October 13, 2005
Council for a Livable World
Questionnaire for Candidates for U.S. Senate
The following questions focus on important national security and peace issues facing Congress. Please respond by marking one of the answers provided for each question. Comments or explanations are optional and can be added to the last page or additional pages.
All questionnaire responses are confidential and will be viewed only by the Council staff and Board of Directors for determining endorsements and for preparing fundraising letters for candidates. Responses are not made public without permission.
Council for a Livable World is the electoral arm of the arms control movement. The Council's Candidate Fund supports Senate candidates; the Council's PeacePAC supports House candidates. Our thousands of supporters in 50 states have helped elect 37 sitting U.S. Senators. Founded in 1962, the Council concentrates on reducing and eventually eliminating weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, and supports international arms control agreements such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Council is non partisan and supports Democrats and Republicans.
Candidate Name: Jean Hay Bright
Campaign address: 4262 Kennebec Rd, Dixmont ME 04932
1. BUILDING NEW GENERATIONS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: The Bush Administration is taking the first steps toward the eventual testing and production of a new generation of nuclear weapons. It is proposing a nuclear weapon designed to destroy deeply buried targets (sometimes called a nuclear bunker buster). Opponents argue that research into new nuclear weapons could create a justification for the resumption of nuclear testing, risk blurring the distinct line that has existed since 1945 between the use of conventional and nuclear weapons, encourage other nations to seek nuclear weapons, and lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. The U.S. already has large numbers of nuclear weapons, including 6,000 deployed strategic nuclear weapons and more than 10,000 deployed or nuclear weapons in reserve, more than enough for any eventuality. Proponents of the Administration position respond that the work thus far is for research only, that existing weapons cannot destroy bunkers and supply depots buried deeply underground and that current law impedes U.S. research into more effective nuclear weapons to attack deeply buried bunkers. Please check one of the following:
I support building a new generation of nuclear weapons.
I oppose building a new generation of nuclear weapons.
2. NUCLEAR WEAPONS USE: At the end of 2001, the Administration completed a Nuclear Posture Review including possible first use of nuclear weapons against countries without nuclear weapons such as Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq. The Review also outlined scenarios in which nuclear weapons might be used in a confrontation between China and Taiwan or in a conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The Review's authors argue that the U.S. must be more flexible with its use of military force including nuclear weapons. Opponents argue that the Administration risks blurring the line that has existed for more than 55 years between nuclear and conventional weapons and that the only conceivable use for nuclear weapons is to deter their use by another country. Please check one of the following:
I support the Nuclear Posture Review's suggestion of possible first use of nuclear weapons.
I oppose looking for new ways to use nuclear weapons.
3. NEGOTIATED REDUCTIONS IN NUCLEAR WEAPONS: The START II treaty, which never was ratified, would have resulted in the United States and Russia reducing their deployed strategic nuclear force levels from about 7,000 to fewer than 3,500 long-range warheads each. The Treaty of Moscow would bring those reductions down to 1,700-2,200, but many retired weapons may be placed in storage and could be returned to service in a short period of time. Both countries also maintain substantial stockpiles of shorter-range nuclear weapons. The Chinese, French and British have fewer than 500 warheads each. Some people are pressing for further reductions in each country's nuclear arsenals, arguing that, given U.S. conventional superiority, it is in our national security interest to reduce the role that nuclear weapons play in world affairs and to decrease the likelihood that they will be used. Moreover, they argue that a small number of highly destructive nuclear weapons is sufficient to deter any nuclear attack. Others argue that it is important for the U.S. to maintain a substantial nuclear deterrent force of many thousands of nuclear weapons to deter any potential nuclear threat, particularly in the uncertain world in which we live. Please check one of the following:
I oppose any reductions in our nuclear arsenal below current levels.
I support reducing strategic nuclear weapons down to the Treaty of Moscow level of between 1,700 to 2,200 warheads.
I support reducing strategic nuclear weapons to no more than 1,000 for each side, with a longer term goal of further reductions.
5. PLACING WEAPONS IN SPACE: The Bush Administration is considering building and deploying weapons in space, including defenses against enemy missile attacks. On January 11, 2001, a commission formerly headed by current Defense Secretary Rumsfeld issued a report that urged the U.S. to acquire and exercise space power. On May 8, 2001, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld gave the Air Force the responsibility to prepare for sustained offensive and defensive space operations. Proponents of this approach argue that our many assets in space, such as communications satellites and satellites for verification, are becoming increasing vulnerable to attack. Opponents note that no other nation has, nor will have in the forseeable future, the capacity to conduct military attacks in space and that placing weapons in space will launch an arms race in one of the last weapons free arenas. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans weapons of mass destruction -- but not other weapons -- in space. Please check one of the following:
I believe the U.S. should take the steps needed to put weapons in space.
