February 22, 2008


U.S. display of antisatellite capability leaves rivals uneasy (Thom Shanker, February 22, 2008, NY Times)

Videotape of the U.S. Navy mission to shoot down a dying spy satellite made available shows an interceptor missile ascending atop a bright trail of burning fuel, and then a flash, a fireball and a plume of vapor. A cloud of debris left little doubt that the missile had squarely hit its mark as it spent its final days orbiting high above the Pacific Ocean.

A different kind of doubt still lingers, though, expressed by policy analysts, some politicians and scientists, and not a few foreign powers, especially China and Russia: Should the people of the world be breathing a sigh of relief that the risk has passed of a half-ton of frozen, toxic rocket fuel landing who knows where? Or should they be worried about the latest display of U.S. technical prowess and see it as a thinly veiled test for a shadow antisatellite program?

Enemies should be afraid.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 22, 2008 9:13 AM

I've seen, on another side, an analysis by someone who seems to know what he's talking about which assets that we render the Chinese ICBM fleet worthless with just three Aegis destroyers cruising off the west coast.

We can build Standard SM-3 missiles a lot faster and cheaper than any of the world's tyrannies can build ICBMs. Those missiles work in any of the cruisers and destroyers presently in the fleet. (They also work in many of the ships owned by our allies.) Betcha land-based launchers would be relatively simple to build, too.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 22, 2008 9:43 AM

The New York Times is an example of the isolationist left. They are worried that a peaceful world will be damaged by an arrogant, drunken, cowboy America a ridin' around whoopin' and hollerin' and whalin' the tar out of every livin' thing in sight. Truly, such displays of American military prowess disturb the NYT and those of like thought - there are fewer and fewer nations or coalitions of nations that can contain the rogue nation America.

For the good of the world, tie the United States down!

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 22, 2008 10:21 AM

Just to be safe, we should install a battery of SM-3 missiles somewhere central on the west coast, such as Berkeley CA.

Posted by: Genecis at February 22, 2008 10:58 AM

Oh, I was just thinking that Berkely should be the only place in US that's not under the missle shield, but I'm feeling kind of vindictive this morning.

"I say, let 'em crash!"

Posted by: Bryan at February 22, 2008 11:20 AM

Maverick needs to hammer Obama on this in debates. There's no doubt that Obama shares the unease of the Times, the Chinese, and the Russians. He can neither admit it, nor can he accept our anti-missile program without risking the loss of his allies on the hate-America Left.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 22, 2008 11:25 AM


Actually, I believe we have a battery of ground-based interceptors in Vandenburg AFB with a similar warhead and a larger laucher (based off an ICBM design?). There have been sporadic, mostly successful, small-scale tests of this over the last decade.

Posted by: Mike Earl at February 22, 2008 11:59 AM

Well I guess the day arrived, The US owns the sky on Planet Earth (except for those pesky Grays).

Posted by: KRS at February 22, 2008 1:51 PM

Effendi Obama has already said that he will pursue the kind of surrender Mikey attributes to the NYT. He said as much in the last Democrt debate.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 22, 2008 2:53 PM

as it spent its final days orbiting high above the Pacific Ocean.

Doesn't the Times have editors any more? The satellite was in a polar orbit. It was over the Pacific at the time it was shot down, but it wasn't orbiting "above the Pacific."

Posted by: PapayaSF at February 22, 2008 4:50 PM

Editors are too lazy to do the research I suppose. Of course if they had retained even a modicum of 8th grade Earth Science they would know what a polar orbit is.

Posted by: Bartman at February 22, 2008 6:06 PM