The terror attacks on the airport and a subway station near the European Union headquarters in Brussels have left at least 34 dead, and some 170 injured. Amaq News Agency, an ISIS propaganda organ, issued a claim of responsibility. (Long War Journal) This was of course good news for the Republican presidential contenders in the US, helping to shift the debate from domestic economic suffering to the international jihadist threat. Ted Cruz wasted no time, saying in a statement: "We need to immediately halt the flow of refugees from countries with a significant al Qaida or ISIS presence. We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized." This was of course a call for bringing back the NYPD surveillance program that targeted Muslims before it was shut down in the wake of outcry and litigation. It was all the more galling that Cruz made his comment on a visit to New York City, where he was quickly blasted by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. "If he's that short-sighted, I can understand why the American public would repudiate his efforts to run this great country," said Bratton. (Daily News)
Meanwhile Bloomberg helpfully asked Donald Trump if he would consider using nuclear weapons against ISIS. The inevitable response: "I'm never going to rule anything out—I wouldn't want to say. Even if I wasn't, I wouldn't want to tell you that because at a minimum, I want them to think maybe we would use them. We need unpredictability."
Even these ultra-reactionary Republicans hadn't yet broached a nuclear option—despite repeated calls for "carpet bombing" (Cruz dusted that one off too after the Brussels attack, as Salon notes), which would be a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions (see Article 51, paragraphs 4 & 5). Cruz's previous pledge to find out "if sand can glow in the dark" was a veiled reference to nukes, as Salon noted in December. But now it is out in the open, helping to make the unthinkable thinkable and bringing us one step closer to Einstein's predicted "unparalleled catastrophe." Thanks a lot, Bloomberg.
Of course, the March 13 attack in Ankara claimed as many lives as the new attack in Brussels, and elicited no such global outcry. Attacks of this scale are now practically routine in Nigeria—to the barest trickle of media attention. But there's no sense in belaboring that point.