March Madness In The White House

The Bush Administration’s secret policy review is the work of an unhinged March Hare. Though sent by the Department of Defense to congress in January, the leak to the press in March is most fitting. The comic book lunacy of ordering the Pentagon to draft contingency plans for the use of nuclear weapons against the seven targeted countries of China, Russia, Libya and Syria, and including the Lex Luthor-like “Axis of Evil,” Iran, Iraq, North Korea could be amusing if it weren’t so real.

These countries represent a wide variety of governmental structures. Most of them are our partners in international treaties and trade agreements. Some of them possess nuclear weapons and some do not. Threatening these countries with possible use of “tactical nuclear weapons” will only destroy what little remains of U.S. credibility, deepen the divide and accelerate the build-up of nuclear weapons throughout the world. North Korea has already warned that if the American “nuclear fanatics” launched a nuclear strike, this would mean their ruin in nuclear disaster.”

In 1941 the Japanese government attacked an American military base in Pearl Harbor. Ultimately, the United States government responded by dropping two atomic bombs which killed more than 210 thousand civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Countless other Japanese civilians who have since died of radioactive contamination. According to a recently released progress report from the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 15,000 American civilians have died form cancer related to the above ground nuclear testing of the 50s and 60s. Regardless of the nature of national and international conflicts, any use of nuclear weaponry is not only an unacceptable solution for the United States, but an affront to basic human decency.

The Bush Administration’s secret policy review demolishes the existing international treaty framework which is intended to control, reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. Like National Missile Defense, though far more aggressive and threatening to the rest of the world, this policy will violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It would annihilate the U.S. commitments under Article VI of the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to “…pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament…”

In order to combat the hatred that engenders terrorism we must review the US corporate and military foreign policies that have been long firing these flames. We must have the courage to recognize and admit that perhaps the enemy is us. We must dedicate ourselves to the painstaking task of working with other countries, including the targeted nations, to eliminate terrorism. Unlike the instant gratification of dropping a bomb, this work will take genuine respect for all cultures and all people, patience, a willingness to share the wealth and natural resources of the planet and a long, long time.

We must urge the Bush Administration to abandon the secret policy review. We must urge all members of the US Senate and Congress to work toward legislating a halt to the enactment of this policy. We must urge all legislators to work toward the adherence to, and strengthening of, existing treaties intended to control, reduce and eliminate nuclear weapons and other weapons of war.

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