Christie Agrees Nuclear Weapons Policy Discussion Needed

Judy on May 12, 2015
At a May 12 town hall meeting in Pembroke, NH, I asked NJ Gov. Chris Christie a question about the planned $1 trillion expansion of the US nuclear weapons capability. He responded by suggesting the money would be better spent on other aspects of our defense. I think the money slated for spending on nuclear weapons modernization should be spent on human needs, not, as Christie suggested, other weapons systems. Nevertheless, I'm glad he agreed that "the issue you’re pointing out on nuclear weaponry are the kind of things we should have a robust open debate about in this country... I know what you’re talking about but I bet you not many people know that that’s what’s going on." It will be an accomplishment if we can get candidates of both parties to discuss nuclear weapons policy, and how the profit motives of Pentagon contracts influences nuclear weapons spending.

This is a transcript of Judy's interaction with Governor Christie:

Judy:  I worry a lot about the fact that the US still has almost 5,000 nuclear weapons in its military stockpile in addition to what’s been retired. And 500 of those, almost 500 of those are on hair-trigger alert. And now the Obama administration and the Pentagon have a plan for a vast expansion of our nuclear weapons capabilities. It’s going to be very good for the weapons makers and the Pentagon contractors. Do you support this expansion of our nuclear weapons?

Christie:  I think we need to have a complete re-evaluation of our defense strategy.  I think this President has not spent enough on defense and what he has spent he’s spent the wrong way.  We’re heading down to a 260-ship navy.  50% of the aircraft in the Air Force right now are not combat-ready.  We’re down a hundred thousand soldiers in the Army.  And yet he’s talking about doing things like you just mentioned.  And at the same time he’s in the midst of negotiations with Iran to put them on a path to obtain a nuclear weapon which will lead to even more nuclear devices in the Middle East because if they get them, believe me, Egypt, Jordan, the Emiratis, the Saudis are all going to want nuclear weapons.  [They’re] not going to let the Iranians hold them hostage.  So I’m going to talk about next Monday when I come back to Portsmouth [NH] in detail about our defense strategy, intelligence, and our alliances around the world.  And I’ll talk in detail about that.  But what I will tell you is that I think this President has made our military weaker and less directed and focused than any time it’s been since the late 1970s. And you see what’s happening around the world as a result in part of that because our adversaries don’t fear us any longer and our allies don’t know whether they can trust us to stand up with them.  And so these type of things like the issue you’re pointing out on nuclear weaponry are the kind of things we should have a robust open debate about in this country and say “Here are the resources we have.  How do the military experts and the civilians who run the military think is the best way to spend this money?”  Americans have had no hesitancy to spend to defend our country and I would argue to you it’s the most important thing a President has to do is defend the lives of the American people.  And I think this President has lost touch on that.  And the example that you’re giving is another example of how … I bet you not many people … I know what you’re talking about but I bet you not many people know that that’s what’s going on.  And the same way that many people don’t know that we’re headed down to a 260-ship Navy [and] half the Air Force is not combat ready.  I mean, the American people would be appalled to know this.   So we need to have a big discussion about that. I’m going to start that discussion from my perspective next Monday in Portsmouth. Because the world is a much more dangerous place than it was when Barack Obama became President and we need to be ready.  I say we spend on defense not to wage war but to prevent war.  But you’ve got to spend it the right way if you’re going to prevent war.  So I think you raise a really good issue.

Transcript by J. Elliott.  Repeated words & word fragments deleted.

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