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FRED
07-14-06, 06:23 PM
Chirac: Nuclear Response to Terrorism Is Possible (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/19/AR2006011903311.html)
January 20, 2006 (Washington Post)

President Jacques Chirac said Thursday that France was prepared to launch a nuclear strike against any country that sponsors a terrorist attack against French interests. He said his country's nuclear arsenal had been reconfigured to include the ability to make a tactical strike in retaliation for terrorism.

"The leaders of states who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would envision using . . . weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and fitting response on our part," Chirac said during a visit to a nuclear submarine base in Brittany. "This response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind."

AntiSpin: Was a time when this kind of talk was destined to send the world's leaders into fits of condemnation. If the leader of a nation took a "first strike" position, he'd be ex-communicated from the community of civilized countries. Not anymore. In a time of "preemptive war" why not "preemptive nuclear war"? If by "use terrorist means against us" does Chirac mean that if terrorists blow up trains in France the way they have in Madrid, London and Bombay that he will order nuclear weapons used against suspected host countries? If France suffers a 911 event, will he nuke Saudi Arabia? It's getting hard to make sense of the escalating rhetoric in the context of escalating violence. Sometimes the rhetoric is a safety valve that diffuses tension, and the tension subsides, as in the case of the war of words between China and Taiwan. Other times rhetoric stirs up greater tension and is a prelude to more dramatic events. Given the events in Middle East, Korea and India these past few weeks, there is reason to believe Chirac's words are not mere rhetoric.

qwerty
07-14-06, 09:09 PM
Chirac's just mouthing off and he was jumped on by the rest of Europe at the time.

On the idea that western governments could lob nuclear weapons around:-

There have been a couple of pieces in The New Yorker by Seymour Hersh on the US civilan leadership's desire to have nuclear bunker-busting weapons ready to take out Iran's underground nuclear facilities. The generals felt tricked into adding this option to the list of "all options". The neocons are deadly were apparently deadly serious about it because it was the only way to be sure that they could destroy whatever was underground (They don't have much clue about what and where exactly, so the nuclear warhead kind of clears away a lot of uncertainty)

April:

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060417fa_fact

In last week's print edition (can't find a link to it on the website) Hirsch had a story about how there was some kind of "Revolt of the Generals" since then.

It seems that the option is off the table now, because a bunch of top generals stood up to the crazy idea that the US could generate a plume of radioactive material 200 miles from downtown Tehran (not to mention 8000 miles - or whatever - from where my family lives.) All of this based on the kind of WMD intelligence we are used to.

qwerty
07-14-06, 09:16 PM
Found the follow-up piece:

"LAST STAND
The military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy."

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060710fa_fact

"In late April, the military leadership, headed by General Pace, achieved a major victory when the White House dropped its insistence that the plan for a bombing campaign include the possible use of a nuclear device to destroy Iran’s uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz,"

"“Bush and Cheney were dead serious about the nuclear planning,” the former senior intelligence official told me. “And [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter] Pace stood up to them."

". This period is known to many in the Pentagon as “the April Revolution.”"

Ann
07-14-06, 10:00 PM
Found the follow-up piece:

"LAST STAND
The military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy."

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060710fa_fact

"In late April, the military leadership, headed by General Pace, achieved a major victory when the White House dropped its insistence that the plan for a bombing campaign include the possible use of a nuclear device to destroy Iran’s uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz,"

"“Bush and Cheney were dead serious about the nuclear planning,” the former senior intelligence official told me. “And [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter] Pace stood up to them."

". This period is known to many in the Pentagon as “the April Revolution.”"

Agree. The French ain't using nukes. But then wasn't it the USA that used them last time?

jk
07-14-06, 10:31 PM
another problem is figuring out who exactly to bomb when the perpetrators are unknown and are likely non-state actors. look at the situaton in lebanon. hezbollah is part of the weak lebanese government, but is not controlled by that government. furthermore, the senior hezbollah leaders are now quoted as saying they did not order the recent attacks - they were done by rogue elements. so, who to believe and who to hold responsible? on the other hand, you know that hezbollah gets its support from both syria and iran. israel has nukes -- if they take the chirac position should they nuke tehran and damascus? this seems implausible to say the least. chirac is beyond washed up in french politics, and probably desparate to appear relevant.

Ann
07-15-06, 12:53 AM
another problem is figuring out who exactly to bomb when the perpetrators are unknown and are likely non-state actors. look at the situaton in lebanon. hezbollah is part of the weak lebanese government, but is not controlled by that government. furthermore, the senior hezbollah leaders are now quoted as saying they did not order the recent attacks - they were done by rogue elements. so, who to believe and who to hold responsible? on the other hand, you know that hezbollah gets its support from both syria and iran. israel has nukes -- if they take the chirac position should they nuke tehran and damascus? this seems implausible to say the least. chirac is beyond washed up in french politics, and probably desparate to appear relevant.

