Well, you’re going to want to know about the 12-gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun tucked behind the living room sofa and resting on a pair of bicycle storage hooks. And you’ll probably want to know about the 20-year-old Beretta 92FS hiding behind some faded sippy cups on the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet right next to the sink. And, of course, there’s my trusty 9mm Sig Sauer P229 and a .380 pocket gun tucked in the gun safe in the master bedroom closet. The combination is 1-7-7-6.
Now that you know where all my guns are, now that I’ve been so forthcoming, will you in exchange give me a head’s up as to what day you plan on breaking into my house in the middle of the night?
Pretty please, with cherries on top? Come on — I’ve been so forthcoming!
Now, I’ll have you know that 1-7-7-6 is not the real combination to my gun safe. And I’ll have you know that, when it comes to firearms, I own none of those described above. And I’ll have you know that those I do in fact own are not waiting to be found in the aforementioned locations in my house.
I’ll also have you know that the United States of America has exactly 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile. Wanna know how I know that? Well, the Obama administration told me. And everybody else.
That’s right — according to an Associated Press piece released earlier this evening, the White House felt that shifting to a policy of full disclosure when it comes to the size of our nuclear stockpile would in turn “get other nuclear nations to be more forthcoming” and “improve its bargaining position against a nuclear Iran.”
Now, experts have indeed been close in estimations of our nuclear inventory. In fact, they’ve been very close. Still, I might think that the guy with the trendy eyeglasses across the poker table from me is sitting on a full house as the dealer is about to flip the “river” card, but I absolutely, unequivocally know for a fact that he becomes a whole lot less dangerous to me and my pile of chips if he actually shows me his hand.
My question, with regard to the Obama administration’s unprecedented full disclosure of all things nuclear, is this: How, exactly, does this help America? Or, rather: How, exactly, does this strengthen America? Or, if you prefer: How, exactly, are Americans more safe due to public knowledge of previously classified national security information?
The short answer to all three questions, folks, is that it doesn’t. It doesn’t help America for everyone, friends and enemies alike, to know the contents of our nuclear stockpile. It doesn’t strengthen America. It doesn’t keep Americans safe. I don’t care that 5,113 is enough to destroy the entire world 150 times over. I don’t care. There is no upside here. There is only downside. There is only an increased perception of weakness, and an increased vulnerability for every American man, woman and child.
Think I’m being melodramatic? Really?
In his Declaration of War Against the Americans, written in 1996, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden considered the retreat by American forces from Somalia in 1993 and said, of the United States of America: “You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew. The extent of your impotence and weaknesses have become very clear. When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.”
Five years later, 19 had been killed in the Khobar Towers bombing, hundreds more slaughtered in the African embassy bombings, 17 sailors were murdered in the bombing of the USS Cole, and three thousand innocent Americans lay dead in New York City, central Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
And now, 15 months into Barack Obama’s presidency, the United States of America has made the projection of weakness the central facet of its foreign policy and its now lackluster prosecution of the Overseas Contingency Operation formerly known as the Global War on Terror. At home, the Obama administration investigates and threatens prosecution of its own intelligence officials. They treat citizens like terrorists and terrorists like citizens, stifling their own ability to gather intelligence by extending to our enemies constitutional rights and privileges reserved for American citizens, and looking for any sign of violence from their own domestic political enemies first before even considering the bloodlust among radical Islamic jihadists overseas, proven time and time again by innocent American blood shed in the name of Allah.
But, Jeff, how could anyone stop somebody committed to blowing up his beat-up Nissan SUV in Times Square? How could anyone stop a radical Muslim Army officer from shooting soldiers at Fort Hood? How could anyone prevent some kid who boards an airplane at a small airport across the world from detonating an explosive device tucked carefully behind his scrotum?
The answer, folks, is “systemically.”
I have a great, big rose bush growing on the side of my house, next to my garage. I’m six-foot-three, and if I were to prune the top, I might need a step-stool. Right now, it is absolutely ravaged with spider mites, little insects about one-fiftieth of an inch in length which feed themselves by biting into leaves and sucking them dry like some little, teeny-weeny vampire. If I want to rid my rose bush of spider mites, if sitting down with them without preconditions doesn’t work, I could always grab a pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass and carefully remove each and every one, maybe placing them on my neighbor’s rose bush so they have a place to live. Or, I could buy a pyrethrin-based spray and, standing from a few feet away, cover the entire bush with the plant-based insecticidal soap. Or, better yet, I could purchase a systemic pest killer, which is sprinkled at the root and spread throughout the plant’s stems, leaves and flowers by its own circulatory system.
To prevail over radical Islamic jihad, we must use both the topical and systemic insecticide. We must project strength, not weakness, ensuring that every jihadist and the foreign governments which allow for their existence understand that any attack on the United States of America will be met with unyielding force and devastation. And we must act systemically, knocking out the means and motivation for terror and terrorism by championing freedom and liberty for those who want it.
There is no room whatsoever for weakness of any kind. Osama bin Laden said it himself — by nature, people will choose the strong horse. Projecting strength, not weakness, will foment security.
5,113. It’s much, much more than just a number. It represents a political ideology completely divorced from reality. It represents a weaker America, and America represented by leaders who do not have America’s best interests at heart.
And it reminds me that I would much rather be led by a president who cannot pronounce “nuclear” than one who simply does not understand why we have nuclear weapons in the first place.