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Earning His Nobel Prize

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Posted on Apr 7, 2010
Obama
AP / Pete Souza, White House

President Obama discusses the START treaty during a phone call with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last month in the White House Oval Office.

By Robert Scheer

At last, a believable sighting of that peace president many of us thought we had elected. Give Barack Obama credit, big time, for the startling progress he has made in tempering the threat of nuclear annihilation.

The Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review Report for the first time prohibits “first use” of nuclear weapons against nations complying with the nonproliferation treaty. It also pledges a halt to U.S. efforts to modernize such weapons, as had been proposed by then-President George W. Bush in his call for new nuclear “bunker busters.”

Whereas his predecessor succeeded only in eliminating the nonexistent Iraqi nukes, this president has forged a treaty with the Russians that will reduce the world’s supply of the devil’s weapons by one-third. But it was essential to follow that up with a clear departure from the always-insane policy that the U.S. has a right to develop and use such weapons as conventional tools of war.

That is the right that Harry Truman acted on in perpetrating the most atrocious act of terrorism in world history when he annihilated the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That is what spawned the nuclear arms race that so troubles us today, especially regarding North Korea and Iran.

Yet until Tuesday no American president had renounced the immoral claim that our nation had some God-granted right to use those weapons again. While we consistently insisted it was morally repugnant for any other state to follow in our footsteps, we continued to build ever deadlier versions of these intrinsically heinous weapons.

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But that madness ended when Obama on Tuesday affirmed an all-important distinction that Bush, more than any other president, had insisted on blurring—the distinction between nuclear and all other weapons, including the chemical and biological varieties. Lumping them together as weapons of mass destruction denies the global life-ending threat that nukes alone present.

Ironically, the most important section of Obama’s strategy statement, instantly attacked by his knee-jerk critics, could help fulfill the penultimate goal of Ronald Reagan. Because of Obama’s declaration that the “United States will not develop new nuclear warheads ... or provide for new [nuclear] military capabilities” there is now a plausible case to be made for anti-missile defense. Reagan always insisted that his Strategic Defense Initiative program was a means toward nuclear arms cuts and ultimately the abolition of these horrific implements of mass death. But SDI could be properly criticized as a cover for aggression unless we cut the arsenals as opposed to refining and expanding them.

In his historic meeting with then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Reagan embraced the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons—just as Obama did in his April 2009 speech in Prague. It is a position that commends itself to all who honestly confront the threat these weapons pose to human existence. We have indulged the luxury of not confronting that ultimate horror because of the time that has passed since the explosion of those now relatively small nuclear bombs over Japan. As Henry Kissinger puts it in the documentary “Nuclear Tipping Point,” which was screened at the White House on Tuesday night: “Once nuclear weapons are used, we will be driven to take global measures to prevent it. Why don’t we do it now?”

The answer is that we have become inured to the danger and lulled into accepting these weapons as usable implements of war, an attitude reflected in Tuesday’s reaction by Arizona Republican Sens. Jon Kyle and John McCain, who in a joint statement denounced Obama’s policy as limiting the nuclear “option.” They repeated the old canard that nuclear weapons are a legitimate choice in response to a non-nuclear threat.

That will be the line of those who oppose the Senate’s ratification of the new START agreement with Russia and the long-overdue passage of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. If they win in that debate there is no serious possibility of progress in preventing the further proliferation of nuclear weapons and breaking the death wish of those who still toy with the idea that such weapons are legitimate. Those in the peace movement who think Obama should have gone further in his efforts to put the nuke genie back in the bottle should tread carefully here. Instead of demanding perfection, they should be gratified that we finally have a president who has at least laid down some important markers of progress.

After decades of both Republican and Democratic administrations indulging the absurdity that “nuclear war fighting” could have a humane outcome, Obama has reversed course. It took 150 meetings, including 30 at the White House, and the president’s frequent direct intervention. The outcome is a bold statement of nuclear sanity, and for that President Obama should be applauded.

