The House has approved a $643 billion defense-spending bill for 2013 that’s $3.7 billion more than the Obama Administration, and its Pentagon, is seeking. That’s just about the same amount the Congressional Budget Office estimates the House bill’s push for an East Coast missile shield will cost over the next five years.
As Thompson writes, while the U.S. has already invested billions building such a West Coast system against the threat of a North Korean missile attack, so why shouldn’t we build a mirror system on the other side of the country to protect its denizens from attack by the Iranians:
The missile-defense language calls for spending $100 million on an East Coast site in 2013, with a goal of having such a system in place by 2016. The Congressional Budget Office estimates such a system will cost $3.6 billion through 2017, but warns that the program’s cost is likely to go higher. The White House has said building such a site is “premature,” and it’s unlikely to win backing when the Senate considers its version of the defense authorization bill this week.
It’s the missile-defense mania that truly baffles. There seems to be a pathological need in some quarters of the nation’s politics to defend against attacks from far-off enemies, no matter how unlikely. They cite intelligence reports from agencies that have erred in the past, and take their predictions of doom as gospel. You can worst-case anything, and missile-defense advocates do.
Read more on Time's Battleland blog