On January 19 2006, speaking to the crews of the nuclear submarines at L’Ile Longue in Brittany, Jacques Chirac declared that « the leaders of States who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who would consider using, in one way or another, weapons of mass destruction, must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted response on our part. And this response could be a conventional one. It could also be of a different kind. » This clearly means that it could be nuclear. « Against a regional power, our choice would not be between inaction or annihilation. The flexibility and reactivity of our strategic forces would
enable us to exercise our response directly against its centres of power and
its capicity to act. All our nuclear forces have been configured
In reality, what has been configured in this way is not our nuclear forces: it is President Chirac’s mind.
Conceived initially to threaten an enemy possessing nuclear weapons, potentially to destroy his cities if he jeopardises « our vital interests », France’s nuclear forces are capable only of destroying whole cities. The smallest of our 348 nuclear warheads (atomic or thermonuclear bombs) have a power of 100 kilotonnes, the equivalent of 100 000 tonnes of dynamite (TNT). The biggest have a power of 300. Those deployed on the SNLE submarines (missile-launching nuclear subs) at Ile Longue each have a power of 150 kilotonnes. There are normally 6 per missile, and 16 missiles per sub, which means 96 warheads and a total of 14.4 million tonnes of TNT equivalent per submarine.
If a sub launches only one missile, the 6 warheads have a total explosive power of 900 kilotonnes. This destructive power is such that attempts have been made to reduce it, so as to make the missile useable after all. « It is for this purpose, for example, that the number of nuclear
warheads has been reduced on some of the missiles in our submarines. ” said Chirac. However, even if only one of these warheads were kept and the others replaced by duds, the explosion would be 12 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb (13 kilotonnes), which caused over 200 000 deaths.
Thus a single French nuclear weapon, used against the « power centres » - generally in the capital city - of a Head of State presumed to be complicitous in a terrorist attack against France, would inevitably cause hundreds of thousands of deaths, if not millions. That is the « enormous cost that would be paid for their acts by them and their State ». And by their people - something that France’s Head of State carefully doesn’t mention. This is likely because any other population is much less precious than France’s, or than France’s access to oil or primary resources (see below). That’s what he means by the « flexibility and reactivity of our strategic forces ». He also says that our choice "would not be between inaction or annihilationhe ”. That is false : it is a choice between the annihilation of one part of the population of a country thus placed in the Axis of Evil and the annihilation of the entirety of that population.
Not content with promising this crime against humanity, President Chirac widened to the infinite the spectrum of possible motives of nuclear strike.
During the entire history of French deterrence policy, our “vital interests” had never been defined. For, as Chirac reminds us, « it is the Head of State who is responsible, permanently, for assessing the limits of our vital interests. The uncertainty of these limits is consubstantial with the doctrine of deterrence.”
Up till now one supposed that the limits might be located at the borders of French territory. A former president, Giscard d’Estaing, revealed in his memoirs that those limits were still too vast: having understood that the use of nuclear weapons against a nuclear-armed enemy would lead to massive retaliation and the annihilation of France, Giscard had resolved not to use them even in the case of a foreign occupation - and France has always recovered from foreign occupations.
For Chirac, however, sole captain of the ship (before or after God), the limits of our “vital interests” must be extended well beyond our frontiers. This is the latest effect, in Chirac’s mind, of “globalization”.
« The integrity of our territory, the protection of our population, the free exercise of our sovereignty will always be the core of our vital interests. But they are not limited to these. The perception of these interests is changing with the pace of the world, a world marked by the growing interdependence of European countries and also by the impact of globalization. For example, safeguarding our strategic supplies or the defence of allied countries are, among others, interests that must be protected. Assessing the scale and potential consequences of an unbearable act of aggression, threat or blackmail perpetrated against these interests would be the responsibility of the President of the Republic. This analysis could, if necessary, lead to consider that these situations fall within the scope of our vital interests.»