On Thursday, April 8, Robert Scheer joined readers for a live chat to discuss this column. Read the full transcript here.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By NYCartist, April 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Hulk, Don’t get excited.  My brother and I only spoke about what I’d said in previous sentences.  About elections: I don’t where that question came from, but I shall use Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky’s point(s) that it’s more than just voting in elections.  People need to be involved, as can - not just vote and “that’s it”.

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By mrfreeze, April 7, 2010 at 3:01 pm Link to this comment

I’m convinced (by reading down this thread) that there are a lot of strangely off-base individuals out there in the world. Not only that, but most of the commentators here are a) frustrated wanna-be presidents, b) 12-year-olds with a large vocabulary or, c) clinically depressed intellectuals.

Damn, you all sound like a bunch of whining babies. You all might start creating the change you want by spending less time criticizing President Obama and more time doing a smidgeon of possibility thinking.

When pot becomes legal, none of you should indulge yourselves: you’re overly paranoid already!

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By T. A. Madison, April 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

If the public is going to have any meaningful means of participation to democratically influence abuses of the powerful we have to build alliances and seek consensus among ourselves and in outreach to those who disagree with us. After all, even the same facts produce different opinions when viewed from different perspectives. If we dismiss out of hand President Obama or Robert Scheer or even militarists for that matter as being incapable of making an informed decisions then it ends up serving extremism, however unwittingly.  Perhaps it can help to remember that the basis of democracy is the informed recognition of enlightened self interest as the common good. It is also useful to remember that every leader must balance conflicting interests even among those those who work for him or her.  The question remains one of how to shift vested interests away from self destructive behavior.

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By ofersince72, April 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

Hey Hulk,

the answer is a big NO,  I don’t,  and most of
the nation doesn’t believe in elections.

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By ofersince72, April 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Sheer,  share what ur smokin !!!!!!!!!!!!

Go read the bloggers over on ur competition
at Common Dreams, you won’t find many
Obama apologists over there at all.

NYCartist…. I cross my heart and hope to die.

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By rottencommierat, April 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

Obama actually authorized a “modernization” of the nuclear forces, which will give billions of tax dollars to the Nuclear Mafia that funded his election campaign.  Scheer, give it a rest.  This is hype intended to fool the masses, like the health care scam that gives billions of tax dollars to the medical mafia who funded the Obama campaign.  Obama is going ahead with the Star Wars Magic Shield Scam, now called missile defense, to ensure the Russians cannot disarm because they will fear a first strike nuclear attack (and they have said so, and American strategists say if the Russians did what we are planning, we would attack them for trying it)

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By gerard, April 7, 2010 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

If and when the political moment arrives (as it quite probably will) when Republicans in Congress and their most witless constituents come after Obama objecting to even these meager improvements on nuclear controls, what will those who oppose this recent measure have to say?  The Repubs will be roaring about lowering American “security” and “the power of deterrence” and fear of Russia etc. to try to prevent further agreement on controls which they know are on the way.

The Union of Concerned Scientists takes a reasonable position on this, congratulaing Obama and at the same time saying he didn’t go far enough, and much more is needed, and that they hope he will persist with more as soon as possible:

WASHINGTON (April 6, 2010) — The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) today called the Obama administration’s new nuclear weapons policy “the most far-reaching since the end of the Cold War” and urged President Obama to “go even further to strengthen national and international security.” 

They have been working on this issue consistently for decades and know the tangled politics involved.  Much as we wish it could happen faster, such agreements are politically convoluted—that’s a fact—and if people sincerely want faster progress they will join organizations like the UCS, support them financially and engage in their grassroots educational efforts to win over ignorance andd bigoted resistance. There are also lobbying efforts ongoing in Congress which could use support.

Sorry.  I have little tolerance for crabbing from the sidelines. There is a great deal for ordinary people to do at the grassroots to speed up the process of putting an end to the present and very imminent danger of nuclear arms.

