U.S. needs missile defense,
at any cost
Matthew E. Caster
Calm has finally been restored to the city
of Genoa, Italy, but the debate is just beginning to heat up on the topic
of missile defense. Recently, China and Russia voiced unified opposition
to President Bush's plan for missile defense, and several European nations
have also voiced concerns.
Of course, Bush has already stated he's
going to implement missile defense, whether other nations of the world
approve or not. But perhaps his most vocal opposition does not
come from abroad, but rather from his
I won't sugar-coat this for you: The United
States needs missile defense.
Three justifications jump immediately to
mind: Iran, Iraq and North Korea. These and other "rogue" states pose a
serious threat to national security. These nations have a
pronounced vendetta upon the United States
and are not afraid to lose a few million of their own people to undermine
Notice I did not mention that this defense
system would protect us from the likes of the Russians or Chinese. A system
capable of engaging missiles fired from those nations would
have to be far more complex, and would
probably never be used. For nations like these, the old rule of nuclear
deterrence applies: While you are destroying us, we will destroy you.
But rogue states don't care about deterrence;
they only care about the publicity they'd receive from a surprise attack.
Experts believe North Korea already has technology for a
missile attack on Hawaii or Alaska, and
it will only be a few more years until Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las
Vegas will join that list.
But all of the fears of this system are
To begin with, how much is it worth to
save human lives from surprise attack? If a city such as Los Angeles goes
up in a flash of nuclear fire, will the millions reduced to radioactive
ash still feel the cost was too great?
The Bush proposal isn't even that expensive
-- programs like Social Security and Medicare will cost billions more each
year than the missile defense system will cost in its lifetime.
People also question the system's effectiveness.
Granted, against some mass launching of 20 or more missiles, the Bush system
would prove to be only partially effective. But any
rogue nation stupid enough to launch 20
missiles at the United States would itself be reduced to a radioactive
glaze and wiped off the face of the planet.
What about the poor, pitiful Russians and
Europeans, terrified that this system would only incite another arms race?
In this, I must echo Bush's sentiment: Who cares?
Honestly, neither Russia nor the United
States is really stupid enough to fire off a nuclear missile. Either nation
would be committing suicide by doing so. Both sides learned well the
lessons of the Cold War: The key to relative
world stability in the last 50 years has been the possession, not the use,
of weapons of mass destruction.
Quite simply, every fallacious critique
of this plan doesn't consider American national security. We need this
system for protection from the rogue states, at any cost. Our cities and
our people are worth it.