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The Senate rejected today, 57-42, an amendment, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), to the 2005 Defense Authorization bill that would have allowed deployment of the President's proposed missile defense system only after the mission related capabilities have been confirmed by realistic operational testing.  Republican Olympia Snowe (ME) joined Democrats in voting for the amendment.  Democrats Bayh (IN), Clinton (NY), Landreiu (LA), Lieberman (CT), Miller (GA), Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE).  Not voting was John Kerry (D-MA).

Shortly afterward, the Senate approved, 55-44, an amendment by Armed Services committee Chair John Warner (R-VA) to an amendment offered by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).  The Warner amendment would "require the Secretary of Defense to prescribe and apply criteria for operationally realistic testing of fieldable prototypes developed under the ballistic missile defense spiral development program."  Warner effectively undemined Reed's efforts to put testing under the supervision of Thomas Christie, Pentagon chief weapons tester.  Clinton, Lieberman and Nelson (FL) changed course and voted against the Warner amendment.  Here's the roll call.

The Warner amendment is window dressing.  What happened today is simple: the Senate voted today to deploy a missile defense system that has never been tested.  In a Senate hearing in March, the Pentagon's own Thomas Christie said it was uncertain whether the system would work against a North Korean missile threat.  I have no idea how these people can claim they are "strong on defense."

Follow this and other key votes: notsoforeignpolicy.

Originally posted to tyroneslothrop on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 12:15 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's been a joke from the beginning... (none)
    It's like if someone takes a shot at you with a gun, theoretically there's a .00000001% chance you could shoot the bullet out of the air with one of your own.  So, in effect, by deploying this missile shield we're ready to take shots.  Unfortunately it will be completely ineffective.  Even if we got the damn thing to work by wasting billions, it will be incredibly easy for enemies to modify their warheads so they counteract the system.  

    The truth is there's no way we'd ever get this expensive piece of shit to ever do anything except waste money.  We'd still lose in a nuclear exchange, along with the other guy and most of the rest of the world.  

    In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

    by Asak on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 03:21:10 AM PDT

  •  Mid range hit to kill (none)
    missle defense, the system being deployed, is even worse than "untested". At the current stage of technology it is physically impossible to overcome the known defensive array. In mid range flight the warhead is in a vacuum at constant velocity. At a distance, sensors can measure its size, shape, reflectivity, temperature, magnetic field, all of which can be duplicated in balloons packed in the pay load. Until we have developed a sensor that measures momentum, we can't differentiate the warhead. That's why they haven't tested it. Several scientists associated with the program have reported on this to no avail. Secondary school science education strikes again.  

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 04:59:10 AM PDT

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