Tag Archives: Department of Defense

Leftist Politico mag caught lying about missile defense

The left-wing Politico mag has published yet another ridiculous screed pertaining to defense issues, this time, a diatribe by a political hack named Edward-Isaac Devere regarding missile defense.

I will not go by every line of his screed and refute each of them individually, as that would be a waste of time. Rather, I shall summarize his lies and refute them in a way similar to the way I refute myths about defense spending.

The purpose of his screed, of course, is to smear missile defense and mislead the American people into believing that it is extremely expensive and totally ineffective. But since even the most leftist Administration in US history doesn’t agree, he’s been forced to quote the most leftist hacks in America, such as Joe Cirincione, as authoritative sources. (Cirincione, although hailed by Dovere as a “nuclear weapons expert and a missile defense critic who calls missile defense “the greatest scam in the DOD”, is actually just an ignorant political hack who has utterly discredited himself with his ridiculous claims.)

Lie #1: The entire missile defense system is totally ineffective. It cannot protect America against any ballistic missile attacks.

Dovere falsely claims that:

“For decades, the military’s been trying to get a missile shield system in place that would eliminate the danger of the kind potentially posed by the rocket North Korea launched Friday morning Pyongyang time. But 60 years and $35 billion later, we’re not there yet. Or, according to many missile defense experts, very close at all.”

To defend his blatant lie, he quotes a former general turned arms control activist, Robert Gard:

““You hear some of them say that it’s the only defense of the United States against ballistic missiles we’ve got. But the problem is, it doesn’t work,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, Jr., the Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.”

Those statements are blatant lies (like the rest of the article).

Missile defense systems DO WORK.

The United States Missile Defense System is comprised of a wide variety of equipment: Patriot and THAAD batteries designed against short-to-medium-range missiles, SM-3 sea-launched missiles designed against short-to-intermediate range BMs, ground-based interceptors (GBIs) deployed in Alaska and California, an experimental Airborne Laser aircraft, and a network of ground-based sensors (in the Aleutian Islands, the CONUS, Greenland, Britain), shipborne Aegis BMD radars, and spaced-based sensors. With the possible exception of GBIs and the Airborne Laser, these systems DO work, have been tested dozens of times, have passed the vast majority of their tests, and some of them have been proven in real-life crises. The Aegis radar and SM-3 interceptors have passed over 80% of their tests, and in 2008, they intercepted USA-193, an errant satellite that was about to fall down on Earth; thus, they proved themselves when human life depended on them. PATRIOT interceptors have passed the majority of their tests and have been proven in two real wars: the two Gulf Wars. During the first, they intercepted Iraqi Scud missiles launched at Israel, thus preventing Israel from retaliating against Iraq and breaking up the anti-Iraqi coalition (which Saddam hoped would happen, hence he launched Scuds at Israel). During the Second Gulf War, they intercepted the 10 Iraqi Scuds launched at Kuwait City. THAAD interceptors have passed 10 out of their 14 tests, i.e. 71.42%, and each THAAD battery can cover the area the size of New Jersey. Even the Airborne Laser has passed 60% of its tests, although 5 tests hardly constitute a sufficient evaluation. So in general, the US missile defense system DOES WORK, and if North Korea’s launch of its TD-2 ICBM had succeeded, the missile would’ve likely been intercepted.

Furthermore, the claim that the US has been developing missile defense for 60 years is also a blatant lie. There was no missile defense project at all until the 1960s. But then, Secretary McNamara killed the program (for fears it would upset the strategic balance with the USSR), and in 1972, the US signed the ABM treaty, which banned the development of missile defense systems. No real missile defense effort was made until the Reagan years, and after Clinton dramatically slowed it down, it did not pick up in the earnest until the Bush years.

Lie #2: “But raising more concern: Of the 15 missile intercept tests for the military’s system, seven have failed. After the two failures in 2010, the military delayed the next test until this December —which, if successful, would be the first test to bring down a missile in four years. There’s yet to be a fully-fledged missile defense test even attempted.”

Dovere again misleads readers into thinking, and possibly even believes himself, that the Ground-Based Interceptor (which is the particular BMD system he’s talking about here) is America’s ONLY missile defense system. That, as explained above, is not true. Likewise, the claim that no “fully-fledged missile defense has even been attempted” is also a blatant lie. As for the GBI system itself, it has itself undergone fully fledged tests, and has passed the majority (8 of 15) of its tests. Dovere blasts it for its last two tests, which were failures, but fails to mention how the DOD RESPONDED to these failures (which, BTW, happened in 2o10): by taking the program on a corrective course, detecting the failure’s causes, and eliminating these root causes, at the contractor’s expense (the contract includes a Defects Clause which made the contractor liable for the cost of correcting any flaws). Even Sen. Levin, for a long time a missile defense skeptic, has praised the MDA for doing so and has hailed its approach as an acquisition strategy model (holding contractors responsible).

