Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 20, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

MISSILE DEFENSE....Maybe James Robbins is going to get his wish:

The Pentagon activated its new U.S. ground-based interceptor missile defense system, and officials announced yesterday that any long-range missile launch by North Korea would be considered a "provocative act."

....Two Navy Aegis warships are patrolling near North Korea as part of the global missile defense and would be among the first sensors that would trigger the use of interceptors, the officials said yesterday.

....One senior Bush administration official told The Washington Times that an option being considered would be to shoot down the Taepodong missile with responding interceptors.

This is almost certainly just anonymous trash talking, but I guess you never know. After all, they're going to have to test this thing against a real target someday.

Kevin Drum 12:26 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (82)

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hijacked:


Former BUSH administration official David Safavian has been found guilty by a jury of obstruction of justice and lying in the Jack Abramoff scandal. - A.P. 6/20/06

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on June 20, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Let's hope that it's just talk. It we shoot and hit, we are the provocateurs. If we shoot and miss (and, based on the BMD tests done to date, that would be the more probable outcome), we look reckless and stupid. Oh yeah, I forgot...Bush is going to be the Decider on this. God help us.

Posted by: Greg in FL on June 20, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I wish Bush was around in 1962. We've got an entire ICBM system that never got tested.

Posted by: Saam Barrager on June 20, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder how they talked the North Koreans into sticking a GPS beacon onto their missile? From past tests, it's obvious that's how the military views the future of long-range missiles -- conviently telling everywhere where they are and where they're heading.

Posted by: Morat20 on June 20, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

I view this as an interesting test of the sanity of our military and political leadership. All indications are that any attempt to shoot down a North Korean missile in flight would be a humiliating failure.

Posted by: Ethan on June 20, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm completely confident in the ability of the Bush administration to, once again, demonstrate through failure that America is not the omnipotent miltary power we want the rest of the world to think we are. How much will it bolster our enemies when America fails to shoot down Korea's missile?

The Bush administration is a living reminder of Twain's admonition: "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Posted by: MBinChicago on June 20, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Well, now we know where Tbrosz has been and is now. He's on a rubber raft in the middle of the Pacific with a slingshot!

Posted by: R.L. on June 20, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

This is astounding. Could it really be true that the Bush administration believes its own lies? As many have pointed out, every test of the BMD system has either failed or was rigged.

Or is it just a bluff? If the North Koreans do test the missile, they will land it in the sea hundreds of miles from anywhere. The Bush people could claim, I suppose, that they were ready to shoot it down but decided not to when they saw that it wasn't going to hit anything. But now, they will say, we all see why it was so important to throw billions of dollars at the Star Wars program while spending next to nothing on port security.

Posted by: Joe Buck on June 20, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well, now we know where Tbrosz has been and is now. He's on a rubber raft in the middle of the Pacific with a slingshot!

Post of the Day!

Posted by: craigie on June 20, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

This is a good idea. If North Korea is so foolish as to test its rocket, we will get practice on detecting and tracking an actual launch. There is no way we will try to shoot it down (unless it strays into US territory). Our anti-missile missle wouldn't work, which would certainly weaken the implied safety of our defense. Its better to have the world suspect that our shield won't work than to prove it to them. That little bit of uncertainty could be important in future conflicts.

Posted by: NeilS on June 20, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Is this all part of a giant bluff-off? Let's hope NK is bluffing about launching the missle, because if they do, there's no way we'll successfully shoot it down.

Posted by: Mr Furious on June 20, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

What happens if we miss? But I think we have to respond in some way if this missle goes over a ally or Alaska.

Posted by: Joseph on June 20, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

The administration already has missed its best chance to deal with this problem. Now we're at the point where our stuff has to work perfectly 100% of the time and North Korea's stuff only has to work once. I'm pretty sure Thucydides or Sun-Tsu or somebody advised against letting yourself get to that point, but I could be mistaken.

Posted by: Lex on June 20, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Buck, I think you're onto something -- but you don't go far enough.

When the N Korean missile does ultimately splash down off-target in the ocean, why couldn't the Bushies CLAIM that they in fact DID shoot it down? It's not like the N Koreans have any international credibility -- well, not any more than the Bushies, at least.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on June 20, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, now we know where Tbrosz has been and is now. He's on a rubber raft in the middle of the Pacific with a slingshot!"

