Sunday, October 23, 2005

Op-ed pieces from today's Sunday Albuquerque Journal

At the behest of an avid, or at least insistent blog reader, these op-ed pieces from today's Sunday Albuquerque Journal are presented. They seem to be shortened versions of posts that have already made their appearance here on the blog.



You will see the followng and then follow the links:

Letters to the Editor

Storefronts Favor Lockheed
OTHER VOICES: First of all, let me restate my original objection to the
whole benighted idea of privatizing Los Alamos National Laboratory. It is
based on faulty assumptions about "failures" (unique to LANL, allegedly) in
accounting, security, and safety that have occurred over the last seven
years, and an even faultier assumption that the University of California has
been "running" Los Alamos all these 60-odd years, just like it runs its
campuses in California. The decision to compete the contract is without
objective basis, but it is a fait accompli— it will be done— and as a
result, LANL will be different in almost every aspect, no matter whether
Bechtel (and UC and other minor players) or Lockheed Martin (and University
of Texas and other minor players) "wins" the bid. (Sunday, October 23,

Giving Lockheed Control of LANL Would Be Disastrous
What would former President Eisenhower think of the competition to manage
Los Alamos National Laboratory? One indication might be the warning from his
1961 farewell address: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted
influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.
The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will
persist." (Sunday, October 23, 2005)

Holian has it mostly correct.

Sterling, having:
never been to Los Alamos
never been to LANL
never had a security clearance
never performed classified work

is unqualified to comment on the LANL contract. He should stick to things that he is familiar with.
Darhtman criticises the author but not the issue. There are a number of points being made. Why don't you discuss these? Whether one has security clearance is irrelevant to the points being made which include: a)plans for a 'new generation of nuclear weapons', b)the social and political context of the pressure on UC and LANL over the past 7 years and c)the dangers of the military industrial complex determining foreign and nuclear policy. If you cannot see the larger issues at stake, thats your choice. There should be vastly more comment and discussion of the issue by the interested public not less.
Indeed I read the article. Nothing new in it. Sterling's posts have been pro-UC and anti-LANL. He is happily sitting on his freshly-renewed UC/LBL management contract and is not threatened with the loss of his defined benefit pension.

The fact is that UC made a mess of things by not supporting John Browne, leaving the non-scientist NANOS in place when it was clear that he was not up to the task and was quite abusive, putting Foley in and leaving him in place, etc.

LM may come with some baggage, but I believe that they are the lesser of two evils at the present time.

I do not agree that more "public" discussion of the LANL/DOE contract will be productive. If somebody wants to raise the larger issue of management of DOE labs in general, then broad public discusison would be appropriate.

By the way, Bechtel's record and political connections are not all that much different than LM's.
I happen to disagree with some of the logic here. We say that if you have:
never been to Los Alamos
never been to LANL
never had a security clearance
never performed classified work
then you have no right to comment on what is happening or will happen at LANL.
this is the same sort of reasoning that has gotten this country into a lot of trouble in the past few (many) years.
"You don't understand why we need 50,000 warheads"
"If you knew what we know then you'd attack Iraq too"

I understand that there are certain considerations that cannot be made public, but the public is entitled to be a part of this discussion. That is what democracy is all about. Like it or not.
As "whywar" says, please lets discuss the issue rather than attack the person. And ask yourself, if your country were part of the "Axis of evil" wouldn't you pursue the RRW too?
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