Agreed: Nuclear War is not Such a Bad Thing

James Porteous looks at the deluded and amoral paradigm evinced in Foreign Policy magazine’s ‘analysis’ of the ongoing confrontation with North Korea.

You don’t really have to read either of these Foreign Policy articles mentioned below.
Whether the authors are arguing It’s Time to Bomb North Korea or It is Not Time to Bomb North Korea, the basic narrative is the same: There are pros and cons in using nuclear bombs to ‘stop’ the threat of North Korea.
Both ‘arguments’ are framed in such a way so as to give the ‘impression’ that Serious Debate is taking place.
Indeed, the subtitle for each might be: Be prepared for intelligent discussions on the moral and legal and ethical consequences of using nuclear or other bombs to annihilate a sovereign country. And its people.
But no. Most of the pros and cons are the same. Most are based on the general assumption that this bombing will take place and it will be justified on every level known to man and that it would be silly to waste everyone’s time talking about things that are already completely and totally known and agreed upon.
So let us further agree not to bore each other with threats of moral and ethical and legal discussions. We are done and done. Had enough. We are moving on. Time for action. Are you a man? Are you a bag of sand?
Agreed: Nuclear action will take place.
So now the authors are free to cut right to the core issue and discuss in the most sanitized words possible the fact that people will die. Perhaps many people. Perhaps even millions. Which is a shame. To be sure.
But, fear not. Most of the dead will be ‘over there.’ As in not here. As in ‘my, isn’t that horrible. Too bad they forced us to do that to them.’ As in, ‘if these poor people did not want to die, why didn’t they do something about it!

The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people will die within days of a U.S. attack on North Korea and millions more could perish in the war that will inevitably follow. President Trump owes it to our allies in the region and our troops on the ground to adopt a smarter, more cautious approach.

Which is not to say the US should not make a ‘preemptive’ strike. It is to say the leader should be vigilant as to the effect such a move might have on US business partners throughout the world. He does not owe anything to the millions who could actually do all the perishing. We have agreed: Such deaths are inevitable.

Wikipedia: In nuclear strategy, a first strike is a preemptive surprise attack employing overwhelming force. … The preferred methodology is to attack the opponent’s strategic nuclear weapon facilities (missile silos, submarine bases, bomber airfields), command and control sites, and storage depots first.

FP again:

Even now, casualties could still be drastically reduced by a crash resilience program. This should involve clearing out and hardening with jacks, props, and steel beams the basements of buildings of all sizes; promptly stocking necessities in the 3,257 official shelters and sign-posting them more visibly; and, of course, evacuating as many as possible beforehand (most of the 20 million or so at risk would be quite safe even just 20 miles further to the south). The United States, for its part, should consider adding vigorous counterbattery attacks to any airstrike on North Korea.

And again, the argument is presented as though actually discussing whether the US has any moral responsibility to assist the millions of people in their quest to stay alive should the US take these actions.
Agreed: The US should sell more military equipment to South Korea so that they might better protect themselves in the aftermath of the inevitable attack of North Korea by the US.

Moving forward, we should support and empower the savvy U.S. foreign service officers and civil servants who are working to strangle the Kim regime’s lifelines of money, oil, and contraband.

Well, yes, but could it not be argued that many of those so strangled might be, you know, actual people?
Interesting thought. So in the end we have been presented with not one but two choices, really. To bomb innocent people or to starve them to death.
That is the democratic way! Two choices are always better than one!
But wait! We are human beings! We are not animals. In truth, we have no choice but to pick the more ‘humane’ alternative. Even the UN has agreed. The entire world has agreed. We have to do something and we could simply not bear witness to something as utterly inhumane as forced starvation of an innocent people.
Agreed: Bombing is most certainly preferable to death by starvation.
But, then again, what do ‘ordinary people’ know about mass, premeditated starvation. What do ‘ordinary people’ know about mass, premeditated starvation perpetrated by one regime, in one country after another, for decades and decades?
We can certainly be preemptively sorry for the death and destruction -whether by bombing or starvation- that has been and will be rained down upon millions of innocent people in the world, but Billy’s math marks are in the toilet and we need a certain level of calm if the stock market is to maintain its current levels and gosh if those darn drugs don’t work nearly as well as the used to.’
But clearly we have shown that our hands are not tied. We are making real choices. Indeed we are making humane choices. Indeed we have devoted an enormous amount of time thinking about what is best for the innocent people of Korea. And elsewhere.
Agreed: Nuclear war is not so bad afterall.
Or, “Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you.”
Agreed: What about those Oprah for President tweets! Wow. Now that is a story with legs!

James Porteous


If you enjoy OffG's content, please help us make our monthly fund-raising goal and keep the site alive.

For other ways to donate, including direct-transfer bank details click HERE.

