|"Forget the Rest" blog|
It’s Not Nuclear Weapons That Need “Modernization,”
But New START Have we reached the point where the new START disarmament treaty is worse than nothing?
By Russ Wellen, October 8, 2010
I’m aware that I’m committing arms-control heresy. But the new START treaty that Presidents Obama and Medvedev signed looks like more trouble than it’s worth. To begin with, as Ivan Oelrich and Hans Kristensen reported for the Federation of American Scientists back in June . . .
Worse, to secure the eight Republican votes needed for ratification by the United States Senate (and in the interest of pork husbandry in general), the Obama administration is requesting $7 billion, a 10 percent increase, in funding for nuclear weapons “modernization” (as the defense world calls it) and stewardship. Typical of Republicans seeking funds for the nuclear-weapons industry is Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Speaking of work inside Y-12, the facility in his state, as it exists now, he said, “It’s like building a Corvette in a Model-T factory.”
As if that’s not bad enough, as Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group makes clear in a press release, on September 30, “Congress completed action on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government in the new fiscal year (FY), which begins today. The President signed the bill.”
What’s a continuing resolution? Here’s what it means in this instance (apologies for lack of link; can’t recall where I found this).
Mello again: “This CR continues funding for federal agencies at the same level as [fiscal year] 2010, with very few exceptions.” Among them were some which, even though a CR is intended as essentially a holding pattern, actually received more money. “One of those rare exceptions was an emergency increase in nuclear weapons spending in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).” He continues (emphasis added):
But an emergency? Again, it’s to secure Republican vote for ratification by the Senate which, Mello explains, “the Administration hopes to accomplish prior to seating a new Congress, widely expected to contain fewer members of the President’s party.” But . . .
This is cynicism to the third power: First, calling it an emergency. Second, trading funding to the nuclear-weapons industry for START votes. Third and even worse, turning START into a front — or more to the point, an engine — for securing said funding.