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.
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
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.
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.
British report portrays the command as fighting and winning an internal
bureaucratic battle against liberal Clinton administration
officials who favor dramatic nuclear weapons
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
Cuba, North Korea and the like. In its study, the Strategic Command uses
Cold War language in defending the relevance of nuclear weapons in
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.