The generally accepted financial cost to the world of the Gulf War (Kuwait) was $80B, of which $61.1B was America’s cost.
The goal of the Kuwait action was to prove the sanctity of borders. This was – and is – a dumb idea.
Borders, like societies, change, and must be allowed to. Europe’s borders were altered many times in the 19th Century and at least three times in the 20th as States appeared and disappeared as the result of empire or war. In post-war Europe, the USSR gobbled up countries and borders changed. They changed again with the fall of the USSR and the breaking-apart of central Asian regions that had never been functioning countries.
Borders have been altered many times in Africa over the past century. The borders of America changed often between 1776 and 1959, when AK and HI were admitted. Today HI is trying to exit the Union, and Puerto Rico to join it. The borders of Ukraine are changing as I write.
Borders… change. It’s what they do.
The inviolability of borders is an absurd, ahistorical conceit by the “Greatest Generation” and their get, the “Locust Generation.” Baby Boomers and their parents somehow have glommed-on to the absurdity of an unchanging world. From national borders (that the “European project” is trying to dissolve there, while fighting to retain elsewhere) to the weather: If it changes it must be bad. This is ignorance on a supra-national level.
The goal of Gulf-1 was absurd and the cost large.
Did we achieve the goal? Sure. For what it’s worth, we kept the borders of a Dark Ages kingdom violate. And then they began executing apostates immediately upon our leaving. The world spent $80B and thousands of lives to re-establish a Dark Ages theocracy with oil, rather than allow a non-sectarian thug to overtake it. And still sell us the oil.
Gulf-1 was an ego trip for GHW Bush – and nothing more.
The cost of the Iraq/Afghanistan campaigns topped $4T.
What were the goals? In Iraq to remove a sectarian thug for non-justifiable reasons. In Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban. In both to build Western Liberal Democracies, which only could be attempted by the extremely ignorant.
The Taliban needed to be overthrown. But in this instance altering, rather than preserving, the borders would have been far more intelligent. Had we toppled the Taliban and then split Afghanistan along sectarian lines – Kurds, Shia, Sunni, each with their own new nation, in all probability our doing so would have resulted in a much less violent and deadly decade. And the spending of – literally – trillions less.
But the concurrent removal of the local nonsectarian thug caused the entire region to drop into chaos. Add the enabling of the removal of Mubarak and Gadhafi, two other nonsectarian thugs who, like Saddam, had kept the local sectarian violence to a dull roar, and the result is the savagery and chaos sweeping hundreds of millions of people back to the Dark Ages.
Overthrowing another local nonsectarian thug – Assad –only will add to the chaos we have unleashed on the region and its unsuspecting peoples.
In twenty years, America has spent upwards of $5T in the ignorant attempt to alter the dynamics of a region barely on the edge of modernity, a region no one in our government understood, or wanted or tried to.
And the result is savagery.
That’s how we got here.
The civilized world finds itself faced with a strong, well-funded and growing savagery unseen in centuries. And our leaders don’t know what to do about it.
Given that these same leaders go us into this mess it is not difficult to observe that they don’t know how to get us out.
“Boots on the ground.” “Targeted airstrikes.” “Armed drones.” Maybe, yes and yes. Will they do any good?
Is the West really going to be so foolish as to repeat bullet-on-bullet fighting with this foe for the third time in a quarter-century? Yes.
Why? Because no one is willing to take a full step back and examine goals, costs and productivity.
What are our goals? To destroy the IS and the regional terror locus.
Can this be done conventionally at a cost Western nations are willing to bear? No.
Can Western Civilization fight more productively than we have been doing since 1945? Yes.
Does productivity count in warfare? More than in any other human endeavor.
If our enemy can be destroyed at a financial cost we are willing to bear, but we are unwilling to destroy our enemy because of the methods required, we are saying that we are unable to destroy that enemy.
“Unwilling” becomes “unable” in a press conference; no effective distinction exists.
Which is what the enemies of civilization are counting on.
A few small nuclear weapons cost – nothing. They are in our arsenal, along with thousands of others we don’t need to fight the Soviets or Chinese. Nuclear warfare requires the loss of no American lives. Nukes are productive. Bullets are not. Nukes can achieve our goals. Bullets cannot.
Which begs the question: Do our leaders really wish to achieve the goal of ridding the region of savage terror and genocide… or … not?
Our unwillingness to destroy this foe already has cost thousands of lives. It will cost tens of thousands more. It is altering the lives of tens of millions.
And it will come to haunt us here, to kill Western citizens in their own streets, their own homes. It already has hacked off one head in a street in Britain; that will not be the last.
