Tuesday, February 20, 2007

ASSASSINATION. Instapundit looks at the desirability of the government using targeted assassination and responds to criticism by Paul Campos.

[T]he Bush Administration might have been better off trying to use covert action to kill Iranian nuclear scientists and radical mullahs, instead of having to look at the massive air strikes now reportedly being planned, which would surely kill more people. He hurts his credibility up front by saying that Iran is not at war with us -- when, in fact, it has been since 1979, with the deaths of many Americans, soldiers and otherwise, on its hands.

Read the whole post.

In making his case that numerous leaders of both parties have looked at assassination as a legitimate state tool (Biden, Feinstein, Robb), Instapundit misses John F. Kennedy, who authorized the successful assassination of the President of South Vietnam, Ngo Diem, and authorized numerous attempts at the assassination of Castro.

The problem with utopian ideals of Paul Campos is that, while laudible, there has to be a line in the sand where such ideals meet reality. If the true attainment of utopian ideals were possible, there would no murder, there would have been no 9-11, no Taliban imposing their dark ages world view, the theocracy in Iran would be benign, and there would be no need to defend ourselves. But the reality is that such utopian ideals, while laudible, if adhered to with blind obedience, can be very destructive.

Really, from a moralistic standpoint, this is an age old question, similar in many respects to the decision to use the atomic weapon to end WW II. By using the bomb, we killed some 220,000 Japanese, mostly civilians, but it saved the lives of an estimated 500,000 U.S. soldiers who would have died in an assault on the mainland, as well as Japanese civilian casualties estimated to have numbered in the millions during and after such a military campaign. In sum, given a bellicose enemy actively involved in hostilities against Americans, is the murder of one or more people justified to prevent far greater death and destruction? I think that the answer is an easy one -- of course.

Update: Instapundit responds in a news article.

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