Money & The Economy

Help STOP precipitous cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent

The extreme Left has not given up. Despite all the facts proving the need for continued nuclear deterrence and for a large, modern American nuclear deterrent, the extreme Left – led by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Ed Markey (D-MA, now a Senate candidate), the left continues to work to disarm America unilaterally.

Purporting to want to solve the problem of sequestration – which would make $85 bn in spending cuts in the federal budget this year and $110 bn in each successive fiscal year through FY2022, half in the defense budget and half in nondefense discretionary spending – Ellison has introduced a bill (cosponsored by 11 other House liberals, including Markey) which would replace the sequester with even more crippling and disastrous defense cuts and with massive tax increases, while completely shielding civilian (nondefense) spending – discretionary and nondiscretionary alike – from ANY cuts.

Thus, under Ellison’s plan, the ONLY agencies that would see cuts in their budgets would be the DOD and the Department of Energy (in its nuclear weapons programs).

Under the guise of wanting to cancel sequestration, Ellison and his 11 fellow liberal Democrats have proposed a treasonous, disastrous plan to completely gut the US military, including and especially its nuclear deterrent that provides a life insurance and a security umbrella for the US as well as over 30 allies.

Never before have I seen such a disingenous, dishonest, and treasonous bill (except those sponsored by Markey) – pretending to save the military from sequestration but calling for even deeper, more crippling, cuts to it, especially (but not exclusively) to America’s nuclear deterrent.

Now, House Republicans will likely kill the bill in committee (as they should), but it’s such a dangerous and treasonous bill, and such an act of political perfidy and dishonesty, that I’d like to nonetheless explain its dangerous provisions so that the public will be warned and its sponsors will be shown for whom they really are: traitors.

What is wrong with that bill?

To start with, EVERYTHING.

It begins with so-called “Congressional findings”, where Ellison and his fellow extreme leftists inserted a number of blatant lies. They falsely claim that America can afford to dramatically and unilaterally cut its nuclear deterrent even further because “the Cold War is over, the Berlin Wall is down, and the Soviet Union is gone”. They also falsely claim that further deep cuts can be done  without damage to US national security.

But those empty slogans, which House liberals have been repeating for months, are meaningless and irrelevant to the question of how many nuclear weapons America needs. The end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall does NOT mean that the need for nuclear deterrence (and for a large American nuclear deterrent) has significantly diminished or that America can afford to cut its nuclear arsenal still further, on top of the 75% of the cuts already made since 1991.

In fact, the opposite is true: the need for nuclear deterrence, and for a large American nuclear deterrent, has only INCREASED since the Cold War’s end, as China has dramatically expanded its nuclear arsenal (to up to 3,000 nuclear warheads now), Russia has expanded and modernized its own arsenal since 2000, and two new countries hostile to the US – Pakistan and North Korea – have joined the nuclear club, with Iran well on its way there.

Furthermore, while Russia, China, and North Korea are threats to many but protectors to nobody, the US has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies who rely on it for their security and indeed their own survival. These allies cannot afford to bet their survival on America breaking free of its disarmament kool-aid in the next 4 years. If the US cuts its nuclear arsenal significantly further, they will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons – and 66.5% of South Koreans ALREADY support such a course of action. (A large majority of South Koreans also want US nuclear weapons to be reintroduced to the Peninsula as a deterrent against North Korea.)

Today, Russia alone has up to 6,800 nuclear warheads (2,800 strategic and up to 4,00 tactical warheads), all of which are immediately deliverable. Russia’s fleet of 434 ICBMs alone can, due to the multiple-warhead carriage capacity of most of these ICBMs, deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS, while Russia’s 14-strong ballistic missile submarine fleet could deliver well over 2,000. Russia’s 251 strategic bombers can deliver 7 warheads each – 6 on nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and one as a freefall bomb. For its tactical warheads, Russia has a wide range of delivery systems: torpedoes, cruise missiles, surface ships, SRBMs, tactical aircraft, artillery systems, etc.

China has at least 1,800, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads (most of which are immediately deliverable), as detailed here and here. On top of that, one also has to deter North Korea and Iran.

And no, a few hundred warheads would not suffice. They could destroy enemy population centers, but that would not deter the enemy – because Russian, Chinese, North Korean, and Iranian leaders do not value civilians’ lives. They care only about their military and economic assets and their tools of oppression. But to be able to target these, one needs thousands, not mere hundreds, of warheads – at minimum, the current 1,550 warheads allowed by New START, probably even more.

Deterrence means holding what the enemy REALLY values at risk. But then again, the Left rejects the entire principle of deterrence. Leftists think that military weakness guarantees safety and military strength is provocative. Ellison’s bill aims to make America as weak as possible.

