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Case Study: United States of America
Critics of the United States contend that the US has continually criticized the efforts of other nations (such as the DPRK or Iran) to acquire nuclear technology, yet has plans to possibly use its own nuclear arsenal. In 2002, information was leaked from the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), a classified document. The NPR assesses the current state of the US aresenal and addresses policy. The leaked information evinced the Bush administration's interest to pursue new nuclear technology, including new offensive nuclear strike systems, ballistic missile defences, and a revived nuclear infrastructure.
According to the EPA, about 850,000 facilities in the United States work with hazardous or extremely hazardous materials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a tight leash on potentially dangerous chemical and biological agents.
"We're trying, we're doing the best that we can, but we're not as prepared as we should be. We have our first responders and... we have a protocol in place... And large cities practice... where first responders come, the emergency workers come, and the police are inovlved. But if something were to happen, I would say that a lot of people would be in danger in the event that we really did have a bioterrorist attack... We don't have the antibiotics in sufficient quantities to be distributed or gas masks to be distributed in large cities for germs that would be spread by inhalation, what they call 'droplet infection.' So... I feel we have a ways to go before we would be protected, especially in our large cities." - listen
Mr. Barry Zimmerman, Author of Killer Germs
Homeland Security Advisory System
The Department of Homeland Security in the United States, created after the September 11 attacks, has created a system of color-coded rankings to warn American citizens of terrorist threats. Homeland Security Presidential Directive-3, issued by President Bush in March 2002, created a five-tier advisory system relating to terrorist threat assessment. The five-level warning system is designed to provide guidance to law enforcement agencies, citizens, and the private sector.
US War on Terrorism
The War on Terrorism is the latest in the series of American wars against concepts and entities as opposed to other nations. It is preceded by the metaphorical wars on crime (1930's) by J. Edgar Hoover, poverty (1960's) by Lyndon Baines Johnson, and drugs (1980's) by George Bush, all of which were unsucessful in terms of elimination of these concepts and entities. The first military act in the War on Terrorism was the 2002 invasion of Afghanistan, followed by the invasion of Iraq.
Unless [the Bush administration] changes course--and fast--a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States will be more likely than not in the next decade.
Professor of Government, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy, 1993-1994
The "Bunker Buster"
» View: Bunker Buster Page
Funding for the development of a new nuclear weapon, the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, has been stopped with many peace lobbyists opposing the move.
US Senate Votes on WMD in 2005
No New Nuclear Weapons - Amendment 1085 to House Resolution 2419
The Bush administration has pushed to build a new breed of nuclear weapons. Amendment 1085 to House Resolution 2419 attempted to counter Bush's nuclear agenda. It prohibited funding for the development of the "nuclear bunker buster" (see above). It was sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). The amendment failed 43-53, but funding for the bunker buster was cut later in the year.
Preventing Nuclear Terrorism - Amendment 1380 to Senate 1042
In the presidential debates of 2004, President Bush and Senator Kerry both agreed that nuclear terrorism is the gravest national security threat facing the US. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), a leader on this issue since the Cold War ended, sponsored Amendment 1380 to Senate 1042 to bolster programs to secure loose nuclear weapons. The amendment passed 78-19.
US House Votes on WMD in 2005
Ban Weapons in Space - Amendment 475 to House Resolution 2601
Nowadays, daily life and global commerce rely on the peaceful use of outer space. The US has cooperated with its allies for over 50 years to prevent the weaponization of space. Current US policies, however, endanger civilian space technologies by advocating for the research and development of space weapons. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced Amendment 475 to House Resolution 2601 to reject the weaponization of space and require the US to begin negotiations for an international treaty banning weapons in outer space. It failed 124-302.
Prevent Unauthorized Preemtive Strikes - Amendment 331 to House Resolution 2863
Amidst growing concern over the Bush administration's aggressive stance towards rogue nations, Representative Pete DeFazio (D-OR) introduced Amendment 331 to House Resolution 2863 to prohibit the administration from initiating military action against Syria, Iran, North Korea (all of which are suspected of having weapons of mass destruction), or other countries without authorization from Congress. It failed 136-280.
An Expert's Opinion
"It's immoral, it's wrong, it's unethical...it's hypocritical for us to say to other countries-North Korea and Iran-don't get the bomb and yet we're making new types... It just undermines everything..." - listen
"...so right now we're in a holding pattern, quite frankly, as far as moving forward on nuclear disarmament...." - listen
Reverend Robert Moore, Executive Director, Coalition for Peace Action
- Allison, Graham. "How to Stop Nuclear Terror." Foreign Affairs. Vol 83. Jan/Fed 2004. p. 64. Council on Foreign Relations, Inc.
- "Congressional Voting Record 2005." Peace Action Education Fund. <www.peace-action.org>
- Moore, Robert. Coalition for Peace Action. Personal Interview. 11 Apr. 2006. To view our notes of the interview, click here.
- Zimmerman, Barry E. Personal interview. 5 May 2006.