February 21, 2008


Navy Missile Hits Satellite, Pentagon Says: No Confirmation It Ruptured Tank Containing Toxic Fuel (Marc Kaufman and Josh White, 2/21/08, Washington Post)

Before last night's intercept, some experts had expressed doubts about the seriousness of the risk and questioned whether the shot was an excuse to perform an anti-satellite test that many people around the world found controversial. Skeptics in the arms-control community have speculated that the administration chose to undertake the shoot-down partly to test missile defense technology.

They say that like it's a bad thing. Nevermind missiles though, America ought to have a sufficient anti-satellite program that we can blind China at will, in conjunction with a first strike.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 21, 2008 7:24 AM

To them it is a bad thing. The ties that restrain America from acting in the world have just been loosened again, and America free to act is always a bad thing, because America can only do wrong. They're isolationists at heart, but they want America quarantined not to protect America from a wicked world, but to protect the world from a wicked America.
IIRC some saw the fall of the Soviet Union as a bad thing because the Soviet Union restrained America.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2008 9:51 AM

Drudge says it was destroyed. Anybody think it wasn't a coincidence that they shot it down during a lunar eclipse? Harder to get satellite pictures perhaps?

Posted by: erp at February 21, 2008 11:08 AM

Let's not forget to thank GWB for heavens sake. He's taken a lot of ridicule on missile defense from the dark side and from some people who should have known better, based on their credentials, within the military industrial complex. I hope they're squirming. The complexity of getting that shot right was extraordinary. What an accomplishment, from a ship at sea no less.

Posted by: Genecis at February 21, 2008 11:23 AM

The most interesting thing about this to me is that they're making a point of disclosing that this was done with a standard Aegis kinetic missile. ("Kinetic" meaning that the missile didn't have any explosive in its warhead, just something heavy traveling very fast.) People have long suspected that Aegis was just a software tweak away from being a workable anti-satellite/first stage anti-missile system, but the Pentagon has not really responded.

I think they just responded.

Wikipedia says that there are 108 deployed Aegis systems in the US navy and the navies of a handful of allies, including Japan, South Korea and, soon, Australia. Isn't that an interesting group of nations to have a now-proven anti-missile system?

The question isn't whether shooting down the satellite was partly motivated by a desire to test the system. The question is whether they just took a target of opportunity, or sent the crippled satellite up there on purpose.

Posted by: Ibid at February 21, 2008 3:04 PM