He shoots, he scores!

Another National Review article puts the recent successful test of anti-ballistic missile defenses into perspective. The fact is, a North Korean Taepo Dong II ICBM could hit a target as far away as here in St. Peter from North Korea. While suitcase nukes are extremely technologically difficult to build, ICBM technology represents the best option for an unstable nation to lob nukes at the United States, or any other country. While ABM defense isn’t a complete solution, it would be foolhardy to ignore the threat of nuclear missile attacks against the US or it’s allies.

I posted this to Kuro5hin a while back, it’s worth posting here as well:

Missile defense is a much better idea than a lot of critics think. If you own a home, you don’t just lock the back door because that’s where thieves would most likely go – you lock *both* doors. Missile defense isn’t replacing anti-terrorist measures, but is helping to create a more well-rounded system of national defense. (And it’s becoming more and more likely that anti-ballistic-missile tech will also be used to protect American allies – even though they badmouth the US whenever possible and try to jam their ridiculous treaties such as Kyoto down our throats – but that’s another article…)

The plain fact is, a North Korean Taepo Dong II ICBM can hit targets as far west as Minneapolis, Minnesota, and as far south as New Mexico. (The range of the Taepo Dong II is 6,700 miles.) These weapons are in the hands of a nation led by a leader of questionable sanity that is also starving to death under a totalitarian government. This is not a tenable situation for the US, or anyone else. A sea-based ABM system could destroy a Taepo Dong II before it could cause harm. While it may be less effective against a MIRV type system, those systems are more expensive and are not as common as single-warhead missiles.

While the technological challenges are formidable, they are not insurmountable. The 1972 ABM Treaty is clearly a relic of the Cold War and needs to be scrapped. Russia is more worried about NATO expansion than maintaining a treaty that was signed by a nation which no longer exists. It may be expensive, but it can be done, and if managed well, it will not be prohibitively expensive.

As long as there is a threat of nuclear launches from unstable or rogue nations, missile defense is more than a good idea – it’s almost a necessity. An advisor to the Bush administration gave the most succinct metaphor I’ve yet heard – if you and one other person, a person you understand fairly well and you know understands the consequences of their action, are holding guns to each other, a bulletproof vest isn’t all that important. However, if you’re in a room with a bunch of people, all of whom are armed, many of whom are mentally unstable, you’d be a moron *not* to have one. We’re in a very big room with some very well-armed and none too stable nations. It’s time we at least had a bulletproof vest.

The original discussion with replies can be found on Kuro5hin. For more information on missile defense, check out the information from The Heritage Foundation.