Right-wing media at odds with military leaders over START


The right-wing media have been attacking President Obama's New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), claiming it "may harm national security." But the treaty enjoys widespread support among military leaders, who have called its passage a "no-brainer," and have argued that "the treaty makes us safer."

Right-wing media claim New START "may harm national security"

WT: START treaty "could significantly restrict U.S. missile-defense programs." A November 17 Washington Times editorial claimed New START "could significantly restrict U.S. missile-defense programs." From the Washington Times:

A critical flaw in the new START is that it could significantly restrict U.S. missile-defense programs. The preamble language argues that America should reduce its defensive systems, and Russian officials warned that increases in U.S. capabilities would be grounds for Moscow pulling out of the treaty. The Bilateral Consultative Commission established by the agreement has such broadly defined powers that it could become a backdoor vehicle for imposing hard restrictions on American defensive systems.

Bolton and DeSutter: New START will "compromis[e] our national missile defense capabilites." In an October 19 Washington Times op-ed, co-authors John Bolton, former United Nations ambassador, and Paula De Sutter, former Bush administration Assistant Secretary of State, called New START "anything but noncontroversial" and argued, "From compromising our national missile defense capabilities to undercutting the modernization of U.S. nuclear forces to unnecessarily limiting our use of missile and bomber launch capabilities for conventional warheads, the treaty is increasingly understood as badly flawed."

National Review Online: "New Start [sic] is a bad deal for the United States." In a July 12 editorial, the National Review Online called New START "a bad deal for the United States, and the Senate should send the administration back to the negotiating table." The editorial further claimed that "[t]he body of the treaty, by the way, explicitly crimps missile defense" and concluded: "For those in thrall to arms-control theology, this is the product of brilliant negotiation. For anyone who can truly calculate our interests, it's a travesty."

Fox Nation: "Obama Pushes to Gut U.S. Nukes in Lame Duck." Fox Nation on November 16 linked to a FoxNews.com article under the headline "Obama Pushes to Gut U.S. Nukes in Lame Duck."

Big Government: "New START Treaty May Harm National Security." In a July 24 Big Government post, contributor Brian Darling called New START "an idea that may harm American national security," and claimed "[a]ny agreement to dismantle missile defense would [be] a mistake." Darling quoted Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), writing on his blog, as saying, "[T]he U.S. should not sign a treaty that weakens our ability to protect Americans and our allies from nuclear weapons. While our missile defense systems are currently engineered to deter threats from rogue nations like Iran and Syria, our goal should be to continue to improve and expand those defenses to protect our people from any nuclear threats." Darling concluded that DeMint is "right on the money."

Big Peace claims New START treaty similar to Russian outreach during Vietnam. In a November 22 Big Peace post, blogger Peter Schweizer claimed New START is being pushed because the administration believes "failure to sign the agreement might disrupt Russia's cooperation in areas such as Iran and Afghanistan." Schweizer claimed similar efforts during the Vietnam War didn't work and concluded, "The revival of linkage indicates one thing: desperation on the part of the Obama Administration."

Palin: "No New START in the lame duck!" In a November 13 Facebook post, Sarah Palin wrote to newly elected Republican members of Congress:

And for those of you joining the United States Senate, don't listen to desperate politically-motivated arguments about the need for hasty consideration of the "New START" treaty. Insist on your right to patient and careful deliberation of New START to address very real concerns about verification, missile defense, and modernization of our nuclear infrastructure. No New START in the lame duck!

But New START has widespread military support

Washington Post: "Conservatives split with U.S. military leaders" over New START. In a November 19 article, the Washington Post noted that "[a]n unusual split has opened between conservative Republicans and the American military leadership over the U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty, with current and former generals urging swift passage but politicians expressing far more skepticism."

Mullen: New START is "essential to our future security." The Washington Post reported that "Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has called the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) 'essential to our future security.'" The article continued, "Retired generals have been so concerned about getting it ratified that some have traveled around the country promoting it," and added, "Seven of eight former commanders of U.S. nuclear forces have urged the Senate to approve the treaty."

Fallon: "[T]his is an absolute no-brainer." The Washington Post also reported that former head of the Central Command and Pacific Command retired Adm. Willim J. "Fox" Fallon said of New START: "If you've had experience with this stuff, and a sense of where we've been, how far we've come . . . this is an absolute no-brainer."

Former deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces finds it "quite puzzling...why all of this support" for New START "is ignored." In addition, the Washington Post noted some military figures' surprise at the opposition to the treaty. For instance, the Post reported that "Retired Lt. Gen. Dirk Jameson, the former deputy commander of U.S. nuclear forces, said Friday that it was 'quite puzzling to me why all of this support [for New START]...is ignored. I don't know what that says about the trust that people have and the confidence they have in our military.'"

The Hill: "Treaty critics can't explain away military support for New START." In an October 21 article in The Hill, Lt. General Jameson noted, "Critics of the New START Treaty have recently taken to the pages of the Washington Times in an attempt to raise doubts about the treaty. Despite their best efforts to muddy the waters, however, they have been unable to explain away the overwhelming support that the treaty has among both U.S. military leadership and the national security establishment. The reason for that support is simple. The treaty makes us safer."

Gates: "The treaty has the unanimous support of America's military leadership." In a May 13 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted that New START "has the unanimous support of America's military leadership." Gates noted, "The U.S. is far better off with this treaty than without it. It strengthens the security of the U.S. and our allies and promotes strategic stability between the world's two major nuclear powers," and further wrote, "The New START Treaty has the unanimous support of America's military leadership--to include the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of the service chiefs, and the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, the organization responsible for our strategic nuclear deterrent."

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Fox Nation, National Review Online
Sarah Palin, Washington Times
Big Peace, Big Government
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