The Pentagon’s last hope of flight-testing critical new elements of an antimissile system, before activating the system this autumn, appeared to vanish yesterday with the disclosure that the next flight test has been postponed until late this year, well past the November election.
The Air Force general in charge of the program said the setback will not affect plans to begin operating the system in the next month or two. But the delay leaves the Pentagon pressing ahead with a system that will not have been flight-tested in nearly two years — and never with the actual interceptor that will be deployed.
I don’t have time right now to talk about why a missile defense is a dumbass idea, although it should be pretty clear to anyone who thinks about it for more than thirty seconds. I just want to go through the administration thought process on this one:
January 2001: We need a missile defense in order to shoot down North Korean missiles. This is much more important than thinking about terrorism. Sit down, Mr. Clarke.
September 2001: The fact that terrorists can hijack planes and fly them into buildings makes it all the more clear that we need a missile defense to shoot down North Korean missiles. Stop punching me, Mr. Clarke.
2002: It looks like the North Koreans are developing nuclear weapons. Must be Clinton’s fault. I bet a missile defense will force the collapse of the North Korean state, just like Star Wars destroyed the Soviet Union. What’s that coming out of your ears, Mr. Clarke?
September 2004: Because the North Koreans were able to buy missile technology from my good friend the Reverend Moon, and because we steadfastly refuse to cut a deal with a rogue state, it is SO critical that we get a missile defense system that we’ll activate one without actually testing it.
For all their populist rhetoric, the Republicans sure think we’re dumb.