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By boston blackie, April 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

As Glenn Greenwald of Salon reports today, our peace loving President has authorized the CIA to assassinate an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. No trial, no irrefutable prove, nothing but allegations. Sorry, but Obama didn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize when awarded and dosen’t deserve it now! Instead of dissing MLK, His Arrogance should read King’s speech “Beyond Vietnam” for understanding, learn some humility and return his Prize to the Nobel Committee.

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By Anarcissie, April 7, 2010 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

‘Why, then, do you pile on him too?’

Because he seems to be entirely a ruling-class robot, and the Mr. Scheer seems to be drinking the Kool-Aid. 

The people from Podunk aren’t always wrong about everything, although certain city slickers would like you to believe that.

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By EdWatters, April 7, 2010 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So we’re threatening the use of nuclear weapons against Iran if they don’t stop trying to develope nuclear weapons and join the league of peaceful nations that abhor the use of nuclear weapons?

That’s just about as ridiculous as someone from the left rationalizing SDI. Obama is no longer a disappointment to the left - he’s a one-man calamity who’s setting back progressive causes several years for every week he’s in office.

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By pdowns, April 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More: Bob Scheer is shocking but not surprising, imho, by writing, “That is the right that Harry Truman acted on in perpetrating the most atrocious act of terrorism in world history when he annihilated the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

TERRORISM? I don’t suppose he’d call the London Blitz terrorism though, and WOULD call the retaliation at Dresden terrorism. And being Jewish (iirc), wouldn’t he rank the Nazis extermination of 6 million Jews a bigger crime against humanity and greater terrorism in all of “world history” than his alleged terrorism nuclear by the US? Or Stalin’s purges? Unbelievable and astonishing.

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By Commune115, April 7, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Obama basically threatened Iran, which has no nukes, with destruction! What were you smoking Scheer?! This is why this country is running towards the abyss, because even so-called “liberals” are selling their souls to the halls of power and glorifying policies which are downright psychotic.

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By T. A. Madison, April 7, 2010 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

This is, I think, a very important article because Mr. Scheer provides uncommon perspective about the issue of the Nuclear threat.  I would like to add three notes to be considered in the further discussion of this article.  First, is that “War is about markets.” That is to say, the use of horrifying violence against many to generate grotesque profit for a few is something seldom considered about war.  Second, is that the primary threat from nuclearism is not from the explosive power of weapons so much as the uncontainable poisons generated at every stage of their process. That is to say, to think of the nuclear issue as being only about “big bombs” obscures being able to think clearly about the true scope of the destruction they set in motion at every stage.  Further, nearly all of the language used to discuss nuclear issues is highly sophisticated military propaganda designed in fact to sell it to the public by leading away from the contexts necessary to begin to consider their incredible dangers clearly.  This is to say that the very language we use to refer to anything “Nuclear” is designed by the military to lead away from our ability to accurately access it. We need more accurate language tools to convey the true issues clearly. Third, the radioactive toxins that nuclearism produces are not actually manageable. They are inexorable genetic poisons that contaminate not just human DNA but the DNA of all life cumulatively over unimaginable lengths of time. This is really mind boggling but to get a grasp of it at all, think of an old growth forest in reverse; devolved and destroyed irreversibly over thousands of years. It could be considered a kind of leprosy, genetic mutations that effects all plants, insects and mammals. That is a monstrosity new to humanity: Call it “Ecocide”. That is a threat in its effect imaginably worse than global warming. This is what we should keep in mind as we consider the nuclear threat.

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By cwbystache, April 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Today’s “Globe and Mail” noticed it, too, headlining: “Obama’s new nuclear strategy maintains first-strike option”.  I’ll look up from my coffee cup when I see a no-strike option.  I’m again thinking about what came to mind that very early morning I heard the Peace Prize announcement—that they who are truly working towards Peace are given not awards, but court dates.

