Saturday, June 9, 2007

"Anti-missile Defense" is Pure Pork and Dangerous

What is really going on as Bush forces his anti-missile defense down Poland and the Czech Republic's throats? Who wants this useless system?

A number of things are going on, and my opinion is that they are all terrible.

1.- The anti-Missile defense system does not protect the host countries, in fact it puts them in danger.
Bush is pressuring the two ex Soviet block countries into accepting a dangerous long-term task that in no way benefits them. After all, even the White House says that the system is designed to defend Western Europe. Poland and the Czech Republic are in Eastern Europe. So even if this contraption could work, and even if there was a country in the Middle East that managed to purify Uranium 235 or breed Plutonium 239 from Uranium 238, and even if they could then construct a functional nuclear warhead, and even if they could then mount that warhead on a missile capable of flying that payload over 1000 miles, and even if the country doing this risky work would be willing to risk the annihilation of its entire population by firing a nuclear missile at countries with huge nuclear arsenals, and even if the missile fired by mad Arabs or Persians was so off course as to target Poland or the Czech Republic, even if all of the above were true, according to the designers of the anti-missile defense system it would probably not be able to defend the Czech Republic or Poland.

There was a good deal of goodwill garnered from Poland and the Czech Republic thanks to American efforts to free them from Russian hegemony from the end of WWII until the fall of the Soviet Empire. We have already begun to spend that goodwill however as Bush II has pushed these two countries into housing illegal CIA torture centers and has spent most of the remaining account of good will by convincing them to send soldiers to Iraq to die for nothing.

So the First terrible thing to result from the "anti-missile defense system" will be the erosion of goodwill in the hosting countries and undoubtedly the rise of anti American political movements there. This will be worse than might be expected given the fact that the missile installation and the radar installation will be US military bases in which the Poles and the Czechs will have no legal jurisdiction. They will have ceded territory to the US military. This will infuriate the local opposition and will polarize the national politics of each of these countries. That polarization will threaten democratic institutions. It is hard to predict the size and scope of the nationalistic movements that will arise in reaction to the US bases, but there will be a reaction. The United States may be able to continue to coerce or finesse the ruling governments of Poland and the Czech Republic, but the populations of these countries are not as easy to manipulate. The placement of these missiles will certainly make firm allies begin to doubt us.

2.- We will further damage our relations with Russia. Our relations with Russia are now worse than they have been since the cold war. The Russians are proud nationalistic people. Given the fact that until a few years ago Poland and then Czechoslovakia were firmly fixed in the Soviet orbit. Now we want to install anti-missile defenses in those countries that loook to be be pointed at Moscow. The Russians see this as a slap in the face. They doubt that we would expend so much money and political capital to defend Western Europe from a nonexistent danger from the Mid-East. So, naturally, they see that the real plan is swimming forward under the surface. Many theories are being invented in Russia to explain the real reason we are proposing tha anti-missile system and most point to this being a first step that will then be upgraded to protect Europe and America from Russian ICBMs. Bush's comments that Russia is our friend does not square with what other members of his government have been saying. Russia's fear, not Ahmadinijad's phantom nukes, is what puts Poland in jeopardy.

3.- No terrorist organization will ever be able to field a nuclear missile. The construction, housing and maintenance of a nuclear missile is way beyond the logistical, financial or territorial capability of any terrorist organization. They can strap a bomb belt around a jihadist and send him into a crowded market or they can fill an Econoline van with TNT and drive it into a bomb wall outside an American embassy, they can blow up a disco in Tel Aviv and they were able to get a bunch of fanatics to hijack planes with box cutters. These are the capabilities of terrorist organizations. They could not do anything with a nuclear missile now nor ever in the future. Fielding a nuclear missile requires a physical domain and that means a State. Terrorists can't launch ICBMs.

4.- The "missile defense" system almost certainly doesn't work anyway. After a budget of ten billion a year for many years the system can only hit a missile 50% of the time in planned and rehearsed trials. In the real world, in a real event the system would have a probability of 0% to 10% to be able to shoot down an incoming missile. So if the "rogue state shoots two or three the real probability is that at least one will certainly get through. The system doesn't work and given that it depends on a missile fired from the Czech Republic to slam into an incoming missile in outer space where their closing speeds would be around Mach 50 (30,000mph) it never will work.

5.- Europe doesn't want this system. Considering that this system is designed to defend Western Europe, you might expect some enthusiasm from Spain, France, England, etc. about its installation in Eastern Europe. But apparently they are not as terrified of middle-Eastern "rogue states" as the astute neocon diplomats in Washington think they should be. There is no enthusiastic support for this thing at all. There is only grudging support among some of the British government.

The European Union is perfectly capable of protecting themselves now that the big red scare has lost its power to terrify. We have no business taking care of European defense. Our government is running deficits that we may never be able to pay. Why should we give this system to Europe and then support it indefinately? These are our allies, if we want to do them a favour, we could share this technology with them; or better yet give it to them. If they want missile defense froma phantom rogue state, then they can buy it, they can finance it and they can maintain it. Why are we going to do this and spend billions to protect our rich allies that don't want to pay for the protection?