Thus, « the safeguarding of our strategic supplies», in oil for example, or in uranium which France devours greedily, is now part of the vital interests which the President requires « our strategic forces » to protect, and which he could defend, if he sees fit, by the use of nuclear weapons. Despite President Chirac’s vain affirmation that « our concept for the use of nuclear weapons remains unchanged.” that is clearly false. He also says: « There is no question, under any circumstances, of using nuclear means for military purposes during a conflict. » That is still true, of course: until such time as we acquire some « mininukes » (“miniaturized” nuclear weapons), which is what the Laser Mega Joule facility at Le Barp (near Bordeaux) is intended to develop. After that, the discourse will change.
Meanwhile, Chirac authorizes himself to create at least 12 Hiroshimas if he judges that, for example, the cutting of an oil pipeline jeopardizes « our vital interests ». Or if someone - Iran for instance - menaces one of our allies. Iran is a nation which Chirac is encouraging to obtain nuclear weapons while at the same time forbidding it. He says that « nuclear deterrence remains the fundamental guarantee of our security», and that « it also enables us, from whatever quarter pressure may be placed on us, to be the masters of our actions and our policies” - these are claims which, if true, are true also for every other nation, including Iran.
France’s nuclear strategy was already absurd and criminal. Now it has become completely mad. Now it authorises :
the effective use of nuclear weapons, which are practically demoted to the rank of other weapons;
their use against a non-nuclear states (this is the abandonment of “negative guarantees”);
their use “as a first strike” on the pretext of being “pre-emptive”;
their use as tools in the “struggle against terrorism”;
their use left up to the free assessment of our “strategic interests” by our Head of State;
and even the addition to our « deterrence force » of an « antimissile defense system », a tool which can « complete it while reducing our vulnerability ».
On all these points, Chirac is joining with the “Nuclear Posture Review” of the USA. Following after George W. Bush, he is lifting every kind of taboo. For now on, nuclear weapons are part of our “ordinary armoury”.
This radical change in official discourse - officially, France’s nuclear weapons were weapons “unlike any others”, “purely for deterrence”, “destined to not be used” - is not absolutely new, even if one may wonder about the effects of a cerebro-vascular accident. The change was already possible to perceive in the speech that Chirac gave on 8 June 2001 at the IHEDN in Paris. At the time we denounced this “deviation” which no one else paid attention to. It is confirmed today.
It’s either one or the other: either Chirac doesn’t really intend to do what he says he would do if need be (according to him), and is a blusterer; or he seriously envisages doing it, and he’s a terrible criminal. But in the first case, his bluff will not impress the terrorists: as he himself has acknowledged, no nuclear weapons could hit them or even deter them. They have proved their contempt for human life, their own as well as others’. They are perfectly able, with or without local partners, to accept his challenge and to strike France. Thus President Chirac, even before harming other populations, is preparing for French people to be harmed. This man is dangerous.
Furthermore, this man thinks he is a great humanist. Two weeks earlier, he announced that he wanted to « constitutionalise » the abolition of the death penalty, « in the name of a conviction and a commitment which are also France’s conviction and commitment. Human life is sacred and inviolable. In no circumstance can death be an act of justice", as he said some months earlier. Human life is sacred when it is that of an individual convicted of horrible crimes. But it is no longer of value when it is a matter of France’s “vital interests”, as defined by the President. He is therefore schizophrenic, and touched by the delirium of power. This is the man who possesses the means to massacre millions of people! But does he still possess all his faculties?
The USA has a process called « impeachment » for deposing a President suspected of having deceived his people. It has been used once successfully, against Richard Nixon for a crime infinitely less serious than those of G.W. Bush (against whom many are now seeking to use it). The French do not have this possibility. But the President could nevertheless be brought before the High Court. He is already a perjurer, since he refuses to implement Article VI of the NPT which article 5 of the French Constitution obliges him to respect. Chirac must be dismissed from his office. And quickly, since he could, perhaps in two months, drag France into a conflict against Iran in which the USA would not rule out the use of nuclear weapons... and nor, apparently, would France.