That seems a little too "hands on" for our little wingnuts. Fuming in their mom's basements, naming each of their cheetos as an enemy of US ("Die cheeto Kim Jong the Third! Die Atrios! " (mom's voice) "Wilbur! Are you still down there playing with your Cheetos? I told you..." "MOM! I told you not to call me that!" (Exasperated sigh)"Fine. American Hawk. Wash your hands, put on some clean clothes, and go look for a job. I'm not supporting you forever."

Posted by: Mysticdog on June 20, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

What happens if we miss? But I think we have to respond in some way if this missle goes over a ally or Alaska.

Aha! The missile "misses" and lands in ANWAR, destroying many many acres. Then the White House says "oh well, since it's all a parking lot anyway, what say we drill for oil?"

That Rove - there really is no end to his sneakyness.

Posted by: craigie on June 20, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that's great. Now the North Koreans can pull our chain by fuelling up a missile.

It's like getting into a fight with a bar drunk. Win or lose, you just can't win.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 20, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm.... so the US now owns all international airspace?

Oh yeah, our official regime policy is that we can shoot anything (or anyone) Bush orders anywhere, anytime.

Posted by: Buford on June 20, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Crap, that was supposed to read "Die cheeto Kim Jong the Third! /chomp chomp chomp/ Die Atrios! /chomp chomp chomp/" Message board didn't like how I identified sound effects, which is a crying shame for the quality of the post....

Posted by: Mysticdog on June 20, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Load a nuke, say they lost control of the missile as it tracks the two warships and take them both out.

Or, better yet, say the warships caused the N.Koreans to lose control of their missile and it takes out both warships.

Poof!

I mean, it is only two warships that got in the way. Collateral damage, right?

Who is the doofus that got us this far into the corner?

Posted by: Sky-Ho on June 20, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Simply shooting down a fakakta missile is no substitute for nuking North Korea off the map, which is what we should have done three years ago, right after taking care of Iraq, Iran, and France in similar fashion.

(Sorry, I've been out of town, I'm a little tired, I'm still trying to catch up.)

Posted by: American Hawk's stand-in on June 20, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

BTW - the South Koreans reportedly think the US is lying about the whole business now. Gosh - I wonder why they'd think that?

And yes, it's very funny to believe that a missile defence system that's never actually worked, would be tried in front of the whole world.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on June 20, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

considering how venal Karl and crew are... do you think they'd risk the embarassment of a failure by the system to intercept or launch for that matter?

it's just bluster and talk... that's all they've got on this one.

Posted by: Kevin on June 20, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

By publicly posturing this way, the Bush Administration maximizes the blow to US prestige and credibility if the DPRK is not deterred from launching a missile, particularly if the US does not attempt to intercept after this talk, or, worse yet, attempts and fails to intercept.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 20, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK
considering how venal Karl and crew are... do you think they'd risk the embarassment of a failure by the system to intercept or launch for that matter?

If they don't expect to attempt to intercept -- and succeed -- the only way to avoid national disgrace would have been to STFU.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 20, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

NeilS >"This is a good idea. If North Korea is so foolish as to test its rocket, we will get practice on detecting and tracking an actual launch. There is no way we will try to shoot it down (unless it strays into US territory)..."

EXACTLY

Both sides most likely want this to happen & I really don`t see the N. Koreans as disconnected enough from reality so as to actually launch on a trajectory towards any thing other than somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean away from land (heads up TBrosz, got enough rocks ?)

And in addition to the Aegis stuff I`m sure the new systems in Alaska are all warmed up as are the Cobra assets (Ball, Dane, Judy etc), Combat Sent, Rivet Joint et al so there are/will be many multispectral "eyes" on this

Data heaven for the collection/intel folks

"If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough," - Robert Capa

Posted by: daCascadian on June 20, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, so what I'm getting here is that we the Military says we can track a ballistic missile, know it's course, speed, and where it will land; And possibly shoot it down.
A ballistic missile, a piece of wonderful engineering, worked on by brilliant engineers and scientists who've collaborated with each other over decades. Then put together by skilled craftsman, and technicians.
And, to counter it with even more amazing feats of engineering, and scientific artistry the likes which dazzles the mind to even think of....Wow, what an amazing feat of engineering, and how-to gusto.

Sooo, um...if we can do that with a ballistic missile, and anti-ballistic missile systems, why is Osama bin Laden and his circus of misfits still out and about in Afghanistan?

