The following was sent to us by our occasional Samizdata correspondent and secret agent within the heart of the MSM, Taylor Dinerman.
Writing in the Washington Post Adam Nagorski the former Moscow corespondent (Reagan’s Missile Defense Triumph) wants us to believe that Obama’s September 17th decision to cancel the deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic of a missile defense system based on the one now deployed in Alaska and California, is somehow a triumph for Reagan’s SDI (Star Wars) concept. Like they said to the tomcat when they brought out the snippers, “Its for your own good”.
He writes, “The debate is no longer focused on whether to build such a system, but on what kind of system will do the job better against what sorts of threats. ” That debate was over long ago. The Democrats, in the 1990s under Clinton, came to the decision that publicly at least, they could no long promote the idea that the US population should be totally defenseless against nuclear attack.
Either Nagoski is ignorant or he is being disingenuous. In 1993 after canceling the first Bush administration’s space based Brilliant Pebbles with the words “I’m taking the stars out of Star Wars”., the Clinton administration could not simply abandon missile defense completely, instead, like the Obama administration they sought to proceed with the smallest and least offensive possible program. They ordered the Defense Department to concentrate its efforts on defending against tactical and medium ranged missiles.
After the GOP gained control of Congress in 1994 Clinton’s team faced unrelenting political pressure from Congress to build up America’s anti ballistic missile defenses. They chose to support a few programs including the Navy one that Obama is now touting as if it were something new, and the Airborne Laser (ABL) program that the administration has eviscerated.
Most significantly Clinton and his team promoted something called National Missile Defense, a mid course interceptor system designed to handle ICBMs. It was this program that Bush, on taking office decided to proceed with especially after he withdrew from the much violated ABM treaty. This has long been the most controversial part of the US Missile Defense program since provides a direct, though weak protection to the US civilian population. For the Democrats and their allies who still believe in Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) this is intolerable.
Bush and the GOP pushed ahead and now there are about 30 Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) deployed in Alaska and California, along with a network of sensors. The Obama administration is choosing to cut the number of deployed GBIs to from the 44 ones planned by their predecessors to the ones now in the ground. The Bush plan was in itself inadequate, so this cut means that the US population is almost as completely vulnerable as it was under Clinton.
Like Clinton, Obama knows little about missile defense or about nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. At least Bush had flown air defense missions in a nuclear capable aircraft, the F-102. To imagine the plan to deploy sea based SM-3 missiles as a substitute for the GBIs that were to be based in Poland is laughable, as is the idea that sometime around 2020 there will be a version of the SM-3 that can do the job the GBIs are now doing.
The SM-3 is an excellent missile and Vice Admiral J.D.Williams (ret.), the father of sea based missile defense, is to be congratulated. It is however, not a system that can defend the US population against an ICBM attack. That is the main question that Nagorski tries to avoid. The Democrats are still doing everything they can to prevent a real space based missile defense. The other question as to why Bush failed to revive his father’s Brilliant Pebbles program is a tough one for him and for the GOP. The little they did is now being cut to ribbons by President Pantywaist (as he was referred to in the London Telegraph.) Trying to put a Reaganesque happy face on this fact is typical of the way the MSM is willing to make a fool of itself for its man.