September 27th, 2011

Libya’s missiles have gone missing

This should come as absolutely no surprise. And yet it seems to have done so, for a bunch of nameless “U.S. officials”:

U.S. officials had once thought there was little chance that terrorists could get their hands on many of the portable surface-to-air missiles that can bring down a commercial jet liner.

But now that calculation is out the window, with officials at a recent secret White House meeting reporting that thousands of them have gone missing in Libya.

“Matching up a terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile, that’s our worst nightmare,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-California, a member of the Senate’s Commerce, Energy and Transportation Committee.

The nightmare has been made real with the discovery in Libya that an estimated 20,000 portable, heat-seeking missiles have gone missing from unguarded Army weapons warehouses.

The missiles, four to six-feet long and Russian-made, can weigh just 55 pounds with launcher. They lock on to the heat generated by the engines of aircraft, can be fired from a vehicle or from a combatant’s shoulder, and are accurate and deadly at a range of more than two miles.

Earth to U.S. officials: when you’ve got a revolt in a country like Libya with some fairly high-tech munitions, and the autocratic government there falls, a lot of stuff becomes ripe for the picking. And a lot of it will be just the kind of stuff that terrorists love.

Not that there’s anything the U.S. really could have done about it. Our presence in Libya helped topple Gaddafi and has helped those still-mysterious rebels, but our footprint in that country has been very light.

But now that the horse is out of the barn, we’re trying:

…[A] State Department expert “is on the ground in Libya working with the [Transitional National Council],” the rebels’ interim government, to develop a “control and destruction program” for the missiles. Vietor also said the administration has sent five specialists to help the TNC “secure, recover and destroy” weapons, including surface-to-air missiles.

Good luck. Here’s a possible, but very costly, remedy:

Now there are calls in Congress to give jets that fly overseas the same protection military aircraft have.

“I think we should ensure that the wide-bodied planes all have this protection,” said Sen. Boxer, who first spoke to ABC News about the surface-to-air security threat in 2006. “And that’s a little more than 500 of these planes.”

According to Boxer, it would cost about a million dollars a plane for a system that has been installed and successfully tested over the last few years, directing a laser beam into the incoming missile.

18 Responses to “Libya’s missiles have gone missing”

  1. holmes Says:

    Unintended consequences…it seems only a few years ago, the executive was responsible for all of these. Though this is a little more foreseeable than most.

  2. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Actually, there was something the US could and should have done; destroy the arms depots.
    Shoulder fired guided missiles are sturdy, but they don’t survive, or their abilities don’t survive, being tossed around in a bombing, even if they are not destroyed.
    But to do that would have been to do two things: presume terrorists would get them, being successful at taking over all or the important parts of what had been proposed to us as a bunch of Jeffersonian democrats who’d finally had enough. Can’t have that.
    And the other would be to act proactively, with bombs, no less. Far outside the NATO mandate to protect civilians (!?), and UN doctrine on self-defense.
    Now, Obama being a democrat, domestic opposition to either or both of those would be muted. But it’s not what Obama wants to do. The consequences of not doing it would be for another day.

  3. gs Says:

    1. I am one of the knuckle-draggers who asked stone-age questions like What is our national interest? and What do we know about the rebels? when the intervention was announced.

    2. Does Boxer really believe that the threat is restricted to intercontinental flights or is she talking BS to keep the estimated cost under a billion dollars?

  4. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    What’s the problem here? These are telepromter Jeusus’ allies. They’ll show us a thing or two , while we bask in the One’s Lightbringing genius…

  5. Occam's Beard Says:

    Unguarded? UNGUARDED??? Are you kidding me? Where do we keep nuclear bombs, in a U-Store-It somewhere?

  6. Parker Says:

    This was so easy to foresee and demonstrates what rank amateurs inhabit this administration. It seems to me this is another ‘Fast and Furious’ fiasco writ large. How soon before these missiles show up in Afghanistan or DC?

  7. SteveH Says:

    Boxer’s solution sounds mysteriously like a make work union contract to me.

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    Well, what did people expect when they saw Obama supporting his terrorist allies in the open? Democrats have been supporting terrorism since 2002. There’s nothing new here.

  9. Ymarsakar Says:

    “Matching up a terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile, that’s our worst nightmare,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-California, a member of the Senate’s Commerce, Energy and Transportation Committee.

    Only for you when you’re on your private jet. For us, it would be a godsend.

  10. Pat Dooley Says:

    The Arab Spring is turning into Al Qaeda’s victory, courtesy of Barack Obama. The Obama administration has had a hand in toppling two dictators who were suppressing the Islamists.

    Quadaffi did surrender his nuclear program to the US, so he was sufficiently afraid of the US to not support Al Qaeda. Now, we are likely to see Libya taken over by the radicals, courtesy of NATO. No vital US interests were at stake in Libya and we have an outcome we can’t control.

    Mubarek was on our side and holding the peace with Israel. Now, Egypt is in a state of collapse. It imports most of its food and it is running out of money to pay for it. The West is running out of money for bail-outs. Doesn’t look good. The US could have stood by Mubarek and let the military know that the US would not support anything except an orderly transition to a successor, and that the peace treaty with Israel had to be preserved. Didn’t happen on Obama’s watch.

    Meanwhile, the Turks are going crazy and risking war with Israel yet the Obama administration remains disengaged. Threatening to expel Turkey from NATO and isolating them would be a start.

    In Syria, the administration has taken a hands-off approach, despite Syria being a proxy for Iran and a sponsor of terrorism across the ME.

    Missing surface-to-air missiles seem like the least of our worries.

  11. Promethea Says:

    Obama is such an idiot. Doesn’t anyone in his administration have a clue about anything.

    It will be “interesting” to see what happens to international air traffic when some of these missiles are used against civilian airplanes.

  12. Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e191v3 Says:

    [...] Missing missiles. [...]

  13. Ymarsakar Says:

    Promethea,

    I think Holder at least had a clue that if they cooked up evidence that guns were being sold to Mexican drug cartels from the US, that the Obama Admin could then come down on 2nd Amendment Constitutional protections and regulate them out of existence. Then Phase 2 would begin.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    All of this stuff was done on purpose. You can easily see the pattern. Dictator and enemy of America in Iran and Syria? obama helps out the tyrants, the way Obama would like to be helped out.

    Terrorists clamoring for violence and social upset in Egypt and Libya? Oh, time to oust the “tyrants” then.

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    The way Obama helped out Ayers, is the way Obama helps out terrorists in Egypt and Libya.

  16. Artfldgr Says:

    ho hum…
    said it before they even entered the country..

    and what were we discussing at the time i was trying to point it out? anyone? anyone?

    the left hand is fun to watch
    which is why the right hand does all the work
    while your having fun

  17. Artfldgr Says:

    on the subject of fun over other things, i suggest reading:

    The Ant and the Grasshopper

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ant_and_the_Grasshopper

  18. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Deer NATO:

    The next time you bomb some country, among your primary targets should be your enemy’s ammo dumps and armouries. It makes resupplying your allies more critical, but it also denies you enemy that same resupply.

    And it keeps third-parties from getting their hands on otherwise difficult to obtan/expensive toys for a little effort and expense.

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