Dangerous Bush Adminstration Nuclear and National Security No. 482
The Bush Administration has announced its intentions to develop, test and deploy new nuclear weapons, to contemplate nuclear attack options including pre-emptive attacks, to develop a national missile defense with offensive implications, and to retain many thousands of nuclear weapons indefinitely. These related commitments seriously risk obstructing all meaningful nuclear arms control and disarmament and seriously risk jeopardizing constructive efforts toward world peace.
The Bush Administration's Nuclear Posture Review presented to Congress in January 2002 opens the door to development of new so-called "tactical" nuclear weapons in violation of the U.S. obligation under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue "cessation of the nuclear arms race." This threatens to start escalation of a new nuclear arms race as other nations seek to match our "tactical" nuclear weapons capacity. Development and testing of these weapons would violate the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty from which the Bush Administration wants to withdraw the U.S. signature.
The Nuclear Posture Review also dangerously opens the door for "pre-emptive" nuclear attacks on the so-called Axis of Evil - Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. This concept is even more worrisome in light of the recent comments made by presidential candidates during a Republican debate in early June 2007. Such pre-emptive attacks would violate a long-standing U.S. pledge not to use nuclear weapons unless attacked by parties with nuclear weapon status, a pledge codified in 1995 United Nations Security Council Resolution 984, which the United States has to the present regarded as legally binding.
President Bush's withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has put America at greater risk for the threat of a nuclear first strike. Our withdrawal poses a threat from other nations, who may react in-kind. The National Missile Defense system, strongly opposed by our NATO allies, poses serious offensive threats to other nations, particularly China and Russia, and threatens to increase the militarization of outer space.
ADA congratulates President Bush and President Putin on the U.S.-Russia agreement to reduce sharply the number of nuclear weapons to between 1700 and 2200 by 2012, but the time period is excessive and thousands of nuclear weapons on both sides will remain "in storage," raising further dangers of inadequate safeguards from the threat of theft or attack by terrorists. However, President Bush is not planning to renew the START I treaty, which is crucial to disarmament efforts in the United States and Russia. If President Bush does not renew the treaty, then the next administration must be able to do so.
President Bush's policy of bargaining with North Korea and India concerning their nuclear programs sends a hypocritical message to the international community, especially to Iran whose nuclear program the U.S. is attempting to shut down.
In light of the Bush Administration's announcement of nuclear and national security policies, ADA calls on both houses of Congress to conduct thorough, careful hearings on these policies, including non-Administration expert witnesses. We also call on the American people to educate themselves on issues of nuclear weapons policy so that an informed public can make an informed contribution to the life-and-death issues of nuclear weapons policy, arms control and world peace.
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