A decade after it was declared operational for bogus political reasons - "you just needed to build them" - the $40 billion Ground-based Midcourse Defense System, or GMD, "cannot be relied on," says a blistering report from the L.A. Times. It has an "abysmal" record: It has failed more tests than it has passed, has "performed less well than people had hoped," has been hyped by U.S. officials who claimed it was more reliable than it was, has failed tests far less stringent than real-life scenarios would be, and over time has continued to perform worse, not better, despite years of tinkering, failing five of its last eight tests. It was also designed for a threat that likely doesn't exist, or in the immortal words of Charles Pierce, "not to defend ourselves against missiles but, rather, as a platform for international dick-waving." Oh yes, and members of Congress - the guys who battled over how much to cut food stamps - want a bunch more.
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