The U.S. has destroyed almost 90 percent of the chemical weapons stockpile it amassed by the end of the Cold War, and it won't stop until every last pint is gone, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed on Monday.
For all the many problems and challenges America faces today, Clinton's statement was a reminder that the threats of the bad old days were far worse: Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons attacks that could have meant death and destruction on a strategic scale. Her announcement also was telling in other ways: For all the uniformed and congressional advocates of the standard nuclear triad, where are the voices supporting (for lack of a better term) the weapons-of-mass-destruction triad?
Although everyone with a piece of the nuclear pie wants to keep or expand it, you don't hear people standing up and saying, "We need a new generation of weaponized super-germs in case we have to launch a bio-war against China;" or "When is this administration going to get serious about new chemicals we can use to poison Moscow's water supply?" Submarines, missiles or bombers that deliver world-ending weapons are terrific if they're in your district, but bio and chemical weapons don't have that same constituency, for whatever reason.
Anyway, here was Clinton's statement. She did not commit to a date by which the U.S. chemical stockpiles would be gone, other than to say she wants it done yesterday:
At the end of the Cold War, the United States joined together with other nations in the Chemical Weapons Convention to state in unequivocal terms that we will end our chemical weapons programs and destroy existing stockpiles, precursor chemicals, production facilities and weapons delivery systems. The United States is committed to the complete elimination of chemical weapons stockpiles in the United States and around the world. To date, we have already destroyed 89 percent of our original chemical weapons stockpile. We reaffirm our commitment to finish the job as quickly as possible in accordance with national and treaty requirements that ensure the safety of people and the protection of the environment.H/t: AFMag.
As of today, 188 countries have joined the international community and renounced chemical weapons. Under international verification, stockpiles and production facilities are steadily being eliminated. The United States will continue to cooperate closely with the other member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and work toward complete elimination in the United States and around the world. The international community must continue to speak with one voice and remain vigilant, so these weapons pose no threat to people here or anywhere.