09/21/2004: Thought for the Day:
It's curious that on the campaign trail George W. Bush has boasted of many accomplishments, whether real or imaginary, but the missile-defense program has almost never been among them. This is no small point. Bush pushed missile defense as a major issue in the 2000 election. From the start of his presidency, he made it one of his top priorities. He revoked the 1972 Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty in order to pursue the program at full throttle. He tripled its budget ($10.7 billion this year alone, more than twice as much as for any other weapon system). He demanded that the Pentagon start fielding the system by the fall of 2004—that is, before the coming election—and indeed, last July, the first antimissile missile was lowered into its silo, a second is now in place, and eight more are scheduled to follow in the next few weeks.
Keeping America safe from attack is the central theme of the president's re-election campaign. Why then—except for a rally last month at a Boeing plant where a piece of the program is manufactured—has he scarcely mentioned missile defense?
Perhaps because the program is having serious problems—and because Bush knows it's having problems.
--Fred Kaplan [slate.msn.com]
Len on 09.21.04 @ 06:45 AM CST