Friday, December 26, 2008

Defending Missile Defense

The US isn't the only one selling missile defense. Arch foe of Iran, Peter Kenyon, teams up this morning with Sec. of War Robert Gates and Centcom Commander David Petraeus to frighten us about the Iranian threat - again. Starting the sales pitch is Linda Wertheimer:
"US officials also want the UAE to purchase another missile defense system for more than twice that amount. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, they're hoping to deter the potential threat from Iran."
Kenyon doesn't disappoint:
"Gates made sure to remind delegates of the threat from Iran. [reluctant servant Gates] 'Now when it comes to Iran's missile programs...it is clear that this year Iran has tested...can hit any country in the Middle East...has continued its pursuit of a nuclear program...geared toward developing nuclear weapons...'"
"General David Petraeus, head of the Central Command, followed up with a five point plan for enhancing security in the region - near the top of the list missile defense. [Petraeus] '...expand existing bilateral air and missile defense initiatives...multilateral cooperation in this defensive area...active missile defense measures underway are vital elements of regional deterrence...'"
"US officials have been making the case for a Persian Gulf missile defense system for several years now. As gulf economies boomed in recent years...the argument took on a sharper edge: invest in protection against Iranian missiles or risk losing the confidence of overseas investors."
You have to admire the skill with which NPR seamlessly combines US military (and corporate weaponsmakers') propaganda into this report. Never is the assertion that Iran is a threat called into question (and conveniently, no mention is made of why the UAE would be a target of Iranian missiles).

Kenyon does mention that the effectiveness of anti-missile technology has a "mixed record at best" and that missile defense could spark a new arms race, but he closes his report with this Orwellian twist:
"Analysts say it's not clear when missile defense technology will be a truly effective deterrent...."
Missile defense [even if it is technically successful] is the opposite of a deterrent. At best it can be seen as defensive, and practically, it is likely to encourage offensive adventurism on the part of those who possess it.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Actually, I thought Peter Kenyon was surprisingly candid in focusing on the mercantile aspect of pushing missile defense hardware on the UAE, mentioning specific companies by name. It's more than you usually get from NPR.

Also, I was glad to hear NPR's report on the toxic coal ash spill this morning; for the most part I thought it was well done (although I felt it underplayed the toxicity of the event).

Anonymous said...

"Analysts say it's not clear when missile defense technology will be a truly effective deterrent...."

The very reason that the US and former USSR had an AMB treaty in place (ie, ban on missile defense) for so many years was to preserve deterrence.

Kenyon's statement is just completely ignorant. Uninformed nonsense.

That statement alone is enough to make one doubt the knowledge of Kenyon on defense related issues.

Someone as uninformed as Kenyon apparently is should not be allowed to report on national radio -- period.

NPR is truly scraping the bottom of the barrel with their reporters.

Anonymous said...

Apart from the fact that missile defense actually undermines deterrence, at best, the missile defense program in this country, has been just so much hype and at worst, outright fraud.

MIT physicist Ted Postol exposed the Patriot missile for the actual failure that it was during the first Iraq war, despite initial claims to the contrary by DOD, Raytheon company (who made it) and others.

And Postol, UCS and others have pointed out the various and sundry problems with missile defense in general.

It ap[pears that kenyon is simply parroting what he hears from people at DOD.

Kenyon is simply pathetic.

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