The administration dumps its nuclear chief.

Notes from different corners of the world.
Jan. 8 2007 12:06 PM

Atomic Fallout

The administration dumps its nuclear chief, but can anyone else do better?

(Continued from Page 1)

"In theory, it was a good idea to separate nuclear weapons from the day-to-day White House political considerations that encumber any Cabinet-level agency," said Phil Coyle, a former associate director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and now a senior adviser at the Center for Defense Information. "But in practice it has only played into the perception that the NNSA and its contractors are not accountable to higher-level authorities, in this case the secretary of energy."

But firing Brooks won't fix the labs, and the administration has yet to answer a fundamental question: What would they have had him do differently? We suspect Brooks' answer would have been much like his response to our questions. When we asked him 18 months ago about why he was unable to persuade Congress to fund the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, a controversial push to design a bunker-busting nuke, he said, "I don't know what I would have done differently, but we'll see."

Advertisement

The critics were right: Linton Brooks failed to fix the labs, but who can? Like Charlie Brown in his eternal quest to kick the football, we wonder if Brooks ever really had a chance. As for why he was fired—and why now—we suspect that Brooks is asking the same question.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

Politics

The GOP’s Focus on Fake Problems

Why candidates like Scott Walker are building campaigns on drug tests for the poor and voter ID laws.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.