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Washington Times Misfires on Missile Defense

By Payson Schwin

"Washington Times Misfires on Missile Defense"

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Today the Washington Times posted a UPI story with the following headline:

The article continues: “The U.S. missile defense system was tested this week with North Korea’s launch of seven missiles, and performed as it should, Pentagon sources said.”

A reader might think the U.S. has an operational missile defense system capable of shooting down long-range missiles. Of course, it doesn’t. So what part of the missile system was “tested and passed”?

The U.S. Northern Command said in a statement that all seven missiles were detected and tracked “immediately” after launch Tuesday and Wednesday.

“While Ground-based Midcourse Defense System interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., were operational during the flight, top officials from the command were able to determine quickly that the launch posed no threat to the United States or its territories,” the statement said.

The purpose of a missile defense system isn’t just to track missiles, it’s to intercept and destroy them. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system has gone through testing to see if it can do so, but it has failed consistently.

In fact, the system “hasn’t successfully intercepted a missile since October of 2002. … And the last two times it tried to hit an oncoming missile, the interceptor didn’t even leave the ground.”

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