back to article Former top brass call for first-strike nuke option

A group of former senior military officials has said that Nato must be prepared to launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes to "ward off the use of weapons of mass destruction by its enemies", the Telegraph reports. The authors of the "blueprint for reforming Nato" - which was written after its authors were "briefed by senior serving …

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Alien

following on from one of your other stories today...

...why dont they just be done with it and name it federation (or something) *cough*

first strike should never be an option when you are talking about such weapons, in todays world a first strike would lead to massive loss of life just because someone in a office (or bunker) was pissed about a choice made thousands of miles away.

the fact that two or more decades ago this was first mentioned and some NATO members didnt want to sit around a table, they just wanted to push the button to solve the problem..

you cant win. if this is made an option i dread to think what may happen beforehand to trigger such use..

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Unhappy

To quote the Piranahs

Does anybody know how long to World War Three? I want to know I want to book my holiday.

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I feel safer already

So, let me see if I've got this right. In order to stop a possible nuclear war, they want to be able to start a nuclear war?

That ought to reduce tensions...

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Oh joy

WMD in 45 minutes anyone?

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Flame

including "abandoning consensus decision making"

*Shudder*

So, members of a military alliance lose their say in whether or not that military alliance decides to use to planet ruining WMD.

Nice

I wonder if the USA will be on of those nations who's consensus won't be required, for some reason I suspect otherwise.

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Executive summary

The only way of avoiding a nuclear war is to have a nuclear war.

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Oh, shit.

"abandoning consensus decision making so fast action can be taken without the threat of vetoes and caveats imposed by some nations".

Translation: we will ignore your opinions and bomb the fuck out of anything we like.

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Silver badge
Alert

Latest news from the Ministry of Truth

"The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

It was necessary to destroy the planet in order to save it.

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Black Helicopters

*bwuh*

military action "without ratification by the UN" when "immediate action is needed to protect large numbers of human beings"

That'll be a different group of people to one they want to nuke then ?

Seriously- pre-emptive nuclear strikes went down with the Wall, didn't they ?

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Black Helicopters

Great Idea!!!!

Lets use nukes on these scumbags that have all these WMDs like the ones we, ur, didn't find in Iraq (WAY more advanced than our stuff: they can vanish without a trace when you actually look). It clearly solves the needs of the military intelligence community (always a contradiction in terms), after they have hit the "WMDs," they can always say: "Heck, we knew they were here, of course there's no evidence left, we just vaporized it!"

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Stop

Wrong headline...

...should have read "Evil bastards demand right to mass genocide millions of innocent civilians."

And the subhead should have been "Political assassination justified?".

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Stop

Dr Strangelove

is alive and kicking it seems.

"abandoning consensus decision making so fast action can be taken"

Presumably before the sane decision makers can finish their scrambled eggs and switch off the launch gear.

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Ash
Stop

WOPR

THE ONLY WINNING MOVE IS NOT TO PLAY.

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Silver badge

Plonkers'r'Us .....again.

Oh dear, little Hitlers at Play.

"Former top brass" would be entirely indicative of their modern day worth where the big stick bullying neanderthal approach, in a world of Network Internetworking Robot ICQs, has rendered them as dinosaurs and probably also unmasks them as covert Al Qaeda Drivers. They almost certainly are no part of any meaningful Solution with such shallow thinking.

And yes, you can quote me on that, if you wish.

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How I learned to stop worrying and love the Bomb

This group of "former military officers" doesn't include one General Jack Ripper, by any chance?

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Joke

Bomb anyone?

This is a great idea, we can bomb anyone we want and with a nuke there is no need to find any WMDs as we've blown the enemy's weapons to dust!

I bet Tony wish he thought of that one.

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@ Tom Chiverton

"Seriously- pre-emptive nuclear strikes went down with the Wall, didn't they ?"

Apparently not.

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Flame

Abandon concensus

And the difference between this proposed policy, and a military coup, would be what?

OK, "coup" is too strong a word. The military would not have taken control of day-to-day government out of civilian hands. They will "only" have taken control of the most powerful weapons ever created, out of civilian hands. Which gives them one hell of a lot of leverage...

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Thumb Down

didn't I read this yesterday

This is just NATO's response the the Ruskies. I swear its like two kids in a pissing match....

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5i1fg9K4w_OQvYX65kemvhiOOJTZAD8U92Q881

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Go

Re: Translation: we will ignore your opinions and bomb the f*ck out of anything we like.

wasn't that in Bush and Blair's manifesto already?

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Stop

Terrorists...

If the propaganda that's been almost continuously pouring out of Washington (and Downing Street) over the last 7 years, is to be believed, then the greatest threat faced by western civilisation is from a terrorist with a WMD.

