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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Space Balls

Strategic missile defense was a fantastic vision of Hollywood sci-fi that Ronald Reagan thought would work because he'd seen similar weaponry in `Star Wars.'

Frank Gaffney and the rest of the Brilliant Pebbles lunatic fringe remain alive and well. So alive, so well, in fact, that Edward Teller's old partner Lowell Wood is still spinning his thang.

Wood was at the Capitol Hill Club touting Pebbles 2.0, and he's clearly no longer in a near-Earth orbit. He claims the whole system can be had for something like $11 billion. Wood is crazy, so someone should remind him that you can't scratch your butt in missile defense without spending more than that. We've spent upwards of $31 billion on missile defense since 1996 and have little to show for it beyond some silos in Alaska and lots of data on botched interceptor tests.

In the U.S. Senate, this is called `spiral development.' That's fancypants legislatese for ``blank check.''

And aren't we supposed to be re-tasking away from the Soviet threat towards a more diffuse confederation of state-less actors, dead-enders and low-tech terrorism? I guess where these people live money grows on trees. We already know the rest of the universe's real laws don't apply in Pebbletown.


Blogger PGL said...

$31 billion over the past 10 years! But what was spent from the beginning of Reagan's boondoggle? BTW - is Gaffney the great diversion from PlameGate now that the Roberts nomination has not led to the blood in the street the GOP was hoping for?

7/21/2005 6:29 PM  
Blogger cornhuskerblogger said...

if gaffney's the great diversion, he's been terribly miscast. even while he's vibrating with hate for basically everyone, he's sort of boring to watch.

7/21/2005 6:36 PM  
Blogger strategery4 said...

WPost today puts the total since Star Wars at $92.5 billion. (Go, MSM!) The real problem here is the spending being all out of proportion to the threat NOW (sunk costs are sunk costs). Fred Kaplan had a good piece on this in Slate -- it's billions for missile defense, and millions for port and subway security.

Also, the guys you mention are the least of the problem. Steve Cambone (currently fucking up intelligence in DoD) is one of the original missile defense nuts, and Bob Joseph (he of Niger-gate and now getting Bolton's old job I believe) is right there with him. Not to mention Cheney and Rumsfeld. Agree with CHB -- not sure Gaffney can still make it onto McNeil/Lehrer (yawn).

Shame too that the point Richard Clarke made quite well in his book -- that these guys dropped the ball on al Qaeda pre-9/11 b/c they were obsessing about missile defense as well as Iraq -- never got traction.

7/22/2005 12:33 PM  

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