Our long-loved local company, Boeing, is a world leader in producing commercial airplanes. Less well known to Washingtonians is its extensive role in producing military hardware, especially nuclear weapons (perhaps because most of this work goes on in Utah and Ohio).
Bigger and better for the 21st century
Since 1958, early in the nuclear age, Boeing was selected by the US Air Force as the prime contractor and original equipment manufacturer for the first ballistic missiles, the Minuteman ICBMs. That role has continued to the present. As part of the US military’s plans to “re-do” the entire nuclear triad – missiles, submarines and bombers – in August 2017 Boeing was awarded a $329 million contract to develop a new ICBM system.
Proudly erect on the Montana plains
Boeing’s form of “missile envy” should not surprise us. This macho corporation has always believed that the best way to forestall the enemy is to be bigger and tougher. And what seems bigger, and longer, than an 100 foot-long tube, tipped with a nuclear bomb, standing proud and erect on the Montana plains.
Well, maybe not so proud
But local residents around missile sites feel differently. The over 400 ICBM sites are located in the western states of North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. A cadre of residents in farms and communities near these death factories were not amused by plans to replace the missiles, again. A flurry of protests broke out in very traditional communities, with residents expressing anger that they will continue to be targeted for incineration by our enemies. It is no secret to Putin or Kim where these sites are. Rent a car and tour them if you’re curious. The Air Force will provide the map! And, unlike the submarines, they ain’t going anywhere if there is a nuclear war.
Nor so erect
These protests, coming from conservative, military-supporting “red” communities caught the attention of Boeing officials. This public outcry, together with the election of several new women members to their corporate board, coupled with the surprise appointment of a female CEO, led to a mini-corporate revolt. It’s been little short of a corporate sexual revolution: no more Boeing missile envy. The new leadership abruptly terminated the ICBM contract.
I.C. B. Metoo is an astute observer of the changing times. They live in Shoreline.
* (This is a spoof.)