Tuesday, December 18, 2001
Also in Wednesday's Washington Post is a letter from San Diegan Marjorie Cohn on President Bush's decision to withdraw from the ABM treaty. (Sen. Joe Biden also has an op-ed piece on the same subject that I'll talk about later.) Unfortunately, Ms. Cohn falls into the trap that so many have fallen into when arguing against an anti-ballistic missile system.
The TV stations dutifully alternated shots of Mr. Bush announcing the death of ABM with photos of the World Trade Center collapsing, even though a "Star Wars" system could never have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks.
First, no one (except Ms. Cohn) has ever tried to argue that an ABM system would have prevented Sept. 11.
Second, we shouldn't judge all of our defense systems on the basis of whether they would have prevented the tragedy that occurred on Sept. 11. Tanks? Nope. Too slow. M-16s? Nope. Too puny. Submarines? Nope. Under water. TOW anti-tank missiles? Nope. Not enough punch.
Specific weapon systems have specific jobs. To take a position on any weapons system on the basis of whether it would have affected what happened Sept. 11 is naive. No, not naive. Dangerous.