March 9, 2002
6:48 AM   Subscribe

Bush prepares nuclear weapons for use. A classified Pentagon report directs the Defense Department to prepare "smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations," such as "targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack." Potential targets listed include China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. Is the U.S. merely bluffing, or should we begin stocking our fallout shelters?
posted by johnnyace (9 comments total)
Sorry johnnyace, I beat you by a minute. (Of course, you know what they say about great minds thinking alike.)
posted by mrbula at 6:55 AM on March 9, 2002

Hmmm, President announces never-ending war against an anonymous enemy that exists in every country whom we can never erradicate. Oh wait, I bet we could get 'em all if we nuke every country. If the guy trusts a looney like Ashcroft, anything is possible.
posted by fleener at 7:19 AM on March 9, 2002

mrbul: jonnyace actually made a comment, and you just quoted. That's how it goes here on mefi. You make an interesting addition to the story, you lose.
posted by benh57 at 8:00 AM on March 9, 2002

mrbula, your post is indeed chronologically superior, so I suggest that we use yours as the forum for discussion.
posted by johnnyace at 9:12 AM on March 9, 2002

Hmmm, President announces never-ending war against an anonymous enemy that exists in every country whom we can never erradicate.

posted by hob at 10:10 AM on March 9, 2002

Two threads? Oh well, I can cut-and-paste:

The Pentagon and the White House always put ALL the cards on the table in any major military situation, from the deuces all the way up to the aces. The aces never get played (sans 1945, and that was at the end of a very different game played in a very different world), but they're always in the deck, and the discussion is always had as to why we should throw them out and stick with the face cards.

So the chances that this document was going to be produced approaches 100%. Now, the order to actually produce some battlefield-level nukes is indeed out of the ordinary, but hardly surprising given the current situation. And we have almost 60 years of history to show that production of nuclear weapons != the intention of using them.
posted by aaron at 10:59 AM on March 9, 2002

Shouldn't we be concerned about the message this sends?
A nuke is not like setting off a firecracker, or even a "daisy-cutter". Why does this need to come out now, when the Mid-East looks like it's set to explode and we have troops on the ground overseas?
Is Mr. Bush trying to destroy whatever goodwill is left in the Rest Of The World? Or is this posturing in order to make the appearance that every possible step is being taken, or is this a measure to please the hawks in the GOP?
posted by black8 at 12:28 PM on March 9, 2002

I think you're assuming the message being sent isn't precisely the one the Administration wants sent. This leak was intentional, and it was aimed at the countries that want to hurt us: "You're going down, and we really really fucking mean it. And if you intend to violate the conventions against the use of WMDs in battle, so will we. The days of us playing Mr. Nice Guy are over." Basically, Bush is just taking the time-tested doctine of Mutually Assured Destruction and altering it to suit the current paradigm, with a little good old-fashioned fearmongering mixed in.

As for the "goodwill," everything I've read lately is that the entire executive and legislative branches of the US government, in both parties (save for the tiny Maxine Waters contingent) - not just Bush's own inner circle in the White House - have long since decided that there is none, except from the UK. And I can't say I disagree with them one bit.
posted by aaron at 1:00 PM on March 9, 2002

The DoD has just released a "Statement on Nuclear Posture Review.
posted by aaron at 7:12 PM on March 9, 2002

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