Sunday, September 05, 2004

Fissile Material (Possibly Retracted)

Matthew Yglesias highlights another reason why Bush doesn't have the edge with me when it comes to national security:

"Readers may recall that about a month ago I was dumbfounded by reports that the Bush administration was scuttling the verification component of the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. The Treaty would, if properly enforced, damage US interests not at all while making it harder for terrorists and rogue states to acquire nuclear weapons. The administration's official line on why they'd done this -- that it was too expensive -- seemed to seriously call into question their sanity. Verification may be expensive, but it could hardly be too expensive to reduce the single greatest security threat facing the nation.

"The current issue of the Economist has a seriously buried lede explaining that the main motivation was, in fact, 'the worries of Israel and Pakistan, two allies that want to keep the option of adding to their stockpiles.' We scuttled a treaty that will keep bombs out of the hands of terrorists so that Israel and Pakistan (!) can build bigger arsenals? Israel and Pakistan! The same Pakistan whose chief nuclear scientist was operating a global proliferation market. The same Pakistan whose intelligence services built the Taliban and nurtured al-Qaeda in its early days. The same Pakistan whose military runs terrorist training camps. That Pakistan? Apparently so."

The actual Economist article lists other factors behind the decision, as well, but the fact Israel's and Pakistan's interests would even come up is ridiculous.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias retracts the above post.

UPDATE: Or maybe he doesn't.


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