TCS Daily

How Offensive Is Missile Defense?

By Robert Haddick - April 11, 2007 12:00 AM

The United States government's intelligence community believes that by 2015 Iran will have developed an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of striking the U.S. homeland. Should Iran's nuclear program continue apace, it might also have a nuclear warhead to attach to this missile.

To respond to this potential threat, the Bush administration recently proposed installing a minimal ground-based anti-ballistic missile capability in Europe with a mission of defending the United States against an ICBM attack from Iran. The U.S. has proposed bilateral negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic to establish this system. Under the proposal, the U.S. would base ten interceptor missiles in Poland and an associated radar site oriented against Iran in the Czech Republic. This arrangement would exist outside the NATO alliance and the U.S. military would maintain sole command and control over the system. (Mr. Eric Edelman, the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, recently conducted a briefing with the Pentagon press corps on this matter, the transcript for which is here.)

Backlash in Europe

U.S. government officials acknowledge that they were tardy in explaining their program and intentions to the Europeans. In any case, the Europe reception to the American missile defense plan has been harsh. This article from The Economist describes the mood:

The instinctive reaction of Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's foreign minister and a member of the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), was to rebuke America for "startling" Russia with talk of placing fancy new kit in the neighbourhood. "Because the stationing sites are getting closer to Russia, one should have talked with Russia first," he chided. The SPD chairman, Kurt Beck, went further. He has called the missile-defence plan a prelude to an arms race, and said: "We don't need new missiles in Europe."

Mr. Javier Solana, the European Union's chief for foreign policy, issued a blunt warning to Poland and the Czech Republic:

European Union foreign policy and security chief Javier Solana on Thursday warned the Czech Republic and Poland against agreeing to host a planned United States anti-missile system.

While the EU treaties granted member states sovereignty on security matters, "that sovereignty has to be made compatible with the EU's general interest in security," Solana told the European Parliament in Brussels.

Why the Angst in Europe?

Much of the European backlash against the American plan for missile defense might be due to the general feeling of anti-Americanism that now exists there. Setting that reason aside, what are the strategic concerns Europeans policymakers might have?

The American missile defense proposal defends America. What's in it for Europe?

During his press briefing (cited above), Undersecretary Edelman mentioned that NATO was making its own separate study of Europe's missile defense needs. This study might result in a proposal for a NATO-controlled system to defend Europe against intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Mr. Edelman also mentioned that by adding a third site to the proposed American system in Poland and the Czech Republic (presumably additional interceptors at base in southeastern Europe), the American system could then defend Europe against the Iranian threat. But while the Europeans ponder what, if anything, they should do about defending themselves against ballistic missiles, the Americans are pushing forward on their defense needs. That is the implication of American policy.

The American proposal angers Russia. Europe doesn't want to live next to an angry Russia.

As Mr. Peter Cuthbertson recently discussed at TCS Daily, the Russians have responded to the American missile defense plan by vowing to rip up the 1988 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Agreement, mulling the resurrection of their SS-20 nuclear missiles, and threatening with attack the proposed missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Americans have responded to Russia's threats with emissaries to Moscow and an offer to cooperate with Russia on the general matter of rogue missile threats. It remains to be seen whether these entreaties will mollify the Russians and in turn, calm down the Europeans. Needless to say, the Russians have now stumbled on an effective lever by which they can extract something from either the Europeans or the Americans.

By entering into bilateral defense agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic, the Americans are dividing Europe against itself.

As someone trying to build up the European Union's institutions and credibility, one can understand why Mr. Solana might be unhappy with an American initiative that seems to carve off key central European countries from the rest of Europe.

But if Poland, the Czech Republic, the other former Soviet satellites seem to prefer defense arrangements with the Americans rather than with western Europeans, perhaps it is because the "new Europe" countries don't trust their neighbors to the west. The Czech foreign minister was quite open with this view, as the Financial Times recently described:

The Czech Republic wants the US to give security assurances in return for the country's help in providing a base for the proposed US missile defence system, Karel Schwarzenberg, Czech foreign minister, has said.

The demand, made in an interview with FT Deutschland, the Financial Time's sister paper, reflects the Czech Republic's fear that the Nato alliance would not fulfil all its defence commitments in the case of an attack on the country.


Commenting on Nato, Mr. Schwarzenberg said there had been "relatively few measures to show that security guarantees and the unconditional solidarity also apply to the new states".

Nato's 26 allies are formally committed to mutual self-defence under Article Five of its treaty. A failure of Nato to act in case of an attack, would "naturally be a big problem", Mr. Schwarzenberg said.

