[Table of Contents] [Chapter 3]
In the twenty-first century we are going to confront increasingly the threat of ballistic missiles and the need for ballistic-missile defenses.
The threats posed by ballistic missiles are obvious. Many nations now have them, and not all those nations are high- tech. There is also no doubt about the fact that the capabilities of ballistic missiles are increasing. Former CIA Director Woolsey, for example, noted that North Korea has developed three new ballistic missiles.
But our real problem is not so much the threat itself, but a lack of understanding about what is the threat. The military missed the whole point in Desert Storm. We used to look upon ballistic missiles in terms of warhead size and accuracy circular error probability and the likeand calculate the warheads impact on the enemy, but we missed the real impact of the ballistic missile.
Part of the reason for this misunderstanding is simply our heritage. All of us here today have lived the majority of our adult lives during the cold war, which caused us to look at things in strategic terms; that is, in the context of US/Soviet relations. We still argue, for example, about the futility of having ballistic missile defenses because its bad to defend against mutual assured destruction. But many of our views on ballistic missiles, couched in the obsolete terms of the cold war bipolar world, are not appreciated by much of the world today. That is particularly true of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Israel.
There is also a history we can refer to regarding the use of ballistic missiles, and I was puzzled during Desert Storm that we didnt seem to be aware of that history. Ballistic missiles were used against Rotterdam and London in World War II. After the Gulf War, I was watching a story about our stealth fighter, the F-117. The person largely responsible for the stealth technology on the F-117 is an Englishman who had grown up in London during WWII. He said, I recall the terrorizing impact of the V-2 attacks. They were far more fearsome than bomber attacks. So the lesson was there that ballistic missiles can have a large psychological impact as well as a military impact on a war, but we had failed to learn that lesson. The ballistic missile had a profound impact on the coalition nations in Desert Storm, on our forces, and on our understanding of the ballistic missiles own utility. The ballistic missile was the only advantage that Saddam Hussein had in that war. Thats the lesson that Saddam taught us, that ballistic missiles may have little military value but do have great terror potential.
Ballistic missiles and ballistic-missile defense carry heavy political implications. For example, if we have no money to spend on conventional defense, we tell our people that it doesnt matter, because we have ballistic missiles, and that since defenses against missiles are destabilizing, it is not even in our best interests to spend money on a defense against them.
But in reality ballistic missiles are with us, and the capability for launching them is growing. Technology transfers, a technology revolution occurring every 18 months to two years, as well as legitimate space launches, are things we need to be concerned about in this regard. In todays world there is no reason why any nation cant put a communications satellite into space. That same capability for launching satellites can be transformed, with proper guidance, into a ballistic missile of intercontinental range. Other technologies enhance this delivery capability, such as our Global Positioning System (GPS), which gives nations the ability to target with some degree of accuracy without having to go through the same costly and intense development that we had to go through to get that system operational. There are also many nations that are willing to use ballistic missiles. Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan are all examples. Weve seen testing on the part of Vietnam, Korea, and Syria, and they are seen as necessary for defense by countries such as Saudi Arabia and Israel. Certainly, there are opportunities we can foresee for countries such as Libya and North Korea to use ballistic missiles; and they are the cornerstone of defense for the United States and Russia, and also for countries such as India and Pakistan.
The world has changed, and the capability exists for many countries to use ballistic missiles. If you put these facts together with other big shifts, such as the decline in nation- state status, and new stresses such as international migration and environmental degradation, we must understand that the world is changing. Certainly there are new strategies being pursued. There is no doubt, for example, that many states are pursuing a strategy of acquiring weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. This is the war that is replacing the cold war.
So let me turn to Desert Storm because it illustrated this revolution in warfare. First, look at this example. At a Camp David meeting in September 1990, before the Gulf War began, President Bush asked: How do we avoid casualties? At first, I thought he was referring to US casualties, and then I thought he meant casualties of all the possible allies, but as he continued to speak I realized he was talking about the Iraqis. He was asking how we could conduct this military operation with minimum casualties on both sides. That is part of new-era warfare.
Theres no doubt that casualties in modern warfareat least from our point of vieware quite unacceptable. If the casualty count is too high, you can win the war on the battlefield yet lose it at home because you inflicted large numbers of casualties on the enemy or if they inflicted large numbers of casualties on you. Both are unpopular with the US public.
