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Another failed test.
An attempt to launch an interceptor missile as part of the U.S. missile defence shield failed early Wednesday in the first test of the system in nearly two years.

The Missile Defense Agency said the ground-based interceptor automatically shutdown "due to an unknown anomaly" shortly before it was to be launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean [...]

The missile defence shield was meant to be in operation by the end of 2004.

In earlier tests, missile interceptors had a record of five-for-eight in hitting target missiles.

Wednesday's test had been put of several times because of bad weather, and a malfunction of a recovery vessel not directly related to the equipment being tested, The Associated Press reported.

Note, that five out of eight record was achieved only because the target missile did not have 1) decoys (which are employed by intercontinental ballistic missiles, and 2) the targets had a homing beacon on them.

So here's the deal -- the missile defense system works sometimes, so long as the target has a big radar signal the interceptor can track, and as long as we have perfect weather in Alaska.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:18 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hmm (4.00)
    With that kind of failure, it not only deserves to be implemented, it deserves a medal of freedom!
    •  damn (none)
      I had to use the first post in the thread with a silly joke. There's nothing much else to say about this program though. It's completely idiotic in every single sense. It will cost billions of dollars and be completely useless. It can't defend in the rain, and it can't defend if many fake missiles are launched with the real ones. There's absolutely no reason why anyone who advocates it should be taken seriously - especially since even if it was completed and worked perfectly, the only reason to have it would be for first strike capacity: another terrible idea!
      •  Dont be a nattering nabob of negativism! (none)
        We nwwd this shield to protect us from those commie bastards.  The USSR is just waiting to launc- oh wait that was 15 years ago. i must be delusionsal

        "let us stand fast in times of darkness"-Julie Billiant

        by cato on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:17:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's worse than that... (none)
          From Slate, as reported in Marchmoon's diary on the subject:

          "In the past six years of flight tests, here is what the Pentagon's missile-defense agency has demonstrated: A missile can hit another missile in mid-air as long as a) the operators know exactly where the target missile has come from and where it's going; b) the target missile is flying at a slower-than-normal speed; c) it's transmitting a special beam that exaggerates its radar signature, thus making it easier to track; d) only one target missile has been launched; and e) the "attack" happens in daylight."

          What have you done today to take Bush and the Bushies down?

          by JTML on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 11:05:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  no shame in 1st comment being snark (n/t) (none)

        America would have been better off with four 8 years of Ralph Wiggum

        by LeftCoaster on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:40:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Snark is welcome as it points out that... (none)
        ... this is pure folly.

        Nifty gadgets are great, but we need to fight our battles upstream of a missile launch.  

        We'll always have enemies, but if we make them rare and give them something to lose, we'll have real homeland security.

      •  Drudge Report has a link to Canadian PM (none)
        saying Canada will not be a partner in this madness and will not allow Canadian soil to be used as a price of admission.  Good!
    •  yep (4.00)
      This just proves how desperate those dead-ender Target Missles really are!  Physics is on the march!
    •  The Decoys that They Mention? (none)
      Let me give you a rundown on the technology.

      You know those silver Mylar balloons that you can get in a grocery store?

      That's the basic technology.

      This shit isn't rocket science.

      Well, TECHNICALLY it's rocket science, but speaking as a former rocket scientist (I worked on SAMs), rocket science is not generally "rocket science".

      Thoroughly confused now?

      The Dream involves 4 sets of identical twins, 2 gallons of Cool Whip, 5 quarts of chocolate syrup, 2-1/4 pounds of strawberries, satin sheets, a magnum of champ

      by msaroff on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:23:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And another thing (none)
        A few years back, one of my very close relatives worked on the particle beam technology (super duper lasers). He would tell me about the tests they would conduct.

        1. Launch target missile
        2. Home in on misssile
        3. Fire particle beam
        4. Particle beam would fail to "lase" (i.e. nothing would happen)
        5. Declare complete success.

        He tells me that a good missile defense shield is still 20 years off. It's not supposed to work. It's all about the defense contracts.

        Where can I get a "Don't blame me, I voted for Kerry" bumper sticker?

        by bobinson on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:31:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's all about the targetting system... (none)
          that test was a "resounding" success...the particle beam working is another group's problem.

          "But then I viddied that thinking is for the gloopy ones and the oomny ones use, like, inspiration and what Bog sends." -- Alex de Large

          by rgilly on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:18:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Who manufactures this system? (none)
      Because knowing what we know about the Bush decision-making team (abject failure= big costly government contract), start buying thier stock for your piratized social security account!

      "The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all." -JFK

      by aggressiveprogressive on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:33:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  guess (none)
        Wouldn't be Halliburton or Diebold, would it?
      •  Brought to you by... (none)
        Raytheon, based here in Waltham, Mass.
      •  Everyone's got a hand in the jar (none)
        Boeing "coordinates" the Ground Based Interceptor program.

        Lockheed Martin is making one booster, Orbital Sciences is making another.

        Raytheon is building the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (the actual interceptor).

        Northrop Grumman manufactures the current Defense Support Program (DSP) and the forthcoming Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) - both are space-based early warning systems critical to the NMD concept.

        I help develop national security policy and counter-terror strategy... which is why I voted for John Kerry on November 2, 2004.

        by mustang dvs on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:48:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  IMHO as a former Marine who worked on test... (none)
          planes, just having a huge list of prime contractors like this is asking for trouble. Five major contractors, all making major components, spells integration nightmare. One company should be put in charge of the entire system, with other companies chipping in to build the vehicle and components to that company's specs. Otherwise, can you say "Sergeant York", ladies and gents? The parts do not fit together, do not communicate well to each other, and in the final result, fail frequently and sometimes appallingly. Just like the Sergeant York.

          You'd probably be better (and cheaper) putting another rocket booster stage and satellite datalinks on late-model Patriots. The chance to hit would be less, but you could fire a whole buttload of them for the price of one of these bloatwared monstrosities. Probably take out the decoys, too, but that's a small price to pay.

          But then I forget who we're dealing with here. Military utility is a secondary consideration to our current DOD, which is merely another political tool. "Faith-based Defense", as it were. This also smacks of a budgeting triumph over a military one. Great make-work for underemployed contractors.

          Howzabout some flying real-time robot drones so our guys know where the enemy is before we go into the streets, so our soldiers won't get shot? They exist, but apparently the profitability isn't as high, so they aren't used in great numbers. How about extra radiation pinpoint detection gear for our hard-pressed security people at home? Naw, the terrorists will launch nukes with a big ICBM.

          (Never mind that they could nuke our cities via donkey cart right now, and are much more likely to do so with that delivery method. Our deaths could come out of a panel van marked "American Dry Cleaners" with a Jesus Fish on it. Rapture indeed.)

          Cheap RPV's aren't sexy, and can be flown by a guy with stripes on his shoulder. Multi-Mach big expensive anti-missile missiles are, because the guys with stars on their shoulders (and some guys with chickenhawk brains) think they are. Guess which gets the money?

