Endless War Is a Feature – Not a Bug – of U.S. Policy

George Washington's picture

We are in the middle of a perpetual series of wars. See this, this, this and this.

As just one example, in 2010 the war in Afghanistan became the longest war in U.S. history.  But - no matter what you've heard - there are no plans to get out any time soon.

As Glenn Greenwald notes today:

Despite the happy talk from [the Pentagon's top lawyer, the war on terror] is not ending soon. By its very terms, it cannot. And all one has to do is look at the words and actions of the Obama administration to know this.


In October, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the administration was instituting a “disposition matrix” to determine how terrorism suspects will be disposed of, all based on this fact: “among senior Obama administration officials, there is broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade.” As Miller puts it: “That timeline suggests that the United States has reached only the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism.”


The polices adopted by the Obama administration just over the last couple of years leave no doubt that they are accelerating, not winding down, the war apparatus that has been relentlessly strengthened over the last decade. In the name of the War on Terror, the current president has diluted decades-old Miranda warnings; codified a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy, repression and release-restrictions at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed the Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just signed into law all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held detainees.


Does that sound to you like a government anticipating the end of the War on Terror any time soon? Or does it sound like one working feverishly to make their terrorism-justified powers of detention, surveillance, killing and secrecy permanent?

Why is the war of terror being waged indefinitely?

Many have said that “war is the health of the state”,  and Thomas Paine wrote in the Rights of Man:

In reviewing the history of the English Government, its wars and its taxes, a bystander, not blinded by prejudice, nor warped by interest, would declare, that taxes were not raised to carry on wars, but that wars were raised to carry on taxes.

George Washington – in his farewell address of 1796 – said:

Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty.

James Madison said:

In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

Madison also noted that never-ending war tends to destroy both liberty and prosperity:

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied: and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

Greenwald noted in October:

As the Founders all recognized, nothing vests elites with power – and profit – more than a state of war. That is why there were supposed to be substantial barriers to having them start and continue – the need for a Congressional declaration, the constitutional bar on funding the military for more than two years at a time, the prohibition on standing armies, etc. Here is how John Jay put it in Federalist No 4:

“It is too true, however disgraceful it may be to human nature, that nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it; nay, absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal, such as thirst for military glory, revenge for personal affronts, ambition, or private compacts to aggrandize or support their particular families or partisans. These and a variety of other motives, which affect only the mind of the sovereign, often lead him to engage in wars not sanctified by justice or the voice and interests of his people.”

In sum, there are factions in many governments that crave a state of endless war because that is when power is least constrained and profit most abundant.

Indeed, top American military officials and national defense experts say that our specific actions in the “war on terror” are creating more terrorists and more war.

As Greenwald points out today, the endless nature of the war on terror is a feature, not a bug:

There’s a good reason US officials are assuming the “War on Terror” will persist indefinitely: namely, their actions ensure that this occurs.




There’s no question that this “war” will continue indefinitely. There is no question that US actions are the cause of that, the gasoline that fuels the fire. The only question – and it’s becoming less of a question for me all the time – is whether this endless war is the intended result of US actions or just an unwanted miscalculation.


It’s increasingly hard to make the case that it’s the latter. The US has long known, and its own studies have emphatically concluded, that “terrorism” is motivated not by a “hatred of our freedoms” but by US policy and aggression in the Muslim world. This causal connection is not news to the US government. Despite this – or, more accurately, because of it – they continue with these policies.




There is zero reason for US officials to want an end to the war on terror, and numerous and significant reasons why they would want it to continue. It’s always been the case that the power of political officials is at its greatest, its most unrestrained, in a state of war. Cicero, two thousand years ago, warned that “In times of war, the law falls silent” (Inter arma enim silent leges).




If you were a US leader, or an official of the National Security State, or a beneficiary of the private military and surveillance industries, why would you possibly want the war on terror to end? That would be the worst thing that could happen. It’s that war that generates limitless power, impenetrable secrecy, an unquestioning citizenry, and massive profit.


