September 1995 (vol. 11, #6)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716 c 1995
Physicians for Civil Defense
In the dying years of the Second Millennium, American defense rests increasingly on recycled paper.
Even though the Soviet signatory to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty no longer exists, and Mutual Assured Destruction seems no longer operative, the Administration clings to a 1972 Fetzen Papier that has somehow escaped the White House document shredders.
This means the United States still abjures a continental defense against ballistic missile attack, although a September 6 ``bipartisan compromise'' in the U.S. Senate acknowledges the threat and authorizes deployment of missile defense on behalf of allies and American forces abroad.
The Senate is also poised to ``endorse the utopian delusion of ridding the world of chemical weapons through an unverifiable arms control agreement and affirm President Clinton's decision to suspend nuclear testing permanently'' (Frank Gaffney, Wall St J 8/30/95).
There would be adverse side effects. Ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention would enable the Department of Commerce to collect data from thousands of U.S. companies; as many as 20 U.S. firms would be subjected to international inspections during the first year of the treaty's entry into force (CWCB, June 1995). U.S. industry could be hit with millions of dollars in costs every year, not including the costs related to the loss of proprietary information (New Republic 9/5/94).
Meanwhile, danger signs build, without setting off national alarms:
North Korea is developing long-range missiles that could be operational within five years, according to Sen. Trent Lott.
China continues to test nuclear warheads and to launch mobile ICBMs capable of striking the U.S. or Europe. Some of the test missiles are lobbed at Taiwan (Wall St J 8/24/95).
The proliferation of nuclear technology should not be surprising. Some is sold by or stolen from the world's known nuclear powers. Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev claimed to have ``radioactive substances in capsules.'' The threat that Chechen rebels might use nuclear weapons against Russian targets may be used as a reason for draconian security measures throughout Russia and it is not a bogus threat (J. DeCourcy, Intelligence Digest, Stoneyhill Centre, Brimpsfield, Gloucester, GL4 8LF, UK, 7/21/95).
Many Third World nations are capable of developing nuclear technology on their own. More than half the graduate students in technical fields in American universities are foreign born. Home computers can run software that NASA sells on the open market for manufacturing space-launched vehicles. The guts of stunningly accurate internal guidance systems are tiny, affordable, and accessible (Angelo Codevilla, ``Naked Unto Our Enemies,'' Commentary, Oct. 1994).
Rogue nations are not the only threat. Russia continues to build advanced nuclear submarines, on about the same timetable as during the Cold War, so that half of its 21st century nuclear force could be on submarines, rather than 25% as is the case now (Wall St J 8/25/95). Is Russia complying with the START I Treaty? ``Only Pentagon yes men, State Department hacks, self-interested ACDA spokesmen, and politicians enamored of ... arms control know for sure and they're not talking.'' Members of the media are barred from accompanying inspectors, and reports are classified (Col. Michael Boldrick, USAF Ret., Reason, July 1995).
It is known that Russia cheats on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. Previously, the generals reclassified army weapons as ``naval infantry'' equipment, because naval equipment is exempt. Recently, Gen. Anatoli Kvashnin simply wiped his boots with the treaty: ``Only a complete idiot would comply with the CFE Treaty's flank limitations'' (R. James Woolsey, Wall St J 5/8/95).
Despite being a party to the 1972 convention banning biological weapons, Iraq successfully hid a massive biological weapons program from an intrusive international inspection regime. The use of the missiles, bombs, and artillery shells actually loaded with anthrax bacilli and botulinum toxin could have caused hundreds of thousands of casualties in the Gulf War. It is believed that the threat of nuclear retaliation served as an effective deterrent (Gaffney, op. cit.)
The threat of terrorist use of chemical weapons is no longer theoretical. A sarin attack in the Japanese subway system on March 20 killed about a dozen and injured hundreds. (Conrad Chester presented material on this incident at the DDP meeting.) The toll might have been much higher had the nerve gas not been diluted or if it had been spread by means of aerosol generators. Curiously, the Japanese police had requested a special issue of 500 sets of respirators and protective clothing the previous day (CWCB, June 1995).
Most uses of chemical weapons have been by governmental forces. Numerous alleged episodes are reported in each issue of CWCB. One occurred in the siege of the Branch Davidian community at Waco, Texas. According to a report prepared by Failure Analysis (and not presented at House hearings), the concentration of CS gas from the model 5 delivery system on tanks reached, in some rooms, two to 90 times the concentration required to deter trained troops, in just the first of four assaults. The immediate effect on a person hit directly would have potentially have been systemic shock and even death. In addition, a gas grenade was hurled through every window, resulting in concentrations of the carrier solvent, methylene chloride, 1.8 times the level posing an immediate danger to life or health (Tanya Metaksa, ALEC, Aug 11, 1995). CS is classified as a ``riot control'' gas, although Iraq possessed mortar projectiles and aircraft bombs loaded with it (CWCB).
The CWC and the ABM Treaty might at best be called escapist exercises, which increase the danger of war by encouraging a false sense of security and by preventing the development of effective defenses (including in-kind deterrents).
Missile defense is doable upgrading the Navy's Aegis air-defense system would be a good start. And remember Brilliant Pebbles and Brilliant Eyes? In Codevilla's view, the reason for lack of defense is not technical. It is rather rooted in a ``deeply ingrained distrust of the American people.''
The paper barriers have no effect on the enemies of Americans, only on our own nation. They must be torn down, for there is no peace without defense.