Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Missile defense plea
The Bush administration is zealous about so many nutty things it's hard to keep track. Missile defense ("Star Wars" and its ilk) is one of them I had almost forgotten about. Apparently they hope to spend over $10 billion per year to develop a defense that doesn't work against an enemy that doesn't really exist.
Physicists have long known that the missile-defense plans are mostly scams; they are wildly optimistic, overhyped, undertested, and usually misrepresented. It's just hard to shoot down a bullet with another bullet; and when the incoming bullet can use countermeasures, it's practically impossible. Now a group of generals and admirals is saying the same thing: this is a colossal waste of money, let's spend that money doing something useful like, say, protecting against terrorism. The military experts have an uphill battle; they don't appreciate that the administration finds the battle against terror kind of boring, and is easily distracted by shiny objects.