Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pakistan had a nuclear plant and Dubya said nothing

Maybe it's the kind of non-Christian dictator -- or more specifically, the kind of Muslim -- that determines whether the White House thinks a country is entitled to have weapons of mass destruction. Or perhaps it's about the fact some Muslim majority countries have oil but others don't that's the determining factor. Apparently, Dubya believes it's not okay for Iran or Iraq to have WMD. But Pakistan is another story.

WaPo reports this morning that the Executive failed to disclose to Congress that Pakistan's nuclear program is running hot, straight and normal -- until yesterday, when Tony Snow finally made the admission. The West Wing found out Pervez Musharraf had built a plutonium plant in Khushab, Punjab, capable of providing enough fuel to fifty nuclear bombs every year -- but never reported this fact to Congress as they're required to do. By contrast Pakistan's major nuclear rival, India has built only thirty bombs since 1974.

Tensions have always run high between the two countries, especially over the disputed Kashmir region. But it's not just the fact the battle could go nuclear that's worrysome. The world's most wanted man, OBL, is currently thought to be hiding in Pakistan; and Musharraf has been rightly criticized for not doing enough to hunt Public Enemy #1 for fear of a fundamenalist Islamic revolt which would be all too happy to get those bombs and completely annihilate Hinduism.

The bigger issue is that the program has gone on since 2000, the last full year of the Clinton Administration. So even Slick Willy knew about it, and probably so informed Dubya during the transition.

I'm more convinced that the neo-conservative agenda revolves around cheap access to oil when the key to domestic and foreign security is getting away from the addiction to crude. Nuclear power is a necessary evil, but it must be kept under strict international supervision and the spread of weapons must be stopped. The last thing we need is for AlQaeda to raid the Khushab facility and fire one of those weapons on Kandahar, where NATO is fighting AQ on a daily basis.

This is yet more proof the neo-cons have their priorities backwards. Rather than looking for bombs where none existed, they should have eliminated them where they already were known to exist -- and they should have started the process by offering an act of good will and dramatically further decreasing the American arsenal.

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