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Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes

by TChris

Encouraged by the astonishing success of the pre-emptive war against Iraq, made necessary by all those WMD’s Saddam Hussein was storing for his imminent attack on the US, the Pentagon is updating “guidelines” for the use of nuclear weapons in other pre-emptive strikes.

A copy of the draft document dated March 15 was posted on a Pentagon Web site for several months but was removed over the summer, according to the Pentagon official, who said he could not explain why it was taken down.

The draft says that to deter a potential adversary from using unconventional weapons, the United States must make it "believe the United States has both the ability and will to pre-empt or retaliate promptly with responses that are credible and effective." The draft also says American policymakers have "repeatedly rejected calls for adoption of 'no first use' policy of nuclear weapons since this policy could undermine deterrence."

That policy didn't deter 9/11. Could it be time for a new approach?

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  • Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#1)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:39 PM EST
    The draft document is available on a German website.

    Are you suffering from some delusion that anyone thought (or currently thinks, for that matter) that the US would pre-emptively use nukes? If so, please present your evidence.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#3)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:39 PM EST
    In reply to James Robertson: I do.

    Andreas - based on what?

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:39 PM EST
    Predeempterrence how's that for a portmanteau. Preempt to prevent? Nuclear deterrence by nuclear preemption is clearly Through the Looking Glass logic. As Humpty Dumpty said:
    `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.' `The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.' `The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'


    JR: Are you suffering from some delusion that anyone thought (or currently thinks, for that matter) that the US would pre-emptively use nukes? If so, please present your evidence.
    From CNN LIVE TODAY 10:00 May 23, 2002 Bush Wants Nuclear-Tipped Bunker Buster DOUGLAS FEITH, UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The special difficulties posed by deeply buried, hard targets is something that is very much at the fore of our minds. STARR: ... The Bush administration's solution, modifying an existing aircraft launched nuclear bomb with new electronics and packaging so it can penetrate hundreds of feet of rock... But Congress is divided on funding the plan. Many believe it all amounts to a new nuclear weapon and could spark another arms race.


    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#7)
    by Andreas on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    In reply to James Robertson: The document to which I provided a link in my first comment above should be evidence enough. A scientific analysis of the development of global capitalism shows that another imperialist world war is inevitable. The most ruthless imperialist power today is the USA. US imperialism has become as ruthless as German imperialism was between 1933 and 1945. There is only one way to prevent these developments: the perspective of world socialist revolution. See also: Sixty years since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings Part three: American militarism and the nuclear threat today By Joseph Kay, 9 August 2005

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    James: Are you suffering from some delusion ... It appears that the only delusion Andreas and TChris suffer from, is the delusion that reading and educating themselves before posting questions and opinions, is a good idea. ;-)

    Andreas: There is only one way to prevent these developments: the perspective of world socialist revolution. You might be exagerrating. I'd be surprised to find that were the only way.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    Careful there, Andreas... dubya seems to think thre's only one way to skin a cat, too.. hmmm...

    Edg: the only delusion Andreas and TChris suffer from, is the delusion that reading and educating themselves before posting questions and opinions, is a good idea.
    Ad Hominem: Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person."


    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    punisher: Point made, taken... and understood. :) Thanks, man... I need a good swat now and then, especially if you see me chewing my own foot!

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#13)
    by chupetin on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    Did anyone think that the US would start a war with another nation for any reason other than self-defense?

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#14)
    by john horse on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    TChris
    Encouraged by the astonishing success of the pre-emptive war against Iraq
    Tell me you were being sarcastic. To describe our invasion and occupation of Iraq as an "astonishing success"?? Regarding preventive war, one of the distinguished voices against this concept prior to the invasion of Iraq came from Arthur Schlesinger. As Schlesinger points out, preventive war is illegitimate and immoral. Using nuclear weapons in a preventive war only adds insult to injury (as well as increasing the amount of injury).

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#15)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    JR, for the threat of preemptive nuclear strikes to work, it must be credible, which means that it must be true, otherwise the bluff would surely be detected. So yes, we should believe that the United States will seriously consider a first strike, just as the potential targets should.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#16)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    As for evidence, here is what the executive summary of the document cited here says:
    The US does not make positive statements defining the circumstances under which it would use nuclear weapons. Maintaining US ambiguity about when it would use nuclear weapons helps create doubt in the minds of potential adversaries, deterring them from taking hostile action. This calculated ambiguity helps reinforce deterrence. If the US clearly defined conditions under which it would use nuclear weapons, others might infer another set of circumstances in which the US would not use nuclear weapons. This perception would increase the chances that hostile leaders might not be deterred from taking actions they perceive as falling below that threshold.
    This document is clearly saying that nothing can be ruled out, including, one must think, first use.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#17)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    Hey... where'd JR go?

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    Al:
    ..for the threat of preemptive nuclear strikes to work, it must be credible, which means that it must be true.
    Help me out here... I keep looking at this, circling it, trying this or that or another angle from which to consider it... I keep coming back to the one question that I can't answer for myself: In what conceivable way could credibility be satifactorily established, other than simply by using another one, (besides the 2 used 60 years ago) ?? Wouldn't that be pointing a gun a someone, and saying, "watch it buddy or I'll do this!" And then shooting him to prove your threat was credible?

