— America’s war against the people of Korea: The historical record of U.S. war crimes

Global Research, April 30, 2017
Global Research 13 September 2013

The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013

A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea.

Introduction

Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.

It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.

I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.

I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on peace and reunification.

An armistice is an agreement by the warring parties to stop fighting. It does signify the end of war.

What underlies the 1953 Armistice Agreement is that one of the warring parties, namely the US has consistently threatened to wage war on the DPRK for the last 60 years.

The US has on countless occasions violated the Armistice Agreement. It has remained on a war footing. Casually ignored by the Western media and the international community, the US has actively deployed nuclear weapons targeted at North Korea for more than half a century in violation of article 13b) of the Armistice agreement. 

The armistice remains in force. The US is still at war with Korea. It is not a peace treaty, a peace agreement was never signed.

The US has used the Armistice agreement to justify the presence of 37,000 American troops on Korean soil under a bogus United Nations mandate, as well as establish an environment of continuous and ongoing military threats. This situation of “latent warfare” has lasted for the last 60 years. It is important to emphasize that this US garrison in South Korea is the only U.S. military presence based permanently on the Asian continent.

Our objective in this venue is to call for a far-reaching peace treaty, which will not only render the armistice agreement signed on July 27, 1953 null and void, but will also lay the foundations for the speedy withdrawal of US troops from Korea as well as lay the foundations for the reunification of the Korean nation.

Michel Chossudovsky Presentation: 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013, Seoul, ROK. 

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Armistice Day in a Broader Historical Perspective.

This commemoration is particularly significant in view of mounting US threats directed not only against Korea, but also against China and Russia as part of Washington’s “Asia Pivot”, not to mention the illegal occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the US-NATO wars against Libya and Syria, the military threats directed against Iran, the longstanding struggle of the Palestinian people against Israel, the US sponsored wars and insurrections in sub-Saharan Africa.

Armistice Day July 27, 1953, is a significant landmark in the history of US led wars.  Under the Truman Doctrine formulated in the late 1940s, the Korean War (1950-1953) had set the stage for a global process of militarization and US led wars. “Peace-making” in terms of a peace agreement is in direct contradiction with Washington “war-making” agenda.

Washington has formulated a global military agenda. In the words of four star General Wesley Clark (Ret) [image right], quoting a senior Pentagon official:

“We’re going to take out seven countries in 5 years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran” (Democracy Now March 2, 2007)

The Korean War (1950-1953) was the first major military operation  undertaken by the US in the wake of  World War II,  launched at the very outset of  what was euphemistically called “The Cold War”. In many respects it was a continuation of World War II, whereby Korean lands under Japanese colonial occupation were, from one day to the next, handed over to a new colonial power, the United States of America.

At the Potsdam Conference (July–August 1945), the US and the Soviet Union agreed to dividing Korea, along the 38th parallel.

There was no “Liberation” of Korea following the entry of US forces. Quite the opposite.

As we recall, a US military government was established in South Korea on September 8, 1945, three weeks after the surrender of Japan on August 15th 1945. Moreover,  Japanese officials in South Korea assisted the US Army Military Government (USAMG) (1945-48) led by General Hodge in ensuring this transition. Japanese colonial administrators in Seoul as well as their Korean police officials worked hand in glove with the new colonial masters.

From the outset, the US military government refused to recognize the provisional government of the People’s Republic of Korea (PRK), which was committed to major social reforms including land distribution, laws protecting the rights of workers, minimum wage legislation and  the reunification of North and South Korea.

The PRK was non-aligned with an anti-colonial mandate, calling for the “establishment of close relations with the United States, USSR, England, and China, and positive opposition to any foreign influences interfering with the domestic affairs of the state.”2

The PRK was abolished by military decree in September 1945 by the USAMG. There was no democracy, no liberation no independence.

While Japan was treated as a defeated Empire, South Korea was identified as a colonial territory to be administered under US military rule and US occupation forces.

America’s handpicked appointee Sygman Rhee [left] was flown into Seoul in October 1945, in General Douglas MacArthur’s personal airplane.

