Sunday, September 11, 2005

We'll Meet Again Someday

The news that the Pentagon is revising the Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations to openly declare the possibility of launching a first strike against terrorists or states suspected of harboring them doesn't exactly come as a surprise, since the Bush Administration has been seeking funding for bunker busting nuclear warheads for three years now and had already hinted that it has a pre-emptive nuclear policy in place. And also since the character played by Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove, who rides a warhead bareback to its destination, is a perfectly eerie prophecy of George W. himself. So, the Bush administration has one last gift it wants to give to the world before 2008: a nuclear holocaust. We sort of knew that already. Nevertheless, it's not good news for those of us who plan to be inhabiting the planet for any of the next several decades. How exactly does one launch a pinpoint strike against a terrorist hideout? We can't capture bin Laden because supposedly we don't know where he is. Then what good are nuclear weapons against them? And does it really make sense to think that this policy would actually deter al-Qaeda from launching a WMD attack? I would think, if anything, it would encourage them to do so. The Bush administration has the worst record of any Presidency since the end of World War II on containing nuclear weapons in part because it has repudiated the successful containment strategies of its predecessors, including international non-proliferation and test ban agreements. What the Bush administration doesn't understand is that by rejecting the non-proliferation framework of the Cold War it has effectively promoted nuclear lawlessness, leaving states such as North Korea and Iran with no reasonable choice but to pursue nuclear weapons. These states, whose interests inevitably conflict with ours, have no other deterrent in light of the Bush administration's stated intention to topple their governments through any available means, including nuclear weapons. The Bush administration's nuclear policy is as unwise as it is immoral. It's a foolish government that gives its enemies no choice but to prepare to meet force with force.

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