Thursday, December 16, 2004

The biggest waste of money I can think of

Unsurprisingly, yet another balistic missile defense attempt failed yesterday. According to the LA Times, this boondoggle costs "$130 billion and is scheduled to tally $50 billion more over the next five years." Now before conservatives reading this say, "you are weak on defense!" I would like to point out that the cold war ended 15 years ago. There is no need to protect ourselves from ballistic missiles coming in from Russia and really not against China for another 20 years (maybe North Korea in 5-10 years but that's pretty generous). Also, is it not more cost effective to simply take away North Korea's nukes than to build the impossible machine?

The thing that really gets me about the whole thing is that this money could be better spent, even on the same purpose-- protecting our country from attack. Bin Laden and his friends are not going to hijack a missle silo, they are going to buy a warhead and smuggle it into Canada, Mexico, or the US, most likely via a ship containers since only 5% of them get checked. Then they can just drive into a big city (San Diego or Seattle, for example) and blow up the device. It won't kill as many people as a balistic missle would, but the point is to scare the sh*t out of us, not max out the number of dead people.

We could spend some of that 50 billion on protecting ex-USSR loose nukes, which will be secured at the current rate in the next 15 years. We could spend some of that money getting into North Korea and sabotoging their missile silos and nuclear fission thingies. Are they really stupid enought to try to attack us? Maybe they would try going for the South Koreans, but we would get the Chinese on board with such caldestine operations and are pretty good at reigning in their little buddies. And I bet we would still have money left over to buy more protective gear for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Plus, it doesn't work, and I have yet to read any scientist who believes it could work. Sure, my DLC friends say it is a good idea, and so do the people at the Penagon, but both are getting money and smoozing from the defense contractors, not exactly unbiased parties. Missle Defense is a religion among Reaganite GOPers (which is now most of them), you can't reason with them, but for the rest of you, it just makes no sense.

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