Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Loose Nukes

"We have to recognize that terrorists networks have relationships with terrorist states that have weapons of mass destruction, and that they inevitably are going to get their hands on them and they would not hesitate one minute to use them." — Donald Rumsfeld, 2002.
So I've been kind of hoping for the last eight years that somebody would do something about the loose nuke problem. I'm glad it's finally reached the top of the todo list.

At the unprecedented 47-nation nuclear security summit held earlier this week in Washington D.C., world leaders pledged to secure all vulnerable nuclear material within four years. Russia and the US also signed an agreement to dispose of 68 tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium. Incidentally, Russian President Medvedev made some sly comments about how nice it was to work with a US president who "thinks when he speaks."

Sam Nunn, a former senator and former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was quick to defend President Obama’s weapons reduction strategy:
"What is the mission that you can’t accomplish with 1,500 warheads?" Nunn asked with a derisive laugh in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast. "There was a recent report in Scientific American that 100 warheads used by India and Pakistan against each other would kill 20 million people immediately, and would cause so much blockage of the sun with the debris in the atmosphere that over a period of several years, there would be as many as a billion people starving to death."
Of course. But wait. Why would anybody have to defend this policy? I mean, who would be against a revived commitment to nonproliferation? Well, round-up the usual bunch of hyperventilating idiots: Fox News, Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin.

Daily Kos has already tackled the list of nuke policy myths you're going to hear, and The Federation of American Scientists has written a careful report on the Nuclear Posture Review. Unsurprisingly, it's a bit more complicated than Sarah Palin's dimwitted playground metaphor, yet not impossible for the average American to understand.

Some facts: the new treaty does not limit US missile defense systems, the US will still consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstance, and President Obama does indeed have support of top military brass.

Finally, reducing our arsenal does not make us more vulnerable.

However, if you're one of the frivolous few who LOVE nuclear warfare, then relax. Nuclear warheads will be around for a long, long time, and who knows? One day McCain's dream may come true and we'll bomb Iran.

The Doomsday Clock is still ticking.

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