Mr. Schwarzenberg apparently understands European history. He also understands that as Iran gradually extends the range of its ballistic missiles, southeastern and central Europe will come under threat before Brussels, Madrid, Paris, and London will.

If Europe Doesn't Like Missile Defense, It Has Another Choice

If Europe doesn't like the American missile defense plan and the effect it might have on European solidarity, it might ponder for a moment the origin of the problem, namely Iran and its ballistic missile and nuclear programs. To its credit, Europe has stood with the United States as a united front at the United Nations Security Council. Together, the Europeans and the Americans have persuaded the Russians and Chinese to support two, albeit mild, Security Council resolutions designed to punish Iran for its lack of cooperation with international nuclear inspectors.

This is all to the good. But the Europeans must realize that their financing and trade with Iran keeps the Iranian government in business and thus Iran's nuclear and missiles programs moving ahead. Through the unilateral employment of sterner financial and trade sanctions against Iran, the Europeans have the capability of reining in the Iranian regime and its weapons programs. Removing the Iranian threat in this manner would remove the need for the American missile defense plan in Europe.

Imposing trade and financial sanctions on Iran means inflicting a bit of self-imposed economic harm on the European economy. It remains to be seen whether Europe's political leadership has the will to face the Iranian problem in this manner.

America Has Another Choice, Too

What if Mr. Solana gets his wish and the Eurocrats in Brussels succeed in compelling the Poles and Czechs to refrain from dealing bilaterally with the Americans? What if the American plan for a missile defense system based in Europe fails, while the Iranian threat advances? Where would that leave the Americans?

Geography, geometry, and the laws of physics are the reasons a ground-based defense against Iranian ICBMs ends up in central Europe. But if the Europeans refuse, the U.S. has another basing option: space.

Does the United States have a viable space-based missile defense alternative? Although the U.S. government has spent no significant money on such a program for many years, there are two space-based options it could develop relatively quickly.

The first option would be the Brilliant Pebbles program which the U.S. Congress terminated in 1991. A Brilliant Pebble is a very small (roughly one meter, 10 kilogram) space-based interceptor that flies in low earth orbit oriented to the source of a potential missile threat. A constellation of dozens or hundreds of Brilliant Pebbles would provide a stream of interceptors that would provide continuous coverage of a threat. Upon detection of a hostile missile launch, U.S. controllers would activate some of the Brilliant Pebbles in orbit. After activation, the Brilliant Pebbles interceptors would use their sensors to find the rising missiles. Brilliant Pebbles would then maneuver and collide with the missiles in the missiles' boost phase, when the missiles' rocket plumes would make tracking easy, and before the missiles would be able to deploy their warheads or decoys.

As this recent report (8 MB) explains (see page 22, appendix D and appendix I), the U.S. Congress terminated the Brilliant Pebbles program in 1991 solely due to concerns over infringement of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, not due to problems of with the technology. Of course, the ABM treaty became defunct in 2001. Since 1991, Brilliant Pebbles technologies have been proven numerous times in a wide variety of NASA small satellite missions and in dozens of successful flight tests conducted by the Missile Defense Agency using "hit-to-kill" technology on several interceptor platforms.

A second option would be a space-based laser system. An aircraft-mounted anti-missile laser system is already in the late stages of development. This system's target tracking and engagement lasers have already been proven. Placing these lasers in several low earth orbit satellites would provide wide coverage against hostile missile threats.

A U.S. space-based missile defense system would no doubt be a highly provocative choice, breaking a long-standing taboo against basing weapons in space. One can see some petty gamesmanship in the Russian "outrage" at the proposed ten missile interceptors in Poland. But an effective American space-based missile defense system would truly unnerve Russian and Chinese defense planners since such a system would have the potential of negating their nuclear deterrent forces. Handled unwisely, such an American space-based deployment could be destabilizing.

Europe Needs to Grow Up

In any case, the U.S. is in a better situation than Europe. As Iran gradually extends the range of its missiles, Europe will become a target before the U.S. will. Yet it is the Americans that are actively preparing a defense, while the Europeans, who will be threatened first, are only studying the problem and complaining about the American program.

What about the threat of retaliation against Iran to deter a ballistic missile attack? There is no European doctrine for nuclear weapons use, and only France and Britain have nuclear forces. And many in Britain are opposed to maintaining that country's nuclear deterrent. With no missile defenses and no credible nuclear deterrent doctrine, Europe will leave itself exposed to intimidation.

Instead of complaining about America's missile defense proposal, Europe's statesmen should instead recognize their peril. They should cooperate with the American effort and see how it can be extended to provide coverage for Europe.

