Why the super committee did not work

Published 10:41 am Saturday, December 17, 2011

To the Editor:

Immediately following World War II, the United States and the USSR, which dissolved about 20 years ago, embarked on an arms build-up unlike anything seen in this country during peacetime.

The outgrowth quickly became nuclear-tipped missiles fired from nuclear-powered submarines, or dropped from eight-engined jets, or delivered from missiles in silos that held one of the largest bomb-delivery vehicles ever built. America had embarked on the hottest Cold War ever fought without firing a shot.

The U.S. government spent millions, perhaps billions, on contractors whose task was to develop a strategic framework from within to fund, develop and employ weapons in support of national security. The contractors came up with several plans.

One bulwark of the strategy was “first strike capability.” It sounded like a great idea, but that strategy didn’t give sufficient parameters to determine the quantity of weapons needed, what size would they be, and how and where they were to be employed.

We liked this pillar, but the concept did not provide enough guidance to fight the Cold War.

The smartest brains in the military, the Nuclear Arms Commission and others in Washington, D.C., started debating on the framework of our strategy, which was based on making sure that if any country in the world got into a nuclear exchange with us, we would build a nuclear deterrence force to ensure that nothing would be left on the face of the earth. We did not discuss our stance on a pre-emptive strike, but that capability has always been reserved by the president.

The United States decided that we should be able to fight any nuclear war anywhere at any time and at any level; we did not consider the impact the war had on the United States.

The backbone of our strategy was simple — mutually assured destruction. It seems that the super committee has perfected this strategy, and unless a miracle happens, economic harm may inure unlike anything seen in modern days.

If the Republicans don’t ease up on the issue of raising taxes, they may get what they want — the unintended consequence of nothing left of the Republican or Democratic parties.

Isn’t it funny that Solomon wrote “there is nothing new under the sun?”

America has become pretty adept at “throwing the bums out,” and we may be witnessing the mutually assured destruction of both parties.

D. B. Gray