New Defense Priorities

September 13, 2002 • Volume 12, Issue 31
Should the U.S. launch pre-emptive strikes?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

U.S. special-operations forces patrol in northern Afghanistan, where they used several innovations in military hardware and tactics during Operation Enduring Freedom, including the use of laser range-finders and global positioning system equipment to help pilots home in on targets. Now special-ops forces may be used to capture or kill Al Qaeda leaders.  (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
U.S. special-operations forces patrol in northern Afghanistan, where they used several innovations in military hardware and tactics during Operation Enduring Freedom, including the use of laser range-finders and global positioning system equipment to help pilots home in on targets. Now special-ops forces may be used to capture or kill Al Qaeda leaders. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

After the Cold War, the Pentagon began downsizing its forces and developing high-tech, mobile weapons designed to deal with “rogue” states like Iraq — less powerful than the Soviet juggernaut but still able to attack the United States and its allies. But the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks forced Pentagon planners back to the drawing board to develop new strategies and weapons. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld wants to further transform the military to enable it to counter emerging threats from unconventional forces like the Al Qaeda Islamic terrorist organization. Meanwhile, President Bush is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but most U.S. allies oppose unilateral action.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Ethics in War
Jul. 13, 2012  Privatizing the Military
Aug. 06, 2010  Drone Warfare Updated
May 2010  Confronting Rape as a War Crime
Jan. 2010  Truth Commissions
Feb. 27, 2009  Closing Guantánamo Updated
Jul. 2008  Child Soldiers
Sep. 2007  Torture Debate
Aug. 25, 2006  Treatment of Detainees
Apr. 18, 2003  Torture
Dec. 13, 2002  Ethics of War
Sep. 13, 2002  New Defense Priorities
Jul. 07, 1995  War Crimes
Apr. 26, 1972  Status of War Prisoners
Oct. 07, 1970  Military Justice
Jul. 12, 1967  Treatment of War Prisoners
Dec. 03, 1952  War Prisoner Repatriation
Sep. 07, 1948  War Trials and Future Peace
Jul. 07, 1945  Enemy Property
Nov. 20, 1943  Courts-Martial and Military Law
Mar. 15, 1943  War Guilt Trials
Mar. 30, 1942  War Atrocities
Feb. 02, 1942  Prisoners of War
Aug. 11, 1938  Aerial Bombardment of Civilian Populations
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Defense Personnel
U.S. at War: Afghanistan