Senator Inhofe Takes
Clinton's Test Ban Speech
Apart...Line By Line
Senator James M. Inhofe
October 16, 1999
******Reality Check******
WRONG!!!! 36 Times in a Row!
President Clinton's October14 Press Conference Statement Laced with Misrepresentations, Half-Truths, Distortions and Falsehoods
[NOTE: Following is a line-by-line analysis of President Clinton,s opening statement at his Oct. 14 White House news conference regarding the Senate,s rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).]
1. CLINTON: Members of the congressional majority have displayed a reckless partisanship...
REALITY CHECK: One hundred percent of the Democrats voted to back Clinton,s position. Republican votes were split on both sides, with the prevailing view reflecting the concerns of numerous eminent non-partisan experts.
2. CLINTON: threatens America's economic well-being and, now, our national security.
REALITY CHECK: The CTBT threatened our national security by undermining the long-term safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
3. CLINTON: ...hard line Republicans irresponsibly forced a vote against the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
REALITY CHECK: Hard line Democrats, including the President, demanded Senate action on the CTBTclaiming it had to be voted on before the convening of an already scheduled international CTBT conference in early October. They irresponsibly threatened to tie the Senate into procedural knots if they didn,t get their way. When the procedures for conducting the debate and the vote were set, every Democrat agreed, with the approval of the President. A single objection from any one senator could have prevented the vote.
4. CLINTON: This was partisan politics of the worst kind, because it was so blatant and because of the risks it poses to the safety of the American people and the world.
REALITY CHECK: This was not partisan politics. The treaty was addressed on the merits or lack thereof. The real risks were embodied in a fatally flawed treaty that would have undermined the U.S. nuclear deterrent upon which the safety of the American people and so much of the world depend.
5. CLINTON: What the Senate seeks is to abandon an agreement that requires other countries to do what we have already done...
REALITY CHECK: What does he mean, "we? The Senate was never a party to a permanent, zero-yield test ban. What does he mean "requires? The treaty is not verifiable, nor is it enforceable. Russia and China will not accept appropriately located monitoring devices. The on-site inspection provisions include 50-square-mile-large loopholes. We would scrupulously abide by a zero-yield test ban. Others already dispute the definition of zero-yield and can--and will--exploit ways to hide low-level nuclear tests. This puts us at an intolerable disadvantage.
6. CLINTON: agreement that constrains Russia and China, India and Pakistan from developing more dangerous nuclear weapons;
REALITY CHECK: An unverifiable, unenforceable treaty constrains no one but those who choose to abide by its terms. Russia and China have already indicated they will not permit monitoring devices near their major test facilities. India and Pakistan, in conducting sudden nuclear tests last year, proved they will defy the international community if they conclude it is in their interest.
7. CLINTON: ...that helps to keep other countries out of the nuclear weapons business altogether;
REALITY CHECK: Countries will make such decisions based on their supreme national interests, not on the CTBT. If there are doubts about the U.S. nuclear deterrent, if the U.S. does not deploy missile defenses, if countries like North Korea are perceived to have reaped concessions by making nuclear and missile threats, other countries may act accordingly. The CTBT may constrain Costa Rica and Luxembourg, but what about Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq?
8. CLINTON: ...that improves our ability to monitor dangerous weapons activities in other countries.
REALITY CHECK: But not necessarily the countries we really care about. The Washington Times reported last week how Russia and China both have pointedly rejected allowing appropriate monitors in the most strategic locations near their major test facilities. In addition, the on-site inspection procedures give inspected countries rights to refuse specific inspectors (remember Scott Ritter in Iraq), to declare certain sites off-limits (like the Iraqi presidential palaces), and to restrict intelligence overflights.
9. CLINTON: Even worse, they have offered no alternative, no other means of keeping countries around the world from developing nuclear arsenals and threatening our security.
REALITY CHECK: On the contrary, the alternative is called "peace through strength, the policy that won the cold war--a policy that includes responsible diplomacy, negotiations, verifiable arms control, renewed security export controls and counterintelligence, an aggressive defense of U.S. vital national interests and values, the promotion of democracy, the deployment of missile defense and a long-overdue rebuilding of U.S. military strength.
10. CLINTON: In so doing, they ignored the advice of our top military leaders...
REALITY CHECK: No, they weighed it carefully against the contrary advice of 13 top former commanding generals, six former secretaries of defense, at least four former national security advisors, among many others--whose jobs are not beholden to the political fortunes of the incumbent Administration.
