Let me see.
Talking about conditions under which WMD might be used is out; talking about using WMD in the event that one or more is used on us is definitely out. And talking about potential targets of WMD in the event that one or more is used on us is mega-out and bigoted to boot.
So why don't we just dismantle them all right now?
And if a dirty bomb is smuggled over one of the borders by Islamists and is detonated, subjecting hundreds of thousands to millions of Americans to one of the most horrible deaths imaginable, along with rendering an area of our country uninhabitable for X-amount of centuries/millennia, I’ll urge whatever government officials that are left to think hard and long before making the Islamists and their co-religionists angry/even angrier—assuming that the target city isn’t LA.
After all, I and my fellow citizens would still have something left to lose. Possibly.
No, I’m not serious.
I don’t WANT us to have to use any type of WMD on anyone. Twenty plus years ago when I used to load nuclear missiles onto fighter-bomber aircraft in the Air Force, I used to hope the same thing. But I still went to work everyday and I still reenlisted several times; and even though I was no longer a weapons loader, I was still most keenly aware of the ultimate expression of military might of our Armed Forces. And though I questioned my role in those forces at one time way back then, I had that question answered by a set of terrorists, no less: one day it might be necessary.
I didn’t want to bring this particular part of my background up again. It’s too much like playing the “chickenhawk” card, as Froggy said in the comments to this post. However, when I read some of the posts and columns which excoriate anyone who even considers naming a possible WMD target of the US in the wake of a WMD attack on us and I notice the dripping condescension from many of the various “arguments” against, I am reminded that (some) civilians forget the arsenal of death on which this country is sitting and what it is for: deterrence, either before or after. The purpose of the arsenal is for making an enemy think twice about attacking us either the first or the second time. Anything other purpose is secondary--if it exists at all--such as whether a nuking will make a given group hate us more or not.
Otherwise, why bother to maintain it?
To have someone say ‘don’t talk about it’ and tell me that I am ‘irresponsible’ for doing so makes me wonder what planet they’ve been living on. Then I remember that I am the one who has spent most of my adult life on “another planet,” a planet on which anyone with functioning cognition knows what our military’s purpose is and what it is capable of, security clearance or no.
I think that the nutcases who would detonate a WMD on our soil should be reminded, not told, but reminded of what we have waiting for any enemy that would obliterate an American city. We can keep arguing about whether certain targets are strategic or not, but since this enemy isn’t organized in the nation-state government structure, that question is far from answered. And to assume that it’s never talked about in “polite” company outside of secure information access facilities is, as I said before, naïve.
Let’s hope, however, for enemy’s sake and ours that the question at hand is never answered.