Some of us remember when Reagan proposed the expensive “Star Wars” program.

There was a lot of ridicule in the papers back the, since if the then USSR sent over a couple thousand missles, there was some doubt if shooting down a couple, or even most of them, would be adequate protection.

Later, the early “anti missile” systems were touted in Gulf War I as working…but any Israeli could tell you that there was a lot more damage on the ground than got on CNN, and later it was admitted that the system didn’t work very well.

The latest version, however, just had a major success in knocking out an incoming missile, according to the Daily Tech website:

..the development of ultra-high-speed electronics soon enabled the approach used today- – the EKV, or Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle. The EKV collides directly with incoming missiles, using its own kinetic energy to destroy the target, an approach described as “hitting a bullet with another bullet.”…

Raytheon reported successful test interceptions on five separate occasions since October 1999.
The most recent test was held last Friday.

This is the system being proposed to be placed in Europe to protect Europe from Middle East missles.

Since the time of Ronald Reagan, the real danger is the threat of missile borne nuclear weapons from North Korea or Iran who have both nuclear weapons and local missiles.

The Russian objections to the placement of such sites in Europe is a sham: The Russians say they won’t object if the US places them in a Russian site (e.g. to let them get the weapons technology) and, of course, protect Russia herself from missile attacks.

Of course, one suspects there is a lot of hype in this, to keep Iran off balance wondering what the US can and would do if they should be aggressive and try to bomb Israel or Europe.

For better or for worse, the Iranian population has some input into their government, and the presence of satellite dishes on rooftops show that they have access to what is going on elsewhere. The population is getting fed up with the corruption and incompentence of the Mullahs, and economic news may get worse if Europe and the US decide to impose real sanctions.
The same cannot be said for North Korea, where only a few people own satellite dishes and most still believe the government’s propaganda, which is why Japan is allowing anti missile defenses to be mounted in their land.
So into this evil brew of war, place a note that the huge investments of fancy missile systems with fancy bombs might not work at all, and you can see the propaganda value of all of this. The threat of nuking Paris or Tokyo is a lot less potent if your victim can look you in the eye and say: Do you feel lucky, punk? You try it, we shoot it down and you will then face Armageddon.
As for me, I think the whole thing is stupid: Wasting money that could be used on lifting poverty and cleaning up the earth being wasted on weapons.

But the dirty little secret of history is that those who don’t own sword can nevertheless die on them (to quote Eowyn in Fran Walsh’s script). And the dirty little secret about modern pacifism is that one can preach all you want about making the earth a “nuclear free” zone, but until that happens, it’s nice to know that someone is working on protecting civilian populations from nuclear threats.

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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