According to Wired magazine and the United States air force, on Saturday 23, 2010 (this past Saturday), the launch control officers of Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming lost communications with 50 LGM-30F-Minuteman II Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). If you don't have a clue what these are, here's a
short video of the resulting, minute, practically unnoticeable damage caused by the impact of this little toy.
Now, as this sinks in for you, this was such a serious matter that warranted the attention of many high-ups in the US Air Force, especially considering that it would be quite rare to loose communication and monitoring of all the missile silos in the entire base. It was even tweeted by an ex Air Force missile launch officer, reading "This is 50 ICBMs dropping off at once. I never heard of anything like it". It seems to me that if an actual nuclear weapon were to go off at a reasonable distance for us to somewhat survive, we'd probably be reading tweets about it before we even felt the explosion.
I'll leave the rest of the technical details about the situation for you to read over at Wired, right now I think what deserves our focused attention is the simple question "why?". Why do we even have these missiles still lying around? In an age of nearly constant worldwide communication, commerce, and business, why on earth would we need missiles (50 of them in one area to be exact, but there's plenty more around the world), that can obliterate small nations or large cities in the blink of an eye? I can't even imagine ever being so upset with someone that the last resort for resolving our issues would be to incinerate them and the land beneath them. The cold war is long over and my humble opinion is that these things have got to go. They have absolutely no use, not for defensive purposes, and not for offensive purposes (I doubt anyone would want to see WWII repeated). On top of that, they seem to be in the hands of people with very twitchy trigger fingers, something that should get everyone's red flags springing up. And finally, we have iffy control over them so they may launch without our direction, at any time, sort of like it almost did this past Saturday; it only takes one to start trouble and cause havoc after all.
So perhaps when my part time Benihana cooking instructor said " Stop twirling that knife, you'll hurt yourself or others", maybe he was right. I suppose if I'm the collective conscious of the western world, and the knife is a bomb with the power of 50 million tons of TNT ... well then touche Mr. Sakamoto, touche.
You can read the full details on the article here, at Wired: