Missile Defense Arguments

March 23, 1999

With the recent Senate vote on missile defense, it appears that the U.S. will finally deploy a defensive system. As encouraging as the prospects are, you have to wonder why it has taken so long to fund a system that most people would consider common sense. According to a recent briefing paper by the Center for Security Policy, there are three key arguments used by opponents of a missile defense system.

First, missile defense is too expensive. Of course this isn't too convincing when you consider the alternatives: an American city destroyed by a nuclear missile launched by North Korea, China, or one of the rogue states in the former Soviet Union. And as Mark Halprin points out in a recent National Review, "we spend three times what we spend on strategic defense on cookies and crackers."

The second argument is that the military doesn't want early action on missile defense. Frankly, this is not even an honest argument. The military very much wants a near-term missile defense, both to protect vulnerable forces overseas and cities in the United States. It's just hard for senior leaders to promote missile defense when the military has been cut back in so many areas.

The third argument is that the A.B.M. Treaty must be observed. Forget about the fact that the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was signed with the Soviet Union, a country that no longer exists. And even if we abide by the treaty, the U.S. has a right to withdraw from its restraints if its "supreme interests" were jeopardized.

None of the arguments are convincing, but they have worked so long simply because most Americans do not realize that we don't have a defensive missile system. If they did realize that, a missile defense act would have been passed a long time ago.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.