(continued from the previous post)
These problems exist quite apart from a couple of broader issues: There are far cheaper ways, which Bush has resolutely dismissed, to neutralize the North Korean threat; and there are far cheaper ways, which he has gravely shortchanged, to deal with more immediate threats.
Even the components that have been tested, even successfully tested, are by no means finished products. In its budget document, the MDA boasts of the tests to see if an interceptor can collide with, and destroy, a simulated incoming warhead—in military parlance, to see if a bullet can hit a bullet.
...However, the MDA left out some important caveats to these statistics. First, the numbers are quite small—typically, missile systems undergo about 20 tests before being declared operational. Second, the tests were set-pieces: Everyone involved knew where the mock warhead was coming from, where it was going, and when it would come into view; there were no realistic decoys, no instances of multiple warheads being fired at once (except in a few of the Patriot tests, which involved two warheads fired over a short range). Third, and most telling, the MDA decided late last year to halt the test program; it even canceled two tests that had already been scheduled. ...The tests made no effort whatever to see if the interceptors could work as part of an integrated network in which early-warning satellites detect a missile launch, transmit the data to other radar systems that track the missile more precisely, and then aim and fire the interceptors to knock the missiles down.
Need I add, of course, that Bush's massive spending boost is coupled with massive tax cuts--in other words, he's putting this dubious system on the credit card. Furthermore, every dollar spend on this boondoggle is one not spent, not only on the social programs Bush and his fellow un-compassionate conservatives loathe, but real security and intelligence programs designed to ensure actual progress in the war on terrorism. And, of course, terrorists have amply demonstrated that even a functional anitmissile system wouldn't prevent them from striking.