I should have seen it coming, but the Shrub Adminstration caught me flat-footed with this:
U.S. weighs responses to N. Korea missile test
Military may attempt to intercept long-range missile, defense officials say
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is weighing responses to a possible North Korean missile test that include attempting to shoot it down in flight over the Pacific, defense officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
...The Pentagon is considering the possibility of attempting an interception, two defense officials said, even though it would be unprecedented and is not considered the likeliest scenario.
The officials agreed to discuss the matter only on condition of anonymity because of its political sensitivity.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said he could not say whether the unproven multibillion-dollar U.S. anti-missile defense system might be used in the event of a North Korean missile launch. That system, which includes a handful of missiles that could be fired from Alaska and California, has had a spotty record in tests.
Again, MSNBC slightly underestimates the problem:
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has spent nearly $43 billion over the last five years on missile defense systems, but with North Korea poised to launch its most advanced missile yet, U.S. government assessments and investigative reports indicate little confidence in the centerpiece portion of the program.
Eleven ground-based interceptors in Alaska and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California, the cornerstone of the administration's new system, have not undergone a successful test in nearly four years and have been beset by glitches that investigators blame, at least in part, on President Bush's order in 2002 to make the program operational even before it had been fully tested.
In all, the interceptors hit dummy missiles in five out of 10 tests, but these were under controlled conditions that critics say do not reflect the challenges of an actual missile launch.
A little-noticed study by the Government Accountability Office issued in March found that program officials were so concerned with potential flaws in the first nine interceptors now in operation that they considered taking them out of their silos and returning them to the manufacturer for "disassembly and remanufacture."
Ain't it swell? They are actually thinking of showing off our impotence before the world, by using a system that has never been tested under real-world conditions and only works half the time ("If that!" he adds cynically) under ideal conditions while probably drawing the wrath of the world and is by any definition a "war-like act!" And all this while going eyeball to eyeball with the second-most nutcase "Leader" in the world today, who actually controls WMDs, big hairy nukes ! Excuse me. "Uh, South Korea, Japan? Yeah, you two in particular, but anyone else in the area: DUCK!
I am so proud.