Just As I Thought

Nuclear brinksmanship rekindled

This is rather bad timing: the Bush administration is holding a conference this week on the feasibility of “mini-nukes,” a small yield nuclear weapon. Today is the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima; in a few days is the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki.
To hold such a conference this week is astonishingly bad taste. To hold it at all seems like a bad idea. If the Pentagon decides to create a new class of weapon, termed “usable nuke”, they’ll only succeed in spurring on a new arms race and violating just about every non-proliferation treaty there is.
This administration is obsessed with nuclear weapons, and is determined to make sure that no one else has them. That goal is certainly fine, and I agree with it. But it seems that they don’t want to give ours up.

In Britain, Ben Miller, a spokesman the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, told BBC News Online: “It is shocking, disgusting and disgraceful that US defence department officials are meeting in the very week of the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in which over 110,000 people died.

“The US is pressing the world to get rid of nuclear weapons yet is doing the exact opposite itself.”

In the United States, Robert Musil, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said: “Why in the world would we move towards manufacturing small nuclear weapons and then expect that no one will ever try to steal, beg or borrow one and use it against us?”

This is scary stuff. Calling it a “usable nuke” is just scary – it means they intend to use it. And remember, we’re the only ones who have ever used one. What happens when other countries decide that a) we are using nuclear weapons and b) we have a doctrine of preemptive strikes?

[Update 7pm: I didn’t see any coverage of this – nor the Hiroshima anniversary – on either CBS or ABC news tonight, and nothing so far on NBC. Is this not newsworthy here in the US? Tonight on NBC News ‘In Depth’: “Major changes coming for the Ford Crown Victoria to make them safer for police.” THAT’S the big story?]

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