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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

No Nuclear Retaliation Without Due Process of Law

The Obama administration's new nuclear policy, to which I alerted readers several days ago and again yesterday, contains a very curious doctrine. As reported by Jake Tapper:
In the [Nuclear Policy] Review, the US government will pledge to refrain from using nuclear weapons to attack any country in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) -- even if that country has attacked the US with chemical or biological weapons.
Who will decide whether a country is "in compliance" with the NPT? Normally investigation and fact finding is done by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which acts under the auspices of the U.N.

So does this mean we have deferred to an international organization the underlying fact finding as to whether we have a right under our own policy to retaliate for a chemical or biological attack?

And who can make a binding declaration as to non-compliance?

The IAEA has made such findings in the past as to "safeguards agreements," but would such a finding be sufficient for nuclear retaliation? Musn't we go to the U.N. Security Council, which normally determines sanctions for non-compliance? Can the President of the United States act unilaterally in finding non-compliance? Who precisely determines non-compliance can be unclear.

What if the country in question disputes "alleged" non-compliance? Shouldn't the people of that country be entitled to some measure of due process?

After all, if due process rights attach to detainees at Gitmo, why not to people who may be the subject of nuclear retaliation based on a disputed finding of non-compliance with the NPT? Shouldn't the people have a right also to judicial review of such findings, under standards at least as rigorous as those afforded Gitmo detainees?

These are all valid questions once we start down the road of conditioning our ability to retaliate with nuclear weapons on a finding of non-compliance with the NPT.

While it seems absurd to think that a dispute as to NPT compliance might deter U.S. nuclear retaliation, such absurdity is a natural progression from a new policy which creates explicit standards and boundaries as to nuclear retaliation for the use of chemical or biological weapons.

Some things are better left unsaid, and the conditions under which we would engage in nuclear retaliation for chemical or biological attack was one of those things.

But for the President who cannot stop talking, not talking is unfathomable.

Related Posts:
It's Official - We Will Not Bring Nukes To A Chem or Bio Weapons Fight
Weakness Is The New Strength

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  1. Dangerous. Reckless and dangerous. Our sovereignty is being given away, one "word" at a time.

  2. Perhaps the significance of the Presidential statement is that Israel is not a signatory of the NPT and its "compliance" with the treaty is currently a focal point of Islamist rage. The administration's anti-nuclear policy seems designed to allow the President to further demonize and isolate Israel.

  3. But imagine what would happen if we were hit with a chemical or biological attack: millions dead, tens of millions suffering in overcrowded hospitals, doctors volunteering non-stop for months simply to save people's lives (concerns over payment reimbursement structures long ago forgotten), forced government rationing of food and water, immediate crackdowns on electronic and internet transmissions, etc., etc.. That would be a real... crisis.

    And one should "never let a good crisis go to waste." Not that I'm implying anything here!

  4. It's about time. Here in California, several cities (Chino and San Francisco e.g.) have laws making it explicitly illegal to detonate nuclear devices within city limits and I don't have to tell anyone that these laws have been very effective.

    Now they need to pass similar laws making it illegal to use chemical and biological weapons, we would finally be safe.

  5. Uh folks... the Russians are spending American tax-payer dollars taking down their dangerous nuclear weapons silos, chemical weapons and biological weapons. Now we are giving away the farm, granting them credibility and status, in exchange for NOTHING.

    Oh... except that Obama surrenders missile defense while China and Russia don't...

  6. Obumbler just put a big, fat, "Kick Me" sign on America's back!

  7. Face it - we have a South East Asian loving mole for a president. If he is influenced by any other country and its policies, it would be China. I'm not sure what I mean here but it sounds interesting don't you think?

  8. Well said and argued. Over at another website I argue about the dangers of having too many attorneys around. (No disrespect intended) Why? Because of the two greatest weaknesses attorneys suffer, especially those from "elite" schools,
    1. They truly do think they are the smartest people in the room. 2. No matter what it is, they can't keep their hands off of it. No policy, no argument, no affidavit, no case, no event is complete until their fingerprints are somehow left on it. Twenty years of law enforcement to back up my conclusions. The stories I could tell...