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By Cole..., April 7, 2010 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

The problem is, and our Nobel Lauret president, seems to avoid addressing, that a nation having the ‘bomb’ will use it at its will. We used it against Japan, not because there was the possiblity of loosing that war, but because it would save lives which would be lost on invading Japan—and also incidently to broadcast a terrifying message to the USSR. The ‘incidental’ reason is the more likely reason to have used it and to have used it twice.

The problem is, there are more than enough ‘bombs’ to wipe out all life on the planet many tme over.

And, not to our fortune, is that there is a third problem—and that is our pres has a certain liking of “just wars”.

So give O’bama a pat on the back and make it known to him that his 16 months in office has seen a widening war and a promise of more war for damn near forever, now go back and do something more than this token agreement, do something bold—like get the troops out!

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By Bill Owen, April 7, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Getting rid of obsolete weapons, while still maintaining a stockpile large enough to destroy the planet hardly qualifies as arms control or disarmament.

It was just confirmed today that Lord Obama has asserted the right to terminate even American citizens that he deems to be enemies or terrorists or something.

I applaud him for nothing. When will he prosecute criminals in the former Bush regime, that’s a better question.

Giving this monster, who kills civilians in Predator strikes, a peace prize is absolutely Orwellian, as was your assertion that tossing 50 bullets out of 5000 somehow constitutes progress.

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By prole, April 7, 2010 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

“At last, a believable sighting of that peace president many of us thought we had elected”…a “sighting” about as believable as any Obama political UFO. The nuclear weapons Hindenberg has landed – right next to the health care Hindenberg – and once again, out steps the intrepid Robt. Scheer, with frothy praise for his presidential deity – Obama is his co-pilot. Bush II was obviously so bad, that he can still be conveniently used to try and make peacenik Obama look good. The NPR report was in large measure however, influenced and approved by Sec. of War, Robt. Gates, a holdover from the Bush regime, so there is residual continuity here in evolution of nuclear posture, not so far removed from the scary Bush. While the report sensibly “for the first time prohibits ‘first use’ of nuclear weapons against nations complying with the nonproliferation treaty” – and not possessing nuclear weapons themselves – realistically, such use was unlikely to begin with, as it would have created much larger fallout problems, radioactively and diplomatically, in such situations. The real objection of hawks like Kyl and McCain to such specific policy disclaimers is not that they really wanted to use them in fact, but wanted to maintain a nuclear “option” policy that would frighten potential adversaries in theory. But even after “Tuesday no American president [has] renounced the immoral claim that our nation had some God-granted right to use those weapons again”…under the right circumstances. “This president has forged a treaty with the Russians that will reduce the world’s supply of the devil’s weapons by one-third”…still leaving more than enough to blow up the world several times over.  At the same time, bellicose Barack has also pledged to substantially increase spending and development of so-called ‘conventional weapons’ which over the last sixty years have killed millions more than nuclear weapons.
    Like the health care mirage, the NPR makes some small adjustments that most pragmatists like Gates would agree upon, but doesn’t do anything very radical to alter the status quo. “Ironically, the most important section of Obama’s strategy statement” to Scheer, is that it could “help fulfill the penultimate goal of Ronald Reagan…there is now a plausible case to be made for anti-missile defense.”!!!? So you get an idea here of where Scheer is coming from (and maybe Obama too, who has expressed some support for SDI). As if that isn’t incriminating enough, Scheer goes on to approvingly quote Dr. Strangelove himself, Henry Kissinger, probably the only war criminal in history less deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize than war criminal Obama. Even more inexplicably, Scheer makes the bizarre claim “we consistently insisted it was morally repugnant for any other state to follow in our footsteps”??!! “We” have consistently insisted it was morally repugnant for Iran or North Korea to follow in our footsteps – but “we” have just as, consistently supported Israel, India and Pakistan in following in our repugnant footsteps. “Whereas his predecessor succeeded only in eliminating the nonexistent Iraqi nukes, this president has” like his predecessor remained absolutely mum about Israel’s formidable nuclear arsenal and he has been absolutely inconsistent in insisting on its elimination or threatening to treat the Jewish State the same way as Iran, if it does not sign and conform to the NPT, as called for in a recent IAEA resolution. “Those in the peace movement who think Obama should have gone further in his efforts to put the nuke genie back in the bottle”…kudos!

