Nukes – How Many? What’s Next In The Name Of “Transparency”

How Many Nukes?  What’s Next In The Name Of “Transparency”

“We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can be about the nuclear program of the United States,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters at the United Nations.  As part of an effort to get other nations to be more forthcoming (*don’t hold your breath), and to improve its bargaining position against the potential of a nuclear Iran – the Obama administration disclosed the size of our country’s atomic stockpile going back to 1962 – The “Cold War’s” beginning.  Clinton was at the United Nations addressing a conference on containing the spread of atomic weapons when she made the revelation.

The Pentagon said Monday in an unprecedented transparency of what has previously been regarded as top secret that the United States has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and several thousand more “retired” warheads waiting dismantling.  The Pentagon also revealed that our arsenal is “shrinking rapidly.” According to the Pentagon the stockpile of 5,113 as of September 2009 represents a 75 percent reduction of deployable warheads since 1989.

The Pentagon figures include those warheads ready to launch, and ‘reserve’ weapons. It does not include thousands of warheads that have been almost dismantled.  Those weapons could be redeployed.  Estimates of the total U.S. arsenal range from slightly more than 8,000 to above 9,000, but the Pentagon will not give an exact number. (*thank you!)

Keeping those weapons out of the figure represented a partial concession to intelligence officials and others who argued national security could be harmed by the total revelation (transparency) of the actual amount of available nuclear weapons (*duh!).  A senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the overall total is still classified.  (*they will keep his name secret, but they will be transparent about our capabilities.)

Hans Kristensen, director of Nuclear Information Project, Federation of American Scientists said, “The important part is that the U.S. is no longer going to keep other countries in the dark.” (but the other countries will continue to keep us in the dark. Remember, I said, “don’t hold your breath”)

“You can’t get anywhere toward disarmament unless you’re going to be transparent about how many weapons you have,” said a nuclear policy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (*is that pronounced “anal-ist”)

And Secretary Clinton added that it “builds confidence” that the administration is serious about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and reducing their numbers.

In reality, it all sounds “nice” but as they say on “TruTV”….”Not Reality, But Actuality”… Actually, the reality is that countries bent on the destruction of the US will never reveal their total arsenals.  And actually, some times transparency for the sake of transparency is too revealing.  Where will transparency end?  Will it be when the administration will want to be so transparent that we will reveal “where” the country’s nuclear weapons are deployed.

We can only hope that someone in the Pentagon will refuse to be so transparent.

(*just my comments).

  • Patrick Flanagan

    with all the transparency, why isn't anyone asking Israel to give up its 200 nukes and be part of the non-proliferation treaty. No wonder Iran wants just a few. Israel and the mid-east should all be a nuclear free zone.