It’s easy to make light of missile programs in North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and other developing countries. Compared to our own, they seem primitive. But each country is really just going through the steps Soviet designers followed 50 years ago: using borrowed technology, making gradual improvements, and combining smaller rockets into bigger, longer-range rockets. And so it’s only a matter of time—probably less rather than more—before these countries, left to themselves, will be able to build truly threatening weapons.
Sidebar: In Brief: Scuds
-During the 1991 Gulf War, a Scud attack on a barracks in Saudi Arabia killed 28 U.S. military personnel and injured 100 more.
-In a move to eliminate Iraq’s Scud arsenal, the cease fire ending the Gulf War limited Iraq to missiles with ranges of less than 93 miles.
-In addition to carrying warheads containing high explosives, Scuds could be modified to deliver biological, chemical, or nuclear payloads.