Speaking of desperate for headlines, our guy in N. Korea must be getting antsy. He was making the NYTimes cover page until the Middle East flared up again. What's a mad dictator have to do for a little attention these days? Nuke someone?

jk
07-15-06, 10:12 AM
hypothetical- you are the leader of a country called iran. the greatest military power in the world has declared you part of the "axis of evil." looking at how that military power has treated the other two members of said axis, iraq and n. korea, what policies do YOU adopt?

qwerty
07-15-06, 05:04 PM
From that second Hersch article again

"Despite the tough rhetoric, Iran would be reluctant to reject a dialogue with the United States, according to Giandomenico Picco, who, as a representative of the United Nations, helped to negotiate the ceasefire that ended the Iran-Iraq War, in 1988. “If you engage a superpower, you feel you are a superpower,” Picco told me. “And now the haggling in the Persian bazaar begins. We are negotiating over a carpet”—the suspected weapons program—“that we’re not sure exists, and that we don’t want to exist. And if at the end there never was a carpet it’ll be the negotiation of the century.”"

metalman
07-15-06, 06:10 PM
From that second Hersch article again

"Despite the tough rhetoric, Iran would be reluctant to reject a dialogue with the United States, according to Giandomenico Picco, who, as a representative of the United Nations, helped to negotiate the ceasefire that ended the Iran-Iraq War, in 1988. “If you engage a superpower, you feel you are a superpower,” Picco told me. “And now the haggling in the Persian bazaar begins. We are negotiating over a carpet”—the suspected weapons program—“that we’re not sure exists, and that we don’t want to exist. And if at the end there never was a carpet it’ll be the negotiation of the century.”"

GIBSON: You know, from our point of view, we blame Hezbollah and Hamas for starting this. Is that the way the rest of the world would see it?

HANSON: Privately yes. But officially or diplomatically no, because they're worried about terrorism, they're worried about oil prices. They are worried about the stability in Iraq. They are worried about everything from another bombing in London or Madrid bombing or plot against the Canadians, so this is the 1930s again. It's going to take some leader in the United States to galvanize the people of this country and explain to them, whether we like it or not, we are headed for some pretty tough times and we can solve them now or let them get — grow and be much worse later on.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,203834,00.html

jk
07-15-06, 06:23 PM
It's going to take some leader in the United States to galvanize the people of this country and explain to them, whether we like it or not, we are headed for some pretty tough times and we can solve them now or let them get — grow and be much worse later on.

i thought we just had to keep shopping and buying suv's. it's a long way from blood, sweat and tears. any thoughts on what conditions would have to exist for a leader as described to emerge in the u.s.?

i think, as tom friedman has said endlessly, that on 9/12/01 there was an opportunity for real leadership: on 9/12/01 the president could have said that we must wean ourselves of our dependence on the middle east, impose a large gas tax [while rebating some via the earned income credit so that the working poor are not as hard hit], develop alternative energy, and ALSO that we would knock off the taliban and go after al queda. instead it was "shop til you drop or the terrorists win."

i hope we don't need another national tragedy on those proportions to knock some sense into our collective heads.

metalman
07-16-06, 02:39 PM
Chirac is just re-stating US doctrine. The NSPD 17 state that the US can retaliate with nuclear weapons if attacked with WMD. Per 2001 Nuclear Posture Review and NPSD 17:

"The United States will make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force – including potentially nuclear weapons – to the use of [weapons of mass destruction] against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies."

But US doctrine is more broad:

"Responsible security planning requires preparation for threats that are possible, though perhaps unlikely today. The lessons of military history remain clear: unpredictable, irrational conflicts occur. Military forces must prepare to counter weapons and capabilities that exist or will exist in the near term even if no immediate likely scenarios for war are at hand. To maximize deterrence of WMD use, it is essential US forces prepare to use nuclear weapons effectively and that US forces are determined to employ nuclear weapons if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use." (Ibid, p. III-1)

The Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations - Joint Chiefs of Staff - March 2005
http://zfacts.com/metaPage/lib/zFacts_2005_03_15_Joint_Nuclear_Operations.pdf

Nukes can under this doctrine serve to prevent a WMD program (e.g. Iran's) from reaching completion.

jk
07-16-06, 03:53 PM
Nukes can under this doctrine serve to prevent a WMD program (e.g. Iran's) from reaching completion.

i read recently that under pressure from joint chiefs' chmn pace the administration has finally taken off the table a possible pre-emptive use of nukes against iranian underground facilities.

the doctrine you quoted is based on our knowing who is attacking us and where to find them, i.e. it is based on our conflicts being with nation-states. look at what's going on in lebanon now. hezbollah is iran's and syria's client, but even the u.s. would view attacks on those nations as significant escalation. [the israeli's have a big decision to make, whether to take out the syrian air force when they go into lebanon in strength, or whether to leave their eastern flank exposed. the israeli's say that iranians helped launch a surface to ship missile that hit one of their vessels - it will take more than that for them to attack iran.]

qwerty
07-21-06, 02:10 AM
"and that US forces are determined to employ nuclear weapons if necessary to prevent or retaliate against WMD use."

I wonder what your average Iranian makes of that.

It reminds me of the front page of Private Eye (London) in the run up to the invasion of Iraq when US and UK were selling the bill of work against Saddam:

Blair: "He's out of control and he's got nuclear weapons."

Bush (eyebrows raised) "What's wrong with that?"

http://ugandandiscussions.co.uk/1050/