It is, of course, entirely possible that there is no connection
between the November elections and the U.S. 69th Air Defense Artillery
Brigade being put on alert last week. The Patriot brigade was told to
get ready to move from the Yugoslavian theater of President Clinton’s
ongoing mini-wars, to the Iraqi theater.
Israeli officials had already expressed consternation at 1) Chelsea
Clinton’s prominent participation in this summer’s Arafat-Barak
negotiations at Camp David and are now expressing bafflement at 2) the
unsought (by Israel) deployment to Israel of this U.S. 64-missile
battlefield air defense system. (Apparently unsought and unwanted
because these particular Patriots are inferior for ballistic missile
defense to the already existing Israeli integrated Patriot-Arrow
system.) Furthermore, nobody — especially the Israelis — knows what
to make of 3) White House “denials” that the redeployment was in
response to U.S. intelligence that the Iraqis may attack Israel just
before the U.S. elections.
You see, ever since the mini-war with Iraq so conveniently broke out
on the eve of the 1996 Presidential Election, political pundits have
been expecting something similar for the 2000 election. Is this
Clinton’s October Surprise, the pundits are wondering? Another Iraqi
“attack” on Israel that will assure Al Gore’s election in November?
Well, perhaps the pundits have been concentrating on the wrong
election. Maybe they ought to focus on an election this November that
actually involves a Clinton.
As for assuring Al Gore’s election, the media elite have already
decided — on the basis of “scientific” polls involving about one out
of every half-million Americans – that Gore has pulled ahead of Gov.
Bush. President Clinton deemed it safe to announce last week that —
surprise! — he was going to leave the decision about deploying a U.S.
Anti-Ballistic Missile System to the next president; that is, Al Gore.
The White House confided to selected newsie insiders that it had all
been just a ploy, anyway, to take the election-year issue away from the
Republicans. A poll last year had shown that an overwhelming majority
of Americans wanted a U.S. ABM defense. The Republicans had been
demanding such a U.S. ABM defense for years. But doing what the
Republicans demanded would mean violating the U.S.-Soviet ABM Treaty,
and Clinton was not about to do that. So, Clinton got Boris Yeltsin to
agree to not make a fuss about the ABM Treaty until after the 2000
But then Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin went away and along came President
Putin, who had not been a party to the Clinton-Yeltsin deal, and Putin
balked. Putin’s counter-proposal to the Clinton-Gore charade was that
the U.S. and Russia expand already existing cooperation in worldwide
satellite-based ICBM launch-detection and tracking, and, rather than try
to put a ballistic missile umbrella over the whole world, cooperatively
concentrate on knocking down the rogue missile shortly after launch,
within the atmosphere, before it had a chance to insert nukes into
exo-atmospheric ballistic trajectories. (Such U.S.-Russian cooperation
is not without precedent. In addition to cooperating on ICBM launch
detection, the U.S. and Russians are assisting Greece establish a
missile defense which uses both Russian and U.S. components.)
When Clinton balked at Putin’s theater missile defense
counter-proposal, Putin took his show on the road, to NATO and China,
and they all loved it. They all agreed with Putin that the U.S.
Alaskan-based ABM system would not work, and that it did violate the
U.S.-Soviet ABM Treaty.
So what was Clinton to do? No one except the Republicans and the
overwhelming majority of American voters wanted a U.S. ABM system. As
long as Gore was behind in those all-important polls, there was nothing
Clinton could do but continue to pretend right up till the election, if
necessary, that he intended to build a U.S. ABM system in Alaska.
With Gore now ahead in the polls, Clinton could announce — as he did
last week — that he was not going to violate the ABM Treaty after all.
But at the same time he alerted a U.S. Patriot Battery now in Germany —
protecting U.S. forces on the ground in Kosovo and Bosnia from
Yugoslavian air attack — to get ready to move to Israel? Why?
As Clinton must know, the Patriot is a highly mobile
tracked-vehicle-mounted anti-aircraft missile intended to protect massed
U.S. armored forces on the battlefield from air attack. To protect, for
example, our forces in the Gulf War. When, in the Gulf War, Scuds began
flying, not at U.S. armored forces, but at Saudi and Israeli civilians,
some U.S. Army Patriot battlefield batteries were hurriedly pressed into
service to protect populated areas, something they were never designed
The Gulf War Patriot batteries had a very limited capability to
detect, track and intercept a missile or supersonic aircraft that was
not coming right at them. Positioned near Israeli cities, the Patriots
did manage to intercept — and prevent the warheads from impacting
their intended targets — many of the three dozen or so Scud ballistic
missiles the Iraqis launched against Israel.
But, the Iraqi Scuds, which had high-explosive warheads — and not
the chemical or biological or nuke warheads it was feared the Iraqis had
and intended to use — were essentially targeted on the whole state of
Israel. That is, it mattered little to the Iraqis if a Scud warhead
didn’t hit its intended target. The Iraqi goal was to terrorize Israeli
civilians, and as long as the Scud warhead was not actually destroyed in
the air, which few of them were, one place in Israel was as good as
another for the warhead to explode.
As a consequence of this inability of Patriot to do what it had never
been designed to do, namely to serve as a theatre anti-ballistic missile
system, the Patriot has since undergone three upgrades, called PAC-1,
PAC-2 and PAC-3. PAC-1 and PAC-2, still intended to be, primarily,
highly mobile battlefield air defense systems, are now operational.
The original Patriot battlefield air defense system has been modified
in PAC-2 — which the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade is apparently
not yet equipped with — so as to be capable of being integrated into
Theatre Missile Defense architecture or the Israeli Arrow ABM system.
PAC-3, which is not yet operational, will be capable of being integrated
into the proposed Theatre High-Altitude Air Defense System, using
essentially the same hard-kill kinetic energy vehicle that has failed to
hit the dummy warhead in the three recent tests of the Clinton
administration Alaskan-based ABM system.
So it appears that in the same week Clinton has essentially announced
that he is not going to deploy a PAC-3-THAADS-like system, after all, he
announces he is sending an unsought unwanted obsolete PAC-1 system to
the Israelis who already have their own operational PAC-2-TMD-like
system, thank you very much.
It is, of course, entirely possible that none of this unsolicited
activity in support of Israel and the ABM Treaty is in any way related
to the November elections. Right.