    •  Where is the main stream media? (none)
      As of right now, google news shows 179 links with only a tiny fraction from US outlets.
  •  asdf (4.00)
    why does the missile defense system hate America???

    also, isn't it sadly ironic that the only piece of science the Bush admin believes in is a joke to the scientific community?

    more wasted $$ on complete and total fucking nonsense.  

    "I want my country back!" - Howard Dean (proud member, reality-based community)

    by ziggy on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:12:21 AM PST

    •  Duh... (none)
      Obviously, the NMD system hates our Freedom™

      The most ironic thing is that this NMD system (100 interceptors with a 1-in-4 kill rate) is prompting China to expand its intercontinental ballistic missile capability (currently at 26 missiles and growing).


      I help develop national security policy and counter-terror strategy... which is why I voted for John Kerry on November 2, 2004.

      by mustang dvs on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:51:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The key adjective: ballistic (none)

        ...prompting China to expand its intercontinental ballistic missile capability...

        What's also apparent are that the Chinese (and other nuclear powers) are pouring resources into cruise missile technology.

        The current US NMD system is misnamed. It should be "NMBD", National Ballistic Missile Defense. The architecture of the system renders it entirely incapable of engaging a cruise missile. And even if the current clumsy half-assed NMD interceptors are eventually refined to the point where they actually can hit a ballistic missile with a reasonable probability-of-kill, that just provides an incentive for further cruise missile investment by other nations.

        Cruise missiles really represent the other end of the spectrum from ICBMs. Whereas ballistic missiles are high, fast and non-air-breathing, cruise missiles are low, slow, and rely on air for internal jet propulsion.

        There are other attributes of cruise missiles which make them quite destabilizing and dangerous in their own way. Ballistic missiles have a huge IR signature from their engines; any nation anywhere on the planet who launches one will immediately be identified in an unambiguous way by US space-based assets.

        But a cruise missile is unlikely to be seen by satellites at all, unless there is outside intelligence which compel the NRO to be looking at the exact launch location as setup and firing are taking place. That scares the hell out of me; imagine the aftermath of a nuclear strike and not being able to attribute its source.

        Even crude early-generation cruise missiles are hard to pick up on radar; advanced ones are damned near impossible. The task of making an aircraft stealthy is a formidable engineering job, but the airframe of a CM is smaller and sleeker, hence simpler to rework for low radar observability.

        We're fortunate in that cruise missiles have fairly short legs compared to an ICBM. It's technologically possible for North Korea to build a ballistic rocket that could drop a payload onto a US West Coast urban complex. They can't build a CM that is able to fly a transpacific route, though. Theoretically possible but fraught with difficulty; the thing would be the size of a business jet.

        There's nothing to stop them from building and testing CMs with ranges of a few hundred nautical miles, though, and those could be fired from tramp steamers or quiet diesel submarines as those approached the coastline.

        CM technology is one of those barn-door-and-horse items (like centrifuge refining for fissionables) where it's absolutely imperative to control proliferation on the front end; trying to do it retroactively is almost impossible. And to my considerable alarm, no federal effort appears to be being directed along this avenue.

        •  NMDSLB (none)
          Or, following No Child Left Behind (which leaves no school board left standing), they could rename the MDS to "No Missile Defense System Left Behind," which will, in the reality-based universe, mean that it is a colossal failure of policy and implementation :)

          "I want my country back!" - Howard Dean (proud member, reality-based community)

          by ziggy on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:04:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  faith based missle defence (4.00)
    I guess this is another faith based intiative that failed.
  •  China's Type 94 submarine (none)
    Link here - Who is the missile shield supposed to protect us against?

    I saw Paul Begala once argue it would be cheaper to just invade North Korea and get it over with.

    Then no need for missile defense.

    •  Yes, Any Number of Republican (none)
      policies--or restraints on liberal policies--are more expensive than the full buyout solution.

      I've seen it quoted that replacing old cars with new (some yrs ago) would have been cheaper than auto emissions testing & regulation for older cars.

      Cost of buying Soviet WMD materials vs hunting terrorists and maybe suffering periodic attacks.

      Don't forget the biggest buyout: Cost of all enemy and potential enemy defense spending, plus some allies we support like Israel-- $250 billion. Amount of our spending--double this, about $500 billion or nearly same as entire rest of world combined.

      My suggestion is we offer to assume full 100.00% cost of all enemy and potential enemy states defenses combined. That way we can assure they won't misbehave, we can cut our own spending drastically, we're much more secure, and we come out ahead financially.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 03:02:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We are so fucked (none)
    With lunacy as the defining modus operandi of the Bush Admin, in yet another area, we (America) are so fucked. Social Security, Iraq, DOMA, missiles, tax cuts, energy, "faith-based" toilets, on and on. Is Bush actually insane? Or is he more like Kim Jong-il minus the high heels and bouffant hair?
  •  Can Anyone Remember (none)
    How Kerry voted on deployment of this thing?

    This aggression will not stand, man

    by kaleidescope on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:15:29 AM PST

    •  Kerry's stand (none)
      ...was that the money could be better used elsewhere. Not so good for my company, which is developing parts for this system (and others)that will replace beryllium. Mighty toxic stuff, especially when it oxodizes on re-entry.

      BTW, look under 'exoatmospheric kill vehicle' for more system info.

  •  aoeu (none)
    So does it work against car bombs?  Truck bombs?  Airplane bombs?  Suicide bombs?

    It's no suprise a government saddled with Soviet era ideologues is wasting Soviet era money on failed Soviet era technology which is no longer relevent in our defense.

    no haikus now,
    join your local democratic party.
    There are fights in 2005 coming up.

    by TealVeal on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:17:28 AM PST

    •  I did a diary about this in October (4.00)

      The only real diary I did (so far).  SDI came up during the debates, and I remember being disappointed the Kerry did not throttle Bush over the topic.

      I looked into it and found that while they are spending (in 2005) $10billion on SDI, a system that doesn't work and is protecting against an unlikely event, they are only spending $2billion to upgrade the security in our ports, which some would argue is a more likely threat.

      I remember thinking after 9/11 that well, at least this is enough proof to allow us to abandon SDI.  Then Bush used it as an excuse to pour more resources into it.  It doesn't make any sense.

      •  Yes, exactly (none)
        I remember just before 9/11 there was a big debate going on about SDI, with Bush and co. pushing hard for it. One of my first thoughts after 9/11 was "Well, after guys with box cutters just used airplanes as WMD, they won't be able to keep pushing this fantasy initiative." Boy, did I overestimate Bush (and I already held him in extremely low esteem then).

        I too was disappointed that Kerry didn't jump on this issue in the debates. He could have used it to point out the difference between being committed to a strong, smart national defense and being merely committed to helping your friends in the defense industry.

      •  Your diary is a great public service (none)
        I read in Harper's last year (no longer have the issue) about the suffering of the people of the Marshall Islands where the tests originate. My liberal heart has been bleeding about the issue ever since.

        And guess what. Bush wants to visit the same horrors on the people of Canada. It was one of the main issues he discussed on his recent visit although his advance men had promised NOT to discuss it. They agreed that it was too controversial here. Canadians were surprised that Bush brought up the subject in private meetings and shocked that he announced it publicly. The bullying has begun.

