Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, July 30, 2004

This is coolbert: Much has been made of this "new" policy of pre-emptive strike on nations hostile to the U.S. President Bush has stated that the U.S. can no longer wait to be struck by an attack from a foe, and then hit back. And opponents of this policy have taken grave exception to the attack on Iraq, an attack justified in part by the "new" policy.

To begin with, is this a "new" policy??

According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Carter, this is not a "new" policy. It seems such a policy of pre-emption has always existed [at least after the end of World War Two??]. The United States has always reserved the right to self-defense using a pre-emptive strike if it was detected that some foreign power was preparing to launch a war or attack against the U.S.

One enunciated exception to the pre-emptive policy of the U.S. was in the realm of nuclear warfare. In an effort to prevent an accidental nuclear war between the super-powers [United States and Soviet Union] of the day, the U.S. had announced it would not use nuclear weapons unless struck with nuclear weapons first. The U.S. was prepared to absorb a nuclear strike from the Soviet Union before retaliating. It was felt that this policy would eliminate, to the greatest extent possible, the chance that an inadvertent and erroneous warning would cause the U.S. to go to war with the Soviets, a war where nuclear weaponry would be used from the onset.

There are many critics of this "new" pre-emptive policy of the U.S.

To critics of the pre-emptive policy of the U.S., this whole philosophy and outlook of pre-emption is wrong. The U.S., according to the critics, must never have such a policy to begin with. And the U.S. must never exercise the pre-emption option, if such a policy did exist, NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES! In the eyes of the critics, the U.S. must always be the good-guys, the guys in the white hats, the persons always occupying the moral high ground. Pre-emption does not fit into their conception of moral high ground.

And what is the exact reasoning behind this sudden emphasis upon pre-emption?

It would have to be related to the nuclear threat emanating from Al Qaeda!

Now, Al Qaeda's leadership has threatened to use nuclear weapons on the U.S. bin Laden himself asked the question, "why would it not be permissible for us to use atomic bombs on the Americans? Did not they [the Americans] use atomic bombs on Japan?" And one of bin Laden's lieutenants is supposed to have said, "we will have to kill 4 million Americans to bring them to their knees, including 1 million children!!" So this threat is on the mind of Al Qaeda.

As is the intention to use, if possible, all types of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear, biological, and chemical.

Of all these threats, the detonation of a nuclear weapon or weapons would pose a threat to the U.S. that calls for pre-emptive action when necessary. As Bush has said, "we cannot wait for a nuclear weapon to detonate in one of our cities!" And in this matter, Bush is correct. We cannot wait. The consequences of just one atomic detonation in a major U.S. city would be catastrophic. And the detonation of multiple numbers of atomic bombs might damage the U.S. to the point where it could not recover! This circumstance must be prevented at all costs! And pre-emption is one way to prevent such an occurrence.

And pre-emption IS the only recourse with Al Qaeda. As I have said before in previous blog posts, the normal deterrent of retaliation does not work with Al Qaeda. Normally, anyone would be terrified of using nuclear weapons against the U.S. as the threat from retaliation would be so great. This does NOT work with Al Qaeda. On the contrary. Al Qaeda does not only not fear retaliation, they welcome retaliation, so as to alienate the Muslim world further against the U.S. ONLY pre-emption will work, when and if possible.

For those critics that disdain the entire concept of pre-emption, well, do they have a better suggestion? If so, I have not heard of one.

With regard to the previous paragraph where I mention that the U.S. was prepared to absorb a nuclear strike from the Soviet Union prior to retaliating, the Soviet defector Suvorov has most definite comments on this matter. Comments that people that are critics of pre-emption do not like to hear. According to Suvorov:

"as I studied American theories of war, I came to an appalling realization . . . the modern American cowboy who is working up to a decisive fight will always expect to begin by spitting at and insulting his opponent and to continue by throwing whiskey in his face and chucking custard pies at him . . . he expects to hurl chairs and bottles . . . and only after this to fight it out with his gun."

Suvorov further states that the Soviets had absolute contempt for this philosophy: [this of course with regard to nuclear attack].

"it was concluded that[by the Soviet Generals], no one believed in the theory . . . . it was devised for the ignorant and for the popular masses in the West, to reassure the man in the streets."

Well, obviously, the critics of pre-emptive strike want this sort of pattern of behavior to be the pattern of behavior for the American government to follow. Rather than pre-emptively strike your enemy, the American government is expected to absorb all sorts of abuse without flinching before they react. You must let the enemy strike first and only then can you respond. This is of course assuming that you are able to respond. Only then, say the critics of pre-emptive strike, can you maintain the moral high ground.

I just hope the persons that are killed in a nuclear attack by Al Qaeda will be happy with such a suggestion. I doubt it very seriously.



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