Looks that way. The United States has long suggested that it might respond to the use of CBWs with nuclear weapons, though the Bush administration took it a bit further, as Wade Boese “reported”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2003_01-02/wmdstrategy_janfeb03.asp in early 2003:
bq. Like past administrations, the Bush team is ambiguous about whether it would use nuclear weapons to respond to an attack with biological or chemical weapons—though *it has taken the extra step of making that ambiguity official policy.* The strategy reads, “The United States will continue to make clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force—including through resort to all of our options—to the use of WMD against the United States, our forces abroad, and friends and allies.” The administration source said *NSPD 17, the classified version of the strategy, explicitly states that “overwhelming force” potentially includes nuclear weapons.*
But Steve Hadley has made a couple of statements during the past few months which suggest that we have a whole lot more people on the list of potential nuclear targets.
First, Hadley “said in February”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/02/20080211-6.html that we have a new declaratory policy RE: deterring WMD terrorism:
bq. As part of this strategy to combat nuclear terrorism, *the President has approved a new declaratory policy to help deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our friends, and allies.*
Although stating that we might use nuclear weapons in response to CBW attacks isn’t new, Hadley stated that we might use nukes against anyone who _helps_ another country obtain or use WMD:
And finally, *deterrence policy targeted at those states, organizations, or individuals who might enable or facilitate terrorists in obtaining or using weapons of mass destruction,* can help prevent the terrorists from ever gaining these weapons in the first place.
As many of you know, the United States has made clear for many years that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our people, our forces and our friends and allies. Additionally, *the United States will hold any state, terrorist group, or other non-state actor fully accountable for supporting or enabling terrorist efforts to obtain or use weapons of mass destruction, whether by facilitating, financing, or providing expertise or safe haven for such efforts.*
Hadley “told a Washington audience”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/05/20080528-3.html essentially the same thing in May.
I guess there _may_ be some question as to whether holding an entity “fully accountable” is distinct from responding with “overwhelming force,” but the two seem pretty closely related in Hadley’s statement.
Interestingly, Bush “used the phrase”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/10/20061009.html when talking about North Korea’s nuclear test:
bq. The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea *fully accountable* of [sic] the consequences of such action.
Start making a list…