        Thank you for the diary, this is an important issue because the Bushies can do a lot of damage in the next four years with SDI.

        •  According to Prime Minister Martin (none)
          missle defense is a dead issue in Canada.

          It was never about Irag. It's not really about terrorism either. It's about Pax Americana.

          by dolphindude on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 06:03:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You are very flattering! (none)
          Will you marry me?

          At the time that I wrote it, it got buried immediately, and I lost the urge to put a lot of work into more of them.  Now that the election is over, and things have died down, I think I will try again.

          I agree with you.  This is $10B per year that can be spent on better things.  Take your pick: schools, energy, port security, how about electoral reform?  Those dollars can go a long way.  Is this the only way that we can defend ourselves against N. Korea?  It is just a subsidy to the defense industry.

          It is all Bushit!  

          •  Sincerely (none)
            I compliment you. But I have an agenda.

            I am hoping you will bring in the Marshall Islands people into your research. It is more grevious to me than the cost and technical failure impossibility of the program. The Marshall Islands people need you.

            •  I see (none)
              So you don't want to set a date?

              I think you point is well taken.  I think that is something worth looking into, and I will try to remember it when I get back to this.

              I have to ask this, though:  Why don't you take a crack at that diary?  You seem passionate enough to do a great job!

    •  Give it up: Missle Defense a SUCCESS! (none)


        Were it not for the Bush Administration's, particularly Condi Rice's and her husb- uh, boss' obsession with missle defense in the spring and summer of 2001, there's no way Al Qaida could have plotted what would become 9.11 under the nose of the American Goverment, in other words, 9.11 would have never been as successful for Bin Laden as it was were it not for "missle defense."


        Can you imagine the absolute success missle defense has been for Raytheon, The Carlyle Group, et al?  Think of the cars, jets, vacation homes, vacations to Greece and France bought for these corporate muckity-mucks with the the 10s, nay, 100s of billions of taxpayer $$$ spent on "missle defense."  A "success"?  A mere success?  Gimme a break, it's been a triumph!


      "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." T.J.

      by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:43:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd love to be wrong (none)
    and I really hope someone can correct me about this. The problem appears to be Newtonian. The part of the flight that the interception is supposed to happen in is mid flight when the warhead(s) is at a fixed velocity in a vaccuum. A decoy balloon can be configured to mimic the heat, light, sound, and radiological signatures of a warhead. It can aso have the same size and shape and, since all of this can be done with a helium ballon, a large number can be deployed. So, what's left for the interceptor to "see" at a distance? Since there is no sensor that can read momentum the answer is "nothing" as near as I can tell. Now, I'm a structural engineer, not a rocket scientist so I might be wrong. If I'm not, this means that a very large number of very smart engineers, scientists, and military officers have been lying to the public for 20 years. So,somebody please tell me what I'm missing.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:17:42 AM PST

    •  trite excuse (none)
      "i'm no rocket scientist"

      let's try and stay away from clichés.  what does a rocket scientist have to do with intercontinental ballistic missiles anyway.

      America would have been better off with four 8 years of Ralph Wiggum

      by LeftCoaster on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:25:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A year ago (none)
        there was an atmospheric physicist being interviewed on the radio. He was explaining that his job was to predict the Aurora Borealis displays and program multiple rockets to carry instrument packages into them to take measurements. He paused in the middle and you could hear him smile when he said "I guess I'm a rocket scientist". I went to a small engineering school so we were, of necessity, sort of multi disciplinary. I was one of the team of graduate students who helped analyze the tape of the first shuttle failure for NASA, so I know some rocket scientists and I ain't one. ;-)

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:34:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmm... let's see. . . (none)
         You write:

         " what does a rocket scientist have to do with intercontinental ballistic missiles anyway."

         Well, it appears in President Dunderhead's little world, very, very little.  

         Success Catastrophic!  All systems go!


        "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." T.J.

        by BenGoshi on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:48:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The only robust defense (none)
      Is a high-altitude platform, above the weather, above most of the atmosphere, that can protect against both suborbital ballistic projectiles and slower-mobing transients in the lower atmosphere (bombers, cruise missiles, hijacked airplanes, etc.).

      It won't withstand a massive missile strike, but it can handle a wider range of threats, including land and sea invasions.

      Imagine the GAU cannon of the A-10 warthog.

      Now imagine fifty rotating pods, one GAU apiece, onboard a semipermanent aerostat (air-station) resembling nothing if not a very large blimp.

      Add to that a dozen long-range missile interceptors or so, and you might be talking.

      And even then, it will be only an incremental advantage over the current state.

      However, the aircraft carrier was such a transformation.

      Something to contemplate, should the balloon go up. It's not our fault if the Redshirts can't be creative when the pressure's on.

      Who's your daddy? Washington. :)

      by cskendrick on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:36:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the real point is that this system doesn't have to (none)
      work at all, at least not very well.  No one actually believes that we are going to have to defend against an ICBM attack.  This is a boon to the defense industry at tax payer expense and little else.  The repubs can also jump up and down and say "see! we made you safer, and it only cost a few hundred billion dollars!"

      "let us stand fast in times of darkness"-Julie Billiant

      by cato on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:38:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's How Missile Defense Works (none)
        Version I -- Reagan. Almost nothing gets built but it helps finish bankrupting the enemy. Soviet Union.

        Version II -- Bush. Some stuff built, almost nothing works, but it helps finish bankrupting the enemy. Liberalism.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:48:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is another benefit to Missile Defense (none)
          It has to do with retention of talent. During the cold war, out top engineering grads went to work for the defense industry. How come the Germans and the Japanese kick Detriot's ass in automobile design quality? It's not because Americans are stupid. It's because Japan and Germany don't build ICBMs. Their best engineering grads design cars and Sonys. The defense industry has the best jobs but you'd better have straight A's and get a security clearence.

          During the cold war our engineers were pretty busy trying to figure out new ways to kill Russians. When the Soviets went out of business we needed to find other endevors for these engineers. That's why the quest for Star Wars has never stopped. It's just busy work for the campaign contributors.

          Where can I get a "Don't blame me, I voted for Kerry" bumper sticker?

          by bobinson on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:40:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Engineer retention (none)
   actually a big part of the problem nowadays in many of our big aerospace companies. The experienced hands were making too much money, and getting near retirement. Maximum profits dictated replacing them with fresh, young and inexperienced talent. Unfortunately, systems integration skill is learned mostly on-the-job.

            Many of the failures can be traced back to good 'ol 'earn while you learn'.

    •  The "decoys" that have (none)
      been tested so far have a significantly different radar brightness than the model warhead.  They also don't have an active beacon (which is supposedly not used for targeting).

      In other words --it assumes that the North Koreans or Chinese can't make a decoy that has the same radar reflectivity/absorption as their own warhead.  I don't believe any other property of the warhead can be consistently utilized.  The wavelengths used by the active radar are presumably known to the Chinese after all of these stupid tests.  

      The current missile defense system is hit-to-kill.  What I wonder is whether a short tether, a 10 pound weight, and a moderate rate of rotation would do to the chance of hitting the damn thing.  