Posted by: sheerahkahn on June 20, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

"BTW - the South Koreans reportedly think the US is lying about the whole business now." - Well something's fishy. You can't keep LOX in a missile for very long, yet this "crisis" seems to have been pending for some time.

Posted by: chasmrich on June 20, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

There aren't that many ways they could avoid Japan if the goal is a water landing.

If they chose the Tsugaru Strait again the trajectory is well known and an interception has it's best chance. The only other options include going over Russian or South Korean airspace.

Posted by: B on June 20, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Oh goody. A chance to very publicly show that "Star Wars" works about as effectively as Dubya thinks - which is not at all...

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 20, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I have to wonder who would be more worried about a successful intercept by our anti-missile system. While it would be worrisome news for nations adverse to the US, it would be disastrous news for the left and Dems here in the US, who have long argued that Reagan's "Star Wars" would never work. A successful intercept would be another illustration of how utterly clueless these people are with respect to national security matters and how they have been on the wrong side of every important security issue since the Perishing Missile debate of the mid-80s. (Anyone remember the Nuclear Freeze Movement?)

A successful intercept of the North Korean missile would ensure that no Democrat would be elected President for the foreseeable future. Since there are no currently viable Democrat politicians who actually believes in missile defense or the need for the US to develop a full anti-ballistic missile defense capability.

Posted by: Chicounsel on June 20, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

This could be a win-win situation. The North Koreans launch their missile, the US shoots at it and misses, and it finally crashes into the Pacific Ocean. North Korea gets to say "Missile launched over Pacific Ocean, hits target. A great success for Kim Jong Il." The US gets to say, "Korean missile fired on by US forces, falls harmlessly into Pacific Ocean. A great success for George Bush."

Posted by: N.Wells on June 20, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

North Korea is very, very weak. Its primary weapon has always been to convince people that they are truly crazy. Unfortunately, I think they really are truly crazy. I won't go over the details, but they've convinced me several times.

Every negotiating session with NK is preceded by some provocative action. This is more of the same. The question I have is where is China in this. That is the only country that really has influence over N Korea.

Posted by: NeilS on June 20, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

A successful intercept of the North Korean missile would ensure that no Democrat would be elected...

Yes and if it started raining money we could pay off this absurd Bush debt and that would be good for Republican candidates too!

Posted by: ckelly on June 20, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

sheerahkahn >"...why is Osama bin Laden and his circus of misfits still out and about in Afghanistan?"

Assuming you are actually serious about the question I`ll suggest that perhaps "they" haven`t outlived their usefulness just yet

Of course never forget that there are "other actors" involved also

Now just what might China be doing with all those dollars Walmart et al are sending them...

"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill" - Sun Tzu

Posted by: daCascadian on June 20, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

As one of the few people around here (well, I guess) who has ever had any direct contact with North Korea I think NeilS is just about right. Theyre the people who continue to act so crazy that youre simply not sure what they might actually do.

As to Chicocounsels points: if it is launched, and if the anti-missiles are, and they work (a series of hugely improbable events I happen to think) then yes, the people with the biggest problems will in fact be those whove been anti the missile defense systems for all these years.

Whether thats a fabulous enough outcome for the Admin to actually risk theirnot working, well, I guess well find out soon enough.

Posted by: failingeconomist on June 20, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

After all, they're going to have to test this thing against a real target someday.

Is that a quote from Third Reich TV?

Posted by: Hostile on June 20, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to think the missile doesn't exist, or at least is in pieces collecting dust.

Trumped up threat, aggressive posturing involving expensive and secretive government solution, and then nothing. Familiar pattern?

Will the absence of a launch be used as evidence of Bush's ability to keep the US safe?

Posted by: B on June 20, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

If they launch and we try to intercept, any bets on whether we'll hit and destroy?

I'll give 3-1 against.

Posted by: K on June 20, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

B >"I'm beginning to think the missile doesn't exist, or at least is in pieces collecting dust..."

There were reports yesterday that no launch would likely take place until at the earliest Wednesday (DPRK local) due to weather (clouds over the launch site).

It certainly could be that they are just running through fueling tests and trying to see how the world reacts & don`t intend to launch anytime soon

I guess we shall see...

