Stuff I Wrote Elsewhere: Nuclear Drift

On our nation’s appalling* inability to make decisions about nuclear weapon policy:

In 1989, the Department of Energy told Congress that the old building was contaminated, with widespread corrosion, and asked for money to build a replacement.

A year later, Congress killed funding, saying the federal government needed to come up with an overarching plan for its nuclear arsenal and the infrastructure needed to maintain it.

In the two decades since, we have planned and replanned, formed commissions and task forces, that have never quite settled the question of what U.S. nuclear weapons are for, how many we need, and what sort of manufacturing and research infrastructure we need in response.

* It’s a column. I get a special dispensation allowing me to have opinions.


  1. Is this unwillingness to make a decision the institutional equivalent of

    “Yes, dear, I’ll clean out the garage. Soon.”

    Other activities have higher priority.

  2. It’s more that there are real dragons in those garages and no one wants to even open the effing door.

    The advantage to spending money planing, building and not doing is that doing could be very hazardous to everyone’s health. Of course not doing will be the same.

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