First Strike, Second Strike, All Fall Down

Aside from the always great irony of a Cheney lecturing on morality in matters of war and peace, I'm wondering if anyone is ever going to inform Rep. Cheney what the words "second strike capability" mean.

For 60+ years nuclear war has not only assumed that a nuclear combatant would have a second strike capability sufficient to survive a first strike and retaliate enough to demolish the attacker/the entire planet - MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction - the very concept of a successful nuclear first strike would be tremendously dangerous, because it would make a nuclear war a logical decision. And a nuclear war - even a hilariously one-sided war with only one winner - would cause such environmental carnage civilization as we know it would end.

But expecting our leaders who are responsible for making these decisions to know enough to make these decisions is crazy talk.

Incidentally the Soviet Union had a no-first-use nuclear policy for its entire existence. Putin's Russia has disavowed it. NATO/the US has never agreed to it.

And if you'd like to have nightmares this evening, here is an alternate history of what would have happened if nuclear war broke out during the Cuban missile crisis when the US had overwhelming superiority. It isn't pretty. The author is a nuclear disarmament negotiator. The war scenario itself is fairly well researched - everything up to the point of divergence (the Soviet submarine using a nuclear torpedo) happened - in real life one of the officers on the submarine vetoed the torpedo launch (and in so doing, quite literally saved the world.)