Just this week, a federal judge ruled that the Obama administration need not respond to the New York Times and the ACLU’s mere request to disclose the government’s legal rationale for why the President believes he can target US citizens for assassination without due process. Even while recognizing how perverse her own ruling was – “The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me” and it imposes “a veritable Catch-22″ – the federal judge nonetheless explained that federal courts have constructed such a protective shield around the US government in the name of terrorism that it amounts to an unfettered license to violate even the most basic rights: “I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret” (emphasis added).


Why would anyone in the US government or its owners have any interest in putting an end to this sham bonanza of power and profit called “the war on terror”? Johnson is right that there must be an end to this war imminently, and Maddow is right that the failure to do so will render all the due-process-free and lawless killing and imprisoning and invading and bombing morally indefensible and historically unforgivable.


But the notion that the US government is even entertaining putting an end to any of this is a pipe dream, and the belief that they even want to is fantasy. They’re preparing for more endless war; their actions are fueling that war; and they continue to reap untold benefits from its continuation. Only outside compulsion, from citizens, can make an end to all of this possible.

Indeed,  the American government has directly been supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups for the last decade.  See thisthis, this, this and this.

(Remember, if there aren’t scary enough enemies in real life, we’ve got to create them.  Oops … did I say that out loud?)

And the American government lies – and even kills its own – to justify new wars.

Top American economists say that endless war has ruined our economy.  It benefits a handful of elites, while levying a tax on the vast majority of Americans.

Congress members – part of the super-elite which has made money hand over fist during this economic downturn – are heavily invested in the war industry, and routinely trade on inside information … perhaps even including planned military actions.

No wonder the American government is making the state of war permanent, and planning to unleash new, widespread  wars in the near future.

Postscript: Under Bush, it was the "war on terror". Obama has re-branded the perpetual fighting as "humanitarian war".

But - underneath the ever-changing marketing and branding campaign - it's really just the good 'ole military-industrial-and-banking complex consolidating their power and making money hand over fist.

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F. Bastiat's picture

It is a feature of mankind, actually.

Vendetta's picture

War is also a major wealth destruction event just like the cash-for-clunkers program whereby ppl are 'incentivized' to buy a new car and new debt while real wealth, a paid off car, has its engine destroyed.  Then, of course, the 'reconstruction' debt.

Rastadamus's picture

Religion. Specifically Christianity. Jesus cannot return to rapture true believers if Israel is not fimly planted on the map.

Random's picture

Isnt't 60+ years enough? Give me a figure to be "firmly planted on the map", 200 more years, a fuck ton of years? Is the refresh rate that low?

Element's picture

wft? ... oh, ... I get it ... this is the latest zio-ploy is it? to try and make fundamentalist christians think that they actually need israel to be there ... or they can't be saved in the final apocalypse? oh man, you guys must be feeling really desperate to be trying that sort of stuff in here.

Believable-Hypocrite's picture

Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.

WT Sherman's picture

Remember how awful and evil war was GWB was in office?  Now you don't hear a peep out of democrats and the MSM....all you hear is crickets.

Obama wars good.  Bush wars bad.

torabora's picture

You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

(An oldy but a goody)

I am on to you's picture

Thumbs up,say more than a million words!

q99x2's picture

Keep up the good work GW. NWO mercinaries will begin killing us here once they have the guns reigned in.

Whoa Dammit's picture

1) A government that has a standing army will always find a war for its military to fight. Otherwise its people will start to complain about the associated costs and insist that it be dismantled. Government will never let this happen as then it would have no military to protect itself from its people.

2) Government needs a boogey man enemy (no matter how far fetched and unrealistic) to fight because it can thereby justify its existence by "protecting" its people from said boogey man.

Bansters-in-my- feces's picture

There is terrorism served up to Americans and people from all over the world these days. It is dished out by the USA Military,and it is served up in the form of S.A.G.


This is what the terrorist call it whren they spray us with their toxic laden chemtrails coming from the airtankers that are flown by military personel.


When have you seen a sunny day without straight lines of fucking shit disguised as clouds..?



Do us a story on S.A.G.


HAARP and the connection.


Evergreen air,spraying you daily.

