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'Star Wars': the sequel -- Boston Globe editorial PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Wednesday, 16 June 2004 07:45

BY CONTINUING to plunge ahead with deployment of a missile defense system that has not been proven to work and might never work, President Bush is doing the opposite of what he should be doing.

'Star Wars': the sequel

BY CONTINUING to plunge ahead with deployment of a missile defense system that has not been proven to work and might never work, President Bush is doing the opposite of what he should be doing.

Instead of directing finite resources toward protecting the nation against likely threats, he is lavishing billions of dollars o­n a system that has not been tested under the realistic conditions that would obtain in the unlikely event America came under attack from ballistic missiles launched by North Korea. Instead of funding research that might o­ne day make possible an effective defense against ballistic missiles, Bush is spending $10.2 billion this year -- the single biggest item in the defense budget -- o­n a system whose flaws independent scientists regard as insurmountable.

Bush's insistence o­n deploying the system this fall does have a certain political logic. He made deployment of a missile shield a staple pledge of his 2000 campaign, echoing a favorite theme of many conservatives.

But a true conservative ought to have a healthy respect for science. If the infrared sensors o­n the interceptors in the system Bush wants to deploy before Election Day do not work -- if they cannot discriminate between a live warhead and painted decoy balloons -- then no amount of presidential wishing can make them work.

A recent report by senior scientists of the Union of Concerned Scientists concluded: "The ballistic missile defense system that the United States will deploy later this year will have no demonstrated defensive capability and will be ineffective against a real attack by long-range ballistic missiles." The scientists recommended against any deployment before the system undergoes realistic testing.

Some senators, including Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island, are expected to offer amendments this week either to require more testing or to delay futher wasteful spending o­n the current system. Difficult as it may be for Bush to reverse course o­n his missile defense plans, he can best defend the national security by heeding the warnings of realistic senators and scientists

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 June 2004 07:45
 

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