Now, do these military idiots seriously believe that these terrorists they've been warning us about, would be deterred by a first strike nuke option? Or are they hoping to nuke the terrorists before they get their hands a WMD? That's a rather worrying thought, considering they've already proved themselves pretty much incapable of finding terrorists or WMDs, are they just going to nuke everyone who looks Muslim, just to be sure?

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Pirate

Riiiight...

"abandoning consensus decision making so fast action can be taken without the threat of vetoes and caveats imposed by some nations".

Translation: We don't think the Frogs have it in them to authorise a nuclear launch ("le button" is small and black. Their big red button launches the white flags) so they'll operate on the "easier to get forgiveness than permission" strategy.

Terrifying.

Not because of the weapons, per se. I'm fairly sure that there are tactical nukes that won't destroy the planet or anything terrible. It just sets a rather nasty precedent.

Tell me. Was it mostly American generals asking for this?

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Pirate

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"

Russian ambassador:

There are those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. And at the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we'd been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.

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Alert

WMD Security

Just hope they don't store the Nuke launch codes on a MOD laptop....

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Am I the only one

who would be appalled if they *did* publicly rule out first strike?

Of course the operational policy is much more complex than the public statements, but how are you supposed to deter a potential enemy? By sowing Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Which has more deterrent effect?

a) "Will they nuke us sir?" "No, they won't so long as we don't nuke them."; or

b) "Will they nuke us sir?" "They didn't rule it out."

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Happy

I've got an idea....

....hey, why don't we attach all the launch mechanisms to a first strike simulator - and I've got the perfect name for it - W.O.P.R. that'll show them commies.

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Anonymous Coward

Dr. Stangelove again

"The first use of nuclear weapons.... to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction."

What's a nuclear weapon then if it's not destructive on a massive scale? What is it with some people that they seem absolutely fucking determined to wipe us all out!

These people need locking up! If they were caught carrying a knife, they would be. It seems that carrying around bloody huge fucking bombs isn't an arrestable offence though!!!

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@Dunstan Vavasour

Which causes more jumpiness and unpredictability in a nuclear-armed hostile nation?

a) "Will they nuke us sir?" "No, they won't so long as we don't nuke them."; or

b) "Will they nuke us sir?" "They didn't rule it out."

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Black Helicopters

Stop the world

I want to get off!

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State sponsored terrorism at its best !!

And the difference between them and the current crop of terrorists is.....what ??

@Anonymous Coward - ROFL !! That's the IT angle, alright !!

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Dead Vulture

First Strike

I always get the uneasy feeling that morons that advocate pre-emptive first strike are the most deserving to be on the receiving end of one.

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Anyone for a game of Nuclear Proliferation

Anyone in?

http://fairplaygames.com/gamedisplay.asp?gameid=3901

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@Dunstan Vavasour

> Which has more deterrent effect?

> a) "Will they nuke us sir?" "No, they won't so long as we don't nuke them."; or

> b) "Will they nuke us sir?" "They didn't rule it out."

Option a has more deterrent effect, I image those conversations might continue as follows:

a) "Will they nuke us sir?", "No, they won't so long as we don't nuke them."

"OK, well we'd better not nuke them then".

OR

b) "Will they nuke us sir?" "They didn't rule it out."

"Well, then we'd better make sure we nuke them first."

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So basically...

... America wants to fight a war using any NATO members who agree and wants the ability to drop nukes during these wars (Bunker Busters in Afghanistan anyone?)

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Anonymous Coward

"Former top brass"

Right, so they're pretty pissed about the "former" bit. Maybe they got their marching orders by SMS. So the big deal in this story is what exactly?

Softening up the public to accept a preemptive nuclear strike so that when it happens they just yawn and carry on shopping? Good work Lewis. Your promotion is in the post.

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Boffin

@ Riiiight...

Well I don't think I need to echo everybody else's comments, so I'll content myself with merely being happy that finally, somebody knows how to spell "precedent" as well as what it actually means.

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Stop

High noon

This is like one cowboy shooting another one in the back, just in case the other had any thoughts of shooting the first.

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Black Helicopters

@Dunstan Vavasour

MAD is already assumed .. this is about a preemptive strike and the reason that war is evil. It has no true point of balance, do you not and pay the price, or do you hit back first to save your people.

We, until now, have assumed that MAD held, ie if you fire at me I will fire back. That is not what the good generals discussed. Anyway, as has already been stated this is just willy waving by some short pricked half cocked dickheads.

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Flame

Ash is right...

But the point is, the UN can't shoot first at the mo. They should be able to, but ONLY if properly governed, and I think we've seen they're not. So, no, no nukes for you.