If Europe instead blocks the American plan, it is Europe that will suffer the most. It will soon find itself within Iranian missile range, without a defense, and without a credible deterrent. Meanwhile, the U.S. will find a way to defend itself from ICBM attack, from space if necessary. Europe needs to stop pouting about missiles defenses and start facing its future.

The author was a U.S. Marine Corps infantry company commander and staff officer. He was the global research director for a large private investment firm and is now a private investor. His blog is Westhawk. He is a TCS contributing writer.



Nothing can be as offensive that eurolands attitude, not only to the States, but to its own neighbours. What hypocritical bullies they always show themselves to be. So security is supposed to be to each country, but still they try to stop them from allowing missles in; taxation is also up to each, but the big ones bully the new ones to have higher taxes, they harp about Kyoto treaty to the States, then don't meet it themselves, they brag about their monetary policy, then go and break them right away. I think a better idea is to not put the missles there so that those snobs can get a bit of a reality check once they see Iran put nukes on their missles. In fact, I think the States should drop out of the dysfunctional NATO too.

How important morality.
The greatest nation the world has ever known has created a system to defend itself and its neighbors and friends from nuclear attack.
That defense would kill no enemy nor intentionally destroy any property other than the attacking missile.

If the USA had not exercised its power for good in Europe last century, those Europeans left alive would not be able to complain today.

" rebuke America for "startling" Russia "
How absurd is that comment?

Someone in Russia is authorizing the murders of dissidents around the world. Even using exotic radioactive poisons and they don't know what the USA is doing with missile defense?

The US has bee discussing basing BMD missiles in Europe for a few years.

Pick up a globe, draw a line between Iran and London or Iran and New York.

Where would you launch a missile to have the best chance to knock down an attack from Iran?

Conversely, a missiles defense system, launched from Europe whould have a very poor chance of defeating a Russian nuclear attack on the USA.

Peace through Pusillanimity
You really have to love Europe, you really do. There seems to be no place on Earth that spends more time instructing the rest of the world on the finer points of international diplomacy and no place where decades of the reliance on peace through paper has produced more disastrous results.

The French decided to utilize their peculiar talent for insipid indignance and stupid pettiness to bankrupt Germany after World War I and then insisted that Germany allow itself to become so desperate and disordered that a sufficient plurality embraced one of the greatest monsters of all time.

Britain, despite giving the world the invaluable Churchill (or was Churchill’s resistance to tyranny a product of his American mother?) aided and abetted the ***** by whetting the little corporal’s land lust.

Result, Europe was decimated by Panzers and Stukas until we intervened. Good thing for them Hitler decided to declare war on the U.S. in one of the great acts of arrogant stupidity ever recorded.

When Soviet tanks and missiles were stationed in striking range, Chamberlainism reared its ugly head again. One can only imagine the deceased Neville, howling from the abyss, NO, NO, NO don’t repeat my mistake!

Now with Islamofascism on the march, the effete snobs of the EU counsel preemptive surrender.

Hey Europe. Screw You. You surrender to the misogyny and misery of the Sharia. We’re not interested. Stick to producing industrial failures like the A-380.

As I have posted a few times here, Russia faces, insurmountable in my view, existential threats from Islam and China.

Russia is the one time I will cheer when a country falls to Sharia. Being in my forties, I expect to live to see it.

In this case, my schadenfreude exceeds my recognition that radical Islam is the grater threat to the West than is Russia.

Not Good....
...Russia has thousands of nukes. It would NOT be a good thing for Russia to fall to Sharia, regardless of how much they might deserve it.


Too true
The worst of all scenarios.

A penny for your thoughts
A brilliant analysis. I'm sure the Russians will breathe a sigh of relief once we have massive ABM systems in place in Poland.

But let me wander off topic. I wonder what you make of this:

Well said...
...except that I hope you are talking about Western Europe copulating with themselves.

Eastern Europe, at least some of Eastern Europe, seems to be on the right track. And they are being treated as shabily by the European Triumvirate (England, France and Germany) as the U.S.A.

Poland, the Czech Republic, and a handful of other former Warsaw pact countries actually seem to be embracing freedom, democracy and capitalism. They have the vivid memories of what it meant to live under a totalitarian regime and are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

They may not be perfect but they are a lot better friends than our erswhile allies to the western side of the continent.

Western Europe on the other hand had nearly 50 years of sheltering and protection by the U.S. and have forgotten the lessons of the past. They have also become like spoiled children, demanding that we protect them and their socialist society while simultaneously criticizing our right to protect ourselves and the methods that we use to do so.

All the while selling arms, munitions, nuclear reactor supplies, advanced computers and technology to the same people that scream at us to protect them from.