The Korean War (1950-1953)

The crimes committed by the US against the people of Korea in the course of the Korean War but also in its aftermath are unprecedented in modern history.

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— The “Doomsday Forum”: the Pentagon and war industry promote pre-emptive nuclear war

Global Research, April 28, 2017

Author’s Note

This article was first published on July 8, 2016

America’s pre-emptive nuclear doctrine was firmly entrenched prior to Donald Trump’s accession to the White House. The use of nukes against North Korea has been on the drawing-board of the Pentagon for more than half a century. 

In June 2016 under the Obama administration, top military brass together with the CEOs of the weapons industry debated the deployment of nuclear weapons against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

The event was intended to sensitize senior decision makers. The focus was on building a consensus (within the Armed Forces, the science labs, the nuclear industry, etc) in favor of pre-emptive nuclear war 

It was a form of “internal propaganda” intended for senior decision makers (Top Officials) within the military as well as the weapons industry. The emphasis was on “building peace” and “global security” through the “pre-emptive” deployment of nukes (Air, Land and Sea) against four designated “rogue” countries, which allegedly are threatening the Western World. 

One of keynote speakers at the Doomsday Forum, USAF Chief of Staff for Nuclear Integration, Gen. Robin Rand, is presently involved under the helm of Secretary of Defense General Mattis in coordinating the deployment of strike capabilities to East Asia. Gen. Robin Rand heads the Air Force’s nuclear forces and bombers. His responsibility consists in “moving ahead with plans to deploy its most advanced weapons to the [East Asian] region…” Recent reports confirm an unfolding consensus within the military establishment:

“Military leaders regularly, and since the change of administration, have listed China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS as the major areas of concern for the future. From a security standpoint, tensions with North Korea continue to escalate, with reverberations throughout the region. In response to Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program, … the U.S. sped up the deployment of THAAD anti-missile interceptors to South Korea. This may reassure Seoul, and to a lesser extent Tokyo, but it has incensed Beijing.” Defense One, March 17, 2017

The unspoken truth is that the THAAD missiles to be stationed in South Korea are not intended for the DPRK, they are slated to be used against China and Russia.

Michel Chossudovsky, April 28, 2017

*     *     *

On June 21, 2017,  250 top military brass, military planners, corporate military-industrial  “defense” contractors, top officials and scientists from the nuclear weapons laboratories as well as prominent  academics gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico to discuss, debate and promote the Pentagon’s One Trillion Dollar Nuclear Weapons program.

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— Midnight approaching over Syria?

It is now two and a half minutes to midnight. The closest the world has ever been, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, to a probable “global catastrophe”.
Global Research, April 23, 2017

To the elation of the western corporate media, Neocons like John McCain and Democons like Hillary Clinton – who had only just called for Trump to attack Syria 24 hours before he obliged – the US President unilaterally ordered the US Army, on April 6, to launch 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat near Homs. And managed to appease the entire ‘establishment’ he promised to oppose during his presidential campaign — that so vehemently attacked him for everything he did during his short time in the White House, previous to the attack.

Just to put their ‘elation’ into perspective: Of the top 100 newspapers in the US, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a media watch group based in New York City, reports that 47 ran editorials on the attack; 39 clearly in favour of it, seven ambiguous (although some may argue that they too were in favour), and only one opposing it. Journalist Brian Williams, who was caught lying about going to Iraq with a Navy Seal team in a helicopter that was hit by a rocket propelled grenade, described the images of the cruise missile launch as “beautiful pictures” live on MSNBC. What he didn’t mention was that the missiles in those “beautiful pictures” killed seven Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers and 7 (or 9) civilians according to reports.

The attack was justified by the US saying (without conducting an investigation or presenting any evidence) that President Assad had used chemical weapons on Syrians in Idlib. This is precisely what the Russian government and others protested in the emergency UN Security Council meeting, called after the attack. Asking, why the US would not wait for the United Nations or other agencies to complete their investigations to find out what had really happened before acting?

