Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Budget of Bombs

The international outcry against Iran for stating it has the right to develop nuclear power for energy belies the fact that the U.S. and a couple of handfuls of other countries claim the exclusive right to such energy and bomb-making ability. Some would argue that we can't take a chance that a terrorist group might develop this ability or steal what's already around.

That's precisely why international inspections are needed in treaties we must not disregard, as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Such a policy would make it clear we reject might makes right. And would prove we are interested in international security.

One of the worst mistakes of this administration has been its failure to use diplomacy and listen to the voices of those at home and abroad--other than special interest donors and military
industry CEO's. If our present leaders had continued backing the U.N. inspections in Iraq in 2003, they would still not have found the WMD's which the president, vice-president and their cohorts proclaimed were certainly there. And tens of thousands of Iraqis, thousands of our
soldiers, National Guard, citizens, and paid mercenaries would not be dead or maimed.

Now our president is submitting a budget which proposes funding for production of plutonium cores right here at Los Alamos -- beginning more bomb-making under the name of "Reliable
Replacement Warhead." The name fits the militant attitude of the whole executive branch -- reliance on warheads. The concern about the radioactive and other waste, which already is found seeping into the groundwater and our rivers, isn't addressed. And with the privatization of the management of the Los Alamos Labs, public oversight of the contamination is blocked. Moreover, while this same budget pushes for cuts in social programs, health care, and help for college students, it increases military spending by 6.9% to 439.3 billion! And that doesn't even consider more billions the president is ready to ask for his Iraq initiative.

Will we insist that all our senators and representatives vote no to such mistaken policies? Whose security are they protecting? The nuclear scientists could well be put on a crash program to find ways to downgrade the bomb material, and there would be no loss in job security for lab
employees. Converting the state's labs into research, production and harnessing of renewable, clean energy belongs in the budget, not more nuclear weapons!

Then New Mexico and America could undo the dubious distinction of birthing nuclear bombs.

Donald Baltz

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