started asking questions of my grandfather.
War is undeniably one of the great evils that mankind has unleashed upon the world and sadly the one thing at which we as a species excel at. Aggression breads technology and at the very top of the tree are the nuclear weapons.
Many people argue that Nuclear weapons are necessary.
They have never been necessary.
The excuse of ending World War Two quickly is touted too quickly but the truth of the matter is everyone knew Japan could not physically hold out much longer and that conventional bombing methods would have sufficed. Indeed the RAF and USAAF had proved that over Europe where 25,000 people in three days in Dresden of saturation bombing in 1945 and Hamburg had suffered 42,600 killed in the firestorms of Operation Gomorrah in July 1943. With Germany defeated the bomber fleets were free to relocate to the Pacific.
At the turn of the 20th Century the greatest weapons were Artillery (and Dreadnoughts) by 1915 the horror weapon was poison gas, by the 1930s it was the Bomber especially if carrying gas and by 1945 it was the A-bomb. The only reason to use it in 1945 was to show the Russians that the West had them and was not afraid to use them should they be pushed as Churchill (succeeded by Atlee) and Truman knew that Stalin would not have hesitated to use them if he thought he had the upper hand.
In modern times though there is a small clique of states who have nuclear weapons all eyeing each other suspiciously... However who is the major threat?
A lose alliance of Islamic extremists who have no state and whose ability to use a nuclear device is, for the moment, limited to a dirty bomb for which the only defence is keen Military intelligence.
Should one of these devices go off in central London the effects would be ugly and a lot of people would be irradiated and killed with many dying from the effects for years afterwards.
English Democrat and former Kent Police Commissioner candidate (I think I heard he is running again in 2016) Steve Uncles has an answer to this... A retaliatory Nuclear strike on Mecca after ANY terrorist attack on the West.
Mr Uncles argues in his blog that the heart of Islam, within Saudi Arabia, will be full of Muslim pilgrims. He states:
Massive retaliation works on the same principles as Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), with the important caveat that even a minor conventional attack on a nuclear state could conceivably result in all-out Nuclear retaliation.
This threat to of massive retaliation of 1 million Muslims and the destruction of the most holy Muslim site in the world, if a further "civilised" life is taken on respective sovereign territory, may be the only answer to eliminate Islamic Terrorism.
My first response upon seeing this was... What... the... actual.... F**k?
My more reasoned approach is this;
First off the bat:
In 1914 the Sultan of Turkey decreed a Jihad against Britain and her Allies, for all Muslims to rise up against the West and come to the aid of Germany and her allies. Apart from a few scattered uprisings including some rumblings in Persia and in the Far East the majority was limited to just the Ottoman Empire.
In 2015 the same is true. Despite the call for a universal Jihad the number of Muslims fighting the West is, on the grand scale of things, a small number. Should the Holy shrines of Mecca be destroyed by the West then there will be a massive uprising of Muslims worldwide and who could blame them? Their Holy places destroyed in one blast would cause horrific hatred and rightly so.
As would the slaughter of a million innocents. How can anyone legitimise the murder, and it is murder, of all of these people? How many will be terrorists or support terrorists? These people will have come from around the world and may even be citizens of your state on a religious pilgrimage - how can you kill all these people?
If it happened we would be no better than the terrorists.
Thirdly is the prickly ball of Saudi Arabia. Yes there are sections of their society who probably funding terrorism but they are also pro-West and supply a vast swathe of the much needed crude Oil. Should anyone Nuke Saudi Arabia then that vital line is lost and the West is somewhat dependent on it at the moment. There is also the Saudi investment in the West and its business, their withdrawal could cause absolute chaos in the business world and financial markets.
The terrorists and their strategists know this and know any threat on Mecca is a paper tiger - it would cause more harm than good and is morally and ethically wrong. It is akin to General Amherst reported suggestion that blankets from Smallpox hospitals be distributed to the Ottawa indians to quell Pontiac's Rebellion.
What frightens me the most about all this though is that there will be many who agree with him.