The whole world knows about the grandeur of la France and that its politicians stand above good and evil, coherence and incoherence. Jacques Chirac demonstrated this again when he declared his government was willing to fire atomic bombs against “leaders of States who resort to terrorism against [France] or consider using weapons of mass destruction.”
This is the same guy who stated that the war in Iraq was unnecessary, unfair and illegal as his own army was bombing the Ivory Coast. In short, quite a statesman.
One of the main characteristics of nuclear weapons is that they cannot discriminate. They wipe out everyone, both the guilty and the innocent. The Theory of Just Warfare developed by the Spanish scholastics during that country’s Golden Age considered the possibility to discriminate as a necessary condition for any bellicose action to be deemed just. Up for debate is the matter of innocent people dying despite discrimination. But Chirac has no arguments because what he is proposing is to finish off terrorist governments by exterminating their civilian population. And it is most probable, in this case, the government leaders would be the ones to survive. Given the problems the state military machine is facing to stop international terrorism, the French government decided to go one step further in its particular interpretation of justice and threaten the civilian population of countries whose leaders support terrorism.
Why doesn’t the French government keep to threatening these leaders with firing a conventional missile in the middle of one of their ministerial meetings? Is there some kind of tactic agreement between leaders to mutually respect one another, even during war, and play out their disputes with the resources and lives of their fellow citizens? What sense does it make to threaten the lives of millions of innocent people because their leaders support terrorism?
Answering these questions provides the reason why the world moved from wars between warriors to total war. Before the French Revolution, wars could last decades or centuries and the civilian population hardly even noticed. It is only with the rise of the modern state and its ability to suck resources from individuals through coercive formulas that total war came on the scene.
Starting at the end of the 18 century, the population of an enemy country, which had been conscripted, became a military objective. In the end, with the development of the draft, all able-bodied men automatically became a military resource. In the 20 century, especially with income taxation and unbridled inflation as means for financing wars, the idea of the civilian population as a military resource took on more power. If an enemy state is financing its war effort by robbing its residents of purchasing power with inflation, every person living under such laws becomes part of the entity trying to inflict harm on us.
Statism has put innocents in the line of fire. From Robespierre’s Committee for Public Safety’s mass levy to Chirac’s threat to use nuclear weapons against terrorism, justice and respect for individual liberty have done nothing but dissolve in state acid.