Nuclear Deterrence, of Course, Had Nothing to Do With It

Sen. Byron Dorgan, the liberal Democrat from North Dakota, took to the Senate floor with a speech on Sept. 12. He held up “something from my desk”—a portion of a wing strut of a Soviet Backfire bomber. “We did not shoot this bomber down,” he declared. “We sawed the wing off this bomber.” And how, Dorgan asked, did that come to pass? “Because of arms control agreements, by which we reduced the number of nuclear weapons and the number of nuclear delivery systems.” However, such sawings-off occurred in the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War, reaffirming the axiom that true arms control is not really possible until it has become unnecessary.