I believe the U.S. should refrain from placing weapons in space and seek an international ban on space weapons.
6. COOPERATIVE THREAT REDUCTION PROGRAM (NUNN-LUGAR): In the chaotic conditions in the former Soviet Union, there are huge stockpiles of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and/or materials that need to be consolidated, secured and accounted for, and destroyed. There is a real danger that these weapons or materials will fall into the hands of terrorist or be sold to other countries, groups or individuals. A number of non-proliferation programs, including the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, frequently called Nunn-Lugar after the two Senators who initiated the program, have helped the former Soviet states to dismantle weapons, disband programs and safeguard remaining weapons and material, and prevent Russian weapons experts from working in other nations. Although the situation is critical, Russia cannot afford to undertake the necessary steps. A commission headed by former Senator Howard Baker (R-TN) and Lloyd Cutler proposed spending $3 billion annually for the next 10 years to guard against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology as a cost-effective investment in American security. Others have proposed increased funding to dismantle former Soviet chemical and biological capabilities. Critics balked at the cost arguing that as long as Russia continues to take actions of which we disapprove such as providing assistance to Iran and opposing the war in Iraq, the U.S. should not pay for the Nunn-Lugar program. The Bush Administration froze funding for non-proliferation and cooperative threat reduction programs at $1 billion a year. Please check one of the following:
I support a major increase in the program consistent with the Baker-Cutler report and other proposals.
I favor funding the non-proliferation programs at about existing levels of funding of $1 billion.
I support cutting the funding for non-proliferation programs.
7. NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON HAIR-TRIGGER ALERT: Although the Cold War is long over, Russian and U.S. nuclear missiles remain on hair-trigger alert aimed at each other for launching within a few minutes. This hair-trigger alert heightens the risk of an accidental or unauthorized launch of thousands of nuclear weapons if a false alarm or order error is received at a missile command center. There have been many false alarms and close calls. The deteriorating command and control systems in Russia have increased the risk of accidental nuclear war. Some experts advocate parallel, reciprocal commitments by the U.S. and Russia to eliminate the launch-on-warning option from nuclear war plans because of the possibility of error. This step would permit more time for national leaders to determine if an attack were truly underway before taking the fateful step to launch retaliatory missiles. A further option is to separate warheads from missiles to slow the launch process. The U.S. already has an invulnerable deterrent on its nuclear submarines. Others argue that we need to remain ready on a moment's notice to respond to any potential nuclear attack and that de-alerting weapons could decrease their combat readiness and deterrent value. They also argue that taking nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert cannot be verified. Please check one of the following:
I support parallel, reciprocal commitments to remove nuclear weapons from hair-trigger alert.
I oppose removing weapons from hair-trigger alert.
10. PREEMPTIVE ATTACK: In a West Point address in 2002, President Bush articulated a policy of preemption -- what others call prevention. The United States reserves the right to use military force against another country that might potentially threaten the U.S., even if that other country has not attacked us. For example, the U.S. could consider using military force against Iran if the Administration believes that Iran's nuclear work threatened the U.S. and its allies in the future. Proponents of this concept argue that the September 11 terrorist attacks showed that threats against the U.S. can emerge at any time and cause substantial loss of life and property, that there may be instances when the U.S. could forestall a future attack by taking preemptive military action. Opponents of this concept argue that it is a violation of international law and could be used by other countries to attack regional rivals, or even the U.S. Moreover, they argue that U.S. intelligence is often incorrect as it was in Iraq. Please check one of the following:
I support aggressive preemptive or preventive action against other countries as a principal policy choice of the United States.
I oppose the policy of preemption except when we are absolutely sure that an attack is coming.
11. COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY: In October 1999, the Senate defeated ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that is designed to end nuclear testing worldwide. However, the Treaty could be reconsidered. Sixty-seven countries, including nuclear powers Russia, France and Great Britain, have ratified the treaty. The U.S. has not tested a nuclear explosive device since 1992. Treaty supporters stress that a test ban will be a significant impediment to non-nuclear countries developing even simple nuclear weapons and probably an insurmountable one to developing highly sophisticated weapons. Supporters also state that nuclear tests are not necessary to maintain safety for existing nuclear stockpiles. Opponents of the treaty argue that nuclear testing is necessary for maintaining weapons safety and reliability. They also argue that the U.S. should conduct nuclear test explosions as long as we maintain a nuclear force. Please check one of the following:
I support ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
I oppose ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
12. BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, negotiated by President Richard Nixon, bans the possession, production or use of biological weapons. However, it includes no provision for verification of its requirements. For many years, the countries that are parties to the Convention negotiated a protocol on verification to make the treaty stronger. The Bush Administration rejected the protocol, arguing that it creates a false sense of security, would not catch all cheaters, and allows intrusive inspection of U.S. biodefense programs and pharmaceutical companies. Supporters of the protocol believe that it is important to improve verification of the treaty, and urge the Administration to propose changes to strengthen the protocol rather than withdrawing from the negotiations.
