Peace Signs at the Pentagon

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Who needs nukes? They're such a drain on U.S. resources that the Pentagon wants to cut its nuclear arsenal without waiting for the Russian parliament to ratify the START II treaty, according to the New York Times. The treaty, which would halve each country's missile force, was signed in 1993, but communists and nationalists have delayed parliamentary endorsement as a partisan bargaining chip.

"Russia is no longer a strategic threat," says TIME Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson. "The nuclear threat to the U.S. is more likely to come from rogue elements or terrorists bringing in a device on a cabin cruiser or a Piper Cub than from another country firing intercontinental ballistic missiles. And maintaining a nuclear deterrent doesn't protect us from that scenario." Besides, waiting for the Russians would force the Pentagon to spend hundreds of millions of dollars maintaining weapons systems that will be scrapped as soon as the agreement is endorsed.