US Missile Defence Test 'Success'

December 6, 2001

US Missile Defence Test 'Success'
Australian Peace Committee
Trade Union Green Caucus
Friends Of The Earth Australia

Australian peace groups have joined with US groups in criticism of the recent US Missile Defence system test, that took place yesterday after being postponed twice due to bad weather.

Arms control and anti nuclear weapons groups worldwide have opposed Missile Defence plans as potentially leading to a new nuclear arms race, as leading to a possible arms race in outer space, as technically unworkable, and - especially since September 11 - as failing to address the real security problems of the world.

According to the groups:

"The first thing to note about this so called 'successful' test is that it had to be delayed twice due to weather considerations. Clearly, an incoming ICBM is not going to considerately wait around for 24-48 hours while the defenders get the weather conditions right. Sure, the missile defence people will point out that 'its a test' and say that in combat they wont be waiting for the weather, but this simply goes to show how removed from real conditions the conditions of this test were."

"The second thing to note is that ever since Sept. 11th, its been clear that the US faces a much more real threat from disciplined people who are willing to die, armed with Stanley knives, than it does from incoming ICBMs. The threats of smuggled suitcase nukes in shipping containers is far more real - and much more difficult to counter - than incoming ICBMs."

"The only nations that are currently able to lob ICBMs at the US are in fact Russia and China. China has denounced the missile defence test. Both Russia and with a little effort, China, would easily be able to counter and overwhelm any missile defence system the US could ever construct."

"The US, like other nations, is bound by treaty obligations. Not only is it bound by the ABM treaty which rules out missile defence, but it is also bound by the NPT, article VI of which obliges the US with other nuclear weapons states, to the total and unequivocal elimination of their nuclear arsenals."

"The US would be much more secure if instead of trying to wriggle out of the limitations imposed by the ABM treaty, it would take seriously the obligations imposed on all nuclear weapons states by the NPT, and move to eliminate nuclear arsenals completely. The US can hardly criticize nations such as Iraq for attempting to acquire warheads when it has itself so many and has not fulfilled its own legal obligations. The recent agreement arrived at in Crawford between Presidents Bush and Putin, though it goes some way toward this, needs to go much further and really move to eliminate those nuclear arsenals ."

For more information contact:

John Hallam
Ph: (02) 9567 7533

Irene Gale
Ph: (08) 8332 3461

Jacob Grech
Mob: 0402 246 491