It might be more accurate to say, "What if it's true?" in regards to the reports. The Homespun Blogger Symposium XXIX question is:
What do we do about this potential threat not only to the United States, but to the global economy and the history of mankind?
Well, this might be one of those questions that has no right answer. If the reports aren't true, is it necessary to even discuss it? Perhaps. But, again, the premise is that the reports are true. So, let's give it a shot.
If true, the nukes aren't here simply as a threat. They are here to be used. The fact they haven't been used means either a) the reports are false; b) they have had trouble completing the bomb; c) they have had trouble arming the bomb; d) they have had trouble finding a suicide bomber to set it off.
Why do I say that? Well, heck, I can drive into the heart of any major American city. And, if they came across the Mexican border, they could be in San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston ... well, you get the idea ... the same day.
But, let's suppose they are waiting for a reason. What do we do?
Well, if, as the report states, they are working for Osama Bin Laden, what's stopping them? Or what would stop them?
Well, surrender is not the option. If you think it is, you aren't aware of who the enemy is. They aren't peace-loving people who have been wronged. If you believe they are, go join up with them. And I mean that. Seriously. Maybe I'll lose some weight, pass a physical, get a waiver, and be the GI that blows your head off in combat. I'd like that. Like a sergeant I once had said, "The thought of that makes me wet."
So, surrender isn't an option. Deterrence is, though. But, what would stop Bin Laden and his followers? Other than capturing them, that is. They aren't peace-loving people. So you have to find something they respond to. Maybe the threat of our nuking Mecca is stopping them.
Mutually Assured Destruction isn't a viable threat to use against crazy people. But think for a second. Many Americans believe that baptism is necessary for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. George W. Bush, being Methodist, isn't one of those. I, being Baptist, am not one of those either. But to many Americans, baptism is necessary for entrance to Heaven. That's why babies are baptized.
So, then, is the threat of preventing those who are otherwise "financially and physically able" from completing the Hajj enough of a threat? Well, for the crazies who are threatening us that have made the trip, no. But what about those that have not made the pilgrimage? Is the Hajj as important to a Muslim as baptism is to a Roman Catholic? If so, perhaps the threat of nuking Mecca is a valid threat.
Would we do it? Well, if your answer is "that idiot George Bush would probably do that," then good. Whether or not you like George Bush (and I do), the possibility that he might authorize a strike means that a threat is perceived as a real threat. And that's what we want.
The nuclear threat helped end World War II. Yes, the threat to use nukes against Japan was just that: a threat. Okay, you're right. We did use atom bombs on them. But we used all we had. We only built three. One was detonated on a tower to see if the darn things worked. They did. The second one destroyed Hiroshima and the last one hit Nagasaki. So, we were out. But Japan didn't know that, did they? The threat is what ended it.
So, the threat that's out there concerning Mecca may be acting as a deterrent already. But is there any other deterrent we can use? Well, this government isn't above paying bribes to others. No, I'm not advocating that. But it's been done. And maybe it was the thing to do. It's how we got the 52 hostages back from Iran. Carter paid the ransom. And Iran released the hostages. Of course, not until Carter was out of office. So Iran inadvertently gave Reagan a PR coup, allowing him to announce their release. And, if this government could buy its way out of a difficult situation and keep it quiet, they probably would. Although I wish they wouldn't.
But, what if deterrence doesn't work? What if they do set one off? Well, that's a nightmare scenario.
If we do nothing, they get away scot-free. And that's unacceptable. Unless you think they are a bunch of wronged peace-loving people. If so, read the paragraph above where I blow your head off.
So, we have to respond if they do set off a nuke. And any response will have consequences. But the outcome needs to be one that says if you mess with the U.S. you come away the loser. Otherwise, they'd do it again. So, would nuking Mecca or some other city be appropriate? No, not if we can find some other way of coming away with the point made. But yes, if there is no other way. And I can't think of a way.
I mean, we're not going to get a bunch of nations, other than the UK and Australia, to support us no matter what we do. Remember that France wouldn't let our Air Force fly over their airspace when we retaliated against Libya. George Bush isn't the problem with other countries; other countries are. They've been that way for years.
So, I don't think other countries can be counted on to support us in whatever we do. So, screw 'em. (Take that, Kos!) Let's do what we have to do. And if that means raining death and destruction down on some rouge country, so be it. Failing to do so may be a death sentence for this country, for me, and for you.