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By gerard, April 7, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

The nuclear danger has loomed over us for 70 years, and beyond the original START agreements there has been absolutely no progress in even trying to put controls on stored weapons.  Now one more small step has been taken to turn back the ticking time bomb.
  You know the super-militant Republican warmongers will be all over Obama for even this small advance.
Why, then, do you pile on him too?  It would seem only fair to give the guy credit even though you (we) aren’t satisfied, want tighter controls and an end to the present wars.  How do you honestly think you are helping the situation to get reversed? 
  What worries me the most is that you are feeding right into the right-wing-crazy line.  Don’t you think he’ll get enough flack from them, from Congress right on down to Podunk, Arizona? Why add to it?  Do you honestly think it will help him get more agreements, turn the clock back farther, and stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
  If you were Podunkers yourselves you couldn’t do a more destructive job.

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By p downs, April 7, 2010 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SCHEER: “That is the right that Harry Truman acted on in perpetrating the most atrocious act of terrorism in world history when he annihilated the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

This is all I need to read from Bob Scheer to discredit this article, and him.

From wikipedia: “Supporters of the (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) bombings generally assert that they caused the Japanese surrender, preventing massive casualties on both sides in the planned invasion of Japan: Ky?sh? was to be invaded in October 1945 and Honsh? five months later. Some estimate Allied forces would have suffered 1 million casualties in such a scenario, while Japanese casualties would have been in the millions.[94] Others who oppose the bombings argue that it was simply an extension of the already fierce conventional bombing campaign[95] and, therefore, militarily unnecessary,[96] inherently immoral, a war crime, or a form of state terrorism.[97] 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki

More Japanese died in the conventional firebombings of 67 cities as allies tried to effect a surrender. We were fighting a war (one of two, simultaneously) that we didn’t start, but needed to finish. For Scheer to call the nuclear bombings “terrorism” is ridiculous. He is disgreeing with the choice of weapon, it seems, unless he is suggesting that we should have just let Japan win the war and not bombed at all. Next he’ll be suggesting the Blitz of London was ok and the bombing of Dresden was terrorism.

We opened a Pandora’s Box with the nuclear age (the law of unforeseen consequences), but if it hadn’t been us, it would have been the Russians surely. And maybe, just maybe, it would have been directed at the U.S. had not the Russians seen via Japan what destruction the earliest nuclear bombs wrought, and could imagine the devastation even larger, more powerful weapons would bring if used on each other(we came close enough with the Cuban missile crisis).

Does Scheer think that “lesser” countries would NOT have obtained nukes via Russia or China eventually? And what about our European “friends” Bob… the French and Germans et al, and their roles in helping some of these unstable countries move towards creating their own nuclear capability? Our U.S.-bashing allies, who forget that were it not for the U.S. that they in Europe would all be speaking German and saluting the swastika.

Peace through superior firepower CAN be a deterrent. In fact it has been among the superpowers, but the result is asymmetrical guerrilla warfare and low intensity conflict among and within regional actors, and the evolution of IEDs as weapons of choice. Kill the enemy with a “thousand paper cuts.” Bomb and hide, bomb and hide.

We and Russia still have enough nukes to annihilate the world several times over. Obama hasn’t fixed that, nor will he. I am not impressed.

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By p downs, April 7, 2010 at 10:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SCHEER: “That is the right that Harry Truman acted on in perpetrating the most atrocious act of terrorism in world history when he annihilated the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

This is all I need to read from Bob Scheer to discredit this article, and him.

