We almost lost Arkansas a few days ago. Some smart aleck threw a wrench into a Titan missle silo. It hit the fuel tank and set it off.
The only thing that saved the state was that the nuclear warhead, which was sitting on top of it, didn't blow up.
The incident raised a lot of questions in the minds of the American people.
Q. -- Why Arkansas?
When the first Titan missles were built, the experts in charge of selecting sites for them chose Arkansas because they were quite sure the Soviets didn't know where it was.
Many people in the Pentagon didn't know where it was either, and that was the reason for the delay by the Air Force in doing anything about it when the accident occurred.
Q. -- Now that the Soviets know were Arkansas is, will we have to move the Titan silos to another state?
A. -- No. They are too fragile to move, and because of the adverse publicity it's doubtful that any other state would take them.
Q. -- What effect will this have on the University of Arkansas football team, which is usually in the top 10 at the end of each season?
A. -- It will be very difficult now to recruit out-of-state high school football stars, and the school may have to give up its entire athletic program. f
Q. -- What are we to make of the accident in terms of all the fail-safe systems that were built into the Titan?
A. -- It depends on which side you're on. If you're on the military's side, you can claim that the system worked because the nuclear warhead didn't go off. If you live in the area, you may find it hard to sell your house.
Q. -- What is the Soviet reaction to seeing one of out Titans come flying out of the ground without prior warning?
A. -- They are probably frightenend silly. They always thought that we needed tremendous amounts of sophisticated electronic gear and computers to launch a Titan. But now they know we can set one off by just throwing a monkey wrench down the hole, and they have no answer for this. If the SALT II talks ever start up again, the first order of business may be the banning of wrenches anywhere near a missle solo.
Q. -- Do the Soviets have anything comparable to the Titan Ii?
A. -- As far as we know they don't. We do know they've been dropping wrenches on their MIRV missiles for 20 years, but they've never been able to breach their fuel tanks with them. When it comes to wrench penetration capability, we're at least 10 years ahead of them.
Q. -- Then most American people can take pride in the fact that the Titan II missile is our greatest deterrent against the Soviets?
A. -- You could say that. But don't, if you live in Arkansas.
Q. -- Did the accident breach any security secrets that might impair our defense posture?
A. -- Only one. As many people know, there is a man with a black box who follows the president everywhere he goes. The block box is at the president's disposal in case of a nuclear attack. Up until now no one but the president and his national security adviser knew what was in the box. Now the secret is out of the bag.
Q. -- What is in the black box?
A. -- a three-pound monkey wrench.