Especially after the Russian Ministry of Defence released information about a Syrian army airstrike in Idlib on a rebel warehouse allegedly housing chemical weapons which, according to them, released the chemicals resulting in the deaths that were being used to vilify President Assad. And after what had happened in East Ghouta in 2013 when the US almost went to war with Syria, accusing President Assad of having used chemical weapons (similar to now), which was later proven to be false by many different agencies and individuals — including Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist Seymour Hersh, Former UN Weapons Inspector Richard Lloyd, the UN and its former Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte (which was blacked out of the mainstream media).

Ray McGovern, who was head of the Soviet Foreign Policy branch of the CIA, reminded everyone in an interview with journalist Lee Stranahan right after the recent alleged chemical attack, that back in 2014, the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had confirmed the destruction of all declared chemical weapons held by the Syrian government on board of a US maritime vessel, under UN supervision, following the East Ghouta incident. Moreover, in January 2016, the OPCW had again certified that the Syrian government was free of all chemical weapons.

Despite the mainstream media’s failure to report on all of these and more, what it most criminally failed to do is point out the illegality of the US strike on Syria, perhaps unsurprisingly, as has been the case starting with the (illegal under international law but ‘humanitarian’) NATO-US bombing of Yugoslavia in 1995.

Marjorie Cohn, Professor Emeritus at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, wrote in Consortium News,

“Regardless of who is responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun chemical deaths…Trump’s response violated both US and international law”.

This is because the US War Powers Resolution act only authorises the President to introduce US Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities in three situations, according to the professor:

First, after Congress has declared war, which has not happened in this case; second, in ‘a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces,’ which has not occurred; third, when there is ‘specific statutory authorisation,’ which there is not”. Making it illegal under US laws.

Meanwhile, the UN Charter prohibits the “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”, except for in two cases. One, when done in self-defence after an armed attack (the US was not attacked). Two, after getting approval of the UN Security Council (which was not even sought). Making it illegal under international law as well.

The US administration had to, of course, be fully aware of this. And of the fact that Russia already had some armaments and military personnel placed in Syria to fight ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and the 50 other shades of extremists running rampant in the country, alongside the SAA, which the US attacked — despite risks of sparking a greater conflagration — although, reportedly, only after informing the Russians about it.

And what was the Russian response? To immediately suspend its flight safety memorandum over Syria with the US. Which, according to veteran journalist and correspondent-at-large of Asia Times, Pepe Escobar, meant that Russia, “if it chooses”, could “intercept any Pentagon flying object” from then on. Additionally sending its frigate — Admiral Grigorovich — into the Eastern Mediterranean, towards the location of the US destroyer that launched the cruise missiles into Syria.

Its Prime Minister, clearly unhappy with where things were headed, said that the attack put the US “on the verge of a military clash” with Russia. Meaning that if nothing else, what the attack did manage to do was “push the doomsday clock closer to midnight”, shattering hopes of de-escalating tensions following Trump being voted into the White House (as his campaign rhetoric had indicated towards a possible reconciliation with the Russian and Syrian governments). 

The key point about the current situation, however, was stressed on by President Putin. That trust between the two nations, because of the attack, was at its lowest since the end of the Cold War. And what that does is increase chances of ‘accidental collisions/conflicts’ or worse, which can quickly get out of hand, unleashing a chain of events that both sides may not live to regret.

And that is why cooler heads need to prevail and fast. That dialogue between the two nuclear armed powers have resumed since the attack is a positive step towards the de-escalation of tensions. However, the international community must point out that the habit of unilateral aggression, illegal under international law, adopted by the US and its allies ever since the end of the Cold War, is both unacceptable and unhelpful when it comes to solving crises around the world.

And as the Russians have vehemently been saying for a while now, will only be tolerated by countries on the receiving end for so long, before they start to take things into their own hands. At which point, you will have nuclear armed powers pointing their nukes at each other with hands on triggers, wondering whether they will and when, be forced to do the unthinkable — start a nuclear war/Armageddon. [Israel also has nuclear weapons]

It is now two and a half minutes to midnight. The closest the world has ever been, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, to a probable “global catastrophe”.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a member of the Editorial team at The Daily Star.

Impending danger: today’s “super-fuzed”, super-powerful U.S. thermonuclear weapons directed against Russia. How is this going to end?