What is the target of our wrath? Islamic fundamentalism. Where does it exist? In a region of no import to Western Civilization other than oil. Oil we quickly are replacing with fracking and can replace with domestic drilling, but refuse to.
Is our trade with the region worth more or less than our financial and human costs associated with Islamic terror? Does the economic benefit of the region benefit the entire world more or less than the economic costs alone of the terror we have allowed to grow there by not killing it?
Are the human costs that we refuse to see on our televisions, and wipe from internet sites, worth the cost to civilization itself of not removing these barbarians?
A half-dozen small, sub-MT nuclear weapons dropped on targets we already know… are not world-enders. They are not nuclear-winter-bringers. They are a serious weapon to defeat a serious foe. They are a productive way of warfare. They are a bold bright statement that we WILL defend civilization and we WILL destroy, utterly, those sworn to overthrow millennia of progress in science, technology and human rights.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
How much does a nuke strike cost? One B2 flight from Malmstrom. A couple of SLCM from an attack sub already on-station.
Tomahawk SLCM yields are adjustable from 5 to 200 KT, resulting in a blast-damage radius with near-total fatalities of 500 meters – 1600 meters. These are insignificant blast radii, especially when targets are formations of men in open country, no farms, no cities, no shipping. But they annihilate the enemies encamped at the hypocenters.
As Marshall McLuhan said in a different context, “The medium is the message.” The medium of nuclear weaponry will get across the message of seriousness in a way no amount of conventional munitions can.
Is there any collateral damage worth more than the lives of our own sons? No.
Will there be collateral damage from small nuclear detonations? Yes. But that collateral will be the same men and women arming, raising, training, feeding, equipping and celebrating the death their sons are bringing. And the children that die will be that many fewer terrorists hacking off the heads of others in ten years. For this is not going to stop of its own accord. It is stopped, or it wins.
The issue the world must face is this: One religion is killing and enslaving millions across the globe. It is forcing them from their homes. It is dictating how they must worship. It is shooting 2-yr-olds for apostasy, gunning-down hundreds of men in their villages for differences within their same religion.
It does not matter at all to the dead, displaced and beheaded that some say this religion has been “hijacked.” The fact is that every shooting war on this planet is a result of islamic expansion and genocide.
It does not matter to the millions in the West who are paying the bill in taxes and sons in a vain attempt to absolve ourselves of responsibility to destroy this barbarism, that we are – at best – containing it outside of the West, “containing” it on those least-able to protect themselves from it.
Nothing in the region in which IS operates is worth one more Western life. And NOTHING in the region approaches the value to civilization of those Westerners killed because of the cowardice of our leaders.
Conventional force will NOT stop it. We have been proving this, too, since 1992.
Targeting IS with a small group of nuclear weapons is the most cost-effective, productive, humane way forward… for the world.
And if that does not stop islamic terror, then the question for the civilized world will be islam itself: If killing its armies does not stop the Dark Ages barbarism visited on the entire civilized world by barbarians under the direction of their religious texts and leaders, then islam will have to be next.
One nuke on Mecca annihilating the Kaaba, one nuke on Medina vaporizing the shrine, and one nuke on the Zam Zam Well effectively would end islam within a few decades. This proto-religio-political cult cannot survive without its symbols. As with all pre-modern religions, once its god has been shown to be the weak horse, it will fall out of favor within a generation, and vanish within three.
The West can continue to spend thousands of irreplaceable lives exchanging bullets on battlefields. It can continue to take trillions of dollars from its own Middle and Working Classes, impoverishing them and their future. It can continue to reduce by war spending its own standard of living and future in the pretense of a containment that only contains the savagery away from the West, leaving millions of humans susceptible to this pre-modernism… or it can act to destroy it.
Western leaders can recognize that they have a responsibility to all of mankind to annihilate the cancerous tumor they allowed to grow to the size and the malignity it has reached.
Not eradicating IS when it can be done for a pittance is inexcusable.
If the eradication of IS does not stop its Dark Ages barbarism, not erasing islam from the planet for the same pittance will be the most immoral act ever taken by Western Civilization.
With great power comes great responsibility. We are refusing our responsibility to use our power to destroy the enemies of civilization. Millions of human lives are being sacrificed, directly through genocide and indirectly through shariah, because of our immature refusal to recognize our responsibility and to act on it.
The time has passed to annihilate IS. Should islam not police itself and yank its followers into modernity, the time is approaching at which we must annihilate islam.
Allowing this inhumanity to continue when we have the power to stop it is inexcusable and immoral.