of US policy.

At least there are two people who shouldn't be running. The article didn't mention what other candidates thought. On this issue, at any rate, Sen. Obama has proven himself to be wiser than his critics.


Matt said...

I thought the issue here was that Obama said he would unilaterally bomb Pakistan if the intelligance reported that al-queda was inside. Who cares if he said he wouldn't use nukes. That's just a sidenote. The real issue is: Obama is a warmongerer.

Joel said...

I don't think Obama's rejection of the use of nuclear weapons is just "a sidenote." Current Bush policy says the US can use nukes against non-nuclear powers preemptively, which itself was a break with past nuclear policy. That Obama's critics have either downplayed the importance of his position on this or have called him naive for taking this position suggests he is miles ahead of other leading candidates.

I am having a real hard time viewing the nuclear issue as "sidenote."

I also have a difficult time agreeing with you that Obama is a warmongerer. One might not agree with his statement that going after Al Qaeda is more important than being in Iraq, but this hardly qualifies.