As far as Russia, France, Germany and England are concerned they can either wake up and smell the Jihad and get with the program or reap what they sow.

If startled...
cease giving technology and uranium to Iran. Russia is one of the reasons that we feel the need for a missile shield in the first place.

They have some set of cajones to threaten anyone when they are one of the root causes for our need for defense.

My thought...
is that is some of the funniest writing I have read in a while. One would think you wrote it.

It falters right at the beginning by assuming that America is an imperialist power. If the basic premise is so wrong why bother going down the rabbit hole with the author?

Twisted logic for twisted minds.
Every once in a while a piece of fiction such as this slaps you upside the head and you remember why the Left of this county think the way they do.

I also really like how the author slips a little inuendo to slightly and subtley twist the facts.

Of course a hyperlink every once in a while to make you believe that other publications of note actually support his arguments.

Half the hyperlinks in the article are to other articles on the tomdispatch domain, a lot of the others are to msnbc, cnn and usatoday and various univirsities glorified weblogs. Longtime bastions of 'The Truth according the the Anti-Bush Left'.

I was going to go further but realized that I would have to write an article twice as long just to refute the 'facts' laid out in that article.

The other mistake is assuming the area was stable before 9/11/01.
For the past several thousand years the entire region has not ever been stable.

Ever wonder why the Saudi's won't let "Lawrence of Arabia" into the country? Wrong tribe.

The entire region is tribal and the west has not helped by creating nation states from regions where none extisted.

Bush did not do that.

It is too bad the USA is not imperialistic. That area is used to forceful leadership. A benevolent empire might allow time teach them how to transition to self rule.

Well said X 2
Well I was going to rant but you said it all. I have never understood the asses in the EU lecturing us on how to act. England is now not going to teach the Crusades and Holocaust for fear of offending Muslims.

The Europeans are intellectual cowards who would sell their children to Satan to save themselves. We have Queen Nancy negotiating with Syria and now she and the democrats want to offer Uranium to Iran as long as we can be sure it is for peace. This same mentality dominates the American left. appease and cower crowd. "If we only talk to them they will like us."

Having read detailed biographies of Hitler on thing he noted was the utter inability of France and England to oppose him. In the name of peace they sold out Poland and the Slavic nations. Now they propose selling out Israel as long as it buys peace. Had France and England stood up to Hitler early on he would have been finished (never mind the pathetic French bleeding of Germany after WW1 that brought him to power).

Now these same nations refuse to stand up to Iran and the solution is the same and the risks the same. Yet I predict her will get Nuclear Weapons (the same reason we went into Iraq) and then what?

They never learn. The blood of millions lies on the hands of the left and they wash it off without shame. The Greeks were slaughtered by their slaves. As they became so weak in intellectual pursuit they lost control. Now the EU has brought in millions of immigrants to do the dirty work. It is only a matter of time before the slaves rise up once again.


There will be peace in our time..

Has some good points
But it is, mainly an anti-Bush blog. Big deal!

First off, I'm a strong believer in peace through superior firepower. I also believe in using it; but not the way Bush has. But, in the end, "Peace through superior firepower" was exactly what Bush was referring to in the speach in question. To read into it any other motives is just more unproven and unprovable clap-trap.

As for the list of U.S. caused unstable nations, there he has a point. I do not fully agree, but there is also areas i agree with.

That's Old Europe, I omitted new Europe.
To borrow a phrase from Donald Rumsfeld

Peace through superior firepower
The thrust of the article was that we are the mightiest military the world has ever known bla bla, and we have focused all the firepower we can muster on this problem. And as a direct result, the problem has not cured itself but instead metastasized.

How can it be that leaders who presume themselves to be knowledgable and intelligent, think you can invade the heartland of another tribe and it will become pliable and peaceful? That is the basic question that just blows my mind. These people actually assumed such actions would calm things down.

Again, a very basic analogy. Assume some mighty military, say China, invades the US, beings down our government, replaces it with chaos and then, for year after year afterward, just won't go home.

What, in those circumstances, would you be likely to do? I would be doing precisely the same.

And we wonder why everyone from Afghanistan to Somalia is now doing it to us. Go figure.

We've got 'em on the ropes
You seem predisposed to think everything's going just fine over there. But wouldn't you say that, taken country by country, the whole area has been destabilized rather than stabilized since 9/11/01? Name a country that's more solidly pro-American now than it was then.

Pakistan especially is shaky as hell. And they're the linchpin of what remains of the whole plan-- assuming that Iraq is now beyond saving.

