Missile Defense “Failure”?

The mainstream press has been unrelentingly hostile to the concept of missile defense since the 1980s, essentially because it was Ronald Reagan’s idea. The idea that missile defense can’t work and shouldn’t be attempted is an article of faith. So the press is always quick to report any failure or setback in the missile defense program, as happened today in this Reuters story titled “U.S. Missile Defense Test Fails.”
Reader Bob Morris makes, I think, a good point:

The Reuters report by Jim Wolf of a failed missile defense test last night is flawed by either intent or ignorance.

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

The interceptor missile did not shut down because of some malfunction, it was shut down intentionally because of inability to monitor performance of a boost stage rocket detected during pre-launch system checks. The boost stage might have been set to work properly or it might not have, but a test of this magnitude and expense demands ability to monitor all mission critical systems so that all necessary data is available for post-mission review. When it became clear that this would not be the case, the mission was scrubbed, not failed.

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 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.

Unfortunately, a very expensive target drone was lost, and somebody is presently being chewed out because of that. But the kill vehicle and its delivery system remain intact for future use, and by far most of the test hardware funds were expended there. As for schedule delay, expect this test to be rescheduled as soon as a replacement target is ready.

Media coverage of scientific and technical issues is driven largely by ideology, not science. Thus, the MSM blindly adhere to global warming theories without asking basic questions like: if the computer program that predicts warming based on CO2 content in the atmosphere is reliable, why are its projections contradicted by the actual experience of temperatures on Earth over the past 2,000 years? Another example is embryonic stem cell research; it is an article of faith in the MSM that such research is a uniquely promising medical breakthrough, but it is nearly impossible to find a rational discussion of why embryonic stem cells should be superior to any other stem cells.
The MSM will continue to denounce missile defense as impossible–I think they’ve given up on the argument that it would be “destabilizing”–right up to the moment when it is successfully deployed.


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