Don’t worry. There’s a section about you. It’s called ‘collateral damage.’
First, the Bush regime screwed up the response to the 9/11 disaster by lying about Iraq and launching a pre-emptive invasion. Then it turned Iraq into a long-term disaster. Then it screwed up the pre-emptive planning for hurricanes such as Katrina. Then it made that disaster worse.
What’s next? Pre-emptive nuclear strikes?
Walter Pincus laid it out in Sunday’s Washington Post:
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.
Pincus does a fine job of detailing the Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations, written under the direction of General Richard “Quag” Myers. And here we thought Myers was spending too much of his time leading USO tours of celebrities.
Not that we’re going to start launching nukes against everyone. Or are we? Pincus noted:
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.
Does that mean Iraq? Guess not. Pincus continued:
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.”
I’m going to go ahead and press the red button to launch some nukes against those characters who sent anthrax through our mails. Who were they? I forget.
Seriously — very seriously — one of the most chilling parts of the document wasn’t mentioned by Pincus. It’s subparagraph “f)” on page II-7: “Nuclear Collateral Damage.” Here’s its first sub-subparagraph:
1. Collateral damage can be described as the unintentional or incidental injury or damage to persons or objects that would not normally be considered lawful military targets. As with collateral damage arising from the use of conventional weapons, such damage is not unlawful so long as the anticipated loss of life and damage to property incidental to the use of force is not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage expected to be gained by the attack.
Good, it’s “not unlawful.”
Luckily, the document urges that such collateral damage be held to some sort of minimum, though it doesn’t say what that would be:
2. Commanders and staffs responsible for developing nuclear plans must strive to minimize collateral damage as they develop strike options and targeting strategies. Specific techniques for reducing nuclear collateral damage may include lower yield weapons, improving accuracy, employing multiple smaller weapons, adjusting the height of burst, and offsetting the desired ground zero. As the advanced conventional capabilities of the new triad are developed, the reliance on nuclear weapons to achieve the required effects will be reduced. Consequently, anticipated nuclear collateral damage will be reduced.
Pincus noted that the document isn’t yet complete. Considering that the Bush regime is constantly surprised, befuddled, and way behind in its planning, that’s no surprise to us, especially the graphic (shown above) that talks of a “transition to post-conflict operations.” Is that what we’re doing right now in Iraq? Or in New Orleans? Anyway, here’s some good background from Pincus:
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.
The unclassified document was discovered on the Pentagon website by Hans M. Kristensen, whom Pincus described as a consultant to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Kristensen was quoted as saying:
“This doctrine does not deliver on the Bush administration pledge of a reduced role for nuclear weapons.”
You can say that again, brother. And you’d better hurry and say it again before we all get atomized.
Bill Clinton just wanted to get blown. These crazy fuckers in the Bush krewe want to blow everybody else — up. And with nuclear bombs. Considering the current administration’s track record, there is a certain logic to it. If the world is destroyed, there won’t be any investigations.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 12, 2005