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The Good, the Bad and the Butt Ugly

Thursday, 15 September 2005 12:00 AM

The Washington Post recently reported that the Pentagon revised its nuclear strike plan, including pre-emptive use against banned weapons.

This is a big honking deal ... with myriad ramifications covering a very broad spectrum and inimitable potential for the law of unintended consequences to produce horrific results.

Reportedly, the five-sided puzzle palace has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons. The revisions raise the stakes and amplify potential negative consequences.

The still-unsigned draft includes the policy option of using nukes to destroy stockpiles of WMD. On its face it sounds like a good idea ... however, given the abysmal track record of our composite intelligence community to confirm that which needs to be confirmed, a good policy could well result in epic catastrophe. And it is more than kind of difficult to put that genie back in the bottle and ask for or spin a do-over.

During the Cold War, nuclear Armageddon was held in check by a policy known as MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). Basically, this was the consensus understanding that if the Soviets launched nukes, the U.S. would launch ... and vice versa. The net outcome for whoever popped the first nuke was that they could, would and should anticipate a massive nuclear response from the adversary.

Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union may have in varying degrees been crazy but neither was stupid, and each side accepted that whoever sparked the match first was compelling a reciprocal response that literally would have destroyed the world as we know it.

Some extreme (and myopic) pundits have suggested for years the nuking of Mecca. Some have suggested such a threat has already been delivered (very unlikely) and chilled the jets of the Islamists (not supported by facts).

Assorted over-the-top ranters fail to factor in a significant item not in evidence: The threats (or policy) can only be effective if the threatened can and will reason and are capable of even a very basic (and honest) cost-benefit analysis.

MAD worked in dulling nationalist ambition because, despite all warts and blemishes, neither adversary was both crazy and stupid at the same time. When they were crazy they weren't stupid, and when they were stupid they weren't crazy.

Not so with this new adversary. The rabid Islamo-terrorist is capable of being both crazy

The United States has already repeatedly said it would "respond with overwhelming force" to the use of WMD and that "all options" would be available to the president. "All options."

That is a very thinly veiled threat – that if you muck around with Uncle or our friends, we could and would nuke your 13th-century rat hole regardless of what it could end up costing to fill up the Escalade.

In April, Rumsfeld asked the Senate Armed Services panel for a bunker-buster study to be funded. He said, "The only thing we have is a very large, very dirty, big nuclear weapon. ..."

Apparently, since Congress refused to fund an alternative to nukes, the Pentagon has decided to use what it does have.

The draft, dated March 15, "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations," is unclassified and available (for now) on the web at http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/policy/dod/jp3_12fc2.pdf.

A "summary of changes" "revises the discussion of nuclear weapons use across the range of military operations."

So, when would/could we use nukes?

Various provisions in the document appear to refer to nuclear initiatives proposed by the administration and blown off by Congress.

So, with some thirty nations with various WMD programs and assorted "nonstate actors working independently or with succor from a bad guy state, 'something' serious is needed."

Remember it was this Pentagon that said: "As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time." The same apparently holds true for tools. If congress won't fund tools wanted and needed, they seem prepared to use what they have. What they have is nukes!

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The Washington Post recently reported that the Pentagon revised its nuclear strike plan, including pre-emptive use against banned weapons. This is a big honking deal ... with myriad ramifications covering a very broad spectrum and inimitable potential for the law of...
The,Good,,the,Bad,and,the,Butt,Ugly
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Thursday, 15 September 2005 12:00 AM
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