Would Obama Retaliate against a Nuclear Attack?

What if a Muslim country, such as Iran, launched a nuclear attack against us, or if agents aligned with Pakistan using dirty bombs were to attack America?  Would Barack Hussein Obama retaliate with nuclear force, as has been our stated policy since the 1950s?  Would he even unleash a barrage of non-nuclear shock and awe that would level those countries so that they'd be incapable of striking a second time?

When queried in Japan in November 2009, Mr. Obama declined to defend President Harry Truman's nuclear attack on Hiroshima, despite it having saved hundreds of thousands of American soldiers who would have otherwise died trying to defeat the recalcitrant Japanese.  Many on the left and in academia have gone so far as to characterize it as a display of American racism, questioning if we would have done so had the victims been British.  They ignore the efficacy of how that one-time use of a nuclear weapon spared this country from ever being a victim of nuclear attack.

This is a question the president needs to be asked, given how he is a proponent of a doctrine labeled Responsibility to Protect, "R2P."  The question is, though, what is Mr. Obama's conceptual understanding of the term "responsibility" and how will it influence the manner in which he wages war?

The past may be a guide.  As with all references to "responsibility," domestic or foreign, Obama sees responsibility as a type of sacrifice by the more powerful to those less powerful, be it redistribution of wealth or sacrificing one's optimal protection when weighed against how it effects those he considers innocent.  A nuclear response to a nuclear attack on us, or even a devastating shock and awe campaign, would certainly kill many non-combatants Obama would consider innocent.

The assumption that, as with all presidents, Mr. Obama would do what is best for America and Americans cannot be taken for granted.  We've never before had a president who sees himself primarily as a citizen of the world and initiates policies not always in the best interests of America but in the interest of more important (to him) global goals: loans to Brazil for their offshore drilling, hundreds of millions to Palestinian Arabs and Muslim countries -- increasing an already unbearable debt on Americans to do so.  Not to mention how he has tried every which way to stop Arizonans (Americans) from protecting themselves from murder, rape, thievery, and destruction of their property from mobs cascading into our open borders -- doing so, as he always does, by invoking some universalist "morality" and mission that, in his mind, supersede our parochial needs.  He has reneged on our commitment for a space shield for our allies in Eastern Europe while offering it to Russia, a threat to America.

Indeed, Obama has spent much time traversing the globe apologizing to all those countries that he claims have been the target of "arrogant" American military power.  Would he, then, be inclined to use the essence of American military power, its nuclear force?  Many around the world will not be deterred from going nuclear against us unless it is unequivocally understood that they will be annihilated if they do so.

None of this is remotely to imply that the president would be sanguine if our country were attacked; rather, one wonders if he has the stomach to retaliate overwhelmingly against the attackers, especially since he could rationalize his reluctance in terms of a "higher morality" that says: we can't bring back our dead by killing citizens elsewhere who did not pull the trigger against us.  His dilemma will be compounded if a dirty bomb or EMP were launched against us not by a government per se but by a group of terrorists independent of a government which nonetheless gives them sanctuary.  After all, the Arab/Muslim cause has been very adept and successful in demanding that its territories and people be spared retaliation by claiming that terrorism is the work of individuals and not a particular state or government -- and Mr. Obama is part of that chorus.

Furthermore, are we certain that Mr. Obama considers American life more important than, say, Iranian life, or that there is something exceptional about America that warrants choosing it and its people over the exceptional nature he has equally granted other countries and peoples?  Forget all these assumed notions that a president will always do what is best for Americans -- it boils down to Mr. Obama's moral compass.  If he thinks the way I think he does, he may likely consider it immoral to kill Pakistanis in order to save Americans, or Canadians.

The question becomes more acute if the attack comes from a Muslim source.  And that is because Mr. Obama demonstrates an unbreakable political and ethnic simpatico (though not necessarily religious) with Muslim causes and Muslim people to a degree not seen in any Western leader today or before.  What president designates an entire government agency, NASA, to forgo its intrinsic purpose and changes it to Muslim Outreach

Be it bowing to Saudi kings, funneling billions to Muslim causes around the world, ordering expanded immigration of Muslims into this country, waxing poetic about the "holy" Koran, instituting White House Ramadan Dinners, and re-writing American history to pretend some type of significant early historical relationship with Islam, as well as maneuvering to transform ancient Jerusalem, the Jewish spiritual capital, into an Islamic capital -- all of this shows a man whose identity and heart are very tied up with things Islamic.  There is something operating within the bosom of Obama beyond so-called political even- handedness.  It is a love affair.

Obama the Christian made his feelings clear in his book, The Audacity of Hope (pg.261), that if elected he would stand with Islam, no matter the prevailing winds against it.  And why not?  His family back in Africa is Islamic.  In his Cairo speech he said America will never be at war with Islam and that he sees his duty as president of the United States to fight against any type of stereotyping of Islam, no matter where.  Would he be willing, then, to use nuclear armaments against a society he endlessly keeps telling us is peace-loving and full of compassion and justice? 

Deep down, Obama may consider such wholesale retaliation as racist, since its victims are of a darker skin color than Anglos.  One cannot minimize the extent to which Obama and the left have expanded the definition of racism and how averting "racism" has become the centerpiece of all decision-making, overshadowing and surpassing even needs for defense.  Even now, Obama leaves the country vulnerable to jihadist plans with his refusal to ever mention the name Islam or Islamic when forced to comment on the many attacks by young Islamists on this country during the past few years.  He has done nothing to stop Iran from engineering its nuclear bomb and seems to be standing in the way of those who would like to protect us from a future nuclear inferno. Addressing the Manhattan Institute last week, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey warned of an Obama administration that implements policies that sacrifice an optimal protecting of Americans for what it considers even more important: making sure that there is no domestic backlash against Muslims.

There are those who point to his willingness to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But Obama's new "rules of engagement," designed to save Muslim lives and honor Muslim sensitivities, have resulted in many unnecessary American deaths.  This itself should prove the inverted priorities and danger inherent in his version of warfare -- it is American life which is sacrificed in the name of responsibility.  Truth be told, in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama has not taken on Islamic governments, rather the Taliban, which he considers an enemy of Islamic regimes.  It is unclear, however, if he would actually go to war against an actual Islamic regime or government when the need to do so is specifically American and does not accrue to the benefit of the Islamic world.

Can we rely on his constitutional obligation to defend America?  He may very well consider the defense of America to be better served through threats of retaliation but not retaliation itself, or he may prefer negotiation as the better route to defense, more "consistent with our values," as he often intones.  Nowhere is it written that he must constitutionally defer to his predecessors' notion of what constitutes an appropriate response.  Perhaps he will bypass the Constitution, as he has so often done in domestic affairs, under the rationale that he inherited these problems from Bush.  Will our military have to wait for a second round of attacks while the president wavers or consults with Samantha Power?

Campaigns provide that one season and window where a president can't hide in the White House and be shielded from the tough questions.  But it only happens if his opponents raise the issues publicly since the media seem unwilling to make Mr. Obama uncomfortable.

Our candidates should pose this very question. And this time we need direct, clear answers -- no Obamaspeak, no bureaucratic mumbo jumbo. America needs to know, and so does the world.

Rabbi Spero is president of Caucus for America and can be reached at (212)252-6861.

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