    The legal profession, which I believe at one time was a noble profession, began its decline when it was realized there was a lot of money to be made by winning the arguments. So, the natural thing to follow was the principle to win at all costs. Out went civility, honor, a sense of true right and wrong and the most damaging- a sense of humility.

    This very issue makes my point. Attorneys had to conceive of the policy, write the policy, review the policy, think the policy is an excellent one and then proudly publish the policy.

    It took William two paragraphs to destroy what is arguably the stupidest idea heard by the public in a long time. Honestly, are they smoking dope in between reading opinions?

    Lawyers.... AAAGH!

  9. There was no need for Obama to make this statement. We should not telegraph a move. We must let them wonder what we would do. It's only common sense.

  10. Just to let you know, I posted both of your articles at my site www.truthandcommonsense.com.

    Truthfully, you and your ilk are the exception to the rule I would enforce if possible. "Never let lawyers enter politics." Businessmen-yes, Military-yes, real life experienced workers-yes, homemakers, retirees, cops, doctors- yes, yes and yes. Heck a couple of master carpenters like my granddad would be fine, all of those people possess common sense and do not have any training to argue a point simply to win the point, regardless of the harm it may cause to others.

    What is the basic difference in the world view of a common man who works for a living in a lawyer? The best example is the ladder. If someone stands on a ladder's top and falls, a good man, like my granddad, would pick him up, dust him off and say, "Hey dumb**s, you should know better, that top isn't made for standing."

    A lawyer sues the ladder company, runs it out of business, increases the cost to other companies which makes both the employees and the consumer suffer so in the end they put stickers all over the ladder saying the same thing my granddad said in a sentence. And the lawyer thinks it is a good day's work...

  11. I have to laugh at Pasadenaphil, it is so funny that these people think that their "nuclear free zones" mean something. We have those same zones here in Australia.....

    .... I wonder if that means that any hospitals in their region are allowed to operate CT scans and bone scans since these are nuclear medicine.....

    Do they ever think straight?

    As for what the Obummer has done... did he really get a degree in Political science. Or was he just bumming around in class?

    The man is so dopey... nothing he has done is good for world peace. One likely outcome is that Russia will start striking at those countries that were a part of the Soviet Union. Since Chechyna has continued its deadly game of "let's send a black widow to bomb Russians" there is potential for another war. Another possibility is further Chinese aggression

  12. "The readiest way to procure a lasting and honorable peace is to be fully prepared vigorously to prosecute war."

    That is, I think, an appropriate quotation from the man who later became our first President, George Washington.

    It was written by him in a General Order to Lafayette in August of 1782. That was 10 months after the British surrender at Yorktown by Lord Cornwallis, after which hostilities with the British essentially ceased. But it was, of course, before the Treaty of Paris was signed. Negotiations were essentially being conducted over matters like Loyalist resettlement at the time.

    Some time earlier that August, Washington (who was located at headquarters in Newburgh, NY) had been assured in writing by Sir Guy Carelton, the Commander-in-Chief of all British forces in North America, that George III was indeed reconciled to the fact of America's independence. And Sir Guy even offered a more formalized suspension of any fighting.

    Washington, however, was appropriately skeptical, and he wrote the above comment in the General Orders to Lafayette.

    In dealing in our more modern world, with some crazed nation states that threaten to annihilate others by wiping them off the map, the unilateral surrender of a potential military deterrent to what might be some horrifying act of war (some future chemical or biological attack committed against us, or against some ally with whom we have express treaty obligations) by some implacable enemy -- whether a state, or state-sponsored organization -- is an empty, ill-conceived gesture at best, and will inevitably be read as a sign of weakness. As a result, it could potentially become an unwitting invitation to some future hostilities that otherwise might never occur.