What Is The Bush Doctrine?
Some commenters have cited this White House document as a delineation of the Bush Doctrine. The key portion I think is this:
For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack. Legal scholars and international jurists often conditioned the legitimacy of preemption on the existence of an imminent threat—most often a visible mobilization of armies, navies, and air forces preparing to attack.
We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that can be easily concealed, delivered covertly, and used without warning.
MORE . . .
The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.
The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.
(Emphasis mine.) Charlie Gibson does not really understand what the Bush Doctrine means. This was made clear in his questioning of Barack Obama in January of this year:
GIBSON: I'm going to go to the others in a moment, but what you just outlined is essentially the Bush doctrine: We can attack if we want to, no matter the sovereignty of the Pakistanis.
OBAMA: No, that is not the same thing, because here we have a situation where Al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States, that killed 3,000 Americans and is currently plotting to do the same, is in the territory of Pakistan. We know that.
(Emphasis supplied.) Obama of course is right and Gibson is wrong. Gibson asked Palin about attacking Al Qaida in Pakistan in the context of discussing the Bush Doctrine, proving he still does not understand it.
By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only
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