Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen...




George Orwell, 1984

I just haven’t been motivated enough to muster up a post lately, and you’ll have to forgive me for either being too numb to it all as a result of the constant assault of Orwellian bullshit passing for government policy lately, or just plain holiday horse-hockey fatigue.

Finally, I am moved to tears of frustration after the following two items, which I’m positive are just recently discovered lost chapters from George Orwell’s classic vision of the future, 1984. I’ll begin with SDI today, and perhaps later, or tomorrow, we’ll cover the president’s rosy opinion of Rumsfeld…

Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) Test “Inconclusive”

This cold-war era boondoggle designed to provide fat-cat defense contractors with a two or three decade development and deployment hootenanny to set up a system that will defend against Soviet ICBMs. Or Chinese ICBMs. Or ICBMs from any country loony enough to launch one from its own soil. As long as that soil is far enough away to require a high trajectory and at least 20 minutes or so of flight time required to detect, verify and lock on to the target.

Of course, to build such a thing that would actually work, everyone knows, but not all who stand to make a gazillion bucks off of it will admit, is undeniably impossible. Tests conducted as recently as last week, designed to give the proponents in the administration and the Pentagon a touchstone to point to when trying to shove it through the Congressional appropriations guys, either completely missed, or failed to detect their targets and fire altogether. The tests were called “inconclusive.” Mmmm-hmmmm.

I don’t know about you, but my conclusions were pretty easy to get to. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say it actually worked as it is intended to work…

It won't defend against a cheap, makeshift, short range missile launched from a cargo ship sitting 50 miles off New York. Or Florida. Or California. Or... Well, you get the point. We have so many populated areas sitting on so many miles of coastline that an adversary could choose one of the less obvious targets, such as Charleston or Boca Raton, and still kill tens of thousands.

That's how terrorism works, by the way. Don't try to kill everyone. Just kill as many as it takes to send the nation into a spasm of panic and fear. Judging by our response to the 9/11 attacks, it doesn't take much.

Want to run down some of the other things against which SDI is useless? A dirty bomb. A suitcase bomb. A cargo container bomb. A FedEx bomb. Anthrax. (Remember Anthrax? The administration doesn't, judging by the progress of the investigation into the anthrax attacks.) Poisoning water supplies. Stinger missiles. Suicide truck bombers like Tim McVeigh. The list goes on.

Yep. Eighty billion would be better spent reinforcing security in areas where an attack is more likely. That is, if you actually believe the tab for this foolishness will only be $80 billion. And if you do... maybe you thought the animalted film version of Animal Farm was a documentary?


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