"Everyday reality now is a complete fiction, manufactured by the media landscape and we operate inside it." - JG Ballard

Posted by: daCascadian on June 20, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I guarantee that the monkey flying out of my ass has about as much chance as catching the NK missile as our vaunted missile defense system. Heck, it doesn't even have a suitably impressive name yet. How can we take it seriously if it doesn't have a good name--how about Hardon or Bushcock?

Posted by: Freder Frederson on June 20, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Freder,

When you say "guarantee", what sort of odds does that translate into? K is giving 3 to one against...what odds would you give?

Posted by: Sweet Lou on June 20, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

K >"If they launch and we try to intercept, any bets on whether we'll hit and destroy?..."

How would you be verifying this ?

Here`s a scenario for you :

They launch, we track & decide to test our anti system(s) so we launch, the missle breaks up at altitude (in miles, maybe even almost exo-atmospheric) for technical engineering reasons [which seems the most likely outcome]

They declare successful test results, we claim a hit

Who wins the bet ?

Remember "Trust but verify" ?

"...let`s face it, modern man is just ancient man...with better electronics..." - Mr. Jack

Posted by: daCascadian on June 20, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Palyazat
Palyazatok

Posted by: Wang on June 20, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

They are not gonna do this. As Woody Hayes said, when you pass, three things can happen and 2 are bad.

When we try to shoot it down, three thing can happen, and two of them are bad. If we hit, well and good. But we will miss, because it is a system run by republicans. We will look stupid, and the Dems will gain a huge point. We could also injure or hit a ship.

Not gonna happen

Posted by: POed Lib on June 20, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Our 'missile defense' can't possibly intercept it.

It just doesn't work. It can't hit a target dummy.

Why do we care that they want to use it? Sure I want them to shoot the test-fired missile down over the ocean.

But it won't happen.

So why bother pretending that it could?

Posted by: Crissa on June 20, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

But now that they've implicitly threatened to shoot it down, wouldn't we look terribly incompetent to not shoot? The Dems would have a field day, if they knew what they were doing with PR (yeah, I know).

Posted by: K on June 20, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

They should fill the nose cone with kim chee and land it on the Mall in high tourist season.

Posted by: M. Gredell on June 20, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

It is my understanding that the only time our anti-missile missile system has come close to doing what it was supposed to do was when

(1) we fired a target missile with only one warhead

(2) we made sure the experimental missile knew the time of launch and trajectory of the target.

I'm sure, if we ask, the North Koreans will let us know the answer to number two before they launch.

Posted by: dweb on June 20, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

A successful intercept of the North Korean missile would ensure that no Democrat would be elected President for the foreseeable future.

It would also portend winged pigs flying out of my rectum and delivering presents to all the good little boys and girls, seeing as how our so-called missile defense system still can't even hit the broad side of a barn in anything other than circumstances as tightly controlled as a typical George W. Bush town-hall meeting.

Posted by: Doug on June 20, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Oh boy wouldn't that be an embarrassment? Launch and interceptor or three and watch as they all miss.

I almost wish they would give it a go so we can put that ridiculous boondogle to bed...again.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on June 20, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

We could shoot it before it is even launched.But odds say this is Photo op, so to speak.

Posted by: Now on June 20, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Please o please o please o please o PUHLEEEEEZE let them try to shoot that thing down and have NMD fail! That would just be the icing on the cake.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on June 20, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Bushies announcing that they have activated their "missile defense system" is like Ronald McDonald announcing he has activated one of those Rube Goldberg machines.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 20, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Let's say that, hypothetically, the Koreans launch their toy and the missile defence system successfully shoots down the missile.

That would be an impressive feat, no doubt.

But does it mean that it would work in a real shooting war situation? Not necessarily. If I was North Korea, would I be giving away all my missile-defence-beating tricks in a test shot when the purpose is just to validate the basic engineering of the missile (as well as chest-beating)?

Posted by: Robert Merkel on June 20, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

I am as liberal as they come, but I have to tell you--this is precisely why we need a missile defense system. North Korea is unstable, aggressive, permanently embittered, and possesses semi-viable long range missiles and nuclear material. It is not for the sophisticated missiles that you need a defense system--diplomacy and reason are better defense. But for terrorists and rogue states, it is better to have some defense than none. We have some pretty good ABM technology now, tied to a number of factors. If it is ready for a partial deployment, then let's use them. We already paid for them. It isn't that tough to defeat a low-tech long range system with a known trajectory. Salvo missiles and debris. I wish this administration took diplomacy as seriously as it does technology, however. We are in a bad place right now of their own construct.

