LANL is the problem

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

I attended the March 26 meeting of the Los Alamos Committee on Arms Control and International Security (LACACIS. I wish many more had attended this gathering. The speaker, O’Dean Judd, a LANL Fellow and consultant to the DOD and Stratcom, showed clearly why LANL is an obstacle to any progress in nuclear disarmament.Judd described how other countries are burying their assets underground, making them difficult targets and perhaps requiring nuclear weapons to root them out. He doesn’t accept the reason for this burying – that the U.S., and Judd himself, will not accept a “no first use” of nuclear weapons. In effect, the U.S. threatens others with nuclear weapons, then wonders why they are burying their assets. Judd seems unwilling to accept our role in causing this situation. I suggested a “no first use” policy but Judd rejects this. Though Judd maintains that it is “unimaginable” we would “nuke” Iran, he supports keeping nuclear weapons “on the table.” It’s like maintaining that “only an insane man” would use this revolver, then insisting that the loaded revolver be placed on the table, aimed at you. He also rejects “de-alerting” of nuclear weapons, which means taking the nuclear missiles off “hair trigger” alert. Many, including myself, think this is the single most dangerous aspect of current policy. He rejects separating nuclear warheads from the missiles, another idea promoted by those such as Robert McNamarra. Judd dismisses the opinions of McNamarra, Henry Kissinger, Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and others.The one point Judd accepts as a problem is how to reduce the number of nuclear warheads deployed by the U.S. and Russia. Here, he “sought our advice.” So, it seems that Judd, and LANL – for after all Judd’s opinion is sought only because he is from LANL – would have the current status quo continue forever. Since LANL is paid very large sums, and Judd is well paid to maintain nuclear weapons, this is perhaps no surprise.But make no mistake: The reason it is nearly impossible to rid the world of nuclear weapons is LANL, Judd and those like them, who profit from the current status quo. They are the current “merchants of death” and by their opposition to such sensible policies as “de-alerting,” they put us all at risk. It was very clear that we’ll have no progress on nuclear disarmament until the role of LANL, and Judd, is diminished. Chris MechelsRetired LANL (1994)