By Harry C. Blaney III
The revelations in the Senate Select Intelligence Committee report were horrendous only to those who either did not want to believe Americans could commit these acts of torture or who even to this day condone such acts. The same for people who were asleep during the many times that the media had reported, in less detail, that these acts had taken place during the Bush II administration.
On Thursday, September 16th the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14-4 to support the New START Treaty. This is just the beginning of the struggle to make the treaty a reality and receive the advantages of mutual weapons verification and stable security with Russia. The vote was made possible by the substitute version of the New START treaty penned by Richard Lugar rather than the original Kerry version. The language in this new version is designed to please conservatives on issues like the renewal of our nuclear weapons complexes, and on missile defense.
But in the end the best argument was the danger of not having any verification agreement that provides “eyes” for the U.S. to have insight into Russian nuclear development. It probably helped to have a wide range of former Republican national security leaders supporting the treaty.
In the end Republicans Richard Lugar (IN), Bob Corker (TN), and Johnny Isakson (GA) joined the 11 Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote for a New START. While some see this as showing strong bipartisan support for the treaty, there is still a long way to go as the Senate floor vote requires a super majority of 67 under the Constitution.
Immediate speculation predicts that we will see a vote on the floor either before the election or during a “lame duck” session. Most experts foresee a post-election vote but this remains unclear. A vote without delay would be in the US interest in terms of weapons verification. However, many right-wing Republicans are more interested in scoring political points than in shoring up American security. Continue reading