Posted by: Sparko on June 20, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

sparko,

Now, now. You're challenging the cast-in-stone far-left orthodoxy on missile defense, which is that it's technically impossible and/or ruinously expensive and that no right-thing person would support it.

But you're right, of course. The technical and economic obstacles to a reliable, large-scale, strategic ABM system are daunting and probably will be for the foreseeable future. And we probably don't need such a system, anyway. But a more modest system, like Aegis, designed to shoot down single missiles or small numbers of missiles launched accidently, or on purpose by terrorists or rogue nations like North Korea, is eminently feasible and we are right to be pursuing it.

Posted by: GOP on June 20, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

'Sparko' posted:

"this is precisely why we need a missile defense system"

Too bad we don't have one.

.

"It isn't that tough to defeat a low-tech long range system with a known trajectory."

They couldn't even get the Patriot system to work against the lowly SCUDs. How do you expect to intercept ICBMs ?

It's pie-in-the-sky for the foreseeable future.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 20, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

VJ >"...They couldn't even get the Patriot system to work against the lowly SCUDs..."

Excuse me but just what are you referring to ?

The Postol "evidence" is total crap

Must be a parallel universe you are in

"The age of the mass media is just that -- an age. It doesn't have to last forever." - Jay Rosen

Posted by: daCascadian on June 20, 2006 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

VJ--there is an integrated missile defense system and it has improved markedly since 1991. Scuds required point defense weapons and were unguided and posed little actual threat when conventionally armed--unconventionally armed, they posed a huge threat to the Iraqis too, as they were dangerous to operate.

I don't know why I get drawn into these arguments. I am no fan of the administration, but come on! The same people who believe we should invest in alternative energy technology refuse to believe that missile defense--an easier by far goal--is unattainable. I have to say, I lost a lot of respect for groups like the "Uniion of Concerned Scientists" when they go absolutely off on tangents with this. Know this: a lot of the spewing about missile defense is personality and pride driven on both sides. Think how far your desk top computers have come since you bought it. It lags way behind defense data systems. The BVR hypersonic AARs are already on the shelf. As you know, refutations of your argument are probably not going to be Unclassified. Unlike Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, I am cool with that.

Posted by: Sparko on June 20, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

The Patriot missiles did not shoot down the Scuds. That was a phony story worked out to keep the Israelis out of the Gulf War.

Besides, the Scuds were crappy missiles, that fell apart during flight and came down at a random point. Even if you hit one with a Patriot, it would just come down at a different random point, and there's no guarantee that this would improve the situation any.

On the other hand, if you fire a Patriot into a big cloud of debris from a missile that's falling apart, you're more likely to appear to hit something.

Posted by: Joe Buck on June 20, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Sparko, stick to whatever you may know something about. Desktop computer advances do not equate to missile defense. To quote our president, "It's hard. It's very, very hard." Forget the propaganda and think hitting a bullet with a bullet, i.e., your 30.06 bullet intercepting another 30.06 bullet, but more difficult.

Know anything about physics? Or the capabilities of acquisition systems? Or the defensive systems deployed on ICBMs?

Posted by: Nixon Did It on June 21, 2006 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

Sparko, while technology has indeed improved markedly since the 1980's, and since the First Gulf War, the biggest problems with missile defence remains unresolved and, in my view, unresolvable.

The trouble is that if it fails to intercept even one missile the consequences would be so catastrophic as to render the system strategically useless. Say that the system has a 95% chance of intercepting a missile (as I understand it, very few weapons systems work more reliably than that). If somebody launches 10 missiles at you, there's a 40% chance one avoids the defences and hits. If the chance of success is 90%, there's a 65% chance at least one missile lands.

To be strategically useful, therefore, the system has to be exceptionally reliable. However, a missile defence system is exceedingly difficult to test realistically, particularly as a system.

Finally, ballistic missile defence only defends you against, well, ballistic missiles. Alternative schemes for delivering nuclear weapons vary from the mundane but effective - merchant shipping, for instance - to rather out-there but vaguely plausible alternatives. If I were North Korea and I wanted to scare the screaming willies out of the United States, I'd get to work on a modern-day Project Pluto.