How did we carry out ballistic missile defense (BMD) in Desert Storm? The answer is, we were ill-prepared, though we did prepare to some extent. In 1988 in an exercise under Gen George Crist (commander-in-chief of Central Command), Army Brig Gen Jim Ellis was given free play as a Red Force commander. He was supposed to challenge us. The scenario was that the Russians attacked through Iran and we had to defend. What Jim Ellis did was to keep firing ballistic missiles into my area. Every time Id mass my force, he would send a couple of ballistic missiles at us. Its a war game, but Ill tell you, pretty soon you get a little tired because you want to be a hero in front of your boss, and this brigadier general was not cooperating at all. But he did us a great service by making us aware of the military utility of these weapons.
In another exercise in July, 1990, the scenario was that Country Orange was going to attack Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from the north, and we knew Country Orange probably had ballistic missiles. I said, Were not going to be unprepared again. So I went down to see Lt Gen John Yeosock, commander, Third US Army, who was the ground force commander, and I told him that I wanted to use the Patriots to defend against ballistic missiles.
At that time, Patriot was believed to have the capability to intercept ballistic missiles, so I took the Patriot air defense circle and put it on my maps. When we plotted those circles, they just about covered the map. Of course, we learned in Saudi Arabia that the Patriot ballistic missile defense circle looks more like the head of a pin.
We have all heard a lot of very smart people talk about whether the Patriot missiles were or were not a success in Desert Storm. I can only tell you that I had to make a decision about whether or not to move the E-3 AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft out of Scud range. They were positioned at Riyadh Air Base and Saddam was shooting Scuds at them. I had to decide whether to leave them there or move them to Thumrait, which would have put another hour or hour-and-a-half between them and their operational area. I decided to leave them at Riyadh and, because of the Patriot missiles, we didnt lose a single AWACS. That was either a brilliant decision or a very lucky one, I dont know. But I do know that from where I stood, the Patriots worked.
After the initial Scud launchings, we saw the value of the Patriots and of defense against ballistic missiles in general. There can be no doubt about the value of these antiweapon interceptors. Consider that the greatest number of casualties came from one Scud attack on the Dhahran barracks.
This could prove to be a lesson not lost on other nations in terms of the terror caused by ballistic missiles and the political leverage they provide. Suppose Iran, for example, had nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and suppose they decided that they wanted to raise the price of oil, and they tell their neighbors that they are going to deny them and every other nation access to the Red Sea. They say to the Saudis, You know we have these weapons, but were not interested in occupying your country, nor are we interested in crossing into it; we just want to get the price of oil back to where we can make some money. What would be the reaction of the Saudis?
And finally, its reasonable to believe that the development and proliferation of ballistic missiles in the hands of potential adversaries has reached a stage where they can affect such things as the building and maintaining of coalitions. For example, what if we were involved in a situation like Desert Storm, where an ally like Italy, for example, was threatened with such a missile attack? Would other neighboring countries, also within range, dare to ally themselves with Italy or the United States? How difficult would it be to hold together a coalition as diverse as the one we had in Desert Storm if the member nations were threatened with direct missile attack?
Where are we today with respect to ballistic missile defense? We have the defense guidance on theater, national, and technology demonstrations, and we have the ABM Treaty, which is the most significant element at the policy level. The ABM Treaty made sense in a cold war context, but you wonder if it has merit in the new world. So far as our current capability is concerned, warning of long-range missiles is provided by space-based infrared sensors and radars. But we should keep in mind that our radars are configured for the cold war. Although we can change that fact, as of now our infrared systems for theater defense have limited detection capability. They have difficulty with land masses far away from the equator, with weather, and with the smaller infrared signature of missiles like the Scud. The biggest problem with our current radars and space-based sensors, however, is that they do not allow us to target and attack mobile launchers. That was one lesson I brought back from Desert Storm, and it is the one I keep hitting over and over and over.
We have made some progress since then. We have modified the software associated with the Defense Support Program (DSP) signal. We can take two or more satellites and interweave their coverage to improve accuracy and the likelihood of detection. But they still do not offer the degree of certainty that I think is needed and wanted. Other countries have offered us the use of their some of their warning assets. For example, the head of the Ukrainian Air Forces asked me, How would you like to have some of our ballistic-missile radar gear, left over from the cold war? But we looked at its location and decided we were not interested because it really had no potential military benefit. Of course, the Ukrainians are trying to get close to the United States to preclude being overpowered by the Russians. Among those most interested in our ballistic missile warning capabilities, and how they can be shared, are our allies. The long-term program that I think would be most effective in this respect is called ALARM. It gives us the ability to see lower signature missiles and it gives us the ability to see missiles that are coasting, for example. Finally, ALARM gives us responsiveness, in that it will be on a smaller launch vehicle and maybe on other satellites.