      •  You can always put the warhead (none)
        inside the same kind of balloon as the decoys. And you can cut the b/s and use a nuclear kill vehicle. Still doesn't help. See my post downthread.

        Thinking dangerous thoughts in the birthplace of democracy

        by Athenian on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:04:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Recognitions systems (none)
      Maybe the interceptor missile has one of the following:

      1. Facial recognition system to detect which is decoy, or which is real.

      2. or...Total Information Awareness system to detect, based on incoming missile habits, which is decoy, or which is real

    •  FWIW (none)
      I spoke with a family member about star wars at one point - he's actually somewhat an expert on the radar/tracking side of these sorts of systems, including previous iterations of this particular test.

      His take was that the radar side of things is actually doable - it isn't so hard to track thousands of individual bits of stuff.  It turns out to be pretty difficult to make convincing decoys, too - for instance, balloons can only possibly work outside the atmosphere during ballistic phase, otherwise they'll act very differently than an actual warhead.

      The big problem is the physics of intercept - the "hitting a bullet with a bullet" problem.  Building an interceptor that can possibly work is really tough and the margin for error in the best of cases is tiny...

      Now the kicker, of course, is that even if we can solve all these problems, why would someone capable of building and launching a nuke-armed ICBM go to the trouble of decoys at all?  Why not load it up with MIRVs?  In order to be useful SDI needs to be absolutely 100% effective not just for one warhead, but for all the warheads that could possibly be launched more-or-less simultaneously.

      Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. -- Henrik Ibsen

      by mik on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:29:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True (none)
        teh point of the abve was that the longest part of the flight is in a vacuum and at a fixed velocity. When they re enter the atmosphere the balloons fall away fast but the warhead is accelerating and the flight is almost over. ANyway, teh best Idea has been around since the 50's, MAD, you shoot one at us we shoot 10 at you. Worked for 50 years.

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:53:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Decoy strategies (none)
        I've often wondered about how they construct decoys, and the mylar baloons don't seem to make sense.  

        Why not have something shaped like a warhead, durable and with the same approximate physics, covered in aluminum foil?  It moves the same, it's visible as all heck on radar, and you can improve your chances of evading missle defenses pretty cheaply.  Maybe it's cause the missle designs they assume will be the incoming aren't sophisticated enough to be MIRVs.

    •  Just say no to Reality-based engineering! (none)
      No you're not missing anything.

      There have been some totally wild and implausible ideas to "actively interrogate" the warheads by some star-wars type beams to see if a difference can be discerned.

      The very large number of very smart scientists and engineers all agree with you, if you were to ask their honest scientific opinion.  (i'm a physicist and I think it's all corporate welfare) And all sorts of commissions look into it and come to the same conclusion. On the other hand, since all sorts of civilian manufacturing jobs which take engineers are now going to China, and they like paying their mortgage and feeding their children, engineers'll shut up about it.   (A personal aquaintance with knowledge of space plasma electrodynamics took a job with some of them.  quote: "It's a job for life! They'll never get it to work!")

      As a technical solution there is only one which might possibly work, which is to equip the interceptor with a nuclear warhead.

      Even still, this would be very difficult, though not quite as ridiculously impossible as is the case now.   The effects of nuclear weapons are very muted in space compared to in the atmosphere, and ICBM warheads are designed to be very sturdy and resistant to many effects.  After all, they can survive a hypersonic re-entry, screaming from 50,000 meters in the atmosphere (much higher than U-2 altitude) down to detonate at ground level in maybe 5 seconds or less.  (ICBM attack viewed from ground: glint high in sky-streak-bang.  about as long as it takes to say that.)

      You would have to destroy the warhead (and it's detonation and targeting systems) by a large fast neutron flux alone, i.e. a neutron bomb.  (This is a fusion weapon with lots of tritium and little fissile tamping in around the fusion stage, so most of the fusion neutrons escape as radiation).

      You would have to detonate a warhead probably well within 100 meters of the ICBM. (wild ass guess without any classified knowledge, but based on known radiation effects of kiloton sized nuclear weapons against rad-hardened targets) Presumably you would aim for the cloud of decoys and hope that they would still all be within 100 meters by the time the interceptor got there.   Already, pretty unlikely, and presumably the decoys would be outfitted with some initial propulsion to make the cloud bigger.  Maybe you can tell by figuring out which ones appear to be on a course to a likely target as opposed to bumfucksville.

      Remember that the mutual relative velocity may be 10 kilometers/sec----10,000 meters/sec.

      Because the interceptor has to rise very fast in order to intercept a very fast moving IBM (versus how slow ICBM's take off) this severely limits the mass of the interceptor warhead, meaning that you couldn't put on a large nuclear warhead.  (They're heavy.)  

      It's unclear if the present interceptor design has sufficient lifting power to be so equipped with any nuclear warhead.

      And of course this may violate all sorts of treaties but obviously BushCheneyCorp doesn't care about those.

      •  Another weight (none)
        limiter is manueverability. The intercepter is going  real fast and has to make course corrections up to the end of its track. So, the tapes I've seen of the kinds of missiles used (smaller than star wars, larger than patriot) make really tight turns, hence, low momentum packages required.

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 05:22:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's How It Works (3.50)
    Our Missile Defense Shield will operate on such a thick layer of delusion, it cannot possibly fail.  How can any projectile penetrate that thing?
  •  drop a locomotive from the the sky (none)
    If that happens, then maybe, maybe, the missle will hit it?
  •  Welfare Farming, Mining & Ranching (none)
    have nothing on the Welfare Military-Industrial Complex.
  •  So wait. (none)
    The Bush administration something backs something that patently isn't working the way it should be and pulled out of international protocols to do it?  Shocking.

    I wonder if it will be a pattern for them...

    I'm so glad we get Round 2 to see more of the same. (/sarcasm)

  •  Laura Bush says no to missle defense (4.00)
    At least this can be surmised by her attitued toward human embryonic stem cell research. She stated that since the field has had no proven benefits, it should not be supported by the federal government. It is not good to give "false hope" to those that could benefit.

    I think the defense contractors and Pentagon are definitely giving false hope that missle defense might work, so we should stop funding this work.


  •  reframing "missile defense" (none)
    We've got to come up with a better phrase for this than "missile defense."  The trouble is that those two words accurately capture the promise of this thing -- it promises to defend you from missiles, which is unequivocally a good thing.  Of course, we're not going to get a working system that actually does that anytime in the next couple decades.  Loads of money that could've been spent on buying up loose nukes and giving foreign aid incentives to countries that support us on nonproliferation will go to defense contractors who sell us junk.  It takes a lot of talking to explain that to people, and I'd like to have a short phrase that starts us off right.  

    So any suggestions?  We need something that captures the scamminess of this, the fact that these guys are selling us a multibillion-dollar piece of junk that won't actually defend anybody.  And it has to be subtle enough that it won't look like we're obviously stacking the deck.  

    •  Mary Poppins defense? (none)
      As in ... Mary Poppins umbrella offers as much protection as the Bush missile umbrella. None.