What the author didn't go into is that now we're reduced to backing Islamist terror groups to try to destabilize our other enemies. I'm talking about Jundullah-- an actual Al Qaeda group in Balochistan that once was headed by KSM himself-- and the various Sunni Wahhabis we're backing to infiltrate Syria. You've got to know that's the beginning of the end.

It's one thing to root for the home team, and I applaud your doing so. But when they're behind 44-13 and we're in the fourth quarter, isn't there such a thing as a reality moment?

I am not a flaming "Progressive" and do not support missile defense at all.
I am very far from being a Progressive. (I do not use the term liberal as that is reserved for true liberals: Locke, Jefferson, Smith, Bastiat, Mises, etc.) But on this issue I agree with them for these reasons:

1. The more I hear from this administration and what came from those previously, the more I think that Iran and the like are spending precious resources on nukes to defend themselves from the US. Nukes are a stupid weapon for offense.

2. These systems are extremely expensive and we can not possibly defend a country the size of the US. There are many ways to getting a nuke into the US other than using a ballistic missile. These resources could be used elsewhere or given back to tax payers.

3. We will have to pay those countries where we stage these systems in money and favors (Most likely defense from their enemies) and that will not be cheap. It will also expose knowledge of this technology to locals who may sell this to other unfriendly countries.

4. THE BIGGIE!!! We have never asked Iran (Who has been friends with the USA for the first 60 of the past 100 years.) what they are hoping to gain? Maybe we can agree on something and have them stop building these weapons. The problem is that we will have to do something to get them to stop. That probably involves withdraw from the Middle East, something that for reasons I can not conceive of or fathom, we just won't do.

LOL come on roy
You said - "The thrust of the article was that we are the mightiest military the world has ever known bla bla, and we have focused all the firepower we can muster on this problem. And as a direct result, the problem has not cured itself but instead metastasized."

Is that a joke? We haven't focused 10% of our conventional firepower on the whole shebang!! Then you throw in the nukes and, well, maybe we have used .1% of our total capabilities.

The problem is that we decided to bring a modern democracy to a region that absolutely will not accept it. Gee, think it is possible to use a little of that firepower and effect some reduction in the violence? Duh!!

As for this - "Again, a very basic analogy. Assume some mighty military, say China, invades the US, beings down our government, replaces it with chaos and then, for year after year afterward, just won't go home."

Rediculous!! It is not apt or basic. In the beginning of the insurgency, perhaps, ex-ba'athist leaders tried to create a resistance movement. When as many or more American and British soldiers were dying as Iraqis, that was resistance to the Coalition occupation. But, even then, the Iranians, Syrians, and some Saudis as well as Al Queida were coming in. The situation changed in less than a year and, until the past few months at least, many times more Iraqis were being killed than Americans. That is not a resistance, it is a bloody, religious, tribal, civil war. In other words, chaos!

What makes you think anything was stable prior to 9/11/01?
Are you a typical arrogant American, ignorant of world affairs if they don't concern you?

I would compare the middle east to an earthquake. Pressures continue to build, but there is no apparent changes. Suddenly, something gives and the entire region is shaken.

Just as in real earthquakes, countries with developed civilization can absorb the damage well.

Attempts to establish civilization in the middle continue to suffer the 'earthquakes' barbarism.

Beruit, once called the Paris of the Middle East is practically destroyed.

Israel is has been under attack for over 50 years for succeeding is establishing a civilization in the Middle East.

What is happening now is not pretty, but if the west wants to continue with its 2000+ years of civilization, it must force the barbarians to become civilized or kill them.

I know you don't believe any of this. Islam is the religion of peace and the Muslims only want to live in peace (after they destroy Israel and the Jews, first, of course.)

So easy to smuggle a nuke?
Why has DPRK and Iran developed ballistic missiles? To launch communication satellites?

Do you know how much a significant nuclear weapon would weigh?

Do you know how much precise engineering and technology is involved with building a small, powerful nuclear weapon?

Nukes are a great weapon for offense if you are crazy and don't care about retaliation.
Do you believe that if given the opportunity, any radical Muslim country would attack Israel with any WMD it could if they were sure to kill millions?

Ask Iran, Iran so far away...
Sure we can sit down over some appropriate victuals and the Iranians will be so overcome with our interest in their motives that they will, in absolute candor, discuss their motives for acquiring a nuke. Yes, some fresh roasted spring lamb, couscous and a nice dark roast coffee, followed by the finest turkish tobacco and by golly, there's nothing that can't be accomplished. Too bad those warmongering idiots in the White House never tried this sure fire method. Its too bad they allowed themselves to be paralyzed by those perfectly logical claims that the holocaust never occurred.

