above picture, with its pyramid and rows of free-standing columns in the middle of nowhere, reminds me of
the pharaonic Egyptian pyramids or the ruins of
What the picture really shows is the mothballed military base where the United States first attempted, in 1975, to
operate an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense: The Safeguard system. US$25 billion
was spent on Safeguard, which remained operational for only 133 days,
when military strategists concluded that the Soviet Union could
overwhelm it with a rush of new warheads then being deployed.
(The New York Times, 30Jun00, p.A10)|
|17Dec02 (Reuters, filed at 11:37 a.m. ET):
President Bush... ordered the military to begin deploying a national missile defense
system with land- and sea-based interceptor rockets to be
operational starting in 2004. The decision came despite last week's failure [11Dec02] of an
anti-missile test over the Pacific Ocean. In a statement, Bush said his goal was to 'protect our
citizens against what is perhaps the greatest danger of all -- catastrophic harm that may result from
hostile states or terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass destruction and
the means to deliver them'....
[See also below, &
||...Washington wants Britain to upgrade an early warning radar
system at Fylingdales (See picture, right)... to enhance the
program to protect both the United States and allies from attack."|
|"Ever since the president made his decision,
the priority of the program has been on deployment, not on understanding whether the
system works," said... Philip E. Coyle... [a former]
director of the Pentagon's operational test and evaluation office....
at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday [11Mar04] (James Glanz, "Pointed Questions on Missile Defense System",
NYT on the Web, 12Mar04)|
|On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled
to outline a Bush administration policy that would address "the threats and problems of today and the day after,
not the world of yesterday" -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals....
The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy,
and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups,
according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.
(Robin Wright, "Top Focus Before 9/11 Wasn't on Terrorism: Rice Speech Cited Missile Defense",
The Washington Post, 01Apr04, p.A01)|
|Dec. 15  - An important test of the United States'
fledgling missile defense system ended in failure early Wednesday as an interceptor rocket failed to
launch on cue from the
[Ronald Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll] Marshall Islands...
because of "an unknown anomaly," according to the Missile Defense Agency of the Defense Department.
The launching had been planned as the first full test in two years of this element of the Bush administration's effort
to deploy a multilayered missile defense shield....
The last test of the interceptor, on Dec. 12, 2002, was also a failure,
as the interceptor failed to separate from its booster rocket, missed its target by hundreds of miles and burned up in the atmosphere.
But shortly after that, President Bush ordered the Pentagon
to proceed with initial deployment of a limited system...." (David Stout and John H. Cushman Jr.,
"Defense Missile for U.S. System Fails to Launch", NYT on the Web, 16Dec04;
"Interceptor Missile Fails in Test Launch", AP, 15Dec04, Filed at 10:42 p.m. ET)|