Travel Day

Today is a travel day for blogenlust, as I'm on my way from balmy Oakland to freezing Wisconsin. Can't complain, though, because if there is one time of year I don't mind the snow or cold it is Christmas Winter Solstice. Right now I'm at LAX, which looks more like a Juicy Couture fashion show than an airport. On the flight here I had the chance to read America's Other Finest News Source, USA Today. In a guest editorial defending...I think I just saw Ashton Kutcher...President Bush's dream of bankrupting the US with a national missile defense shield (presumably one that works), Baker Spring writes:
If President Bush, in the wake of 9/11, announced that the United States had been deliberately leaving the country vulnerable to attack by airplanes, most Americans would be incredulous — and angry. Yet this is exactly our situation when it comes to ballistic missile attack. We're completely vulnerable to any state or terrorist group armed with a ballistic missile. Fortunately, Bush is moving to eliminate this vulnerability by constructing a limited ballistic-missile-defense system and declaring it operational as soon as possible. [...] Yes, the missile-defense system we're pursuing right now is limited. Future tests may reveal problems. But this is an argument for moving quickly to make the defense better, not giving up. Even with its initial limitations, the system we're building now will keep our enemies guessing. That's exactly what we need. So let's take what we've learned from this scrubbed test and use it to improve, not end, this vital program
Here's the problem with Spring's thesis: Even if you construct an extremely expensive invisible shield around the United States, terrorists can still use airplanes as missiles! In other words, if you eliminate one option, it makes other options that much more appealing, and in this case, the other options are that much harder to prevent (i.e. floating a bomb into a harbor or igniting a tanker of liquid natural gas). In addition, it should be noted that our missile defense system is a huge black hole into which billions of dollars of our tax money gets thrown year in and year out, and the best part is that it doesn't even work.