US continues nuclear arms development

by Mary Ann McGivern

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The Pentagon has begun miniaturizing nuclear weapons. This is a terrible idea, undertaken under the watch of President Barack Obama whose election campaign included promises against nuclear arsenals. In his first years as president, he dramatically reduced nuclear threats in the former Soviet Union states. The U.S. paid for transfer and destruction of fissile material and waste, preventing sales to rogue states and terrorists. And we just signed a treaty with Iran that ended their current nuclear research and development.

But the U.S. is probably in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That's because we are modernizing our weapons, not merely extending their lives. Our treaty obligation as stated in Article VI is to disarm "at an early date." But instead, we are making small, very smart bombs in a development program scheduled to expand for 30 years before we dismantle current weapons.

These miniaturized nukes are designed with GPS capabilities and maneuverable fins that the Pentagon tested last fall. The idea is that a bomb could find its way to the entrance of underground nuclear sites in North Korea and explode them. Lord knows what catastrophic atomic explosion would be set off.

Because these bombs are small, using them becomes thinkable. Lying in wait, they will be a temptation to every president and every general for decades to come. And they invite a new arms race. Yes, they are expensive, upwards of a trillion dollars, too expensive for most countries -- but not for China and perhaps not for Russia. We are squandering our wealth and daring others to join us. For shame!

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