Since 9/11, this has become normal around the DC and
other areas around the country... a somewhat disturbing,
yet comforting, sight when I drive by these things...
Disturbing because these anti-aircraft missles are there
to shoot down civilian airliners if the unthinkable happens
again. Comforting, because downing a single plane with
a couple hundred passengers is "better" than having it
crash into a large buliding with thousands of victims...
Anyway, I was wondering who has the final authority to give
the order to fire these missles to bring down a civilian
airliners? Is it the U.S. president, the defense secretary,
or the commander in charge of the missles? If the
soldiers in these vechiles do not receive such orders,
but visually spot an airliner a mile away, heading straight
for a building, can they fire?(for example, it was not
detected by radars, and these guys with the missles
obviously will have not time to ask for permission...
will they simply have to sit idle and watch the plane
[Edited 2003-02-13 00:16:30]