Nukes are hardly a stupid weapon for offense. One suitcase nuke will terrorize and paralyze any country. You have 48 hours to release our "freedom fighters", withdraw your forces from (territory of choice here), pay $4,000,000,000 in gold.. etc, etc..

Utilized by a client rogue, with appropriate "plausible deniability", would render the entire military ineffective and useless. This is why its the holy grail of every gievance group out there.

I'm sorry, but your disclaimmer about being a "progressive" is not substantiated by the opinions you have provided here. I suggest you find appropriate prophylaxis for this contagion, its spreading rapidly in your neurons.

No nukes needed if we just give up like the Brits.
The Brits showed the world how to deal with Iran.

Well chap, stiff upper lip and a little french surrender.

Cheerio and all that rot.

What is the US giving up? What is it surrendering?
I am confused. What exactly is the US giving up by leaving this disaster of a place called the Middle East. Oil? The US gets very little oil from that area of the world.

The USA has never had good things happen by involving itself militarily in this part of the word from the attack at Tripoli to the invasion of Iraq to our current spat with Iran today.

Surrender means giving up something including a goal because it is not worth it or it can't be obtained. I think that giving up occupations of countries full of people the US hates is a blessing and not a surrender at all. It might make King George look bad but who cares? Oh my pride.

Always remember, time is unfriendly to the Communists, Fascists and other totalitarians. If you examine the conditions of Vietnam and the US you might wonder who won the war?

You are right to a point.
We are still in Germany and Japan, how do you reconcile that?

Why is it that Islamic nut cases are to be coddled?

Personally, I think we can develop energy sources here but that requires Nuclear and ANWR. No spinless politician is willing to take a stand for anyting positive. We are a nation of cowards. To much pot and to much prosperity.

I relish a leader who takes a stand. Leasership is about making decisions and sticking with it regardless of popularity contest.

The problem in the Mid East is that we assume they are rational people. They are not. They are generations of people taught hatred and submission. Until the Mid East has some sort of a reformation into reality the world is doomed to conflict with these losers!

Do you think China will invade and then spend Billions to rebuild?

I doubt it. The whole joke is that the Mid East, with all that oil money, could build free societies and high tech economies to rival the world. Do they invest the billions in infrastructure and facilities? Do they try to build tomorrows economies? Hell no, they strive for war and destruction. They strive for 7th century ideals and we fund it.

It is insane. The world blames us for the fact they are primitive idiots. I say let drill and build and leave those cannibals to feed upon themselves.

Never mind
Tell that to the MILLIONS who dies after we left Vietnam. Oh that does not matter does it? MILLIONS.

I agree, let get out of the Mid East. However, that requires the will to develop Nuclear and other sources here and Corn is not the answer. Ethanol is a liberal NON-market oriented joke.

Drill for oil in ANWR and everywhere else and lets move to Nuclear and Hydrogen long term. For now, ANWR and the GULF and friendly nations.

National Security
In case you had forgotten, Iran attacked the USA in 1979 and so far, the USA has done nothing to retaliate.

The USA depends upon the success of a free market world economy which for the past several decades depends upon crude oil.

If Iran had decided to look inward and not attack the USA or its neighbors, they would have been left alone.

There are ways to defend the country from nukes being snuck in, and we are spending money on those ways.
At present there is no way to defend the country against ballistic missiles.
To defend oneself, you must defend against all possible attacks, not just some.

You don't have to defend the entire country, just the borders.

The fact that the under the shaw, Iran was friendly to the US, is utterly irrelevant to how the country is today.

As to what does Iran want, that's obvious. They've said it over and over again. They want our death, and the death of Israel. They also want to first rule the middle east, and after that, the rest of the world.

Some IRanian leader stated a few years ago that he would gladly trade a few nuclear strikes with Israel. In his logic, 2 or 3 nukes would wipe out Israel, but a few hundred million dead Muslims would only be a small fraction of the world's muslim population.

We can kill them over there, or wait until they attack us and kill them over here.

That's the choice.

If you think that the radicals will stay in the middle east if we leave, you're delusional.

You can check the newspapers
In the Middle East there were tensions, certainly. But all the governments were stable. Super-stable, in fact. Then we came in and unglued the center piece. The result has very much been like an earthquake.

You see the existence of Islam as a direct threat to your way of life. Most of us consider that kind of thinking a form of insanity. "They" weren't against us before. In fact most Muslims liked us and wanted to be like us. But increasingly, by threatening them, we are forcing them to be against us now.

On the one hand you say Israel is a beacon of civilization, and on the other hand you point to Beirut, where the IDF bombed large portions of it last year. I won't ask you to try to make sense.

Force isn't working
Are you advocating that we use nukes? On which cities?

