He lists six cautions or tests for U.S. forces to be sent into combat abroad:
- The commitment must be deemed vital to our national interest or that of our allies.
- It should be made “wholeheartedly, and with the clear intention of winning.”
- Political and military objectives and the ways to meet them must be clearly defined.
- As conditions change, whether the commitment remains in the national interest must be reassessed.
- Before a commitment is made, there must be “some reasonable assurance” of popular and congressional support.
- A commitment to arms must be a last resort.
.. Secretary Weinberger, who came of age in the 1930s, is still stirred by the failure of the democracies to respond to Hitler in a timely and forceful way. What is more on his mind now, however, is a Vietnam-type situation in which the United States may succumb to the “danger of (a) gradualist incremental approach which almost always means the use of insufficient force.”
.. In a sense Mr. Weinberger is simply distilling the post-Vietnam consensus — in a way that, strangely, relates to Gary Hart’s minority plank on “the selective, judicious use of American military power”