From wikipedia: “Supporters of the (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) bombings generally assert that they caused the Japanese surrender, preventing massive casualties on both sides in the planned invasion of Japan: Ky?sh? was to be invaded in October 1945 and Honsh? five months later. Some estimate Allied forces would have suffered 1 million casualties in such a scenario, while Japanese casualties would have been in the millions.[94] Others who oppose the bombings argue that it was simply an extension of the already fierce conventional bombing campaign[95] and, therefore, militarily unnecessary,[96] inherently immoral, a war crime, or a form of state terrorism.[97] 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki

More Japanese died in the conventional firebombings of 67 cities as allies tried to effect a surrender. We were fighting a war we didn’t start, but needed to finish. For Scheer to call the nuclear bombings “terrorism” is ridiculous. He is diagreeing with the choice of weapon, it seems, unless he is suggesting that we should have just let Japan win the war and not bombed at all. Next he’ll be suggesting the Blitz of London was ok and the bombing of Dresden was terrorism.

We opened a Pandora’s Box with the nuclear age, but if it hadn’t been us, it would have been the Russians surely. And maybe, just maybe, it would have been directed at the U.S. had not the Russians seen what destruction the earliest nuclear bombs wrought, and could imagine what devastation even larger, more powerful weapons would bring if used (we came close enough with the Cuban missile crisis. does Scheer thinsk that countries like N. Korea and others would NOt have onbtained nukes via Russia or China? And what about our European “friends” Bob… the French and Germans, and their roles in helping some of these unstable countries move towards creating their own nuclear arsenals?

Peace through superior firepower CAN be a deterrent. In fact it has been among the superpowers, but the result is asymmetrical guerrilla warfare and low intensity conflict among and within regional actors, and the evolution of IEDs as weapons of choice. Kill the enemy with a “thousand paper cuts.” Bomb and hide, bomb and hide.

We and Russia still have enough nukes to annihilate the world several times over. Obama hasn’t fixed that, nor will he. I am not impressed.

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By Mestizo Warrior, April 7, 2010 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

In my humble opinion President Obama has yet to earn his Nobel Peace Prize. I base this on the following:
1) his escalation of the war in Afghanistan, 2) the continuing war in Iraq, 3) the use of drones in Pakistan killing innocent civilians, 4) his failure to close Guantanamo and bring the POWs to justice, 5) his refusal to hold Bush, et al accountable for their violation of the Constiution, war crimes and crimes against humanity! Need I say more?
              NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!

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By Samson, April 7, 2010 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

So, when its time to figure out the federal budget, the nuclear weapons complex gets big budget increases from Obama, including money to build new nuclear weapons.

This is during the worst ‘downturn’ since the Great Depression when the cries of every American citizen for help with foreclosures and jobs is met by Obama saying that he’d love to help but he can’t because of this big bad deficit.  Got millions for nuclear weapons, but zilch for helping Americans.

Then comes this pretty glossy report that says how much Obama hates nuclear weapons and how he wants to get rid of them and how he only wants to nuke bad people.

Obama has already said that he thinks new and more nuclear weapons is more important that keeping Americans in their homes and keeping food on their plates.  Call me back when Obama changes that stance and instead submits a new budget that cuts the funding for the nuclear weapons labs and plants and instead spends that money on helping Americans.

Is the report available for free?  As an unemployed American, I’m always looking for cheap toilet paper.

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By eatbees, April 7, 2010 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately, even if the world did away with all nuclear weapons, we’d still have
the conventional arms race.

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By gerard, April 7, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Let’s not let puerile foul-mouthed drivel dominate this site which offers articles that raise questions that deserve serious discussion.

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By Samson, April 7, 2010 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

As usual, show me the money.

If Obama is proposing this, then does this mean he’s changing his administration’s official 2011 budget request to Congress?

