Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Nucular Option

This is for those of you who consider me soft on Weapons of Mass Destruction™.

As the UN World Summit begins, it turns out that John Bolton has succeeded in his mission. As the BBC has it:

The summit was preceded by bitter negotiations and an eventual compromise deal on plans for UN reform and proposals to tackle global poverty.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the watered-down deal was a "disgrace".

Plans to include disarmament and non-proliferation in the draft document were dropped during negotiations.

Okay, how many of you remember that that there was a conference at the UN back in May to review the status of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty? Probably some people don't, because the corporate media barely covered it.

According to Louis Charboneau of Reuters, "The United States spent the first two weeks of the conference quietly seeking to block discussions of nuclear disarmament-related commitments and decisions reached at the 1995 and 2000 NPT review conferences."

Gee, that's funny. During the 2000 presidential campaign, the current White House occupant called for unilateral reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal. According to Newsweek (June 25, 2001), Bush was "stunned" when he was told in May of that year about the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. "I had no idea we had so many weapons," he said.

How many? The U.S. currently has about 5,400 nuclear warheads on intercontinental ballistic missiles, both land and sea based; 1,750 nuclear warheads loaded or ready to be loaded on B-2 and B-52 bombers; and 1,670 nuclear warheads classified as "tactical." Surprising as that was to C. Bananas at the time, it now appears he has decided that it just isn't enough after all. He has drastically increased spending on nuclear weapons related research and, oh yes, production. Current spending by the United States on nuclear weapons is now over $6 billion a year. In the Clinton administration, it was about half as much -- and that's adjusted for inflation. One project which has gotten some attention is development of new "earth penetrating" nukes to take out underground bunkers, but there's a lot more going on the corporate media apparently doesn't think you need to know, including a renewed effort to produce tritium for hydrogen bombs. (Fred Kaplan in Slate reviewed the administration's nuclear "posture" and plans about a year ago. Nothing has changed.)

It takes a self-confessed war criminal to tell it like it is. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara told the invisible NPT conference, "If I were to characterize U.S. and NATO nuclear policies in one sentence, I would say that they are immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, very, very dangerous in terms of the risk of inadvertent or accidental launch and destructive of the non-proliferation regime that has served us so well."

Now why on earth should Iran not have a right to develop nuclear weapons when it's perfectly okay for the United States, Russia, Israel, Pakistan, India, France, China and the UK to have them -- and for the U.S. to have more than enough of them to destroy all of civilization, and to be aggressively building more and developing new kinds? And why exactly do we need, or want, these weapons? I can't even think of a plausible lie that could explain it.

I know I don't have to tell anybody who comes here about the effects of a nuclear explosion, the ultimate public health disaster.

Culture of Life! Save the blastocysts! Protect the brain dead!