One cut that could be made in the national security budget is to our nuclear arsenal. It is far larger than we need, as articles by Philip Taubman in the New York Times and Walter Pincus in the Washington Post have recently pointed out. Indeed, both Taubman and Pincus contend that the current stockpile of 5,000 nukes could be cut by two-thirds. And why, they ask, do we need a fleet of bombers, currently aging B-52s, to deliver the bombs, when we also have land- and sea-based missiles? As for the missiles, do we really need the planned 400 new land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and twelve new nuclear submarines, each equipped with sixteen missiles, each of which has at least four warheads?
Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.
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