      Today's lesson: don't rape, don't torture, don't kill... - Riverbend

      by joejoejoe on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:32:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Point of Attack for Dems (none)
      The Dems should blast this repeated technological failure and use it to A) deride the Republicans support of their defense corporations pals in their effort to push junk science and B) attack Bush for his repeated failures to find serious solutions to nuclear proliferation and terrorism.  This could be a powerful issue for progressives in national security, and one, judging from the presidential debates, the Republicans have no clue on.  A serious proposal would be to put half to all of the wasted missile shield money into the Nunn Lugar Program with Russia

      Political Dissonance

      •  I like "junk science" (none)
        beyond missle defense, it could also be applied to the Rep. position on stem cell reserach and creationism.

        "I pledge resistance, to the grass, that hides the snakes of America."

        by WAmod on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:47:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the frame... (none)
      It's the difference between being commited to a real national defense (Dems), and merely being commited to the defense industry (Repubs). The other important way to frame the debate is they (the Repubs.) are stuck in a pre-9/11, coldwar mindframe, while we (Dems.) want to protect America from the threats we face today.
    •  Thin Tissue Of Lies (none)
      How about that?  That's all the protection this will offer - same as a piece of Kleenex.
    •  Star Wars (none)
      still great, still sticky.
      It captures the fantasy aspect, and says war instead of defense, like the old Department of Defense used to.
      •  that's good (none)
        Probably the best phrase I've heard so far.  I just hope that people don't have sufficiently positive mental associations with 'Star Wars' that it works against us.  

        Maybe if Lucas' Episode 3 is as bad as 1 and 2, though, that'll work in our favor.  

  •  Dear Kim Jong-IL (4.00)
    In our effort to come to an agreement on our outstanding differences, we have offered you  homing devices cable boxes for your new missiles.  They will allow you to watch HBO all you want.


    That's the only way the damn things will work, if we get our enemies to attach homing devices to their warheads.  I think we need to scrap the whole thing and give it to the troops in Iraq to weld onto their Humvees.

    •  You forgot some things (none)
      That's the only way the damn things will work, if we get our enemies to attach homing devices to their warheads.

      They also have to inform you of when they are launching, the target, the trajectory chosen, the flight characteristics of the weapon, and that they do it on a calm, sunny day.

  •  This crap has never worked. (none)
    This is nothing more than a huge taxpayer transfer payment to defense contractors. If, and that is a big if, this thing ever works with any reliability, then nations with missles will just counter it with some fance electronics. Then we will need a whole new system. More money for defense suppliers.

    Signature Impaired.

    by gttim on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:20:50 AM PST

  •  Liberal media at work- (none)
    Notice that the article conveniently omits:

    -fact that this test was postponed from before the election so as not embarrass the chimp-n-chef

    -Any mention of the costs of this neocon fantasy (Blown to date or budgeted)

    -any mention of the players (e.g. Northrop, Boeing, etc.) that are failing AND STILL STICKING US WITH THE BILL


  •  Big ripoff (none)
    This is one of the biggest ripoffs going. Missile defense is nothing more than a give away to the defense industry. It does not address the real threats we face (we are more likely to be struck by a loose nuke smuggled in a suitcase than an ICBM), and it won't work anyway (there is no realistic solution to the decoy problem). Why is the defense department wasting billions on this, yet failing to properly equip our troops in Iraq? It's madness!

    This is emblematic of one of the biggest problem with the way this administration thinks about foreign policy and defense problems. Despite the talk about winning the war on terror, they are still stuck in a cold-war mindset (ala Condi Rice) in which threats only eminate from state agents. Three years after 9/11 and they still don't get it!

    •  Absolutely! (none)
      I posted this upthread, but wanted to respond to you, too.  Sorry.

      You would think that after 9/11 we would refocus our priorities.  Not true!  We are spending 5 times as much on Star Wars as we are to upgrade security at our ports in 2005!

      And most of the stuff that can be done at the ports would just be off the shelf type of stuff.

    •  re: Big ripoff (none)
      It's strange to read about the history of ABM systems. We even an operational ABM site briefly in the 70s, with Nike and Sprint missiles. My favorite quote:

      "The SALT I treaty of 1972, and a 1974 addendum, limited even this to one site with 100 ABMs. On 1 October 1975, the U.S.'s one and only Safeguard ABM site became operational with 30 Spartan and 70 Sprint missiles. However, because the very limited defense offered by a single ABM site did not warrant the costs, the site was deactivated by Congress the next day."

      •  Nuclear Warheads. (none)
        The exoatmospheric Spartan used a megaton range warhead that killed thermally.

        The effective radius was a decent counter to decoys and penaids.

        The endoatmospheric Sprint used a neutron warhead in the kiloton range.  It killed through neutron flux.

        The atmosphere would sweep away the less dense penaids, so they did not need the radius.

        The Dream involves 4 sets of identical twins, 2 gallons of Cool Whip, 5 quarts of chocolate syrup, 2-1/4 pounds of strawberries, satin sheets, a magnum of champ

        by msaroff on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:52:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ballistic Missile Defense Contributed to 9-11 (none)
    Lest anyone forget, it was Dubya's focus on pushing ballistic missile defense in the summer of 2001 and the discussions with the Russians about withdrawing from the ABM Treaty which contributed to 9-11.  Condi, Rummy, Dick and the Dummy were looking elsewhere while our enemies were plotting to pull off the slickest attack on the American homeland ever perpetrated.  Dubya's posse obviously still hasn't stirred itself to really defend America.  BTW, since the BMD system is no operational, how come the USAF isn't nailing the contractor for failure to meet specifications, or has the USAF decided to only ask for "best efforts?"  This program is costing $10 billion per year with no performance standards and No Child Left Behind works under "one strike and you're out" policies.  Tough, love.
  •  How can you call it a failure Kos? (none)
    All the contractors responsible got paid didn't they? Sounds to me like yet another Republican success story.

    So what you're saying is by not paying a union wage, by lowering the wages of those workers - you can cut my taxes - Terri Gross to Grover Norquist

    by The past is over on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:24:09 AM PST

  •  Missle defense system failure (none)
    The least expensive way to protect against being slammed by a missle would be to not make anyone want to lob a missle here.  Technology will never be 100%.

    When democracy is fixed, it is broken.

    •  It depends on what you define as failure... (none)
      So who says the objective is 100 percent success? I can tell you that due to the immense technological hurdles and potential cost of aiming for 100 percent, the actual objective of killing missiles is much lower. What's wrong with firing two or three intercepters at each ballistic missile (assuming a small [single digit] number of incoming missiles) that each have a chance of 70-80 percent of hitting it? Contrary to the desires and fantasies of many on this post, there have been serious attempts to study and develop an executable solution to this problem. Never said they had a foolproof solution, but those contractor dollars do have to deliver some products.

      I may get slammed for this, but the best any progressive political solution for this would be to say that the deployment of the system was too early, but the concept isn't going away and neither is the research and development. All the focus on WMDs, most of which is rhetoric, isn't going to change the desire of politicians (on both sides) to have an active, offensive approach to shooting down missiles. The best the Dems could hope for is to downsize the effort to deploying a ground theater air/missile defense platform, kill the Navy's shipboard program, kill the Air Force's Airborne Laser (what a waste), and continue R&D for a national missile defense program at a lesser scale, maybe 3-5 billion a year.

