Friday, June 20, 2008

Nuke of Earl

To John McCain, the future is nuclear. Should he win election, in November, the Arizona senator has another vision, for America , besides keeping U.S. forces in Iraq for the next hundred years. McCain plans to increase existing domestic nuclear reactors by 50%, or add another 45 new nuclear reactors by 2030.

What is the Republican presidential nominee’s rationale for such a radical expansion of our nuclear waistline? He claims to be striving for energy independence. Surely, there are other options beside one that is so riddled with hazard. What about solar power? What about exploring more cost-effective use of electricity, or other planet-friendly natural resources that don’t come with the baggage of nuclear exposure.

Apart from the obvious risk of expanding nuclear power, a threat that both Bush and McCain see in Iran, and North Korea, this proposal raises some serious questions about the soundness of John McCain’s environmentally-friendly stance. Just ask the folks who live on Yucca Mountain, less than a two hour drive from Las Vegas , how they feel about becoming a national nuclear waste dump.

Consider, too, the irony of this proposal to increase the number of domestic nuclear reactors from about 100 to 145 given that it comes from then candidate McCain who, just months ago, told Foreign Affairs Magazine that the idea that “nuclear technology can spread without nuclear weapons” is a “mistaken assumption” that works counter to nonproliferation treaties.

On his Web site, McCain promises to “increase funding for nonproliferation efforts.” So, if we understand him correctly, the Republican who wants to be the next president plans both to increase funding for nuclear nonproliferation and, at the same time, develop 45 more nuclear reactors which, by his own admission, threaten nonproliferation—talk about pissing up a tree.

The site also says that Iran is “marching toward the same goal” as North Korea and Syria who pose a threat by developing nuclear weapons programs, but India , Israel , and the U.S. don’t pose a threat? By what kind of inverted logic does the senator arrive at this conclusion? After all, doesn’t Ahmadinejad contend that he’s developing his nuclear program for peaceful use only?

Moreover, a quick visit to reveals his pledge for “a long term commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons.” Does he plan to accomplish this by building nearly 50 more nuclear reactors in his own country? And, dare we consider this long term commitment back to back with his statement that he could foresee American forces in Iraq for another 100 years?

In John McCain, we have a prospective leader of the free world who says he’s conscious of the environment while giving a big thumbs up to drilling in the Alaska nature wildlife refuge, one who would grow reactors thereby increasing hazardous nuclear waste, and who has the unmitigated chutzpah to say he’s aiming for nuclear nonproliferation, dherence to international treaties while, at the same time, setting the infrastructure in place for doing exactly what he accuses the “axis of evil” countries of doing. If it sounds like doubletalk to you that’s cause it is.

Yes, Sen.McCain would also throw a couple of billion a year to research other alternatives like clean coal, but think about how many billions more will go to building dozens of nuclear reactors, virtually one for every state in the union. Better still, think about the hypocrisy of threatening “terrorist” countries with military strikes for pursuing the same programs that the Republican nominee-in-waiting plans to put in place.

Unless the Arizona senator thinks that a nuclear reactor doesn’t fit under the umbrella of “nuclear technology,” he is now working at cross-purposes with himself by embracing a program of national nuclear reactor proliferation. Can we afford a president who works at cross-purposes with himself, and yet another chief executive who, when faced with it, will claim immunity from U.N. inspections, as well as nonproliferation treaties, and then call North Korea, Syria, and Iran “terrorist” states? How many more seismic position shifts may we expect in the coming months, and how many more still if he were to be elected?

Make no mistake, when it comes to the military, John McCain is George W. Bush on steroids.
Seeing how much fun the senator had with “Bomb Iran,” his rendition of an old song, he won’t mind having as his theme song the “Nuke of Earl.”