Posted by: drew | March 16, 2006

“…We do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur”

In the just released 49-page security brief, the Administration says that diplomacy is the US preference in halting the spread of nuclear and other WMDs, but that they will not hesitate to use “pre-emptive force” to defend ourselves.

“If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur — even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack,” Bush wrote.

The latest report makes it clear Bush hasn’t changed his mind, even though no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

“When the consequences of an attack with weapons of mass destruction are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize. … The place of pre-emption in our national security strategy remains the same,” Bush wrote.

Given the quality and the Administration’s cherry-picking of intelligence leading up to the invasion of Iraq, I find this stance more than a little disturbing.

Granted, Iran poses the world far more of a threat than Hussein could have ever hoped to. I have issues with pre-emptive policy which, by it’s nature, must be based upon 100% factual intelligence. The US, and this administration in particular, has not proven that they are capable of collecting and analyzing that quality of intel.
Stay the crooked course indeed.

CBS also has an article up that says:

A defense policy expert at one Washington think tank is critical of the Bush administration’s continued commitment to the policy of first strikes.
“Preemption is and always will be a potentially useful tool, but it’s not something you want to trot out and throw in everybody’s face,” says Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in an interview with the Washington Post. “To have a strategy on preemption and make it central is a huge error.”

Ullman says a military attack against Iran, for instance, could be “foolish” and it would be better to seek other ways to influence that nation’s behavior. “I think most states are deterrable.”

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