Last month, the mainstream media endorsed the Pentagon’s description of a collision between an American interceptor rocket and a mock intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean as the “first successful test of whether it could shoot down a North Korean warhead racing toward the United States.” Nonsense!
The reality of anti-missile defense, whether called anti-ballistic missiles, “Star Wars,” or today’s National Missile Defense is—in Yogi Berra’s ironic words—a continuing story of “deja vu all over again.” For the past sixty years, an alliance of weapons laboratories and defense contractors have exaggerated the military threat that these systems are supposed to meet as well as the potential for the success of these systems.
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American Exceptionalism: Our Gun Culture at Home and Abroad
There is an insidious and unspoken connection between our gun culture at home and abroad. U.S. politicians and pundits believe that huge defense budgets provide international security for the United States, and many Americans believe that personal weapons provide safety at home. We don’t question the use of deadly weaponry in unnecessary wars overseas; Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are the most recent examples. At home, there are more guns than people — 120 guns for every 100 people. The United States is exceptional because some of the same weapons designed for war are available to teenagers fighting their personal demons.
The United States Specializes in Exaggerating the Threat
Every day we gather evidence of the pathetic performance of the Russian military in Ukraine. There was the inability to deal with Ukraine’s primitive air defense; the loss of the flag ship of the Black Sea Fleet; the sadistic behavior of a ground force that lacks any sense of discipline or professionalism; the loss of general officers; and the near total breakdown in logistical support for the invasion force. The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Major General Bulanov, dismissed the Russian invasion force as a “horde of people with weapons.”