Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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A conversation with some grizzled political operatives was about the furious discussion taking place about Tom Daschle and John Thune and who had more clout regarding Ellsworth. The consensus was that if Tom Daschle had won re-election, Ellsworth would have been first on the list of base closings. The Bush administration would close Ellsworth to spite Tom Daschle. Spite is one of the primary operating principles of the Bush administration.
That spite is what made Tom Daschle Senate Majority Leader for a time. It was an act of spite from the Bush Whitehouse that caused Sen. James Jeffords to flee from the Republicans and join forces with the Demcrats, thus making the Democrats the majority party in the Senate. The Whitehouse was honoring a teacher of the year from Vermont and pointedly left Sen. Jeffords off the invitation list because he did not heel to the Bush administration line. Spite is important to the Bush Whitehouse. That is why it is nominating the dark prince of spite, John Bolton, to be U.N. ambassador.
Had Tom Daschle won, the base closing would be a personal vendetta against him. Ellsworth made it on the closing list because John Thune is a negligible entity. After the efforts the Bush administration and Republican National Committee expended in his behalf on both the Johnson and Daschle campaigns, his job is merely to do what he is told and say what he is told.
As for Ellsworth, a big, black bomb is slipping under the radar screen. While Rumsfeld is talking about a military force that can handle 21st century war, other military thinkers are noting that the world is slipping back into a cold war situation. Iran, North Korea, India, and Pakistan all are working on nuclear weapons and the rockets that can deliver them. All the missile silos that contained weapons for retaliatory and defensive strikes have been dismantled. The primary mission of Ellsworth was to service those missile silos.
The space-based defense systems have shown only sporadic success in intercepting missiles aimed at the U.S.
Why is no one talking about the renewed nuclear threat to the U.S.? Particularly from terrorist organizations who are known to be wheedling some Muslim nations for weapons systems?
Note the kind of planning for the war on Iraq, and you will understand why some serious threats are not even on that Bush radar screen. He is too busy posturing as the security president, and covering a lot of conservative asses in the war on Iraq to think about threats to anything but his approval rating among the ultra-conservatives who form his primary support base.