“A failure to intercept” (editorial, July 26) on the Pentagon’s missile defense program and its rigged testing protocol rightly concludes that “it doesn’t make sense to keep throwing money at a flawed system without correcting the problems first.”
In fact, the architecture of the planned “midcourse” missile defense is so inherently flawed that the laws of physics would have to be violated in order to correct its problems. The principal flaw is that any adversary capable of making long-range missiles can also make simple decoy warheads that could easily defeat the planned system.
More broadly, the idea of a missile defense system against nuclear-tipped missiles is a holdover from the Cold War, when there was a gentleman’s agreement between the Americans and Soviets that nuclear weapons would arrive via missiles. What we need now is a defense against clandestine delivery of nuclear weapons, for example via small boats.
Wasting limited defense dollars on an inherently flawed missile defense system only hurts American national security.
Yousaf M. Butt
Senior fellow, Federation of American Scientists
A version of this letter appeared in print on July 31, 2013, in The International Herald Tribune