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Pentagon: can't find the terrorists? Just nuke 'em

Lovely. The Pentagon, as part of the war on terror, is proposing a first-use nuclear strategy. It would like to make it possible to deal with terrorism by just dropping a nuclear bomb and be done with it.

Well, I guess that would do away with the need to gather intelligence, evidence or annoying legwork to get al Qaeda, eh? It’s clear that thousands of lives and an environmental disaster is no skin off of our government’s nose either here or over in Iraq.

The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to preempt an attack by a nation or terror 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 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.

… 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 WMD threats.

… 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.

[Given that we went to war in Iraq over phantom WMDs, a mistake of that magnitude with the Chimp’s finger on the nuclear button is mind-blowingly frightening. ]

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 destroy.”

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

Wake me up when this nightmare is over. How do we get this man out of office before he blasts his real or imagined enemies (and the lives of countless others) off the planet?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding