Preventive war doctrine, aka Cheney’s one percent doctrine and the Bush doctrine. Bush first enunciated it at a speech at West Point on June 1, 2002. Preventive war is different from pre-emptive war. In preventive war, there is no imminent threat and this type of war is considered a war crime. (Think of Hitler attacking Poland.) In pre-emptive war, there is an imminent threat and this type of war is sanctioned by international law. (Think of the Israelis striking the Egyptian army in the Sinai in 1967).
Philip Zelikow a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, friend and colleague of Condoleezza Rice, and later Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission was asked by Rice then National Security Advisor to rewrite a State Department paper on US policy in the post-9/11 world. The result was the National Security Strategy of September 2002. In it, Zelikow stated preventive war as US policy.
Our enemies have openly declared that they are seeking weapons of mass destruction, and evidence indicates that they are doing so with determination . . . And, as a matter of common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.
If a threat is not fully formed (or if indeed it does not exist except as a manifestation of neocon paranoia), there is no imminence, and if there is no imminence, we are talking preventive war, a war crime.
In a curious and very late attempt at revisionist history, on December 11, 2007, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied that Iraq, the preeminent example of the Bush Doctrine, was about pre-emption, i.e. prevention.
QUESTION: After 9/11, the President declared policy of preempting threats to the nation before they fully manifested themselves. Yet we’ve seen some of the intelligence about those threats is often flawed, significantly. Can a preemption policy coexist with imperfect intelligence?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I would argue with you — I don’t think I would argue with you, I would argue that we have — I don’t think we’ve yet employed preemption. I would — we could have a discussion about Iraq, continuing state of war since ‘91, shooting at our airplanes, almost a half dozen or more resolutions on this issue. I mean I think this was a long, long buildup. And I think it was a case in which you implement it or you had pretty much exhausted diplomatic options with Iraq.
Problem, as Ross Perot used to say, solved.