Since preparing a crime is a crime, we call on the citizens of France to use every means to remove Chirac from power, to resist any criminal order which he might give, and to deprive him of his tools of death - him and all future presidents. Duly informed, the French people must not become party to crimes against humanity.
20 January 2006
Jean-Marie Matagne, president of ACDN
Speech by Jacques CHIRAC, President of the French Republic, during his visit to The Stategic Air and Maritime Forces at Landivisiau / L’Ile Longue .
Landivisiau / L’Ile Longue / Brest (Finistère), Thursday 19 January 2006
Members of Parliament,
Chief of Defence Staff,
Chiefs of Staff,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is truly a pleasure for me to be with you today on the Ile Longue. I am
pleased to be able to meet here the women and men, soldiers and civilians,
who all stand united in the service of our country and participate in the
accomplishment of a mission that is fundamental to its independence and
security, namely nuclear deterrence.
The creation of a national deterrence force was a challenge for France, that
would have proved impossible to meet without commitment on everyone’s part.
It imposed the marshalling of all energies, the development of our research
capabilities and finding innovative solutions to all sorts of technical
problems. Nuclear deterrence thus became the very image of what our country
is capable of producing when it has set itself a task and holds to it.
I wish to pay tribute here to the researchers and engineers, from the Atomic
Energy Commission (CEA) and all French companies, who enable us to always
take the lead in vital sectors such as physical sciences, numerical
simulation, lasers - in particular the Megajoule laser - and nuclear and
space technologies. I would like to extend this tribute to all those who
support, in one way or another, our nuclear forces: staff of the Defence
Ministry’s General Delegation for Armaments (DGA), executives and workers of
partner industrial companies and groups, the gendarmerie in charge of
governmental control and personnel from all the services.
I am of course thinking first and foremost of the crews of the maritime and
airborne components who, permanently, and exercising the utmost discretion,
carry out the longest and most important of all operational missions. I have
set a stringent level of posture - that I know; but it is commensurate with
our country’s security requirements. I am aware of the constraints it
imposes. One seldom speaks of you, but I want to salute your exceptional
worth and your very great merit. The permanence of the deterrent posture,
which has been remarkably kept to for forty years, is in itself a proof of
I wish to extend this tribute to your families, more particularly those of
submarine crews. I am very much aware of what operational patrolling
involves in terms of absence from home, solitude and sometimes suffering.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you are conducting this mission in a constantly
It is true that, with the end of the cold war, we are currently under no
direct threat from a major power.
But the end of the bipolar world has not removed threats to peace. In many
countries radical ideas are being spread which advocate confrontation
between civilizations, cultures, and religions. Today, this will to bring
about confrontation translates into odious attacks which regularly remind us
that fanaticism and intolerance are the source of follies of all kinds.
Tomorrow, it may take even more serious forms, possibly involving States.
Combating terrorism is one of our priorities. We have adopted numerous
measures and provisions to address this danger. We will continue in this
direction firmly and resolutely. One should not, however, yield to the
temptation of restricting all defence and security-related considerations to
this necessary fight against terrorism. The fact that a new threat appears
does not remove all others.
Our world is constantly changing and searching for new political, economic,
demographic and military equilibria. It is characterized by the swift
emergence of new poles of power. It is confronted with the appearance of new
sources of imbalance, in particular the sharing of raw materials, the
distribution of natural resources, and changing demographic equilibria.
These changes could result in instability, especially if concurrent with the
rise of nationalisms.
That the relationship between the different poles of power should sink into
hostility in the near future is no foregone conclusion. To preclude this
danger, we must effectively work towards establishing a fairer, more
representative international order based on the rule of law and collective
security. We must also prompt our major partners to opt for cooperation
rather than confrontation. However, we are not safe from the unexpected
reversal of the international system, nor from a strategic surprise. These
are the lessons of our History.