Clesthenes's picture

War has many aims.  The primary aim is to rid the population of potential rebels.  When states wage war, rulers of each have no animosity toward rulers of the other state.  They both understand the opportunity of war.  Each lets loose a storm of propaganda against the other; young men with a sense of justice (but little intelligence) volunteer to defend the “homeland”; these are then sent to the frontier to slaughter other young men driven by similar sentiments.  The result is that both states are cleansed of potential rebels, tyranny is made more secure.

England provides a splendid example of this slaughter of protestors/protestants.  Such protestants were a thorn in the side of Charles I, who favored Catholicism.  Protestants, in and out of parliament, constantly demanded that Charles send reinforcements to the aid of Bohemia, then under siege by Catholic powers.  Charles eventually ‘relented’.  Almost 10,000 zealous protestants volunteered for the adventure; they embarked on ships and sailed for Holland.  Thru art or carelessness, Charles neglected to request permission to enter Dutch ports.  The English ships stood by just outside such ports for nearly two weeks; owing to crowded conditions and cheap supplies on the ships, disease swept thru the ships and carried off nearly half the volunteers.  In the meantime, Charles emptied his jails of felons, put uniforms on them and quartered them in homes of the absent protestants, with instructions to do as they pleased – impunity was understood.

This is why we need perpetual war, to mutilate and corrupt every upcoming generation – all to get rid of a few potential rebels.

Thus it will ever be, as long as men wish to remain ignorant of lessons of yesteryear.

AnAnonymous's picture

The primary aim is to rid the population of potential rebels.

Another 'american' pearl.

'Americans' have zero command over their language.

War is what creates rebels. Rebels are people who after a war do not accept defeat and keep warring. They re-war.

It is therefore not possible for war's primary aim to rid of potential rebels.

Trenchf00t's picture

I like this article, thanks very much GW! ++ For you I appreciate the thought-provoking stuff.

Clesthenes's picture

And another, ‘War is the most religious experience a man will undertake: it allows him to kill and plunder with complete impunity.’

rwe2late's picture

“It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. “

Dr. Sandi's picture

Except for when the people he's killing and plundering blast his ass.

KickIce's picture

Good stuff George, thanks much.

Gutle Schnaper, Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s wife dies. Before her death she would nonchalantly state,

"If my sons did not want wars, there would be none."

George Washington's picture

KickIce, I tend to believe this quote is real.  But is there any definitive quote/link for it?

KickIce's picture

Here you go George.

Timeline: House of Rothschild

If you do a search with Rothschild and Timeline you get some pretty good stuff.

sgt_doom's picture

Outstanding blog posting, GW, as usual.

Glenn Greenwald, like Prof. Michael Hudson, is a national treasure and super-patriot; still hope as long as there are a few Americans left like Messrs Greenwald and Hudson

American History 101:  The Crucifixion of Hugo Chávez

NPR accuses the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, of being criminal and evil?

FoxFiction accuses the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, of being criminal and evil?

CNN accuses the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, of being criminal and evil?

The ultra-rightwing skank tank, the Heritage Foundation, accuses the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, of being criminal and evil?

Why?  What sinister acts and minacious activities have been perpetrated by President Chavez?

The reduction of poverty in Venezuela! The fact that Hugo Chávez is an authentic democrat, a man of the people!

Such vileness should never go unpunished, especially since in the Western Hemisphere, where the mighty banksters recently had their bonuses deferred, as punishment for their long-term money laundering and aiding and abetting the mass murder, tortures, sex trafficking and human slave trafficking, and human destruction by the drug cartels (HSBC, etc.), humanist behavior of the sort exhibited by President Hugo Chávez must never go unavenged!

In America, we once had similar democrats as President Chavez:  Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and they died mostly by assassination, the exact same fate which forces in the USA attempted against President Hugo Chávez.

During the Bush administration, there were several coup attempts and assassination attempts against Chavez, always with the sighting in Venezuela of Otto Reich and his Cuban-American squads nearby.  Otto Reich, Cuban-American assistant secretary of state, would thankfully fumble all attempts.

After the second, or was it the third (?) attempt on Hugo Chávez, the chairman of the Venezuela Chamber of Commerce was placed in the presidency --- an odd "choice" given that he wasn't even in the proper presidential secession, but then the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce is a subsidiary of the US Chamber of Commerce (USCoC).