Posted by: Robert Merkel on June 21, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

"
This is a good idea. If North Korea is so foolish as to test its rocket, we will get practice on detecting and tracking an actual launch.
"

Wow --- you mean the US will get a chance to test technology that it first deployed in the 50s, when the DEW line went up?
Man, talk about a lucky break. Fifty years we've being flying blind without a clue as to whether this stuff works. I mean, it's not like we've been able to test it against oh, I don't know, planes or every rocket ever fired by anyone on earth.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 21, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK

'daCascadian' posted:

"Excuse me but just what are you referring to ?"

That the Patriot system is a fraud.

.

"The Postol 'evidence' is total crap"

Nonsense. Even the Israelis admitted that it MIGHT have MAYBE shot down ONE SCUD. Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.

.

"Must be a parallel universe you are in"

Nope. It's the RightWing that's from Bizarro World.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 21, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

'Spark'’ posted:

"there is an integrated missile defense system and it has improved markedly since 1991"

If there had been a "markedly" "improved" system, it would have improved it's shoot-down rate from ZERO.

.

"The same people who believe we should invest in alternative energy technology refuse to believe that missile defense--an easier by far goal--is unattainable."

A statement that only someone unfamiliar with basic physics could write.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 21, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

VJ >"...A statement that only someone unfamiliar with basic physics could write."

You are apparently VERY unfamiliar with the laws of physics given your posts here

Decided to forgo the meds lately eah ?

The mind is its own place,
and in itself can make a heaven of hell,
and a hell of heaven. - John Milton

Posted by: daCascadian on June 21, 2006 at 3:32 AM | PERMALINK

The BVR hypersonic AARs are already on the shelf.

Beyond-visual-range hypersonic air-to-air refuelling? I'd pay cash money to watch that!

Perhaps you meant AAMs..air-to-air missiles...

More seriously, if they were serious about preventing this, seeing as the thing's been sitting on the pad for two days, surely they'd just summon a B2 and post a JDAM down its neck? I can't see the point of trying to hit it with the BMD test rig; after all, the main point of a small missile defence system is to create credible uncertainty in the mind of an enemy as to whether their rocket would get through. Given the excellent chance it won't work, this is quite astonishingly stupid.

But then again, as Tbogg put it, you've become the nation that puts a plastic bag over its head to play astronaut.

Posted by: Alex on June 21, 2006 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

Alex, the last time I looked almost any AAM could be considered BVR these days, so what great advances in technology have occurred since the last 1960s according to this thesis. If that earlier commentor was referring to the Phoenix AAM, then I suspect he missed the story earlier this year that Dubya's Navy had just withdrawn from service the F14, the only fighter in the Fleet which could handle the Phoenix. So, I guess one could say that we have come a long-way with BVR AAMs - backwards under Dubya's regime. It's hard work.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on June 21, 2006 at 6:35 AM | PERMALINK

Anyway, it's hardly of great import - the main reason I mentioned was to mock the clueless botch of AAR for AAMs..

Posted by: Alex on June 21, 2006 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

Sparko wrote:

I am as liberal as they come, but I have to tell you--this is precisely why we need a missile defense system. North Korea is unstable, aggressive, permanently embittered, and possesses semi-viable long range missiles and nuclear material.

This is the most grounded viewpoint I've seen from a leftist yet.

People on this thread are suprisingly smug about this issue. In the next 50 years, more and more of the nations of the world will develop nuclear warheads, and missile delivery systems. We and our children will be alive to see it. And you can be certain that the U.S. will likely be a target of impoverished, rogue nations. That will happen regardless of whether a Republican or a Democrat is President. To think otherwise is to be in denial.

Eventually, the U.S. is going to need to develop missile defense into something that works.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 21, 2006 at 7:28 AM | PERMALINK

>. And you can be certain that the U.S. will likely be a target of impoverished, rogue nations.

Yeah and they are going to launch their attacks with missiles silo'd next to their version of the White House.

What is it about conservative fears that makes them so fucking stupid? Is it the odor from their shit-stained underware affecting their mental processes somehow?

Still pushing Risk pieces across Iraq against the Republican Guard, brainiacs? How's that working out?

Posted by: doesn't matter on June 21, 2006 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Sparko et al. We need a missile defense that works.

That is why I worry that the administration is so misleading on the effectiveness of the present system and so intent on making it operational before it has even been proven to work. It smells of a boondoggle not a defense.

