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[casi] FW: US Works Up Plan For Using Nuclear Weapons

thanks to Rick Rozoff. f.

Subject: US Works Up Plan For Using Nuclear Weapons
Date: Sat, Mar 9, 2002, 1:33 pm

Los Angeles Times

U.S. Works Up Plan for Using Nuclear Arms
Military: Administration, in a secret report, calls
for a strategy against at least seven nations: China,
Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and Syria.
Times Staff Writer
March 9 2002
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has directed the
military to prepare contingency plans to use nuclear
weapons against at least seven countries and to build
smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield
situations, according to a classified Pentagon report
obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
The secret report, which was provided to Congress on
Jan. 8, says the Pentagon needs to be prepared to use
nuclear weapons against China, Russia, Iraq, North
Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. It says the weapons
could be used in three types of situations: against
targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack; in
retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or
chemical weapons; or "in the event of surprising
military developments."
A copy of the report was obtained by defense analyst
and Times contributor William Arkin. His column on the
contents appears in Sunday's editions.
Officials have long acknowledged that they had
detailed nuclear plans for an attack on Russia.
However, this "Nuclear Posture Review" apparently
marks the first time that an official list of
potential target countries has come to light, analysts
said. Some predicted the disclosure would set off
strong reactions from governments of the target
"This is dynamite," said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear
arms expert at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace in Washington. "I can imagine what
these countries are going to be saying at the U.N."
Arms control advocates said the report's directives on
development of smaller nuclear weapons could signal
that the Bush administration is more willing to
overlook a long-standing taboo against the use of
nuclear weapons except as a last resort. They warned
that such moves could dangerously destabilize the
world by encouraging other countries to believe that
they, too, should develop weapons.
"They're trying desperately to find new uses for
nuclear weapons, when their uses should be limited to
deterrence," said John Isaacs, president of the
Council for a Livable World. "This is very, very
dangerous talk . . . Dr. Strangelove is clearly still
alive in the Pentagon."
But some conservative analysts insisted that the
Pentagon must prepare for all possible contingencies,
especially now, when dozens of countries, and some
terrorist groups, are engaged in secret weapon
development programs.
They argued that smaller weapons have an important
deterrent role because many aggressors might not
believe that the U.S. forces would use multi-kiloton
weapons that would wreak devastation on surrounding
territory and friendly populations.
"We need to have a credible deterrence against regimes
involved in international terrorism and development of
weapons of mass destruction," said Jack Spencer, a
defense analyst at the conservative Heritage
Foundation in Washington. He said the contents of the
report did not surprise him and represent "the right
way to develop a nuclear posture for a post-Cold War
A spokesman for the Pentagon, Richard McGraw, declined
to comment because the document is classified.
Congress requested the reassessment of the U.S.
nuclear posture in September 2000. The last such
review was conducted in 1994 by the Clinton
administration. The new report, signed by Secretary of
Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, is now being used by the
U.S. Strategic Command to prepare a nuclear war plan.
Bush administration officials have publicly provided
only sketchy details of the nuclear review. They have
publicly emphasized the parts of the policy suggesting
that the administration wants to reduce reliance on
nuclear weapons.
Since the Clinton administration's review is also
classified, no specific contrast can be drawn.
However, analysts portrayed this report as
representing a break with earlier policy.
U.S. policymakers have generally indicated that the
United States would not use nuclear weapons against
nonnuclear states unless they were allied with nuclear
powers. They have left some ambiguity about whether
the United States would use nuclear weapons in
retaliation after strikes with chemical or nuclear
The report says the Pentagon should be prepared to use
nuclear weapons in an Arab-Israeli conflict, in a war
between China and Taiwan, or in an attack from North
Korea on the south. They might also become necessary
in an attack by Iraq on Israel or another neighbor, it
The report says Russia is no longer officially an
"enemy." Yet it acknowledges that the huge Russian
arsenal, which includes about 6,000 deployed warheads
and perhaps 10,000 smaller "theater" nuclear weapons,
remains of concern.
Pentagon officials have said publicly that they were
studying the need to develop theater nuclear weapons,
designed for use against specific targets on a
battlefield, but had not committed themselves to that
Officials have often spoken of the advantages of using
nuclear weapons to destroy the deep tunnel and cave
complexes that many regimes have been building,
especially since the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Nuclear
weapons give off powerful shock waves that can crush
structures deep in the Earth, they point out.
Officials argue that large nuclear arms have so many
destructive side effects, from blast to heat and
radiation, that they become "self-deterring." They
contend the Pentagon needs "full spectrum
deterrence"--that is, a full range of weapons that
potential enemies believe might be used against them.
The Pentagon was actively involved in planning for use
of tactical nuclear weapons as recently as the 1970s.
But it has moved away from them in the last two
Analysts said the report's reference to "surprising
military developments" referred to the Pentagon's
fears that a rogue regime or terrorist group might
suddenly unleash a wholly unknown weapon that was
difficult to counter with the conventional U.S.
The administration has proposed cutting the offensive
nuclear arsenal by about two-thirds, to between 1,700
and 2,200 missiles, within 10 years. Officials have
also said they want to use precision guided
conventional munitions in some missions that might
have previously been accomplished with nuclear arms.
But critics said the report contradicts suggestions
the Bush administration wants to cut the nuclear role.
"This clearly makes nuclear weapons a tool for
fighting a war, rather than deterring them," said
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