Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
It's Time for the US to Ditch the “Bush
Doctrine” of Pre-Emptive War
By Paul J Balles
ccun.org, Redress, April 21, 2009
Paul J. Balles calls on US President Barack Obama strongly to
repudiate the Israeli-inspired “Bush Doctrine” of pre-emptive war and to
urge Congress to pass legislation that permits war only as a legitimate act
Suppose you and I are walking along the street in
opposite directions. Now, suppose I don't like your looks. You look
I can do several things: look away, go on about my walk
and try to forget your threatening look, or I can return your threatening
look and perhaps provoke you to challenge me.
On the other hand, I
can assume, rightly or wrongly, that you are actually a threat to me.
Assuming I'm strong enough, I might then hit you in order to disable the
This, in short, is the theory and act of pre-emption, a
theory and action that has been the basis of much foreign policy of both
America and Israel.
In America, the application of the theory became
the "Bush Doctrine". However, it didn't originate with George W. Bush but
with Zionists like Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and others in the Bush
The act of striking pre-emptively is not new. The
Soviet Union attacked Finland in 1941 after the Germans attacked Russia. The
Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour to pre-empt America from controlling the
When the US invaded Iraq, the historian Arthur
Schlesinger wrote that Bush's grand strategy was "alarmingly similar to the
policy that imperial Japan employed at the time of Pearl Harbour”.
definition, a pre-emptive strike commonly refers to an attack made upon an
enemy as a precautionary response to an anticipated or impending war, such
as in a pre-emptive war.
The so-called “Israel Defence Forces”
launched a pre-emptive attack on Arab forces in the 1967 Six Day War. They
also pre-emptively bombed a suspected nuclear plant in Iraq in 1981 and
another in Syria last year. They have pre-emptively struck Lebanon and Gaza.
Israel goaded America into a pre-emptive war in Iraq, and they have
urged another pre-emptive war with Iran. The entire philosophy of dealing
with unfriendly nations is “strike first and destroy any potential enemy or
Regardless of the arguments made for invading Iraq, Article
51 of the UN Charter makes it clear that self-defence is restricted to a
response to an armed attack”. Article 2, Section 4 of the U.N. Charter bars
the threat or use of force against any state in the absence of an acute and
imminent actual threat”.
Iraq, which had been under sanctions for 10
years, certainly could not have been considered an acute and imminent
threat. Nor could Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Israelis.
Iran, not having attacked anyone for 200 years, certainly does not qualify
as an acute and imminent threat.
Noam Chomsky made a distinction
between pre-emptive war and preventive war, though both are excuses for
Whatever the justifications for pre-emptive war
might be, they do not hold for preventive war, particularly as that concept
is interpreted by its current enthusiasts: the use of military force to
eliminate an invented or imagined threat, so that even the term "preventive"
is too charitable. Preventive war is, very simply, the supreme crime that
was condemned at Nuremberg.
The "potential enemy" may not be any more
threat than I saw in your threatening look as we walked along the same
street. However, that doesn't matter if I am searching for threatening
referred to this Israeli sickness as paranoia. George W. Bush was infected
with the same disease, which resulted in unnecessary and unjustified wars.
It's time to admit that the Bush Doctrine was a grave, inhuman wrong.
Barack Obama should strongly repudiate it and urge the US Congress to pass
legislation that permits war only as a legitimate act of defence.
Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who
has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see