Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gen. Kevin Chilton: Sounding the Nuclear Alarm

WSJ reported Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. nuclear weapons program has suffered from neglect. Warheads are old. There's been no new warhead design since the 1980s, and the last time one was tested was 1992, when the U.S. unilaterally stopped testing. Gen. Chilton, who heads U.S. Strategic Command, has been sounding the alarm, as has Defense Secretary Robert Gates. So far few seem to be listening. The U.S. is alone among the five declared nuclear nations in not modernizing its arsenal. The U.K. and France are both doing so. Ditto China and Russia. "We're the only ones who aren't," Gen. Chilton says. Congress has refused to fund the Department of Energy's Reliable Replacement Warhead program beyond the concept stage and this year it cut funding even for that. Gen. Chilton stresses that StratCom is "very prepared right now to conduct our nuclear deterrent mission" -- a point he takes pains to repeat more than once. But the words "right now" are carefully chosen too, and the general also conveys a sense of urgency. "We're at a point where we need to make some very hard choices and decisions," he says. These need to be "based on good studies that would tell us how we would modernize this force for the future to incorporate 21st century requirements, which I believe are different than in the Cold War."
It looks like we should be modernizing our force just to stay even, but can we trust Obama to do that. Didn't he oppose it during the election. And The Wall Street Journal talks about liberal Democratic obstruction of military ties with Indonesia. Since the 1960s, the U.S. has worked with Indonesian officers in exchanges ranging from short courses at military colleges to joint training exercises. These programs help Indonesians gain technical expertise as well as learn key values, such as observing human rights and respecting civilian control. In return, the U.S. develops relationships with the officers who lead the military of the world's largest Muslim-majority democracy. But these programs have fallen victim to liberal interests in Washington, which object to offering military assistance to countries with bad human rights records.

If we refuse to upgrade our nuclear response capability to just keep it operational (not increase it), if we let Iran get atomic weapons if we won't cooperate with the officers who lead the military of the world's largest Muslim-majority democracy, and if depend on reports like this one in the NY Times Al Qaeda could soon be on the decline, having alienated Muslim supporters with indiscriminate killing and inattention to the practical problems of poverty, unemployment and education.
So their poll numbers are down. They are not trying to win elections, they are trying to use fear of death to put them in power, and they have plenty of young men with raging hormones listening to promises of 80 virgins if they get killed, they have plenty of recruits ready to die. They don't know it is Hell they are headed for, and there in no way for the first one down to notify his brothers the Mullahs and Imams were lying.

No comments: