This THAAD intercept is good news. Was talking to a friend who follows missile defense closely about it just now. He recalls that THAAD suffered something like seven straight failures back in the 1990s. Clinton defense official John Hamre was going around Capitol Hill telling people the program was going to be cancelled. A bunch of Republican senators pushed back and the program stayed alive, achieving its first intercept in June 1999. It’s been onwards and upwards from there as the interceptor has gotten smaller, more reproducible, and more technologically sophisticated. Impressively, THAAD can operate both inside and outside the atmosphere. It’s a great example of American technical ingenuity at work, and shows the kinks in these systems can be worked out. Congrats to all involved.
A reader sends this:
From the liberals on The McLaughlin Group a few weeks ago:
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think that if the North Koreans go through and they do send off this rocket, that the United States should send out a counter-rocket to shoot it down —
MR. O’DONNELL: No, because we will then show ours don’t work.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. O’DONNELL: That would be a very big mistake.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, it would also —
MR. O’DONNELL: We’ve never had one of those things work in a test that wasn’t rigged.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It could also work, and that would be a bad —
MR. O’DONNELL: There’s no chance of it working.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: — (bet?) for North Korea.
MR. O’DONNELL: No chance of it working. Our anti-missile defense thing does not work.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you know that?
MR. BLANKLEY: This is if —
MR. O’DONNELL: Because every single test has failed except the ones that were rigged, and then we find out later that they were more rigged than we thought they were.
MR. BLANKLEY: This is the judgment of our rocket scientist on this panel.