Weaponry warning sounded
by Bret Bradigan
The U.S. pays Russian scientists to do nothing. And, considering
the world we live in, it is money well spent.
So explained Wayne Glass, Ph.D. , currently senior adviser, Center
for Defense Information, and formerly Senate staffer to New
Mexico's Senator Jeff Bingaman, Democratic member of the Senate
Armed Services committee, the policy-making vineyards in which
Though speaking of his Beltway experiences, Glass told his audience
at Friday's Rotary Club of Ojai meeting that he grew up in New
Mexico and his rural roots extend to Ojai, home of his parents-in-law,
Jack and Margaret Huyler, and long-time friend, Bob Chesley,
who provided the introduction.
Glass described Senate staffers as being besieged on all sides
for time and commitments. "We are triage people for our
senator," dealing with demands from other politicians, from
constituents and lobbyists. "We make the selection for what
is the most important, what can wait until tomorrow, and what
we can ignore."
Senate law-making is a year-round business, Glass said, but
it does follow a cycle, beginning with the president's State
of the Union address, hearings
in the spring, followed by drafts of legislation in May, with
numerous committee markups, floor debates and partisan bickering
along the way.
"Partisanship rears its head at a very low level and goes
on through the whole process," he said. "It is a shortcoming
of our system."
Though, occasionally, worthy causes rise above the fray, reminding
Glass that good can be done. He described the recent and successful
effort to get Congressional Gold Medals for the surviving Najavo
code talkers, whose unbreakable code was key to World War II
military operations, as an example. "That kind of work I
find incredibly rewarding.
Despite the complexity of the apparatus, and the proliferation
of professional lobbyists, there is still plenty of room for
citizen involvement. The key to success in pushing an issue is
to keep the e-mails ("staffers love e-mail," he said)
and letters coming. "If you're really into getting something
done, then you've done your homework," he said. By providing
legislative staff with as much of the research, forms, and necessary
files as possible, you can greatly increase your chances of success,
Also, call before 9:30 a.m. and after 5:30 p.m., he said.
Other issues don't lend themselves to easy solutions. Glass pointed
out that intelligence briefings reveal "that half of nuclear
weapons are not under control today."
In a world of tinder-dry tensions where rogue states are desperate
for cash and terrorists are desperately raising cash, it makes
sense to pay nuclear scientists to "not take a vacation
in Baghad," Glass said.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
Back to the news