Over the weekend, 50 nuclear missiles went off-line for about an hour on Saturday due to some sort of technical malfunction. A White House official insists, "It's not that big of a deal."
"The White House response to the incident has been jaw dropping," writes John Noonan, a former Air Force missile launch officer. He contends that, despite the official line that this is "not that big of a deal," it's actually a huge deal, and underscores the need to update aging delivery systems. Noonan suggests that this could impact the debate over ratification of New START; my sense is that that treaty was already on shaky ground.
The Air Force swears there was no panic. But for three-quarters of an hour Saturday morning, launch control officers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming couldn’t reliably communicate or monitor the status of 50 Minuteman III nuclear missiles. Gulp.
President Obama was briefed this morning on an engineering
powerfailure at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming that took 50 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), one-ninth of the U.S. missile stockpile, temporarily offline on Saturday.
The base is a main locus of the United States' strategic nuclear forces. The 90th Missile Wing, headquartered there, controls 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles. They're on full-time alert and are housed in a variety of bunkers across several states.
On Saturday morning, according to people briefed on what happened, a squadron of ICBMs suddenly dropped down into what's known as "LF Down" status, meaning that the missileers in their bunkers could no longer communicate with the missiles themselves. LF Down status also means that various security protocols built into the missile delivery system, like intrusion alarms and warhead separation alarms, were offline.
But hey, it's not that big of a deal! No, no, no worries, "Everything worked as planned." so sayeth the White House. Hmmm... sure... who's plan?
Call me paranoid, but isn't this the same "never let a crisis go to waste" administration which used the Oil Spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico to try to achieve their goal of killing domestic oil production so they could push so-called "green technology" and Cap & Trade?
A nuclear fustercluck like this viewed in light of Barry's dreams of a nuclear weapon free world and his promises to the Russians that we'd reduce our armaments while requiring no such promise from them, it seems just a wee bit likely to me that this could give him just the excuse he needs to attempt to completely strip us of our nuclear defenses - even as our enemies are building up their own. (But of course OUR enemies aren't Barry's enemies, HIS enemies are US and he is eager to punish us!)
Let's hope I'm wrong, let's hope Tuesday's Republican phoenix rises boldly from the ashes of 2008, let's hope the lame ducks don't completely cripple us before January, and let's hope the new Republicans in office don't turn into gutless capitulating weasels once they get into office.
On second thought, forget "hope", let us pray!