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Feinstein Challenged Morality of Nuclear Weapons

April 5, 2016 (EIRNS)—In a March 16 hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committte Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Sen. Diane Feinstein not only challenged the Obama Administation on the "usability" of the new nuclear weapons it is seeking to build (as reported in the April 1 morning briefing), but also the morality of nuclear weapons more broadly. Feinstein said she was a child at the time that the two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan, an event from which she still has vivid memories.

This is not a deterrent [referring to the cruise missile—ed.]. All this means is that others will be doing the same thing. I don't want North Korea with a 6-KT nuclear cruise missile. I think we lose our moral authority when we build new nuclear weapons. I don't see any way—there's a certain moral code—I don't see any way that I can vote to support this, and I want you to know it.

Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz (USAF, ret.), the director of the National Nuclear Security Administration, expressed a different notion of morality, in response to Feinstein, one that derives from deterrence theory.

I think on this we have a fundamental disagreement," he said. "In my view, the moral approach is to develop a deterrent capability which poses the prospect to any potential adversary that they should never use nuclear weapons against the United states or those of our allies. We maintain the capability of a deterrent by having systems that cannot be negated, defeated, nullified, by any adversary either by offensive attack or by defensive capabilities that they may have.

The Federation of American Scientists' Hans Kristensen, who covered Feinstein's remarks on the nuclear cruise missile in a March 25 posting on his Strategic Security blog, added a quote from Gen. Philip Breedlove, commander of NATO and US European Command, to further make the point on nuclear warfighting: "One of the biggest keys to being able to break anti-access area denial [A2AD] is the ability to penetrate the air defenses so that we can get close to not only destroy the air defenses but to destroy the coastal defense cruise missiles and the land attack missiles which are the three elements of an A2AD environment," Breedlove told the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 26, when he was asked about what capabilities the Air Force's Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) will bring to combatant commands. "One of the primary and very important tools to busting that A2AD environment is a fifth-generation ability to penetrate. In the LRSB you will have a platform and weapons that can penetrate." The weapons he was referring to, include nuclear-armed cruise missiles.