Marjon is attempting to make the point elsewhere that we represent the forces of civlization, while an ominous "they" represent the forces of evil. Will incinerating some of their cities make them realize they should want us to rule them?

You appear to be on the way to becoming a real nazi. Tell me this is just an off day for you.

The movement to conquer the Middle East is on the ropes. Even the January NIE now tells the president this situation has no military solution. Every use of force becomes counterproductive when people just don't like you any more-- as a half million Iraqis told us the other day in the Najaf demonstration.

Out of the goodness of our hearts
"Do you think China will invade and then spend Billions to rebuild?"

What gives you the impression we are spending much in the way of money or effort to rebuild Iraq? Didn't the CPA seize and squander the Iraq Reconstruction Fund when they had it in their hands? Paul Bremer was asked what he had to show for the $8.8 billion in missing cash and he said "I'm not an accountant". Meaning he didn't get receipts.

Ordinary Iraqis appear to be firmly of the opinion that our purpose there is to keep the country in a state of rubble, while stealing their oil. I wonder what it is that has made them think that?

I'll keep an open mind. You say we are funding an earnest reconstruction effort. How much taxpayer money has been used effectively for such purposes?

No military solution
"I relish a leader who takes a stand. Leadership is about making decisions and sticking with it regardless of popularity contest."

Sounds very nice. But what happens when we invade someplace with an oppressive dictator, get rid of him and in his place screw the place up so badly everyone says it was better back when he was in charge?

A majority of Iraqis now don't just want us out, they approve of violence against Americans-- as has been found in both the most recent polls. The other day a half million demonstrators gathered in the streets of Najaf to chant Americans go home. What does it take for us to understand our presence is no longer required?

At some point you do need to address the issue as a popularity contest. In fact that's what democracy is. If a majority of people can't stand the government they have, they should be able to throw them out. The Iraqis are trying to do just that, and increasingly are coming out against the American (and British) presence.

Or, to put things in a military frame, when you occupy a country that hates you and resists your rule, you only have two choices. Either kill them-- all 26 million of them-- or go home defeated. If there's a third choice, please describe it to me.

The current NIE tells the President pointedly-- this conflict has no military solution. We should face that fact and begin wrapping it up.

Prisons are "super-stable".
Islam has been a threat to the western way of life since it emerged from the desert.

The west defeated Islam in Spain and in the Balkins, for now.

As for Israel bombing Beirut, if Israel wanted to destroy that city, it could have. It did not. Israel chose the cilivilized approach of targeting its enemy in Beirut.

A 'civil' war inspired by the Syrians and Iranians did a great job of destroying Beirut.

No doubt that millions of poor folks in Vietnam died, what can we do?
As wealthy and as powerful as the USA is, it still can not, (No nation can) act as a para-military police force for the world. The problem is not one of resources but one of caring. The USA simply does not care enough about the rest of the world that it is really willing to spend the thousands of lives and billions of dollars policing it.

I certainly don't. Even if oil is more expensive.

The "millions died" thing again
dbt-- We've had this conversation before. Millions did not die in Vietnam after we left. I gave you abundant resources, first hand accounts and competently researched histories.

Is this just some conviction you will carry to your grave? Or are you able to read and critically evaluate new information, and by so doing alter your world view to fit the facts as we best understand them?

The reeducation camps were rough places, and thousands of former regime members died there, of overwork and disease. Some were even executed. Let's not make more of it than it was, though. There is abundant material on the web for you to critically examine and compare to your sources at FrontPageMag.

I notice you say nothing about the toll the Americans took there. Between 1-1/2 and two million Vietnamese died while we were conducting our war at their expense. While you're doing your research, check that out.

Middle East Newpapers
Do you believe the middle east countries have freedom of the press?

I do not advocating using nukes, in this situation. But I do advocate using all possible force and not worrying about civilian casualties too much. No, I do not advocate "killing civilians" but I do advocate letting everyone know this is a true war zone, impose martial law and begin destroying every sniper, bomb planter and thug that moves. If you are out past curfew you need to know you will be shot on sight.

Regardless of what you think roy, the only way to give any government in Iraq is to quiet the random violence and that will probably take serious violence to do. But the message will get through and things will quiet down.

No, it is not a perminent solution, but it will give the present Iraqi government time to get their act together. Then, once we've quieted things, it will be time to begin a slow, quiet troop withdrawl. Once troop strength is below 100,000 (3 months, 6 months or whatever the situation allows), we announce we are done and declare the thing Iraq's problem. Leave a token "trip-wire" force in place, keep active air power available and get at least 70,000 of the remaining troops out over a 3-6 month withdrawl. The remaining forces would deal with active border security, but would generally remain on five or six bases in Iraq.

