Socialist Worker

George Bush pushes new nuclear nightmare

Issue No. 1997

It is the US that represents the real nuclear threat to the world today, not Iran.

George Bush is pushing for a multi-billion dollar programme to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons.

The Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) programme will include “tactical” nuclear weapons – designed for use on the battlefield – blurring the distinction between nuclear and conventional war.

This plan is particularly chilling, coming as US journalist Seymour Hersh exposed a Pentagon plan involving “the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon” against “underground nuclear sites” in Iran.

Hersh also reported that a “former official” in Washington had revealed that US warplanes based near Iran “have been flying simulated nuclear weapons delivery missions – rapid ascending manoeuvres known as ‘over the shoulder’ bombing – since last summer”.

Congress has agreed to spend $15.5 million to develop a nuclear bunker-buster called the “Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator”.

The Bush administration is also investigating warheads that do not require underground testing.

This would avoid the complications imposed by international treaties. Washington’s contempt for such treaties is well known. In 1968, the US signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, pledging to reduce its stock of nuclear weapons.

However, today the US stockpile has risen to nearly 10,000 nuclear warheads, with more than half of them active or operational.

The pledge to build new tactical nuclear weapons makes a mockery of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which binds the US to work for the elimination of nuclear weapons, not their development.

The US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and has refused to support ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

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Sat 22 Apr 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1997
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