Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Playing with fire

I'm not thrilled that this is happening just a few hundred miles away from my (brand-new!) front door, and I'm not celebrating the loss of life, but I have to say I saw it as good news when I read that an Iranian missile base blew up recently.

An Iranian military compound that blew up earlier this month was extensively damaged, the Institute for Science and International Security said after an analysis of new satellite imagery.

ISIS compared a November 22 image from DigitalGlobe to one from September.

"Some buildings appear to have been completely destroyed. Some of the destruction seen in the image may have also resulted from subsequent controlled demolition of buildings and removal of debris. There do not appear to be many pieces of heavy equipment such as cranes or dump trucks on the site, and a considerable amount of debris is still present," according to the analysis posted on ISIS website.

Senior defense officials told CNN's Barbara Starr that the United States believes the Iranians were mixing volatile fuel for a rocket motor for a large ballistic missile on November 12 when the accident occurred.

If nothing else, this is a sign that technology sanctions really do work. A modern economy with reasonable resources can develop stuff like low-performance aircraft and short-range missiles without too much trouble. But long-range rocketry is a totally different beast.

It took the U.S. years of launchpad explosions and downrange failures before it was able to reliably get stuff into orbit. I hope Iran, which has access to a tiny percentage of the human capital and materiel of a 1950s United States and is choked off from buying many of the parts it needs, continues to be a lot farther away from that goal.


Pietro Devon said...

what makes this good news to you?

Gerry said...

honestly, outside of military action, anything that slows down iran's icbm ambitions is good news, in my opinion. their government is totally schizophrenic.