Global Research, March 16, 2017
Nuclear Mushroom

Today’s thermonuclear weapons are monstrously more powerful than the 15 kiloton Little Boy and 21 Kiloton Fat Man nukes used to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

An article by nuclear experts Hans Kristensen and Matthew McKinsie, together with ballistic missiles expert Theodore Postol explained the enhanced power of US submarine-launched ballistic missiles “with more than three times the number of warheads needed to destroy the entire fleet of Russian land-based missiles in their silos.”

Super-fuzing makes these weapons super-powerful, the authors saying “even the most accurate ballistic missile warheads might not detonate close enough to targets hardened against nuclear attack to destroy them.”

Super-fuzing lets them destroy them “by detonating above and around” them instead of too far away to be effective.

The technology lets nuclear armed US submarines be hugely more lethal than years earlier. They’re all equipped with super-fuzed warheads.

Increased US nuclear strike capability “has serious implications for strategic stability and perceptions of US nuclear strategy and intentions,” the authors explained.

Russia understands it gives Washington a more feasible first-strike capability, forcing it to take appropriate countermeasures.

Super-fuzing “kill capability” poses a greater risk that nuclear weapons by either country could be used in response to a feared attack, even when one hasn’t occurred, certainly not by Russia preemptively, in self-defense only.

America can monitor missile launches from space. Russia’s early warning radar is ground-based, giving it 15 minutes warning time compared to Washington’s 30 minutes – “creat(ing) a deeply destabilizing and dangerous strategic nuclear situation,” the authors stressed.

With US hostility toward Russia unchanged under Trump, the danger of nuclear war is as great as any time during the Cold War.

Super-fuzed warheads triple their lethality. It lets US submarines perform “a wider range of missions than was the case before” super-fuzing.

It’s officially called the arming, fuzing and firing (AF&F) system. It’s a potential doomsday weapon if enough of them are detonated.

America has enough of these weapons to destroy Russia’s silo-based ICBMs and have many remaining for other missions, including Russia’s non-hardened mobile nuclear capability – devastating, if launched, with potentially catastrophic consequences far beyond Russia.

America vastly enhanced the killing power of its nuclear arsenal, with greater first-strike capability than Russia, leaving it dangerously vulnerable.

“We cannot foresee a situation in which a competent and properly informed US president would order a surprise first strike against Russia or China,” the authors explained.

But our conclusion makes the increased sea-based offensive and defensive capabilities we have described seem all the more bizarre as a strategy for reducing the chances of nuclear war with either Russia or China.

Putin’s remarks to journalists last June at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum indicate how he weighs the danger of America’s threat to Russia, saying:

No matter what we said to our American partners (to curb the arms race), they refused to cooperate with us. They rejected our offers, and continue to do their own thing.

… They rejected everything we had to offer…The Iranian threat does not exist, but missile defense systems are continuing to be positioned…

That means we were right when we said that they are lying to us.

Their reasons were not genuine, in reference to the ‘Iranian nuclear threat.’

(People in Western nations) do not feel a sense of the impending danger. This is what worries me.

A missile defense system is one element of the whole system of offensive military potential.

It works as part of a whole that includes offensive missile launchers.

One complex blocks, the other launches high precision weapons. The third blocks a potential nuclear strike, and the fourth sends out its own nuclear weapon in response.

This is all designed to be part of one system. I don’t know how this is all going to end.

What I do know is that we will need to defend ourselves.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/impending-danger-todays-super-fuzed-super-powerful-thermonuclear-weapons/5580097

— America and its military-industrial complex is preventing global nuclear disarmament; Caldicott interview (video)

From Helen Caldicott

March 6, 2017

The White House announced its plans to increase the US defense budget by $54 billion dollars with part of it going to restoring the US’s nuclear capabilities. Nobel Peace Prize nominee and author of the book “Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation,” Dr. Helen Caldicott joins RT America’s Simone Del Rosario to discuss.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiENEkp_GYk

http://www.helencaldicott.com/us-military-industrial-complex-preventing-global-nuclear-disarmament/

— Another cover-up: new UK study finds 110 MoD nuke accidents — 4X higher than reported by govt.

