How Democrats have Sabotaged US Missile Defenses
Over the last 50 years the Democratic party has continually sided against defending the United States against missile attack from any nation in the world. This suicidal policy was codified by the "MAD" policy of the 1960s and 1970s but in the 1980s Ronald Reagan refused to continue to believe in the good will of foreign countries to not fire their ballistic missiles at our country and our allies, and thus began funding a national missile defense plan. The inability to shoot down missiles that could easily rain down on US cities or our troops and allies abroad has deeply concerned the Republican party for decades and now, finally, the investment in this field is beginning to pay off (just in time too, I might add). However, the Democrats feel absolutely compelled to halt all missile defenses for this country, including railgun and laser defenses. Low-tech anti-ballistic missiles (ABM) systems have been around for years (the Patriot, C-RAM, THEL), but major advances like the Airborne Laser (ABL) and even the new ABM AMRAAM are now feasible, yet a few weeks ago the Democratic Congress voted to cut funding to the ABL the day after North Korea fired more rockets into East Asia. Leaving US cities, allies, and military forces naked to ballistic missile terrorism and blackmail doesn't seem to bother the Democratic party, and now that our cities like Honolulu are naked to North Korean missiles threats I am sure we will give them a few billion dollars to not fire them again, for awhile. I believe it is criminal in the extreme for the left-wing loons in Congress and the White House to gut US ABM defenses in the light of the hostile missile launches by the insane North Koreans. Also, the Obama administration threw the Europeans to the wolves by telling Russia we wouldn't install missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic like we had promised those two nations. This sort of insane defense policy only endangers millions of civilians and should be reversed immediately. Numerous ABM missiles defense systems are now mature and ready to significant deployment, like the Standard Missile 3, the ABL, the Centurion Phalanx system, and the THAAD system. It is critical that the United States fields lavish missile defenses in Asia ASAP to halt any further aggression and ballistic missile blackmail by either North Korea or China, reassuring our friends and allies we will protect them against any unfounded attacks by any power in the region.
Happenings in Iran
Things are moving very quickly in Iran, here are a few details:
Some 64 percent of the members of Parliament did not show up for a celebration of Ahmadinejad's victory. Even the speaker of parliament, including Speaker Ali Larijani, stayed away. No matter how the current unrest ends, Ahmadinejad is damaged goods as the Iranian president. Meanwhile, the government is arresting university faculty who openly support Mousavi. Iranians are being told, often obliquely and gently, to not criticize the government openly, or show any support for Mousavi and the demonstrators. Those who ignore this advice could be arrested, or worse.
The senior clergy are leaning on Mousavi to withdraw his challenge to the presidential election. Mousavi is being offered rewards (financial and otherwise) if he backs off, and dire punishment (death to him, and some family members as well) if he does not. So far, Mousavi has held his ground. But the offer still stands, as least as long as Mousavi is still alive. That is being aided by more and more government officials openly, or otherwise, siding with Mousavi. Many members of the government, and the clergy, are upset with the extent of the corruption and mismanagement among the ruling class.
Neither Mousavi, nor Ahmadinejad, are moderates. Both are hard core nationalists. In other words, both want nuclear weapons for Iran, the better to dominate the region, as Iran has done for over 3,000 years. Mousavi wants Iran to be strong, but he also calls for true democracy. That would mean taking political power away from the senior clergy. The ruling clerics are expected to fight this, if only because so many of them are corrupt, and don't want to become poor, and possibly get sent to prison. So it's a death match between the corrupt clergy (and their police state), and the majority of Iranians who are fed up and won't take it anymore.
The problem is that 60 percent of the 70 million Iranians were born after the 1979 revolution, and half of these young people have access to the Internet. They are tired of the corruption, and living in a police state run by religious leaders whose incompetence leaves over 20 percent of the young men unemployed. The demonstrations are mostly about corruption, inefficient government and phony democracy. Few are demonstrating against nuclear weapons, or Iranian foreign policy (which tends to make the neighbors nervous.)
Russian Military Spending: 2009
Russia is buying $42 billion of military equipment in 2009. This includes, in the first six months of this year; eight Su-27 and 12 MiG-29 fighters, three Topol-M ICBMs, one Soyuz space craft launcher, 20 tanks, at least a hundred other armored vehicles and over 2,000 trucks. Russia will spend about the same amount in the next two years, all in an effort to replace aging Cold War era equipment. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union would produce about ten times as much gear annually.
It was only three years ago, for the first time in fifteen years, that the Russian army began receiving significant quantities of new and refurbished equipment. The Russian army has been falling apart since the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. That's fifteen years of practically no new equipment, and a vast downsizing. The Cold War force of 175 divisions dwindled to 25, plus 21 independent brigades (equivalent to another five divisions.) These divisions are, for the most part, very under strength. The Russian army is now smaller than the American army, and much less capable.
