From the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein

http://feinstein.senate.gov/03Releases/r-tacticalnukes.htm
I really like this snip the best: I think it clearly states everything she had said in the artical. (but the whole thing is worth a read)

Also goes along with the MOAB issue.

Feinstein is hardly the first person to oppose a first use policy. Given the way strategic realities are shifting - used to be only rich successful states could have weapons of mass destruction - she might be one of the last of a breed. Dealing with mostly failed terror states with nothing to lose, like North Korea, might prove impossible without a first use policy, or a willingness to accept millions of allied casualties.

I used to scrupulously oppose a first use policy. But, given the likely composition of the nuclear club in ten years, I’m already revising my belief system.

What the hell are you guys talking about? Are you saying that because others might or have acquired nuclear bombs, that suddenly makes it alright for us to * bomb them first???* Why? What’s the logic? What’s the justification?

oh wait, I forgot, this is George W. Bush’s Amerika… where we attack people * ** just in case. ** *

I had one more thing to say, but I created a pit thread to say it in.

“Dealing with mostly failed terror states with nothing to lose, like North Korea, might prove impossible without a first use policy…”
I don’t get the logic of this. Let’s say North Korea acquires more nukes. Of what use would a first-use policy be? Are you seriously suggesting that the US would just launch an unprovoked nuclear assault on North Korea to destroy their nuclear arsenal? If not then all a first-use policy does is to make the North Koreans jumpy and put their nuclear forces on hair-trigger alert so as to not get caught unawares. This greatly increases the risk of an accidental launch against the US.

First use is logical (never mind about morality for the time being) against an opponent who has conventional superiority ,like the Soviet Union for most of the Cold War, as a means of deterrence. Since no such opponent exists today it’s hard to see any rationale for the US to threaten first use.

Jesus Hannibal Christ.

Do any of you even know what a first use policy is? It does not mean a preemptive nuclear strike on another nation - it means a willingness to use nuclear weapons first in the event of a war.

Does anyone know anything about the likely outcome of a North Korean attack into South Korea?

“It does not mean a preemptive nuclear strike on another nation - it means a willingness to use nuclear weapons first in the event of a war.”
No it can mean both things. In any case if it’s conventional attack you are worried about that threat has been there for decades. North Korea has become weaker in conventional terms relative to the US and South Korea. So there is less reason to fear a conventional attack and therefore less reason to threaten first use.

Well, no, a surprise nuclear first-strike into another nation during peacetime is a surprise nuclear first-strike into another nation during peactime.

A nuclear first use policy presumes a war in progress. It was first contemplated back when a huge land war in Europe between the Warsaw Pact and NATO consumed everyone’s thoughts. Both sides considered the idea. Terms are developed in a historical context. To turn a first use policy into a surprise nuclear attack is simply not a legitimate use of the term.

But, hey, my first pit thread because some people don’t understand Cold War terminology.

To the OP, what does the MOAB have to do with the first use of atomic weapons? There isn’t anything really special about the MOAB, and in fact a single b-52 can carry more than 70,000 lbs of bombs all on its own.

While I would, in general, be opposed to our being the first to use nuclear weapons, I don’t think we should ever declare that we won’t do so. It invites countries that are in a superior conventional (N. Korea) position to do something stupid. Like what Beagle said.

Here’s the study, if anyone is interested in some reading:

Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Southeast Asia

Well, actually, the first use policy started in Hiroshima… This time, to protect Hiroshima. I love historical irony.

“A nuclear first use policy presumes a war in progress”
So what’s your source for this? I have never heard that “first use” and “first strike” were mutually exclusive and it’s certainly not clear from the common usage of the words.

In any event the point remains that North Korea has become weaker in conventional terms making a first use policy less useful than before.

Cyber the good Senator’s position is that:

I take issue with her statement that any first use should not be sanctioned. Despite your allegation that N. Korea is weaker than it used to be, the fact remains that it is possible that a conventional attack by the north could succeed, and I think our nuclear deterrent should not be weakened by stating that we would never be the first to use the bomb.

If you would like to debate this stuff with some understanding of my conflicted postion on all the important issues, read this first.

Or, just keep making bizarre assumptions when my first post had the term,

  • If that’s not presuming a war I don’t know what is. Where might the allied casualties be piling up?

Seoul, South Korea: population over 10 million. Within range of more hostile conventional and chemical firepower, ready to be unleashed at any time, than any major city I can think of.

P.S. If NK is not a nuclear state now, it soon will be.

“it is possible that a conventional attack by the north could succeed”
Actually I think it’s pretty much impossible that the North Koreans could conventionally defeat combined South/US forces. Not when the US has opened such a massive technological gap.

In any case I was disputing Beagle’s idea that recent events had made first use a better option today than before. If first use is logical today it would be even more logical when North Korean conventional forces were relatively stronger.

I am still waiting for any source that first use and first strike are mutually exclusive. I suspect none will be forthcoming.

Cyberpundit,

That’s not even what the debate is about. You assumed, in the face of what was obviously a hypothetical about a North Korean attack into South Korea, that I was for launching a nuclear strike on North Korea post haste.

A first use and first strike are not mutually exlusive. Fine. What I said about the term and its history are in fact true and you - along with Stoid - jumped to conclusions.

This cite makes use of the two terms in different contexts.

Both from here.

Here.

I think the differences are subtle, but they do seem to be recognized.

But, factually, in the case of North Korea, it would not be a first-strike because North Korea would have already launched its conventional, chemical, and ?nuclear? missile barrage.

Bah! WTF happened to my coding? No linking to cached google pages?

OK so by first use you only meant nuclear retaliation to a convnetional attack. Note that my first post discusses this possibility. It still doesn’t explain why such a first use is especially relevant today when North Korea has been a conventional threat for decades.

North Korean nukes make first use in retaliation to a conventional attack MORE tricky because the US would have to ensure that the North Koreans couldn’t strike back. That would mean a much bigger nuclear strike and even then you couldn’t be sure.
“What I said about the term and its history are in fact true and you - along with Stoid - jumped to conclusions.”
Huh? You said that first use implies a war in progress. Please provide a source for this.