      As others have suggested, there are other near-term alternatives, increased espionage, special forces operations, deterrence through threats of retaliation, etc etc, that could apply to both nation-states and terrorists. Maybe that's where the savings should go, make the hawks happy and get a bipartisan solution.

      Timendi causa est nescire (Ignorance is the cause of fear)

      by Animal13 on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:42:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's how: (none)
        You want to attack the US with your half-dozen ICBMs. First you send up a lot of decoys. The missile defense system shoots its wad and destroys them. Now you launch your ICBMs. Oops, no missile defense system left! Boom.
    •  In other words - abstinence only (none)
      Bush seems to like that way of thinking

      Where can I get a "Don't blame me, I voted for Kerry" bumper sticker?

      by bobinson on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:45:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  American Physical Society says "no way" (none)
    The July 2004 issue of Physics Today had an in-depth article about why boost phase missile defense systems were impractical. It was carefully written, and argued that it might work in some situations, provided the attacker took no countermeasures. turns out it is pretty easy to defeat.

    Here's an extended excerpt, and the conclusions, since I think the article is for members only:

    An American Physical Society study concludes that disabling ICBMs before they release their munitions would be challenging and, in some cases, impractical.
    Boost-Phase Defense Against Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
    Daniel Kleppner, Frederick K. Lamb, and David E. Mosher

    [...] Currently, the primary focus is on a system that would destroy warheads after they have separated from their ICBM boosters but before they reenter the atmosphere. This so-called midcourse phase of flight typically lasts 25-35 minutes.

    A midcourse-intercept system would have to overcome two main challenges. First, a single ICBM could release several nuclear warheads, or dozens of chemical or biological "bomblets," overwhelming the defense. Second, many experts argue that a midcourse-intercept system could be defeated by countermeasures such as lightweight decoys that would be difficult to distinguish, outside the atmosphere, from real warheads. The difficulty of meeting those challenges has led some to argue that a boost-phase intercept system would be a better alternative, or at least a valuable complement, to a midcourse-intercept system.6

    A boost-phase intercept system would seek to disable attacking missiles while their boosters are still burning. Such a system could take advantage of the ease with which the bright exhaust plumes of ICBMs can be tracked, and it could prevent ICBMs from releasing their munitions or decoys if it could disable them early enough in the boost phase.

    [...] Here are the principal findings of the APS study group on boost-phase intercept systems for national missile defense:

    • Defending the 50 states against liquid-propellant ICBMs from North Korea may be feasible, but would push the limits of what is possible physically, technically, and operationally.
    • Defending the 50 states against liquid-propellant ICBMs from Iran would be much more challenging.
    • Defending the 50 states against solid-propellant ICBMs from North Korea or Iran is unlikely to be practical when all factors are considered.
    • Defending only the West Coast against ICBMs from North Korea would be easier than defending all 50 states.
    • Defending only part of the US against ICBMs from Iran would not be easier than defending all 50 states.
    • A boost-phase defense could contribute to a layered defense, provided the second layer can handle the unpredictable debris generated by the boost-phase layer.
    • Effective countermeasures against boost-phase- intercept missile defense are possible, and they should be taken into account.
    • Defending against shorter-range missiles launched from hostile ships off US coasts would be feasible with interceptors similar to current Navy missiles, provided that the missile-carrying ships are able to stay within about 40 km of threatening ships.
  •  New NASA Administrator used to head Star Wars .. (none)
    You may or may have not noticed that the WH is foisting  Lt General Ronald T. Kadish to be NASA Admin in the wake of O'Keefe leaving.  Whats this mean?  NASA monies and scope will be funneled even more into Star Wars (the patent lunacy that it is) and away from Bush's Mars sightseeing mission and the ISS, Hubble etc.

    Low down on Kadish is at


  •  How easy it is to override (none)

    Have decoy warheads with homing beacons, and old X-ray plates from the nearest general hospital.

    Who's your daddy? Washington. :)

    by cskendrick on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:28:05 AM PST

  •  Let's start calling this what it really is (none)
    An OFFENSE weapons system. The only way you can call this a defensive system is if you believe that "OFFENSE" is the best defense. Which explains why this administration is so enamored of it. Oh yeah and PNAC wants it too.
  •  It's all part of the plan (none)
    I'm amazed when I still see amazement expressed at the fiscal reckless of this administration.  The more money it redirects to the military away from social services, the better, in their opinion.

    Their plan is to bankrupt all social functions of the federal government and leave us with the military and the post office, as was the wish of some early patriots.   (Actually, I think they'll be offering up reasons why the post office is antiquated -- you know, 'the private sector does it better', etc.)  

    We can sit here and cluck all we want about how stupid they are and how unworkable their missile defense plan is, but their bigger plan is working like a charm.  

    Can we have a meaningful conversation as 'reform democrats' about what the US really needs in terms of national defense?  Do we need this sky shield? (No).  What kind of land-based equipment do we need in this day and age?  Should resources be redirected to port security?  Is there any reasonable who knows the answers???

  •  the point (none)
    I'm sure this is obvious to everyone here, but the point of the missile defense system is not to make a missile defense system work, but to redirect more money into the military-industrial complex and corporate pockets.  

    they know this thing doesn't work as well as we do.   but that's not the point.  just like social security reform, just like the tax cuts, just like WMD.  they want class war, and the national Dems can't stop them.  end of story.

  •  And no armor for our troops on the ground... (none)
    Why is my tax money going to these criminally irresponsible nitwits?
  •  Someone get Ann Coulter on the line (none)
    COULTER: There is also something called, when you're allowed to exist on the same continent of the United States of America, protecting you with a nuclear shield around you, you're polite and you support us when we've been attacked on our own soil. They [Canada] violated that protocol.

    Pucker up, you arrogant bitch.  Time to kiss some Canadian ass.

    Hey megalomaniac. You're no Jesus. Yeah, you're no fucking Elvis. Wash your hands clean of your self, maniac. Step down. Step down. -incubus

    by Georgia Logothetis on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:37:13 AM PST

  •  Maybe the issue here is marketing. (none)
    Maybe if we keep on responding to every failed missile-defense test, "Throwing money at a problem doesn't solve it."

    Hey, if the argument is valid for public education, why isn't it valid for an engineeringly-impossible billions-dollar missile system of no conceivable use?

    •  Because (none)
      • It's hard work.
      • The Atom Bomb didn't work in the beginning either.
      • Won't somebody think of the children?
      • We don't own the media or their experts.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 03:07:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Already mentioned this in my own diary awhile ago. (none)

    The National Fantasy Missile Defense System.

    $100 billion wasted and still counting.

  •  Clark On CNN re: Bush & Missile Defense (none)
    Wes was interviewed by Paula yesterday (I use first names for these pleasant, chatty interfviews; I saw a late night/early AM rerun) and he reminded us that Rumsfeld was brought in to downsize the troops in order to help pay for missile defense.

