Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Fair and Balanced Here at LTCS: The Case FOR LLNL's RRW

Lawrence Nevermore


National Security: The researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who developed the weapons that won the Cold War are being asked to build the next generation of nukes. Not if California's senior senator gets her way.

The National Nuclear Security Administration selected the prestigious lab's design over one submitted by New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory because it would not require underground testing. Designed for installation on Trident submarines, it's clean and almost certainly would boost the Northern California economy.

You might think Sen. Dianne Feinstein, once the mayor of San Francisco, would hail the promising economic news. You might even expect the centrist Democrat who helped steer the Patriot Act to passage to be snared by no fantasies of a nuclear-free world, especially when leaders of terrorist states from Pyongyang to Tehran bristle with nuke-lobbing threats.

But no. Feinstein's most solid constituencies remain inhabitants of San Francisco and Berkeley, both designated by their voters as nuclear-free zones. The senator already has come under fire from California's Democratic left for what looks to them like hawkishness. They're the same activists who'd prefer that Livermore padlock its lab and turn its rolling hills over to growing chardonnay grapes.

So Feinstein instantly declared she was "100% opposed." "What worries me," said the senator, "is that the minute you begin to put more sophisticated warheads on the existing fleet, you are essentially creating a new nuclear weapon. And it's just a matter of time before other nations do the same thing."

You do wonder about the origins of such thinking, now so prevalent among the Democrats' congressional leadership.

Did the strategic non sequitur insinuate itself in to their thinking when, the Reagan and first Bush administrations having won the Cold War, Washington and Moscow agreed to dismantle their nuclear stockpiles?

Was the "peace dividend," as it was called in those years, an intellectual green light to nourish the fantasy that global hostilities were forever gone?

Does the new diplomacy reduce to a kind of perpetual potlatching, in which one state offers a gesture of peaceful intentions to be followed by a round of similar gestures from other formally hostile states?

9/11 was supposed to have disposed of such naivete. Yet, it lingers. How else to explain the expectation that a timed troop withdrawal will usher in a new era of Iraqi peace? How did the notion attain credibility that we could send such specific signals to our sworn enemies?

Such thinking likewise informs the touching belief that foregoing next-generation nukes will civilize Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But it's not "a matter of time," Sen. Feinstein, before terrorist states advance their nuclear technology.

They don't stop because we stop.


[Chardonnay grapes growing on the glowing grounds of the former LLNL ... Much as I like Concannon and Wente wines, this is a scenario so remote that I must smile. --Pat]

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (shit; maybe a whole f*cking Galaxy away), there was a hero of the Livermore scientific staff by the name of Hugh Dewitt. He took on Hazel O'Leary; he took on Crazy Eddie Teller; he took on a number of faceless LLNL Directors; he managed to get his security clearance re-instated; he belonged to Livermore's Union; moreover, he was a REAL scientist. What happened to guys like him, who had two functioning balls? At Los Alamos, they appear to be dead -- an extinct species. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I bet you either can't, or you won't.

-Son of Oppy

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