Tuesday, July 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

U.S. missile bases have unacceptable lapses

By
From page A6 | October 29, 2013 |

The issue: In this case, unceasing vigilance is more than just a platitude

In the Cold War years of the 1950s and ’60s and even into the ’70s, America’s nuclear arsenal — its size, deployment, the aircraft and rockets that would deliver it and the Air Force officers and crews who oversaw it — were front and center in the U.S. defense posture.

BUT THERE WAS a solid consensus among the major nations against the use of nuclear weapons for anything but self-defense. Successive presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower on rejected any suggestions that nuclear weapons be used in South and North Vietnam.

Russia and the United States, the two great nuclear powers, maintained their arsenals as a matter of mutual deterrence, but the thawing of the Cold War led to a series of treaties placing limits on testing and the size of the arsenals.

Briefly, the peace activists’ dream of a world free of nuclear weapons did not seem a total stretch. But the acquisition of nuclear weapons by India and Pakistan, which have fought four wars and often seem just minutes from a fifth; a bellicose North Korea constantly threatening their neighbors; Iran’s on-again, off-again pursuit of nuclear weapons; and Islamic terrorists’ determination to get obtain a weapon of mass destruction mean the United States must maintain its arsenal to a high standard of readiness.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS has detailed two instances this year when Air Force launch officers failed to secure blast doors intended to keep terrorists and intruders from gaining access to the missile bases’ underground command posts.

For security reasons and to avoid embarrassment and awkward questions, mishaps and errors at missile bases and nuclear facilities rarely become public. One did in 2007, when six armed nuclear cruise missiles were inadvertently loaded aboard a B-52 and flown from North Dakota to Louisiana. The mistake was not discovered for 36 hours.

As in the case of the blast doors, the Air Force quickly punished the responsible officers, but that does not address the broader issue. As the AP put it, “The problems, including low morale, underscore the challenges of keeping safe such a deadly force that is constantly on alert but unlikely ever to be used.”

INESCAPABLY, HOWEVER, these are problems that must be faced. Unceasing vigilance in this case is more than just a platitude; it’s a vital element of our defense against an enemy that sees martyrdom as not only a tactic but a desirable goal.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    That’s the ticket: Mondavi gets dynamic with pricing

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Tickets, sponsorships available for 10th annual Village Feast

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Ramco launches innovation center outreach effort

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: Just be glad we don’t want fingerprints

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    House to vote on slimmed-down bill for border

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Crews make gains on foothills wildfire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Groundwater expert will speak in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Fair entries due soon for veggie, flower exhibitors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Forum will explore injured veterans’ issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Humphrey Fellows share tales from their countries

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Hear Julie and the Jukes in the park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Square Tomatoes celebrates its anniversary

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Exchange program seeks host families

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Our own policies do us harm

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Pat Oliphant cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

    It’s all the ecologists’ fault

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

     
    Refrain from generalization

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

     
    It hurts, but not as much as the truth

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    Accusations tear family down

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Thorpe named UCD head softball coach

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Republic sets attendance record

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Cats let win slip away in Tacoma

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Houston continues to be a problem for A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lawrence Okoye preparing for the NFL

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Pirates plunder S.F.

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7