Writes Barely A Blog’s resident physicist Myron Pauli:
Missile defense like the Israelis had against the HAMAS missiles “worked” because:
1. The missiles were poorly guided – hence only a limited number required defense.
2. The missile attack was not near-simultaneous – hence the system was not overwhelmed.
3. The missiles did not have nukes – hence they either fell harmlessly or one or two
hit a home or building with limited damage.
However, 34 years after Reagan’s “Star Wars” speech of March 23, 1983 and half a trillion dollars, we are still as vulnerable to massive damage in a nuclear war.
The other reality is that one cannot decouple “defense” from “offense” in that the US may be more likely to be offensively “reckless” if we think (real or delusion) that we are “invulnerable.”
As to THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence): The Department of Defense contractors believe in them, but then they are just tested in DoD controlled scenarios. Still, China and North Korea think they are aggressive and this might get them to be more on a “hair trigger” to launch if they think the US is going to start a war. It is always a messy “calculus” of mass destruction.
The history of America’s “Hitler of the year” villains like Saddam, Qaddafi, Assad, and now Kim Jong Un is that the US seems incapable of learning from its mistakes. Kim Jong Un learned to never give up nuclear weapons – they are his lifeline. Even if he fired three at Seoul and three at Tokyo and only one got to hit both cities – that is enough of a threat to scare the shit out of everyone. With nukes, it doesn’t matter if you can stop “most” or if a few still get through!
Dr. Myron Pauli received his Ph.D. from Cambridge MA (MIT), in 1981, and has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.