Truly, the oligarchs, the plutocracy, despise the true democrat.  They much prefer their smooth talking lackeys like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama --- even better their talking dummy sock puppets like the Bush family.

Go back and read the presidential inaugural speeches of John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln and Hugo Chávez, and see the remarkable similarity of spirit!

I have not witnessed such absolute malevolence towards an elected official as we've seen from the "liberal" NPR's Tom Gelton, Rupert Murdoch's Foxtards, the criminal crews at CNN, CNBC, ABC, CBS, etc., etc.; an orgy of obscenity directed at a true man of the people, by the people and for the people.

Viva Chávez!    Viva democracy!

When Kermit Roosevelt successfully led the team which overthrew the Iranian president back in the early 1950s, the leader who had the audacity to nationalize the Iranian oil fields, redirecting the profits and revenues of Iranian resources to the Iranian people.

Kermit Roosevelt would later be rewarded with an extremely high-paying position at Gulf Oil (Mellon family-owned), the imperialists sometimes take care of their own, especially when they too come from super-rich backgrounds.

A history replete with the aggression and violence of the super-rich against those would deny them their blood money!






I am on to you's picture

100+ To you Sir sgt_doom.

We know, it aint all Eumericans(i am, a kind of one,just born on the other side of the pond), that are duped down,and Zero Hedge ,is the proof to that!

Long live Justice prosperity,and Liberty,to us all.We just have one planet,and its ours,all of us!


robobbob's picture

the enemy of my enemy....is just a cliched saying.

just because the MIB is evil and their handpuppets the MSM do their bidding, does not make a saint out of all of their targets. there are more than sufficient venezuelans imprisoned or dead who would disagree with any attempts to characterize HC as any kind of a hero. If scale is used as the comparison factor, then I suppose his tyranny is miniscule to the crimes of the MIB/banking criminals.

evil succeeds when the good stand idly by. but I think we've reached a point when there just simply isn't enough good left to clean this mess up. too big. too entrenched. too protected. in a time of universal corruption, speaking the truth is ....something or other.

Salon's picture

Chavez clearly supported the colombian guerillas with money.

He has supported and welcomed the Iranian government.

He does go out of his way to rail against the united states and he has even discussed violating latin america's informal agreement not to station missile bases in the region

However he stopped supporting colombian guerillas when he was caught. Even so none of this rises to the level of terrorist or criminal.

WTFUD's picture

Imagine America using its technology to lift 2+ billion people out of poverty around the globe; would mean training engineers, geologists, scientists, doctors, nurses, farmers, programmers etc etc etc with monies gained from all the profitable resulting managed projects ( a Real share in global wealth feeding home.

Imagine 300 countries with open hands knowing USA were arriving as friends/ partners for the greater good.

Who are the folks in the US who do not want this?

Element's picture

It must be grand to envision a great-messiah metering out technicolor fantasias, instead of a great-satan metering out hellfire missiles from spy drones on human beings who have never attacked the USSA in any form.

Benjamin Glutton's picture

H.J.Res. 15: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, …
…of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

Jan 04, 2013 (113th Congress, 2013–2015)
Rep. José Serrano [D-NY15]
Referred to Committee

urwright's picture


What's the problem?  You actually think you could write this and have folks read it without the US policy of war?

AldousHuxley's picture

US doesn't like arabs getting rich from free oil wealth. thus the war to control the supply.


to control china's industry, US must control oil.

Rustysilver's picture

I never understood the 100 years European wars. Now, I do.

walcott's picture

Luciferian is fancy word to keep the jesus freaks, The allah freaks, the wall whaling freaks in total submission and keep them from ever thinking. And after a few billion of the slaves are exterminated the survivors can blame it on the devil its pretty simple the misdirection and it works to perfection on a 6 year child like mentality and a mentally retarded belief system. Keep them stupid and they'll do whatever you tell them. 

The masses are much like farm animals at a factory farm. This is pure slaughter plain and simple without prejudice. People have amassed like 1980's 1990's baseball cards. Familiartiy and overprinting and over population destroys value. Like the worthlesscards being dumped into trash bins its happening to people to now.