Have Ground Based Interceptors suffered failures such as these two? Yes. So has aircraft development. Most flight attempts by the Wright Brothers were failures. But they kept trying and continually improved their plane, and eventually succeeded. If they had given up after 2 or even 7 failures, aircraft would not have existed today… unless someone else had resumed the developmental effort.

(And even after aircraft were eventually developed and fielded, many military leaders, such as Marshal Ferdinand Foch, claimed they were militarily useless.)

Test failures are an unavoidable part of any developmental effort. Ronald Reagan understood that and warned that missile defense would not be immune from failures but would nonetheless be necessary. “There will be successes as well as failures and setbacks”, he said in his famous SDI speech in March 1983. But test failures can be overcome, their causes can be detected and removed, and the GBI has nonetheless passed the majority of its tests.

Lie #3: “(…) lost were the questions many defense experts have been asking: whether politicians from both parties are for political reasons defending a defense network built to hold off a threat that may not ever emerge, and isn’t up to date with current thinking about the threats America and its allies face. (…) One argument against the importance of a missile shield is that neither Iran or North Korea has yet developed missiles with the range that the shield is meant to protect from, as the latest broken rocket suggests.”

Again, Dovere suggests that the GBI is America’s only missile defense system, which is untrue. America’s BMD network consists of a wide variety of systems, most of which (Patriots, THAAD, and SM-3 interceptors) are designed against short-, medium-, and intermediate range ballistic missiles, of which Iran and North Korea have hundreds (not to mention China, Russia, Syria, etc.). Obama’s missile defense program, including the EPAA, is, by his own admission, designed primarily against these missiles, with anti-ICBM capabilities to be added in 2020. The DOD’s BMD Review and actual BMD programs also prioritize addressing the SRBM/MRBM threat, which constitutes the bulk of the BMs existing in the world.

Furthermore, the claim that the NK/Iranian ICBM threat is nonexistent and may never emerge is a lie. North Korea will eventually perfect ICBM technology, and its Taepodong ICBMs can theoretically already reach the US. Iran is projected by the US intel community to have ICBMs capable of hitting the US by 2015. According to the Free Beacon, it already has some, having bought them from China. Moreover, the point of a defense is to be AHEAD of the threat, not neck-to-neck with it.

Lie #4: “Perfectly realized, the shield would mean freedom from fear of ballistic attack for the United States and its allies—though not including Israel and South Korea, because of their proximity to the expected launch sites in Iran and North Korea.”

No one is aiming for a “perfect” system, which will never exist. As for Israel and South Korea, they WILL be protected as well. Israel has already deployed two Arrow batteries and is procuring a third; Arrow has been rigorously, successfully tested and can intercept Iranian BMs. South Korea is protected by 16 American Patriot batteries and could be even better protected if it would bother to buy its own Patriot and THAAD batteries and make its warships BMD-capable. The obstacle here is political, not technological. Seoul is simply reticent in defending itself.

Lie #5: Missile defense has been protected from spending cuts even as everything else has been cut. It has become a third rail of federal spending. It’s a sacred cow.

Missile defense was targeted by Obama on his first day. His very first defense budget, for FY2010, cut BMD spending by 1.4 bn USD and cancelled or cut several crucial BMD programs, including the MKV, the KEI, and the ABL. BMD spending was only slightly increased in FYs2011-2012, never reaching its FY2009 level again. Now the ABL program is being completely terminated, and missile defense is slated to be deeply cut if sequestration of defense spending occurs. By contrast, NO federal agency other than the DOD has so far experienced more than slight budget cuts.

In short, Dovere’s entire screed is a litany of blatant lies. It is not surprising that the utterly-discredited leftist Politico mag has published it; no self-respecting publication would ever accept it. It’s nothing more than a pathetic political attack aimed at tarring all missile defense systems in the eyes of Americans with blatant lies.


Yet another laughable screed by Jack Hunter

Anti-defense liberal Jack Hunter has written yet another laughable screed at the DailyCaller.

This post is yet another laughable screed designed to cover up the fact that Ron Paul is weak on foreign policy and defense issues. This one, however, is deeply offensive to me, because in this one, the Offical Ron Paul Blogger claims Reagan’s mantle for Ron Paul and claims that Paul’s foreign policy of appeasement, isolationism, and unilateral disarmament is thoroughly Reaganesque (his screed is titled “Ron Paul’s Reaganesque foreign policy). Nothing could be further from the truth.

