View Full Version : Would You Define the Attack as Cowardice?

09-13-2001, 01:02 AM
The President referred to the terrorist attack as cowardly, would you?

09-13-2001, 01:30 AM
No. The people planning this knew it would result in their death and the deaths of those around them. I don't just mean the ones who actually did this. My dictionary defines a coward as a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, pain, etc... These people were not cowards and their attack was not cowardly. It was evil. I don't give these people credit for courage because their irrational and evil beliefs allowed them to have the state of mind to face danger. Only men with a rational appreciation of danger and consequences should be given credit for courage. So these people were neither courageous nor cowardly. Just garbage.

09-13-2001, 03:30 AM
Not on the parts of the fanatic suicide operatives themselves, but perhaps on the part of the leader(s) of the terrorist organization.

Terrorism itself is perhaps an inherently cowardly act, a striking out at the helpless and innocent instead of at those whom one might feel are the cause of the problems or grievances.

09-13-2001, 07:49 AM
Having a big enough vendetta to take out the lives of ten thousand innocents, yet not even having the courage to show your face is the epitome of cowardice. As for the those who gave their lives carrying out this heinous act? Please! They are brain-washed puppets who believed they were buying a ticket to heaven.

09-13-2001, 09:37 AM
The hijackers that died were brianwashed maniacs too ignorant to realize that their masters who planned the attack were the ultimate of cowards. The hijackers themselves were neither cowards nor heroes perhaps not even human when they died. They were just forgettable wooden heads. Just ask the planners that refuse even now to acknowledge their own part in the attack. The hijackers died for nothing. They will not be remembered. It is the innocent victims that will be remembered. Make no mistake about that. Just ask any American.


09-13-2001, 12:19 PM
Even though a sneak attack, Pearl harbor was a military attack on a military target. Plus, the Japanese flew planes that could be clearly identified as if to say, "Yeah, it's us. we did this, here we are, now come and get us if you can!"

The ruse of people like khaday, the taliban, arafat and the Iranians to say "this is horrible" is just their way of trying to hide from the inevitable. We will extract revenge and most of the world will understand or at least tolerate it if some of the attacks are not so "surgical".

09-13-2001, 12:30 PM
I think the people used for medical experiments, chemical warfare experiments, bayonet practice, or other such Japanese WWII activities could find some room to disagree.

09-13-2001, 01:04 PM
Yes, to define Japanese actions in the 1930s and 1940s as "honorable" would be quite a stretch. SammyB was comparing Pearl Harbor with the events of 9/11. To compare degrees of "honorability" is also quite a stretch. The word simply does not apply to either action.

09-13-2001, 03:57 PM
"Terrorism itself is perhaps an inherently cowardly act, a striking out at the helpless and innocent instead of at those whom one might feel are the cause of the problems or grievances."

Kinda like letting sick children in Iraq that could easily be helped die instead, just to get Saddam Hussein out of power, right?

Go on, America, join the crowd - retaliate the retaliation. But if you meet hatred with hatred you better destroy your enemy completely, or they will retaliate YOUR retaliation, and on it goes, like it has in some places in the world for centuries.

Like it goes on in the Middle East.

Welcome, America. Your now a part of the Middle East.

09-13-2001, 04:09 PM
And I'm sure the U.S. is going to take honorable counter-action...

09-13-2001, 04:30 PM
***Kinda like letting sick children in Iraq that could easily be helped die instead, just to get Saddam Hussein out of power, right? ***

If you think this is at all comparable to the actions of 9/11, then I shouldn't even bother responding, because we obviously have no rational basis for an argument. However, I'll respond anyway, because I can't help myself. In your example above, we are talking about a dictator who has tried to isolate his country from foreign influence, and who has in the past invaded a peaceful neighbor. After the Gulf War, we made it clear that we wanted to make things right in Iraq, politically. You may argue that we have no right to go around installing "puppet" governments in other countries, but we do have the right to prevent people who have initiated wars from having the capability to do so again, and that is what we are doing in Iraq. They don't want us in their country, so we do only what is necessary to prevent Sadam from waging war. We learned the lesson already when we let Hitler re-arm.

