Rogue Goose Foils Final Missile Shield Test
Hurricane Harbor, California, October 27, 2008 -- An errant Canada goose has been blamed for the failure of the 25th and final test of George W. Bush's missile shield, a defense department spokesman said today.
The failure, the 25th consecutive misfire, or "success" in Pentagon parlance, of the ambitious missile defense program, is not expected to affect the upcoming large-scale deployment of the system "in any meaningful sense", the Pentagon said.
"This was the final showcase performance test of the ballistic missile defense system," Missile Defense Agency spokesman Hardy Bogarty said.
"We went to great lengths to create a challenging, real-life genuine combat-like condition for the exercise, which we still consider to have been a complete success despite the fact that the interceptor hit the wrong target. Under an actual wartime scenario, we would anticipate geese to follow their regular migratory patterns."
According to the Missile Defense Agency, a dummy missile launched from a base in Fort Greely, Alaska was meant to have been tracked by one of 200 mobile radar stations on ships spaced along the length of the Washington and California coastlines.
Upon acquiring the target, an interceptor was to have destroyed the dummy missile before it could reach its target, a "Zoom Flume" ride at the popular Six Flags/Great America theme park in Hurricane Harbor, California.
"Unfortunately, a rogue Canada goose that appears to have broken from its characteristic southbound V-formation was incorrectly identified as the incoming missile by our radar systems," Mr. Bogarty said.
"We think the goose may have injured one of its legs, rendering aerial navigation spasmodic. On the plus side, the interceptor did exactly what it was supposed to. Goose vapor and scorched feathers are still drifting down over parts of Wenatchee. On the minus side, a few dozen people on the Zoom Flume had a seriously bad day."
Scientists at the Missile Defense Agency blamed the tracking failure on "some remarkable similarities between a flying goose and an intercontinental ballistic missile."
"Both, for example, have long necks like a bottle," Speedo Poinflux, of the MDA, said. "They both make loud noises when they fly, although the missile sounds more like a rocket engine and the goose more like a sort of honking. They both have wings – ours for guidance, theirs for flapping. The goose is hot, the missile hotter. It's really quite easy to mix them up."
Given the "Ninety-nine point nine percent" success rate of the missile defense system, George W. Bush announced he will move ahead as planned with full-scale deployment in Poland, the Czech Republic, and other European nations in an effort to protect American assets in, for example, Hawaii from attack by "rogue states" such Iran or South Korea.
"Let's face it, the George W. Bush presidency, like the missile defense program, hasn't exactly been unblemished by a string of catastrophic failures," Sherlock Eagle, a pundit with the conservative think-tank America the Beautific, said. "Deployment of this system in the president's final days will be like one shining point of light in an otherwise murky legacy."
However, the Missile Defense Agency said the likelihood that interceptor systems may be "distracted" by flying objects such as birds, light aircraft, hot-air balloonists, neon beer blimps, or the decoy missiles certain to accompany an attack by even the most lackadaisical of rogue nations, requires a larger-scale deployment than initially anticipated.
"We need to make sure we have enough backup systems in place to cope with any larger-scale disturbances," Mr. Bogarty said. "So rather than placing 20-30 systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, President Bush intends to deploy 20,000-30,000 systems which will form a 'steel drapery', if you will, across Europe, thus protecting places like Kansas from attacks from, say, Burma."
Russia, which has been swiftly escalating its development of advanced ICBM technologies in direct response to George W. Bush's missile defense system, yawned.
By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor
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