Yesterday, in a fawning Wall Street Journal profile of Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), it was further clarified that Kyl’s support for a New START treaty was contingent on absolutely massive budget increases to the nuclear weapons complex in order to “modernize” the existing nuclear arsenal. Kyl, as paraphrased by the Journal, deemed that there “were signs that the administration wouldn’t produce a modernization plan for the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal that he could accept” and he stated clearly:
I am not going to be a party to getting a treaty ratified if I’m not sure that there’s commitment on the other side to an adequate [nuclear spending] plan.
Kyl’s misrepresentation of reality is now getting some serious push back from George W. Bush’s very own nuclear security administrator. Linton Brooks, who ran the National Nuclear Security Administration from 2003-2007, directly contradicted Kyl, noting that he “would have killed” for Obama’s nuclear budget, which will, if implemented, amount to a 13 percent increase for nuclear weapons modernization.
Brooks as head of NNSA – the agency that deals with the nuclear labs and oversees the nuclear stockpiles – said at an event held by the Arms Control Association that:
you’ll hear concerns by some that the treaty may or may not be a good idea but you can’t possibly accept it because the U.S. nuclear weapons program is in disarray. And I think the administration’s answer to that is the fiscal 2011 budget with a very substantial increase for my former home, the National Nuclear Security Administration. And I will say flatly, I ran that place for five years and I’d have killed for that budget and that much high-level attention in the administration and I just – nobody in government ever said “my program has too much money” and I doubt that my successor is busy saying that. But he is very happy with his program and I think it does put us on a very firm, firm basis… I don’t think there’s any question this is in our interest and should be ratified.
Brooks’ comments expose Kyl’s transparent partisan motivations on two accounts. First, since funding levels were significantly lower during the Bush administration, Kyl’s new found demands for massive budgetary increases are a transparent effort to complicate or block ratification. One has to ask, why wasn’t Jon Kyl demanding massive budgetary increases under the Bush administration?
Additionally, if Kyl were really concerned about the nuclear infrastructure, instead of wastefully demanding absurd increases, he could be working to lobby members on the relevant committees in the House and Senate to, at the very least, fully fund the Administration’s budget request this year. But Kyl as of yet has chosen to demand a payoff and carp from the sidelines instead of rolling up his sleeves.