Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 20, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 16, 2007
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP84B00274R000300110006-2.pdf154.22 KB
Approved For Re tease 2007/05/16: CIA-RDP84B00274F~0030011000J2 (( O Attgeleo Mira" The Times Weinberger View The Times welcome expessions of elf dews from r*odors. Letters should be kept as brief as possible w14 two. WW ,nailing address and telephone number, if any. on Nuclear War P"udmy me?ec oiv%M >h k-Avidual letter# carrot be ecknowledped. Said W. I am increasingly concerned with Letters, tothefdit.r.LeeAngeles Tlrnee, Ttmes Mirror Sgtrers, Lee MgMee. CA 90063 news accounts that portray this Ad ministration as planning to wage protracted nuclear war, or seeking to acquire a nuclear "war-fighting" capability. This is completely inac-' curate, and these stories misrepre- sent the Administration's policies to the American public and to our al- lies and adversaries abroad. It is the first and foremost goal of .this Administration to take every. step to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again, for we do not ? believe there ? c ouuld be any "win- ners" in a nuclear.=war. Our entire strategy aims to'deter?war of all,. kinds, but most particularly to deter nuclear war. To accomplish this ob jective, our forces must be able to respond in a measured and prudent manner to the threat posed by the Soviet Union. That will require the improvements in *our strategic. forces that the President has pro- posed. But it does-not mean that we endorse the concept of protracted nuclear war, or nuclear "war-fight- ing." It Is the Soviet Union that ap- pears to be building forces for' a, "protracted" conflict The policy of deterrence is diffi-. cult for some to grasp because it is based on a paradox- But this is quite: simple- to make the cost of nuclear war much higher than any possible benefit. If the Soviets know in ad- vance that a nuclear attack on the United States would bring swift nu- clear retaliation, they would never attack in the first place. They would be "deterred" from ever beginning a nuclear war. ? There is nouung new about our pelt,. Since the awful age of nu- clear weapons began, the United States has sought to prevent nu- clear war through a policy of deter- rence. This policy has been ap- proved, through the political processes of the democratic nations it protects, since at least 1950. More important, it works. It has worked in the face of major international' tensions involving the great pow- ers, and it has worked in the face of, war itself. But, for deterrence to continue to be successful in the future, we must take steps to offset the Soviet mili= Lary buildup. If we do not modernize our arsenal now, as the Soviets' have been doing for more than 20.. years, we will, within a few years, no longer have the ability to retali- ate. The Soviet Union would then be in a position to threaten or ac-... tually to attack us with the knowl- edge that we would be incapable of responding. We have seen in Po- land, in Afghanistan, in Eastern Eu- rope and elsewhere that the Soviet Union does not hesitate to take ad- vantage of a weaker adversary. We cannot allow the Soviet Union to, .think It could begin a nuclear war l, with us and win. This is not just idle speculation. The Soviet Union has engaged in a frenzied military buildup, in spite of their ~ economic 'difficulties. They have continued to build greater numbers of nuclear weapons far be- yond those necessary for deter- rence. They now have over 5,000 nuclear warheads on ICBMs, com- pared to about 2,000 only five years ago. They have modified the design of these weapons and their launch- ers so that many of their land-based missiles are now more accurate, more survivable and more powerful than our own. They have also developed a refiring capability that will allow them to reload their de- livery systems several times. They I have elaborate plans for civil de- tense and air defense against any retaliation we might attempt. And,. finally, their writings and military ? Sq doctrine-emphasize a nuclear war- , fighting scenario. Whatever they claim their intentiofla to be, the fact:`' remains . that' * they are designing their weapons in such a way and in sufficient numbers to indicate to us ' 'that they think, they could begin. and win, a nuclear war. In the face of ali this, it is my re- sponsibility and duty as secretary of defense to make every effort to -modertiiize our nuclear forces in. such a'wi that the United States, retains the capability to deter the Soviet Union from ever beginning a nuclear war. We must take the steps necessary to match the Soviet Union's greatly improved nuclear capability. That is exactly why we must have a capability for. a survivable and enduring response-to demon- strate that our strategic forces could survive Soviet strikes over'an ex- tended period. Thus we believe we could deter, any attack. Otherwise, we would be tempting them to em-:' .ploy 'nuclear weapons or' 'try to blackmail us. In short, we cannot afford to place ourselves in the posi- tion where the survivability of our deterrent would force the President to choose between usingourstrate- gic forces before they :,were de- 'a strayed or surrendering. Those who object to a policy that would strengthen our deterrent. then, would force us into a more dangerous, hair-triggered posture. Forces that must be used in the very first instant of an enemy at- tack are not the tools of a prudent :e strategy. A posture that encourages +t Soviet nuclear adventurism is not ' the basis of an effective deterrent. Our entire strategic program, in- eluding the development of a re- sponse capability that has been so maligned in the press recently. has been developed with the express in- tention of assuring that nuclear war will never be fought. I know that this doctrine of deter- rence is a difficult paradox to un- derstand. It Is an uncomfortable -way to keep the peace. We under- stand deterrence and accept the fact that we must do much more in order to continue to keep the peace. It Is my fervent hope that all can under- stand and accept this so that we can avoid the sort of sensationalist treatment of every mention of the word "nuclear" that only serves to distort our policy and to frighten people all over the world. Our poli- cy is peace, and we deeply believe that the best and surest road to peace is to secure and maintain an effective and credible deterrent. . The purpose of U.S. policy re- mains to - prevent aggression through an effective policy of- de-terrence-the very goal which prompted the formation of the North Atlantic Alliance, an alliance which Is as vital today as it was the CASPAR W. WEINBERGER Secretary of Defense Washington, D.C.