Joe Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund, and Alexandra Bell, Research Associate at Ploughshares, put out a great piece on HuffPo on Tuesday that reviews and debunks many of the somewhat outrageous claims made by the Bush administration about its legacy, including many nuclear weapons issues. The full piece is available here, although I’m also including the full text of it below as well.
The victors write history. Few would ascribe that right to the outgoing Bush Administration. The "Highlights of Accomplishments and Results of the Administration of George W. Bush" is fifty pages of glossy photos and false claims of the last eight years, complete with "Did You Know" sections usually seen in 8th grade textbooks.
Some of the claims have already been rebutted on Huffington Post.
Here, we just want to set the record straight on the 10 big wins claimed on nuclear weapons. Rather than making us safer, President Bush leaves office with nearly every proliferation problem more dangerous than when he entered. Here are the claims and the facts.
"1-Prevented our Enemies from Threatening America and our Allies with
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)"
True, that there were no attacks in the seven years following 9/11, but there were also none in the seven years previous. Globally, threats have grown. Every member of the "axis of evil" is more dangerous to
"2-Secured a commitment from
True, but only after the neoconservative fantasy of overthrowing the
advanced missile programs and renounce terrorism."
This is the most notable success of the Bush years, but made possible only by breaking with the neocon strategy. Instead of trying to change the Libyan regime, we changed the regime's behavior.
"4- Withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and operationalized missile defense."
We did withdraw from the treaty, but all we have to show for it is a scarecrow of a weapons system. Over the past 8 years, the
"5- Dismantled the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network."
Partially true. The A.Q. Khan smuggling network was finally disrupted in 2004, only after sensitive technology was transferred to
"6- Established the Proliferation Security Initiative and multilateral coalitions to stop WMD proliferation and strengthen our ability to locate and secure nuclear and radiological materials around the world."
The Proliferation Security Initiative is a good idea of marginal benefit. It is good at detecting and stopping illicit shipments of large items, like missiles and centrifuges, but cannot stop a suitcase full of plutonium or key nuclear components shipped through legitimate channels. This program was a major talking point of the administration, but did little to stop the nuclear program in
"7- Halved the
This has been positive. We have moved ahead of schedule to cut weapons down to the numbers negotiated with
This is dangerous even during good times; today, U.S.-Russian relations are at their worst point since before the collapse of the
There remains no coherent plan for addressing the danger from the almost 1,300 Russian nuclear warheads poised for attack within 15 minutes and thousands more in insecure storage. Former Senator Sam Nunn warns, "It's insane for us, 16 years after the Cold War, to think of the Russian president having four or five minutes to make a decision about whether what may be a false warning requires a response before he loses his retaliatory force."
The War to Nowhere
Finally, the greatest sin in the Bush Legacy Book is one of omission. Nowhere does the history note that senior officials led by President Bush and Vice-President Cheney intentionally misled the American people on the threat from chemical, biological and nuclear weapons from Iraq. Not one claim was true. At the time of the invasion Iraq did not have any significant quantities of these weapons or weapons components, did not have any programs for making these weapons, did not have any plans to restart programs to make these weapons and did not have any operational ties to Al Qaeda or involvement in the attacks of September 11.
President Bush called the failure to find any weapons in