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Why Not Just Paint 'Em Orange?

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Missteps in the Bunker

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 23, 2007; Page A01

 

Just after 9 a.m. on Aug. 29, a group of U.S. airmen entered a sod-covered bunker on North Dakota's Minot Air Force Base with orders to collect a set of unarmed cruise missiles bound for a weapons graveyard. They quickly pulled out a dozen cylinders, all of which appeared identical from a cursory glance, and hauled them along Bomber Boulevard to a waiting B-52 bomber.

The airmen attached the gray missiles to the plane's wings, six on each side. After eyeballing the missiles on the right side, a flight officer signed a manifest that listed a dozen unarmed AGM-129 missiles. The officer did not notice that the six on the left contained nuclear warheads, each with the destructive power of up to 10 Hiroshima bombs.

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Grandma used to lose her gardening tools in the yard, until we painted all the handles orange. Never lost a toool after that. 'Course Grandma isn't the Strategic Air Command or any of that, but she lived to be 87 and hadn't lost a tool in 50 years.

They quickly pulled out a dozen cylinders, all of which appeared identical from a cursory glance. . .
Well, there you go--the Grandma Factor--could be a John Le Carre novel.


* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Homeland Security, check out Opinion-Columns.com

 

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Jim Freeman's op-ed pieces and commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, International Herald-Tribune, CNN, The New York Review, The Jon Stewart Daily Show and a number of magazines. His thirteen published books are (more...)
 
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