Friday, 8 November 2013
A Moral Question
However, I have reached this passage which does raise one question of policy:
"As long as our whole population is highly vulnerable to attack - or to the by-products of a purely military attack - we have no choice except to threaten retaliation on the enemy's own people." (p. 75)
Well, we always do have a choice. If personally attacked, I could choose Ghandian non-violence - although I wouldn't. But, in the situation that Anderson describes, I would not threaten retaliation on the enemy's own people. I am not able to say what would happen in practice, of course, but any country whose policies I was able to influence (which in practice means none!) would develop every possible defensive measure (e.g., land mines and anti-tank guns against tanks, not tanks against tanks) but meanwhile would pledge not to attack and would call on the populations of other countries to pressurize their governments not to attack either.
To attack a population with nuclear weapons would, to my mind, be unacceptable. Therefore, to threaten to do so would also be unacceptable. Meanwhile, it would be an urgent priority to reduce our own population's vulnerability, of course.