First the Bush Administration undermines the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by supplying India with nuclear technology, then it flirts with the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.
The Administration’s reckless nuclear politics has led thirteen of the nation’s pre-eminent physicists–including five Nobel laureates–to join generals and intelligence officers as the latest to speak out.
In a letter to President Bush–barely reported in the media–the scientists call the planned use of nuclear weapons against Iran “gravely irresponsible” with “disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.” They note that “the NPT will be irreversibly damaged by the use or even the threat of use of nuclear weapons by a nuclear nation against a non-nuclear one….”
Further highlighting just how dangerously out-of-step the Bush administration is with a sane nuclear policy, one-time hardliner and Reagan administration arms negotiator, Max Kampelman, called for the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction in a New York Times op-ed on Monday. “I have never been more worried about the future for my children and grandchildren than I am today,” he writes. (For a moment, I thought Kampelman was channeling Jonathan Schell‘s extraordinary Nation special issue calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.)
The hypocrisy of the Bush Administration in dealing with Iran is staggering. On the one hand it speaks of diplomacy while it also secretly plans regime change and the use of tactical nuclear weapons. And all the while the charge is led by a little man/would-be cowboy with a messianic vision who finds himself at the helm of the most powerful nation in history.
The least we must do as citizens at this critical moment is follow the lead of these wise physicists and demand that our representatives call for publicly taking the nuclear option against non-nuclear adversaries off of the table. And then we should heed Kampelman’s call to bring back a measure of idealism to our politics, and “find a way to move from what ‘is’–a world with a risk of increasing global disaster–to what ‘ought’ to be, a peaceful, civilized world free of weapons of mass destruction.”
If a former Reaganite can summon the imagination to envision such a world, so must we.