F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
November 19, 2000
Missile Defense Should be Priority



F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

The first priority of our newly-elected President and Commander-in-Chief should be to initiate deployment of the missile defense system that Bill Clinton has delayed for eight years


"Arms control advocates would have Americans believe that deploying a missile defense 'shield' would unleash a worldwide arms race, but the facts prove otherwise," declare Jack Spencer and Michael Scardaville of the Heritage Foundation. "America has deployed no defense against missile attack, and the proliferation of ballistic missiles and missile technology . . . is accelerating. An eruption of proliferation activity followed President Bill Clinton's announcement . . . that he would defer the decision to deploy a national missile defense system to the next Administration," they report. "Rather than give hostile nations a reason not to arm themselves, America's lack of missile defense has encouraged them to develop their missile capability."

Spencer and Scardaville argue that "President Clinton's refusal to support the deployment of a robust missile defense program invites such nations to continue to pursue and perfect long-range ballistic missiles." They note that "countries with a history of antagonistic behavior toward the United States continue to develop long-range ballistic missiles, which have no other purpose than to kill thousands of people."

Spencer and Scardaville conclude that "the threat from ballistic missiles to the United States, U.S. troops, and America's friends and allies is clear and growing. The intensified proliferation since the President's deferral decision underscores the folly of this Administration's approach to the threat. As long as the United States refuses to commit to the deployment of an effective missile defense system," they warn, "dangerous ballistic missiles will continue to put Americans at risk."

Spencer and Scardaville urge our newly-elected President to "commit to protecting America's families, troops, friends, and allies from the threats posed by the escalating proliferation of missile technology. Diplomacy and arms control schemes alone remain inadequate. The United States must develop a robust and global missile defense system. The first step," say Spencer and Scardaville, "is to move beyond the outdated and legally defunct 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The President should then initiate the upgrading of America's fleet of Aegis cruisers to equip them to defend against ballistic missiles." They also recommend that the President "aggressively pursue spacebased missile defense options. Few other decisions [he] makes during the coming year will be as important."

If there's any issue that should naturally elicit a bipartisan response from our public servants in Washington, surely national defense is it. What could possibly be more important? If the threat of a foreign power launching a missile attack against our nation is "clear and growing," and we have the ability to create a plausible defense against it, why would any American stand in opposition? How can we justify meddling in the internal affairs of strategically insignificant countries all across the globe and at the same time ignore a glaring deficiency in our own security? Somehow, we've managed to survive eight years of inexcusable neglect; but, if we don't start making up for it now -- with a rapid, staged deployment of comprehensive missile defense -- we'll pay for this folly in lives and liberty lost.


Behind The Headlines is syndicated to newspapers and radio stations, free of charge, by America's Future, a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1946 and dedicated to the preservation of our free-enterprise system and our constitutional form of government. For more information, or a free sample of our bimonthly newsletter, e-mail or write to: America's Future, 7800 Bonhomme, St. Louis, Missouri 63105.
Or call: 1-314-725-6003.

HOME