Saturday, June 24, 2006

Capital punishment versus mass murder in the case of rogue states and rogue groups

My proposal for dealing with the nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea and other at present possibly unknown rogue states and rogue groups has met with a polite silence.

However, at a recent conference where I raised the proposal again, a distinguished lady came up to me privately afterwards and said that she agreed with everything I had said, except the provision of the death penalty (she does not believe in it and in fact campaigns against it).

As I have already indicated, I do not put forward the possibility of the death penalty for individuals, let alone for families, lightly.

But it seems to me odd that this lady (and many others) seem to hate the killing of individuals convicted of murder but do not seem to mind the prospect of nuclear disaster for millions.

Anyone who has read accounts of what the residents of Nagasaki and Hiroshima suffered from the use of the rather primitive atom bombs there, will be aware that a modern nuclear bomb would have catastrophic effects not just immediately but for several generations to come.

Given the incentives for developing such weapons, as well as the disincentives for refusing to co-operate with rogue states or rogue groups that do and would continue to want to develop such weapons, I do not see how it is possible to ban development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons, if the penalty for violating the ban is not the extremely reprehensible punishment proposed.

Does any of my readers have any explanation for why people such as this lady feel so strongly against the death penalty even for people who would want to develop internationally-forbidden weapons specifically for the purpose of threatening and potentially murdering millions of people?

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