I support negotiating a strong verification protocol.
I agree with the Bush Administration that the protocol does not serve our interests.
13. LANDMINES: Landmines kill or maim an estimated 20,000 civilians each year -- mostly farmers and children -- often many years after hostilities have ended. An international campaign to ban landmines has produced a treaty signed by more than 120 countries. However, the Clinton and Bush Administrations declined to sign, arguing that landmines are necessary to protect U.S. forces in South Korea. Opponents of landmines argue that these immoral and indiscriminate weapons cause death and injuries to civilians and that protection of U.S. forces can be assured by other means. Please check one of the following:
I support signing the worldwide agreement to ban the production, stockpile, transfer and use of all anti-personnel landmines.
I oppose a ban on anti-personnel landmines.
14. MILITARY BUDGET: President Bush has proposed a fiscal 2006 military budget of $439 billion that does not include the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The fiscal 2006 military budget comes on top of the additional $75 billion requested by the Department of Defense in a supplemental budget request for fiscal year 2005. The Administration argues that the war on terrorism, the transformation of the military, and the humanitarian work performed by the U.S. military justify dramatic increases. They point to critical shortages of weapons, inadequate military family housing, and insufficient troop readiness. Opponents of this spending level argue that the huge increases in military spending in recent years are excessive and dominated by political factors rather than changes in international security. We already spend almost as much on our military than the rest of the world combined. Besides, they argue, much of the money is wasted on duplication of forces, unnecessary Cold War weapons and pork. Unnecessary military spending diverts funds from important domestic programs (prescription drug benefits, education, homeland security, etc.). Please check one of the following:
I oppose a $439 billion military budget and favor cutting Cold War era weapons to pay for improving troop readiness, quality of life programs and homeland defense.
I support the Bush Administration's $439 billion military budget.
15. UNITED NATIONS FUNDING: While Congress and the Clinton Administration reached a compromise on paying the U.S. debt to the United Nations, many Americans are still reluctant to to help support the United Nations budget. The U.S. has largely paid its past-due bills for dues and assessments, but the U.S. is now forcing the U.N. to maintain to a zero-growth budget restricting the U.N.'s ability to play a major role in world affairs. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.N. has assumed a greater role in settling conflicts and preventing war in Indonesia, Cambodia, Angola, Namibia and other countries. Supporters of the U.N. argue that the money is a modest investment compared to the cost of maintaining large U.S. military forces for possible unilateral intervention in overseas conflicts. They also argue that not paying dues and assessments makes us international deadbeats, alienating U.S. allies who would pay our bills. Those who wish to cut U.S. payments to the U.N. point out that the U.N. refused to support the U.S. war in Iraq. In addition, they argue, the U.N. is an inefficient bureaucracy and involves itself in problems which do not concern the U.S. Please check one of the following:
I support substantial U.S. financial support for the United Nations to make it more capable of helping to prevent wars and settling conflict.
I oppose a major contribution to the United Nations.
16. UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING FORCES: Proponents of U.N. peacekeeping argue that nations acting together can prevent or contain war. They advocate multilateral approaches, including U.S. participation in U.N. peacekeeping, to prevent and resolve conflict. Others argue that the U.S. should usually act alone, intervening in conflicts unilaterally. They also fear that cooperation with the U.N. would give that body a degree of control over U.S. foreign policy and U.S. forces. Others suggest that the U.S. should not intervene in regional problems unless vital U.S. interests are at stake. Please check one of the following:
I advocate multinational peacekeeping to deal with conflict abroad.
I oppose multinational peacekeeping; the U.S. should primarily act unilaterally.
17. Which present U.S. Senator's voting history comes closest to the voting pattern you are likely to maintain on military and foreign policy issues?
I cannot answer this question because I have not studied the voting records of any sitting U.S. Senator other than my opponent Olympia Snowe. And I do not decide my positions on these issues based on what others do or have done. I will say, however, that our household fully supported the presidential bid of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, to the point that my husband, David Bright, was co-coordinator of his campaign in Maine. I also support his bill to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace, and I understand that Sen. Dayton of MN has submitted a companion bill in the Senate.