Organizing to Stop U.S. 'Missile Defense' Deployments
Last night I participated in a conference call with 18 other activists from South Korea, Japan, and across the US. We were talking about the swirling controversy in South Korea since the recent announcement by the US that the Pentagon will deploy the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) 'missile defense' (MD) system in the center of their country.
I was asked to give some background on the provocative US MD program that is now being deployed by the US military surrounding Russia and China.
Under the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty that the US had with Russia these destabilizing MD systems were not allowed. When George W. Bush became president he withdrew from the treaty and the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency has been on steroids ever since.
Theodore Postol, ex-US Chief of Naval Operations science advisor and emeritus professor of science, technology and security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says the following about these systems:
- The THAAD system was designed from its beginning to provide cuing information to the US national missile defense program.
- Would track information on Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) prior to their ascending over the curved earth-horizon before being picked up by US national missile defense radars in Alaska.
- The THAAD is incapable of accomplishing its professed objective of intercepting North Korean missiles targeted at South Korea because those missiles would not reach the higher altitude that THAAD is designed to protect. South Korean targets are too close to the north and the incoming missiles would not reach high enough for THAAD to intercept them.
- THAAD will increase tensions between China and Japan. Japan already has two THAAD radars and a THAAD battery is deployed in Guam. THAAD in South Korea could also help track Russian missiles.
THAAD’s electro-magnetic radar (which poses worrisome health consequences for the local populations) can identify even a baseball that is within in 1-2,000 km, which means that it reaches from the west sea of Korea all the way to China which is within 1,000 km from South Korea. In other words, China will be within the THAAD’s radar field. This is why Russia and China strongly oppose THAAD and have stated that military counter-measures will be necessary. THAAD increases the threat of war in Northeast Asia.
Cost: A single battery costs over $1 billion. A THAAD Battery consists of six truck-mounted launchers, 48 interceptors (8 per launcher), a THAAD Fire Control and Communications unit, and one radar (the world's most advanced mobile radar).
Early tomorrow morning Mary Beth and I drive to Toronto, Canada for a conference of Canadian, US, and Mexican Peace Council members. I've been asked to speak about these issues and to talk more about Keep Space for Peace Week (October 1-8). Our theme this year is Chokehold on Russia and China: Why is the US provoking global war? You can see our space week poster and flyer here
Russia and China have been warning the world for several years that US deployments of MD systems will make it impossible for them to participate in any serious negotiations to get rid of nuclear weapons. Because MD systems are key elements in Pentagon first-strike attack planning (they could pick off Russian or Chinese nuclear retaliatory launches after a US first-strike) neither of the two nations can afford to reduce their nuclear retaliatory capability.
Russia, China, and North Korea have all declared they would never launch a first-strike attack. The US refuses to make a similar pledge.
In addition to THAAD the Pentagon is presently deploying several other MD systems - the Ground-based Mid-Course system in Alaska, California, and likely soon at a site in either Ohio, Michigan, or New York. Also now being deployed near Russian and Chinese borders are the PAC-3 (Patriot third generation) MD systems and on Navy Aegis destroyers are the SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) interceptors that have shown the best testing results.
All together the Pentagon is developing a multi-layered MD program that raises the stakes for Russia and China.
After witnessing the 2003 US 'shock and awe' first-strike attack against Iraq, other nations now must consider that they too could be attacked by the Pentagon which claims that it must establish "full spectrum dominance" around the world on behalf of corporate globalization.