t r u t h o u t | 12.07
Sunday 07 December 2008
by: John Lamperti, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
"Pre-emptive" war, then and now.
The name Pearl Harbor resonates in American history; it is synonymous with the
But why, exactly, was the
Sixty years after Pearl Harbor, the administration of G. W. Bush has made "preemption" an official part of
That is exactly what the Japanese did in 1941, when the
After the war, the
In the years since 2002, far from reconsidering its doctrine of preemption, the Bush administration has reaffirmed and extended it. The invasion of
The Bush administration has also broadened the scope of non-nuclear preemption, calling its policy an "expansive new definition of self-defense." Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and other officials recently cited this doctrine to justify attacks such as the October 26 raid inside
If these standards are applied to the
Any policy that plans for "preemptive" or "preventive" war to promote national interests must be considered criminal, for the same reasons as was the Japanese attack on
 In addition to the
 68 civilians were killed and 35 others wounded. There were some 40 explosions in the city of
 The National Security Strategy of the
 Department of State Bulletin, June 10, 1945.
 Nazi leaders claimed, for example, that the 1940 German invasion of neutral
 The introduction of this terminology may have been intended to blur the distinction between chemical and biological weapons, which Iraq could conceivably have possessed in 2003 (although it in fact did not), and true weapons of mass destruction, i.e. nuclear weapons, which it could not have possessed.
 JP 3-12: Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations. Cited by Hans M. Kristensen in Arms Control Today, September 2005.
 Thom Shanker, "Gates Gives Rationale for Expanded Deterrence," New York Times, October 28, 2008.
John Lamperti is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at
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