The confusing European missile defense issue
According to Defense Secretary Robert Gates writing on the op-ed page of the New York Times , the administration is not simply abandoning plans to install ground-based anti-missile missiles in central and eastern Europe to defend against the possibility of an Iranian attack, as critics have charged, but is shifting its plans to a different, sea-launched missile, the SM-3, that will improve missile defense and provide it sooner than the existing plan, which, he says, will not be operational for almost another decade. Also, Gates added, we don’t need to worry about Iranian ICBM’s since the Iranians are not developing them.
Gates’s arguments seemed persuasive to me. Then I read a piece by someone with the implausible name of Jamie M. Fly at the Weekly Standard who said that the missiles Gates wants to use are still in the testing phrase, and that there’s no good reason to believe that Iran is not developing ICBMs. Now I’m not sure again.
The problem is that the two articles talk past each other. I think we need to get Gates and Fly to reply directly to each other’s arguments, perhaps on the same stage, so we can sort this issue out.
(By the way, is Jamie M. Fly male, like Clinton’s State Department spokesman Jamie Rubin, or female, like Clinton’s Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and Knoxville reporter Jamie Satterfield? Who knows?)