What Fresh Hell Is This?

November 26, 2012

Getting The Facts Wrong. Again.

The Tribune-Review, again, is showing us all how little work they actually do when they write their editorials.  One or maybe two rightwing "sources" are all they seem to need to extend a faulty narrative.

Take today, for example.  In an editorial that begins with:
President Obama wants to reduce America’s nuclear arsenal. That much is clear from his remarks in a May speech in Seoul, South Korea, when he said, “(W)e have more nuclear weapons than we need.”

How much he wants to reduce the country’s nuclear weapons remains unclear, as his Nuclear Posture Review implementation study is months overdue, according to Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

“No president has ever before held up a nuclear review for an election,” Rep. Turner writes for The Examiner of Washington.
Here's that article in the Washington Examiner and here's the quotation:
While Congress and the American people have been told to be content and wait, the president announced during a speech in Seoul, South Korea, in May 2012 that "[t]hat study is still underway. But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need."
Um, do I need to point out that the speech that both Rep. Turner and Scaife's braintrust quote was from March and not May?  From Whitehouse.gov dated March 26, 2012:
My administration’s nuclear posture recognizes that the massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited to today’s threats, including nuclear terrorism. So last summer, I directed my national security team to conduct a comprehensive study of our nuclear forces. That study is still underway. But even as we have more work to do, we can already say with confidence that we have more nuclear weapons than we need. Even after New START, the United States will still have more than 1,500 deployed nuclear weapons, and some 5,000 warheads.
I realize that's a tiny point, but if you're a news source (as the Trib presents itself to be) then such easily tracked down things as dates should always be accurate, doncha think?

The braintrust then references some Scaife-funded cousins:
The U.S. remains the only nuclear power without a weapons-modernization program. Meanwhile China and Russia are updating their nuke arsenals, reminds The Heritage Foundation. And never mind the continuing threat from North Korea, which now boasts of having ballistic missiles that can reach the United States.
Here's the source for Heritage's claim.

Alas, the Federation of American Scientists has already offered up some facts to dispute this allegation:
The Heritage blog also mischaracterizes the United States as “the only country without a substantial nuclear weapons modernization program.” That’s quite a stretch given that the U.S. has recently converted four SSBNs to carry the Trident II D5 SLBM, has just finished modernizing its Minuteman III ICBM force and replacing the W62 warhead with the more powerful W87, has full-scale production underway of the W76-1 warhead, is preparing full-scaled production of the new B61-12 bomb, is producing a nuclear-capable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is studying a new common warhead for ICBMs and SLBMs, is designing a new class of 12 SSBNs, is designing a new long-range bomber, is studying a replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM, and is building new or modernized nuclear weapons production facilities.

That looks like a pretty busy modernization effort to me.
And then there's this:
No nation has ever turned back foreign aggression by weakening itself. The safety and security long guaranteed by America’s nuclear arsenal must not be diluted by the empty premise that if the U.S. disarms, so, too, will other nations with adversarial intentions.
They really gotta do better than this.  UPI from 2001:
President Bush took the first step in a historic reduction of strategic nuclear weapons Tuesday, slashing the U.S. stockpile by two-thirds and winning a commitment from Russian President Vladimir Putin to "try to respond in kind."
To my friends on Scaife's braintrust: You really have to do better than this. This is embarrassing for you, doncha think?

No comments: