Monday, September 12, 2005

Pentagon drafts new policy on first-strike use of nuclear weapons

Today's Washington Post reports that

The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

The new doctrine has not yet been approved by Rumsfeld.

Designed for Iran and North Korea?


Einzige said...

This does not bode well.

Einzige said...

More info on this here.

Mike D said...

I did not read all 69 pages of the Pentagon document. I did not find the discussion of preemptive first strike. What I read was comforting to someone who cringes at the thought of actually using these things. There was much discussion of deterence. In fact, the main purpose of the nuclear arsenal seems to be deterance. Because of this purpose, it is important to make others think we will do anything. Deception is a key ingredient. I hope to think we are using deception when we threaten a first strike against terrorists. There is even admission that deterence only works with rational people who define their self interest in rational terms. We have no assurance that deterence will work with terrorists. But ink is cheap. I think they wrote it right but if next week we nuke a mountain enclave in Pakistan, I would not be happy.

Einzige said...

Why would the threat of unpredictability be a greater deterrent than the threat of retaliation?

Making others think "we will do anything" seems like a recipe for increased paranoia, secrecy, and unpredictability on the part of others. Not a good thing, IMHO.