"Missile defense systems on the ground, at sea and in the air long ago ceased being the stuff of science fiction," is the conclusion of this DC Examiner editorial calling on Barack Obama to deploy the shield to protect Poland as well as ourselves:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave Barack Obama his first major foreign policy test the day after the election by vowing to move short-range missiles to the Polish border if the president-elect honors a Bush administration agreement to install a defensive shield in Eastern Europe. Instead of reassuring our NATO allies, however, Obama’s tentative response emboldened the Russians to conduct naval war games with Venezuela in the Caribbean.
This is “no time to go all wobbly,” as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher used to say. It is only a matter of time before Iran has a nuclear-armed missile that can hit Israel, Saudi Arabia or Europe. And there is no assurance that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez won’t sign a mutual defense pact that puts such weapons within range of the U.S. homeland. When that happens, 87 percent of Americans agree, we’d better be able to protect ourselves.
Obama promised during the campaign to work more closely with other nations. Yet he has failed to provide concrete assurance to Polish President Lech Kaczynski that he would honor the agreement the Bush administration negotiated to place U.S. missile defense units in Poland. Obama apparently believes the defensive system should be deployed, but only “when the technology is proved to be workable.” Well, by any reasonable standards, that’s now.
The system in question has scored 7 hits in 12 attempts. At 68%, that's a damn sight better chance of survival than just letting the bombs fall.
In addition to that ground based system, an airborne laser defense package is being rapidly developed by the air force that could interdict missiles shortly after takeoff. The point being, a multi-layered protective shield involving ground, air, and sea based systems is in the not too distant future. Obama's pledge during the campaign to halt testing and deployment of missile defense systems seems unwarranted and shortsighted given how close we are to success.