Monday, July 03, 2006



UPDATE : North Korea test fire some five missiles, one of which disintegrated soon after launch. There is ongoing debate about whether any of the missiles had the range to reach Japan or the United States. These are the first publicly acknowledged missile tests by North Korean since 1998.

Americans in general are more worried about the percieved threat from North Korea than they are about Iran. Which is why stories like this get such a good run in the US media. They love to hate to have an enemy to despise, and fear.

North Korea issuing ultimatums and counter-threats is nothing new, and the fear-mongering surounding a supposed missile launch by NK almost two weeks ago has faded, now seeming little more than a hoax, and sabre-rattling, by both sides.

Another day, another fresh and more vivid alarm-raiser from North Korea, this time with added nuclear destruction, as Reuters reports :
North Korea ratcheted up the rhetoric in its war of words with Washington by promising an "annihilating strike" with its nuclear deterrent should the United States launch an attack, its media said on Monday.

"The army and people of the DPRK are now in full preparedness to answer a pre-emptive attack with a relentless annihilating strike and a nuclear war with a mighty nuclear deterrent," its communist party newspaper said on Monday.

North Korea said in February 2005 it possessed nuclear weapons. It has threatened to build up its nuclear arsenal several times since then in response to what it perceived as increased U.S. threats.

Time Magazine is asking whether the mega-hyped US Missile Defence Shield would actually be any good at all against a launch of nukes from North Korea aimed at the US, or US territory.

Regardless of its effectiveness thus far, the 'Star Wars' program has been an absolute mega-money-mine for US and international defence contractors :
Since President Reagan launched the latest generation of U.S. missile defenses in 1983, envisioning an impregnable missile shield over the U.S., the nation has spent $91 billion (with $58 billion more slated to be spent over the next six years) to protect the country from missile attack.
the technological challenge of building a missile shield has turned out to far more daunting than originally thought. In a series of scripted $100 million tests, 155-pound interceptors have destroyed dummy warheads in just five out of 10 tries between 1999 and 2005. The two most recent tests failed when the boosters designed to lob the interceptors into space failed to launch.
However, it wouldn't be the first time the US has held public demonstrations of new defence systems which have spectacularly failed. when the opposite might actually be closer to the truth.

Such a monstrous failure of the MDS might have as much to do with psychological warfare (in a reverse of the overstated strength illusion) than it does with a system that simply doesn't work.

In the stunningly complicated methods of milking more defence dollars out of the US Congress, sometimes a failure in the face of a threat can be the only way to guarantee getting more money. If the system works beautifully, then the future funding of the same program is likely to be cut down to maintenance only money. But a system with bugs, that is close but not quite perfect, is just the thing to keep a defence budget ticking over, and increasing year on year.

But that's just my opinion....

The threat from North Korea, and a possible missile test aimed at US territory (most likely in Alaska) was taken seriously enough by the US Military, over the weekend, to cause a rise in alert-readiness levels on at least four major US bases.