Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Bush's reckless indifference to the nightmare scenario 

Sometimes Kristof gets it more or less right:

10-kiloton nuclear bomb (a pipsqueak in weapons terms) is smuggled into Manhattan and explodes at Grand Central. Some 500,000 people are killed, and the U.S. suffers $1 trillion in direct economic damage.
(via The Times)

So, given that this really is the worst case terrorist scenario, we'd expect Bush to be focusing on it like a laser beam, right?


Are post-state terrorists groups the number one priority? NOT! Iraq is.

Is nation building in the failed states where post-state terrorists collect a priority? NOT! Afghanistan's now run by warlords.

Since all it would take would be one container on a cargo ship, is safeguarding the ports a top priority? NOT!

How about loose nukes? Are we making the program to buy up the Russian ones a priority? NOT! How about guarding Iraqi nuclear sites during the invasion? NOT! How about Pakistan? NOT! Looks like we traded one guy&mdash.OBL, by October 2004—to Musharraf in exchange for letting them off the hook on an entire loose nukes program. And don't get me started on North Korea.

Excellent article from Graham Allison in Foreign Affairs:

President George W. Bush has singled out terrorist nuclear attacks on the United States as the defining threat the nation will face in the foreseeable future. In addressing this specter, he has asserted that Americans' "highest priority is to keep terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction." So far, however, his words have not been matched by deeds. The Bush administration has yet to develop a coherent strategy for combating the threat of nuclear terror. Although it has made progress on some fronts, Washington has failed to take scores of specific actions that would measurably reduce the risk to the country. Unless it changes course -- and fast -- a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States will be more likely than not in the decade ahead.

Same old, same old, eh?

The administration's inaction is hard to understand. Its behavior demonstrates a failure to grasp a fundamental insight: nuclear terrorism is, in fact, preventable. ...

Bush has not made nuclear terrorism a personal priority for himself or those who report directly to him. And he has resisted proposals by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), former Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), and others to assign responsibility for the issue to a single individual, who could then be held accountable.

Not that Bush ever has a problem with being held accountable...

Then again, Cheney's got his bunker ... And Acting President Rover says Manhattan votes Blue anyhow... Heck with 'em... And there aren't any photo ops in prevention... Heck with it all...

Tell me again why the Republicans are so good on national security? I keep forgetting.

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