The perpetrators of Tuesday's devastation were cowards. The fact that the actual hijackers had the courage to die for their crazed agenda does not make them any less cowards. Even the attack on Pearl Harbor was cowardly, though as was said, that was an attack by a known country, not an organization hiding in the shadows. Cowardly does not mean only lacking the courage to face adversity, it also means lacking the courage to take responsibility for one's actions. The level of pure evil displayed by those responsible for this is another matter, and would not have been diluted if they had stood up and said they did it. That they did not stand up, however, makes them cowardly as well as evil.

09-13-2001, 05:41 PM
I agree with SammyB 100%, the opportunity has presented itself for the United States to go beyond the acceptable limits of surgical action (hah!) and stop worrying about public opinion. Which is an over-rated concept anyway.

My humble suggestion would be to run about two dozen tactical nuclear strikes over Afghanistan. Each payload no more than 100 megatons. Of course, neutron bombs, which eliminate personnel but leave buildings intact, would be no use in Afghanistan : those people have no buildings to start with! haw haw haw.

A small chemical run could follow, sort of fumigating the area from the lot of unseemly towel heads. The evening could be rounded off with a good old-fashioned display of napalm over blackened Kabul, to provide the background for the midnight News.

09-13-2001, 06:02 PM
Just stop this black-and-white bullshit of "we're the good guys and they're the bad guys" - the U.S. has done many evil and "cowardly" things. Want a better example? How about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Really heroic, eh? Innocent civilian people killed? Lots and lots. Yeah - Quwait. Go protect your oil supply. Mission accomplished. Don't pound your f***ing chests too much. This ain't no fairy tale, this is a world full of shades of gray. The U.S. stands for many good things, and many bad things. As does the rest of the world. These people hate the U.S. for a reason, as does many in the U.S. now hate these people for a reason, and in the process hate many others that gets lumped together with them because they belong to the same nation, area, race or religion. Welcome to a world of hatred and retribution. Go ahead and take revenge. Your revenge will eventually be revenged. And if Pakistan gets involved we might all have to face a nuclear war. Great. Super. "But we're the good guys." You are as f***ing brainwashed as these moronic suicide pilots crashing into the WTC and Pentagon. You've seen too many ridiculous super-patriotic Hollywood movies. There is propaganda in the free world too, you know. Hatred lies in all of us, but the truly good guys control their anger. Do something constructive to better the world instead of destructive. An eye, and then some more, for an eye, does not do anyone any good. You think that you are only reacting and doing wrong as a reply to others doing wrong first - well, I'll tell you a little secret: that's exactly what the other guys think too, in many instances (like this time). So stop BS yourself. Thank you.

09-13-2001, 06:34 PM

Lest I be totally misunderstood--I am not in sympathy with the people who perpretrated the acts of 9/11. That said, you wrote:

"The hijackers themselves were neither cowards nor heroes perhaps not even human when they died. They were just forgettable wooden heads. Just ask the planners that refuse even now to acknowledge their own part in the attack. The hijackers died for nothing. They will not be remembered. It is the innocent victims that will be remembered. Make no mistake about that. Just ask any American."

I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of why these people acted as they did. They will be remembered--by those who planned this and all those who agree with their agenda. They are martyrs for a growing number of people who advocate such acts as part of their political agenda. They were human when they died and their memory will live on. To dehumanize them and say they died for nothing displays a lack of understanding of their motivation and the reality that this type of combat is seen as legitimate by some and may be undertaken again by those who believe that it is. Believe me, no one in our nation's national security inner circle is in agreement with you on this one. It is my belief they know that these hijackers had a reason for this awful act.


09-13-2001, 06:37 PM

09-13-2001, 06:40 PM
When someone slaps you, turning the other cheek instead of retaliating may be noble and may have profound benefits.

When someone is trying to kill you, turning the other cheek will only get you killed.

Nevertheless, I agree with you that RETALIATION against those trying to KILL US may not be a good idea; rather, ELIMINATION of those trying to KILL US would be a good idea.

09-13-2001, 06:51 PM
"They were human when they died and their memory will live on. To dehumanize them and say they died for nothing displays a lack of understanding of their motivation and the reality that this type of combat is seen as legitimate by some and may be undertaken again by those who believe that it is."