From Feb 2, 2010 ... http://www.nukewatch.org/watchblog/?p=142

“In the new budget request for 2011 the Obama Administration proposes to freeze discretionary domestic spending for programs such as education, nutrition, air traffic control and national parks for three years while dramatically increasing funding for new US nuclear weapons production facilities. Meanwhile the proposed budget for dismantling warheads retired from the stockpile is down by 40%. Funding for a new nuclear facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory to be used in direct support of plutonium pit production, the CMRR-NF, is increased to $225 million requested from $97M in FY10 (+132%). After FY11, funding is proposed to triple the FY10 amount to $300 million for each of the following four consecutive years.

Funding for a new “Uranium Processing Facility” (UPF) at the Y12 production plant near Oak Park Ridge, TN, is proposed to increase to $115M from $94M in FY10 (+22%). However, its big money is in the following four consecutive years, climbing to $320 million by 2015 (in all a 240% increase from FY10 funding). Totals costs for both the CMRR and UPF are still “TBD” [To Be Determined], meaning they don’t know, but each will probably cost $3 billion or more.

Outside of the federal budget, groundbreaking is expected this Spring on a new privately-financed ~$700 million Kansas City Plant for nonnuclear components production for US nuclear weapons, subsidized by Kansas City municipal bonds. This pretty well spans the spectrum of future US nuclear weapons production, with big increases for new facilities for plutonium, uranium and nonnuclear components. At the same time, the Obama budget proposes to cut dismantlement from $96.1 million in FY 2010 to $58 million.

Obama is preemptively surrendering to the nuclear weapons labs, the for-profit private corporations running those labs, and the 2/3rd’s Senate majority including Republicans needed for treaty ratifications. All of these special interests explicitly seek to extract more taxpayer funding for nuclear weapons programs in exchange for ratification of a renewed bilateral arms control treaty with Russia and a long-sought-for Test Ban Treaty.

We went through this a decade ago, when the nuclear weapons complex got billions of dollars and but ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty failed. History is getting ready to repeat itself, this time with the nuclear weapons labs seeking the capability to produce future new-design weapons. Obama’s new budget begins to give them just that, welfare for warheads that can’t be used while American public needs are not adequately met.

Lets see Obama’s money follows Obama’s words.  Or, was this just a pretty report with a glossy cover for all the right-of-Reagan Democrats to swoon over?

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By Samson, April 7, 2010 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

If Bush was still President, the same report would generate the following headline on sites like this.

“US refuses to take nuclear attack option against Iran off the table.”

This ‘review’ still threatens a nuclear first strike against Iran and any other countries we demonize.  Apparently, the only change is that we’ve told the countries we like that we won’t nuke them.  Wow, what a step towards peace.

What’s amazing is that the ‘left’ in this country has gone so far to the right that they celebrate this as the greatest achievement of this ‘peace president’.

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By mitchum22, April 7, 2010 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

Hey, look at the Hulk. (The Hulk??? What’s wrong, was the “Partridge Family” taken?)

Comes here all condescending and wise—then proceeds to dump endless cliches on the site.

And why would anyone read past something this brilliant?:

“his premier program on healthcare”

LOL

And I thought only Dana Milbank sucked on Rahm’s pimple-dick.

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By Hulk2008, April 7, 2010 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Well done once again, Robert Scheer !!

And, as Bob predicted, all you “knee-jerks” crawled out of the woodwork again. 

I really didn’t see any alternatives offered by commenters.  The plans are to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan in orderly fashion - perhaps not as quickly as I’d like - but surely that’s a start.

Exactly how does O roll back all the evils foisted on us the prior 8 years fast enough ?  He barely got his premier program on healthcare to limp through Congress, even making hundreds of concessions along the way.  At the least you should hope that partial improvements will not be obviated by knucklehead attornies general in the states or NRA types in congress.  Or are you hoping to return to W’s “bomb-the-crap-outta-everybody” status?

