Can we not talk about obliterating people?

Can we get through this campaign without threatening to “totally obliterate” anybody?

Sometimes a political candidate says something that patently insults the intelligence of voters to get cheap votes. Senator Clinton is getting hammered by everyone who knows economics because of her gas tax holiday pander. Although the proposed holiday is completely without merit, it distracts attention from something she said that is much worse. In a television interview she said (as summarized by trhe International Herald Tribune):

“I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran,” she said when she was asked what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. “In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them,” she added.

The next president will face some serious security problems deterring Iran. Yet to state the obvious, isn’t this a monstrous and crazy statement to make in today’s world?

More thoughts here.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.