We need to be concerned about keeping our warning capabilities effective. For example, a DSP satellite went bad last year, so I said launch the spares. I thought it might take 90 days to do this. It turns out that it takes considerably longer. In some cases, it can take up to two years to replace a warning satellite.
The United States can count on our offensive missiles, but we have to think in depth. Too often the nature of our acquisition system forces us into being too programming oriented. We must think not in terms of the single solution but in a variety of solutions. For instance, we wanted to attack Iraqs missiles where they were built, before they were on the launch pads. That would have been the most productive approach. We have the capability to do that, but we did not do a very good job at finding and destroying Iraqs missiles in Desert Storm because we really had not thought sufficiently about the problems beforehand.
After the war, I asked several questions about the command and control of Iraqs systems, and we found out that we could have done some things to improve our missile defense efficiency. For example, launch orders in Iraq tended to come from a very high level, so there were vulnerabilities that could have been exploited.
In general, we need to consider the three areas of missile defense: boost-phase, midcourse and terminal. We have other capabilities, such as JOINT STARS, GPS, and multitarget detection, but I think most of us want to talk about what happens after missiles are launched.
During the Gulf War, we had the potential for an intercept of a Scud just after launch. An F-16 was over Iraq suppressing Scuds, and the pilot saw a missile coming off the pad. He thought it was a SAM being shot at him, so he made a move away from it. He then realized that there was no radar warning and that the missile was very bright and large for a SAM. When he realized it was a Scud, not a SAM, he attempted to shoot it down with an AIM-9 heat-seeking missile. But the high rate of acceleration of the Scud was too much for the F-16.
Boost-phase is a good time to intercept a missile because its signature is high, its at its slowest speed, its vulnerable, and if you get it then, it falls on the enemya beautiful thing. The problem is having the time to detect and launch on it. The timeline on a boost-phase intercept is very, very tight. Still, there are many options for boost-phase defense. You can get airplanes to cap an attack, as we did during the Gulf War. You can have protection from large airplanes if you want to use an airborne laser, for example. There are also options for putting unmanned airplanes up for long periods of time. We need to work on the boost-phase intercept issue, but right now it has been hampered. We have three boost-phase programs that I know of, all on airplanes: HARM, AMRAAM, and the airborne laser. But I think that the current budget crisis will probably keep these programs from being acquired and deployed. That we have been taking funds from these programs tells us more about our own lack of perception of the seriousness of the threat than it does about the threat itself.
The advantage of a midcourse intercept is that during this period the missile has a good signature because its out there in a sterile, space environment and you have multiple opportunities to shoot at it. Also, if you go to space-based systems for intercept in mid-course, you get wide-area protection; you can cover larger portions of the landmass depending on how many of these interceptor platforms and sensor satellites you want to put in orbit. Of course, the big down-draw on anything in space is the ABM Treaty, and the widely held attitude that we should not have weapons in space.
My answer to that is that the weapon in space is the warhead on a missile. The interceptor is an antiweapon. Therefore I dont have the same philosophical problems. Parenthetically, Im not in favor of weapons in space.
There are still other options for midcourse defense against ballistic missiles. The Navy Upper Tier is one, because it gives you a great deal of flexibility. You can park these ships anywhere. If we deployed this system you could have a national missile defense by stationing them as far away as Hudson Bay. But again, midcourse intercept requires midcourse guidance, and that involves sensors in space which track cold bodies and relay that data to the intercept missile, and that is prohibited by the ABM Treaty.
Finally, we have terminal defense, where most of our work is now done. The most logical elements would be development of an improved Patriot; Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), a ground-based system by the Army; and/or Navy Lower Tier.
However, I worry about this. Will these ground-based systems address the future threat? Too often, when people approve building a theater missile defense, they are talking about building a missile defense against a benign nonthreat, a Scud-like threat. Remember, the Scud wasnt even good enough for Saddam. Even if we deploy one of these systems such as THAADwe still need a cold-body tracker in space. If Im sitting here with my THAAD missile and somebody launches a ballistic missile at me, I still need very definite data as to where that missile is so that I can launch my THAAD before knowing where its aimed. So warning is not enough we need to have accurate information about where the missile is. A cold-body tracker doubles the range of your ground- based or ship-based systems. But again, to deploy that tracker requires ABM Treaty changes.
