Justifying Preemptive War


The Wash Post reports that President Bush is set to release "a new national security strategy today reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled experience in Iraq." In "the long-overdue document, an articulation of U.S. strategic priorities that is required by law,"

Bush offers no second thoughts about the preemption policy, saying it "remains the same" and defending it as necessary for a country in the "early years of a long struggle" akin to the Cold War. In a nod to critics in Europe, the document places a greater emphasis on working with allies and declares diplomacy to be "our strong preference" in tackling the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," the document continues. "When the consequences of an attack with WMD are potentially so devastating, we cannot afford to stand idly by as grave dangers materialize."

Whole thing here.

Back in October 2002, Ohio State political scientist John Mueller and Cato Institute stalwart Brink Lindsey debated preemptive war and the then-pending invasion of Iraq. That's online here.

Reason's Brian Doherty muses on waging perpetual war for perpetual peace here.

Dark, barely-discussed origins of preemptive war policy from Hill Street Blues Sgt. Stan Jablonski here (third quote).