A news release from U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg says he is introducing federal legislation that "would put the House on record in support of maintaining 500 land-based intercontinental missiles."
His overriding goal, as the news release makes clear, is to protect jobs at Malmstrom Air Force Base: "'Malmstrom is a key player in terms of U.S. missile defense,' said Rehberg, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. 'Additionally, Great Falls and the surrounding community depend on the jobs and revenue Malmstrom provides.'"
He rests his case by mentioning "threats from countries like Iran and North Korea." I'm not sure what countries are "like Iran and North Korea." Between them, those countries may have -- what? -- one or two missiles, none of which may, in fact, work.
So even if those two countries ganged up against us, plus all the countries like them, plus all the rest of the countries in the world, is there still any conceivable reason why we would ever need 500 land-based intercontinental missiles? And is there any chance at all that those 500 missiles provide greater security than they do risk to us because of the chance that one might get fired or explode unintentionally? And how much risk are we willing to bear to preserve a few government jobs in Great Falls?
UPDATE: When I wrote the above, I had not yet seen this news release from Sen. Jon Tester: “I was disappointed to learn that the Air Force is targeting the elimination of fifty Minuteman III missiles from Malmstrom Air Force Base. Malmstrom is critical to our national security and the economy of North Central Montana. I will continue to fight for Malmstrom and the Air Force in the United States Senate and I will work toward getting another mission at the base."
We need a thousand missiles! More jobs!