February 07, 2007 by barbara

by barbara

CNN just posted a piece that I assume was spoon-fed by the Bush administration. The headline blares: Unarmed ICBM blasts through 105-ton door in test. This little adventure even has a name. Put up your puke shields. It's called Glory Trip-193. God help us. If we can't have a real president, could we at least have a new and improved person-who-names-wars-and-military-might-tests? Read on.

Here are the bullets (so to speak) from the saber-rattling CNN piece:

-- In previous launches, tests performed with concrete door open to cut costs
-- Test was first flight using only global positioning satellites for navigation
-- Minuteman 3 dummy warhead travels 4,200 miles in about 20 minutes
-- It's aimed at target in Kwajalein Atoll in Pacific's Marshall Islands

The fact that there are bullets is amusing in and of itself, since the entire piece is just 200 words long.

In the brief time since the CNN piece showed up, Google News shows 45 additional stories elsewhere. Good news travels fast. But not as fast as an ICBM

Lest the subtlety of all this be lost on all of us, please accept my humble attempt to read between the bullets above:

-- Human flesh is no match for this behemoth. We can reduce a vast area to blood-stained ruin in a nanosecond. Be very afraid.
-- GPS makes us not only an immensely dangerous weapon wielder but one with great accuracy. You can run but you can't hide.
-- These suckers can travel roughly 1,200 miles an hour. Don't mess with us. We can you and we can get you fast.
-- We're just putzing right now with targets in the Marshall Islands, but we can go anyplace. And we will. Even, say, oh, Iran, for instance. Not that we're planning that, mind you.

The deal about the closed door/open door decision? The Santa Maria Times explains the decision to revert to closed-door mode (do not be laughing about that irony) this way:

"What we found over time were two things," Davis said. "Number one, the environmental protection of the launcher was not as good as we would have liked it to be."

To protect the weapon and keep it dry leading up to open-door tests, a temporary plastic cover was crafted. But that shelter leaked before launch during a March downpour and contaminated a test missile in 2005.

"The other issue we found is the launcher enclosure door also has impacts on the accuracy of the missile, so one of the reasons we're returning to closed-door launches is because our accuracy data is more operationally representative of the deployed force," Davis said. "That's our key mantra here - to make sure we're testing it as close as possible to our deployed force to make sure we get accurate data."

Rattle those sabers, boys. And a little PR tip? You might want to keep the Saran-wrap thing to yourselves next time.

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