Sherwood Ross / t r u t h o u t – 2007-01-05 22:38:22
(December 22, 2006) — Former President Jimmy Carter says by “rejecting or evading almost all nuclear arms control agreements negotiated during the past 50 years, the United States has now become the prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation.”
In his book Our Endangered Values (Simon & Schuster), Carter leaves no doubt he has that Great Proliferator, George W. Bush, in mind — even though he doesn’t call him that or mention him by name. Just as damning, though, Carter quotes an article by ex-defense secretary Robert McNamara in last year’s May/June Foreign Policy: “I would characterize current US nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and dreadfully dangerous.” And that indictment can be laid at the feet of only one hombre.
President Bush voiced his “preventive war” doctrine in September 2002, and then gave the world a glimpse of first-strike by invading Iraq. He also poured billions into America’s ugly germ-warfare labs, morphing them into aggressive postures. And he’s the first man in Rome when it comes to renewing the dread nuclear arms race.
You wonder where the outcry was from stalwart Republicans when Bush decided to resume nuclear arms development. After all, it was President Reagan’s noblest achievement to strike a deal with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to rid the planet of thousands of nukes.
As Reagan scholar Paul Lettow noted in a Heritage Foundation lecture: “He [Reagan] and Gorbachev signed the INF [Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty in 1987, which eliminated an entire category of nuclear weapons … and he laid the foundation for President George H.W. Bush to complete the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.”
By contrast, Bush’s course is downright scary. As Carter writes, “American leaders have not only abandoned existing treaty restrictions but also assert plans to test and develop new weapons, including antiballistic missiles, the earth-penetrating ‘bunker buster,’ and perhaps some secret new ‘small’ bombs.”
Carter goes on to write of The Bushidos, “They have also reneged on past pledges and have reversed another long-standing policy, by threatening first use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.” Reagan pledged to Gorbachev the US would never be the first to start an atomic war. Bush betrays that legacy by warning Iran the “nuclear option” is thinkable.
When Bush announced he would pull the US out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970, not wishing to be left out, Moscow responded by announcing plans to upgrade its nuclear force. Again, after Bush scrapped the “no first use” policy, Chinese major general Zhu Chenghu responded that China was under internal pressure to do likewise. “If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition onto the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,” Chenghu said. The man’s right to worry. The Pentagon has been transferring missile-capable attack subs from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
You don’t have to be Chinese to be worried. As the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warns, “The United States is on the verge of committing itself to churning out a new generation of nuclear weapons without fully vetting the consequences for itself and its efforts to halt and roll back proliferation worldwide.”
Although the “Bush Doctrine” called for the use of new, so-called “low-yield” nukes to dissuade hostile nations from acquiring WMD, the Bulletin states that “the new weapons concepts advanced to date seem to have little to do with deterrence of a nuclear (or other WMD) attack on the United States or its allies. Instead, they appear to be geared toward a warfighting role, which could ultimately undermine rather than enhance US security.”
Bush’s “preventive war” doctrine, the Bulletin adds, incites regional powers to get their own WMD, since their conventional forces can’t match the US’s. “If the [US] nuclear posture contemplates using nuclear weapons against such states, they may be further encouraged to build such weapons and … the result may be more proliferation.”
Carter notes US proliferation “is an increasing source of instability” in the Middle East and Asia. US ally Israel’s “uncontrolled and unmonitored weapons status,” he adds, “pushes leaders in neighboring Iran, Syria, Egypt and other Arab nations to join the nuclear weapon community.”
Those opposed to impeaching Bush might do well to ask themselves, “Can I trust this man’s finger on a nuclear trigger that could ignite 6,000 warheads, enough to roast the planet and all creatures that dwell thereupon?”
George Bush doesn’t have to be crazy to be dangerous. Just unscrupulous. And he’s proved that, lying to justify his invasion of Iraq, and scheming to get the Joint Chiefs to consider nuking Iran. (Reportedly, they don’t want any part of it.)
Americans want peace. They are tired of being misled into cockeyed wars to fight and bleed in far-off countries that pose no danger to them. And they have come to fear a man in the White House who threatens their liberties, renounces cherished treaties, tortures his victims, shovels billions into germ-warfare schemes, and stokes the furnaces of nuclear war.
Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was right when he told the UN he could smell the sulfur in the chamber after Bush spoke. Who says the devil has to live underground? George Bush is in the White House, and the whole world is feeling the heat.
Sherwood Ross is an American-based columnist. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.