Members of Congress and conservative lobbyists have been celebrating a very special birthday: President George W. Bush's official activation of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system. But the sad truth is that they're celebrating 10 years of self-delusion. The project is broken, despite the $40 billion spent on it.
On Sunday, a ground-based interceptor fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base destroyed a mock enemy warhead launched from the Marshall Islands. The Pentagon hailed it as a major success for the troubled national missile defense system, which has cost $40 billion since 2004. But, in truth, it changes little.
The success or failure of an upcoming U.S. ballistic missile defense test could affect when the Pentagon deploys 14 more ground-based interceptors to defend against possible missile threats from North Korea. The test— planned for June 22—will focus on the "kill vehicle," which is supposed to destroy incoming missiles.
Last month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a scathing report: the system to defend the U.S. from ballistic missiles doesn't work, and probably never will. But it gets worse. Congress then voted to expand the broken system, allocating money for a new, sub-par missile defense site. How did this happen?