Missile defense still wrong

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that it actually works.

Let’s pretend evidence exists proving the viability of a national missile defense shield. Let’s pretend we could build an interceptor missile capable of hitting targets without GPS locator beacons attached to their noses. Even with these stipulations, the United States still has no use for such a system. A national ballistic missile defense shield will not shoot down Boeing 757s or destroy anthrax-laden packages. A national ballistic missile defense shield will not protect us.

Sept. 11 proved just how impotent such a shield would be. Terrorists neither have nor need the money to mount an effective ballistic missile attack. Only a handful of nations possess the means to attack our country via space and any nation with such a capability is established enough to fear their own destruction.

Mutually assured destruction, or MAD, kept the world alive during the Cold War because no established nation can conceive of wiping itself off the map. Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, that balance could – with the exception of Russia and China – be amended to AD. Even Saddam Hussein would not use his formidable chemical weapons store against U.S. troops during the Gulf War because he knew Iraq would not survive the retaliation. Nations do not commit suicide to win a war; terrorists do. Labeling a nation “rogue” doesn’t change that.

Considering the United States’ current situation, it is irresponsible of President George W. Bush to continue to push this foolish missile defense shield, on which he said he wants to begin construction, come January. The Washington Post reported last month, Bush ordered the CIA to embark on a massive mission to kill bin Laden and destroy the al-Qaida network. Bush also increased the agency’s anti-terrorism budget by $1 billion to finance the new mission. This comes on the heels of the extra tens of billions of dollars given to the military after the Sept. 11 attacks. Because we have become engaged in a conflict which Vice President Dick Cheney said probably won’t be over in our lifetime, Bush needs to avoid wasting money on unnecessary, malfunctioning, useless projects such as the missile shield.

The recent partnership with Russia adds yet another reason to avoid Star Wars. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the project, saying he fears it will lead to a new arms race – a race the United States can ill-afford to run right now. What’s more, we need Russian cooperation and support for our attacks in Afghanistan due to their knowledge of and influence in that region of the world.

This is not appeasement; it is common sense. The United States should not waste money on ballistic missile defense.