    Also in the segment, Paula cheerfully scolded Wes, reminding him that Nobody Could Have Forseen (tm) the Iraq insurgency.

    Oh I see from CNN that the test launch was from the Ronald Reagan base on a Pacific Island. Or is that a Reagan Ocean island?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:54:22 AM PST

  •  Two points (none)
    1. Apart from ignoring nuclear weapons hidden in suitcases, containers, trucks, etc, the Ballistic Missile Defense system also is completely helpless against short or medium range missiles launched from a ship.

    Imagine a freighter a few hundred miles off the Pacific coast.

    Countries have placed ballistic missiles in ships - dime a dozen - all over the world. At any given time, there's any number off our coasts, coming, going. On transporter-erector-launchers, they simply erect it, fire off a ballistic missile, put it down, cover it up. Their radar signature's not any different than 50 others in close proximity.
    Donald Rumsfeld, press briefing 2002 (SA, Nov. 2004, p. 57.)

    2. There is a solution to the decoy problem for ICBMs: use nuclear kill vehicles. After all, that is what the Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense System that still guards Moscow uses. Just blow the whole cloud of warheads, decoys and debris away. No need for finesse. Problems: Russia and China will feel that their deterrent is weakened and will therefore need to overwhelm our BMD system with numbers. Oh, wait, the Russians are already improving their missiles. CNN.

    Completely agree that the system as it is currently is nothing but corporate welfare for Boing, et al, and a sop to the wing nuts, who hate science anyway.

    Thinking dangerous thoughts in the birthplace of democracy

    by Athenian on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:55:00 AM PST

  •  The homing beacon thing is a red herring. (none)
    There is a homing beacon in every test so they can recover parts.
  •  I think ....... (none)
    My tax dollars were better spent on $1000 toilet lids. At least they worked.

    "There is no crying in baseball." Jimmy Dugan (aka Tom Hanks in a League of Their Own).

    by dicta on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 08:59:12 AM PST

  •  duh bush (none)
    The whole concept of missile defense shield has been derided by scientists and nobel laureates as a huge waste of time. Its like trying to take out mosquitoes by throwing sewing needles.
    An announcement said the interceptor experienced an automatic shutdown "due to an unknown anomaly."
    OK, so it never even got to the point of testing the concept of whether it could take down an enemy missile. Even if it could do so, I must come back to the letter written to Bush by the Federation of American Scientists in 2000 who's
    ...essential point that security benefits of the proposed system are at best uncertain while the dangers incurred by a hasty move toward deployment are large and real. It could undermine hard-won arms control agreements with Russia and frustrate efforts to place further limits on offensive missiles. It could stimulate a Chinese missile buildup and encourage dangerous "launch on warning" strategies. And, by appearing to separate the defense of the US from the defense of Europe, deployment could strain our most valuable security alliance.
    And what's up with us having spent [wasted] billions of dollars on this program and its been two years since the last test? I suppose we shouldn't expect empiricism to rank high in a program set up by this administration.
  •  Dubya wants Canada to support this? (none)
    How can we support a technology that isnt even proven to work?

    Best if Geirge backed off til he can show the Canadian government and people a smattering of proof the darn thing actually works right.

    Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die. - Pierre Trudeau

    by tribe34 on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:11:16 AM PST

  •  A Liberal Canadian Bloggers response: (none)
    Shocking! It's another failed test of missile defense. In defense of the Americans, it was their own missile, whose flight path they knew, they were trying to shoot down. Maybe when a rogue missile strikes, without warning, they'll have better luck. Heck, if they keep pumping 10 billion a year into the system, I would hope so. I do wonder if there are not better uses for that money though...anti-terrorism defense spending comes to mind. As does health, education, tax cuts, and burning 10 billion one dollar bills to provide heating for the poor.

    Seems too much sense in that post for anyone in the US Administration to listen to

    Our hopes are high. Our faith in the people is great. Our courage is strong. And our dreams for this beautiful country will never die. - Pierre Trudeau

    by tribe34 on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:18:08 AM PST

    •  Paul Martin (none)
      has already said that Canada will not support any programme that results in "the weaponisation of space."  That seems like a pretty clear fuck you to Mr. Chimp.

      No doubt Martin is soiling his undersilks given the polls, petitions, and huge numbers of letters that have been sent to Ottawa opposing this latest outrage from the evildoers.

      The US is going to have a heckuva time finding allies willing to get on board with this - they're looking for any excuse to say no, and a shit system provides them one such one.

      "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

      by fishhead on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:31:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In an unrelated story (none)
    The US military base on Kwajalein Atoll was struck and damaged by a missile today.  

    The Defense Department has identified source of the missile as being either Iran or Syria.

    •  Or Anything We've Actually Been Attacked With (none)
      not just anthrax but also box cutters, commandeered aircraft, and truck bombs.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:33:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I predict (none)
    That they will fix this latest problem by... Not having any more tests!

    Bush/Cheney '04 - Why switch horsemen mid-apocalypse?

    by Swampfoot on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 09:49:30 AM PST

    •  Probably spot-on (none)
      The U.S. Missile Defense Agency in the future will be more secretive about aspects of its national missile defense program as it resumes major flight testing after a two-year hiatus, its new director said in a presentation here yesterday.

      "As we proceed in the future, you'll see more of the program becoming classified," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, who became agency director in July following the retirement of Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish.

      Obering said officials have an obligation to inform U.S. taxpayers about their investment in the multibillion-dollar system, but said the agency seeks to avoid tipping off potential enemies about weaknesses in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

      More at the link: New U.S. Missile Defense Director Vows More Secrecy, Global Security Newswire, Oct. 27, 2004

      I'm &y and I approved this message.

      by abw on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:10:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It doesn't have to work (none)
    The missile interceptors don't really have to work.  The whole point is to bankrupt the Soviet Union -- they'll go broke trying to keep up.

    Wait -- scratch that.  The whole point is to bankrupt the North Koreans.  They'll go broke trying to keep up.

    (Have they given the head of the program a Freedom Medal yet?)

  •  80s Redux (none)
    And if our current technology is so inadequate at creating a missile defense shield, wasn't this even more of a hopeless snipe hunt twenty years ago, when Reagan was pushing it?

    Not that I want to say I told you so, but I DID, goll dang it!

  •  Why do we need DEFENSE?? (none)
    When the neo cons plan to perpetually be on offense, everywhere, all the time right?

    Let's just get it over with and invade North Korea, Iran, and Syria -- stop the charade neo cons -- you don't want missile defense any more than we do!!

    I voted for John Kerry and all I got was this lousy sticker...

    by diplomatic on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 11:31:52 AM PST

  •  missle defense? (none)
    Who exactly is going to fire an ICBM at us? This is just another excuse for the Bushies to reward their coporate sponsors for funding their agenda.
    Not to mention the damn thing has never worked!
  •  Acronyms & Terms (none)
     Ballistic Missile Offense -- BMO

     Missile Offense Shield -- MOS

     SDI Bullsh*t -- SDIBS

     Bush Bomb -- missile/bomb misses target

     Cheney Bomb -- explodes before its supposed to

     Rummy Bomb -- bomb only kills friendly troops

     Kerik Bomb -- only explodes inside a mistress

     Giuliani Bomb -- waits for terrorist bomb to explode first.

