Thursday, June 22, 2006

Can our missile defense system stand and deliver?

An inevitable unintended consequence of the Cold War’s arms race had to be that we would eventually see the day people scarier than the USSR's bosses would have nukes, too. Well, here we are: Iran and North Korea don’t want to be left out of the club. They look at Israel and Pakistan, just for starters, and they say -- if those squirrelly states can have the bomb, we refuse to be left out.

They have a point, no matter how much I wish overpopulated North Korea wasn’t armed to the teeth, and needing to feed fewer mouths. Now it boasts it is about to test-fire a long-range missile, out over the ocean.

If we can’t shoot that thing down, once it’s 500 or 1,000 miles out to sea -- harmlessly, over international water -- then what the hell was all that Star Wars, Patriot Missile business about?

Either we can do it, or we can’t. North Korea wants to see if we can do it. The whole world wants to see if we can do it.

No, I don’t like the idea of a preemptive strike at the busy launch site in North Korea, to prevent the test by blowing the hardware to smithereens. That could open a can of nasty worms. Do we really have the number of active duty boots on the ground it would take to cope with how that might unfold?

If that missile is streaking toward our West Coast, minutes from whatever, either the USA can knock it out of the sky, or it can’t. This is not a time for finger-pointing talk. It's time for our very expensive superior technology to stand and deliver. Or, be exposed as a fraud.

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