Is Bush Finally Getting Serious About Loose Nukes?

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Like Michael Crowley, I’ve been continually stunned by the fact that officials in the Bush administration appear to care very little about all the loose nuclear material floating around the world.

I’m generally of the opinion that the possibility of another low-level terrorist attack in the United States on the scale of, say, the London bus bombings, while tragic, shouldn’t be among the country’s highest concerns. We’re never going to be able to prevent every minor attack, a few bombs aren’t going to bring down the republic, and anyway, there really are more pressing problems out there (global warming, say). But there’s one big exception here—a nuclear attack wiping out an American city would be unimaginably catastrophic, and the government really should do everything in its power to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands. But the administration’s progress on this front has been absolutely dismal, despite the fact that this stuff isn’t terribly difficult to accomplish.

So it’s very good news that President Bush and Vladimir Putin are now “announc[ing] a new global program to track potential nuclear terrorists, detect and lock up bomb-making materials and coordinate their responses if terrorists obtain a weapon.” Obviously I’d like to know the details here, and whether they’ve taken all the steps advocated by, say, the Nuclear Threat Initiative—and whether words will translate into action, etc.—but this looks like progress. I’d ask why it took the administration five years to get around to this, but maybe we can leave aside carping for now.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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