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Old 07-30-2004, 08:21 AM   #1
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Hypothetical

You are the President of the United States, it comes to your attention that there is a plot to detonate a nuclear device in a major western city, thankfully the exact location of the terrorists is also known and they operating from within a major Muslim country in the Middle East, you have the oppertunity to strike at them directly and remove the threat however the strike would certainly cost hundreds of innocent civilian lives and probably initiate all out war.

What is the course of action that you would take (please no Magic Wands, this is a scenario where you either wait for the terrorists to attack or strike at them and accept all the concequinces of that action).
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
thankfully the exact location of the terrorists is also known
well i don't buy that one, you have to modify it to
"your secret services have a hint where the terrorists might be"

remember how often the US bombed into these "exact locations" and how many times this was successful?
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:42 AM   #3
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Is this another attempt to come up with a scenario to fulfil your 'bomb the middle east into glass' fetish, A-Wanderer?

To treat your hypothetical seriously, why are you assuming a crude strike to stop a (presumably as yet unfulfilled) plot by a (presumably identifiable) group of people? Isn't that rather like using a landmine to crack a nut?

Unless the country in question is completely hostile, surely these things can sometimes be handled as police actions. That is to say, you apprehend the people whom you know are set on your hypothetical course of action.
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:45 AM   #4
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Upon a closer reading of your original post, it's clear you're talking about Iran, in which case why not just say so?

If the 'terrorists' are inside the government of said country, then yes, war may be inevitable. May be, is the operative term. We've been here before, in a fashion (thinking of the US/Soviet standoff in the early 60s, which could have ended badly).
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:55 AM   #5
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And yet another question addressed to A_Wanderer.

Same scenario like you mentioned before, just a little detail:
the terrorists live in a western city - let's say in London or Sidney. Would you drop bombs to save other innocent lifes?
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Old 07-30-2004, 11:03 AM   #6
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I'm guessing that the original scenario assumes one of the following:

1. A terrorist group is already based in the country where the strike will take place, and is assembling a crude nuclear device there. This seems most logical to me. In which case, if you know this, apprehend them for God's sake. Also in which case, why bring the (unnamed) middle eastern country into it?

2. Or, we are talking about a nuclear strike to be launched from your enemy country (ie. an actual nuclear bomb). In which case it becomes very similar to your Cold War scenario.

I'm trying very hard to be logical here, as frankly this whole thread and the implications of it make my blood boil as usual.
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Old 07-30-2004, 11:08 AM   #7
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Yes indeed. What IF the terrorists lived in ...say Cabramatta.... Not that I am implying anything here...
Ah, I bet it changes if the innocent people have fair skin and dont wear veils.

Truly.

I wouldn't see an opportunity to blow anyone up as any kind of priority. In this loosely described scenario, the threat from the device is really the issue. Not your sitting ducks.
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Old 07-30-2004, 11:10 AM   #8
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The terrorists are in a Middle Eastern country and the bomb is where - with them in the Middle East or already planted in the western city?
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Old 07-30-2004, 09:33 PM   #9
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I have no bomb the ME into glass interest, this is a purely hypothetical scenario (that could have been worded better) that has two choices, the first is to wait for an attack and try to prevent it at home however tens of thousands of your citizens are at risk. The second is to attack a host country in which the potential risk would be to kill even more innocent people. I have been thinking about this problem for quite some time and it is a very difficult one. Two options each one will lead to substantial loss of life because of your decision, I am on the fence here I just wanted to see what anybody else thought and their lines of thought.
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Old 07-31-2004, 02:39 AM   #10
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If you have sufficient intelligence to know their exact location, then your choices aren't really limited to wait or bomb. If you know their exact location, then you presumably have the means to track their movement, and given that you then have sufficient intelligence to immediately alert the host country of the immediate threat. Give them the information and inform them that immediate action will be taken, whether by their own government or by special forces on our side (or both).

Given your wording (or what I can gather about the hypothetical so far), I'm not sure if it is possible to be a strictly wait or attack scenario.
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Old 07-31-2004, 02:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Diemen
If you have sufficient intelligence to know their exact location, then your choices aren't really limited to wait or bomb. If you know their exact location, then you presumably have the means to track their movement, and given that you then have sufficient intelligence to immediately alert the host country of the immediate threat. Give them the information and inform them that immediate action will be taken, whether by their own government or by special forces on our side (or both).

Given your wording (or what I can gather about the hypothetical so far), I'm not sure if it is possible to be a strictly wait or attack scenario.


Unfortunately this hypothetical just makes you sound like you have an itchy trigger finger. You're talk about how deadly force is the only way, how 9/11 wasn't enough of a wake up call, and these threads you keep opening I admit scare me. It just sounds like you can't wait to wipe someone out. This is just how you come off to me. You're hypothetical is very loaded hence why I ignored it for so long.
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Old 07-31-2004, 03:08 AM   #12
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I admit it was loaded, I tried writing it out three times so it was somewhat of a shonky chimera, you are given two choices, attack first and certainly kill thousands of innocent people in said country and risk a nuclear response or try to prevent it at home and take that risk that your citizens would be killed. It is a tough call because both choices pose grave risks to your own citizens.

I dont think that deadly force is the only way, far from it. I think that there is a problem out there that demands a full response on all fronts. Soft Power and Hard Power, drawing an inference based on a sig is not what I would call a proper consideration of my opinions on such matters. Got a question then ask it directly.
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Old 07-31-2004, 04:43 AM   #13
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Also (attempted edit), I will often play Devils Advocate on issues that I personally am against (first strike policies against nuclear nations, alliances with terrorist supporting regimes, domestic spying, increasing role of government, ), that may play into this point of view you have of me that I find quite, interesting. I find the best way to understand an issue is to work at it from all points of view and construct your my opinion from all the information at the table. It is much better to do this and consider everything then make up your own mind that believe that everything Bush or Moore (just two opposing points of view, could be anybody else) says is the Gospel Truth and blast anybody who disagrees. Getting stuck in a group think mentality is the worst possible thing to happen therefore ask yourself tough questions and think about tough situations and think about what you would do, if you can't do that then you will never be able to think for yourself.

Only issues where you may be 100% sure I am being serious are.
- My support for Israel
- Hatred of standing by while states commit mass murder.
- Support for the liberation in Iraq
- Criticism of many aspects of religions, be it fighting against stem cell research to honour killings.
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Old 07-31-2004, 05:05 AM   #14
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The thing about hypothetical questions is they are supposed to put you in a quandry, they are supposed to make you think, not just offer up a feel good answer. And yet the beauty of hypothetical questions is we can make them as exact or as cloudy as we want.

I'm assuming from your question that I (as prez) do not have the luxury of time to plan for any kind of raid or arrest type scenario and that a bombing is the only possible action available to me to prevent the imminent detonation of a nuclear device elsewhere.

Under these conditions, I'd attack. And this is why. If a nuclear bomb went off in a major city, there will be massive loss of life AND there will be a full scale war too (which is going to cause more). And IF I (as prez) can prove there was a nuclear bomb going to be detonated, there is a slim (I realize extremely slim) chance to avoid all out war. Plus, if I kill off the plotters (no matter where they are), they can't do it again. If they live, they can do it somewhere else, so it would be important to me to stop them. But with either choice I'd be damned if I do, damned if I don't.

And then I would probably go into the garden and blow my brains out....
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Old 07-31-2004, 05:19 AM   #15
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^A real answer
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