Missile in the Sky

by David Weigel

In response to my Stanley Kurtz post, I've been getting a lot of e-mails like this.

Weigel has not explained how he would propose to "stop" a ballistic missile from JihadLand to NYC. Only a ballistic missile has a 6000-mile trajectory, and as far as I know, there is no operational ballistic missile defense for the east coast of the USA against a transatlantic attack. [There _is_ a nominal BMD on the USA west coast.]

From Navy Times:

By the end of the year, the Navy will have a total of six warships capable of tracking and shooting down ballistic missiles.

Three cruisers — Shiloh, Lake Erie and Port Royal — already have the capability to track ballistic missiles with upgraded Aegis radar. They also have the ability to hit a ballistic missile with an SM-3 missile, shot out of standard Navy vertical launch system tubes.

By year’s end, the destroyers Stethem, Decatur and Curtis Wilbur will also have ballistic-missile defense capability, according to Lt. Tommy Crosby, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon.

The ships patrol the Pacific right now, but I have no trouble believing they'd be redeployed to the Atlantic if we found ourselves in Kurtz's future world, where Iran flings around nukes willy-nilly and soylent green is made out of people. Remember that Kurtz's nightmare scenario - the one more dangerous than the Cold War - involved a rogue power firing a single nuke at the United States. I doubt we'll soon develop the sort of missile defense that could have neutralized a MAD-style situation with thousands of nukes. But one nuke?