Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Missile Defense: laugh when you play the game, cry when you hear the facts

If you are not already skeptical of the Bush administration's plans to build a third missile defense site in Eastern Europe (the first two are in Alaska and California), testing the system yourself may just change your mind:

** Test the Missile Defense yourself, click to play! **

I must admit, actually pulling the trigger makes missile defense much more fun than the sobering facts behind the system:

* Despite more than 50 years of research and well over $100 billion of investment, the U.S. missile defense system still remains an "experimental" program, and is being deployed even as tests of the system continue to fail or remain far from real world conditions.

* The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects the average spending for the missile defense system will be $13 billion per year between 2006 and 2024. It is the largest single program in the Defense budget.

* Countermeasures, such as decoys, are the "Achilles heel" of missile defense: U.S. interceptors cannot discern between incoming missiles and their decoys. Even if the U.S. manages to get its missile interceptors to shoot straight, other states can neutralize U.S. missile defense effectiveness by improving their offensive missile decoy capabilities.

* The Bush administration promised that pulling out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 would not lead to a new arms race, but recent statements from Russian President Putin suggest otherwise: Putin said that Russia had successfully tested ICBMs that could defeat any missile defense system, and that Russia would retarget nuclear missiles at Europe if new U.S. missile defense systems are deployed in Eastern Europe.

For more information, check out two stellar blogs by Doug Shaw and Jeffrey Lewis.

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