Exclusive: A combination of ignorance and rashness is making President Trump a particularly dangerous leader as he crashes ahead with a possible preemptive war on North Korea, writes Jonathan Marshall.
By Jonathan Marshall
So it would be tempting — but wrong — to shrug off yet another crackpot claim that Trump made on Fox News a few days ago. Wrong because, if Trump really believes what he said, it may signal his serious willingness to start a bloodbath with North Korea that could consume millions of lives. It gives new credence to Sen. Bob Corker’s recent warning that Trump could set the United States “on the path to World War III.”
In an interview with Sean Hannity on Oct. 11, Trump boasted that America’s ballistic missile interceptors offer, for now at least, a reliable defense against a small-scale nuclear missile launch by North Korea.
“We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them, it’s going to get knocked down,” Trump asserted.
In awarding Trump’s claim a maximum false rating of “Four Pinocchios,” Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler called the President “totally off base,” but conceded that Trump hadn’t made up the claim out of whole cloth.
A few years ago, the Pentagon’s program manager for the $40 billion boondoggle known as the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system assured Congress that “the probability will be well in the high-90s today of the GMD system being able to intercept [a missile] today.” In the same spirit, the head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency boasted this May that his anti-missile missiles could “defeat any threat” that North Korea “would throw at us . . . through 2020.”
The GMD currently consists of 36 interceptor missiles based at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. With more on the drawing board,…