by Nathan Empsall, Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 04:58:06 PM EDT
As you may have heard by now, Mitt Romney wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post this week about the New START treaty rivaling only Sarah Palin for sheer incompetence. Fred Kaplan, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the US-Soviet arms race, called it “shabby, misleading and—let's not mince words—thoroughly ignorant.” I highly recommend Kaplan’s article at Slate, which points out the factual flaws in nearly every single line of the piece.
What’s particularly remarkable, however, is that it’s not just experts like Kaplan taking on Romney – it’s his own party. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote an equally devastating critique not as an op-ed or blog post but as an unsolicited 782-word statement from his own office. "Governor Mitt Romney's hyperbolic attack on the New START Treaty in the July 6 edition of The Washington Post repeats discredited objections and appears unaware of arms control history and context." The full statement is below the jump.
Lugar and Kaplan both point out many of the same errors in Romney’s screed. Romney is deeply offended by a non-binding preamble that will have no affect on policy whatsoever, claims that Russia will control our arms while ignoring that the provisions in question cut both ways, screams bloody murder that we are now unable to harm our own national security by converting ICBM silos to defense against our military’s wishes, claims Russia will harm us by exploiting a loophole with weapons they don’t actually have, and says another loophole will allow Russia to hide missiles on bombers even though a) we have more bombers and b) as Kaplan points out, they’re “bombers,” not “missilers.”
I would also point out that Ronald Reagan said on multiple occasions that we need to reduce our nuclear stockpile with the ultimate goal of its elimination. The man who conservatives like to pretend single-handedly won the Cold War. This is one time when they should actually listen to him on national security.