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Nuclear weapons

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

The 166-page February 2004 report by the Defense Science Board Task Force on Future Strategic Strike Forces, the result of the DSB Summer Study 2003, recommends a nuclear payload that would shift "toward a new vision: a stockpile based on previously tested nuclear devices/designs to provide weapons more relevant to the future threat environment," i.e. nuclear weapons.

In the article "Neocons: The men behind the curtain" published in the November/December 2003, issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Khurram Husain writes:

"... nuclear war-fighting doctrine began to attract the interest of specialists from outside the uniformed services. The RAND Corporation emerged as the site most suited for this type of work, and a network of analysts gravitated there. They have left an indelible stamp on America's relationship with the rest of the world.
"James R. Schlesinger, who served as defense secretary in the Nixon administration, was at Rand. So was Herman Kahn, famous for arguing that the United States could fight and win a nuclear war (and for being caricatured as Dr. Strangelove in Stanley Kubrick's film by the same name). There was Albert Wohlstetter, the Columbia-trained mathematician described by Henry Kissinger as a 'brilliant strategist,' and Andrew Marshall, whose network in the defense establishment reads today like a who's who of the Bush administration/cabinet. There was Alain Enthoven, the leader of the 'Whiz Kids,' a team that advised Robert Strange McNamara on the conduct of the Vietnam War. And there was Daniel Ellsberg, who broke ranks by going public about the nature of his work.
"Together these men introduced assumptions and techniques into the study of nuclear war that resonate to this day."

A June 2, 1997, article in Forbes magazine (cache file) states that, in the late 1950s,

"At RAND the formidable strategist Albert Wohlstetter was demonstrating that in a matter of minutes Soviet short-range missiles could take out all U.S. foreign strategic air command bases encircling the Soviet Union. Then the Soviets could say stick 'em up-demanding surrender on the basis of the vulnerability of remaining U.S. missiles to superior Soviet forces. In many vivid papers and speeches, Wohlstetter relentlessly presented his argument that U.S. forces faced a 'missile gap.' The famed Alsop brothers, leading columnists of the day (Stewart was the father of the computer writer), echoed the Wohlstetter claims. [President] John F. Kennedy listened and made the gap a theme of his 1960 presidential campaign.
"Wohlstetter and his colleagues urged that the Pentagon redeploy its strategic forces to the United States and endow them with a second-strike capability-that is, to withstand a first strike and retaliate in kind. Greatly reducing the temptation to go first, this posture would escape the dangerous hair-trigger tenterhooks of the early cold war."

Related SourceWatch Resources

Also see Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria for current information on those countries' weapons programs.

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United States

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Iraq

Libya

  • "Libya 'not close to nuclear arms'. Libya was not close to producing nuclear weapons, the head of the United Nations nuclear agency has confirmed. Mohamed ElBaradei was speaking at the end of a two-day trip to Libya - the first since the country agreed to give up its weapons drive," BBC/UK, December 29, 2003: "Mr. ElBaradei said the Libyans were being fully co-operative - but there was still 'a lot of work to do'. ... Earlier this month, Libya said it would abandon its aspirations of developing weapons of mass destruction."
  • George Jahn, "Nuclear Agency Rejects U.S. Help in Libya," Guardian/UK(AP), December 30, 2003.

North Korea

2000

2004

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2007

Pakistan