11. CLINTON: ...our most distinguished scientists...
REALITY CHECK: Our weapons lab directors shared a different view in testimony before the Senate. For example, Dr. Paul Robinson, testified that:
"I and others who are or have been responsible for the safety and reliability of the United States stockpile for nuclear weapons have testified to this obvious conclusion many times in the past. To forgo that validation through testing is, in short, to live with uncertainty... He went on to say:
"If the United States scrupulously restricts itself to zero yield while other nations may conduct experiments up to the threshold of international detectability-- we will be at an intolerable disadvantage.
12. CLINTON: ...our closest allies.
REALITY CHECK: Whose "advice is based on, and almost certainly orchestrated by, the Clinton Administration and its three year campaign to persuade them to sign and ratify this treaty, without the advise and consent of the Senate. In any case, our allies should not dictate U.S. security policies.
13. CLINTON: They brushed aside the views of the American people...
REALITY CHECK: The American people have never been fully informed on the details and ramifications of the CTBT. Generalized support, reflected in polls, for the abstract goal of ending nuclear testing is not equal to support for an unverifiable, unenforceable treaty which will harm national security.
14. CLINTON: ...and betrayed the vision of Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, who set us on the road to this treaty so many years ago.
REALITY CHECK: No previous president, including especially Eisenhower and Kennedy, supported anything close to a zero-yield, permanent, and unverifiable ban on nuclear testing.
15. CLINTON: Even more troubling are the signs of a new isolationism among some of the opponents of the treaty.
REALITY CHECK: Like Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Sen. Richard Lugar, we presume? Give us a break.
16. CLINTON: You see it in the refusal to pay our U.N. dues.
REALITY CHECK: On the contrary, the Congress is prepared to pay the so-called U.N. "dues if only the Clinton Administration will drop its extremist fixation on simultaneously exporting its radicalized pro-abortion agenda. Nevertheless, the so-called "dues do not reflect vast unrepaid billions which the U.S. has contributed to U.N. peacekeeping over the years.
17. CLINTON: You see it in the woefully inadequate budget for foreign affairs...
REALITY CHECK: This year,s proposed foreign aid budget ($12.6 billion) is the same as last year,s level, which Clinton approved. This level is appropriate at a time when the priority is to hold the line on overall spending and protect the Social Security trust fund. The proposed spending is $2 billion below the Clinton request, reflecting legitimate concerns about lack of reforms at multilateral banks and international organizations and the failure of certain governments to meet minimal debt relief benchmarks.
18. CLINTON: ...and includes meeting our obligations to the Middle East peace process
REALITY CHECK: The amounts allocated to Middle East countries were made with the understanding that additional funds would be made available as warranted by progress on the Wye River peace process. Notably, AIPAC (the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee) expressed its support for the bill in writing.
19. CLINTON: ...and to the continuing efforts to destroy and safeguard Russian nuclear materials.
REALITY CHECK: The bill allocates $735 million (compared to the $1 billion request) for the post-Soviet states. Clinton claims this shortchanges the $250 million Enhanced Threat Reduction Inititative (ETRI), but this is not true. Nothing prevents spending part of the allocated amount on the ETRI. Besides, almost $6 billion has already been spent on such programs, for which there are increasing concerns about corruption and money-laundering. A thorough reexamination is in order.
20. CLINTON: You see it in the refusal to adopt our proposals to do our part to stem the tide of global warming...
REALITY CHECK: The Kyoto Global Warming Treaty, negotiated and signed by the Clinton Administration in defiance of the express wishes of the Senate, cannot, should not, and will not be ratified, and the President knows it will not be ratified. Scientists are not even sure if there is a "tide of global warming, much less what might work to do anything about it. In light of this, the Administration,s efforts to seek backdoor implementation of the Kyoto Treaty,s provisions through executive orders and budget provisions is an egregious affront to sound science, to the Senate and to the Constitutional process.
21. CLINTON: even though these proposals plainly would create American jobs.
REALITY CHECK: Perhaps some, mostly among regulators, bureaucrats and select government-favored industries which will pass along unnecessary higher costs to consumers. But these jobs will be more than offset by the many more lost jobs which will result if the radical Clinton-Gore extremist environmental agenda is fully implemented.
22. CLINTON: But by this vote, the Senate majority has turned its back on 50 years of American leadership against the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
REALITY CHECK: Preposterous. No previous administration supported a zero-yield, permanent, unverifiable nuclear test ban. No previous administration has witnessed, covered up, or refused to punish--on its watch--as much proliferation of such weapons and related technology as this one.
23. CLINTON: They are saying America does not need to lead, either by effort or by example.
REALITY CHECK: On the contrary, leadership requires sound national security policies to which the flawed CTBT will not contribute.
