Montana is known to residents as either the “Treasure State” or “The Big Sky State,” but to defense experts, it’s just a “nuclear sponge.”
That’s a technical term that reveals, among other things in a new report published Monday by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, that while Montana is in line to get part of a new $100 billion land-based missile defense system to replace its Minutemen III weapons, the reasons behind the new system are mired in politics, lobbying and have little do with making America safer, reports The Daily Montanan.
For example, one of the main purposes of the system is to provide a target for superpowers like Russia or China to strike. The calculus goes something like this: If an enemy wanted to strike at America’s nuclear capabilities, they’d have to launch dozens of missiles of their own at places like Montana to disable them enough to impede a U.S. counterattack. This would mean that Montana and its storehouse of missiles would be among the first area targeted, likely wiping out all human life in Montana, according to the report’s author, Elisabeth Eaves.
In the report, “Why is America getting a new $100 billion nuclear weapon,” Eaves argues that more nuclear weapons are unnecessary as both the United States and Russia have more than 4,000 each. In her report, she quotes a retired Air Force colonel who said after