12 September 2005: for immediate release

Peace campaigners reacted with horror to the nuclear “terrorism” of the US’s new nuclear doctrine set out in the draft ‘Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations’. The doctrine speaks of “integrating conventional and nuclear attacks” to ensure the most efficient use of force, and it will make the use of nuclear weapons by the United States as likely and straightforward as the use of conventional weaponry. The US is taking the world to the brink of “nuclear anarchy” if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, approves the document as it stands, said Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The proposed new nuclear doctrine enshrines preemption into joint nuclear doctrine, lowers the threshold for nuclear use, approves a role for nuclear weapons against all forms of weapons of mass destruction, and sees a role for nuclear force even when the US is threatened by conventional weapons. The text replaces “war” with “conflict” as a likely scenario for nuclear first use and sanctions a role for nuclear weapons against terrorists, or against states that “support their efforts”. The draft asserts that no customary or conventional international law prohibits the use of nuclear weapons in war, and says that the US will remain deliberately ambiguous about when it would use nuclear weapons.

Whereas previously the emphasis in US policy on nuclear use has been in relation to other states’ use, or threat of use, of nuclear or other WMD, the new doctrine includes nuclear force in the context of conventional threats. The draft observes the following: “…US nuclear forces deter potential adversary use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and dissuade against a potential adversary’s development of an overwhelming conventional threat”.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament:

“The new doctrine blows apart the whole international framework governing nuclear weapons. The US is effectively eradicating the distinction between the use of nuclear and conventional weapons, and raising the likelihood of nuclear use in a conventional conflict. Treaty protection of non-nuclear weapons states from the threat of nuclear attack has gone by the board, and countries suspected of supporting the efforts of terrorists may come under nuclear attack. This doctrine raises extremely serious implications for international security and proliferation. The implications are mind-blowing. International laws and treaties won’t protect any nation against a nuclear attack from the US. The US is nuclear trigger happy in the extreme and there is simply no incentive now for nations not to develop their own nuclear capacity.

The idea that there are no legal prohibitions on the use of nuclear weapons is completely wrong, and the notion of intentional ambiguity about when the US would use nukes will create massive instability. It is nothing but nuclear terrorism, designed to control and determine the actions of other states through instilling the fear in them of nuclear annihilation. The US is taking the world to the brink of nuclear anarchy.”


Notes to Editor:

1. For further information and interviews please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859

2. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.