Thursday, June 21, 2007


No precis. Let's see if you can figure out what caught my eye here:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday moved to block President George W. Bush from developing a new generation of atomic warheads, as Democratic and Republican opponents said the administration had not developed an adequate post-Cold War nuclear strategy.

A fiscal 2008 bill funding Department of Energy weapons programs that is moving through the House provided none of Bush's nearly $89 million request for continuing to develop the new warheads over the next few decades at a multibillion-dollar cost.

A vote on passing the overall bill was delayed until sometime after a July 4 holiday recess so lawmakers can review a series of unrelated projects that will be attached to the legislation.

The bill, which faces a White House veto threat because it would spend $1.1 billion more than Bush requested, still must be debated by the Senate.
Did you know that the Department of Defense owns no nuclear weapons? Not a one.

They're all loaned out by the Department of Energy!

If that isn't the single stupidest idea that mankind has ever thought up, right after inventing the A bomb in the first place, then I don't know what is.

Yes, nuclear weapons entail nuclear energy, and energy falls under the purview of the DOE.

Does this mean that all those bombs we've been dropping in Iraq and Afghanistan and back in the day, in Vietnam, the ones that contained gasoline, are also all owned by the DOE?

Apparently not.

This stop could not come at a more appropriate time, as we attempt to bully Iran into abandoning it's nuclear weapons program and as North Korea lobs ever more "test" missiles into the straits between itself and Japan.

Although this new technology has been called a replacement for weapons already in our arsenal, one questions whether that move is necesssary. After all, the designs have been upgraded, which means they'll need to be tested, which would violate several treaties the US has signed.

Not that Bush has been quick to acknowledge any treaty the US has signed.

Further, there's no real reason why the existing weapons could not be maintained indefinitely with some refurbishing. The sole reason to possibly support this new program is the possibility that, in toto, the program might reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our arsenal.

Those assurances, although hinted at, have never been formally acknowledged, and to think that the Pentagon would get rid of nukes to have these is like thinking that you could suddenly stop using your left leg, unless you had to.

What this country needs, and what the Department of Energy could have been doing for decades, is a comprehensive nuclear strategy, not just involving our weaponry, but research and development in the safe use of nuclear energy, such that we can raise the safety factor of nuclear power all around. We need safety protocols that go beyond a loud claxon when a plant shuts down, and we need fewer weapons.

Another policy plank in the Actor212 NotPresident campaign platform, by the way.

Congress may be dragging the DoE into this direction, kicking and screaming, by the way:
The legislation would significantly increase nuclear nonproliferation activities, including money to secure nuclear weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union and to increase efforts to keep them from entering the United States.
Amen to that.