North Korea Tees Up A Test For SDI

March 16, 2009

North Korea Tees Up A Test For SDI

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, March 13, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Missile Defense: Japan says it may shoot down North Korea’s upcoming “satellite” launch if it gets too close, and a key U.S. commander says he’s prepared to do the same should President Obama give the order. Will he?

Read More: East Asia & Pacific | Military & Defense

It has become the mantra of this administration that a good crisis is a terrible thing to waste. It was first spoken by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and echoed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. North Korea’s imminent launch of a “satellite” may be just such a crisis.

We put “satellite” in quotes because we sincerely doubt Pyongyang is interested in the peaceful exploration of space. Why does a nation that starves millions of its citizens need a communications satellite in a land without cell phones?

A map provided by North Korea and showing "danger areas" for rocket launches was displayed Friday at the Foreign Ministry office in Seoul.

A map provided by North Korea and showing “danger areas” for rocket launches was displayed Friday at the Foreign Ministry office in Seoul.

Yes, it could be a symbol of prestige. But more importantly, as with Iran’s first indigenous satellite, Omid (Hope), it’s a sign of the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere on this planet. North Korea is a nuclear power. Iran soon will be.

Japan has been keenly aware of the North Korean missile threat at least since North Korea test-fired a Taepodong ICBM, which flew over the Japanese home islands in 1998. Without any warning. In July 2006, North Korea launched a volley of seven North Korean Scuds and Nodongs into the Sea of Japan.

Japan has since been an active partner in our development of missile defenses and has a number of Aegis destroyers equipped with the U.S.-designed Standard Missile-3 antimissile system like the one that recently — and successfully — shot down a dying spy satellite as it fell to earth.

Japan jointly produces the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) antimissile missiles and has deployed them at bases around Tokyo. One of our early-warning phased array radar sites is located at a Japanese Self Defense Force base in the northern Japanese city of Tsugaru to warn of North Korean missile launches.

On Friday, Japan announced that it reserved the right to destroy any threatening missile in midflight, including the North Korean launch scheduled between April 4 and April 8. The missile boosters are expected to fall an uncomfortable 75 miles from Japan’s northwest coast.

“Under our law, we can intercept any object if it is falling towards Japan, including any attacks on Japan, for our security,” Takeo Kawamura, the chief cabinet secretary, told reporters.

Thanks to the vision of President Reagan, who launched the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983, and the follow-through of President George W. Bush, who withdrew us from the nonsensical ABM treaty, President Obama has the option to shoot down any such launch.

Gen. Trey Obering III, former Missile Defense Agency chief, has said that after dozens of successful missile intercepts, “Our testing has shown not only can we hit a bullet with a bullet, we can hit a spot on a bullet with a bullet.”

“If a missile leaves the launch pad, we’ll be prepared to respond upon the direction of the president,” Adm. Timothy Keating, head of the U.S. Pacific Commands, told ABC News on Feb. 26. “It’s a fairly stern test early of President Obama and his administration,” he also noted.

President Obama has said he would not invest more money in “unproven” missile defense. He has also expressed a willingness to trade away missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic aimed at Iranian Shahab and Safir missiles.

This would be a perfect time to put our missile defenses to the ultimate test and at the same time send a message to nuclear-armed thugs that if they shoot, we’ll shoot back. After all, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.


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