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Saber Rattling serves a purpose

Peace through superior firepower, that's what my t-shirt says. But beyond a catchy slogan lies a deeper truth. Even Kim Jong-Il doesn't really want war, he wants the bargaining power and prestige nukes give him. If he believes launching this missile will actually provoke us to action, he is much less likely to do so. Military power is the ultimate trump card in the, formal lying in formal wear, game of diplomacy. In this case a little saber rattling

VIENNA, Austria -  President Bush on Wednesday won a robust endorsement from European leaders for his tough approach to nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea, despite trans-Atlantic differences on Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and trade.

seems to have gotten some folks attention:

North Korea said Wednesday it wants direct talks with the United States over its apparent plans to test-fire a long-range missile, a day after the country issued a bristling statement in which it declared its right to carry out the launch.

Rich Lowry points to a couple of reasons why trusting our missile defense shield to protect us from an incoming attack is hardly wise. But this overlooks a basic thing about missile defense. Shooting them down right after launch is not that hard, but once they get way up there and are hurtling back to earth at insane speeds it gets ridiculously tough.

Right after launch the missile is burning huge amounts of fuel and is low and slow. It is very easy to track and we have a number of weapons that could take it out at this phase, especially if we know where it will launch from.

Now the other end of the equation is needing to intercept it once it has reached it's peak, gone ballistic and is now screaming back at earth like a giant, cold, lawn dart. Since we don't know where it is going immediately we have to cover everywhere and the target is smaller, colder and going insanely fast.


Well in this case we know exactly where it will come from and we can place our interceptors right in it's path, ready to launch at the huge fireball lollygagging up into the sky. Heck if need be we ought to be able to swarm it a la Independence Day with every heat-seeking weapon we have.

God-willing and the creek don't rise, Kim will realize he loses all his juice if we swat his rocket down like a naughty child's toy. He and the rest of the world probably figure we can do it, heck we're the Americans FFS, we can do anything. Our juice grows if the threat of a shootdown stops this, and if he launches then we do too. I bet we hit it, but even if not that's a technical problem, at least we will have shown the will to defend ourselves and everybody else against nuts with nukes.