Don’t take my word from it. Read Ron Paul’s own resignation letter to Reagan and the GOP from 1987, in which he denounced Reagan’s foreign and defense policies in the strongest possible terms, saying that Reagan’s FP was “unconstitutional” and denouncing his defense spending as well as “spending on… warfare”. That same year, Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell denounced Reagan as a “warmonger” and called on the Congress to impeach him and remove him from office. And, throughout the 1980s, Ron Paul OPPOSED Reagan’s defense spending hikes, funding for the Nicaraguan contras, funding for other freedom fighters worldwide (e.g. the Solidarity trade union in Poland), and any interventions anywhere, including the interventions in Lebanon, Grenada, and Libya, as well as the shootdowns of Libyan aircraft in the Gulf of Sidra in 1981 and 1989. Lew Rockwell has recently said that “Ron Paul is not a Reaganite; he is much better than that” and denounced the B-1 bomber (which Ron Paul opposed) as a “killing machine”.

Today, Ron Paul supports MASSIVE defense cuts, to the tune of at least $1 trillion over a decade (including the elimination of the entire USAF bomber fleet), withdrawal of all American troops from all foreign countries (including staunch allies like Japan and South Korea, to whose defense Reagan was pledged), total isolationism (no interventions anywhere, not even if it’s necessary, and yes, Paulbots, sometimes it is necessary), and dumping all of America’s allies, as well as appeasing America’s enemies. He also opposed the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

So Ron Paul’s foreign policy is not only not Reaganesque, it’s the total OPPOSITE of the foreign policy that Ronald Reagan supported.

Now, what was Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy, actually?

For starters, I welcome the admission by Hunter and J Street propagandist Beinart that Ronald Reagan was not really a promiscous interventionist at all. That’s some progress. Beinart’s recitation of Reagan’s scant record of military interventions is 100% true.

But both Hunter and Beinart have omitted the biggest difference between Reagan’s foreign policy and Paul’s: Reagan supported (and actively fought for – before, during, and after his 8 years as President) strong defense as a means of both protecting America and preventing wars. Ron Paul opposed it at the time and opposes it now, as does Lew Rockwell. Throughout Reagan’s 8 years as President, Ron Paul fought against his defense policies. But how can one be surprised when Paul’s self-admitted biggest intellectual influence, Murray Rothbard, claimed that

“The United States was solely at fault for the Cold War and Russia was the aggrieved party.”?

As the Roman proverb goes, si vis pacem, pare bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war. Or, as George Washington said, “To be ready for war is one of the most effective means of keeping the peace.” Reagan invoked Washington’s words during the 1980s. Throughout that decade, even though liberals (and Ron Paul) were fighting tooth and nail every day against his defense budgets and defense policies, Reagan held firm and frequently spoke in defense of a strong defense and In Defense of Defense Spending, which is the title of my book on the subject. The Congress, including Ron Paul, repeatedly called on Reagan to cut defense spending as a means of balancing the budget, but he continually refused. At least twice, he delivered nationally-televised speeches to the public about why his defense budgets were necessary and why it would have been foolish to cut them. He explained, in simple terms that everyone could understand, why robust funding was necessary to rebuild the US military and counter America’s enemies. He countered anti-defense propaganda. He and his administration’s officials did, with words and deeds, more for the cause of a strong defense than anyone else during the last 50 years.

Indeed, Reagan has set the bar very high, and I’m badly disappointed that there is no Reagan now to fight for the cause of a strong defense and against defense cuts. Maybe Sarah Palin will do that, if she jumps into the race. Her foreign policy opinions are actually closest to Reagan’s, compared to all other candidates.

And what about the INF Treaty?

Throughout the 1980s, the US demanded the removal of Soviet IRBMs from the European continent and the signing of a verifiable INF Treaty. However, since 1983, the Soviet Union was placing an unreasonable condition: cancelling the SDI. The 1985 and 1986 American-Soviet summits ended with nothing because Reagan refused to give up the SDI. Liberals blamed him. However, Reagan held firm, and eventually the INF Treaty was signed (in 1987) WITHOUT a cancellation or even a slow-down of the SDI. In other words, Reagan won, and Gorbachev lost. The Soviet Union got NOTHING. The Treaty only ordered the elimination of all American and Soviet IRBMs. It did not say anything about the SDI. And as a result of that treaty, the USSR had to dismantle twice as many missiles as the US.

Compare that record to that of Obama, who sold missile defense to Russia in 2010 in return for a New START treaty unfavorable to the US.

Yes, a few conservatives denounced Reagan as an appeaser, but I don’t think anyone makes these ridiculous claims now.

True, he would’ve probably opposed the Iraqi and Libyan wars as well. Two of his most important Cold War era allies, William Buckley and General William Odom, opposed the Iraqi war. But the Iraqi and Libyan wars are hardly the only disagreements Ron Paul has with mainstream Republicans on the issue of foreign policy.

