Friday, March 30, 2007

Missile envy

Much-suffering Great Falls takes yet another hit, this time in the impending loss of a squadron of ICBM's, or 50 out of the 200 missiles at Malmstrom, along with the 500 direct jobs and the huge trickle-down effects to the Great Falls economy.

The Western Word points out that the last time that Malmstrom lost a major mission (their refueling wing), Sen. Conrad Burns worked successfully to bring a replacement mission to Malmstrom.

Trust us, sentiment in the ranks of the USAF is strong for maintaining as much of a mission at Malmstrom as possible. They really don't care that Sen. Byron Dorgan of ND has been far better at playing the military mission game than has Sen. Max Baucus. Where would you rather be stationed -- Great Falls or Grand Forks?

But they don't poll the airmen nearly as often as they do high-ranking Senators.

We would add that somehow, there is something not quite right about fighting to keep nuclear missiles in Montana -- outdated ones, no less. The Air Force does a lot of things, and our Congressional delegation would normally be way ahead of the curve in working to bring more of those non-nuclear missions to Malmstrom.

It helps to have a Congressional delegation that is perceived as pro-military -- like having a Senator who had served in the military and was a well-known friend of the Armed Forces. Sure would also be nice if we could have had a high-ranking member on the Senate Appropriations committee like North Dakota does.

But never fear, our junior Senator brings his own insightful gravitas to the situation:

"Malmstrom Air Force Base plays a critical role in defending our homeland and now is not the time to weaken it in any way," added U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont.

Yeah, that oughta do the trick. Jon Tester is going to be really convincing as a true believer in the importance of defending the homeland with nuclear weapons. And if he does manage to become convincing at it, he won't have to worry about being the toast of the progressive community for much longer.

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