Why buy 'em if we don't use 'em?
The folks who've been drooling ever since 1945 over the idea of using nuclear weapons are at it again:
A new draft US defense paper calls for preventive nuclear strikes against state and non-state adversaries in order to deter them from using weapons of mass destruction and urges US troops to "prepare to use nuclear weapons effectively."
While the paper hasn't been signed into effect by Rumsfeld yet, and therefore isn't official policy, this particular bit is noteworthy for its expansion of nuclear use:
They could be used, for instance, to counter potentially overwhelming conventional adversaries, to secure a rapid end of a war on US terms, or simply "to ensure success of US and multinational operations," the document indicates.
Use to counter overwhelming conventional opposition isn't anything new; the U.S./NATO pretty much was ready to use tactical nuclear arms to stop a massive Soviet invasion of West Germany during the Cold War. However, "simply to ensure success ... of operations" basically is a blank check to use the damn things anywhere, any time, for any reason.
If this is signed into policy, we're treading dangerously close to not only being the only country to ever use nuclear weapons in warfare, but in setting a precedent for them to be used as just another weapon, thereby ensuring that they will be used again and again. Not something to be proud of.