So, in short, Ron Paul’s foreign policy is the OPPOSITE of Reagan’s. Ronald Reagan never supported, and would have never supported if he were alive today, a policy of defense cuts, withdrawal from the world, isolationism, and appeasement. Reagan supported a strong defense, defending America’s loyal allies, standing up to America’s enemies, both Communist and Islamist, and intervening military abroad when (albeit ONLY when) necessary.

Why defense spending should be exempted from cuts – in one post.

I sometimes get comments on my blog that ask: “Why is defense spending different? Why should it be sacrosanct? Why should it be exempted from spending cuts? Why put it off the table?”

This post is intended to explain that. There are several reasons why defense spending should not be reduced.

Firstly, unlike the vast majority of the other current agencies, policies and programs of the federal government, defense (i.e. creating and maintaining a strong military) is a constitutional DUTY of the federal government. Not only is it constitutionally-authorized, it’s a constitutional obligation. Contrary to what Liberal Grover Norquist and Liberal Lobbyist David Keene claimed in a November 2010 letter to Republican leaders, defense is not anyone’s pet project, it is a sacred obligation.

The need to provide for the common defense was, indeed, one of the reasons why the federal government was established in the first place. The Preamble to the Constitution says:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The URL: http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Preamble

Secondly, maintaining a strong defense is not cheap. “Defense-on-the-cheap” is not possible. During his time, President Bush, like many of his predecessors, misled the American people to believe that America could maintain “defense-on-the-cheap”, and he waged 2 simoultaneous wars with a peacetime military budget which never exceeded 4.5% of GDP. As Napoleon famously said, “An army marches on its stomach”. To have a strong defense, you need a large number of high-quality, modern weapons (tanks, fighterplanes, bombers, helicopters, warships, etc.) and highly-educated, well-trained, well-motivated people to operate them (and because the US military is an All-Volunteer Force, you need incentives to convince them to join the military in the first instance). Even so, the current defense budget is a light burden on the US economy (it amounts to just 3.59% of GDP) and so was the previous defense budget (it equalled 3.65% of GDP).

Thirdly, America’s defense investments are already inadequate. The FY2010 defense budget ($534 bn in 2009 dollars, $542.76 bn in today’s dollars according to the BLS Inflation Calculator) was the minimum necessary protect the Republic. The FY2011 defense budget authorized by the FY2011 ConRes is just $525 bn, $17 bn smaller than what was authorized for FY2010. This amount of money is inadequate to maintain the military and to replace the US military’s obsolete arsenal of weapons, most of which were made during the 1960s, the 1970s and the 1980s. And if the shipbuilding budget is not increased, the Navy might shrink to just 180 ships, according to the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus.

Fourth, defense spending cuts would be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Even defense cuts on the scale proposed by the NTU, the PIRG, and the Deficit Reduction Commission would not even significantly reduce, let alone eliminate, the annual budget deficit ($1.4 trillion). What they WOULD do would be to weaken the military – severely so in the case of the defense cuts demanded by the NTU, the PIRG, and the Deficit Reduction Commission. Deny this all you want, former Congressman Armey, but it’s a fact. Defense spending cuts would lead to a weakened military.

Fifth, America’s enemies (whether it’s peer competitor like China and Russia, or rogue states like North Korea, Iran and Venezuela) are arming themselves and increasing their military spending. China has been increasing its military spending by double digits every year since 1989; Russia has doubled or tripled its military spending since 2000 (depending on the source); North Korea spends 25% of its GDP on the military; Iran and Venezuela are reaping the benefits of the $100/barrel price of oil. All of them are investing heavily in weaponry, mostly in access-denial weapons, i.e. equipment which is designed to deny the US military access to potential war theaters (e.g. submarines, SAMs, fighterplanes, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, malicious computer programs, anti-satellite weapons, naval mines, missile boats and gunboats). Gutting the military would always be foolish – but even more so in the face of these well-armed enemies.

Sixth, cutting defense spending would provide advocates of Big Government with a false, but convenient excuse to oppose and block reductions of domestic spending (discretionary and non-discretionary). Military spending is the ONLY category of federal spending they oppose. They don’t want domestic spending to be reduced, they want to protect it and they want to use defense spending cuts to protect their beloved socialist domestic programs from budget cuts. Barney Frank publicly admitted this fact in 2009. In short, when defense spending is put on the table, it sooner or later becomes the only thing on the table, as was the case during the late 1940s, the late 1950s, the 1970s and the 1990s. During each of these periods, defense spending was severely reduced and the military was gutted in 3 of these cases (the 1950s being an exception).

There is no reason to cut defense spending. There are six reasons to exempt it from spending cuts.