Tuesday, June 20, 2006

And Here We Are

Report: U.S. activates missile defense system (2006)

The United States has moved its ground-based interceptor missile defense system from test mode to operational amid concerns over an expected North Korean missile launch, a U.S. defense official said Tuesday.

The U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a Washington Times report that the Pentagon has activated its missile defense system, which has been in the developmental stage for years.

Britain backs U.S. missile shield (2003)

The system, dubbed "Son of Star Wars" after an initiative pioneered by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, depends on intercepting an incoming missile with another missile.

North Korea warned on Wednesday that it was ready to take more "defensive" measures against the U.S. that would go beyond its decision last week to quit a global treaty preventing the spread of atomic weapons.

Hoon said if Pyongyang ended its flight test ban it could test a missile with the potential to reach Europe within weeks.

U.S. quits ABM treaty (2001)

President Bush said Thursday the United States has notified Russia that it intends to pull out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, starting a six-month timetable for withdrawal and opening the way for the creation of an anti-missile defense system.

Congressional Democrats greeted the news with skepticism. Some called Bush's plan a misguided and poorly timed decision.

Daschle said he was concerned withdrawal from the ABM treaty could "rupture relations with key countries around the world," and raises serious questions about future arms races involving other countries.

Biden later called Bush's priorities "out of whack." He said America should be more worried about terrorists with weapons of mass destruction than countries with long-range ballistic missiles.

Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Talks Collapse as Deadlock on SDI Wipes Out Other Gains (1986)

But Reagan was defiant when he discussed SDI, which he has called a "peace shield" that will someday protect civilian populations from nuclear destruction.

"While both sides seek reduction in the number of nuclear missiles and warheads threatening the world, the Soviet Union insisted that we sign an agreement that would deny to me and to future presidents for 10 years the right to develop, test and deploy a defense against nuclear missiles for the people of the free world," Reagan said. "This we could not and would not do."

Republicans should learn to take a little credit from time to time.