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Commentary on News Conference on Missile Defense at the Pentagon

September 17, 2009
Commentary on News Conference on Missile Defense from Pentagon
by Arn Specter, Phila. (Twitter)

The following LINK is to today's News Conference
at the Pentagon on the Missile Defense Program, after the decision
by President Obama to abandon the Gates/Bush Plan for a
Missile Defense System in Eastern Europe (Poland and Czech
Speakers are Robert Gates, Defense Secretary (under Bush and Obama)
and Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
C-SPAN3, 46 min.
Gates Briefing at Pentagon
Alternate link: Gates Briefing at Pentagon

The briefing to reporters at the Pentagon covers the reasons

for the President's decision and lays out extensive plans to vastly

broaden the Missile Defense Program. The New Approach will

include a more flexible detection and interceptor system to more

easily shoot down an incoming missile(s) attack, along with better

technology developed now and to be developed in the future.

Also the focus leave off long-range missile defense, as current

intelligence suggests Iran does not or will not have long-range

capability. A new focus will be on short to medium range missiles

to counter any threat against the U.S. or it's allies in the European

and Middle East region.

Also, these developments portend to be the beginning of the vast development of a world-wide network of radar and interceptor units

and systems, deployed in many countries at a cost of many billions

of dollars to the American taxpayer, and vastly increasing the already largest and costliest military budget in U.S. history - and in the history

of the world for that matter.

These systems could be planned and developed for decades at a cost of trillions of dollars, long=range contracts for the defense industry contractors and the much feared 'military industrial complex', which General and President Dwight David Eisenhower warned us against

many years ago. Unfortunately we have heeded that warning as the U.S.

has become the world's largest arms dealer and user of military arms,

equipment, and supplies involved in wars all over the world for decades.

The news conference is very instructive, giving us an inside view of

the mindset of our military leaders as they see defense and war making as solutions to conflict; rather than diplomacy, negotiations and agreements.

It's fight first and talk later. Unfortunately after 8 years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan the U.S., and NATO (with troops from 42 countries)

the wars continue on and the talks are yet taking place.

The chance for peacemaking is being shut-out by a continuing mentality

that more war, more troops, more money spent, more time in the 'war theater' will win the day eventually.

These 8 years of trial and tribulation for thousands of American families and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan and now Pakistanian families have caused irremediable hardships and unrepairable damages to millions of men, women and children whose lives will never be the same

or healthy again. Nor will their damaged cities or countries.

We need to stand up for reductions in military spending rather than expanding the budgets; disarming our military arsenals (including nuclear

weapons reductions and non-proliferations); protesting a 'first strike' mindset desired by Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, head of the Missile Defense Agency and the desire for a new and more powerful replacement nuclear warhead as promoted by Defense Secretary, Robert Gates; a pullback

on the over 700 military bases we have worldwide; stopping military recruitment in the schools and the new military 'stores' in the malls drawing in our young people to play war games and see war as adventurous as well as patriotic, an enticement to join the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines; see the world and fight the good fight for our country wherever one is sent to do battle...

At the same time we need to press the Administration and State Department

for more efforts in diplomacy in troubled areas (countries) of the world, before wars break out and while our troops are engaged in fighting.

Today we hear of the need for more troops, equipment and supplies by our Generals and some in Congress. this is from a military mindset. Where is the call for more diplomacy and for negotiations with the enemy? Can we even rightly identify the enemy after 8 years or know where they are actually located?

Why, after 8 long years, haven't we captured Osama bin Laden and the other leaders of al -Queda? Have reporters and news commentators forgotten to even ask the question these days?

This news conference clearly shows us that the military minds want to expand the military capability and presence in the world. If we do not stand up and call for an expansion of diplomatic and peacekeeping efforts soon they will indeed win the day, and the world will become a more dangerous place to live and survive...

Arn Specter, Phila. (Twitter and Op Ed News )


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