In Your Face, North Korea

Shame is so twentieth century.

These days, we Americans are standing so tall and kicking such butt in all areas of life that we don't have time for shame. That kind of stuff's for you wimpy nations without the cojones to deploy a really kick-ass defensive system. If you guys cared about your people like we care about ours, you'd have a system as good as ours. If you could borrow $1.85 billion a day from other countries like we did in November—and admit it, you wish you could—you'd create a really top-notch Strategic Defense Initiative like ours:

A target missile carrying a mock warhead was successfully launched from Kodiak, Alaska, just after midnight yesterday, but as the interceptor missile prepared to launch 16 minutes later from its Marshall Islands site, it automatically shut down.

Rick Lehner, a spokesperson for the U.S. Missile Defence Agency, said the Pentagon will follow a standard procedure and study all data before determining the problem. He offered no timeframe for the probe.

"Obviously we would have liked to have had a complete exercise, but we had a good target launch," he said.

I love it. “A good target launch.” I mean, the bomb took off just fine, whaddya want? The interceptor should take off too? Man, you want a lot for your $80 billion (so far).

But as long as North Korea launches in good weather, during the day, and doesn't try to trick us with some sort of deviant Oriental preversion, we're cool:

Two previous tests were shut down because of bad weather, but Lehner said yesterday's weather was not a factor.

The last test in December, 2002, also failed.

The last successful test was in October, 2002. There have been nine tests in all, five of which have been deemed successful.

But none has been launched in anything but ideal weather, and none has worked at night.

In all the tests, the target was highly scripted with a meticulously studied trajectory, nothing remotely replicating the evasive path that would be taken by a missile launched from North Korea.

And of course one of the so-called successes was actually a failure, in that the so-called kill vehicle only hit the target because it happened to be right behind the decoy that the kill vehicle went for. But never mind that now. This wasn't really a failure:

Baker Spring, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, called the failure a "non-test" and certainly not a major setback. He said the fact the system shut down instead of misfiring means it will be easier to pinpoint the problem.

He said previous missile systems developed by the Pentagon have been highly successful...

We weren't really trying to test anything here with this test, it was really more of a non-test. And the interceptor didn't blow up while we weren't testing it, so we can check it out and try to find out what happened. I'd call that a success. Except that we weren't actually testing.

Plus, his point about previous missile systems is well taken. You remember how well the Patriots did against the Scuds in the previous invasion of Iraq, right?

After the Gulf War, the Pentagon trumpeted the Patriot's effectiveness by claiming an 80 percent success rate. But a congressional analysis afterward said Patriots shot down Scuds just four times in 47 firings.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology missile expert Theodore Postol declared in 1991 there was no evidence the Patriots ever hit a Scud.

Okay, but we've improved them since then.

This time ["Iraqi Freedom"], the Patriots have blasted more than 10 missiles but are being branded one of the biggest letdowns of the war.

The problem: The missile system also shot down two allied jet fighters.


Further study is needed to see exactly how many Patriots were fired, how many hit their targets and how challenging those targets were. Few, if any, of the missiles shot down during the war are believed to be the elusive Scuds that would really put Patriots to the test, Pengelley said.

Even if you thought the thing could work, failures like this would be expected in a prototype stage. But that's not where we are. Bush considers this system to be deployed as is:

"We say to those tyrants who believe they can blackmail America and the free world—you fire, we're going to shoot it down," he said during a stop in Pennsylvania last August.

Only Americans would fall for obvious garbage like this. It's Hollywood's fault.

Let's not even start talking about why this stuff is really being deployed.

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