Most of the 1991 era equipment has been scrapped or cannibalized to keep the new, now quite miniscule (320,000 troops) army going at all. Most of the trucks and tanks are twenty years old, or more. Tiny defense budgets over the last decade were barely able to buy food for the troops, much less fuel for training exercises. For a generation now, tank crews trained in vehicles that rarely moved, and engines were only started to see if they were still functional, not to move the vehicle around.
Now the army is getting enough gear to equip some rapid reaction forces, and get the assembly lines going for a new generation of weapon. To that end, in 2006 the troops received 30 new T-90 tanks, and another 180 refurbished, Cold War vintage, T-72s and T-80s. Some new BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles were obtained, as well as lighter, BMDs for the parachute and air-assault units.
Noting the success of the American Stryker, a hundred new BTR-80 and BTR-90 vehicles were purchased. In addition, some 600 refurbished BMPs, BMDs and BTRs were also put into service that year. Twenty anti-aircraft missile batteries received new, modernized missiles. Some of these batteries had not fired a missile in years, because the only ones they had had "aged out" (become too old to safely fire.)
The army received new radios, field uniforms, protective vests and small arms. More powerful RPGs and grenades were purchased as well. Perhaps most telling, large quantities of small arms ammunition were made available for training. This is another side-effect of the war in Iraq, where Russian planners noted how the American army successfully dealt with training deficiencies by greatly increasing live fire training.
The tactical air force, which supports the army, received about fifty refurbished and upgraded aircraft (Su-24 bombers, Su-25 ground attack aircraft, plus some Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters). Ten new Mi-28 and Ka-50 helicopter gunships were purchased as well.
But most of the $11 billion being spent on new weapons and equipment in 2006 went for nuclear weapons systems, including missile carrying subs and new ICBMs. With such a miniscule army, and such ramshackle equipment, nukes are now the main defense of the largest country in the world.
US DEFENSE SPENDING: 2009
Defending Hawaii From North Korean Attack
American officials have responded to North Korea's preparations for a new IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile) test by announcing that sufficient anti-missile systems are being sent to Hawaii to deal with any potential North Korea success with their Taepodong 2 missile. Actually, the U.S. already has anti-missile systems in Hawaii (AEGIS SM-3 and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), and it's unlikely that North Korea has a working IRBM that could travel 7,300 kilometers and hit something in Hawaii.
North Korea has been working on Taepodong 2 for over a decade. An earlier model, launched in1998, went about 1,500 kilometers. A 2006 test barely got off the ground before crashing. A test two months ago only went about 3,000 kilometers. The Taepodong 2 being readied for launch now might make it out to 7,000 kilometers or more. But that's unlikely. So it's a good American PR move to point out that Hawaii is being made safe.
The anti-missile system already in Hawaii are some THAAD systems at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. Last year, the U.S. Army began forming the first of four THAAD batteries. This unit will be ready for combat next year. The other three batteries will be in service within four years. Two years ago, there was a successful test of THAAD (a SCUD type target was destroyed in flight) using a crew of soldiers for the first time, and not manufacturer technicians, to operate the system.
Each THAAD battery will have 24 missiles, three launchers and a fire control communications system. This will include an X-Band radar. The gear for each battery will cost $310 million. The 18 foot long THAAD missiles weigh 1,400 pounds. The range of THAAD is 200 kilometers, max altitude is 150 kilometers, and it is intended for short (like SCUD) or medium range (up to 2,000 kilometer) range ballistic missiles. Tweaks to the system are supposed to make it capable of handling something like the Taepodong 2. THAAD has been in development for two decades. Ultimately, the army would like to buy at least 18 launchers, 1,400 missiles, and 18 radars.
The navy has also modified its Standard anti-aircraft missile system to take down something like the Taepodong 2. This system, the RIM-161A, also known as the Standard Missile 3 (or SM-3), has a longer range than THAAD (over 500 kilometers) and max altitude of 160 kilometers. The SM 3 missiles cost over three million dollars each. The SM 3 has four stages. The first two stages boost the interceptor out of the atmosphere. The third stage fires twice to boost the interceptor farther beyond the earth's atmosphere. Prior to each motor firing it takes a GPS reading to correct course for approaching the target. The fourth stage is the 20 pound LEAP kill vehicle, which uses infrared sensors to close on the target and ram it. The AEGIS/SM-3 combination has had numerous successful tests, and recently shot down a low orbit satellite.
The SM-3 operates from warships (cruisers and destroyers that have been equipped with the special software that enables the AEGIS radar system to detect and track incoming ballistic missiles.) There are several AEGIS equipped ships either near Hawaii, or close enough to reach the islands in less than a week.
Obama Popularity June 2009