On Point: Ides of March Reversal: Obama Vindicates Reagan's SDI

by Austin Bay
March 19, 2013

"Who is it in the press who calls on me?" Julius Caesar asks in Act I of Shakespeare's play.

"Beware the Ides of March," the prophetic Roman soothsayer wails. The dismissive dictator replies, "He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass."

Aye, bitter irony. On March 15, the Ides of March, 44 B.C., assassins murdered Caesar.

In 2013, the Ides of March fell on a Friday. In Washington, D.C., 21st century America's version of a gaudy Roman circus, Friday is the day for dumping on our mute national press corps those large and inconvenient truths that embarrass the Obama administration.

Make haste, loyal White House press corps! Assassinate this story, and let the dark soil of weekend celebrity chatter and sensationalism bury its foul corpse. To quote our former secretary of state, Lady Macbeth, "Out damn Benghazi spot."

On Friday, the Ides of March, 2013, recently confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel quietly announced that the Obama administration would deploy an additional 14 Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) long-range anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs). GBIs are the "long arrow" in the prophetic U.S. Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) very limited ABM system.

The system is designed to deter and, if necessary, intercept a 21st century form of political agitation, economic extortion and en masse assassination: a rogue power, such as Iran or North Korea, acquiring nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and then on some truly terrible day launching a nuclear attack.

With a few noticeable exceptions (e.g., the Wall Street Journal), Hagel's jaw-dropping turnabout announcement drew a press shrug, then got buried -- interred with Caesar's bones.

President Obama, however, couldn't man up and pull the switcheroo himself. Nope, the superficially Republican Hagel delivered the decision, which vindicates the bete noir of American leftists, Ronald Reagan. It also vindicates the B-Team analysis of North Korea's 1998 missile test.

The Obama administration decision reverses three decades of left-wing Democratic Party opposition to missile defense. According to these peacenik scoffers, missile defense wasn't just a dream, it was a delusion. The decision radically deflates (though does not erase the memory) of the peaceniks ugly, partisan ad hominem assaults on missile defense soothsayers.

MDA was originally SDI, Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. An interim acronym existed during the Clinton administration, BMDO, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. A handful of Democrats, Les Aspin among them, knew that new missile, sensor and weapons technologies rendered the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty a Cold War fossil. But these Dems faced an awkward opponent. According to their own party peaceniks and their political collaborators in the national press, Ronald Reagan couldn't be right.

Recognizing the genuine threat, BMDO served as political cover for keeping SDI research, acquisition and potential deployment alive.

The peacenik hackery and thuggery revived when the George W. Bush administration withdrew from the ABM treaty, however. Oh, provocation! A threat to world peace!

No, hacks. North Korea's threat to wage nuclear war on South Korea and America -- that is a provocation, and one so large even Barack Obama can't ignore it.

If you think 14 missiles simply wasn't a big enough number for today's trillion-dollar press corps, recall that in September 2009, 10 GBIs was an earthshaking bigfoot deal. That's when the Obama administration cancelled the Bush administration's carefully structured deployment of 10 GBIs to Poland. Those missiles were a critical part of a layered NATO ABM system designed to defend Western Europe against an Iranian missile.

President Obama cashed them in for a "reset" in relations with Russia. That "reset" failed, abysmally.

Obama's 2008 campaign pledge to negotiate an end to Iran's nuclear weapon quest has been another diplomatic zero. On March 14, President Obama himself told us Iran is "a year or so" away from developing nuclear weapons. "But obviously we don't want to cut it too close."

Aye, ironists. The noble Barack doth echo George W.'s description of Saddam Hussein's Iraq as a "grave and gathering danger," which consciously paraphrased Winston Churchill's assessment of Adolf Hitler's mounting threat. 

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To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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