Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Can't walk and chew gum at the same time

Just as the Republicans desperately and wrongly try to blame the Democrats for the problem of their own congressmen who prey on teenaged boys, they are now trying to blame Clinton for the North Koreans firing off a nuclear bomb.

is Clinton's Secretary of Defense from 1994-97, William Perry, quite nicely answering that Republican spin on the subject of the North Korean nuclear program.

The short version of the Perry article is: North Korea did not move forward in its development of nukes with plutonium from the time of the US-North Korea agreement in 1994 through the time Bush II decided to scrap the agreement in 2002. From there, the North Koreans went back to developing their plutonium-based nuclear bomb program and, by 2006, presto, a nuclear bomb has been born in North Korea.

My two cents: If one has the basic technology down from the Smyth Report, released by the US in 1946, and some competent scientists, one can produce a bomb in about four years--if one has the ability to get one's hands on plutonium. Now there's an interesting question. Per Wikipedia, the North Koreans already had enough plutonium to detonate 10 nuclear bombs by the time Clinton first entered office. I guess, if we wish to engage in the game of blaming prior administrations, one should be blaming the first George Bush.

If one wishes to blame the Clinton administration, it was for not building North Korea some civilian nuclear power plants, as the US promised in the 1994 accords. Still, is that something the Republicans want to really argue? That Clinton failed to appease the North Korean appetite for civilian nuclear power plants? Ew.

The better point remains this simple, but compelling timeline:

1993--North Koreans can explode nuclear bombs because they have the plutonium and need only a couple of years or so to have their scientists actually build the things.

1994--Clinton reaches accord with North Koreans to suspend the program and not use the plutonium to build nukes.

1994-2002--North Koreans generally abide by accord, despite occasional US and North Korean breaches of the accord.

2002--President "Can't focus on anything but Iraq" Bush formally abrogates the accord and protocols.

2002-2006--President stubbornly refuses to engage North Korea. North Korea goes on its way to producing first nuclear bomb.

2006--North Korea explodes first nuclear bomb.

And this is primarily and mostly Clinton's fault?

Anyone who can still answer "Yes" to that question has become or is a member of the Stalinist-Republican Club.



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