The technology for building effective ballistic missile defenses is available today. The dollars have been spent, and countries are clamoring for ballistic missile defenses. I believe that we must be concerned about what kind of ballistic-missile defenses were allowed to build. Those concerns have to be voiced, or else we will wind up with a noneffective system against fair-to-reasonable threats. If space systems can give us the capability we need to defend our men and women when they are overseas, let alone defend the United States, then we need to seek that. If that means we need to work with the Russians to change the ABM Treaty, thats what we need to do.
Lets talk about the ABM Treaty. I believe the ABM Treaty is a cold war hang-over. is the cold war over? If you look at the defense budget, the cold war is over. Whats more, Ive had visits from the head of the KGB, and Col General Ivanov, head of Russias rocket forces. Were talking with them about shared exercises; Ive been invited to Moscow. Given all this, I think its reasonable to assume that the cold war is over and, therefore, I think the ABM Treaty has outlived its usefulness.
That does not mean that we and the Russians are not going to have tensions, conflict, disagreements, and competition. But, I think that things have fundamentally changed between our two countries. Yet we still have ballistic missiles pointed at each other. To what end? We are not going to fight each other. So, its now a question of how we walk away from the cold war, not do we walk away from the cold war.
In walking away from the cold war, one area we must investigate is shared ballistic missile defenses with the Russians. That requires building trust with the Russians. Nor is it an easy thing to do since they are still coming from a bipolar world view, and I think that they are genuinely concerned about our ability to outstrip them in technology. They want to be in the drivers seat in determining how we march forward on ballistic missile defenses, and the ABM Treaty gives them the leverage to do that. I ran into this problem with Ivanov. We were at the national test facility, which is an impressive operation, and we were briefed by people from our Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. You could see that General Ivanov, who is a very thoughtful, intelligent, and tough guy, was threatened. He looked as if he were thinking, My God, I didnt know they were this good.
I knew we were going to reach this point, so I had spoken with him all morning about how could we cooperate with him. What we need to do, I said, is work together on this. We need to share these technologies. You have things that we cant match, like heavy-lift access to space. Theres a marriage right thereour technology in ballistic missiles and your access to space to put things in orbit. Theres no reason our two countries cant work together, other than the fact that there are those in both of our capitals who are still very close to the cold war. And he said, What is your problem in achieving this technology? I said, Well, its the budget. We have to fight for these programs before our Congress. When he went to get on the airplane to leave, he turned and said, Good luck with your Congress. In both Washington and Moscow there are people who are still operating in a cold war context. I think the Russians are terrified that we are going to get ahead of them in ballistic missile defenses. So, it is very important that we do things, such as share ballistic-missile warning as an entree, and then become involved in shared ballistic-missile defenses. At that point, the ABM Treaty is moot.
How you build trust with the Russians is a matter of a lot of effort, discussion, and dialogue. But I think to approach it from the cold war standpoint is the wrong tack. I think we must approach it looking at things through their eyes as they look to the south, not over the pole. I have no doubts that the Russians are quite willing to do that, given time.
The biggest problem we have is our own lack of understanding of the threat. Im amazed by that. Many people come to Cheyenne Mountain where we show them the ballistic missile warning systems. Then we ask them, What do you think of our ballistic missile defenses? I would estimate that 60 percent of the people say, They have got to be the finest in the world, and we cant thank you enough. But the truth is we have none.
That is a scary thingthey dont know. The danger here is that if we are threatened by ballistic missiles someday, the American people are going to feel betrayed. So, I think that, while we have no threat for now, we must communicate to the American people that they do not in fact have ballistic missile defenses, and that there is a potential for them at some point in the future to be attacked.
What do we need to do? First, recognize that the world has changed; second, recognize that the cold war is over; and, finally, recognize that we and the Russians have much to gain from getting rid of our nuclear arsenals. Think about this: the nation most threatened by the proliferation of missiles and weapons of mass destruction is Russia. They are surrounded by North Korea, China, Pakistan, India, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and all these states have nuclear weapons or nuclear-weapons programs, and all have ballistic missiles or ballistic-missile programs. Russia needs ballistic missile defenses more than does the United States. Why do we not start the process by sharing warning, and as we build trust, then sharing defenses?
Whats the cost of sharing warning, for example? It means we give up the opportunity to attack them on a surprise basis. We have people who are fighting shared warning, but I think their arguments are based on cold war fears, not on the world we find today. I think that we have to recognize this world is a dangerous place in many areas, and that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them are the true threat that we need to be addressing. Diplomacy is best, and we have nonproliferation regimes, which we need to pursue. But there are determined adversaries out there who are not deterrable by counterforce because, if they are smart at all, they know that we are not going to use nuclear weapons.
