Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I Feel Safer Already...

Remember all that talk about a missle defense system?

The first test in nearly two years of a multibillion-dollar U.S. anti-missile shield has failed after the interceptor missile shut down as it prepared to launch in the central Pacific, the Pentagon said.

About 16 minutes earlier, a target missile carrying a mock warhead had been successfully fired from Kodiak Island, Alaska, according to a statement from the Missile Defense Agency.

The aborted $85 million (44 million pounds) test appeared likely to set back plans for activation of a rudimentary bulwark against long-range ballistic missiles that could be fired by countries like North Korea.

In 2002, President George W. Bush pledged to have initial elements of the program up and running by the end of this year while testing and development continued.

But don't worry, the goal wasn't to actually shoot down the target:

Because the mission was supposed to have exercised new hardware, software and engagement scenarios, it was officially described as a "flyby" rather than an attempted intercept. This meant gathering data was the primary goal, not downing the target, according to the Missile Defense Agency.

When a shootdown has been the chief test objective, the system so far has succeeded five of eight times in highly scripted conditions.

So I guess as long as North Korea launches one nuke, during the day, with no wind and no clouds, we have a 63% chance of knocking it down. And it's only costing us... how much again? If a guy charged me $1000 to install a toilet in my house and then told me it would successfully flush 5 out of 8 times, provided the sun was shining outside and I didn't push the lever too hard, and when it failed poop and sewage would spew out of the bowl for half an hour, I'd punch him in the groin...

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