How the Bush Doctrine of Preemptive Strike Meets the Test of the Powell Doctrine   [open pdf - 98KB]

The terrorist attacks of September 2001 drastically changed American perceptions of national defense. With the possible exception of the communist states' developing nuclear weapons and delivery systems, no other event has so fundamentally challenged the American sense of security since the United States emerged from World War II as a superpower. As the Bush Administration grapples with the related issues of transnational terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it has turned its focus on the state of Iraq and the regime of Saddam Hussein. Although there appears to be only tenuous evidence linking Hussein to the events of September 11, the administration's concern is that the Iraqi WMD program, in particular its nuclear weapons program, will be used to covertly arm terrorist organizations for attack against the United States or its allies. As the public debate continues on how to pursue the Global War on Terrorism and what role, if any, Iraq will play in that war, the President has concluded that the United States cannot afford to wait for its enemies to develop and proliferate weapons of mass destruction before acting.

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