Really. Who were they? What did they die for? They left nothing behind that identifies them. We had to search to determine who they were. To us they were "Anonymous". What cause did they die for? Who has taken responsiblility for their actions? They are as dumb as those clowns that are sitting in prison for trying to blow up the buildings eight years ago. They are in prison, these few are dead and their supporters are out and about and not claiming any involvement at all. Bin Laden if he was involved is a coward. For the very fact that he denied involvement. If he was involved and denies it he effectively let these followers of his die in vain.

"I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of why these people acted as they did.'

You have no idea why these people acted as they did. You just assume you do. For all you know they could have been high on cocaine and wanted a thrill. Do you really believe that people that acted as these need a good reason to kill. That's a joke. They were mindless scum and they're leaders are all cowards.



09-13-2001, 06:59 PM

I am very curious PPDC are you from the US? If you are then you don't deserve to be. Horrible but necessary is what comes to mind when I think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you are at war with a country you are basically saying that within limits the ends justify the means. You are killing people to defend your own people. I ask you: How many people would you kill to protect your family and friends? As for your next batch of filth: Why would Pakistan risk a nuclear war to harbor terrorists? What could they possibly gain? They could throw their lot in with the people who have commited the most barborous act in the last fifty years! You go tell the people who lost friends and family how evil they are for commiting acts that are no where near as barborous. Was this in defense of their people? How could it possibly be this way when they won't even take responsibility? Try as you may it is impossible to say that the US has commited such horrific unjust acts in the last 100 years.


P.S.- Our nation and world would be much better if we all took responsibility (thus the listing of my email address).

09-13-2001, 07:22 PM
Nothing about this situation is funny. People dying is not something to be taken lightly...

09-13-2001, 08:02 PM
What would you suggest? Have the President publish a notice saying that he considers Bin Laden naughty and the attackers to be Don't-Bees?

How would you suggest taking steps to prevent similar attacks in the future? Call the attackers bad names and have the UN publish a censure?

How about this; find the attackers support structure, destroy it. Leave nothing but smoldering craters and blood stained sands where the commanders and logistics people once stood and cheered the TV images of the WTC tower's collapsing. How about we use every means available to make sure that the next bunch who feels a need to fly a jet into a building do it understanding that not only will the pilots die but their intelligence handlers will die, their commanders will die, their trainers and financial supporters will die. How about we take action so the next time some poor kid from Kabul is offered, "the deal of a lifetime", cooking in a camp in the mountains for terrorists, he remembers that the cooks for the attackers of the WTC died along with the perimeter guards, radio operators and truck drivers.

How about if we make sure that every terrorist understands that it becomes very individual and very personal when he actively supports these actions.

Yes, people will still be brought in to terrorist organizations out of despair or duress. This is a basic aspect of human nature, man is a violent creature and some men won't suppress their violent tendencies. They will use violence and threats of it to bring people to work for them. This is one of the true tragedies of the situation. People will die in terrorist camps who are there only because the terrorist commander threatened to kill their family unless this poor sap would come over and run their radios. Sad? Yes. Horrible? Yes. Desperately unfortunate? Yes. Any more sad, horrible or unfortunate than the people who died in the Pentagon and in New York? Not hardly.

Pacifism doesn't work until humanity is ready to give in to it. Until then, they hurt us, we hurt them so badly they can't ever think about hurting us again without remembering the carnage brought by the forces of the United States and its allies.

Pacifistic solutions haven't worked with terrorists in the past, why should anyone expect them to work now? Have terrorists somehow evolved morally in the decades between Brigada Rosa and today?

J.A. James

09-13-2001, 08:08 PM

09-13-2001, 08:14 PM
Yes they will be remebered. They will be idolized and accepted as martyrs. Therein lies the secret to the basic strategy behind a rational response by the US.

Make sure that the entire world knows the cost of sending your minions out to become martyrs. Make sure every living person who has access to television, radio, print media or even a good rumor monger understands that when the next great reformer of "The One True Belief(tm)" gets a wild hair up his ass and sends his flunkies out to fly a plane through the side of a plane, it will be a fatal decision. It will not only be fatal to the leader, but to his intelligence staff, his planners, his financial supporters, his "religious" advisers, his drivers, his cooks, his radio operators and everyone else who stood in his shadow and helped him out.

