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A Very Timely Question

Today's editorial at The Examiner asks "Where are Star Wars critics now?"

As they debate and discuss various options at the United Nations and in capitals around the globe, the rudimentary U.S. missile defense system is poised to shoot down anything launched from North Korea that threatens the American homeland or the critical interests of our regional allies like Japan and Australia.

Noticeably absent are the voices of those who, since President Reagan first proposed such a system in 1984, have fought development and deployment of the missile defense system the U.S. must now depend upon in dealing with North Korea. These folks have claimed over and over that the system they derisively call "Star Wars" can't possibly work, would be too expensive, would incite a new world arms race, etc., etc. Names that come to mind in this regard include senators like Joe Biden, D-Del., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., and the Clinton-Gore administration that delayed and dilly-dallied with work on missile defense for most of the '90s.

Read it all.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Very Timely Question:

» Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with North Korea draws world's scorn for tests

» Conservative Outpost linked with Daily Summary

» The Politburo Diktat linked with Was Reagan right?

» Independent Sources linked with A way out of the North Korea crisis - the Chad Doctrine

» Murdoc Online linked with Hit and Missile in the ol' DPRK

Comments (20)

Where is the libertarian wi... (Below threshold)

Where is the libertarian wing of the Republican party now? Times, situations have changed...

Publicus, I'm fairly libert... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

Publicus, I'm fairly libertarian, and still supporting the Republicans as the less insane party. But what did that question have to do with the years of cutting funding and putting down ballistic missile defence by the Dems?

Nothing, just a typical dis... (Below threshold)

Nothing, just a typical distractor to use when you wish to avoid a post's topic.
[pin drops on left as far as relevant replies]

I swear I could hear the so... (Below threshold)

I swear I could hear the sound of people getting slapped in the face as I read that article :) Namely Joe Biden, D-Del., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Carl Levin, D-Mich. *slap*

I told Orville and I told W... (Below threshold)

I told Orville and I told Wilbur and now I'm telling you! THAT CONTRAPTION WILL NEVER FLY!!

It is expensive and it does... (Below threshold)

It is expensive and it doesn't work, we can't even get some of the missiles in the air. The idea is that NMD is too expensive. It will take billions and billions to produce a system that can be defeated by simply building a larger number of far cheaper missiles. Even if we had a tenfold increase in the money to developed the system it can still be overwhelmed by producing a number of missiles that cost a fraction of the $$$ that it will take to produce even a marginally working system.

It like building walls bigger and thicker to counter the cannon, it futile, the enemy just brings more cannons. Strategically NMD is a loser and it only defends against one kind of attack, the intercontinental ballistic missile, it's really can't defend against a cruse missile at all, so the nano second they get a hold of one of those it's over game, set, and match. God the money that has been wasted to do nothing but line the pockets of Defense contractors is mind numbing and you all seem to be up for it.

The funny part is that everyone here who supports that idea of NMD will swear up and down that the technology to produce a system is simply a matter of funding will almost to a person deride the idea of say solar and wind power as technological losers for energy creation. Yet when it comes to an NMD system, the sky is the limit on improvements in technology. The good news is that the NK missile program is in the same boat as the US NMD program, which is to say the toilet.

r,A cruise missle is... (Below threshold)

A cruise missle is indeed another kind of threat. One that has to be launched much closer to it's target. Nations like Korea and Iran do not have launch platforms for cruise missles that can threaten the lower 48.
Also, cruise missles have other counter measures, like the AIM-54.
You logic seems to state that since the wall cannot stop all threats for all time, it should never be built at all.

You mean the billions of do... (Below threshold)
Kimyl Oh!:

You mean the billions of dollars we spent to defend ourself from a massive Russian attack? That Star Wars program? The one that hits 5/8 targets even when we put markers on them to track them?

If it worked, I agree it would be convenient to use against a viable North Korea threat, but this is like working on an enormous housing project to house all the homeless and then saying "I told you so" when one person wanders in.

There were several main reasons people were opposed to star wars; it did not work in practice, it costs a lot of money, and it does nothing to eliminate the spread of nuclear arms. These are all viable arguments today. None of these people who you want to "slap" ever said that protecting America is not worth it, or anything treasonous like that.

Anyway, when your multi-billion dollar SDI/BMDO/MDA program shoots down a missiel or convinces a rogue state that a nuclear missile is useless, you can start the "i told you so."

You might spend more time finding out why we have 160,000 troops in Iraq and no plan for North Korea.

The funny part is ... (Below threshold)
The funny part is that everyone here who supports that idea of NMD will swear up and down that the technology to produce a system is simply a matter of funding will almost to a person deride the idea of say solar and wind power as technological losers for energy creation.

Well, let's start with a fundamental law of physics, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be converted to another form and there just isn't enough energy or consistency in wind or solar energy collection to make it cost effective or a feasible replacement for current coal and nuclear production.

On the other hand, NMD is a physical possibility and is feasible. The problem that we are attempting to overcome is to predict the course of the missle which is undergoing massive acceleration. All we need to intercept the missle is a weapon that can accelerate faster and a computer that can predict the course from a few well timed pictures or radar images. This is not an impossibility, merely difficult. Not unlike traveling to the moon on 1960s technology.

