Rethinking Missile Defense It goes without saying that the course of U.S. military policy will be profoundly impacted by the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As the country's leaders chart the course of our nation's defense strategy, the emphasis placed on developing a National Missile Defense (NMD) system should reevaluated.
One Certainty in an Uncertain World: Star Wars Program is Stupid
One of the clearest things demonstrated by the September 11 terrorist attacks is the total pointlessness of a Star Wars "missile defense" system, for that system would have done nothing to protect the innocent nor stop the guilty. It was bad enough that such a system would violate treaties that the United States has signed; bad enough that early tests of the system were rigged by corrupt U.S. officials and still failed to work properly; bad enough that cost overruns, lobbyists and bribery have taken over the project. But now the uselessness and silliness of the whole Star Wars undertaking is obvious to everyone. Yet billions of your tax dollars may still be spent on it! Here are some notes on this subject from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
Experts concede that no missile defense system could have stopped the terrorist attacks, but proponents continue to fight for NMD even though the system would not have saved one life. Nor is there any current evidence that NMD could destroy an incoming missile from a "rogue state," such as North Korea as it is intended to do.
Each system of missile defense is still in the early stages of development. The ground-based interceptor, the most advanced system, is four years away from even beginning operational testing. It will take years and billions of dollars to determine if any system will be effective.
If past is prologue, officials can expect even more delays in testing that will push back possible implementation of a system and increase costs. A July test of NMD was originally scheduled for May 2000, then postponed until January 2001, until finally being conducted two months ago.
Despite these concerns, a Senate committee last week approved the president's request for $8.3 billion for missile defense for next fiscal year -- a $3 billion increase over this fiscal year's funding. Similarly, the House on Wednesday approved $7.9 billion for missile defense as part of the $343 billion defense authorization bill.
Recognizing that incoming missiles from "rogue states" are not the nation's most imminent threat, the Senate did give the President the authority to spend $1.3 billion of the money set aside for missile defense to combat terrorism and the House designated $400 million for anti-terrorism efforts. In all, Congress has approved about $6 billion for improved counter-terrorism efforts - a total amount that is substantially less than either chamber approved for missile defense!
Now, more than ever, America needs a national defense strategy that works. As defense officials and lawmakers begin to separate the wheat from the chaff, the Administration's plan to spend tens of billions on national missile defense (NMD) should face special scrutiny.
The only thing that missile defense system provides is a false sense of security. A belief that this overpriced and faulty security blanket can keep our nation from harm's way is not only wrong, it is dangerous.
If you would like more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500
ext. 110 or by email
at firstname.lastname@example.org. TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
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