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Congress has the power to stop squandering the public purse on new nuclear weapons

Congress should shoot down new nuke plan [Editorial]   https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Congress-should-shoot-down-new-nuke-plan-12945344.php

Do we really need to spend more taxpayer money making new types of nuclear bombs?

The United States already has 6,800 nuclear weapons, according to the latest figures from the Federation of Atomic Scientists. But frankly the published data on America’s atomic arsenal varies so wildly it seems nobody knows how to count all of our nukes. Suffice to say the United States already has enough atomic firepower to blow the world to kingdom come.

Nonetheless, the House Armed Services Committee recently authorized $65 million for development of a new type of nuclear weapon, a low-yield warhead that would be attached to a long-range submarine-launched ballistic missile. During this Memorial Day weekend, a time when we honor those who’ve lost their lives in service of our country, spending that money on veteran services makes a lot more sense than buying more bombs that will be detonated only in the unlikely event of an atomic cataclysm. This proposal is now wending its way around Capitol Hill, and Congress needs to shoot it out of the sky.

Pentagon officials reportedly used some cockamamie logic to justify the expenditure, arguing that if the Russians use tactical nukes on the battlefield, the United States needs the capability to respond with a limited nuclear strike instead of a full-scale attack involving hundreds of warheads. If our planes are rendered incapable of delivering any of the 200 low-yield weapons already in Europe, they reasoned, we need to be able to launch them toward Russia from submarines.

As Walter Pincus, a respected former national security reporter for the Washington Post, pointed out, the problem is that the Russians won’t know the missiles launched from those submarines are carrying low-yield nukes. They’ll probably assume they’re under attack from the more powerful nuclear weapons typically carried by submarines as part of a first-strike intended to destroy their capacity to launch a full-scale response against the United States.

Pentagon officials argued the new bombs would deter the Russians from using tactical nukes, because they’d know the United States could respond with similar low-yield weapons. But the idea that the superpowers can fire smaller nuclear bombs at each other without escalating the conflict to Armageddon stretches credulity.

Adding even more nuclear weapons to the nation’s atomic arsenal won’t enhance deterrence. The United States already spends more on defense than the next eight top defense spending nations combined. It’s noteworthy that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats recently warned lawmakers the spiraling federal debt could jeopardize national security. Wasting money deploying more nuclear weapons would be a step in the wrong direction

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May 30, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war

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