The BBC reports today that French President Jacques Chirac has said that France might respond to a conventional weapons terrorist attack with nuclear weapons. How does this figure into the EU-led alliance aimed toward convincing Iran to abandon their nuclear development? The logic always escapes me - how to deter nations from developing nuclear military programs when those already possessing the technology have no intention to reduce their own nuclear weapons development. Can we know group Chirac into the crazyman category with Kim Jong Il?
Of course, France is not the worst offender. The United States has continued to consider, threaten or indeed use nuclear weapons since the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (these sites were known for 60 years as Ground Zero before it was repurposed in contemporary parlor to refer to the site of the World Trade Center attacks). The US considered their use in Vietnam (see the 1975 Academy-award winning documentary, Hearts and Minds, which a French diplomat goes on record that the US approached France with the idea of using its nuclear arsenal against the North Vietnamese Army) but instead opted for equally horrific chemical weapons including Agent Orange. Claims have been made that small nuclear "bunker busting" bombs were considered, if not used, in Afghanistan and Iraq along with the confirmed use of bombs carrying white phosphorus payloads. Recall it was the US that asserted Iraq was in violation of international protocols regulating the usage of chemical and weapons of mass destruction. In such warfare, the US Intelligence has classified white phosphorus as a chemical weapon while at the same time pointing to the fact there no international treaties specifically banning the use of white phosphorus in combat . Not that treaties are always recognized, or honored if so. (Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Gharaib in Iraq circumvent the Geneva Convention; or the White House's opposition to passing legislation banning torture).
On a side note: Below is a list of ten international agreements that the the US has refused to recognize. Consider US global policy and war making strategy and how they might be complicated by the recognization of such treaties.
(1) Convention on Discrimination Against Women (2) Convention on the Rights of the Child (3) Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (4) Kyoto Protocol (5) Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (6) Anti-Ballistic Missle Treaty (7) Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (8)Chemical Weapons Convention (9) Land Mine Ban Treaty (10) International Criminal Court
It can be pared down to the simple statement: You can't have what we have. Look no further to the misbalance of 'got-not got' in conflicts where Palestinians armed with sticks and rocks receive Israeli small arms fire. When you only have rocks, you want more. There's has got to be better deterrents to violence (for both sides) than this. Here's a start. Think poker. Don't show your hand. Chirac should just shut the fuck up.
Another strategy, get some long-term memory. Chirac (and indeed the US) can look back to Voltaire. A daily visit for me, Bloggy writes in 'Ridicule is all we have left' of the new biography "Voltaire Almighty" and excerpts:
The French -- and not only the French -- were much more likely to condemn the horrors of war and religious intolerance if these were made to seem absurd. Don't rant and rail: just show people what's dumb. Horrors and injustices are always someone else's problem, but none of us wants to look foolish. As he told Damilaville, a fellow-philosophe, ten years later: "I have only ever addressed one prayer to God, and it is very short: 'My God, please make all our enemies ridiculous.' God has granted my wish."
BBC. France 'would use nuclear arms'
BBC. US used white phosphorus in Iraq
Independent Online. US intelligence classified white phosphorus as 'chemical weapon'
Wikipedia. White Phosphorus (weapon)
CDI. Iraq & US Bunker-Buster Nuclear Weapons
About. US Could Use Limited Nuclear Weapons in Iraq
Bloggy. Ridicule is all we have left
Posted by on January 20, 2006 2:27 PM | Permalink