Diplomacy Failed in Iran: Fund Missile Defense

George Landrith
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Posted: Dec 04, 2014 9:27 AM
Diplomacy Failed in Iran: Fund Missile Defense

The US and several other nations have been in “talks” in hopes of negotiating with Iran to stop its nuclear program in exchange for lifting the UN sanctions. But those negotiations have gone no-where. On Monday, the deadline came and went without an agreement.

Extending the deadline to permit more “talks” will not likely protect a single person. It just gives Iran more time to develop a bomb. Why would Iran agree to limit itself when obtaining the bomb will allow it to threaten its way out of sanctions? Even if Iran were to agree to something, there is virtually no chance that the Mullahcracy will keep its promise when they are so close to obtaining the bomb they clearly covet.

Hopefully Congress is paying attention. During the lame duck session, both the House and the Senate need to quickly fund Patriot modernization. This would send a powerful message to the dictators who rule Iran. It would also send a powerful message to our allies — four of whom in the Middle East use the Patriot system and share in its costs. But even more important than sending messages, the Patriot system has a proven track record of protecting against rogue missiles. This is a powerful response to Iran’s maniacal drive to obtain the bomb.

While the world talks and negotiates over Iran’s nuclear program, they continue to race towards a nuclear capability and continue to develop missiles that threaten our allies and troops in the Middle East.

If Congress funds Patriot modernization, it would be taking concrete steps to counter Iran and at the same time make sure a proven system is modernized and upgraded to continue its strong record of defense and preventing missile attacks.

The Patriot Missile is highly mobile and can be used to protect our soldiers as well as civilians from enemy missile fire. So it can be brought in wherever the risks become hot. The public first saw the Patriot in action years ago when it was used to shoot SCUD missiles out of the sky during the first Gulf War. The system has been upgraded over the years and has proven very capable in protecting defined areas from missile attack. Military planners have asked for a new round of upgrades to Patriot to keep it ahead of the curve in fighting new and developing threats. This is why Congress needs to act quickly.

The Patriot missile is used by four of our allies in the Middle East — the very people who will be most proximately threatened by Iran’s nuclear program and its missile program. Seven other allies around the globe also use the Patriot system. These allies are watching to see if we will continue to invest in upgrading the Patriot system for the next generation of threats. If we invest, they will too and thus share in the costs. This means that we don’ have to pay the full bill for its continued development and upgrades. We will have 11 partners.

Iran’s progress towards not only a nuclear bomb, but also an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that can deliver this weapon, illustrate the growing threats to the American homeland. That is why we must make an investment in Ground-based Midcourse defense, the only system currently in place to defend the American homeland from a missile attack.

There was a time when we were told that relations with Russia had been reset. Now we are confronted with a diametrically opposed reality. Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a massive nuclear moderation program and successfully tested a new ICBM. Putin has even threatened nuclear retaliation. Being more flexible with Putin has profited us nothing.

North Korea has developed nuclear-capable ballistic missiles with a range of up to 6,200 miles. That means they can strike Alaska, Hawaii and parts of the western United States. China is engaged in a huge military build up and is developing submarines and high tech missiles so that it can increase its footprint and power globally.

In the next five years, the Missile Defense Agency estimates that the number of hostile missiles will increase from 6,300 currently to more than 8,000. And it won’t simply be more missiles. These missiles will be better and more capable — going farther, faster, more accurately, and carrying larger payloads, and having more evasive properties. This is why we must continue to develop and deploy a robust, multilayered missile defense system — one that also includes GMD.

The world is becoming more dangerous and we face greater risks. We can either ignore them and later pay a terrible price. Or we can prepare and prevent the realization of those awful and costly risks. We simply cannot afford to slow walk our preparations for these risks. Thus, Congress must immediately fund Patriot modernization and properly fund other missile defense programs that provide a secure layered defense against missile attack.