If the present Iraqi government manages to maintain security and stay in power for a year after that, we discuss removing the remaining forces or setting up a perminent force at a level set by the Iraqis (probably something like 1,000 advisors and trainers and maybe a single airbase with about 5,000 pilots and techs).

If **** goes south, we airlift the remaining troops out as quickly as possible.

Judicious application of force
If we did not represent the forces civilization, with our current firepower, our enemies would be smoking cinders.

The USA spends billions of dollars to develop NON-lethal weapons and to make lethal weapons so accurate we only need to destroy those shooting at us.

Our enemies care not who they kill or what they damage as long as they can gain maximum PR value and scare people like Roy.

Force is the ONLY solution in the middle east to create a stable situation to allow the locals a chance to breath and begin to have a HOPE they can develop self rule.

Easy question
"Always remember, time is unfriendly to the Communists, Fascists and other totalitarians. If you examine the conditions of Vietnam and the US you might wonder who won the war?"

The U.S. won the war but lost the objective (stop the spread of communism into South Vietnam). This was only done because of a situation at home that made the U.S. agree to a "peace treaty" they knew would be violated; then the congress cut all funding and would fund no operations in the area.
In the end, the U.S. will still come up the winner as Vietnam eventually moves away from communism.

The U.S. has still never lost a war. We won in Korea both on the battlefield and in completing our objectives; we won on the battlefield in Vietnam but failed to uphold our treaty obligations after the Paris Accords, we already won the war in Iraq and are blowing it now only in that we don't know how to etract our self from a situation we never should have gotten caught up in.

I do understand how the liberals can call Vietnam a loss and how they are calling Iraq a loss. But, to me, it is a bogus arguement.

The Sickest Nation On The Earth At This Time Wants More Offensive Nukes, The World Should Object
"Greatest Nation the world has ever known"; quotes a NeoCon Devotee of Demi-God George W. Bush. That is so far from the truth, you NeoCons who can even let such words pass through your lips are as psychologically diseased as the racist U.S. Soldiers over in Iraq assaulting babies for sex, and calling it "liberation".

America is sick, very sick, and NeoCons are living proof that flesh can live on after the spirit is long, long, dead.

MarkdeUngreatMoron Just Talks His Racist Trash About All Muslims & Arabs
Everything the moron Mark the ungreat says is just racist crap about Muslims and Arabs, i.e. - "they" are all on jihad, "they" want to kill all Americans and Israeli's...blah, blah, blah.

Just racist trash Mark, that's who you are and all you say is: racist trash.

You remind me of the 85 I.Q.'d racist morons I grew up with in the deep south. Stupid, arrogant, live in hell yourself, but try and blame the world for it. It used to be white racists like you blamed "niggers" for it all, now you blame Arabs and Muslims and Iranians.

Are we stealing oil? The 8 billion was Iraqi funds from seized accounts, not US dollars.

Do you suppose ordinary Iraqis are getting the same mindless dribble that we get here from our media and the defeatist democratic party?

Stop with Polls. I am so fed up with polls. Polls are meaningless. So some group goes around and polls Iraqis.

That is the problem. We are a nation of the poll and photo op. Bill Clinton lived by the poll. He did what kept him popular regardless of the consequences.

Had Reagan watched the polls the Berlin Wall would still be there.

It is a tough nut. However, just like Vietnam, how many millions will suffer when we leave?

Then the solution is drill for oil here and develop long term alternatives like Hydrogen and Nuclear. Corn and Biodiesel are PC jokes. There is simply no way enough can be produced and it is already driving up food prices.

We have oil in ANWR and the Gulf of Mexico. The coast of California has vast Natural Gas reserves. Lets get it online and start building Nuclear plants.

Nope, the Greenies oppose that at every turn. Those who complain loudest about our Mid East involvement are the same ones who oppose domestic alternatives that are cost effective.

Instead we come up with idiotic ideas like CF Bulbs and Biodiesel because they are politically correct.

Until we, as a nation, get real we will continue to be mired with the Arabs.

Hey, we should have not gone in but the mantra was containment of Communism. We were there and the Communist were brutal.

Castro killed those who opposed him, who might oppose him and Priests.

I think Iraq was a bad idea. I think the premise was sound but containment of the Arabs crazies is at best a never ending effort. I think the hope was the establishment of a stable self functioning country. However tribal primitives have to be led. They have no concept of self determinism.

Funny how people clamor to be led and governed. I have never understood the mentality of others to rule the masses and even less the desire to be ruled.

How else can the welfare state be justified? Freedom for security?

Well I have to write my tax check. I am sure some indigent appreciates me.

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