Our world is marked also by emerging assertions of power based on the
possession of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Hence the temptation
for certain States to acquire nuclear power, thus violating treaties. Tests
of ballistic missiles with ever-greater range are also on the increase
worldwide. This observation has led the United Nations Security Council to
acknowledge that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their
means of delivery was truly a threat to international peace and security.
Finally, one should not ignore the persistence of more traditional risks of
regional instability. There are risks of this kind everywhere in the world,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the face of crises that are shaking the world, in the face of new
threats, France has always first chosen the path of prevention which remains
in all its forms the very foundation of our defence policy. Relying on the
rule of law, influence and solidarity, prevention is central to the set of
actions conducted by our diplomacy which constantly strives to resolve
crises that may arise here and there. Prevention also involves a whole range
of defence and security postures, foremost among which are prepositioned
Believing that prevention alone is enough to protect us would however be
naively optimistic. To make ourselves heard, we must also be capable of
using force when necessary. We must therefore have a substantial capability
to intervene outside our borders, with conventional means, in order to
support and supplement this strategy.
Such a defence policy rests on the certainty that, whatever happens, our
vital interests remain safeguarded.
This is the role assigned to nuclear deterrence which directly stems from
our prevention strategy and constitutes its ultimate expression.
For in the face of the concerns of the present and the uncertainties of the
future, nuclear deterrence remains the fundamental guarantee of our
security. Wherever the pressure comes from, it also gives us the ability to
keep our freedom to act, to control our policies, to ensure the durability
of our democratic values.
At the same time, we continue to support global efforts to promote general
and complete disarmament and, in particular, the negotiation of a Fissile
Material Cutoff Treaty. But we can of course progress along the road to
disarmament only if the conditions for our global security are maintained
and if the will to make headway is shared unanimously.
It is in this spirit that France has maintained its deterrent forces while
reducing them, in accordance with the spirit of the Treaty on the
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in compliance with the principle of
It is the responsibility of the French Head of State to assess, permanently,
the limit of our vital interests. Maintaining uncertainty as to this limit
is consubstantial with the deterrence doctrine.
The integrity of our territory, the protection of our population, the free
exercise of our sovereignty will always be the core of our vital interests.
But they are not limited to these. The perception of these interests is
changing with the pace of the world, a world marked by the growing
interdependence of European countries and also by the impact of
globalization. For example, safeguarding our strategic supplies or the
defence of allied countries are, among others, interests that must be
protected. Assessing the scale and potential consequences of an unbearable
act of aggression, threat or blackmail perpetrated against these interests
would be the responsibility of the President of the Republic. This analysis
could, if necessary, lead to consider that these situations fall within the
scope of our vital interests.
As I emphasized immediately after the attacks of 11 September 2001, nuclear
deterrence is not intended to deter fanatical terrorists. Yet, the leaders
of States who would use terrorist means against us, as well as those who
would consider using, in one way or another, weapons of mass destruction,
must understand that they would lay themselves open to a firm and adapted
response on our part. And this response could be a conventional one. It
could also be of a different kind.
From its origins, deterrence has always continued to adapt, in its spirit as
well as in terms of its means, to our environment and to the threat analysis
I have just recalled. We are in a position to inflict damage of any kind on
a major power that would want to attack interests we would regard as vital.
Against a regional power, our choice would not be between inaction or
annihilation. The flexibility and reactivity of our strategic forces would
enable us to exercise our response directly against its centres of power and
its capicity to act. All our nuclear forces have been configured
accordingly. It is for this purpose, for example, that the number of nuclear
warheads has been reduced on some of the missiles in our submarines.