No serious “analysts” or “experts” support these cuts

It also falsely claims that “many national security and arms control analysts and experts” say that the US should reduce its arsenal to “no more than 1,000 warheads.” But there aren’t any real “experts” or “analysts” calling for such cuts or such an arbitrary limit. The only people advocating that are utterly ignorant, but very opinionated advocates of unilateral disarmament, such as Tom Collina and Daryl Kimball of the ACA, Joe Cirincione of Ploughshares, Chuck Hagel of Global Zero, and the ignorant anti-nuclear hacks at the “Council for a Livable World.”

But these ignorant unilateral disarmament agitators have been calling for deep, unilateral cuts in America’s deterrent since the founding of their organizations in the 1960s and 1970s. They did not begin calling for America’s disarmament after the Berlin Wall fell, but much earlier – in the midst of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was still alive and very dangerous.

In other words, they have ALWAYS been singing the unilateral disarmament siren song – no matter what the times and circumstances were. And just as they were dead wrong during the Cold War, they’re dead wrong today.

And no serious “analyst” worth his salt, let alone an “expert”, would set an arbitrary limit on the US nuclear arsenal (“no more than X warheads”). A truly credible analyst would not set an upper limit on the nuclear deterrent and would call for however many warheads were necessary, also allowing for the possibility that he might be underestimating the need and for an increase of the arsenal should the need arise.

The pro-unilateral-disarmament hacks call for a firm upper limit (ceiling) on America’s nuclear deterrent, chosen arbitrarily at just 1,000 warheads, because they couldn’t care less about America’s security. All they care about is disarming the US unilaterally.

The bill also falsely claims that significant savings can be made by cutting the nuclear deterrent. But that’s also a blatant lie. The cost of maintaining it – the warheads, the delivery systems, and the supporting facilities – is only $32 to $36 bn per year, i.e. less than 1% of the ttoal federal budget.

Cutting it even by half – by $16-18 bn per year – wouldn’t come close to even making a dent in the federal budget deficit ($1 TRILLION every year). Eliminating the entire ICBM fleet would “save” only $1.1 bn per year; eliminating the bomber fleet, only $2.5 bn.

What does the bill call for?

So let’s see what the bill’s provisions are.

It would:

  • Prohibit any funding for maintaining the B61 and W78 warheads.
  • Require cutting the ICBM fleet from 450 to no more than 200 missiles.
  • Require retiring B-52 and B-2 bombers from nuclear deterrence and disabling their nuclear carriage capability.
  • Requiire cutting the ballistic missile submarine fleet to just 8 boats, down from 14, and procuring only 8 replacement SSBNs.
  • Prohibit the development of any replacement ICBM, even though the current fleet of ICBMs will, due to its age, retire by no later than 2030.
  • Prohibit making the F-35 nuclear-capable.
  • Prohibit the development of the urgently-needed Next Generation Bomber (the replacement for B-1s and B-52s) until FY2025, which would delay its entry into service by a decade, until FY2035 at the earliest (unless the Left decides to delay it further). For why the NGB is urgently needed and absolutely necessary, see here and here.
  • Prohibit the construction of the urgently-needed CMRR and Uranium Production Facilities (needed to produce plutonium pits for plutonium wahreads and highly-enriched uranium for uranium warheads, respectively), whose construction is REQUIRED by the Senate resolution of ratification of New START and the FY2013 NDAA.

In addition, the bill would gut America’s conventional capabilities as well:

  • It would dramatically cut F-35B and C procurement while also strictly limiting the procurement of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, often touted as an alternative for the F-35, to just a few hundred aircraft, well short of the Navy’s and the Marines’ needs (not to mention that the Super Bug cannot take off and land vertically).
  • It would permanently cut the carrier fleet to just 10 vessels by prohibiting the construction of the next USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
  • It would limit Virginia class attack submarine production to just one boat per year, thus dramatically cutting the attack submarine fleet’s size over the short and long term while also creating inefficiencies, because economies of scale (made by procuring two submarines per year) would be lost.
  • It would kill the excellent V-22 Osprey, which has performed magnificently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, and is loved by its Marine pilots, without replacement.

The bill is not about saving the military from sequestration or saving taxpayers money. The bill is about gutting the US military’s nuclear and conventional capabilities alike, particularly the nuclear deterrent, which is responsible for keeping America and over 30 of its allies secure. And besides making you and all of us much less secure, and hostages to Russia’s and China’s nuclear arsenals, it would also raise your (and everyone’s) taxes.

This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.

The bill must be utterly rejected and killed in committee. Furthermore, its sponsor (Keith Ellison) and cosponsors (Ed Markey and 10 other stridently liberal Democrats) must be unmaksed and outed for whom they really are: traitors.

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