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Are you Feeling Safer?   September 17th, 2009
Obama shelves European missile defense       

 
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Vice President Biden has told us that we are safer today than any time during the Bush administration. But today the Obama administration shelved a missile defense system. Are you feeling safer?

Remember back in April when Vice President claimed we were safer under Obama than at any time under Bush?

"... I guarantee you we are safer today, our interests are more secure today than they were any time during the eight years" of the Bush administration. [said Biden]


Now, five months later, we find that the White House has abandoned a defensive missile system that would have protected our allies in Europe--and us--from rogue ballistic missile attacks, especially from Iran.

The White House will shelve Bush administration plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to people familiar with the matter, a move likely to cheer Moscow and roil the security debate in Europe.

The U.S. will base its decision on a determination that Iran's long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.


So we are safer because the administration thinks Iran isn't progressing as rapidly with missile development? Is there something wrong with preparing for the possibility that we're wrong about their progress? Is there something wrong with preparing for the possibility that even if today they aren't making as much progress, that tomorrow they could achieve a breakthrough?

Is it possible that our intelligence about Iran is wrong? Would it be the first time our intelligence about a Middle Eastern country and their weapons capability was wrong?

The reality is that even if our intelligence about Iran is accurate, and even if the analysis of that intelligence is currently accurate, it's still not clear that abandoning the missile defense system is a good idea. And if anything is wrong in the intelligence or analysis, this could be a deadly mistake.

And if the information and analysis is right, well, it still seems to make pretty obvious strategic sense to stay ahead of the threat by deploying such a system well before it's a threat. By waiting to deploy until Iran has an undisputed long-range ballistic missile capability, we'll basically create the possibility of a future tense situation where Iran has the capability and sees us deploying technology to counter that threat. They'll be in a "use it or lose it" situation where there'll be an incentive to use their missiles before our system is deployed and makes their capability obsolete.

Are you feeling safer today? Because Russia and Iran probably are.

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