However, our concept for the use of nuclear weapons remains unchanged. There
is no question, under any circumstances, of using nuclear means for military
purposes during a conflict. It is in this spirit that nuclear forces are
sometimes referred to as "weapons of non-use". This formula should not,
however, allow any doubts to persist about our determination and capacity to
resort to our nuclear weapons. The credible threat of their utilization
permanently hangs over those leaders who harbour hostile intentions against
us. It is essential for making them see reason and for making them aware of
the inordinate cost their actions would entail for themselves and their
States. Furthermore, it goes without saying that we always reserve the right
to resort to a final warning to mark our determination to safeguard our
Thus the principles underlying our deterrence doctrine remain unchanged, but
the modalities of expressing this doctrine have evolved and keep evolving,
so as to enable us to address the context of the 21st century.
Constantly adapted to their new missions, the capabilities of the maritime
and airborne components enable a coherent response to our concerns. Thanks
to those two components with different and complementary characteristics,
multiple options are opened to the French Head of State which cover all
The modernization and adaptation of those capabilities are hence absolutely
necessary for our deterrent to retain its indispensable credibility in an
evolving geostrategic environment.
It would be irresponsible to imagine that maintaining our arsenal in its
current state might, after all, be sufficient. What would be the credibility
of our deterrent if it did not allow us to address the new situations? What
credibility would it have vis-à-vis regional powers had we kept strictly to
threatening total destruction? What credibility would ballistic weapons with
very limited range have in the future? Thus, the M51 ballistic missile,
thanks to its intercontinental range, and the Improved Air-to-Ground Medium
Range Missile system (ASMPA) will, in a volatile world, give us the means to
cover threats wherever they arise and whatever their nature.
Likewise, no one can contend that missile defence is sufficient to counter
the threat of ballistic missiles. No defensive system, however
sophisticated, can be 100 per cent effective. We can never be assured that
it cannot be circumvented. Basing all our defence on this single capability
would in actual fact prompt our adversaries to find other means to use their
nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Such a tool cannot therefore be
considered a substitute for deterrence. But it can supplement it by reducing
our vulnerabilities. This is why France has resolutely embarked on a common
reflection within the Atlantic Alliance, and is developing its own programme
for the self-protection of deployed forces.
Our country’s security and independence come at a price. Forty years ago,
the Defence Ministry devoted 50 per cent of its investments to nuclear
forces. This share has since then constantly been reduced and is expected to
account for 18 per cent only of investments in 2008. Today, in the spirit of
strict sufficiency that characterizes it, our deterrence policy accounts
overall for less than 10 per cent of the total Defence budget. Defence
appropriations dedicated to deterrence go to leading-edge technologies,
essentially provide substantial support for scientific, technological and
industrial research efforts in our country.
10 per cent of our defence effort is the right and sufficient price to
provide our country with a credible and sustainable assurance of security.
And as I wish to stress, calling this into question would be utterly
Moreover, the development of the European Security and Defence Policy, the
growing interweaving of the interests of European Union countries and the
solidarity that now exists between them, make French nuclear deterrence, by
its very existence, a core element in the security of the European
continent. In 1995, France put forward the ambitious idea of concerted
deterrence in order to launch a debate at European level on this issue. I
still believe that, when the time comes, we shall have to ask ourselves the
question of a common Defence that would take account of existing deterrent
forces, with a view to a strong Europe responsible for its security.
European Union member States have, moreover, begun to reflect together on
what are, or will be, their common security interests. And I would like us
to deepen this reflection. This is a first and necessary step.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since 1964, France has had an autonomous nuclear deterrence. The lessons of
History led General de Gaulle to make this crucial choice. During all these
years, the French nuclear forces have ensured our country’s defence and
greatly helped to preserve peace. Today, they continue to keep watch,
quietly, for us to be able to live in a land of freedom which is the master
of its future and its destiny. They continue, and will continue tomorrow, to
be the ultimate guarantor of our security.
In my capacity as Head of the Armed Forces, and on behalf of our
compatriots, I would like to express the gratitude of the Nation to all the
women and men who contribute to this essential mission.