“What the Pentagon has done in this instance is sound, military, conceptual planning.”
Colin Powell is on Face the Nation — “scchheee-BS!” — and he’s basically saying that all this fussing over nukes is uncalled for: the Administration and the Military is just doing some conceptual planning.
Well, to me, that means that the old plans for using nukes aren’t quite as useful as they uses to be; that is, if you’re doing “planning,” you’re probably coming up with something new because your old plans, if they were sufficient, wouldn’t need to be “updated” or re-conceptualized. Thus, to be wildly speculative, American is formulating new plans for when and how to use their nukes.
Now, of course, if you don’t mind the use of nukes in war, then you’re position would be, “yeah, Mr. Programmer, big deal: as you should know, new situations and contexts come up all the time, in any field, and you gotta regroup your plans.” But, if you’re like me, and nuke-ware seems like, well, basically the worst thing that could ever happen, any sort of movement in America’s nuke policy except the elimination of nukes is bad. (Granted, today’s NY Times story says, “[t]he Bush administration has said that it plans to reduce strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads, a big reduction from the 6,000 or so nuclear weapons that the United States has now,” which is something good.)
And that seems what all the hubbub is about: Nukes! Whao! Death from above! Radiation! Skin peeling off!
Granted, it’s not like we can’t have nukes: the grand game of chicken that is mutual assured destruction is a “game” that can never stop. Until they’re used to blow us into the reign of Lord Humungus, any nation’s defense plan will require the use of nukes, it seems, either as in using nukes themselves, or having nukes used against them. As Condi Rice said later on Meet the Press, “What we constantly look at is how to we deter the use of a weapons of mass destruction against us…[t]he only way to deter the use is to guarantee that the response will be devastating.”
Like so much in The Industry, policy in government is probably more driven by the limitations of legacy systems, then the possibilities of new systems.