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#19)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    There is no more money to be made with the old cold war deterrent strategy. We are seeing the wheels of 'progress' spinning here with the new revolutionary small nuclear devices. Progress has to be ever paraded on the catwalk of the new to keep alive the self gratifying illusion that we are always moving forward. The questions never asked are: 1. Has technology (progress) killed more people than is has saved, or has it helped more than it has harmed? 2. Where are we progressing to? 3. Can the fruits of progress ever be greater than the people who possess them? 4. Why is there still so much hunger and disease in the world? 5. Why is progress only bandied about in terms of technology and not spiritual emotional terms? 6. How much life do we have to destroy in order to pave the road to progress. 7. Why do our leaders have to use terms that mean their opposite to convince us that they working on our behalf. 8. Why are we more and more savvy about consumption and less and less able to produce things on our own. 9. How many more questions do the wheels of progress occlude? One thing for sure is this: Progress has made a select few rich beyond compare.
    A Klee painting named "Angelus Novus" shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned.
    Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History" (1940)

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#20)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    Edger, you're quite right to be confused, there is a very weird logic at work here. Since JR seemed to think it was inconceivable that the US would use nukes pre-emptively, I wanted to show that it is not inconceivable at all, by the Pentagon's own statements. The Pentagon says, "We are not ruling out anything. Whatever you think is possible, you're right: It's possible. You have been warned." Add to this that the current president has already ordered a pre-emptive invasion of a sovereign nation that did not threaten the United States. Plus the fact that the current administration has revived the development of nuclear weapons, including some that are claimed to be of smaller scale, and torn up the ABM Treaty. All of this makes the implicit threat of a first use of nuclear weapons for whatever reason the president sees fit a very credible one, and it should be taken very seriously, in my view.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#21)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    Al: All of this makes the implicit threat of a first use of nuclear weapons for whatever reason the president sees fit a very credible one, and it should be taken very seriously, in my view. Agreed. I do think that Bush, and the rest of the administration, is temperamentally capable of it. And I hope that it won't take seeing him prove it for enough people to wake up.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#22)
    by mpower1952 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:40 PM EST
    ...the United States must make it "believe the United States has both the ability and will to pre-empt or retaliate promptly with responses that are credible and effective." How about catching bin Laden? Think that might make them think we're serious?

    Are you suffering from some delusion that anyone thought (or currently thinks, for that matter) that the US would pre-emptively use nukes? If so, please present your evidence.
    Well gee James, maybe the fact that Bush said all options were on the table led me to think along those lines...although, I guess "all options" means that we could pie them, or Celine Dion them to death, but something tells me that those wouldn't exactly be Bush's first response. I dunno James, maybe the fact that the whole story seems to be about the Pentagon contemplating using pre-emptive nukes kind of tipped me off, sent me along down those "pre-emptive nuke using" lines into thinking that, maybe, just maybe, the Pentagon was, well, contemplating using pre-emptive nukes...... I don't really think it gets much clearer than that. Did you even read the news report or did you just blurt out the usual "support the Administration at all costs" rhetoric?

    Squeaky, Re your earlier post at 03:05PM. I recommend this book extremely highly: Straw Dogs by John Gray. He's Professor of European Thought at the LSE in London. It's a provocative book, and has infuriated many people (check some of the reviews on Amazon) who are in love with the idea that technology and the god of progress are the answer to all our problems. The reviews on Amazon are interesting because most of the critical ones are written by people who have not properly understood the content of Gray's argument - it's a subtle one and well argued, but not superficially attractive. This book merits several re-readings.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#25)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:41 PM EST
    Squeaky: You might also find interesting two books by Alan W. Watts - "The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are", and "The Wisdom of Insecurity", if you can find copies. I think both are out of print. Check with used bookstores or metaphysics and philosophy bookstores.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:41 PM EST
    Squeaky I answered most of your questions over a few beers with my buds when I was 19. Since you seemed concerned I will give you the answers. I wish you would have asked sooner. 1.Has technology (progress) killed more people than is has saved, or has it helped more than it has harmed? - No. Yes 2. Where are we progressing to? You will know when you get there. 3. Can the fruits of progress ever be greater than the people who possess them? - Of course. In fact, most are. 4. Why is there still so much hunger and disease in the world? - See the answer to 3. Also consider the current practices of tearing down damns, withholding irrigation water from crops for fish, fighting against genetically improved crops in Africa and other places, etc. 5. Why is progress only bandied about in terms of technology and not spiritual emotional terms? It is not. By and large technical progress is a group thing, spiritual/emotional is an individual thing. 6. How much life do we have to destroy in order to pave the road to progress. None. 7. Why do our leaders have to use terms that mean their opposite to convince us that they working on our behalf. - They dont and they dont. 8. Why are we more and more savvy about consumption and less and less able to produce things on our own. Because our technology produces more and more. But don't worry, there will be enough engineers, doctors and military people to take care of the social science folks. 9. How many more questions do the wheels of progress occlude? As many as you are not willing to ask. One thing for sure is this: Progress has made a select few rich beyond compare. Look at the ratio of rich to poor in the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, etc. up and through the 30s and 40s and tell me that more people are less well off.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:43 PM EST
    PPJ-19 years old, drunk and a veritable sage, I guess it must have been nam that drained you of your wisdom.

    Re: Pentagon Contemplates Using Pre-Emptive Nukes (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:43 PM EST
    Squeak - Well, since I was in Norman drinking 3.2 beer, it is doubtful I was smashed by a couple. Does OK still have that delightful tradition? (3.2 beer) And yes, I guess I was a sage if we can use the questions you can't answer as a guide.

    This is just another page out of the PNAC playbook. When someone else does it, it's terrorism, when PNAC does it, it's a "new project" to "spread freedom and democracy".