Frank Gaffney
A few weeks ago, two Republican Congressmen ? Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin ? were widely denounced for defying the will of the majority. These respected legislators, who chair respectively the House Armed Services and Judiciary Committees, had the temerity to insist that several recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that had been adopted by the full House of Representatives be included in the final version of controversial ?intelligence reform? legislation. The Washington elite insisted it would be a test of President Bush?s manhood to overcome, or simply override, Messrs. Hunter and Sensenbrenner?s concerns.

How peculiar, then, that a single Republican Congressman ? Rep. David Hobson of Ohio, the chairman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee ? has gotten no comparable notoriety for a far more consequential act of obstructionism this Fall. All by himself, Mr. Hobson managed to scuttle three critical aspects of the Bush plan to preserve the Nation?s nuclear deterrent. In so doing, he defied not only the will of the majority of the House but the Senate as well, as expressed in a number of hotly contested votes.

In fact, far from being denounced for singlehandedly blocking the centerpieces of President Bush?s Nuclear Program Review (NPR) in the course of behind-the-scenes action on the 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Congressman Hobson has been praised to the heavens by arms control activists and like-minded politicians and journalists.

For example, the Washington Post reported: ?Rep. Ellen Tauscher (Democrat of California), whose attempt to cut the new nuclear weapons program authorization in past years had failed, described what had occurred as a reversal of ?the Bush administration's dangerous disregard for nuclear nonproliferation.??

Where, it must be asked, are the critics who took such exception to individual members of Congress asserting their will over that of the majority? Where is the press pack demanding redress?

Where, not least, is the leadership of Congress, whose commitment to party discipline caused them, in the end, to compel Messrs. Hunter and Sensenbrenner?s acquiescence to legislation understood to be defective? Where, for that matter, is President Bush ? whose appreciation of the need to preserve the credibility, safety and effectiveness of America?s nuclear arsenal surely is no less than his attachment to intelligence reforms of dubious (if any) value?

No one should be under any illusion: Unless corrective action is promptly taken, the combined effect of Mr. Hobson?s choices will be to condemn the United States to a stockpile of terminally obsolescent nuclear forces and unilateral disarmament. Specifically:

Frank Gaffney

Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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