Although no lefties will ev... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Although no lefties will ever be honest enough to give him credit for it, Reagan's "Star Wars" program did work and it ended the cold war without a shot ever being fired. I think that was Reagan's brilliant plan from the start. Of course if the lefties had their way, we'd still have the Eastern Block to contend with along with Islamofascism.

Anyone who doesn't know why we have troops in Iraq or thinks we have no plan for North Korea just isn't very bright or is very poorly informed-- most likely the product of big city government schools.

Missile defense isn't a wal... (Below threshold)

Missile defense isn't a wall, it's a weapon. Movable, flexible, constantly improving, and capable of shooting down lots more than intercontinental ballistic missiles, it is the technological equivalent of armored cavalry.

Missiles are expensive. Complaining that missile defense won't work because the enemy will "simply build more missiles" is the same lame argument that killing terrorists "breeds more terrorists." No, actually it takes a lot of money to build a missile and a lot of time to brainwash a human into becoming a bomb.

Eventually you run out of both, as we are seeing in North Korea and in Iraq, where the fighters were once Baathist (long dead), Afghan (very dead), Syrian (quite dead), Iranian (still a few around) and now, funnily enough, Egyptian. The bad guys are running out of terrorists.

In North Korea, the government has been stealing Chinese relief trains. The people are starving. Where once their missiles buzzed Japan before splashing into the sea, now they blow up in the first thirty seconds of flight.

Without BMD we would be held hostage by a whack job and his missile made of metal that is suspiciously stamped "TONKA" on the side. Instead we buff our nails and yawn. Gotta love our new toy. Unless you hate America in which case you despise it. I guess I don't need to add: But of course.

Well, let's start ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Well, let's start with a fundamental law of physics, energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be converted to another form...

Given that Einstein's formula shows that matter is just another form of energy, it's equally valid to say that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be converted to another form.

That means that all the energy and matter in the universe today always existed and always will exist. The universe had no beginning and will have no end. Either that or our understanding of the fundamental laws of physics is flawed or incomplete. Just something to think about.

Kimyl, your argument is a m... (Below threshold)

Kimyl, your argument is a mess. First, the NMD was originally devised to counter a Russian missile attack. Since Russia had a significantly higher number of missiles than North Korea, the system's capacity should be more than capable of taking out anything NK could throw in the air.

Second, NMD is a multi-tiered system. That means we should have many different opportuniities to take out a missile after launch. Additionally the military isn't going to try once for each missile, each station along the way will be making mulitple attempts at intercept.

I set up a little simulation to check this. Based on three levels of intercept, with each level taking one shot per missile, I ran 100 tests against 10 possible NK missiles. Based on a very conservative 50% hit-rate, I'm getting about 89-90% accuracy for 1000 attempted intercepts. Putting the hit-rate at 62.5% (your 5/8 number), the accuracy rate goes up towards 94-96%

Now keep in mind that tests stopped for technical glitches are counted as failures by the media (faced with a real threat, they'd launch anyway). Also consider that NK's missiles seem to have a high failure rate. And finally, NMD does have to deal with weather, but so would an incoming attack.

Body armor for individual s... (Below threshold)

Body armor for individual soldiers is very expensive and only protects against some weapons. Then the enemy, of course, shoots for the parts of the body not covered by armor. Sometimes, because they're wearing heavy and bulky armor, our troops are endanged because they cannot move or see well enough to counter the threat.

We should immediately put an end to the use of personal body armor.

[/sarc, I hope you realize...]

Golly r,If missile... (Below threshold)
Big D:

Golly r,

If missile defense doesn't work, well then, you must have another solution in mind. Perhaps something to do with preemption? Perhaps before the threat is imminent? No? Okay then, how about mutually assured destruction (MAD)? Not too wild about that either? Hmmmm. Must be some way of dealing with these type of nut jobs. I know! Maybe we could appeal to the U.N.!

Something you are obviously missing here. Ballistic missile defense doesn't necessarily have to work to be effective. It just has to be perceived as being possibly effective to work.

In that way it is a lot like MAD - it creates uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any attack, making the attack less likely to occur. Yes they could build more missiles. Yes there are countermeasures they could employ. But how sure could an enemy ever be that they would actually work? And if you can't be sure your attack would succeed, then you probably won't ever launch it given the potential for a devastating counterstrike.

Missile defense is actually a more sane form of MAD. It gives us the option of NOT automatically incinerating any country that launches a missile at us. It ticks back that nuclear clock, giving us more options for a response.

Even if missle denfense has... (Below threshold)

Even if missle denfense has a 50% success rate, which would you rather have, 5 cities hit with nukes or 10 cities hit with nukes?

And if you were Kim Jung-Ih... (Below threshold)

And if you were Kim Jung-Ihl, wouod you bet your unholy butt that the missle you launched wouold be among the 50% that were not shot down?

Never mind that the republi... (Below threshold)

Never mind that the republicans have been the controlling party for some time now an that no progress has been made under their watch -- let's find some democrats to throw mud at.

Your desperation is showing kiddies....

I love the moonbat morons w... (Below threshold)

I love the moonbat morons who insist that missile defense "can't work" or "has made no progress."

They have to believe these things, in the face of all facts, because for them they are articles of faith.

Don't worry, losers - the system will protect you, too, even if you don't believe in it. Sorta like the US Army . . .


The left DOES have an alter... (Below threshold)

The left DOES have an alternative to missle defense...

...surrender and live out our days in a socialist utopia!






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