Put the money into testing. North Korea could become a real threat and there will be others.

Posted by: NeilS on June 21, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK
The same people who believe we should invest in alternative energy technology refuse to believe that missile defense--an easier by far goal--is unattainable.

Various forms of "alternative energy technology" have been demonstrated and work very well, the primary issues are chicken-and-egg issues of getting infrastructure built and production up to levels where prices are reasonable.

Contrariwise, a demonstrated effective and reliable system providing wide-area protection against long-range missiles, even single warhead, ballistic missiles, does not exist, and many serious long-range ballistic missile threats are multiple warhead, and as cruise missile technology is increasingly widespread, the utility of an interception capacity limited to the much easier to intercept ballistic missiles is dubious.


Posted by: cmdicely on June 21, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Alex: thanks for the slam. I said AAR to refer to air launched aerial rockets to differentiate between our own systems and those of our allies. I have spent a great deal of time examining this issue. The advances in said programs are so protected and so outside the mainstream that no one here has any idea what they are talking about when they speak of capability. End of discussion. There are things in heaven and earth little dreamt of in your philosophy. A layered missile defense does require some pretty conventional approaches too, from special ops to long range hypersonic missiles--the Israelis and Europeans are doing quite well with this. Anyway, I see this as pushing the leading edge and potentially war avoiding. Sorry.

Posted by: Sparko on June 21, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

One more thing. I am tired of supposedly progressive people constantly slagging at one another. The Alex comment and some of the others are fouls. There is nothing wrong with being a Liberal and an advocate of strong defense. This proclivity for semantical one-upsmanship and snotty condescending behavior needs to be left to the other side. Missile defense is hugely controversial, and everyone's view of the program is emotional. But it is an area where advances are never discussed until the next wave is ready. Or the one after that.

Posted by: Sparko on June 21, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

'daCascadian' posted:

"You are apparently VERY unfamiliar with the laws of physics given your posts here Decided to forgo the meds lately eah ?"

Ah, when the RightWing has no rebuttal, they resort to name calling. How juvenile.
.

Posted by: VJ on June 21, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK
One more thing. I am tired of supposedly progressive people constantly slagging at one another. The Alex comment and some of the others are fouls. There is nothing wrong with being a Liberal and an advocate of strong defense.

Indeed, they go well together. However, there is a pretty big difference between being an advocate of strong defense (which I am) and being a dupe for every boondoggle the right-wing waves around under the dishonest banner of strong defense.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 21, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Folks: it just might be a good idea to have the system to shoot down a few rogue or intentional missiles, without endorsing the entire "Star Wars" enterprise, OK?

Posted by: Neil' on June 21, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

It might just be a good idea, if it was possible, if the cost wasn't absurdly huge, if the effects on the deterrent balance weren't dangerous, if, if, if.

Regarding "rogues", there's a serious contradiction here. Presumably the rogues are so rogue they don't care if they get nuked back, otherwise why would we need missile defence when we already have credible deterrence? But if they are sufficiently crazy not to be put off by the prospect of absolutely certain evaporation, they are unlikely to be put off by the chance their rocket might be shot down. Instead, they are more likely to send more rockets, or tuck their bomb in a shipping container. (I said on my own blog.

Regarding unintentionally launched missiles, I'd point out that it should tell us something that it's never happened. Given the amount of fear regarding "war by mistake", and the chances we took in the Cold War, it's impressive that no-one ever managed to launch a missile unintentionally - unless it's actually less of a threat than we assume.

Posted by: Alex on June 22, 2006 at 5:25 AM | PERMALINK

doesn't matter wrote:

What is it about conservative fears that makes them so fucking stupid? Is it the odor from their shit-stained underware affecting their mental processes somehow?

That's your response? ...

You misspelled "underwear". I can see you're an authority on 'stupid'?

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 22, 2006 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

What Neil said. One of the infuriating parts of the arguments here is the presumption that it is either an all or nothing situation on the technology. I think a modest program to defeat accidental or terror launches is good policy. And Alex: accidents and near launches plagued the Cold War. Still a problem too. A North Korean accident would imperil millions.
incidentally, we can track and detroy cruise missiles. It is one of the selling points of the expensive next generation jets in Europe and the U.S. It is simply wrong for cm et al. to say that we don't have defensive capability. It is also wrong to be condescending to other progressive posters.

Posted by: Sparko on June 22, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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