Congressman Markey’s nuclear weapons spending cut proposal must be rejected completely


Congressman Ed Markey, a strident anti-defense liberal from Massachusetts, has recently introuced a bill which, if passed (God forbid), would cut the spending on US nuclear weapons by $100 bn over a decade, i.e. $10 bn per year. His bill is cosponsored by 34 other pro-disarmament Congressmen and follows Markey’s 2011 proposal to the now-defunct “Super Committee” to cut this kind of spending by a whopping $200 bn a decade, i.e. $20 bn per year.

Congressman Ed Markey’s proposal to cut spending on the US nuclear arsenal by $100 bn over a decade, i.e. $10 bn per year, is treasonous, suicidal, and wrong, and must be completely rejected. The same applies to his proposal to the now-defunct “Super Committee” from last year to cut this kind of spending by $200 bn over a decade, i.e. $20 bn per year.

The US nuclear arsenal is a needed, irreplaceable deterrent which has kept America safe and has kept the peace for the last 66 years, preventing wars between superpowers, forcing them to tolerate each other, and preventing nuclear war. It also protects over 30 allies of the United States, thus making it unnecessary to develop their own nuclear weapons or expand their stockpiles (in France’s and Britain’s case), thus dramatically limiting the proliferation problem.

Cutting it (or spending on it, or its modernization and maintenance programs) would not only discredit this nuclear umbrella and force US allies to develop their nuclear weapons (thus making the proliferation problem much worse), it would weaken the US military and, if done unilaterally, amount to unilateral disarmament, thus making America much less secure and inviting (if not guaranteeing) a nuclear first strike by Russia or perhaps even China, depending on how deep the cuts would go.

Congressman Markey’s proposals would dramatically cut (if not completely cut off) funding for the maintenance and viability of US nuclear weapons, at $10-$20 bn per year (compared to a total DOE defense-related budget of ca. $17 bn), thus totally gutting the US nuclear arsenal, which would amount to unilateral nuclear disarmament, and thus invite a nuclear first strike by Russia and China. This has been confirmed by experts such as Rep. Michael Turner and Baker Spring of the Heritage Foundation. Here’s what they say about Markey’s proposal:

“Representative Edward Markey (D–MA) has grave misconceptions regarding contributions that nuclear weapons make to the U.S. and allied national security. On Wednesday, he introduced a bill that would cut $100 billion in nuclear weapons programs. This bill is co-sponsored by 34 other Representatives.

Not only would such cuts be disastrous for the already under-funded U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure; they would also call into question U.S. commitment to extended deterrence and viability of the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START) with the Russian Federation. In addition, the proposed cuts would do very little to solve the country’s fiscal problems.

Last October, Markey sent a letter to the Joint Select Committee on the Deficit in which he stated that the U.S. spends “over $50 billion a year on the U.S. nuclear arsenal” and called on “the Super Committee to cut $20 billion a year, or $200 billion over the next ten years, from the U.S. nuclear weapons budget.”

But according to Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense James Miller, the figure was close to $214 billion over 10 years (about $88 billion for the Department of Energy and more than $125 billion for the Department of Defense). Markey’s initial call of gutting $200 billion over the next 10 years would result “in the immediate and unilateral nuclear disarmament of the United States,” according to Congressman Mike Turner (R–OH). A $100 billion cut would be just as devastating.

Currently, more than 30 countries all over the world rely on U.S. nuclear weapons. These countries have not developed their own nuclear weapons or expanded their current arsenals because they have believed that the U.S. would respond with a devastating force if they are threatened. Credibility—whether an enemy actor believes the U.S. will come to the aid of its allies—is a key consideration for any opponent when deciding whether to launch an attack. The credibility of U.S. nuclear weapons will diminish if they are not properly maintained. This could cause allies to develop or expand their current nuclear weapon arsenals.”

Any proposals to cut the US nuclear arsenal or funding for it must be completely rejected. (http://blog.heritage.org/2012/02/10/cutting-the-nuclear-arsenal-even-further/)

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