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Friday, April 14, 2006

McCain: Senator Spendy

(keywords: politics, war, ballistic missile shield, lighting off bottle rockets with thousand dollar bills)

I saw this in in my RSS feeds, it comes from KCCI, Des Moines, Iowa. It seems that John McCain has been critical of the republicans in control of D.C. "McCain was in the state to campaign for Republican candidates from Iowa," KCCI reports, "During the stump, McCain said Republicans in the White House and Congress are in danger of alienating their base of voters because they can't rein in spending.

"He said they have been spending money like 'drunken sailors.'" Strong words, especially from someone who's been throwing money down a rathole himself.

A 2000 New York Daily News article (archived at Council for a Livable World) tells us, "So far, the scaled-down version of Star Wars, which would be aimed at intercepting a missile or two from a rogue nation, has failed every meaningful test - despite $60 billion of investment over more than 15 years.

"But such failures have not deterred either the Clinton administration or the Republican presidential contenders from rushing toward deployment. For John McCain, ballistic missile defense is essential to his proposed policy of rolling back rogue states. When Iraq or North Korea find themselves under attack, they might respond - so the theory goes - by launching a future nuclear missile against us. A shield would stop them, if it worked. " The problem is that it doesn't work. It's never come close and there's no reason to think that it ever will.

Joe Conason wrote in that in july of 2001 "The Pentagon and the Bush administration are determined to sell the American people a national missile defense system that will probably increase tensions with allies and adversaries and will surely cost more than $100 billion. Their latest marketing exercise took place on the evening of July 14, when a "kill vehicle" launched from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific smashed into a rocket sent up from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."

However, " There was only one thing that all the happy salesmen forgot to mention about their latest test drive. The rocket fired from Vandenberg was carrying a global positioning satellite beacon that guided the kill vehicle toward it. In other words, it would be fair to say that the $100 million test was rigged..."

" And as [project head Lt. Gen. Ronald] Kadish later acknowledged, each of the previous three tests -- two of which failed anyway -- had also involved the use of a guidance beacon. (To longtime observers of the missile-defense effort, this latest news recalled the notorious "Star Wars" scandal, when investigators discovered that a target had been secretly heated to ensure that it would be picked up by the interceptor's infrared sensor.)" Talk about a canned hunt.

All of which brings me back to McCain and his scolding of the freespending drunken sailors in congress. Include yourself, senator.

Donald Rumsfeld once said of a non-working missile defense system purchased at a cost of $53 billion, "It's better than nothing." I say that by that reasoning, you could do something that fails just as well as this system for much less.

Here's my proposal to John McCain - give me $25 billion and I'll go stand out in my backyard with a shotgun, taking potshots at any missiles I see. It won't work, but hey - neither does 'star wars'. So I can offer all of the ineffectiveness for half the price.

If that doesn't sound like a good idea to you, take it up with McCain - he's voted to spend over $100 billion on a program that works just as well.