Monday, May 02, 2005
We do not pretend to know how it happened, but it seems our friends, or other mooncalves of a similar bent, have somehow worked their way into positions of responsibility at the Pentagon. The developments described below can only lead to A) rampant proliferation; B) the redefinition of nuclear bombs as just another weapon in the arsenal, and a concomitant radical lowering of the threshold at which the use of nuclear bombs is considered "thinkable"; C) a virtual guarantee that tactical nuclear weapons will be used by us; and D) a virtual guarantee that tactical nuclear weapons will be used against us:
Best of all: nuclear weapons leave nothing to investigate. If we call in a pre-emptive strike based on the threat of WMD's, and our intelligence turns out to be wrong (again) -- or cooked (again) -- the world will never know. Spares a lot of embarrassment, hmm?
The U.S. military is considering allowing regional combatant commanders to request presidential approval for pre-emptive nuclear strikes against possible attacks with weapons of mass destruction on the United States or its allies, according to a draft nuclear operations paper.
The March 15 paper, drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is titled "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations," providing "guidelines for the joint employment of forces in nuclear operations . . . for the employment of U.S. nuclear forces, command and control relationships, and weapons effect considerations."
"There are numerous nonstate organizations (terrorist, criminal) and about 30 nations with WMD programs, including many regional states," the paper says in recommending that commanders in the Pacific and other theaters be given an option of pre-emptive strikes against "rogue" states and terrorists and "request presidential approval for use of nuclear weapons" under set conditions.
The paper identifies nuclear, biological and chemical weapons as requiring pre-emptive strikes to prevent their use.
Allowing pre-emptive nuclear strikes against possible biological and chemical attacks would effectively contradict a "negative security assurance" policy declared 10 years ago by the Clinton administration during an international conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Creating a treaty committing nuclear powers not to use nuclear weapons against countries without nuclear weapons remains one of the most contentious issues for the 35-year-old NPT regime.
I'd like to see a more aggressive attitude on the part of the United States. That doesn't mean launching an immediate preventive war. ... Native analysts may look sadly back from the future on that period when we had the atomic bomb and the Russians didn't... That was the era when we might have destroyed Russia completely and not even skinned our elbows doing it.... China has the bomb... Sometime in the future--25, 50, 75 years hence--what will the situation be like then? By that time the Chinese will have the capability of delivery too... That's the reason some schools of thinking don't rule out a destruction of the Chinese military potential before the situation grows worse than it is today. It's bad enough now.
former running mate of George C. Wallace, and reputedly
the model for Gen. Buck Turgidson (Dr. Strangelove)
and Gen. James Mattoon Scott (Seven Days in May)
UPDATE: The cocky li'l fellas at the end of the bar are all liquored up and looking for a fight. From Mark Follman of Salon's War Room:
Iran has been puffing out its chest in anticipation, vowing to defend its right to a nuclear energy program. Over the weekend Ayatollah Khamenei called the U.S. arrogant and rude, and said it "deserved a punch in the mouth."UPDATE II: What do you suppose she meant by that?
And North Korea reportedly launched a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan on Sunday, just two days after a spokesman for Kim Jong Il's government dubbed President Bush "a half-baked man in terms of morality and a philistine whom we can never deal with." In the same statement, the official described Bush as the "world's dictator," who has "turned the world into a sea of blood." (Those comments followed Bush's own reiteration that Jong Il is a "tyrant" and a "dangerous person" who runs "concentration camps.")
The almost cartoonish invective is nothing new from either rogue regime -- but beyond the exchange of verbal blows, critics of the Bush administration see a real danger of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty getting beaten up in the process, and perhaps left for dead. So far Washington is avoiding any mention of a dozen commitments focused on disarmament that the U.S. and other nations signed on for during the previous NPT review in 2000. Most of those commitments have gone unfulfilled, giving nonnuclear states ammunition to blast the U.S. as hypocritical -- and to continue pursuing their own weapons programs . . . .
The Bush administration has argued that the NPT commitments from 2000, made in a pre-9/11 world, are no longer relevant given the war on terrorism, a roiling Middle East, and a nuclear black market with global reach. And most experts, Bush critics included, agree the treaty needs updating. But few if any would agree that the Bush White House's fueling a new global arms race is a wise idea.
The United States has "significant deterrent capability" to thwart North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Monday as the White House called a weekend missile test by Pyongyang "provocative."