Repudiation Of Treaty Imperils Security

Without a vote of the U.S. Congress and over the objections of Russia and most U.S. allies, President George W. Bush has unilaterally withdrawn the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, rendering it void. His withdrawal from this solemn treaty obligation became effective June 13, 2002.

Since becoming president, Bush has waged a campaign against international law. Withdrawal from the treaty is but one of assaults he has made, including pulling out of the Kyoto Accords on Climate Change, withdrawal of the United States from the treaty creating an International Criminal Court, opposing a Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention that would allow for inspections and verification, and failing to fulfill U.S. obligations related to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Bush told the American people that he was withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so that the United States could proceed with the deployment of missile defenses, mechanisms that most independent experts believe are incapable of actually providing defense. The president has traded a long-standing and important arms control treaty for the possibility that there might be a technological fix for nuclear dangers that would allow the United States to threaten, but not be threatened by, nuclear weapons. In doing so, he has pulled another brick from the foundation of international law and created conditions that will undoubtedly make the United States and the rest of the world less secure.

The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was meant to be for an "unlimited duration," but allowed for withdrawal if a country should decide "that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests."

Bush never bothered to explain to the American people or to the Russians just how the treaty jeopardized the supreme interests of the United States. It is clear though that withdrawal from the treaty as a unilateral act of the president has undermined our true "supreme interests" in upholding democracy and international law.

Commentary

Robert Bowman

Tell the people the truth, Mr. President, about terrorism.. If deceptions about terrorism go unchallenged, then the threat will continue until it destroys us.

The truth is that none of our thousands of nuclear weapons can protect us from these threats. No Star Wars system : no matter how technically advanced, no matter how many trillions of dollars are poured into it : can protect us from a nuclear weapon delivered in a sailboat or a Cessna or a suitcase or a Ryder rental truck. Not one weapon in our vast arsenal, not a penny of the $270 billion a year we spend on so-called defense can defend against a terrorist bomb. That is a military fact.

As a retired lieutenant colonel and a frequent lecturer on national security issues, I have often quoted Psalm 33: "A king is not saved by his mighty army; a warrior is not saved by his great strength." The obvious reaction is, "Then what can we do? Is there nothing we can do to provide security for our people?"

There is. But to understand it requires that we know the truth about the threat. Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are targets of terrorism when you explained why we bombed Afghanistan and Sudan. You said that we are a target because we stand for democracy, freedom and human rights in the world. Nonsense!

We are the target of terrorists because in much of the world, our government stands for dictatorship, bondage and human exploitation. We are the targets of terrorism because we are hated; and we are hated because our government has done hateful things.

In how many countries have agents of our government deposed popularly elected leaders and replaced them with puppet military dictators who were willing to sell out their own people to American multinational corporations?

We did it in Iran when the U.S. Marines and the CIA deposed Mossadegh because he wanted to nationalize the oil industry. We replaced him with Shah, and then armed, trained and paid his hated Savak national guard, which enslaved and brutalized the people of Iran : all to protect the financial interests of our oil companies. Is it any wonder there are people in Iran who hate us? We did it in Chile. We did it in Vietnam. More recently we tried to do it in Iraq.

And of course how many times have we done it in Nicaragua and all the other "banana republics" of Latin America? Time after time we have ousted popular leaders who wanted the riches of their lands to be shared by the people who worked those lands. We replaced them with murderous tyrants who would sell out their own people so the wealth of the land could be taken out by the likes of Domino Sugar, the United Fruit Company, Folgers and Chiquita Banana.

In country after country, our government has thwarted democracy, stifled freedom and trampled human rights. That's why it's hated around the world. That's why we're the target of terrorists. People in Canada enjoy democracy, freedom and human rights. So do the people of Norway and Sweden. Have you heard of Canadian embassies being bombed? Or Norwegian or Swedish?

We are not hated because we practice democracy, freedom and human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism : and in the future, nuclear terrorism.

Once the truth about why the threat exists is understood, the solution becomes obvious. We must change our ways. Getting rid of our nuclear weapons : unilaterally, if necessary : will enhance our security. Drastically altering our foreign policy will ensure it.

Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water and feed starving children. Instead of continuing to kill thousands of Iraqi children every day with our sanctions, we should help Iraqis rebuild their electric power plants, their water treatment facilities, their hospitals and schools : all things we destroyed and prevented them from rebuilding because of our sanctions.

Instead of training terrorists and death squads, we should close the School of the Americas. Instead of supporting insurrection, assassination and terror around the world, we should abolish the CIA and give the money to relief agencies. In short, we should do good instead of evil.

Who then would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth, Mr. President. That's what the American people need to hear.

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