Look at all the scumbags on welfare or with outrageous pensions bitching they don't have a job or that they're affraid they'll lose their benefits while at the same time loading up baskets of slave or prison labor goods at wal-mart every day. And the welfare takers that don't even posess the skills of the prison laborers anymore but they're damn sure living off them. Unfreakn' real!



Ghordius's picture

"Luciferian is fancy word..." +1

walcott's picture


I am on to you's picture


What war?

Dont it take a ,declaration of war,to start one??

Droning children in, Pakistan,is that war!

I dont remember any contry,any,declaring war upon Eumerica!


But i´have heard about all,the insane,the Eumerica has made,and seen the horror in Peopels faces,when 20 Eumerican children loose their life:

Hold up against M.Allbrights justification,of slauthering 500.000 Iraki children,and Colin Powels Carte Blanche at the UN:

Thats f.king not war,thats simpel murdering!

Then, MR.G W,dont call this war,it would be like saying CIA is fighting a (war)on drugs,call a spade a spade.

AnAnonymous's picture

Another "Americanism for the dummies by this author"

Perpetual war, not a bug but an integrated to 'americanism' feature?

What a piece of news.

AnAnonymouses's picture

American citizenisms like meth-fueled ostrich on roller skates and head in sand; ready for Chinaman entry from behind!

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymouses did this the saying of:

American citizenisms like meth-fueled ostrich on roller skates and head in sand; ready for Chinaman entry from behind!

A sane comment. Propensity of Chinese citizenism men citizens to strange avian copulation practices is well known, but little discussed, phenomenum.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Another AnAnonymous propagandated dropping added to his Chinese citizenism roadside stoolagmite, blobbing up like a pingo in the arctic tundra.

What a piece of anaq.

Salon's picture

Vote up!
Vote down!
They still taught all those quotes in school when i was growing up.

Plus the declaration of independence. There is not a more inspiring document and testament to the age of enlightenment anywhere.

Freedom and liberty were still understood by many.

My grandparents generation were the last when 10 percent of the population were named George Washington (insert last name here)

"progressives" know that individual liberty is a barrier to collectivism, and revolution is a fundamental natural right.

So this stuff is not taught anymore


rwe2late's picture

The monetary system and its control do give the appearance of being the drivers of the economy,

but those factors exist on top of a more general economic foundation.

At its core, what we call the capitalist system rests on the belief (not shared by all cultures) that the world, and all that exists, can be owned, or privatized.

That system operates by:

1) privatizing the natural wealth of the world, all its species, even the activities of its human and other denizens.

The privatization necessarily includes “rights” of individual ownership.

2) The rights of ownership are used to channel power and wealth to the owners. Owners compete to own more, and to prevent what they own being taken away. Monopolies and owner institutions are established.

3) A money system is developed to facilitate the exchange of property and as a means for property owners to extract wealth and services from the non-owners of property. (Imposing a tax on natives has been a traditional colonial method of forcing natives to work or trade in order to get the money to pay the tax).

4) Everything privatized is a commodity and becomes priced. The competition between owners, and the collective actions by owners force every “property” to be valued monetarily, and ultimately by its functionality in obtaining more property and services ( profit in money-measured terms).

Privatizing, gaining control of the world and others is built into the “capitalist” world-view.

Conquest for ownership of the world is its ultimate logic.


The capitalist corporation is the apex institution. It has a singular narrow bottom-line goal of profit-making for the “property” it represents. Other properties and also non-properties should they exist become inconsequential. The degradation of environment, humans, and other species may actually increase the profitability of a corporation.

tickhound's picture

You've made it sound too appealing.

Father Lucifer's picture

Someday someone will set off a nuke, then there will be a real war.

Element's picture

Yes, a nuclear exchange is going to occur, some one will eventually use one. Countries with the greatest number of weapons to 'defend' themselves will be the ones most rapidly and thoroughly devastated. The means and option for delivery are far too numerous to counter.