     Kerry Bomb -- quiet countdown before turning out to be a dud.

     Rove Bomb -- bomb triggered by close proximity to human decency.

     Condi Bomb -- plays the piano, helps other bombs to explode.

     Clinton Bomb -- well-polished missile that explodes whenever possible.


    One hand forward with a flower, one hand behind with the dagger.

    by Predator Saint on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 12:36:17 PM PST

  •  Boondoggle accomplished! (none)
  •  The "Prevent" Offense (none)
    It's my football analogy to what's going on with the Bush League:  i.e. They can win elections, but can't govern worth a damn.  

    The "Prevent" offense is what you get when your football team is blessed with talent and skill and resources, but the head coach is Mr. Attention Deficit Disorder.  He fails to pay attention, disregards new information, lacks the ability to improvise, blames others for his failings, and wonders why his team doesn't score.

    It's what happened when the Bush administration gave up on pursuing Bin Laden in Afghanistan; opposed the establishment of a Homeland Security cabinet post; occupied Iraq and failed to support the troops with proper equipment and reinforcements; and insisted on spending billions on missiles that failed more often than a control group testing Viagra.    

    The Bush League continues to talk the talk, but fails to walk the walk; and real people everywhere pay the price.

    "You can't keep the Democrats out of the White House forever!" - Sideshow Bob  

  •  Sorry Kos (none)
    But the commentary and the article you link to about the "homing beacon" are grossly inaccurate descriptions.

    Don't get me wrong, the idea of a strategic missile shield is beyond stupid, but lets not be fraudulent in our claims. The "homing beacon" was involved to be able to accurately track the target and the  interceptor vehicle flight paths in order to monitor the test. It was not used by the interceptor vehicle to track and home in on the target.


    Mitch Gore

    Nobody will change America for you, you have to work to make it happen

    by Lestatdelc on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 01:48:03 PM PST

    •  My reading of the article shows (none)
      PHILIP COYLE: The kill vehicle is guided early on by a satellite system and by radars on the ground, and then by a radar beacon, which is actually on the target. This is a necessary thing at this point because we don't have a forward-based radar such as you would have in a real operational situation. But that radar beacon obviously having an active beacon on the target is not something you would have in a realistic war-time situation.

      Seems clear to me that this is a criminal waste of
      money.  Criminal is not strong enough a word.

    •  So yes, it is used by the interceptor and (none)
      Kos is right.  Cheers.
  •  The enemy doesn't launch any decoys ? (none)

    NK sends ONE missile and 6-7 decoys and our $10 billion ICBM interception system is useless.

    Proud to be a Liberal!.. only the GOP could think something derived from Liberty is bad

    by lawnorder on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 02:11:59 PM PST

  •  So wait... (none)
    So wait.. is Kos opposed to missile defense?  Or just the execution of the program by the administration?

    What's the point being made here, exactly?

    •  I think he's opposed to this type of defense. (none)
      Everything he's written before hints at it. It's not a complete negation of "missile defense"; you could wrap yourself into rhetorical knots over this sort of thing. (for example, I'm pretty sure he's all for anti-cruise-missile point-defense systems for ships, airbases, etc. I think that's why there was a recent big stink on this site over the Russians selling the Chinese the deadly SS-N-22 "Sunburn" anti-ship cruise missile.)

      The execution is immaterial. The extreme amount of resources being poured into the project is what truly alarms him, without any real return aside from making a scad of billionaries richer. The money could be spent better elsewhere in the DOD, even if it can't be shifted out of the defense budget.

      But I'm not Kos, so what do I know?

  •  heh (none)
    Well I am not opposed to large defense spending on R&D, as an engineer (i dont work in the defense industry anymore, but once did) I think R&D is very important, and much comes of it....go watch tactical to practical on the history channel or discovery (i dont recall which)...

    anyhow, this system is just a joke, firstly because it is so easily counter measured even if it actually kinda worked. Secondly, it actually doesnt work, yet has been moved out the the R&D russia is develpoing countermeasures to it.

    finally, well....body armor anyone ? and open mexican borders ?

    I am a Reform Democrat

    by Pounder on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 03:53:51 PM PST

  •  A Maginot Line for the 21st century!! n/t (none)
  •  You simply can't defend is. (none)
    Even if you support missile defense.  Maybe particularly if you support missile defense you can't support what Bush has done.

    This is one of the most complex weapons systems ever attempted.  We have some experience in developing new technologies.  You see, the way it works is that you do the research and development before deployment.

    But the Bush administration decided that this endless research and science stuff just didn't cut it.  God damn it, they wanted to build something! The hell with those egghead scientists who just wanted to study stuff!

    So we are spending billions of dollars on something that doesn't work.  It may as well be a barrel of pixie dust.  One of the world's all-time greatest scams.

  •  How much armor would $10 billion buy? (none)
    Instead of spending money and time in this Defense Industry boondago, why didn't Rummie / Bush spend it to equip our soldiers properly ?

    Proud to be a Liberal!.. only the GOP could think something derived from Liberty is bad

    by lawnorder on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 04:55:58 PM PST

  •  $ 10 billion in Missile boondago (none)
    $46 million to stop Al Qaeda from smuggling containers into US

    $ 0 (ZERO) to protect US' many nuclear power plants including Indian Point

    $65 million for his Oil buddies to protect refineries

    $10 billion in ICBM missile defense pork

    $ 144 million for a corporate tax cut Link

    And now, over to terror by ship's containers....

    At least 200 Al Qaeda operatives have snuck in and out of countries using ship containers on the last 3.5 years.

    Yet Bush has proposed only $46 million in funding for ship container inspection  task in Fiscal Year 2005. And $25 billion for his pet war. while giving $65 million to help his Oil buddies buy security cameras and $10 billion for ICBM defense (nuke missiles from China, Russia, Cuba,... You know those ICBMs that we were NEVER attacked with ? )


    Proud to be a Liberal!.. only the GOP could think something derived from Liberty is bad

    by lawnorder on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 05:01:17 PM PST

  •  Meteor Blades had a great diary on this (none)

    Proud to be a Liberal!.. only the GOP could think something derived from Liberty is bad

    by lawnorder on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 05:03:43 PM PST

  •  Sort of like I could hit a baseball (none)
    . . . if it were the size of a soccer ball and thrown at a speed not exceeding 10 miles an hour.

    Send Dubya back to the ranch! BeatBushBlog

    by Frederick on Wed Dec 15, 2004 at 05:07:19 PM PST

  •  And the (none)
    regressives wonder why we pick on them, when they keep making it soooo easy.  It's become their new strategy, bungling themselves into victimhood in an effort to win sympathy.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by CaliBlogger on Thu Dec 16, 2004 at 12:43:55 AM PST

  •  Leave It To Bush (none)
    Who else but the Miserable Failure could pour billions into a military system that doesn't work to defend us from a country that no longer exists?

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