Austin Bay
"Who is it in the press who calls on me?" Julius Caesar asks in Act I of Shakespeare's play.

"Beware the Ides of March," the prophetic Roman soothsayer wails. The dismissive dictator replies, "He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass."

Aye, bitter irony. On March 15, the Ides of March, 44 B.C., assassins murdered Caesar.

In 2013, the Ides of March fell on a Friday. In Washington, D.C., 21st century America's version of a gaudy Roman circus, Friday is the day for dumping on our mute national press corps those large and inconvenient truths that embarrass the Obama administration.

Make haste, loyal White House press corps! Assassinate this story, and let the dark soil of weekend celebrity chatter and sensationalism bury its foul corpse. To quote our former secretary of state, Lady Macbeth, "Out damn Benghazi spot."

On Friday, the Ides of March, 2013, recently confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel quietly announced that the Obama administration would deploy an additional 14 Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) long-range anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs). GBIs are the "long arrow" in the prophetic U.S. Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) very limited ABM system.

The system is designed to deter and, if necessary, intercept a 21st century form of political agitation, economic extortion and en masse assassination: a rogue power, such as Iran or North Korea, acquiring nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and then on some truly terrible day launching a nuclear attack.

With a few noticeable exceptions (e.g., the Wall Street Journal), Hagel's jaw-dropping turnabout announcement drew a press shrug, then got buried -- interred with Caesar's bones.

President Obama, however, couldn't man up and pull the switcheroo himself. Nope, the superficially Republican Hagel delivered the decision, which vindicates the bete noir of American leftists, Ronald Reagan. It also vindicates the B-Team analysis of North Korea's 1998 missile test.

The Obama administration decision reverses three decades of left-wing Democratic Party opposition to missile defense. According to these peacenik scoffers, missile defense wasn't just a dream, it was a delusion. The decision radically deflates (though does not erase the memory) of the peaceniks ugly, partisan ad hominem assaults on missile defense soothsayers.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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