Get used to a couple of facts: North Korea and Iran HAVE the bomb - they just haven’t perfected delivery systems yet.  We’re just lucky Israel hasn’t torched part of Tehran so far, starting a real Armageddon (... not the one John Bonehead predicted when healthcare passed). 

And that was a pretty strange conversation with your bro’, NYCartist.  Do you often discuss sexual promises with him ?  As John Macenroe says in those ridiculous car rental ads “... You cannot be serious!”  bomb-bomb-bomb-Iran McCain WAS the alternative.  Or don’t you believe in elections either?

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By mitchum22, April 7, 2010 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Sheer, you must be kidding. More three-card Monty for the Hope-a-Dopes, and you fall for it?

Much better:

http://news.antiwar.com/2010/04/06/beyond-loophole-obamas-nuke-policy-change/print/

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By frank martino, April 7, 2010 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank god Isreal is in compliance with the nuclear treaty

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By Joe, April 7, 2010 at 7:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So Obama claims the right to use nuclear weapons preemptively against countries that do not have nuclear weapons like Iran

Perhaps I missed the policy change.  What is it again?


This announcement seemed more like a threat against Iran than any kind of disarmament strategy

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By balkas, April 7, 2010 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

The way i see it, one can expect only meaness from a mean society like the one in US. People there are very mean to own cocitizens. Thus, a fortiori, one can expect even greater iniquities perped against ‘aliens’.

Once america begins to show a human face, one cld take any of its ‘promises’ on some faith.But not before.

By now we know that US can easily manufacture enough ‘proof’ that a chosen enemy is making da bomb; which wld justify a war against it.

And the question is: Is there an important ‘law’, pakt, agreement that asocialists haven’t broken?
Well, i evaluate all promise-making by clero-political people as lies.
And be prepared for the worst. tnx

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By Paul_GA, April 7, 2010 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

EJH is spot-on. This is not good enough to make the man worthy of that ridiculously stupid “Peace Prize”.

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By BBFmail, April 7, 2010 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

Have to agree w/both thebeerdoctor and EJH.  This whole thing is a bunch of crap.  Did actually read part of the NYTimes article…and the administration is still threatening to use Nukes against Iran and North Korea…HO deserves a Peace Prize for this???  I think not.  How can the USA deem any other countries “outliers” or “rogue states”?  It was USA that invaded Afghanistan and Iraq…and recently has been sending predator drones to Pakistan and Somalia…killing hundreds of civilians. 

NYTimes:

Mr. Obama’s new strategy makes just about every nonnuclear state immune from any threat of nuclear retaliation by the United States. But it carves out an exception for Iran and North Korea, labeled “outliers” rather than the Bush-era moniker of “rogue states.” The wording was chosen, Mr. Obama’s senior advisers said, to suggest they have a path back to international respectability — and to de-targeting by the United States.

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By NYCartist, April 7, 2010 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

“Knee-jerk critics” is another name for people who have paid attention to Obama’s first year plus and know that what he says pales in comparison to what he has done.  The title and concept of this article is almost like desperation to find something ...anything. To quote Michael Franti’s tune, “You can bomb a world to pieces, but you can’t bomb it to peace.”.  Nuclear promise is limited.  Had the discussion last evening with my brother, who finally replied, “what’s the alternative?  Would you rather have had McCain?”.  That’s not the question.  The promise is limited and as good as “I won’t ....in your mouth.”.  (Being a woman, I have heard of that line.)

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By thebeerdoctor, April 7, 2010 at 4:02 am Link to this comment

A more sober analysis of the “nuclear posture review”, without the ridiculous Obama worship, can be found here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/world/07arms.html

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By EJH, April 7, 2010 at 1:37 am Link to this comment

How about if the Peace President also ends all American
wars of aggression, removes troops and closes all
foreign military bases (including those in Korea,
Japan, etc.), and apologizes for Hiroshima and
Nagasaki?  Then he might deserve a peace prize. 
http://theunpeople.blogspot.com/

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