There is only one week left to go in one of the most disastrous administrations in US history. Bush & Co. sycophants say history will be the ultimate judge, and that it’s way too early to evaluate how their neoconservative legacy will be interpreted and remembered. I disagree. I’m pretty sure that the already numerous critical tomes will swell to fill libraries. Here is a sampling of reckless nuclear policies which could result in total planetary annihilation at any second. Sleep tight kiddies!
1. The Cold War. “That’s crazy talk” you are thinking to yourself. “That’s sooo 1988”. Well actually neither Russia nor the US has found an opportunity over the last twenty years to remove its nuclear arsenal from a 5 minute hair trigger alert. Did you know that Russia’s decrepit monitoring system once mistook a weather balloon for a nuclear attack?
2. Treaty Busting. The Bush administration was not fond of multi-lateral treaties. By appointing renowned treaty hater John Bolton as ambassador to the UN, the US successfully dodged ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CBTB) and reneged on the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
3. Missile defence. Withdrawing from the ABM treaty has allowed the United States to revisit Ronald Reagan’s dream of missile defence. Sure it costs a few billion dollars, and is re-invigorating an arms race with Russia. But it will hypothetically protect America and its allies! As long as the enemy gives advance warning! And only fires one missile at a time! And doesn’t paint it white first! And isn’t an Al-Qaeda operative smuggling radioactive materials through the former Soviet Union and Pakistan to be detonated out of a suitcase on New Year’s Eve in Times Square!
4. Lowering the nuclear threshold. The US has been using depleted uranium in the current Iraq war. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
“The Pentagon and United Nations estimate that U.S. and British forces used 1,100 to 2,200 tons of armour-piercing shells made of depleted uranium during attacks in Iraq in March and April – far more than the estimated 375 tons used in the 1991 Gulf War.”
Depleted uranium packs an awesome strategic punch. It slices through tanks. The long term effects on health from exposure to DU are still unknown, and Pentagon officials say that the effects are negligible. I repeat: it slices through tanks.
The Bush admin’s refusal to ratify the CBTB was part of a strategy to develop new “bunker buster” nuclear weapons. Bunker busters are low yield nuclear weapons designed to strike hardened targets beneath the Earth’s surface. The project has been abandoned since 2006, but the message to nuclear wannabes has been pretty clear: not possessing a nuclear weapon no longer guarantees protection from a nuclear first-strike. Might as well arm yourself.
5. Nuclear Proliferation. North Korea joined the nuclear weapon’s club under Bush’s watch and Iran is supposedly working on it. Rather than quell the Pakistan/India arms race, the US has entrenched it through a treaty with India. With the Taliban and Afghan conflict spilling over Pakistan’s border, the last thing the world needs is Pakistan’s nuclear program to run amok.
6. Nuclear. Nuclear. Nuclear. One more time, all together now, it’s pronounced new-clee-ar. Hopefully the next President will pass legislation to quit nuking the English language.