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Monday Evening Missile Launch Protest


Gotta hand it to the dedicated souls in Vermont's peace movement. On Monday evening, from 5 to 6 p.m., members of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom are going ahead with a scheduled demonstration to protest the U.S. government's test launch of a Minuteman III missile, Vermont rain be damned.

Beginning at the downtown Burlington offices of Rep. Peter Welch, the group will make their way to Senator Leahy's office, then up to Bernie's pad on the top of Church Street to voice their outrage over the fact idea the U.S military needs to see if these nuclear bottle rockets still work.

As someone who's had the privilege — if you can call it that — of climbing down into the silo and launch facility of an actual Minuteman III missile at Malmstrom Air Force Base in northern Montana, I can assure you, these are some scary WMDs. Back in 2000, after a four-month background check, I was granted permission to interview U.S. Air Force missileers who sit in a hole in the ground 24 hours each day waiting to turn the key that blows up the world. Talk about hours of utter boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. They have to figure out if the codes coming into them all day are just practice war games or the actual judgment day.

One of my favorite parts of the story, which I wrote for the alt-weekly, Missoula Independent, was asking a female missileer how she explained the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction to her 5- and 6-year-old daughters. And you thought summarizing your job description on a resumé was tough.