For the second time in as many months Bush’s wannabe-missile defense system (or, the “Son of Star Wars”) failed to work properly as the interceptor rocket failed to launch, leaving the target rocket to splash in the Pacific Ocean — and costing taxpayers another $85 million.
The Missile Defense system has a long sordid history, starting under President Reagan and continuing under Bush, who declared his goal to have the system ready by 2004. Since 1999 there have been a total of ten tests, but none that included the interceptor have worked. In 2003 the administration sought a waiver to “exempt the Pentagon’s controversial missile defense system from the operational testing legally required of every new weapons system in order to deploy it by 2004.” In February 2003 it was still not demonstrating “significant operational capability” and now the 2004 deadline has come and gone. It doesn’t look like the missile defense will be ready by the end of this year either, let alone while Bush is president. In case it ever does work though, don’t worry, the Pentagon already has six missiles in place in Alaska, two in California and ten about to be installed in Alaska.
No doubt the program will continue, despite its lack of success. As David Wright, of the Union of Concerned Scientists notes, “the program is being pushed ahead for political reasons regardless of its capability.”