Ben Stein on missile defense: What are we waiting for?

(CBS News) Of course, all week all eyes will be on North Korea, as it continues to taunt the U.S. with threats of missile attacks. Contributor Ben Stein says a former President would have known just what to do about that:

Ronald Reagan was totally right when he said he wanted a ballistic missile defense system comprehensive enough to protect the U.S. from ICBM attacks. His liberal opponents scoffed and called it "Star Wars," and said it couldn't possibly work. They blocked money for its deployment on any scale. Nevertheless, in tests, it worked well.

He might well have been right. There may be countries suicidal enough to attack the U.S.

Just recently, Israel and the U.S., working together, created and deployed the "Iron Dome" defense system for defending Israel from short-range rockets from the terrorist Hamas group. Facing a far more technologically difficult challenge -- shooting down a short-range rocket within seconds, not minutes as would be true with an ICBM -- Iron Dome works well.

So very possibly Star Wars could work, too.

Now, here is the question: North Korea, a state run by a mentally ill person, will soon be able to hit the U.S. with nuclear bombs. Iran, a nation run by a group of insanely angry persons, will soon have that nuclear attack ability in terms of Europe, Israel, and eventually against America.

Why are we not working, hell for leather, to create an Iron Dome system for the U.S.A.?

Why, if the challenge is real enough for Mr. Obama to beef up the limited defense systems we have, don't we spend every dime we can beg, borrow, or steal to defend ourselves against nuclear rocket attacks from people who hate us?

What more urgent priority do we have?

And yet, we are not doing it. Why?

So what if it's expensive? What is Portland worth? What's L.A. worth? What's Seattle worth?

Let's get real here, people. We can defend ourselves -- and we are the crazy ones if we don't.

More commentaries from Ben Stein: