My recent story on preserving a nuclear missile silo brought a fair amount of mail. Let’s start with the story:
The U.S. Congress has taken the first step to preserve a Minuteman nuclear missile silo in South Dakota and turn it into a Cold War museum. The Minuteman “was America’s first push-button nuclear missile,” says South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson, who sponsored legislation to spend $5 million to preserve silos at Ellsworth Air Force Base. “When the wing was deactivated, something was missing on the high plains of western South Dakota,” agrees Rep. John Thune of the same state, adding that under one missile’s concrete door, which resembles a pizza box, “someone wrote, ‘Worldwide delivery in 30 minutes or less or your next one is free.’ Dark humor, I know, but it was a reality.” (AP) …Opening soon: The Museum of Geopolitical Insanity.
On the one side was Tim, who didn’t say where he was from, who wrote:
Christ, Randy, I hope you’re not one of those asshole history revisionists. Agreed, the Cold War was not a high point in the History of Mankind, but shall we deny it ever happened? If we do that, how the hell do we ever learn important lessons. Don’t tell me you’re turing into a narow-minded, half-blind Yuppie idiot who’s all IQ and no brains, all Volvo and no driving ability. Sure, there are many better ways to spend 5 mil; why didn’t you focus on that?
Who in the World Said we should deny the Cold War?!
Not me: I think the silo should be a National Monument (to our own stupidity — and by “our” I mean humanity, not just American). I certainly don’t object to the proposal, or even to spending $5 million to preserve it and turn it into a museum — I’d go, stand in awe, and listen to the lectures on the site with great interest.
But I do object to the yahoo South Dakota congressmen gleefully talking like they wish the Cold War never ended. Their praise of the wonderful “push-button nuclear missiles” and saying what a shame it was that they were deactivated (“something was missing on the high plains of western South Dakota”) was what got me: that’s the exact idiotic mentality (on both sides) that caused the Cold War to last as long as it did.
Phil, who works for the U.S. National Park Service (which will administer the site), understood the idea behind the story much better, and writes
President Clinton signed [the bill] designating Minute Man Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota as the 379th National Park Service unit and our 78th National Historic Site. Maybe the park interpreters will use your ‘Museum of Geopolitical Insanity’ as a story theme for the vacationing tourists. Working for the NPS, and having lived through the 1950’s with our grade school drills of ‘duck and cover’ (even a grade school kid knew that adults could not be trusted since when is a little wooden desk going to stop an H-BOMB!!!), I think it appropriate to ‘preserve & protect’ this insanity least we forget. The world is a very dangerous place, especially in the hands of politicians and the military industrial complex. ‘This is True’ tells it like it is and keeps life in perspective. Thank you, good job, and keep up the great service to us common folk.
See you in South Dakota, Phil!
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