On ABC’s This Week, Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, aggressively urged the Senate to ratify the New START treaty, which Senate Republicans are threatening to obstruct. Mullen stressed the urgency of getting the treaty ratified, as US inspectors haven’t been on the ground monitoring Russian nuclear weapons for almost a year now.
MULLEN: This is a national security issue… From a national security perspective this is absolutely critical.
AMANPOUR: …Is the Senate playing politics with American national security?
MULLEN: You would have to ask the Senate … What I think is – there is a sense of urgency with respect to ratifying this treaty that needs to be recognized. Historically this has been bipartisan. This is a national security issue of great significance and the sooner we get it don the better.
AMANPOUR: In a lame duck session?
MULLEN: As soon as possible.
AMANPOUR: In In a lame duck session?
MULLEN: The potential is there for lame duck.
AMANPOUR: And you would want that?
MULLEN: That’s the soonest possible time, absolutely.
Republican Senators, led by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), are deliberately bucking the military leadership of the United States and, according to editorial boards across the country, are playing politics with US national security. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, wrote this weekend:
Suppose that during the previous administration, the Democrats had opposed President George W. Bush’s efforts to protect airplanes from would-be bombers and had blocked his strategy to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorists’ hands… Republicans would no doubt be running ads juxtaposing Democrats with Osama bin Laden, or alleging, as they did then, that Democrats are giving “comfort to America’s enemies.” Yet right now, Republicans are providing the comfort… they are blocking a Senate vote on a treaty with Russia that is critical to securing loose nukes and keeping Iran from gaining the bomb… Republicans seem to have entered a post-post-9/11 era, in which national security is no longer a higher priority than their interest in undermining President Obama.