By now, many people in America - and likely around the world - are familiar with my statements regarding a possible response to a nuclear attack on U.S. cities by fundamentalist Islamic terrorists. Without question, my comments have prompted strong reactions from many quarters, but they have also served to start a national dialogue about what options we have to deter al-Qaeda and other would-be Islamic terrorists. Many critics of my statements have characterized them as "offensive," and indeed they may have offended some. But in this battle against fundamentalist Islam, I am hardly preoccupied with political correctness, or who may or may not be offended. Indeed, al-Qaeda cares little if the Western world is "offended" by televised images of hostages beheaded in Iraq, subway bombings in London, train attacks in Madrid, or Americans jumping to their death from the Twin Towers as they collapsed.
Few can argue that our current approach to this war has deterred fundamentalists from killing Westerners - nor has it prompted "moderate" Muslims and leaders of Muslim countries to do what is necessary to crack down on the extremists in their midst who perpetuate these grisly crimes. That being the case, perhaps the civilized world must intensify its approach. Does that mean the United States should be re-targeting its entire missile arsenal on Mecca today? Does it mean we ought to be sending Stealth bombers on runs over Medina? Clearly not. But should we take any option or target off the table, regardless of the circumstances? Absolutely not, particularly if the mere discussion of an option or target may dissuade a fundamentalist Muslim extremist from strapping on a bomb-filled backpack, or if it might encourage "moderate" Muslims to do a better job cracking down on extremism in their ranks. (MORE)