Sure, the "martyrs" made it in to heaven. Of course, the members of the organization who weren't publically martyred were just shot down as they slept. Their leaders were identified by their dental records because their bodies were blown into bloody rags when the cruise missiles came through the back door of their chateau. The intelligence support people were found lying in fly swarmed, blood stained blotches of desert sand.

They chose their method to become martyrs. They weren't satisfied by just dousing themselves with gasoline and lighting it off on the evening news.

There is no possible way to make sure nobody ever considers similar actions. Imposing on others by force is one of the basic aspects of humanity. But they can be made to understand the cost. They can be made to understand that when the next Bin Laden comes and asks them to drive his trucks for him; the last driver was hit by so many bullets that his own mother couldn't identify his remains. They can be made to understand that they do have a choice. Their family is threatened in order to get them to operate the new leader's radios but the last leader's radio operator was barely discernible from the slagged remains of his transmitter so great was the conflagaration when the FAE went off three meters above his bunker. At least now they will understand the stakes.

J.A. James

09-13-2001, 08:18 PM
Hopefully not. Hopefully the US is going to deliver the full weight of it's Special Operations, naval, air and tactical missile forces to make sure that the terrorists can only be identified by DNA analysis.

Cruise missiles followed by Airborne assault followed by Delta and Special Forces coming in to take any survivors off to The Hague for trial. If we're very lucky, those survivors will try to put up a fight and save the hassle of bringing them back.

Realistically, US and Allied Special Operations forces will be employed to attempt to capture Bin Laden, or whoever turns out to be the actual leader, and bring him to justice. Much more than he deserves and not at all likely to generate the lesson that will teach the follow-on terrorists the cost of a similar attack, but most likely.

J.A. James

09-13-2001, 08:26 PM
The US doesn't have any weapon systems that can deliver 100 megatons from a single delivery system. The biggest weapon in the US inventory is the B-53 (Mod-1). It's an air droppable, strategic bomb deliverable by the B-52. It has a nominal yield of 9 megatons.

More realistic weapons, should the nuclear option be considered, are W-80(Mod-1) warheads delivered by Air Launched Cruise Missiles. While they only have a nominal maximum yield of 150MT, they're a safer and more robust delivery system than the strategic bomber. Unfortunately they're not much good against a heavily fortified, dug in target. For that, we have the B-61(Mod-11) which was entered into service in the late 90s in order to have a low to medium yield (.3kt-340kt) tactical weapon specifically designed to penetrate hardened targets. The primary disadvantages to the B-61 are that it's an air dropped weapon. It requires aircraft access to the target area. Given the remoteness of some areas of Afghanistan and the likelihood of Bin Laden's taking refuge there, ALCM delivery is the most likely.

The nuclear option is, unfortunately, a real one in this situation. If the Special Operations troops are unable to gain access to the targets, then higher firepower methods might have to be employed. Fortunately the remote areas of Afghanistan are nearly ideal for targeting nuclear weapons as the tremendously mountainous terrain limits fallout spread and downwind effects.

Not a great option but one that's very likely being laid out on the planning table.

J.A. James

09-14-2001, 12:17 AM
"Until then, they hurt us, we hurt them so badly they can't ever think about hurting us again without remembering the carnage brought by the forces of the United States and its allies."

You might be forgetting something. Many of these people are used to the death and carnage brought upon their loved ones. They are numb to the ravages of war. Except for our enlisted military, we are not. We for the most part, are pampered and sheltered from such carnage close to home. So in this battle you want to engage in, they will hold up much better than we.

09-14-2001, 12:41 AM
Hey don't get me wrong, I am honored and blessed to be an American. But if you don't see that our interests in the Mid-East over the last 20 years, have been a bit self-serving and hypocritcal then you're just plain naive, ignorant, or a little of both. To this day we still make regular bombing runs against Bahgdad. We think nothing of killing innocents who's only crime is trying to feed their family by going to work in a factory just because they "might" be manufacturing a part which can be used for military among other things. With the exception of Israel, our policy our Middle-Eastern policy has been to take whichever side best serves our interest. We have literally created and given power to many of the monsters you now want to destroy.

