The Energy and Water Appropriations Bill signed by President Bush last
is being celebrated by cockroaches the world over.
The bill, among other things, provides funding for research in
nuclear weapons with first-strike capability.
We are now one step closer to nuclear war and if the path we are
is pursued to its logical conclusion, the Information Age will be
by a radioactive Cockroach Era.
The tragic irony here is that while the president speaks forcefully
the need to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, his administration is pursuing policies that is likely to enflame the
"The Energy and Water Appropriations Bill... is a milestone in the
nuclearization of U.S. foreign policy," cautions Greg Mello, director
Los Alamos Study Group.
"The weapons to be developed are explicitly for potential use against
targets in many countries, not just one or two," he says.
The fact that these weapons are of little use to the military, to say
nothing of the predictable health, political, legal, and moral
of such policy directives, suggests that this is being driven more by
ideological "push" than any military "pull," Mello says.
"It is unlikely that the drive for new nukes can be stopped unless
and arms controllers are willing to rethink their support and
of the other 99.9 percent of Department of Energy and Department of
nuclear weapons programs."
John Burroughs, executive director of the New York-based Lawyers'
on Nuclear Policy and co-editor of the book "Rule of Power or Rule of
reminds us that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- the very same
agreement the United States insists North Korea and Iran respect by
submitting to international inspections -- requires its signatories to
eliminate existing nuclear arsenals through good-faith negotiation.
But, at the U.N. General Assembly this past fall, the United States
against resolutions calling for compliance with the program --
that is supposed to be transparent, irreversible and verifiable, which
what U.S. diplomats agreed to in 2000, Burroughs points out.
How can we claim to be the leaders of the free world when we don't
the same standards we demand other nations follow, even to the point of
threatening pre-emptive strikes?
It's a bit like beating your child in order to drive home the point
violence is wrong. As a parent, I can say unequivocally that such
is the antithesis of what being a role model is all about.
I like how Jacqueline Cabasso, executive director of the Western States
Legal Foundation, poses the question:
"If the world's only remaining superpower feels that it must threaten
first use of nuclear weapons to ensure its 'national security,' why
shouldn't we expect other countries to follow suit? As responsible global
we must insist on a more sustainable concept of universal 'human
Nuclear weapons have no place in this new security paradigm," Cabasso
To buttress their "free-market" theories, neocons love to talk about
harmful effects of "unintended consequences." But I think it's much
fruitful to focus on predictable consequences.
And what are the predictable consequences of pursuing first-strike
Lloyd Dumas, professor of political economy at the University of Texas
Dallas and author of "Lethal Arrogance: Human Fallibility and Dangerous
Technologies," offers this assessment:
"By signing a bill that allocates nearly $40 million for research on
nuclear weapons and readying the Nevada nuclear test site for quicker
reactivation, the administration has found yet another way to weaken
American security, while claiming to strengthen it.
"Building these weapons can only undercut diplomatic efforts to prevent
other nations from building their own. And the idea that we can protect
ourselves against proliferation with nuclear 'bunker-busters' by going
around the world blowing up underground storage sites that our
reports claim contain weapons of mass destruction is too ludicrous for
words. Have we learned nothing from Iraq?"
Strong words that only a fool would ignore. Long live the cockroaches!
Sean Gonsalves is a Cape Cod Times staff writer and syndicated
E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) 2003, Cape Cod Times