From RT

February 23, 2017

Dozens of nuclear alerts underreported by British MoD, new study reveals
The UK Ministry of Defense has been accused of downplaying the real dangers stemming from the UK nuclear deterrent after the report by a safety watchdog put the number of accidents, involving British nukes, at 110, four times higher the official count.

Unveiled on Wednesday by the Nuclear Information Service (NIS), an independent nuclear watchdog, the report sheds light onto dozens of mishaps involving British nuclear weapons, featuring previously unreported accidents with potentially disastrous consequences. The in-depth study, which traces back all 65 years of the British nuclear program, arranges accidents into seven sections in accordance with their place of origin.

The report is based on the official findings, including  the report on nuclear weapons safety written by Professor Sir Ronald Oxburgh, information revealed during parliamentary questions, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as well as from whistleblowers, witnesses and other researchers.

The biggest group of all lists accidents that took place on nuclear-capable submarines, ships and aircraft. The causes for a total of 45 mishaps, including 24 that occurred with nuclear-armed submarines, range from collision and fires to the effects of lightning.

In one of the most notable accidents of that kind, Royal Navy submarine HMS Vanguard, which is capable of carrying up to 48 Trident nuclear warheads, collided with a French Le Triomphant submarine, which could be armed with about the same amount of TN75 nuclear warheads. The circumstances of the accident, which happened early February 2009 in the Atlantic Ocean, were hushed up at the time and still not known to the full.

Although the official investigation report into the collision came to the reassuring conclusion that “at no time was nuclear safety compromised and the Strategic Weapon System remained inside tolerable limits at all times”, whistleblowers’ accounts are far more daunting. An officer who was on board the UK submarine reportedly said “We thought, this it we’re all going to die,” while recalling the incident in the conversation with Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly.

Other case studies include a nuclear warhead carrier sliding off the rode into the ditch on January 10, 1987 in Wiltshire. The misfortune is described by the authors as “most visible” and “embarrassing” incident to date. Overall, 22 road transportation incidents, among them overturning of vehicles carrying nukes, have been cited in the report.

While only 14 accidents, linked to the faults in manufacturing and production process, are listed in the report, the most severe nuclear accident in UK history also falls into this category. The fire at the Windscale plant in 1957 led to massive release of radiation from graphite-moderated reactor that triggered “around 100 fatal cancers and around 90 non-fatal cancers.”

The report also lists 21 “security-related” incidents and eight incidents blamed onto the improper storage and handling of the nukes.

The comprehensive study, spanning over 100 pages under an awe-inspiring title “Playing with Fire,” blames the defense ministry for attempting to sweep the issue of nuclear safety under the carpet by concealing essential details of the incidents and downplaying their impact.

READ MORE: Trident whistleblower calls out MoD’s ‘lame attempt’ to excuse nuke malfunctions

The report argues that the official data released by the British Defense Ministry in 2003 which put the number of incidents at 27, is “far from a full list of all the accidents.”

It is not the first time the British military has been accused of covering up major issues with its nuclear deterrent. News on a failed Trident missile test, carried out off Florida coast in June 2016, sparked a new round of heated debates on the British nuclear program. The routine test performed by the HMS Vengeance in June 2016 from Port Canaveral went horribly wrong with the missile heading back to the US mainland. However, the UK authorities did not issue any statement on the failed test, reportedly, advised to refrain from sharing unfavorable data by US colleagues.

READ MORE: Trident nukes useless against today’s actual security problems – CND report

The Trident missile malfunction came just weeks before the UK parliament voted in favor of renewing controversial Britain’s Trident deterrent, estimated to cost some £40 billion.

In January, McNeilly, who was first to leak the details about the serious fire issues aboard Trident submarine, told RT that he has witnessed Trident “fail 3 out of 3 WP 186 Missile Compensating Tests.”

https://www.rt.com/uk/378340-nuclear-accidents-report-defense/

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— Pentagon panel urges Trump team to expand nuclear options; report suggests ‘tailored nuclear option for limited use’; Congress’ bills to give first strike authority also to itself

Dr. Helen Caldicott tweeted out this article with the comment: “These people are NUTS.”

