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Back in January 2001, the US Department of Energy released A Report Card on the US Department of Energy's Nonproliferation Programs with Russia.  The three points in the Executive Summary Section are as follows:
1. The most urgent unmet national security threat to the United States today is the danger that weapons of mass destruction or weapons-usable material in Russia could be stolen and sold to terrorists or hostile nation states and used against American troops abroad or citizens at home.

2. Current nonproliferation programs in the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and related agencies have achieved impressive results thus far, but their limited mandate and funding fall short of what is required to address adequately the threat.

3. The new President and leaders of the 107th Congress face the urgent national security challenge of devising an enhanced response proportionate to the threat.

And yet, here we are, nearly six years later, with this as yet another overlooked but dangerous failure of the Bush administration and the rubber stamp republican Congress.

So what does Bush immediately do in response to this Report Card?  Well, just what any party in charge would do to keep its country safe - they cut funding for this program:
That's why there's now bipartisan alarm at President Bush's decision to cut $100 million from highly successful federal programs that keep tabs on Russia's nuclear weapons and material and prevent those materials from falling into the hands of hostile states and terrorists.

The cuts are part of the administration's 2001 budget, which was approved by Congress last Thursday. Many in the security field are particularly distressed by the cuts to the Department of Energy's Nuclear Nonproliferation Office, which oversees a variety of programs dealing with both the "loose nukes" and the "brain drain" problems, in Russia especially.

You may ask what Bush had in mind instead - well he wanted the money diverted to a massive multi-billion dollar "Star Wars" missile defense program, which we all know how successful that program has been.

Flash back to 1991, when Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) co-sponsored an act which was dedicated to reducing and destroying the immense stockpile of loose nuclear materials in Russia after the fall of the USSR.  And in January 2003, Lugar (a republican, mind you), wrote the following in an OpEd article in the Washington Post:

Contrary to the media-inspired illusion that foreign policy is determined by a series of decisions and responses to crises, most of the recent failures of U.S. foreign policy have far more to do with our inattention and parsimony between crises. For example, in 2002, amid speculation about terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction, inaction by Congress effectively suspended for seven months new U.S. initiatives to secure Russia's immense stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Congressional conditions also have delayed for years a U.S.-Russian project to eliminate a dangerous proliferation threat: 1.9 million chemical weapons housed at a rickety and vulnerable facility in Russia.

---snip---

Meanwhile, between 1995 and 2002 the United States -- economic engine of the world -- effectively constrained itself from entering into significant new trade agreements by failing to pass trade promotion authority. This monumental political failure hurt U.S. workers and businesses, perplexed allies, ceded markets to competitors and weakened development overseas.

Hmmm, now who was in charge of Congress between 1995 and 2002?  And who was in charge of Congress in 2002 when there was seven months of delay in dealing with securing Russia's loose nukes?  ESPECIALLY at a time after our country was just attacked and there was a frenzy being whipped up about being attacked again, mushroom clouds and all of the "weapons of mass destruction program related activities" that were not um, "were" going on in Iraq.

In July 2002, there was a hearing held in the House's Committee on International Relations where these dangers were addressed.  Here is an excerpt from the opening statement by Chairman Hyde:

For well over a decade, we have been alert to the dangers posed by the combination of this deadly legacy and the frayed guarantees of its continued control. To secure these weapons and materials and the vast infrastructure that made possible their creation and manufacture, we have invested billions of dollars and tremendous effort, and there are many successes to report. But the task is far from over and is made more urgent by the efforts to terrorists and rogue states alike to secure access to weapons of mass destruction. The smallest gaps in our defenses can have unimaginable consequences, and the first and most important line in our defense must be to prevent that access from occurring.

In a 2004 article examining the non-proliferation policies of Bush vs. Kerry by David Krieger, who is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, he writes:

In evaluating the candidates in regard to their willingness and ability to deal with the threats of nuclear proliferation, we should consider also the commitments made in 2000 by the parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the US , to achieving 13 Practical Steps for Nuclear Disarmament. These steps include ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the strengthening of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the creation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, making nuclear disarmament irreversible, and an unequivocal undertaking to achieve the total elimination of nuclear arsenals. These steps are important not only because they are international obligations, but because the future of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the non-proliferation regime in general rests upon the nuclear weapons states as well as the non-nuclear weapons states fulfilling their obligations.

In nearly all respects President Bush has failed to meet these obligations. He has opposed ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, opposed verification of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty, made nuclear disarmament entirely reversible under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty and, rather than demonstrating leadership toward the elimination of nuclear arsenals, has sought to create new nuclear weapons.