The greatest danger though is having arsenals with megaton-class weapons as those would indeed put an end to modernity. Problem is, even now there are many thousands of megaton-class munitions, and they make up the bulk of all current nuclear arsenals, despite some having deluded themselves into thinking these all magically evaporated in 1992 or something. Nope, they are still in service and more effective and reliable than ever before. NPT, CTBT, SALT and START made no ultimate real-world difference to any of that.

September 1, 2012

New Detailed Data For US Nuclear Forces Counted Under New START Treaty

"... It is widely assumed that 12 out of 14 SSBNs normally are deployable, but the various sets of aggregate data all indicate that the force ready for deployment at any given time may be closer to 10. This ratio can fluctuate significantly and in average 64 percent (8-9) of the SSBNs are at sea with roughly 920 warheads. Up to five of those subs are on alert with 120 missiles carrying an estimated 540 warheads – enough to obliterate every major city on the face of the earth. ..."

And that's just the US side.

Ghordius's picture

"Nope, they are still in service and more effective and reliable than ever before. NPT, CTBT, SALT and START made no ultimate real-world difference to any of that."

a lot of that inventory is getting less effective and reliable, by the day

in fact a strong incentive to all the talks was to urgently reduce the overhead to MAD expenditures, with the spectacular example of those russian missiles that were transforming themselves in melting megasticks of dynamite

and that was only the urgent part - the part of the iceberg sticking out

and yet - I see the nihilistic wish for a Big Bang! in the US. even novels like "Drinking the Nihil" and many, many blogs

it is a cultural movement, and an old one, at that, with religious roots to boot. fine

but again, how do you answer my riddle? how does a nihilist come next to a red MAD button? for all the stupid and various ways we have to let people have power, we interestingly still only let people have power that crave pover. and those aren't nihilist

rwe2late's picture


You seem to be overlooking:

1) technical error (radar etc)

2) error of judgement (e.g. a false belief that the "enemy" was about to attack, or a false appraisal of who had attacked - 9/11 & Iraq come to mind).

3) a CORRECT judgement that the "enemy" was about to attain overwhelming first strike capability (such capability is something the Pentagon strives for). Hence the "balance" of power (MAD) would be lost. Therefore the option of pre-emption by striking first with the possibility of survival may seem better than acquiescence to one's nation becoming essentially defenseless.

A similar situation existed at the outbreak of WW1. Germany reckoned that allowing full Russian mobilization would render Germany "defenseless" to a Franco-Russian alliance. Therefore the decision was made to pre-empt that possibility by striking first.

Ghordius's picture

I was under the impression that those problems were solved by the agreed use of boomers, who can wait and see if the other side really, really "did it"

there are a lot of international protocols set up, all with a "let them come first" approach according to game theory, the only theory that nations really understand - even when singular politicians seldomly do

the real Reagan-Gorbatschew talks were all about that: realistic, scot-free first strike capabilities aren't attainable anymore, that option was lost in the 70's

Reagan bluffed with "Star Wars", the only thing everybody would have believed, and the rest is history when the Russian folded

you would still need an accident of the so called "blinding" proportions of a nuclear attack, as one quipped "The Mother of All Fogs (of War)

an unexpected continental-sized EMP would not be sufficient, for example

rwe2late's picture

 I believe the discussion was of somewhat theoretical scenarios,

1)whatever first strike capability is not "attainable" presently could be attained by a breakthrough in anti-sub/BOOMER capability - again either real or imagined.

2) howevermuch "scot-free" may never be "attainable", overwhelming capability and acceptable losses may be evaluated differently by our political leaders.

3) although heavily-armed nuclear powers may have some assurance of MAD security,

the rest of the world does not,

and many people of the world live under threat that nuclear weapons (and other WMDs developed and under development by the modern Sparta) may one day be used against them.

Element's picture

Let's not forget that George Bush said the US would unilaterally preemptively strike an enemy with nuclear weapons, if there was evidence of an imminent strike on the US by "terrorists".

Yeah well, we know how low his threshold of 'evidence' was, ZERO!

But fear not, a psycho-nihilist will never get hold of nuclear launch capability! ... ha, yeah riiiight, ... except, it only takes a regular warmongering sociopathic human moron to do it. We've had five of those straight in the US since 1980.