January 24, 2010
On January 20 the Polish Defense Ministry announced that a U.S. Patriot missile battery, and the 100 American soldiers who will operate it, would not be based on the outskirts of the capital of Warsaw as previously announced but in the Baltic Sea city of Morag, 35 miles from Poland’s border with Russia.
The missile battery and troops are scheduled to arrive in March or April. As part of the Obama administration’s new missile shield project, one which will be integrated with NATO to take in all of Europe and extend into the Middle East and the Caucasus, the Patriots will be followed by Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor deployments on warships in the Baltic Sea and, for the first time ever, a land-based version of the same. “The Pentagon will deploy command posts of SM-3 missiles, which can intercept both short- and mid-range missiles...” An SM-3 was used by the Pentagon to shoot a satellite out of orbit in February 2008 to give an indication of its range.
Further deployments will follow.
The new, post-George W. Bush administration, interceptor missile system will employ “existing missile systems based on land and at sea... Deployment of the revised missile defense would extend through 2020. The first step is to put existing sea-based weapons systems on Aegis-class destroyers and cruisers.
“Subsequently, a mobile radar system would be deployed in a European nation... More advanced, mobile systems would be put in place later elsewhere in Europe. Their centerpiece would be... Lockheed’s Terminal High Altitude Defense interceptor missiles and improved Standard Missile-3 IB missiles made by... Raytheon.”
Last December Washington signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that formalizes plans for “the United States military to station American troops and military equipment on Polish territory” and “opens the way for the promised Patriot missiles and US troops to be stationed in Poland... as part of an upgrading of NATO air defences in Europe.”
In October, shortly after U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden visited Warsaw to finalize the plan, Polish Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski met with his opposite number from the U.S., Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow, and announced that the American missiles “will be combat-ready, not dummy varieties as Washington earlier suggested.” The same report added that “Earlier, Ukrainian and American officials stated that Ukrainian territory may be used in some way in the new antimissile shield.” Poland borders Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, but Ukraine has a 1,576 kilometer (979 mile) border with Russia.
The State Department issued a press release on the agreement to deploy American troops to Poland, the first foreign forces to be based there since the end of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, which stated “The agreement will facilitate a range of mutually agreed activities including joint training and exercises, deployments of U.S. military personnel, and prospective Ballistic Missile Defense deployments.”
A Pentagon spokesperson said “U.S. Army Europe will help the Polish Armed Forces develop their air and missile defense capabilities. Considering the cooperative training we already do with the Polish Armed Forces, this Patriot training program is just another extension of that effort.”
If earlier plans to deploy ground-based midcourse missiles to Poland evoked, however implausibly, an alleged Iranian missile threat, the Patriots can only be meant for Russia.
Russian Lieutenant-General Aitech Bizhev, former commander of the United Air Defense System of the Commonwealth of Independent States, told one of his nation’s main news agencies:
“It’s completely unclear why the air defense group of the northern flank of NATO needed strengthening – NATO has manifold superiority over Russian conventional armaments as it is.
“It can’t be ruled out that the stationing of the Patriots in Poland may be followed by other actions in building up the American military infrastructure in Eastern Europe...”
For the past thirty years each successive American president has unveiled an ostensible plan to eliminate nuclear weapons, yet none before now has received the Nobel Peace Prize while in office. Each in turn then escalated reckless arms buildups and armed aggression abroad in an effort to achieve global military dominance. The current U.S. commander-in-chief with his foreign policy entourage of Robert Gates, James Jones and Hillary Clinton is no exception.
at 10:16 PM