Thursday, February 20
US Plan for New Nuclear Arsenal
Julian Borger, The Guardian, February 19, 2003
The Bush administration is planning a secret meeting in August to discuss the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including "mini-nukes", "bunker-busters" and neutron bombs designed to destroy chemical or biological agents, according to a leaked Pentagon document.
The meeting of senior military officials and US nuclear scientists at the Omaha headquarters of the US Strategic Command would also decide whether to restart nuclear testing and how to convince the American public that the new weapons are necessary.
The leaked preparations for the meeting are the clearest sign yet that the administration is determined to overhaul its nuclear arsenal so that it could be used as part of the new "Bush doctrine" of pre-emption, to strike the stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons of rogue states.
Greg Mello, the head of the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear watchdog organization that obtained the Pentagon documents, said the meeting would also prepare the ground for a US breakaway from global arms control treaties, and the moratorium on conducting nuclear tests.
"It is impossible to overstate the challenge these plans pose to the comprehensive test ban treaty, the existing nuclear test moratorium, and US compliance with article six of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty," Mr Mello said.
The documents leaked to Mr Mello are the minutes of a meeting in the Pentagon on January 10 this year called by Dale Klein, the assistant to the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to prepare the secret conference, planned for "the week of August 4 2003". [...]