Tuesday, October 01, 2002

White House Would Welcome Hussein Assassination (washingtonpost.com)

In theory, I am not opposed to the use of assassination as a political tool. Any decision to use this concentrated form of violence would, of course, have to undergo a cost-benefit analysis, including an understanding of whether or not the results would be better than the status quo. For example, the British chose to not go through with several plans to assassinate Hitler during World War II because they felt that his lack of skill as a military leader was beneficial to the Allied cause.

In all fairness, if we were willing to use assassination, it ought to be fair for others to use it on us (same view I have on nuclear weapons, by the way). And the commander-in-chief of the armed forces seems like a legitimate military target to me. Intellectual capital is sometimes neglected in discussions of military resources.

This is not to say that I'm advocating the assassination of the President. I merely admit in a conflict, it would be a legitimate military objective and should in way be a "war crime."

The one thing I would insist upon in the use of assassination as a political tool is to fess up to it afterwards. If the U.S., for example, plots an assassination, it should admit to taking part after the fact. I think Israel's Mossad occasionally employs assassins, and they are not shy about taking the credit afterwards. Sure, take part in the cloak-and-dagger to get the shot, but let people admire your handiwork afterwards.

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