Jewish World Review April 13, 2010 / 29 Nissan 5770
Obama, unilateral Denuclearizer-in-Chief
By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sarah Palin has clearly gotten under President Obama's skin with her sharp critique of his wooly-headed pursuit of U.S. denuclearization. In response, Mr. Obama felt compelled to note that he wasn't acting on his own. He told ABC News last week, "If the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."
Now, based on the acquiescence of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and JCS Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen with respect to the President's other radical assault on the U.S. military - namely, his determination to repeal the law barring avowed homosexuals from serving in the armed forces, one would have reason to doubt the ability, or at least the willingness, of these two men to give the Commander-in-Chief "advice" he did not want to receive.
In fact, it appears to have taken the policy-equivalent of sustained waterboarding to bring the Pentagon leadership around to support much of Mr. Obama's anti-nuclear agenda. The New York Times reported that it required 150 interagency meetings, including 30 by the National Security Council, to produce the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and START follow-on treaty. Give the guys on the E-Ring credit for holding out as long as they did. But in the end, the Defense Department was reduced to agreeing to the following extraordinary decisions:
Importantly, the directors of the nation's three nuclear laboratories have - at long last -begun to express publicly serious concerns about their ability to provide the "certifications" that have permitted Mr. Obama and his immediate predecessors to forego both nuclear weapons modernization and testing. Such candor is not only fully justified and urgently needed; it is all the more remarkable insofar as these individuals know they can be fired at will by Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The Pentagon leadership is doubtless consoling itself that at least it staved off still-more-radical aspects of the Obama denuclearization agenda. Even with the deep cuts the START follow-on treaty requires in U.S. strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, it may still be possible to retain a nuclear "Triad" of long-range bombers and land- and sea-launched ballistic missiles. And those forces will not be "de-alerted," as Mr. Obama had wanted, which would have rendered them useless as deterrents.
Still, for the foregoing reasons, it is misleading - and potentially dangerously so - when Secretary of Defense Gates declares, as he did Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press": "The Nuclear Posture Review sets forth a process by which we will be able to modernize our nuclear stockpile to make it more reliable, safer, more secure and effective." Ditto when Adm. Mullen promises, as he did last week: "We must hold ourselves accountable to unimpeachably high standards of nuclear training, leadership and management. And we must recruit and then retain the scientific expertise to advance our technological edge in nuclear weaponry. I'm encouraged to see these requirements so prominently addressed in the Nuclear Posture Review...."
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs did provide one bit of advice at the end of his remarks on the Nuclear Posture Review - advice that the Disarmer-in-Chief would have been well advised to heed, but didn't: "Without such improvements, an aging nuclear force supported by a neglected infrastructure only invites enemy misbehavior and miscalculation."
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy in the Reagan Administration, heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
© 2006, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.