- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 18, 2004

President Bush’s leadership demonstrates that it is prudent to simultaneously fight the asymmetric war against terror and to prepare for the missile-related apocalyptic dangers that loom on the horizon. Sen. John Kerry, however, has promised that one of his first budget initiatives would be “reducing total expenditures on missile defense.” The issue is very relevant to the presidential campaign because the United States is preparing to activate this autumn a ground-based missile-defense system, which would be the first stage of a layered defense system that could later incorporate sea-, air- and space-based options.

Given that Mr. Kerry aspires to be commander-in-chief, it is fair to ask what sort of events would cause him to reverse course and embrace the cost-effective policies of deploying a robust missile-defense system. If 1998 is any guide, virtually nothing is likely to convince Mr. Kerry to alter his determination to thwart missile defense.

• Pakistan successfully tested a medium-range ballistic missile on April 6, 1998.

• A week later, The Washington Times, citing a classified Defense Department report, revealed that U.S. aerospace companies had provided China with technology that would have improved the guidance of the nuclear warheads aboard the missiles aimed at America. On May 1, The Times reported that 13 of China’s 14 CSS-4 long-range nuclear ballistic missiles targeted America.

• On May 11 and 18, India detonated five nuclear devices.

m On May 13, the Senate fell one vote short (59-41) of ending a Democratic filibuster, which prevented a vote on a bill that would have made it U.S. policy to deploy a national missile-defense system. Mr. Kerry cast the deciding vote.

• On May 28, Pakistan conducted five nuclear tests.

• On June 16, North Korea announced that it would continue developing and selling ballistic missiles.

m On July 15, a congressionally mandated commission of nine arms experts headed by then-former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld unanimously warned that hostile nations, including North Korea and Iran, could deploy long-range missiles within five years.

m On July 22, Iran successfully tested a medium-range ballistic missile.

m On Aug. 31, North Korea test-fired a three-stage medium-range ballistic missile over Japan.

m On Sept. 9, Sen. Kerry once again cast the deciding vote to continue the filibuster against the missile-defense shield.

Given the reckless record that Mr. Kerry compiled in 1998 alone, it should hardly be surprising that six years later he is running for the presidency pledging to “reduc[e] total expenditures on missile defense.” In 2004, that is a promise that ought to disqualify him for the job.

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