Monday, August 28, 2006

Rumsfeld Cautions on Missile Shield

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

FORT GREELY, Alaska - After his first look inside the nerve center of the U.S. missile defense system, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Sunday sounded a note of caution about expectations that interceptors poised in underground silos here would work in the event of a missile attack by North Korea.

Rumsfeld climbed down a steel ladder into one of 10 silos that house single 54-foot-long missile interceptors. If ordered by President Bush or a successor, one or more of the rockets would blast into the sky and race at more than 18,000 mph to launch a small "kill vehicle" at an enemy warhead as it soared through space.

An 11th interceptor is to be installed at Greely on Monday, officials said. Asked at a news conference later whether he believed the missile shield was ready for use against a North Korean missile like the one test-fired unsuccessfully on July 4, Rumsfeld said he would not be fully persuaded until the multibillion dollar defense system has undergone more complete and realistic testing.

He alluded to his own skeptical nature. "I want to see it happen," he said, "A full end-to-end" demonstration is needed "where we actually put all the pieces" of the highly complex and far-flung missile defense system together and see whether it would succeed in destroying a warhead in flight."

When is this country going to wake up and pay attention to the reckless, dangerous hubris of these officials in the Bush administration? Which 10 million innocent human beings get to be the target of a "more complete and realistic testing?" When did the discussion end on whether it makes more sense to spend 100 billion on Star Wars or 100 million on better international relations? Are we really expected to believe that the United States has nothing to offer North Korea that could help us develop good enough trade and cultural relations to bring about a relationship that would remove any and every North Korean impulse to ever do the USA any harm? Why is this kind of thinking so abhorrent to the Bushites?