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Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Monday, April 17, 2006

Question and Question Again, our Foreign Policy and our Leadership

We know where incompetence has taken us the past few years and neither the public nor the media has been vigilant. We have some acute warning signs that very few in the media are latching onto.

I'm worried. I'm worried that young people don't even grasp the dangers of nuclear war. I honestly don't think they have a clue; it's just a glorified form of warfare in their minds. Shock and Awe, how cool.

I'm worried that they don't even know what non-proliferation means or what the Non-Proliferation Treaty were intended to achieve. I'm worried that we don't pay attention to history, to the mistakes of the past, or to words from people who have lived it. I'm worried that people still have a misconception that foreign policy is sound in the hands of Republicans. What a successful mudball of disinformation that particular concept has been until recently! I'm just not sure it's been squashed or stomped on enough. I'm sure many people are still unaware of PNAC and only have heard the term 'neocon' but haven't paid attention to any further details. Of course, it isn't like the details are out there for the average American to see. I'm afraid the average American is against the war for the reason Scott Ritter points out: "Americans aren't against the war in Iraq because it is wrong; they are against it because we are losing."

About a year ago Robert McNamara wrote the article, Apocalypse Soon, "he believes the United States must no longer rely on nuclear weapons as a foreign-policy tool. To do so is immoral, illegal, and dreadfully dangerous." We can get a sense of how diplomatically destructive our current policy is when we read the news of escalating tension with Iran, but McNamara chills me to the bone, beyond the idea of diplomatic destruction, more to a visceral cellular destruction pointing to a bomb inside me, like a bomb threatening to backfire.

Joseph Cirincione writes Fool Me Twice, an extension of his interview that I pointed to here. He writes: "We cannot let the political or ideological agenda of a small group determine a national security decision that could create havoc in a critical area of the globe. Not again."

This is what Bush said in his first debate with Kerry when asked what the biggest threat facing this country was:

George W Bush: We've increased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation about 35% since I've been the president.

Secondly, we've set up what's called the - well, first of all, I agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network.

And that's why proliferation is one of the centrepieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer.

Yes, that was a completely nonsensical answer and leaves one wondering if the 35% increase in funding was instead funding to increase our own proliferation.

Just look what we're doing:
In 1995 and 2000, the 187 countries in the NPT met in a series of major international conferences in New York to reaffirm their commitment to the treaty. At the time, the United States joined the rest of the "nuclear club" in promising, again, the "unequivocal undertaking" to eliminate its nuclear arsenal.

As soon as he was elected, George W. Bush renounced those commitments. We need the nukes because we're the good guys, went the rationale. The administration pulled out of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at the same time (although a moratorium is in effect).

With a series of moves capped off by the deal with India, Bush has now renounced the central idea that "the proliferation of nuclear weapons" itself, as the NPT reads, "would seriously enhance the danger of nuclear war." The administration wants a new order where Washington decides -- without objective criteria -- which countries are worthy of nuclear technology and which ones are not. India's nuclear program -- which U.S. policy makers have condemned since the mid 1970s -- is fine. Pakistan's is fine. Israel's, no problem. Iran? No way.

That may not seem so bad on the surface, but it sends the worst possible message: All those years of complaints that the NPT was a discriminatory treaty set up by the powerful to keep the powerless from creating an even playing field have been proved right by George Bush. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a nonproliferation vet -- told PBS's News Hour, that the deal "blows a hole through any attempts in the future that we could make to convince the Pakistanis, or the Iranians, or the North Koreans, or for that matter any other country in world that might interested in obtaining nuclear weapons, that there is a level playing field, that there is a real set of safeguards."

There is a lot of experience and insight in the links provided above. There are a few more words of experience below, but I don't think they apply exclusively to Rumsfeld. He may have made recommendations but someone else made the incompetent dangerous decisions. Bush is at the epicenter of the problem himself.


Quotes from the retired generals who are calling for
the ouster of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld:

"We went to war with a flawed plan that didn't account for the hard work to
build the peace after we took down the regime. We also served under a
secretary of defense who didn't understand leadership, who was abusive, who
was arrogant, who didn't build a strong team."— Retired Army Maj. Gen. John

"My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done
with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who
have never had to execute these missions — or bury the results."— Retired
Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold

"They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda. I think
that's a mistake, and that's why I think he should resign."— Retired Army
Maj. Gen. John Riggs

"We grow up in a culture where accountability, learning to accept
responsibility, admitting mistakes and learning from them was critical to
us. When we don't see that happening it worries us. Poor military judgment
has been used throughout this mission." — Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni,
former chief of U.S. Central Command

"I really believe that we need a new secretary of defense because Secretary
Rumsfeld carries way too much baggage with him. ... I think we need senior
military leaders who understand the principles of war and apply them
ruthlessly, and when the time comes, they need to call it like it is."—
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack

"He has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and
tactically, and is far more than anyone responsible for what has happened to
our important mission in Iraq. ... Mr. Rumsfeld must step down."— Retired
Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton

It's past time to ask questions.
posted by Cyndy | link | | |


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