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5/04/2004 08:45:00 PM | Dan

If We Build It They Will Come

Among the many nonsensical and out-right absurd things George Bush has done in his Presidency few can compare with the enormous waste of taxpayer money that is the national missile defense system. Imagine if in response to the 9/11 attacks, Bush had proposed building a big glass dome over Manhattan. Hey, it would protect New York from future hijacked planes, but it wouldn't really be a very good protection against other types of attacks. The only possible reason for building a glass dome would be if the glass-makers had contributed generously to your campaign. George Bush's "Field of Dreams"-like delusions of imminent missile attack in the post-9/11 world make about strategic sense as France's World War I Maginot Line. This missile defense system will protect America from a threat that barely exists today and can easily be evaded by our enemies.

Proponents of the system (and no doubt our friends in the Comments section of this blog) will argue that there is no reason NOT to build the system since we have perfected the technology and there are several countries still remaining in existence who have the means and motive to launch a missile attack against us. The truth is that only an insane rogue leader who was willing to sacrifice millions of his own people's lives would launch an attack like that. So, Kim Jong Il for example? Perhaps. But how much better protected would our ports and subways be if we had spent our missile defense money on those strategic defenses. When you have a limited budget for defense you prioritize based on need (although I think it's clear the fiscal conservatives have left the building). Missile defense should have been the first thing on the budget chopping block on September 12th. Americans everywhere should question this President's commitment to fighting terrorism when he is willing to waste our money in this manner.

Here's more info on the new system:

The first system will rely on interceptors in a handful of silos here at Fort Greeley, an Army base, and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. In an attack, boosters would release the kill vehicle more than 100 miles above earth. With a heat-sensitive telescope, the vehicle would search the chill of space for the warhead, then maneuver with its thrusters and try to pulverize the weapon by simply ramming it at speeds faster than 20,000 miles an hour.



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