What are nuclear weapons good against? They are good against cities. Are we going to bomb the capital of some country in order to deter them from using nuclear weapons? They know we are not going to do that. Now, we do have sufficient conventional military strength, and particularly with a coalition as in the Gulf War, we can be effective on the battlefield. But if there is a question about our national will, then its in some nations interest to build these weapons of mass destruction and threaten people.
We must be credible on the basis of conventional defense. In Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein had more chemical weapons than I could bomb. We had to make a decision to go after the production areas and those storage areas that were in the immediate area of the battlefield. I could not have even begun to take out all of his chemical storagethere are just not enough sorties in the day.
Although Iraqi had abundant chemical weapons, they did not use them in Desert Storm. We interrogated their people as to why this was so. I thought perhaps it was a concern that we might retaliate with nuclear weapons, and certainly we made things ambiguous in that regard. But the Iraqi generals reported the reason they didnt use chemical weapons was because if they used them, they knew our troops were better protected than their troops. They felt that if they used chemical weapons, they would suffer many more casualties than we would.
I think that they were right in their assessment, and I think that it highlights the importance of defenses being a key element in deterrence. If you have ballistic missile defenses, then that makes another countrys acquiring ballistic missiles less important, and in fact, may deter them from spending large amounts of money to build them.
Our allies and neutral nations would benefit greatly if we had wide-area ballistic-missile defenses. For example, suppose we had the capability to share ballistic missile defenses on a global basis, say a space-based system. You could go to a country such as Israelwhich I believe has nuclear weapons and say, If you get rid of your nuclear weapons, well share ballistic missile defenses with you. Or suppose we went to India and Pakistan and said, Look, we understand that you dont like each other, we understand that you are both relying on ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons to deter one another, and that if you have a war, there is liable to be a nonrational decision which causes one or the other or both to use these weapons. The problem is, we live downwind, and we dont like it. So, while you may want to use these systems, were not going to let you. We are going to preclude you from doing that, at least to the extent we can, by using our ballistic missile defenses to interfere with any missile attack that takes place. I think that use of active defenses can be as important as using ballistic missile defenses in the direct defense of our own nation.
Consider this: The former head of the Japanese Air Force, General Ishizuka, and I have talked for hours about the challenges in defending against possible missile attacks, because it is a subject of very high concern in Japan. The military leadership in Japan is very concerned about ballistic-missile defense. One of their concerns is that their people, or elements of their population, will lose confidence in the United States as the protector of their security, and they are apprehensive about what effect that might have. If the Japanese decide they must go their own way, and renounce their constitution and develop a very aggressive outreach in military capability, what would that do to the whole Pacific Rim, or to the countries that well remember WWII? So, its important that we have the ability to share ballistic missile defenses with a country like Japan.
Working with the Russians, the Japanese, and others will also affect the Chinese. The number of warheads the Chinese have is significant in terms of inflicting pain, but in terms of attacking Russia or the United States, they are probably not decisive. The Chinese are pragmatic, so you can work with them if you understand what their internal concerns are, such as control of the Chinese border. So I think that over the long term, if you ignore them in this regard and work with the Russians, the Japanese and countries like that, you can then say to the Chinese, By the way, were going to neutralize your ballistic missiles.
Does it mean well have peace? No, I dont think so. I think you have to ask yourself this one question: Would it be a better world if we had ballistic missile defenses and no nuclear weapons, or nuclear weapons and no ballistic-missile defenses? I think that this is the choice, and I think that is where we need to have the vision and the courage to take on this mission of ballistic missile defense in new-era warfare.
One of the greatest potential benefits of ballistic missile defenseespecially shared warning and wide-area defenses is in reducing the value of nuclear ballistic missiles. There is a significant domestic value here as well, but the costs of developing, deploying, and operating such defenses are not trivial. In fact, in the current budget environment, you cant expect the military to take the lead. But I think ballistic missile defenses would compete very well, particularly if you trade them off against the cost of maintaining nuclear- weapons forces.
Our nuclear-weapons forces are not trivial in terms of cost. The Air Force has got to come to grips with relinquishing the ICBMs. We just put three black boxes on each one of the Minutemen, at a million dollars a box. The cost to the Navy operating the Trident submarines is certainly not trivial. What are we going to have to do when we have to replace the tritium? Are we going to restart the Savannah River Project? So, I think if you worked a trade-off one against the other you could probably free up a great deal of money.
