U.S. should seem like kooks
 with  nukes, report says.

By John Diamond

Associated Press

The United States should maintain the threat of nuclear retaliation with an “irrational and vindictive” streak to intimidate would-be attackers such as Iraq, according to an internal military study made public Sunday.  

The study, “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence,” was written by the Defense Department’s Strategic Command, a group responsible for the nation’s strategic nuclear arsenal. It was obtained  by  an arms control group and published Sunday in a report on U.S. strategies for deterring attacks by antagonistic nations using chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons

“Because of the value that comes from the ambiguity of what the U.S. may do to an adversary if the acts we seek to deter are carried out, it hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed,” the 1995 Strategic Command study says.

 A London-based think tank, the British-American Security Information Council, cited the Strategic Command document in its report as an example of the Pentagon’s push to maintain a mission for its nuclear arsenal in spite of the Soviet threat’s hav­ing disappeared.

The British report portrays the command as fighting and winning an internal bureaucratic battle against liberal Clinton administration­ officials who favor dramatic nuclear weapons reductions. Citing a range of formerly classified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the report shows how the United States has shifted its nuclear deterrence strategy from the Soviet Union to so-called rogue states: Iraq, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and the like. In its study, the Strategic Command uses Cold War language in defending the rele­vance of nuclear weapons in deterring adversaries.

“That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be a part of the national persona we project to all adversaries,” the report said.