6.- The whole "Rogue State" idea is another fantastic neocon lie. When the Bush administration says "rogue state" what they mean is Iran with the understood meaning of outlaw and out of control. A terrorist non-state organization cannot field a nuclear missile, but a State can. So what "rogue state" are we supposedly worried about? Could it be Israel who has many nuclear missiles, perhaps as many as 200? Over the years they have proven to be quite trigger happy (out of control), and have broken International guidelines as often as most people break bread (outlaw), but they are our ally, therefore they are good guys and do not qualify as a "Rogue State".

So who else has the bomb on top of a long range missile? The United States has thousands, so does Russia. India, China and Pakistan have some as do France and England, and now the goofiest, least reponsible government in the world, run by Little Kim in his pompadour, has a couple of nuclear missiles. According to the folks in charge in Washington, none of these qualifies as a "rogue state".

The "rogue state" in question happens to be the enemy of Israel, and is therefore a country which Bush is chomping at the bit to attack. But does Iran actually pose a nuclear threat to Western Europe? Is there any scenario where it might be advantageous for Iran to nuke Western Europe, or to threaten to nuke Western Europe? It is more than difficult to envision a scenario where there could be a rational national advantage to doing either of the above. Iran will never have the quantity of missiles to be able to intimidate Europe the way that the Soviet Union could. Trying to use a single shot pistol to take five soldiers with machine guns hostage is not rational. And if Iran fired a nuclear missile at France or England or Spain or Germany, Tehran would be vaporized. How could that help them? If they threatened Europe they would be asking for first strikes against their missile installations. With today's satellite surveillance, everyone would know where their few weapons would be located. If Iran initiated either a unilateral nuclear attack or just a nuclear threat against Europe it would blow up in their face.

Iran woudn't have missiles pointed at Europe anyway. They would surely point their missiles not at Germany and France but rather at the country that has missiles pointed at Tehran. That country is not located in Europe, but rather on the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. If Iran ever launches it will be in retaliation to either an American or an Israeli launch. They would be committing suicide if they launched first at Israel. But we are talking about the European "missile defense" system that Bush wants to foist on our Polish and Czech freinds. In the case of nuclear conflict between Israel and Iran it would not be capable of doing anything at all.

It is clearly not in Iran's rational interest to threaten Europe with nukes and that is where the "rogue state" business comes into play. According to Washington pundits (but not the CIA) Iran's government is currently being run by a dangerous Islamic nutcase who would not act based on rational thought but rather would gladly sacrifice Tehran and millions of his fellow Iranians to pursue some jihadist martyrdom at the national level. This assumes that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (or some future nutcase President) could fire nukes without the consent of the Supreme Leader and the Council of Experts or that all of these cautious older men like Ali Khamenei would jump at the idea of national immolation as a statement of jihad. Serious students of this situation know that is not even close to possible.

Iran wants nukes because two countries who are already armed with nukes have avowed to fight against it. Both Israel and the USA have stated publicly on many occaisions that they may have to strike against Iran. There have even been implied threats of nuclear strikes. Lately there have been overt threats of nuclear strikes by American candidates for President in televised debates stating that if they were in power they would be willing to pre-emptively strike Iran with nukes. So there are reasons to be concerned that Iran may arm itself with nukes, and if they are pushed into a corner by pre-emptive airstrikes from Israel or the US that they might launch. But it would not be the action of an irrational "rogue state" and it would not be against Europe!

7.- The real reason: the military-industrial complex. Eisenhower was right about the danger to peace and freedom posed by the cooperation between the military and American industry. He has been proved right over the last 47 years. It is why we have become the world's enforcer, it is why we are fighting in Iraq, it is why we are losing our civil rights one after another. The interaction between the defense industry, the Defense Dept. and entrenched politicians in Washington is the biggest threat to world peace that exists today. It is also the greatest threat to the liberty of Americans and to our ability to pay our debts without passing all of our bills on to the next generation. Our government spends money like drunken sailors on systems that have no conceivable utility, such as a new generation interceptor/fighter. This would be used in a conflict against who? Do we need a faster jet fighter to find and eliminate Osama Bin-Laden? Our current batch of airplanes can rule the skies against anyone in the world and no-one else is building a new generation of planes, why should we? The reason is because Lockheed Martin, Boeing AeroSpace, General Dynamics et al offer very lucrative post political positions to Senators and Congressmen as well as Generals and Admirals and former Secretaries of State and Defense.

And that is the only reason that we are pushing this ridiculous "anti-missile defense" down everyone's throat. It is worth 10B (thats a B, not an M) per year right now. If it actually gets implemented think about quadrupling that yealy expenditure.

I sincerely suggest that you write your congressman and tell him that we know what is going on and he or she had better get this thing stopped.


NoLibertarians said...

We need to defend ourselves from Iran. Sitting and waiting for a nuclear strike to happen is suicide!

Chris Ferrell said...

What would it avail Iran to launch a first strike against the US(which it cannot hit)? Do you think that the Iranians want to commit national suicide? If you answer yes, you are truly deluded.

Besides, Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. Read the article. If Iran had a nuke it would be pointed at Israel and would be used to deter an Israeli attack.