Condi Rice – desperately seeking a diplomatic
victory of some sort – has capitulated
to Poland’s "key demand" that in return for allowing the siting in
Poland of ten interceptors of our Ground-based Midcourse Ballistic Missile Defense
we will give Poland at least one battery of our Patriot
ballistic missile terminal defense systems.
Of course, since Poland is now a member of NATO, there is no reason for our
refusing to sell a PAC-3 battery to them. After all, we have sold PAC-3 batteries
to NATO-member Turkey, as well as to non-member Kuwait.
But give it to them? Who does Condi think the Poles are; the Israelis?
And why was getting the free PAC-3 batteries a "key demand" for the
Well, first let’s see why getting ten GMD interceptors sited in Poland was
so important to Condi and to the Cheney Cabal.
The ten ground-based interceptors (GBI) in Poland will be about 4,500 miles
– as the ICBM flies – from Washington, DC, home of The Best Congress Money Can
Another ten GBIs of our GMD system are already sited at Ft. Greely, Alaska,
which is about 3300 miles – as the ICBM flies – from Washington, DC, home of
The Best Congress Money Can Buy.
Why are our GMD interceptors so far away from the presumptive targets of Russian
and Chinese nuke-tipped ICBM reentry vehicles? Because they are intended to
intercept those Russian/Chinese nuke-carrying reentry vehicles while they are
high in their ballistic trajectories, far outside the earth’s atmosphere.
Until Bill Clinton came to power and staffed his administration with the anti-nuclear-everything
crowd, our exo-atmospheric interceptors were nuke-tipped, also. (The Russian
exo-atmospheric interceptors probably still are.) But Clinton decided we would
forego the development and deployment of enhanced-radiation nuke-tipped interceptors,
and Bush the Younger has essentially gone along with the Clinton no-nuke ABM
Hence, the GBIs of our GMD system employ heat-seeking Kinetic Kill Vehicles.
With such a system there is literally no margin for error. We either hit the
Russian/Chinese pointy-shaped nuke-carrying re-entry vehicles – which are stone
cold when exo-atmospheric – with our heat-seeking bullets or we don’t.
And, of this writing, we have never even tried to hit an exo-atmospheric stone-cold
RV with our heat-seeking bullet. We’re having enough trouble hitting artificially
So, don’t you feel better already about Condi’s famous diplomatic triumph?
Of course, the Russians are not going to waste an ICBM on Poland. Why should
they? The ten GBIs of our GMD system the Poles are allowing to be sited in Poland
are less than 150 miles distant from Russia, proper. (And less than that from
enclave, separated from Russia, proper, by Poland and Lithuania, both now
So, why was Poland’s "key demand" that we give them PAC-3 batteries?
Well, during the Iran-Iraq war, each side launched 300 to 400 Soviet-made Scuds
at each other's cities. And, during the first Gulf War, the Iraqis launched
another hundred Soviet-made Scuds against Israeli cities and against U.S. staging
and support areas in Saudi Arabia.
All the Scuds contained conventional high-explosive warheads.
The Scud is a liquid-fueled single-stage ballistic missile that can be somewhat
mobile. The warhead remains attached to the missile throughout flight, which
frequently results in the missile ‘tumbling’ upon re-entry and breaking apart.
It is extremely inaccurate, its trajectory essentially resulting from the point
in the trajectory at which the liquid-fueled rocket motor is shut off.
After the Gulf War, we instituted a cooperative terminal ABM program with the
Israelis. In the process of helping the Israelis develop their Arrow system,
we also considerably advanced our Patriot's capabilities – especially the performance
of the interceptor. Hence the designation PAC-3.
The PA-3 may – or may not – be effective against Scuds.
But the Russians have since developed and widely deployed a second-generation
Scud replacement, the SS-26
"Iskander" tactical ballistic missile.
The Iskanders deployed in the Russian Army are extremely
mobile, mounting two missiles per launcher vehicle. Solid-fueled, with a
range of 400 Km (250 miles), capable of adjusting its depressed trajectory in
flight from the ballistic, equipped with a GPS homing system as well as optical/infrared
The Russians claim it has "pinpoint accuracy."
The Iskanders deployed in the Russian Army reportedly have 480 Kg (1058 pounds)
non-nuclear warheads (some reportedly having 54 "elements" or "bomblets")
but is clearly what the neo-crazies would call "nuclear capable."
The Iskander-E – developed for export in consonance with Military
Critical Technologies List limitations – has a somewhat lesser (175 miles)
range and lighter warhead, but is still what the neo-crazies would call "nuclear
There has been speculation
that the recently tested Iranian "stealth" missile – which is allegedly
launched like a ballistic missile, but then depresses its trajectory in order
to approach the target like a supersonic cruise missile – is, in fact, the Iskander-E.
Of course, unless you believe in the Tooth Fairy, there is no possibility that
the Iranians will be able to arm their Iskander-E tactical ballistic missiles
or their Chinese-supplied supersonic sea-skimming cruise missiles with nuclear-fission
warheads. The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency – who have
effectively had unrestricted access to Iran for almost five years now – continue
to report that they can find no evidence that Iran now has or ever had a nuclear-fission
Nor have they run into the Tooth Fairy.
But if its true that the Iranians have all those Russian and Chinese supersonic
ground/sea skimming missiles that the Army’s PAC-3 systems in Kuwait and the
Navy’s Aegis terminal defense systems on the Persian Gulf can’t handle, maybe
someone able should tell John McCain to stop humming "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb,
And if President McCain was thinking of giving Georgia a few PAC-3 batteries
so they could "reclaim" their "lost" provinces from the
Russians, maybe he (and the Poles, who might be thinking of "reclaiming"
the Kaliningrad enclave) should see a demonstration of the Russian SS-26 Iskander.
Vladimir Putin would probably be only too happy to arrange it.