It is difficult to imagine any US president achieving so dismal a record on so critical an issue. It is time for presidential leadership that will restore US credibility in the world and not betray the national security interests of the American people.

A 2005 article regarding Russia's loose nukes talked about the Baker-Cutler task force, which was focused on Russia's nuclear program being the key to national security, indicated the following:

Russian "stubbornness over allowing U.S. personnel sufficient access to sensitive sites" is partially to blame for the failure to meet Baker-Cutler recommendations. It encourages the U.S. to develop closer relationships with the Russian government to improve the cooperation.

The Baker-Cutler Task Force found that enough bomb-grade material existed in Russia for tens of thousands of nuclear weapons to be manufactured. In order to secure the nuclear materials, the Baker-Cutler report recommended that the U.S. oversee and fund the consolidation of storage sites in Russia and increase security and inventory procedures to protect the sites.

While some "discreet progress" has been achieved, Boorstin said, the CAP/Stimson report concluded that the U.S. might not be able to finish the task of securing the Russian weapons and materials until 2020 or possibly even 2030.

Harvard University professor Graham Allison said the pace at which weapons have been secured in Russia in the four years since Baker-Cutler is as slow as it was in the four years prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

And in today's Bergen Record (sorry, link not available online), Former head of the 9/11 Commission (and republican) Tom Kean has the following to say from an interview with columnist Mike Kelly:

Kean said US and world leaders have still not come up with a plan to track down supplies of enriched uranium inside the former Soviet Union.  Kean said he is baffled at predictions by US authorities that they need 14 years to find the nuclear material.

"I think we could do it in tow or three years"

So, with Iran possibly 5-10 years away from making a bomb, and North Korea already back in the bomb making business, and all of the blustering by BushCo, that leaves you wondering why Bush, Rice and the other neocon war criminals have done so much to piss off Putin, why the republicans in Congress stand by and make no mention anymore of this dire threat to our national security, and why nothing is said or done about it.

It only leads to the conclusion that the republicans don't care about national security.

Originally posted to clammyc on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 09:01 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  gonna run out for a bit (16+ / 0-)

    and check out Paul Aronsohn's campaign HQ, but I just wanted to point out some seriously fucked up shit that is being forgotten about.

  •  That's just it (7+ / 0-)

    Rethugs don't care about national security. They care about power, and chasing their tails and distracting voters from real problems are the only effective ways for a group of corrupt, incompetent, misogynistic assholes with theocratic tendencies to maintain power.

    Thwarting the forces of idiocy since 1978. -6.38, -6.00

    by wiscmass on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 09:03:28 AM PDT

    •  the more endangered and terrified (8+ / 0-)

      the less rational and more tractable the electorate.

      The Pubs are vile, even treasonous. But they aren't stupid. They got a game plan, the United States Constitution isn't part of it, and getting the country into a mood to support (or surrender to) a radical alteration of regime in a fashion favorable to the GOP is what it's all about.

      Dead cities aren't the downside to Republicans; not enough of them is.

      These are monstrous people, who have taken over a once-great American institution, that once did a great deal of good for the country, and has now most assuredly lost its way.

      Ironically, we might wind up saving the GOpers from themselves, in saving the country from them.

      Somewhere out there, George Washington is wondering why he even bothered.

      by cskendrick on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 09:15:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the idea is to proliferate terror... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      clammyc, trashablanca

      If it wasn't there we wouldn't have a pretext for exerting such power over the world- does anything really indicate contrary to this?

      We could have dealt with NK over their nukes, as Meteor Blades pointed out some time ago, we scrwed them by breaking an agreement over thier civil nuke program.

      I seem to remember someone from the CIA stating that there was about a 30% chance that the US would suffer an attack by a nuclear device in the next ten years. Is it likely? Not sure, but how logically would any country on the other side of US hegemony ever defend itself? There is no superior military capability and we spend the equivalent of the rest of the world on defence- $460b. Would that may leave nuclear terrorism as one of the only viable options? Or, was OBl's strategy of trying to collapse our economy feasable?

  •  In one of the 2004 debates... (5+ / 0-)

    ...this was what Kerry pointed to as top national security concern.  National security?  Make that global security.  Whatever N. Korea managed to scrabble together and explode, it's teeny tiny potatoes compared to various questionably secured nukes in the "former Soviet Union".

    •  Yes, and nuclear proliferation (including North (4+ / 0-)

      Korea) is still the most important foreign policy concern. This includes clandestine weapons brokers (Russian mafia, et. al.) terrorist groups, rogue nations, and regimes of questionable stability, such as Pakistan.

