"We could, in a moment in time, destroy everything—ourselves and all that we had every touched or loved—by means of our own technology and by our own hand." -Robert Jay Lifton, psychiatrist and the author of “Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima,” and a memoir, “Witness to an Extreme Century.”

Showing posts with label National Security State. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National Security State. Show all posts

Sunday, November 21, 2010

START: The Winter of Our Disconnect


I can feel Winter settling in here in Washington's Cascade Mountains as the snow falls this evening; there is a definite chill in the air. While the changing seasons are something to which we adjust, it is critical for continued progress in the control and ultimately the abolition of nuclear weapons that we avoid any "chilling" of relations between the U.S. and Russia.

Right now the Senate must ratify the New START Treaty in order for the Superpowers to get back on track to inspecting each other's arsenals and exchanging information. This connection is necessary to secure ongoing cooperation and produce real security. Without the agreement we can forget about any reduction in the existing nuclear weapons stockpiles.

While ratification of New START is of such importance, there is a very real disconnect in Washington, DC., and not just among a few rogue senators who are trying to scuttle the treaty. Some senators, such as Jim Demint (S. Carolina), James Inhofe (Oklahoma) and Jon Kyle (Arizona) are holding New START hostage in exchange for increased funding of the nation's nuclear weapons complex.

One of their claims is that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to "modernize" the nations nuclear weapons. Judging by the current "modernization" of the nuclear weapons infrastructure along with the ongoing nuclear weapons work that includes the "stockpile stewardship program" (read "rebuilt warheads") I'm not sure how much more they expect the administration to do.

As for the broad scope of this nuclear disconnect, the numbers speak for themselves; the administration had already pledged $80 billion over 10 years to maintain and modernize the nuclear weapons complex. As if this was not enough, Kyl has demanded an additional $4 billion over 5 years, and it appears that Obama is giving in. Even with this offer, it is not looking good for passage of New START by this Congress. Even though we have the 67 votes needed to ratify the treaty, Kyl is trying to prevent a vote until the next Congress!!!

It is inexcusable that these politicians who are supposed to represent "the people" are playing games with the nation's (and the world's) security. First of all, passage of New START is of the utmost importance. Secondly, increasing funding to modernize the nuclear weapons complex and build new weapons neutralizes any previous efforts to reduce our reliance on nuclear weapons (and send a message of hope to other nations).

Non-ratification of New START is NOT an option! Neither is building up an essentially NEW nuclear weapons infrastructure. Both indicate a disconnect between the people's desire to abolish nuclear weapons and the special interests of those who claim to represent us, but who are far too heavily invested (literally and figuratively) in the Military-Industrial Complex and its parent, the National Security State.

We must not cut anyone even an inch of slack on an issue of such critical importance as New START. Although many senators have shown their support for New START (and we should thank them for that) we now need to demand that they apply some serious pressure to those who hold it hostage.

Click here to send a message to your Senators now! Then click here to download the Phone Bank Tool Kit from the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World, and you and your organization can help mobilize grassroots support for New START! This is our last chance on this one folks!

And just think how far $84 billion would go towards programs of social uplift!!!



Sunday, February 8, 2009

A National Security Council for the National Security State

Question: How does the President of the United States give his National Security Council more power than ever before? Answer: Appoint a National Security Advisor like General James Jones, and give him carte blanche to expand "its membership and increasing its authority to set strategy across a wide spectrum of international and domestic issues." (Washington Post, 2/8/09)
The National Security Council hearkens back to President Harry Truman. The National Security Act of 1947, designed to back up the Truman Doctrine of containing Communism, created the National Security Council. The National Security State, which arose out of the ideology and institutions thus created, gave the military ever increasing powers along with the private (corporate) institutions that supported it.

Today, the National Security State is more powerful than ever; just look at the percentage of government spending on the military. And it seems that President Obama is setting up a situation that will promote an ever increasing role for the military at a time when the U.S. desperately need to focus on serious domestic problems as well as global ones (problems that do not have military solutions, and that military actions worsen). We simply cannot afford it (financially or otherwise)!

Judging by today's article in the Washington Post, the President is giving his new National Security Advisor and his National Security Council some pretty sweeping power and reach. What does this mean for the future? With over 700 overseas military bases (and counting) in over 120 countries, new military commands in Africa AND in the U.S., and a commitment to building an extensive array of new weapons systems, it is clear that the military is not prepared to cut back anytime soon (even with the economy in a shambles).

As for the positive "power" of any serious diplomacy coming from the U.S. State Department, things are looking bleak. The following paragraph from the Post article sums things up.

Although Jones said he strongly supports increased resources for the State Department, which is increasingly dwarfed by the size and expanding missions of the Defense Department, he has long been an outspoken proponent of a "pro-active military" in noncombat regions. He has advocated military collaboration with the oil and gas industry and with nongovernmental organizations abroad.

I would certainly like to hear General Jones elaborate on what he means by a "pro-active military". Jones' statement on "collaboration with the oil and gas industry" most certainly confirms what many have suspected for years - that our military is a U.S. global oil protection force. Throw a bone to the (State Department) poodle on the chain while the pack of big dogs gets a side of beef. If history is our guide, "pro-active" means finding any (and every) reason to justify military actions.

With his longstanding military experience along with his strong corporate ties (on the boards of both Chevron and Boeing), General Jones is at the heart of the National Security State. In such a position I see little incentive for him to seek alternative ways of approaching the foreign policy and "national security" issues facing the U.S.

The Post article said that, In his initial conversations with Obama before taking the job, Jones confirmed, he insisted on being "in charge" and having open and final access to the president on all national security matters. I wonder if Secretary of State Clinton will have equal, open and just as "final" access to the President??? If not, one can see that every potential foreign policy problem will have a military solution.

So the Obama scales keep tipping from the idealist to the pragmatist, and rather than changing course from the old ways, it is full speed ahead into the sea of icebergs. Stop this ship of fools; I want to get off!



Credits: Obama's NSC Will Get New Power: Directive Expands Makeup and Role Of Security Body, Washington Post, Sunday, February 8, 2009, Page A1. Photo of General James Jones by Linda Davidson, The Washington Post