"An icon of the Cold War will disappear from the Air Force Academy this week when an intercontinental ballistic missile on display for nearly the past four decades is torn down," the Colorado Springs Gazette reports this morning. "A Minuteman III missile that has stood proudly near Clune Arena on the campus has rusted its way through too many Colorado winters and is in danger of collapsing."
The writer then adds, just in case we were wondering, that the "structure is just the shell of the weapon and lacks solid fuel rocket motors and city-leveling warheads." That's certainly a relief.
"We're going to miss it," academy spokesman Johnny Whitaker told the Gazette. "The old cold warrior has been a landmark here for 37 years."
Removing the missile isn't some sort of political statement, thank goodness; it's just rusting out. But still, one can't help but be struck by the ominous symbolism involved, as America enters what has all the appearances of Cold War II, with an aged, perhaps even decrepit nuclear arsenal to serve as a deterrent.
See my earlier posts on "nuclear neglect," and Congress's reckless refusal to modernize, for the bigger picture.