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dominic Pukallus
Dominic Pukallus
Feb 1, 2018 11:00 AM
Feb 1, 2018 8:28 AM

“So let us further agree not to bore each other with threats of moral and ethical and legal discussions. We are done and done. Had enough. We are moving on.”
This seems to me to be the general attitude all across the media regarding news reporting. At one time I had the impression that, even when the media were bullshitting, they were keeping a nervous eye on the public – as if they were saying, “Here’s what we want you to believe”. Now they don’t seem to care at all. Now they are saying, “Here’s what you DO believe. Now let’s move on!”

Jan 31, 2018 10:13 AM

As both authors are deeply tied to the US regime it would be foolish, in their eyes, to bite the hand that feeds them.

Eric Blair
Eric Blair
Jan 31, 2018 8:50 AM

I think the hardcore American exceptionalists are secretly eschatologists at heart. They shun Eros at every turn and glorify Thanatos every chance they get. War, war and more war, hey let’s have a NUCLEAR war! Any kind of war is preferable to peace it seems. Maybe that explains their fondness for death cults like ISIS and al-Qaeda.. and aren’t American evangelical Christians Israel’s second biggest supporters after Zionist Jews? The destruction of Libya and HRC’s demented cackle of demonic joy upon hearing of Gaddafi’s murder…the hellish sectarian massacres unleashed by Bush n’ Blair’s invasion of Iraq and Rumsfeld et al shrugging their shoulders when the power vacuum they created was filled by jihadis, armed thugs and militias of every kind. And before that the highway of death in Kuwait 1991 when columns of retreating Iraqi troops were literally blasted and burnt into human shaped carbon husks by the “coalition” air… Read more »

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Jan 31, 2018 6:55 AM

The psychopaths that rule are, in the main, old men.
As they approach their own mortality it seems they want to take the world with them.

Jan 31, 2018 3:35 AM

Eric Margolis has an excellent piece on this idiocy. I found at Information Clearing House which, Google warns me, is a potentially dangerous site. They are right, Off Guardian is too, dangerous to the evil, greedy and craven.

Mark Catlin
Mark Catlin
Jan 30, 2018 8:55 PM

Reblogged this on Declaration Of Opinion.

Jan 30, 2018 7:20 PM

I really enjoyned that read. Thanks. To me it doesn’t show that the military industrial complex (MIC) is psychopathic, but that it uses a silly (yet potentially dangerous) story to its citizens to justify the MIC budget. Here is Colin Powell who, in a rare moment of honesty, explained the situation of the MIC at the end of the cold war to journalists: ‘SECRETARY POWELL: When I was Chairman at the end of the Cold War and I was testifying one day, I said, well, you know, the Soviet Union is gone, the Warsaw Pact is gone, you know, I’m running out of enemies. And it was a whimsical way of saying that I have to redesign the Army and the whole Armed Forces of the United States because everything we had been focused on for 30, 40 years was going away. And I said I’m down to Kim Il-Song… Read more »

Jan 30, 2018 5:35 PM

“Thinking the unthinkable”. Well, think of this: real war coming to a Walmart near you. Harry Truman, the Lunatic in the Business Suit, thought atomic bombs only fly from “me” to “you”. Well, after 70 years of infecting the w,rld with Truman’s nulear lunacy, it just aint so any more. And the USA which has never known a real war will be the nation least able to cope with the aftermath of a nuclear exchange.

Harry Stotle
Harry Stotle
Jan 30, 2018 9:03 PM
Reply to  vexarb

Truman knew Japan was a spent force keen to surrender, but that didn’t stop him from unleashing ‘Little boy’ and then ‘Fat boy’ wiping out over 200,000 civilians, mostly women, children and old people.
The invented myth about the atomic bombs being necessary to the end the war came a year or two later, co-authored by one of the actors who agitated for the invasion of Viet Nam – it was a complete lie.
The ‘we had to do it meme’ prevented any kind of serious introspection, amongst either the American intelligentsia or the international community.
Signing off with a horrific war crime set the tone for subsequent imperial adventures by the US and the only thing we can be sure of that it is far too late in the day for these kind of madmen to have learnt anything from their violent history.

George Cornell
George Cornell
Jan 30, 2018 5:05 PM

You can just feel the disappointment “over here” that N and S Korea are now talking and will march together at the Games. This could interfere with the contracts to be tendered(as in already awarded) to the grasping reptilian Haliburton and clones to pretend to shore up weak buildings left in the wake of a nuclear strike on NK.

Jan 30, 2018 4:48 PM

Just as I said. Our entire society has devolved into madness. These are the rationalizations of a psychopath, completely without empathy for other human beings. This ideology prosecuted by our elites, permeates our entire culture. Its bipartisan depravity. Ours has become a psychopathocracy. Now excuse me while I go watch romanticized murder on my favorite TV show.