THE BLOG
12/20/2010 03:09 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Questions About Questions About New START

Listening to GOP Senators raise questions about the New START agreement raises some questions for the Republican party:

· Why does Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) complain that the treaty is being rushed when it will have spent more time on the Senate floor than spent in total on START I, START II and the Moscow treaty (SORT)?

· Why did Sen. John Kyl (R-Az) say New START was acceptable if modernization was agreed, and then reverse course?

· Is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) simply implementing his top priority to make President Obama a one-term president in his opposition to the treaty?

· Why are Sen. Kyl and some of his colleagues now questioning the verification provisions of the treaty when they voted for and praised the 2002 Moscow Treaty (SORT) that has no verification provisions whatsoever?

· Why have dozens of retired senior military officers come out in favor of New START, and none have come out against?

· Why has the current U.S. Air Force commander of strategic nuclear forces and a former attaché in Moscow joined six of his predecessors in supporting New START?

· Why is Sen. DeMint (R-SC) alleging that U.S. missile defense programs will be constrained by the treaty when the non-binding preamble only states the obvious fact that there is an interrelation between offensive and defensive forces and the head of the Missile Defense Agency contends that the treaty does no such thing?

· Why have all recent Secretaries of State and Defense, save Donald Rumsfeld, come out in support of New START, while only some mid-level civilian officials from the Reagan and Bush administrations come out against it?

· Why has former president George H.W. Bush come out in favor of the treaty and his son, former president George W. Bush, has refused to oppose it?

The debate seems to be on two levels. Thos who are knowledgeable about the strategic situation and are trying to enhance U.S. national security and those currently in office and responsible for protecting U.S. national security are in favor of treaty approval.

And those who are playing a tactical political game aimed at the 2012 presidential contest are opposing the treaty in the hopes of handing President Obama a "defeat" to weaken him.

I am sure that there are those who honestly think this modest treaty is harmful to U.S. security. But I question whether most of those who keep shifting ground to find a new excuse for delaying or opposing the treaty are in that group.