There is another argument made by those who cling to cold war ideas, and that is that we need to maintain our nuclear weapons to deter other nations. These people point to the proliferation of the technologies for weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, and worry that without our own nuclear arsenals we will be ripe for attack. But does our nuclear deterrent force really limit the threat posed by the proliferation of such weapons? Such weapons might be delivered by a variety of means. Aircraft and missiles carrying such weapons might not be the only threat. Those attempting to smuggle nuclear weapons into the United States might do so in a manner that is not traceable. But even if we identified the culprits, we would probably not be able to use a nuclear weapon against them. Nonetheless, we ought to have the conventional military power to be able to influence them on a deterrable basis.
In other words, the question is, are we being well-served if, as we cut our military forces down, we reserve large amounts of money to preserve weapons we probably cannot employ, as opposed to acquring more very capable conventional forces? If a nation uses a nuclear weapon or poison gas against us, then we must have military options to takeand strong conven- tional forces provide those options.
So, you have two problems: deterrence, and what do you do if deterrence fails. Anybody who would poison Chicago is nondeterrable, because they are not operating on our same logic train. Therefore, I think that some potential aggressors that are indifferent to whether we have nuclear weapons or not. I believe Saddam Hussein, in many ways, was indifferent to nuclear weapons. In fact, sometimes I wonder if he really was not looking for Israel to throw a nuclear weapon at him. So, the idea of using US nuclear weapons to deter an adversary is probably only useful with reference to the Russians. Thats what I believe.
However, let me be clear on this. We cannotwe must not unilaterally disarm. You must do it in concert with the Russians, and you must have a vision. But we seem to lack vision, and to be in a reactive mode, which precludes long-term planning. What we mean by long-term is really a function of perception of threat, of building trust with Russia. I would not suggest that we can walk away from nuclear deterrence other than arm-in-arm with the Russians. There is an opportunity to let other nations have nuclear arsenals and yet work with them on a business-like basis. I personally am not threatened by England and France having nuclear weapons, or even Israel. I think China also tends to fall in that category. Nuclear disarmament has to be worked in terms of the Russia/US relationship.
It is absolutely essential that we maintain US conventional military strengththe type of conventional strength that we exhibited in Desert Storm. I think that we are approaching what I call the dominance of defense. The thing that scares me, of course, is the French reached that conclusion in 1930. I see so little value in warfare.
For example, in Saddam Husseins case, I am not sure that we missed the boat in not dethroning him. If I were somebody living in Baghdad, what threatens me most are the Kurds and the Shiites. So, while I might hate Saddam Hussein for what he does to my family, my economy, and my nation, an Iraqi might believe that he is the one person who was keeping me alive. If I were a Kuwaiti, I would hate the Iraqis for what they did to my children and my country, but on the other hand, Im not sure I would want Iran on my northern border either.
Probably the mistake we made was in our publicity during the Gulf War, which demonized Saddam Hussein. He is a gangster and an evil person. But in the Vietnam War, we became very involved in the internal affairs of South Vietnam to our disadvantage, and I think the thing we were all concerned about was getting involved in solving the problems of Iraq, when Iraqs problems are not solvable. So, in my opinion, if the Iraqis want Saddam, they can elect him, let him try to run Iraq, but Saddam and Iraq would be very wise not to step over the boundary lines again.
Of course thats fine, if Saddam Hussein is just a modest risk taker. But if you are faced with a dictator who in fact runs risks, a defense-only capability may not be an adequate US military posture. We also should have a very credible conventional military capability.
I think we also have to remember that each war is different. We are ill-prepared for things like Bosnia or Somalia, and there are those who want to build forces for that. We fight a Desert Storm only every 10 or 15 years. But, I think the point is that youve got to be able to fight the Desert Storms successfully, and obviously counterforce is necessary. Im not sure what the campaign against Iraqs economy achieved. But basically, our goal was to eject Iraq from Kuwait and cripple Iraqs nuclear/biological/chemical capabilities, and I do believe we did have an impact. We went after leadership, and we went after it in a military context, not in a political context. Since Saddam was the top Iraqi military leader, it would have been nice if we had gotten him, but only because he was their top military figure, not because he was their president.
The fundamental point is clear: the United States and its allies must pursue ballistic missile defenses. Ballistic missile defenses are the key to new era warfareto opportunities for reducing nuclear arsenals and to ensuring the type of conventional strength that enables the United States to secure its interests in the future. As far as I am concerned, it is simply time to get on with it.&127;
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the US Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.
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