Senator Diane Feinstein (D, CA) wrote a letter to the editor of USA Today that’s breathtaking in the sweep of its ignorance.
Should the United States adopt a policy of no first use, making clear to the world that our country will never launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike? The answer is yes.
The answer is, of course, No. She began that question with a false premise. No first use is not limited to a preemptive nuclear strike. It simply means no first use. We engaged in first use when we bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki (apart from the narrow tautology that we were the only nation with nuclear weapons), and contra Feinstein’s disparagement of the use and its casualties, that use ended the war, saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of American, Allied, and Japanese soldiers and the lives of millions of Japanese civilians.
That question contains a second false premise: that preemption is necessarily bad. Not at all. When the enemy has demonstrated his irrevocable intent to attack, preemption is a moral imperative. If the only means available to fruitful preemption is nuclear-armed missiles, they must be employed.
Committing to a policy of no first use would help keep us safe by minimizing the very real risk that a foreign power—like North Korea—might misinterpret a benign rocket launch or a non-nuclear military action….
This is just nonsense. With modern sensing and communications capabilities—even that possessed by northern Korea, misinterpretation is not going to occur. Action might well be deliberately misinterpreted, but that’s independent of anything we might do.
Beyond that, first use, especially of tactical nuclear weapons, may be the only way to prevent a conventional war defeat, which defeat would be every bit as devastating to our national security, even our independence.
There’s no such thing as a limited nuclear war….
Of course there is, and the Soviet Union actively trained for it. Today, Russia and the People’s Republic of China are actively training for it.
RTWT—it’s not that long. Which makes the breadth of ignorance such an accomplishment.