Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Former President Clinton Speaks Out Against Bush’s Euro-missile Plans

The Washington Post reported last Friday that former president Bill Clinton is skeptical about the expansion of missile defense sites into Poland and the Czech Republic.

"My facts may be wrong, but my impression is that we are creating a crisis here when none is necessary."

"I don't think the missile defense system is reliable enough to create an impact."

"Unless they work better than I think they do, it's a colossal waste of money."
Clinton’s facts are not wrong. Missile defense is the most expensive item in the defense budget--the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects the average spending for the missile defense system to be $13 billion per year between 2006 and 2024. Well over $100 billion has been spent on missile defense to date.

With such a high price tag you would think the system works. Nope. Missile defense is being deployed even though tests of the system continue to fail or remain far from real world conditions.

Congress is skeptical of the Euro-missile plans as well. The House has cut the administration’s $310 million request by half, and barred construction of new European sites until a series of benchmarks is met. Among the many benchmarks are:

* The U.S. must sign agreements with the Czech Republic and Poland. Even if the Czech and Polish leadership can push missile defense without losing their jobs (a task looking increasingly unlikely as these leaders’ constituents are sharply opposed to the missile defense plans), signing formal bilateral agreements could take years to finalize.

* The Pentagon must demonstrate that the systems being deployed are reliable. Tests so far have not demonstrated missile defense reliability, but don’t take my word for it… you can test the system yourself.

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