Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Good Decision, Sir

About a year ago in this space I made what I thought was one of those self-evident statements. "Presidents are elected to make good decisions." And not long ago, I demurred from judging any of President Obama's decisions based on the theory that we can't know if a decision is good or bad immediately, and maybe not for a long time after.
But I feel that at least one decision in the news last week will pay off for our country in the long run - the decision to cut down and simplify the anti-missile system promised by Bush 43 to The Czech Republic and Poland.
Of course, that's not the way it was announced. The President kept the initial declared reason to install such a system - stopping missile strikes from Iran. It's still a threat, he said in so many words, and so a better, sea-based system would be employed to keep the Czechs and Poles safe.
But of course that wasn't the real reason behind the original system, which was (now don't say this too loudly) stopping a RUSSIAN attack, nor the real REAL reason - financial reward for military contractors who aided the GOP cause and could NOW stand to add billions to their collective bottom lines. Let's complicate this even more. No nation on earth now has such a system, because they have not been shown to work. Ever. And since there is nothing mechanical in the way of Russia launching such an attack even TODAY, it means this: We generously offered a non-working system to solve a non-existent problem to two countries which didn't really want it anyway. And even if such a system worked perfectly, all an aggressor would have to do to overwhelm it would be to simply send more missiles than the defense had missiles to use to STOP the aggressor. That, I admit, is a complicated paragraph. You are free to read it again, or else my college freshman English is finally paying off.
Here's how the decision works for us. We recognize that Iran has neither weapons NOR missiles, and the world sees us notice and approves because it means we have taken a tiny step back from insanity. The Russians feel much less confronted, which is a good thing. The rest of the NATO nations can't now complain that they want an anti-missile system tooooo. And even we can now see plainly that it's impossible to stop EVERY contingency out there, no matter how many gazillions you are willing to spend. Sick or future sick Americans can also rejoice because the pie-in-the-sky promised by Bush to two long-suffering but middling nations won't be used as an excuse to leave people to die without treatment.
For what it's worth, Brent Scowcroft, Bush 41's adviser in such matters and no Democrat, feels the same way about this decision. Good decision, Sir.


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