Wash. Post: U.S. adopts first-strike nuclear policy


Richard Moore


Now it's finally official: the Pentagon will initiate
first-use of nuclear weapons if it can claim some enemy is
"using or planning to use" WMDs. This would of course have
applied to Iraq, which as it turned out had no WMDs: the
"using or planning to use" only needs to be claimed, not

This first-use doctrine is no surprise: it was leaked months
ago on the Internet, and was first proclaimed secretly  by
Bush back in 2002. The real significance of this announcement,
I suggest, is its timing in relation to the planned offensive
against Iran.

Prior to this offensive, obviously, the administration needs
to get all of its ducks in a row. We can learn what those
ducks are by watching news developments. First use of nukes,
given the difficulties Iran offers as a target, is clearly one
of those ducks.

The surprising and unprecedented evacuation of the Gaza strip
by Israelis - forced through by ultra-Zionist Sharon - is
apparently another of those ducks: enabling the Israelis to
nuke (ethnically cleanse) Gaza in the heat of conflict,
perhaps blaming it on a "stray Iranian missile". The Katrina
operation is certainly another duck: testing and implicitly
declaring the style of martial law we can expect to be
deployed domestically, in the wake of the phony terrorist
incident that will be used as the  final spark for the war.
The London bombings, as I suggested at the time, were another
duck: Britain will as usual be Washington's token
"international ally", and the British people need to be put in
a state of fear & expectation (like Americans post-911), and
indoctrinated that Islam is a terrorist culture. Segregating
people into "classes" or "sub cultures" has been a time-honored 
part of British society since at least 1066.

Does anyone know of any other ducks? I hope so, because if
we're running out that means war is near. We've seen reports
that military leaves have been cancelled for September: if
those are accurate we should probably begin looking for
bunkers to hide in. The Gaza pullout is particularly worrying
- not because its the most significant development - but
because it was so unexpected, so rushed, and so politically
troublesome for Sharon: its significance is as a timing
indicator. Sharon is certainly privy to secret Administration
plans, as Israel will participate in the attack, and he would
want to minimize the timeframe between his political
difficulties and the outbreak of war, which will obviously
eclipse those difficulties.

Another reason to think that Armageddon is near can be found
in this latest article. We read that the first-strike
announcement has been delayed because of various negative
consequences that are likely to follow from the announcement,
in terms of public opinion and Congressional reaction. Those
negative consequences can now be expected and, again, there
would be a desire to minimize the timeframe between the
announcement and the eclipsing events.



Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan 
Strategy Includes Preemptive Use Against Banned Weapons 

By Walter Pincus 
Washington Post Staff Writer 
Sunday, September 11, 2005; A01 

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 document, written by the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs staff but
not yet finally approved by Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld, would update rules and procedures governing use of
nuclear weapons to reflect a preemption strategy first
announced by the Bush White House in December 2002. The
strategy was outlined in more detail at the time in classified
national security directives.

At a White House briefing that year, a spokesman said the
United States would "respond with overwhelming force" to the
use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States,
its forces or allies, and said "all options" would be
available to the president.

The draft, dated March 15, would provide authoritative
guidance for commanders to request presidential approval for
using nuclear weapons, and represents the Pentagon's first
attempt to revise procedures to reflect the Bush preemption
doctrine. A previous version, completed in 1995 during the
Clinton administration, contains no mention of using nuclear
weapons preemptively or specifically against threats from
weapons of mass destruction.

Titled "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" and written
under the direction of Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers,
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the draft document is
unclassified and available on a Pentagon Web site. It is
expected to be signed within a few weeks by Air Force Lt. Gen.
Norton A. Schwartz, director of the Joint Staff, according to
Navy Cmdr. Dawn Cutler, a public affairs officer in Myers's
office. Meanwhile, the draft is going through final
coordination with the military services, the combatant
commanders, Pentagon legal authorities and Rumsfeld's office,
Cutler said in a written statement.

A "summary of changes" included in the draft identifies
differences from the 1995 doctrine, and says the new document
"revises the discussion of nuclear weapons use across the
range of military operations."

The first example for potential nuclear weapon use listed in
the draft is against an enemy that is using "or intending to
use WMD" against U.S. or allied, multinational military forces
or civilian populations.

Another scenario for a possible nuclear preemptive strike is
in case of an "imminent attack from adversary biological
weapons that only effects from nuclear weapons can safely

That and other provisions in the document appear to refer to
nuclear initiatives proposed by the administration that
Congress has thus far declined to fully support.

Last year, for example, Congress refused to fund research
toward development of nuclear weapons that could destroy
biological or chemical weapons materials without dispersing
them into the atmosphere.

The draft document also envisions the use of atomic weapons
for "attacks on adversary installations including WMD, deep,
hardened bunkers containing chemical or biological weapons."

But Congress last year halted funding of a study to determine
the viability of the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator warhead
(RNEP) -- commonly called the bunker buster -- that the
Pentagon has said is needed to attack hardened, deeply buried
weapons sites.

The Joint Staff draft doctrine explains that despite the end
of the Cold War, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
"raises the danger of nuclear weapons use." It says that there
are "about thirty nations with WMD programs" along with
"nonstate actors [terrorists] either independently or as
sponsored by an adversarial state."

To meet that situation, the document says that "responsible
security planning requires preparation for threats that are
possible, though perhaps unlikely today."

To deter the use of weapons of mass destruction against the
United States, the Pentagon paper says preparations must be
made to use nuclear weapons and show determination to use them
"if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use."

The draft says that to deter a potential adversary from using
such weapons, that adversary's leadership must "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 notes that U.S. policy in the past
has "repeatedly rejected calls for adoption of 'no first use'
policy of nuclear weapons since this policy could undermine

Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), a member of the House Armed
Services Committee who has been a leading opponent of the
bunker-buster program, said yesterday the draft was
"apparently a follow-through on their nuclear posture review
and they seem to bypass the idea that Congress had doubts
about the program." She added that members "certainly don't
want the administration to move forward with a [nuclear]
preemption policy" without hearings, closed door if necessary.

A spokesman for Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the
Senate Armed Services Committee, said yesterday the panel has
not yet received a copy of the draft.

Hans M. Kristensen, a consultant to the Natural Resources
Defense Council, who discovered the document on the Pentagon
Web site, said yesterday that it "emphasizes the need for a
robust nuclear arsenal ready to strike on short notice
including new missions."

Kristensen, who has specialized for more than a decade in
nuclear weapons research, said a final version of the doctrine
was due in August but has not yet appeared.

"This doctrine does not deliver on the Bush administration
pledge of a reduced role for nuclear weapons," Kristensen
said. "It provides justification for contentious concepts not
proven and implies the need for RNEP."

One reason for the delay may be concern about raising publicly
the possibility of preemptive use of nuclear weapons, or
concern that it might interfere with attempts to persuade
Congress to finance the bunker buster and other specialized
nuclear weapons.

In April, Rumsfeld appeared before the Senate Armed Services
panel and asked for the bunker buster study to be funded. He
said the money was for research and not to begin production on
any particular warhead. "The only thing we have is very large,
very dirty, big nuclear weapons," Rumsfeld said. "It seems to
me studying it [the RNEP] makes all the sense in the world."
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