Clearly, since 9/11, administration figures have worried openly about "mushroom clouds" emanating from Iraq, Iran's nuclear status, etc.
Yet, despite its rhetoric, the Bush administration's actions on nuclear proliferation are quite hypocritical.
For example, consider an essay web-published today by Scott Lynch, communications director for Peace Action, "Bush's Nuclear Hypocrisy Encourages Proliferation." In his piece, Lynch writes that the Bush administration is pursuing a "do as I say, not as I do" nuclear weapons policy that means the US is "ramped-up for a nuke building bender."
The US is seeking so-called bunker busters and low-yield nuclear weapons that will be more "usable" and task-oriented. Bush is also pushing legislation that would reduce the preparation time required for the US to again conduct nuclear tests from 36 months to 18 months.
Back in February, Robert Jensen of the University of Texas wrote a piece with a similar title, "Bush’s nuclear hypocrisy." As I have before, Jensen emphasized the failure of the US to comply with Article VI of the Nonproliferation Treaty:
“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”In other words, according to the NPT, the US is supposed to be working towards "general and complete disarmament" rather than new weapons.
Like Lynch, Jenson highlights the bunker buster program.
Jacqueline Cabasso, executive director of the Western States Legal Foundation (a public-interest organization that monitors and analyzes U.S. nuclear-weapons programs) sums it up this way: “The U.S. is spending more money on nuclear-weapons research and development than ever before, giving its nuclear arsenal new military capabilities and elevating the role of nuclear weapons in its aggressive and unilateral ‘national security’ policy.” Cabasso cites ongoing work on such weapons as a “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator” as clear evidence of U.S. intentions to pursue nuclear weaponry, not work toward its elimination.Catchy name, eh? There's long been a pseudo-sexual side to naming weapons.
Jensen caught Bush in his own lies: "free societies are societies that don’t develop weapons of mass terror."
Similarly, Andrew Koch of Center for Defense Information (CDI) once argued on the CNN website that the "The US must lead by example." Koch was writing just after the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests and noted that India often specifically points to US failure to comply with Article VI of the NPT to justify its own decision not to join the anti-nuclear club:
perversely, the United States continues to pursue a hypocritical nuclear policy that encourages others to proliferate. One of several rationales for the Indian tests was to challenge the non-proliferation regime, which New Delhi views as discriminatory. What particularly peeked India's ire was the fact that the nuclear powers have not adequately fulfilled their obligation to move toward nuclear disarmament as promised under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Since the piece was published in 1998, it demonstrates that this is a long-term problem -- worsened by Bush, but bipartison nonetheless.
Earlier this year D. Ravi Kanth published "US hypocrisy on N-proliferation," in the Deccan Herald (which I found out is part of the South Asian Media Net). Kanth pointed out that the US has not only failed to ratify the CTBT, which since the 2000 NPT review conference has been recognized as the next step toward meeting Article VI requirements, but it also refuses to criticize Pakistan for its proliferation -- and, of course, wants to build the new weapons (such as the Penetrator).
These are not merely left-wing talking points. Even Carter administration National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski recognizes that "American policy is the height of hypocrisy." Of course, that piece was published in the Times of India rather than the New York Times. And that's the same hawkish Brzezinski who armed the mujahadeen in Afghanistan before Ronald Reagan ever had the chance. In fact, he armed them 6 months before the Soviets invaded.
Disclosures I worked on a project with Steven Brion-Meisels who is a Board Member at Peace Action. I also interned at CDI back in the summer of '85.