Peace and solution can only begin with an understanding of the other side's motivation. But perhaps peace is not what you're after. Maybe it's plain old revenge in which case, you're no better than those you wish to punish. I'm not saying retribution and an attempt to stop terrorism isn't in order. But having a myopic view such as yours only fuels matters.

09-14-2001, 12:52 AM
. . . is not funny. Nor is it something to be taken lightly. When American planners are coolly putting megadeath figures on paper as we speak, I'm as outraged as when I imagine the conspirators of the Tuesday bloodbath laying down THEIR plans.

Satire is the last refuge of the outraged.

09-14-2001, 01:08 AM
Thank you. Well put. Most Americans don't seem to see this. And I'm probably expressing myself a little too provocative to get anyone to listen...

09-14-2001, 01:29 AM
I do think that you may need to use violence. But only if you have to. And only as little as possible. And only to reach a goal, a goal of in the end making things better. Not for revenge. Not to get even, to "show them who they are f***ing with", etc, etc. And the violence must stop as soon as possible and be followed with constructive action instead of destructive. Terrorists aren't doing what they are doing because they think it's fun. They are doing it because they believe that they are doing the right thing. (OK, not all, but this kind at least.) They too are fighting the evil of this world. Just like you. And if you see these things in black and white then you are as deluded as the people steering those planes into the WTC.

09-14-2001, 01:44 AM

09-14-2001, 01:48 AM

09-14-2001, 08:21 AM
...I cherish the concept. The important point is to excise Bin Laden _et al_ (and I mean _et al_ in the most complete and extensive sense) like pustulated ganglia in a premetastatic state. And don't let the surgical metaphor mislead you. The completeness of the procedure is foremost, the precision secondary and coincidental.

I want no one left alive to nurture, harbor or finance the terrorists. I want no one left alive to perform the terror. I want everyone left alive to know what will happen to them if they try.

We can take our lesson from what the Royal Navy did to slavers in the nineteenth century: intercepted them at sea and hanged them summarily (no trials; therefore no acquittals).

09-14-2001, 09:03 AM
---""I want no one left alive to nurture, harbor or finance the terrorists. I want no one left alive to perform the terror. I want everyone left alive to know what will happen to them if they try.""---

These could be the exact words used by the mastermind behind the attack when he ordered his commandos to perform their mission.

Do you really, honestly want to equate the United States with a terrorist in the eyes of the world? Is that in America's best interests either ?

Is it even (at least) something that will eradicate terrorism ? Or is it just something that will make you feel good in the SHORT TERM ? Think about it before you thump your chest next time, Jake.

---""We can take our lesson from what the Royal Navy did to slavers in the nineteenth century: intercepted them at sea and hanged them summarily (no trials; therefore no acquittals).""---

First of all, the British Royal Navy was not exactly a saint in these matters (slave trade) either. But, in those instances you mention, they had, at least, a specific and clear target, i.e. the slave traders ship & the slave traders. They did not go to Dahomey and bomb its shores back to the stone age! They did no kill indiscriminately. They did not try to "eradicate" anything.

They were, you know, civilised...

09-14-2001, 10:25 AM
They set the terms. (Odd that you are the first viewer.)

What do you mean by chest thumping? Is that some display one performs to draw attention (like a ruffled grouse in heat), or is that something one does to an adversary to give them a sore chest?

My exact words were (or could have been) used by a hyena mastermind? Were not those murders inspired and committed by deeply religious people acting out the will of their Almighty. I'm a simple aetheist whose behavior is confined to right versus wrong. And not eliminating terrorism by eliminating terrorists and their supporters would be wrong.

George W. Bush just happens to be right (and I'm certainly not Republican). The world wants leadership. As its newly anointed biggest-ever-in-history victim of terrorism, we'll give'em leadership. We'll find these monsters in their hiding places and kill them. And we'll kill everyone who supports them, even if it means overturning governments. We'll give the world zero tolerance for terror tactics and terrorist states. George is right: we can END terrorism. And not doing it would be wrong.

Whose side are you on, anyway?