24. CLINTON: They are saying we don't need our friends or allies.
REALITY CHECK: America must do what is in its own vital national security interest, fully recognizing that our nuclear umbrella protects our allies as well as us. Our allies cannot and should not dictate our vital national security policies.
25. CLINTON: They are betting our children's future on the reckless proposition that we can go it alone; that at the height of our power and prosperity, we should bury our heads in the sand, behind a wall.
REALITY CHECK: Clinton wants to bet our children,s future on a piece of paper and an unproven "stockpile stewardship program which its own experts say won,t be fully ready for another ten years at best. He suggests that at the height of our prosperity and power, we should unilaterally disarm, hold hands, and hope for the best on a policy of "trust, but don,t verify. Knowing that we will scrupulously abide by a treaty when others will not, the heads in the sand belong to those whose faith in arms control overwhelms their knowledge of history.
26. CLINTON: That is not where I stand. And that is not where the American people stand.
REALITY CHECK: It is not where the Congress stands either. The "withdrawing behind a wall analogy is a fanciful straw man.
27. CLINTON: They understand that, to be strong, we must not only have a powerful military...
REALITY CHECK: Clinton has devastated the military, which has shrunk 40 percent since the Gulf War. Army divisions have dropped from 18 to 10. Since 1990, Air Force fighter wings have shrunk from 36 to 20. Navy ships have dropped from almost 600 at the height of the Reagan buildup to close to 300 now. Spare part, equipment and readiness problems abound. Clinton killed the Strategic Defense Initiative program, vetoed missile defenses, and clings feverishly to the outdated Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which is keeping America undefended against growing missile threats.
28. CLINTON: ...we must also lead, as we have done time and again, and as the whole world expects us to do, to build a more responsible, interdependent world.
REALITY CHECK: But not at the expense of U.S. national security as would be the case with the CTBT.
29. CLINTON: So we will continue to protect our interests around the world. We will continue to seek from Congress the financial resources to make that possible.
REALITY CHECK: Under the Clinton Administration, the U.S. military has been underfunded and overstretched to the point that we have close to half the strength in many conventional weapons categories than we had in 1991. He has presided over inadequate defense budgets coupled with increasing deployments, causing decreasing morale and growing problems with retention, recruitment, and readiness. Today, we are spending just 3 percent of GDP on defense, the lowest since Pearl Harbor. We are literally not prepared today protectwithout intolerably high risk to the lives of our men and women in uniform--all our vital security interests in two major theater wars as is our stated objective.
30. CLINTON: We will continue to pursue the fight against the spread of nuclear weapons.
REALITY CHECK: Proliferation has never been greater than during the Clinton Administration, which has presided over growing threats in North Korea, Iraq, Iran and elsewhere. Our nuclear secrets have been stolen, many on Clinton,s watch, while security-related export controls have been consistently relaxed with clearly damaging consequences.
31. CLINTON:And we will not -- we will not -- abandon the commitments inherent in the treaty, and resume testing ourselves.
REALITY CHECK: In other words, the Senate will have no say in treaty making, treaty implementing, treaty advising or treaty consentingso long as Clinton is president. So what was the point of the ratification debate in the first place? By rejecting the treaty, the Senate wisely protected the options of future presidents to deal with critical nuclear security matters without being bound by the Clinton administration,s wrongheaded policies.
32. CLINTON: I will not let yesterday's partisanship stand as our final word on the test ban treaty.
REALITY CHECK: If the President truly believes that partisanship is what killed his treaty or that this Senate is going to ever pass this treaty, then he is dangerously out of touch with reality. His comment betrays astounding arrogance and contempt for the very Constitution he was sworn to uphold.
33. CLINTON: Today I say again, on behalf of the United States, we will continue the policy we have maintained since 1992 of not conducting nuclear tests.
REALITY CHECK: During the debate, the President sought support by emphasizing that he would resume testing if the national security interest required it. Does anyone believe he is sincere in this?
34. CLINTON: I call on Russia, China, Britain, France and all other countries to continue to refrain from testing.
REALITY CHECK: Continue to refrain? The CIA just recently reported that it could not determine with certainty whether Russia recently conducted a small nuclear test.
35. CLINTON: I call on nations that have not done so to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
REALITY CHECK: The treaty cannot go into effect unless the United States ratifies. The United States has rejected ratification. The treaty needs to be dropped or renegotiated to fix its obvious flaws.
36. CLINTON: And I will continue to do all I can to make that case to the Senate. When all is said and done I have no doubt that the United States will ratify this treaty.
REALITY CHECK: The treaty was 19 votes short of that needed for approval. Ratification will never happen on his watch. The President should face up to this reality.