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FRIED LIGHT: Pulling the string on nuclear deterioration

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By Roger Snodgrass

A letter from Sen. Domenici and two other Republican senators last week makes me want to pull the string on a series of nuclear mess-ups that seem to be part of a dangerous trend.

The purpose of their letter was to introduce a package of recommendations for beefing up American defenses. The authors, who included Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., were inspired by a number of converging worries about signs of domestic nuclear disarray in the face of revived international threats.

The letter quoted a speech by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Virginia last week, expressing one of the talking points of the Neo-Cold War, that Russia has let its conventional military deteriorate so drastically, that it must rely on its new super intercontinental ballistic missile, the SS-27. Russian newspapers say the land-based, single-warhead Topol M, as it is also called, can dance around American anti-ballistic missile defenses.

That’s the threat.

But the disarray may be more of a worry.

The reason Gates was talking to Air Force officers in Virginia last week was because he had just fired (or rather, requested the resignation of) the top civilian and top military chiefs of the Air Force, Secretary Michael Wynn and Chief of Staff Gen. “Buzz” Moseley.