Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 25, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEMS....I meant to blog about this yesterday, but better late than never....

The LA Times reports that the 2004 budget includes some fine print that exempts missile defense systems from "operational testing." These systems, you may recall, are the very ones that barely seem to function at all, let alone operate as planned. Thus, doing away with operational testing is the only way to actually get them deployed on the schedule George Bush would like:

The latest proposal from the Pentagon would exempt the missile defense deployment from a law that requires the Defense Department to certify that appropriate operational testing has been completed before putting systems into production.

The Bush administration announced in December a goal of having a limited ground-based system operational in Alaska and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by Oct. 1, 2004.

Hmmm, October 2004. That date sounds familiar. Don't we have some big election or something coming up right around then?

Unlike some critics, I'm in favor of developing missile defense systems because, you know, if they worked they'd prevent people from firing nuclear missiles at our cities. But while the Bush administration has shown an airy contempt for scientific evidence in the past whenever it's suited them, isn't this a little cynical even for Bush's conservative supporters? No, they probably won't do any good, but a photo op at Vandenberg in October will look might fine, mighty fine!

If the Bush administration wants more money to speed up development, I'm open to persuasion although keep in mind that we've been at this for 20 years now with little to show for it. But the only reason to be afraid of testing a system is if you're pretty sure it will fail, so if they're asking me to contribute my tax dollars to a system so bad they're afraid to even put it through public trials, count me out. I've spent way too much time in the software industry to fall for that particular song and dance.

Kevin Drum 10:06 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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