While missile defense has represented a wet dream for hawks in the US since the late 1960’s, the reality is that it has never come close to achieving its aims.
“President Bush is rushing to deploy a technology that does not work against a threat that does not exist,” Cirincione says. “Iran is at least 5 to 10 years away from the capability to build a nuclear weapon and at least that far from having a missile that could hit Europe let alone the US. And anti-missile systems are still nowhere near working despite $150 billion spent since the 1983 Star Wars program started and years of phony tests staged to demonstrate ‘progress’ and ‘success.'”
It should be added that not only does the technology not work against a threat that does not exist, it is completely ineffective against threats that do. Tests are rigged to produce a positive results, and still overwhelmingly result in failure. Even if missile defense were viable, there is another issue which challenges its entire viability.
In 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara analyzed the structure of this dynamic to argue for a halt to it. “Were we to deploy a heavy ABM system . . . the Soviets would clearly be strongly motivated so to increase their offensive capability as to cancel out our defense advantage.” Not only would the mutual escalation, launched in the name of defense, be futile and wasteful, but it would make war more likely rather than less. At the end of his Pentagon tenure, McNamara had arrived at the central paradox of the nuclear age — how defense and offense had taken on opposite meanings, with the former having become the inevitable precursor of the latter. In opposing the deployment of the ABM, the American defense chief was breaking with the oldest pattern of human belligerence.
In other worlds, the trillions invested in missile defense represent possibly the biggest and most costly scam in history.