Bush's Secret 7 Nation Nuclear Hit List Draws World Outrage
By Alexandra Williams and Bob Roberts
[The Daily Mirror - UK 3-11-02]:
President Bush faced world anger last night over America's seven-
nation nuclear hit list.
British MPs joined the outcry after a leaked Pentagon report revealed
contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against China, Russia, Iran,
Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Libya. The secret policy was denounced
as warmongering "lunacy".
Alarmed officials from Moscow to Tehran warned that the "power crazy"
President, buoyed up by the successful campaign in Afghanistan, could
plunge the world into chaos. British politicians said the strategy
threatened the stability of the NATO alliance.
International tension mounted as Washington pressed Britain to back
an attack on Iraq - including the possible commitment of 25,000
British troops to topple Saddam Hussein.
Cabinet Minister Clare Short hinted that she might resign if Tony
Blair supported a mass strike against Baghdad. She said: "We need to
deal with the problem of Saddam Hussein - we don't need to inflict
further suffering on the people of Iraq."
Labour MPs Alice Mahon and Tam Dalyell will today deliver a letter to
10 Downing Street warning the Prime Minister against joining any
US Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in London last night for talks
with Mr Blair which will cover the threat posed by Iraq.
No 10 insisted last night: "No decisions have been taken."
Amid mounting anger, the target nations accused America of
intimidation and "wreaking havoc on the whole world" and branded the
plans a "lunatic" threat to world peace.
In Britain, MPs said the sensational disclosures threatened the
stability of the Western alliance.
Labour MP Alice Mahon said: "The lunatics have taken over the White
House. This report must be ringing alarms throughout NATO". The
Pentagon document, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, was leaked as
the US lobbied Britain to join an invasion of Iraq.
International Development Secretary and Cabinet Minister Clare Short
hinted she might resign if a strike went ahead.
The review says the US must be ready to use nuclear weapons against
China, Russia, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Libya. It then
identified four areas where the US should be prepared to press the
In an Arab-Israeli conflict, in a war between China and Taiwan, in an
attack by North Korea on South Korea and in an attack by Iraq on
Israel or another neighbor. Additionally, the weapons could be used
against targets able to withstand conventional attack and in
retaliation for the use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
They could also be used in the event of "surprising military
developments", reflecting fears that rogue states or terrorists could
deploy weapons against the US.
The review, leaked to the Los Angeles Times, orders the military to
plan for the use of "smaller nuclear weapons" as a more effective
deterrent against terrorist attacks. It also calls for cruise
missiles to carry nuclear weapons. It is the first time the US has
reviewed its nuclear strategy since 1994 and the first list of target
nations to be made public.
Last night it was seen as a warning to those states who might be
harboring terrorists. In Russia, defense hawk General Leonid Ivashov
said: "The heart of US political doctrine is to push powerful Russia
off the political scene."
Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin added: "This is a nuclear stick
intended to intimidate us." Vyacheslav Nikonov, of the Politika think
tank, branded the plans a "very negative signal" which would
be "received in an appropriate fashion by Russia's leadership".
Iran's former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an aide to Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: "The US believes that by
threatening countries they'll withdraw their demands. Their policy is
one of intimidation."
The Tehran Times newspaper said: "This indicates the US is going to
wreak havoc on the world to establish its domination." Professor
Michael Yahuda, professor of international relations at the London
School of Economics, warned: "China won't be happy to be classified
among rogue nations."
Liberal Democrat spokesman Menzies Campbell said: "America seems to
be moving from nuclear deterrence to nuclear war fighting.
"It would drive a coach and horses through NATO's doctrine of nuclear
strikes as a last resort."
US Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted the report did not signal
He said: "We should not get carried away with some sense the US plans
to use nuclear weapons in some contingency in the near future.
"It's not the case. What the Pentagon has done with this is sound
military, conceptual planning.
"Not a single nation is being targeted by an American nuclear weapon
on a day-to-day basis."
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice added: "We all want to
make the use of weapons of mass destruction less likely.
"The way that you do that is to send a very strong signal to anyone
who might use them against the United States that they'd be met with
a devastating response."
Vice-President Dick Cheney arrived in London last night to meet Tony
Blair. He is expected to appeal for military support against Iraq. It
is reported the US will ask for up to 25,000 British troops to form
part of an invasion force.
In the first sign of a Cabinet split, Ms Short denounced any invasion
plans yesterday. She said: "An all-out military attack is, of course,
not at all sensible.
"We need to deal with the problem of Saddam Hussein. We don't need to
inflict further suffering on the people of Iraq."
Ms Short said the best answer was to allow UN inspectors back into
Iraq, a move firmly ruled out by Iraq's Vice-President Taha Yassin
Ramadan yesterday. Her warning amounted to a threat to resign if
there is a strike against Iraq. Donald Anderson, Labour chairman of
the Commons foreign affairs select committee, said military action on
Iraq must only be a last resort.
He said: "I think there are reckless elements in the Pentagon who are
on a roll because of Afghanistan.
"I would hope part of the task of our Government is to influence
those who take a contrary view."
Downing Street played down the reports of an American request for
British troops. A spokesman said: "No decisions have been taken, let
alone any requests made."
Published in the Daily Mirror © 2002 mirror.co.uk