Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Preemption and the New Kind of War

I was reading a little bit about the US Cold War nuclear planning in the 1960's, and came across these two facts, which really struck me:

1) A PREEMPTIVE nuclear war would attack 1000 targets with 3000 warheads;


2) A RETALIATORY nuclear strike would attack 700 targets with 1700 warheads.

These two facts struck me because the attitude that informed this war planning seemed counter-intuitive at first. If somebody hits you, and you're going to hit back, don't you want to hit them with everything you've got?

Part of the difference in the scale of attack is certainly due to war planners anticipating some portion of our capabilities being disabled in the case of a retaliatory strike. But the numbers are incredible: in a full scale preemptive strike, 3 nuclear warheads were to be delivered to each target. That's a lot of redundant destruction. Which got me thinking about the character of preemptive strikes in general.

If you're going to hit somebody first, and you don't know whether they've got a black belt in karate, or a knife, or if somebody's got their back, you drop them quick, and make sure they don't get up. Go for the knees, the throat, the eyes, the groin.

A preemptive strike means targets are hit that don't really need to be hit, because a preemptive strike has a lot of strategic redundancy.

Which got me thinking about the attitude of "our leaders," who launched a preemptive war in Iraq, as part of a larger campaign in our New Kind of War. "Our leaders," who rose to prominence during the Cold War, who built their house of cards during the Cold War, find great value in preemption. Whatever THEY're trying to get at now, it's worth an awful lot to them (look out Iran).

Right now, we're reorganizing our Federal Bureaucracies left and right for the War on Terror, spending blood and dollars hand over fist in our Central Front in the War on Terror, using National Security Letters to draft private citizens into the War on Terror. Imagine what the War on Terror costs in terms of administrative overhead alone. Screw bullets, there are bureaucrats to pay. We're going to be paying this off forever...


The War on Terror is a preemptive war. The United States has not seen terror anything like what Northern Ireland or Israel have seen. More people dead in Iraq than on 911. More people dead in car accidents every year than on 911. More people shot to death in the ghetto every year than on 911.

We don't re-organize our society because of car accidents, we build more roads and make it cheaper to drive than to use mass transit.

We don't re-organize our society because of inner city violence, we copyright rap music and sell it to white teenagers who play violent video games and manufacture more guns and sell Army surplus AK47's and crack to gangsters and keep the white kids hooked on speed for their attention defect disorder. We make thieves because the wealthy have more money than they know how to possibly spend. We make weapons for peace, use copyright to sell people their culture, we tell people our culture is a culture of peace and we put them in debt and put them to work and brainwash them into USA #1 because YOUR reality is entertainment for some monarch or oligarch.


If the War on Terror is a preemptive war, and the War in Iraq is at all part of the War on Terror, it may not really matter what happens in Iraq.

There's a war on for your mind. Propaganda is marketing. If they don't hook you in with Iraq, they've got something else in the pipe, be sure of it.

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