      Had last week's coup in Pakistan succeeded at least partially (and who said it would be the last attempt?) and had hardcore fundamentalist Islamists taken control, then the national debate would certainly have swung to this issue.

      The weapons really are out there, and we don't know where.

    •  We grew up with duck and cover (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      clammyc, Land of Enchantment

      If you had told us that the Russians would actually agree to let us come to their country and  secure and dismantle their nukes, we would have called you crazy. Then the bastards did just that. And how did shrub react?

      That's why there's now bipartisan alarm at President Bush's decision to cut $100 million from highly successful federal programs that keep tabs on Russia's nuclear weapons and material and prevent those materials from falling into the hands of hostile states and terrorists

      That alone is a crime against humanity. The russians can't afford to secure the nukes so they just sit.
      Can you imagine how much less the cost of the program to secure verified, existing WMDs would be than this goat rope in Iraq?

      Safer my butt.

      Republicans only care about republicans. Democrats care about the Republic.

      by beaukitty on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 11:21:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If terrah-ists can't get a hold of loose nukes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    clammyc, trashablanca, beaukitty

    Then how are they going to justify the next major scaledown in American citizens' liberties?

    Come on, clamster. We need to be on the same page, here.

    Oops. Bad pun. But we're talking about Crepublicans, here. :)

    Somewhere out there, George Washington is wondering why he even bothered.

    by cskendrick on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 09:12:08 AM PDT

  •  Realistically (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    clammyc, trashablanca

    Even though Clinton did a much better job on this than Bush, this has been a huge problem for a long time, and we should be terrified that Russia's nukes probably haven't been secured since the fall of the USSR. I remember reading an article several years ago about how guards at nuclear storage facilities weren't being paid, so they were leaving during their guard shifts to go hunt rabits to feed their families. I should go see if I can dig that article up again.

    Really the nuclear threat did not end with the end of the cold war. We just got ignorant about it. We've basically never been safe since the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

    if global warming is a moral issue, then Gore has a moral obligation to run for president

    by IAblue on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 09:23:25 AM PDT

  •  I hear the USSR will be open soon :) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    clammyc, trashablanca, NearlyNormal

    as vacation land for lawyers in love :)

    Of course, the words to that Jackson Browne classic need an upgrade...

    I can't keep up with Bush polls going down
    I think that FoxNews must be slowing down
    Among the GOP in their designer jeeps
    What will it take to get the true-blue peeps
    Fed up with the lies of Bushies in love

    God sends his outcasts to America, the beautiful
    They land at six o'clock and there we are, the dutiful
    Eating what TV says, these are the Happy Days!
    We're safe from terror 'cause George Dubya saves
    He's a god, they sigh, Bushies in love

    Last night I watched the news from Washington, the capitol
    The liberals escaped while we weren't watching them, like liberals will
    Now we get all this flack, just 'cause we got Iraq
    And I hear that the Vice-President is back on attack
    It will be Fitzmas soon for Bushies in love

    Somewhere out there, George Washington is wondering why he even bothered.

    by cskendrick on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 09:24:03 AM PDT

  •  Russian loose nukes (4+ / 0-)

    Just another thing that President Un-Clinton has screwed up.  He canceled the programs that Clinton had in place for a build down and shifted his emphasis to a  Star Wars missile shield.  The idiot has not grasped the fact that diplomacy can achieve results cheaper than technology can.  If diplomacy is played skillfully.  Ah, that the missing word--"skillfully".

    This administration is anti-"skillfully".

  •  This is so spot-on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    clammyc, trashablanca

    I've been emailing friends for over a week about this. I watched the EXCELLENT 1983 movie "The Day After" (nuclear bomb goes off in Kansas) and also watch "Jericho" on Weds nights with a similar premise.

    If nukes are so damn dangerous - where's the money for fall-out shelters? Where's the education? Where are the mass evacuation plans (name one major metro city that has one -- Houston sets up contra flow lanes about 35 miles north of the city, what a joke)

    It's led me to the conclusion that politicians are just using nukes to spread fear. Nobody's doing a damn thing (hello, Homeland Security Dept??), and nobody's even calling for response.

    I'm thinking of buying a gun just in case something happens - I don't want to be forced to suffer through some kind of chemical,biological,or atomic weapon if my fate is clear.

  •  The big failure of the political (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trashablanca

    class in this country, Clinton included, is the failure to make the necessary steps to tearing down the archaic nuclear arsenals.  Mostly this is a gooper failure since they had the two greatest opportunities, 1. after the fall of the USSR, 2.  9/12.

    "I said, 'wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'" Robbie Robertson -8.13, -4.56

    by NearlyNormal on Sun Oct 15, 2006 at 10:31:18 AM PDT

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