Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Tennessean: Protecting Yourself is Futile

It is said that Thomas Edison failed scores of times before finally inventing the light bulb. It is a good thing that he was not being advised by The Tennessean's editorial page writers. This morning's paper argues that the United States should cease efforts to create a defensive system that could shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile heading for the United States. The reason? The Defense Department has been working on it for a long time, and it still doesn't work.

Such a system, the development of which is called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), is even more important today than it was when President Ronald Reagan proposed it. At that time, the major perceived threat came from the Soviet Union. War with the Soviets would have potentially involved the launching of hundreds of missiles, and critics of the idea of a missile defense pointed out that no system could successfully shoot down most, much less all of them. Today, when the major threat involves an unpredictable rogue government or terrorist launching an isolated missile, the use of such a defense could potentially be critical to protecting life and property.

In an argument so blatantly silly that I laughed out loud, the editorial concluded, "The last thing the United States should do is practically dare an enemy to see if our fancy defense system works. That's a needless invitation to very high-stakes conflict."

Yes, of course. Everyone who agrees with that line of thinking should get rid of your security systems and leave your doors unlocked when you are away from home. You are just daring criminals to prove that they can get in and steal all of your stuff.

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