The whole point is: USA shits over green agreements, the UN's authority, and civilians in conveniently far-off places. Then they start to worry that someone will want to hit back... to fucking right.

I will always remember Colin Powell laughing at the attendees of the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, as if to say "look at you kids, you don't honestly expect me to give you some of MY bread".

The world's in a bad place. It's Maddy's mom's fault that someone took her sleeping child? WTF?!? Where's the love.

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Coat

Wait, they missed...

...mentioning preserving our precious bodily fluids from these preverts!

Strangelove aside, I agree with Dunstan Vavasour. Without a nuclear deterrant we have no real deterrant against others using nukes against us. Pre-emptive nuclear strikes for the hell of it are wrong, but having the facility to escalate our responses when required (say, someone has a big-ass missile or are threatening us ) can be very useful.

I'd guess this is politically motivated, sort of a "hey, enemies. We know who you are, remember we have these nukes", which would lead me to believe someone's moving to threaten us behind the scenes. Sort of like when people just place guns on the table. They're there, they're prepared to use them but they won't if you don't provoke them.

Mine's the lead-lined one with the entry badge for the fallout proof coal-mine-bunker, thanks.

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@Dunstan Vavasour

a) "Will they nuke us sir?" "No, they won't so long as we don't nuke them."; or

b) "Will they nuke us sir?" "They didn't rule it out."

---

Answer a) does, because mutually assured destruction applies. If you go with b), you've missed off the next part of that conversation: "Then we may as well launch if they're going to nuke us anyway"

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Anonymous Coward

The WMD-word

So you want to keep your nukes even though you don't have a large overwhelming soviet block to use as a target - what to do?

Tag the latest fearword (WMD) to it and it should be an instant sell!

After all - the WMD word helped sell torture (as long as it is not used on american soil or on american citizens) and surveilance on a truly Orwellian scale.

Oh - and of course the WMD-word also sold a war. The WMD-word repeated again and again.

None of these cases needed any real arguments besides the use of the WMD-word to sell them to the public, so why not use this magic word to sell funding for the "Just Nuke'm" program as well?

And there are so many wonderfull targets when the only qualifier is that they need to have (or be suspected of having) WMD's!

Practically anything can be called a WMD these days, so you don't even have to limit the list to the Nuclear-carrying states. A Large fuel-bomb should be enough. Or a local pesticide factory capable of transferring production to toxic gasses.

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May He have mercy on all our sorry souls

This artical makes me to sick too think we have regressed fifty years in our thinking on the use of nukes. I see no logic on the theory, I may be dead but I killed you First. Anyone up for Duck and Cover ?

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Dead Vulture

"just willy waving by some short pricked half cocked dickheads"

That surely is a good argument for the outright elimination of the male sex.

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Anyone still think Assassination Politics is a bad idea?

http://www.outpost-of-freedom.com/jimbellap.htm

What else can we reasonably do when military planners propose to start wars without even consensus amongst themselves, without an agreed basis for evidence justifying the attack and with no regard whatsoever to the democratic consensus of the population. Clearly such imbeciles are far more dangerous than any of our prospective enemies...

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Anonymous Coward

Buh

By this logic they ought to nuke themselves right away to prevent themselves from using a nuke.

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Stop

Another offhand stupid commentor

AJ Stiles... just in case you did not take elementary biology....without men there is no human life. Keep your man hating comments to yourself. In the future so you dont embarrass yourself as much in public change the word "man" to your favourite minority, repeat the comment and see if it still is funny.....

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AH
Stop

Calm down, calm down ....

... or you'll miss the point of the PR/mass psychology exercise.

1. <first strike utter madness>

2. "to ward off the use of weapons of mass destruction by its enemies"

The intention here is two fold, and the important one is second:

1. is just a bit of sabre-rattling that may make the Iranians nervous, if they were really dumb

2. WMDs have taken a bit of a credibility knock of late. So tuck this phrase in after the <first strike insanity> and everyone is so busy screaming blue murder at that bit, there's a tendency to just take "ward off use of WMD" as fairly reasonable. The WMD thing is so useful as a vague threat there's no way "They" are going to give up on it. And I'm not talking tinfoil hat territory here : that vague threat keeps politicians, the military-industrial complex, Halliburton, "They" in business. (Careful nod in Adam Curtis's direction).

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Black Helicopters

WMD

Just to clarify, what it a nuclear weapon if not a WMD? Strange to think we could all be wiped out by semantics...

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Flame

re: Just hope they don't store the Nuke launch codes on a MOD laptop....

Not a chance - well unless it is the same key as used to lock the notebook up

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/7097101.stm

(It might be better if they have stayed there as well)

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