Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Houston, We Have A Problem!

Shocking as it may be, a planned test of our missile defense system has failed yet again.

This just kills me. We are spending billions of dollars on a fantasy space-movie plan to protect us from the "bad guys." According to the article, we've been successful five out of eight times. Let's put that in perspective, shall we?

Five out of eight is approximately 63%. If my students score 63% on an exam, it's an "F." So missile defense is currently scoring an "F."

If I ran a company and I had an employee who called in sick every day the weather didn't meet his fancy, I'd fire him. Furthermore, if he spent three out of every eight hours on the job sitting in the emplyees lounge doing nothing, he'd be fired. If he screwed up three out of every eight projects he was working on, he'd be fired. Get my drift?

Now some would say that a 63% rate of success is pretty good. A baseball player would be thrilled if he could hit .625. Basketball players would be ecstatic with a 63% shooting percentage. But we're talking about apples and oranges here. With missile defense we're saying that 63% of the time we know when a missile is going to be launched under cooperative weather conditions from a known location, we are successful. So if someone like Kim Jong Il would be so kind as to launch a nuclear attack on us on a clear sunny day with an acceptable period of notification, we could expect to stop 63% of the missiles. Hopefully those other 27% will fail to detonate. If they don't, well we're sorry about that.

Maybe, instead of spending billions on a game of nuclear roulette, we should be investing our money in diplomatic efforts to curb the production of said missiles. But no, we continue to throw money down the drain on something that continuously presents a security risk. As we've heard so many times, we have to be right 100% of the time while the terrorists only have to be right once. Well so far we're only capable of being right 63% of the time. It's time to abandon this money-pit of a fantasy and actually focus on the problems at hand. If we are able to control the proliferation and development of weapons, there is no need for something like missile defense.

(Unfortunately, Haliburton and Lockheed-Martin won't make any money off of non-proliferation talks so this isn't too likely to happen.)

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