More Fear Mongering From The Right

WarheadJust when you thought the current level of right-wing fear mongering couldn’t get any worse, the Wall Street Journal writes an editorial about nuclear weapons.

Did you know that while you were sleeping, America’s vast and technological advanced nuclear arsenal was rapidly deteriorating? It cites the Perry-Schlesinger commission as evidence to make this point, which should be news to the Perry-Schlesinger commission since the Commission’s report never makes this point. The Journal’s editorial lays out what has become the right wing’s main push back against the new START treaty currently being negotiated between the US and Russia: the state of our apparently decrepit nuclear arsenal. The right is now posturing that they will not support a new START treaty – a treaty that was initially pushed by President Ronald Reagan – unless Obama puts up money for building a new nuclear warhead to replace existing ones.

The Journal writes:

A group of Senators is telling the White House that it will have little or no chance of success unless it also moves ahead with nuclear-warhead modernization.The deteriorating U.S. nuclear arsenal is emerging as a big security problem, and Start won’t be an easy sell even with the money for warhead upgrades.

Our nuclear arsenal is not deteriorating. We spend billions on programs to ensure the reliability of the US nuclear arsenal. The Wall Street Journal and Senators like Jon Kyl seem to not have read or are just choosing to ignore the JASON report – a report from independent scientists tasked with assessing the US nuclear force. The JASON report concludes that:

Lifetimes of today’s nuclear warheads could be extended for decades, with no anticipated loss in confidence, by using approaches similar to those employed in LEPs [Life Extension Programs] to date.

In other words, what we are doing right now to maintain are nuclear weapons is working and we don’t need new warheads. Furthermore, members of Congress should know this, as the defense spending bill, which passed with bipartisan support in the House and Senate, includes funding for the nuclear stockpile stewardship program which ensures the reliability of the US nuclear arsenal.

But in the hyper-paranoid neoconservative vision of national security we can’t cut our nuclear forces. In fact we need to build new nuclear weapons, because the Cold War never ended, Russia wants to kill us, China is the new Soviet Union, and Iran and North Korea need to be attacked right away. This is crazy and is even more extreme than the disastrous foreign policy approach that dominated during the Bush administration.