09-14-2001, 11:25 AM

Of course we need to reexamine our role in support tyrants that happen to temporarily serve our interests!!! I think that finding out why is just as important as the who and how. I think we need to do everything we can to reexamine all the systems that broke down. Foreign policy is definitely one of those systems. I think it is also safe to say that everyone in this country wants the people who did this destroyed and also peace afterward.


09-14-2001, 11:43 AM

I understand that you re in real pain but the nuclear solution is just not feasible. If we truly wanted the whole of the rest of the world to be scared of the US then this would be the solution. Why in the heck would we want to have that happen? I honestly doubt that even our close allies in Europe would support that. I think that we need to use a rifle to kill the wolf not a machine gun.


09-14-2001, 02:03 PM

You wrote: "To us they were 'Anonymous'".

I was responding to you because you are analyzing their position vis a vis "us" not attempting to understand their thinking from their point of view. To do so is not to legitimize it but understand it. If this is war then Americans must understand the other side and see them for what they are. Otherwise we will be swinging in the dark.

Almost all war today is perpetrated in anonymous ways. How many Iraqi's new the identity of those bombing and shooting them during the Gulf War? They did not know the names and faces of our men. But they did know why we were there and what we thought was at stake. We must learn what these terrorists think is at stake and what means they are willing to use to reach their goals. To find that out we must see them as thinking human beings.


09-15-2001, 02:56 PM
You ask me "whose side am I on, anyway". I'm with an America which you obviously have chosen to ignore and discard. It's an America that

* allows its citizens to express their opinions freely, even if that means that they burn the very same American flag!

* cherishes habeas corpus and protects the fragile word of the law. (Note that George Bush, at least, keeps up appearances, unlike the lot of you guys in the se pages. His words were "...and we will bring them to justice." He has not yet proclaimed a jihad. Jihads are un-American.)

* despises hostage-taking, civilian-killing and ends-justify-the-means tactics. (OK, OK, on this point you still have some way to go, but still, you do pay lip service to it, so I grant you it's still the American way.)

I'm for bringing those who did it to a court of law, such as there is already. I am for having everyone who had any part or supported the barbarism duly punished. I am for having all the countries that help people responsible for such acts totally isolated by the world community. I am for the rule of law. This is the process for whose survival I hope the United States of America continues to live and prosper and lead by example.

You, on the other hand, want to see blood and guts. That's pride talking, boss. An inflated ego which "takes no shit" without reaching for it, irrespective of the consequences. Well, those were actors playing the cowboys, boss, not real people. So, allow me to hope that your President proves himself a better American than you.


[Not an American citizen]

09-17-2001, 09:13 AM
"I'm for bringing those who did it to a court of law..."

So am I. But not an American court. We can execute only by lethal injection. Of course, keeping him(them) alive would only inspire futile and bloody attempts to force us to free him(them). An international court can order death by hanging. I consider, however, the prospect of seeing these hyenas upon the gallows slim.

"You, on the other hand, want to see blood and guts."

Blood and guts, my young friend, are what we see now. That is the problem.

"So, allow me to hope that your President proves himself a better American than you."

I hope so. See, in the war of my generation I performed active service on the other side of the Pacific. He used his dad's influence to join the reserves to avoid it.

Don't tell me about being a good American.

09-17-2001, 09:21 PM
Perhaps you are projecting, Jake.

And thanks for the "young friend" salutation! Like a marmelade toast, it added vanity to my breakfast.

09-21-2001, 08:20 PM
It's not a matter of being "in pain." It's a matter of the tactical realities of the target environment. If the US were to decide that they had enough certainty as to the location of their primary targets, it's very possible that those targets are not engageable with conventional means.

Afghanistan is a tremendously large, rocky and cave strewn country. The biggest conventional warhead useable on a cruisemissile isn't effective against targets deep (more than 50 feet+/-) inside a cave. This distance can even be reduced based on factors such as the ventilation of the cave, it's physical structure in regards to line of sight access to the detonation point, etc. In short, if we had absolute certainty that bin Laden and all of his planners were in the back of a 150ft deep cave with half a dozen right angle turns between the entrance and their location, we can't get them with anything in our conventional inventory.

