February 24, 2003

Time to Cool the Nuke

Time to Cool the Nuke Talk

Too much loose talk of potential use of nuclear weaponry in a war on Iraq? Michael Levi thinks so. I tend to agree, but note that he avoids addressing the issue of how to respond if Saddam were to employ WMD against coalition troops.

Regardless, the Administration would be better served by following the old James Baker line to Tariq Aziz from the first Gulf War that the "severest consequences" could flow from Iraqi use of WMD against U.S. troops (rather than have Andy Card refusing to rule in our out possible use of nukes on the Sunday talk circuit).

One quibble with Herbert Walker and Baker's severest consequences threat, however. The threat applied to, not only a WMD attack on U.S. troops, but also destruction of oil fields or the sponsoring of a terror attack on the U.S.

It would be better to focus Saddam (who wasn't deterred in 1991 regarding oil fields and so called Baker's bluff) and issue the severest consequences threat solely as regards his possible use of WMD. That should focus Saddam on the ramifications of WMD use on either of coalition troops or through terror attacks. Saddam would take the threat more seriously if we didn't extend it to a conventional terror attack or oil field destruction. Besides, imagine world reaction if we went nuclear over the destruction of oil fields.

Posted by Gregory at February 24, 2003 07:50 PM
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