Missile defense system costly, but necessary
Published 12:00 am Monday, May 21, 2001
Monday, May 21, 2001
The Natchez Democrat
We wonder how many people doubted John F. Kennedy’s vow to
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put a man on the moon.
But, within nine years of JFK’s bold challenge, we did put
a man on the moon. And we opened the scientific and exploratory
floodgates, broadening our horizons and our minds.
Now, the latest target of doubt is a proposed national defense
missile shield. The controversial, $100 billion project would
create a virtual shield around the United States by establishing
a system that detects, then shoots down, incoming enemy warheads.
Unfortunately, the system has proven only partially successful,
and it even failed a test last summer.
Critics cite that failure, along with the exhorbitant cost
and the international ripples such a system would cause, as reasons
to avoid it.
Proponents cite the faith factor, ala JFK, saying that the
system would work – it could be up to 70 percent effective, some
say; it is necessary for protecting the United States in this
ever changing world; and it is absolutely necessary.
And, in truth, the project requires a great deal of faith,
just like any scientific discovery or leap in technology.
And, in theory, it could work.
Of course, we’d like to think the United States would never
need a missile defense shield. We recognize the reality that our
greatest danger likely comes from rogue nations or terrorists
– whether international or homegrown – who could wreak havoc in
our heartland. Yet, we cannot ignore the reality of the threat
from other countries. And, if the missile defense shield is a
viable and necessary step in bolstering our national defenses,
they we should pursue it.
Yes, it is costly.
But so was putting a man on the moon.