I'm not advocating nuclear weapons per se, I'm advocating not restricting the tactics based on the politics of national self-image. Realistically, to get a target as I described, we'd have to wait them out, flush them out or blow them out. Waiting them out puts our forces in a fixed location for an extended period of time and restricts their availability for other actions.

Flushing them out is dependent on being able to introduce physical methods(tear gas, other chemical materials), psychological methods (Led Zepelin and dying rabbit tapes as in Panama), or other methods to get the bad guys to come out. Again we're stuck with having our troops fixed and no guarantee that there will be any effect. It would be a fairly epic bummer to spend six weeks trying to flush them out to find out they'd all sucked the muzzle of an AK the second day we were there.

Blowing them out requires either conventional military interdiction or nuclear weapons. Military weapon systems are designed to destroy people and equipment. They're sadly out of their league when it comes to what essentially amounts to quarrying. The "Silver Bullet", the depleted uranium penetrator from the M1-A1 Abrams tank, will not penetrate most igneous rock structures as far as it will penetrate state-of-the-art armor. It's not designed for it and few weapons work well outside of their designs.

The problem is that we have weapons that will effectively give us a 99.999995% guarantee of 100% lethality for everyone in the bottom of that cave. Boom! The mushroom cloud rises, drifts away, the fallout settles and we dig out the bottom of the newly formed crater. Uhoh... not enough left to even get good DNA samples, the fireball physically interfaced with the cave structure and every living thing in the bottom was subject to 1500 Calories in^2. They've been vaporized.

We're "pretty sure" that our target was there. We're "pretty sure" that nobody got out before we set off the bomb. We're "pretty sure" that our intelligence was accurate enough to make the other "pretty sures" as accurate as we can make them.

Cheers and dances in the streets, the US is pretty sure they got the evil perpetrator of the greatest loss of life in a single terrorist attack. A few weeks pass... The US Embasy in Congo gets a fax, "Hi, just to let you know, You missed. O.b.L."

Doesn't matter if it's bin Laden or some 19 year old kid at the University of Helsinki who's playing a prank. We are now right back to where we started.

I'm not pro-nuke or particulary anti-nuke. Nuclear weapons are desperately overrated in their capacity for global destruction. What I am is in favor of dealing with the terrorists as effectively as possible and not letting a great deal of concern about the stigma of specific weapons getting in the way. Nuclear weapons are damnably effective tools for some, very limited mind you, tactical objectives.

If you have a valley or mountain pass, both damnably common in Afghanistan, you can seal them against air passage with antiaircraft missiles and guns along with aircraft flying air cover. You can do this with any valley on the planet. If you want to seal it against passage by truck, you can do so with tanks, ground based troops and air support. Again, with enough manpower, this can be done to any valley on the planet, even the size of the grand canyon. But, there's the problem. If you want to seal it against passage on foot, those tanks aren't much good. You need a lot of grunts on the ground with a lot of artillery and air support. A LOT of grunts. If your valley is twenty miles wide, you're going to need five or six divisions of light infantry to seal that valley. We don't have them.

This is where nuclear weapons come into their valid position in modern warfare. We can effectively cover that valley in 1/2 mile wide slices with a single strike aircraft with supporting cover aircraft. We don't need five divisions of troops to make sure a group of three or four people on foot don't get out of the valley. We need a batallion who's equipped to move into the destruction area after the blast and recover the bodies.

If it's "fair" for the terrorists to use weapons that are at least as powerful as some of our tactical nuclear devices against us, then I don't think it's responsible to lower the bar and refuse to use similar means if that's what the tactical situation requires.

As an aside, a Boeing-757 at 300mph generates approximately the same amount of energy as a W-54 Special Atomic Demolition Munition or a nuclear artillery shell. Realistically, the actual damage to a structure is going to be greater from the aircraft impact than from the nuclear weapon because a nuclear explosion only gives up about 45% of it's total yield as blast. The rest is given up in heat and radiation. Given the small size of the weapon in question, the fallout footprint would be somewhat smaller than the rubble zone from the collapsed towers and the heat damage would have been restricted to the area immediately surrounding the WTC. In short, had they used a small nuke, it would have done less damage.