Node Of Evil - Fair And Balanced Reporting

For those who feel the war on terrorism
could use a little "Structural Adjustment".

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Monday, April 21, 2003

The Los Angeles Times has an article today on the PATRIOT missile system and its troubled history. I'd like to the article, but I don't have an LAT login (I read the article in the paper edition. Bran, perhaps you could provide a link?). There was a report published after the first Gulf War that contended that the missiles may have missed all of the 19 SCUDS that they tried to hit. After the war, the Pentagon spent $3 billion to fix the system resulting in a new radar design and changes to the missile itself. The PATRIOT system is responsible for two friendly-fire incidents in the current conflict and a third near-miss (an F-16 was "painted" by a PATRIOT system, but fired on and destroyed the radar unit before the missile was launched). The article contends that the newer PATRIOT went through four operational tests and that this number was insufficient to weed out possible problems. I mention this because of an earlier report that Donald Rumsfeld is pushing to exempt the U.S. missile defense system from requirements for operational testing before its deployed. Such a system could, if not tested, end up like the PATRIOT -- falsely acquiring friendly targets and firing on them. The missile defense system would rely in part on the PATRIOT, thus its effectiveness is called into question by these recent friendly-fire incidents. Hopefully Congress won't be fooled into exempting the new system from operational testing (after all, the system failed a test as recently as last December and the Pentagon has already cancelled a number of tests that were scheduled for later this year).

Andrew 1:59 PM : |


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