Sunday, November 26, 2006


Prison for Anti-Nuke Clowns, U.S. WMDs Protected

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a slightly morbid fascination and curiosity about the locations of secret nuclear missile silos inside the United States. I’d heard that many of them were hidden not only in very rural areas, but also in not-so-rural places…the latter sites chosen because they were so invisible in a hide-in-plain-site kind of way.

Whenever I take road trips, I’ll find myself on occasion looking at section of geography that looks a bit abnormal...a little pond in a spot that seems ill-suited for it; a small hill or mound in an otherwise flat area; single-streetlight towns with abandoned buildings or lots...and I’ll wonder to myself: You suppose...?

About a year ago, I noticed dozens of sites in rural South Carolina that looked perfect for my missile silo fantasies. And I don’t mean “fantasies” in a positive way, of course. I’ll just see what looks like a suitable site to me and imagine whether the ground there could open up, followed by the nose of a missile slowly rising to launch position. Or a pond exploding with a sudden thrash as a warhead blasted through with a blinding burst and deafening roar, gone in a split-second to god-knows-where to vaporize god-knows-what or whom. And where could all the silos possibly be? Are they in every state in the U.S.? Are there people living near or on top of them who don’t even know about them? I think there’s little doubt that the answer to the last question must be “yes.”

I still think about those scenarios even though the Cold War has been “over” for two decades. But I think about it these days with more of a sense of dread than I can ever recall. Mostly because of the current administration’s desire to resuscitate a cold war with a new, improved nuclear stockpile and a new arms race with whoever is willing to compete. It seems less “what if” than “when” to my mind.

Needless to say, this article caught my attention immediately. I’ve read and re-read the story with mixed emotions every time. My simple conclusion is that it is one of horribly misplaced priorities. On the one hand, few would probably argue with the motives of those charged and sentenced. On the other hand, though, few would also argue that while aggressive protests or political/moral statements are understandable and well-intentioned, you simply cannot carry out those actions without expecting serious consequences. The dangers of breaking into and physically altering a nuclear missile silo shouldn’t need to be explained. These guys could have, in theory, caused the very catastrophe they wish to eliminate.

I guess it leaves me wondering…Couldn’t the government have taken the motives, histories and current activities of these guys into consideration and just given them probation? Their hearts were certainly in the right place, even if their methods could be questioned. And the net result, when you put all circumstances aside as the author does at the end of the article, is that peace activists are going to jail while the ultimate in WMDs remain protected by the government. I know it’s not that simple, but it still makes me sad...

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