President Obama already approved “modernizing” the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Hillary Clinton would have been fully on board with these recommendations, but would “liberals” have complained? Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a notorious hawk with flagrant conflicts of interest; her remarks in this article cannot be believed. 

From Roll Call

A blue-ribbon Pentagon panel has urged the Trump administration to make the U.S. arsenal more capable of “limited” atomic war.

The Defense Science Board, in an unpublished December report obtained by CQ Roll Call, urges the president to consider altering existing and planned U.S. armaments to achieve a greater number of lower-yield weapons that could provide a “tailored nuclear option for limited use.”

The recommendation is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but it foreshadows a raging debate just over the horizon.

Fully one-third of the nuclear arsenal is already considered low-yield, defense analysts say, and almost all the newest warheads are being built with less destructive options. But experts on the Pentagon panel and elsewhere say the board’s goal is to further increase the number of smaller-scale nuclear weapons — and the ways they can be delivered — in order to deter adversaries, primarily Russia, from using nuclear weapons first.

Critics of such an expansion say that even these less explosive nuclear weapons, which pack only a fraction of the punch of the bombs America dropped on Japan in 1945, can still kill scores of thousands of people and lead to lasting environmental damage. They worry that expanding the inventory of lower-yield warheads — and the means for delivering them — could make atomic war more thinkable and could trigger a cycle of response from adversaries, possibly making nuclear conflict more likely. And, they say, such an expansion would cost a lot of money without necessarily increasing security.

The issue will gain greater prominence in the next several years as an up-to-$1 trillion update of the U.S. nuclear arsenal becomes the biggest Pentagon budget issue. That update, as now planned, mostly involves building new versions of the same submarines, bombers, missiles, bombs and warheads. Support for the modernization effort is bipartisan.

But any effort to create new weapons, or even to modify existing ones, in order to expand the arsenal of potentially usable nuclear weapons is likely to trigger opposition.

There’s one role — and only one role — for nuclear weapons, and that’s deterrence. We cannot, must not, will not ever countenance their actual use,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. “There’s no such thing as limited nuclear war, and for the Pentagon’s advisory board to even suggest such a thing is deeply troubling.”

I have no doubt the proposal to research low-yield nuclear weapons is just the first step to actually building them,” she added. “I’ve fought against such reckless efforts in the past and will do so again, with every tool at my disposal.”

Conservatives on the congressional defense committees generally support exploring new nuclear options.

We know from testimony that Russia, among others, are fielding new nuclear weapons with new capabilities for new employment doctrines,” said Alabama Republican Rep. Mike D. Rogers, the chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee. “We would be irresponsible not to evaluate what these developments mean for the U.S. and our modernization programs.”

Dustin Walker, a spokesman for Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, chairman of Senate Armed Services, said, “It has been the policy of Republican and Democratic presidents since the end of the Cold War to retain a range of nuclear capabilities, both in terms of explosive yield and method of delivery. Such a range of capabilities strengthens deterrence by signaling to potential adversaries that we can respond to a wide range of scenarios.”

Worries about Trump

The Defense Science Board’s nuclear recommendation is buried inside a report titled “Seven Defense Priorities for the New Administration,” which also addresses homeland security, protecting information systems and more. The board has made similar nuclear recommendations before, but the new report adds volume to a growing chorus of hawkish experts calling for a nuclear arsenal they say is more “discriminate.”

The board’s latest statement comes at a pivotal time because Trump rattled many Americans with comments during the campaign about nuclear weapons. He suggested that atomic arms might be an appropriate response to an Islamic State attack and that it’s good for a president to be “unpredictable” about nuclear weapons. He also said, referring to nuclear weapons in general, that “the power, the destruction is very important to me.”

Thirty-four former nuclear launch control officers wrote an open letter during the campaign arguing that Trump “should not have his finger on the button.” And lawmakers are weighing legislation this year that, for the first time, would give Congress, not just the president, authority to launch a nuclear first strike, though those bills’ chances of passing either chamber are scant.

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