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    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.


Earliest Messages Previous Messages Recent Messages Outline (33 previous messages)

taleehohhhh - 08:46pm Jun 6, 2000 EST (#34 of 11858)
rain

Sono, it depends upon where the explosion occurs, I think, and the frequencey of the emitted radiation. Very high frequency radiation can penetrate a plasma, but might get absorbed in the intervening atmosphereic layers. some will reach ground level. That's not nuclear winter, however. Still, it is something to consider.

A warhead acquired and destroyed will likely not detonate.

greenpagan - 09:22pm Jun 6, 2000 EST (#35 of 11858)

sonofnils 6/6/00 8:42pm

    Arms reduction is stabilizing. Missile defense is not.
Hear, hear. The only sane alternative. And cost effective, too.

wrcooper - 09:26pm Jun 6, 2000 EST (#36 of 11858)

When BMD was first proposed, the government tried to sell it as a shield for civilian populations. I did some research in those days and found out its true purpose: to protect our strategic arsenal. The notion that we could pick off all the warheads, genuine and decoy, in a MIRVed missile attack against major population centers in the US is sheer unadulterated poppycock. It's a sick delusion. Even assuming perfect acquisition, targeting and homing, there'd be too many targets, most of which would be decoys that we couldn't distinguish from the real McCoys.

I'm guessing that this move is the military's way of trying to cash in on having won the cold war. I suppose they're thinking, "The West's victory ought to be good for something, dammit. How about gaining the small strategic advantage of owning a BMD? That'll piss off the Russkies and scare Putin out of trying to rebuild the empire." Of course Clinton piously promises that the US will let everybody else in on the technology. Boy, that's a good one, heh? And how, exactly, will he guarantee his beau geste, since he's leaving the presidency in a matter of months? How many of you believe that the congress would go along with the "Let's just share our technological and military secrets and get along!" philosophy? Um, nobody? Well, I'm not surprised.

This administration's proposal is stupid and dangerous. We should be accelerating arms reduction talks, finding ways to feret out nuclear terrorists, clamp down on bomb-grade nuclear fuel production, doing whatever we can to stuff the effing nuclear genie back in the bottle. I think people have forgotten the grave danger we're still in. It's perhaps even greater now with so many volatile, unstable regimes toting nukes.

This nuclear umbrella nonsense casts an unrealistic aura of security. It's pie in the sky. It won't work. It can't work. That's just a statistical fact, even if the technology was totally reliable, which of course it isn't and probably never could be.

wangzho1 - 01:41pm Jun 7, 2000 EST (#37 of 11858)
wang zhong()

I assumed it will costly 1000 billions dollars. I am so sure russian will built for american if american can pay 1000 billions dollars bill in time.

wangzho1 - 01:43pm Jun 7, 2000 EST (#38 of 11858)
wang zhong()

will copper: long time, I am not seeing you. 35074 are also left out.

taleehohhhh - 04:24pm Jun 7, 2000 EST (#39 of 11858)
rain

Number is lurking, I think.

johnberndt - 04:50pm Jun 7, 2000 EST (#40 of 11858)

sonofnils - 08:42pm Jun 6, 2000 EDT (#33 of 39)

I've heard that emp effects can result from a detonation several hundred kilometers overhead. In the U.S. emp can do a lot of damage.

EMP is a problem but it isn't deadly.

johnberndt - 04:52pm Jun 7, 2000 EST (#41 of 11858)

wrcooper - 09:26pm Jun 6, 2000 EDT (#36 of 40) Will Cooper

When BMD was first proposed, the government tried to sell it as a shield for civilian populations. I did some research in those days and found out its true purpose: to protect our strategic arsenal. The notion that we could pick off all the warheads, genuine and decoy, in a MIRVed missile attack against major population centers in the US is sheer unadulterated poppycock. It's a sick delusion. Even assuming perfect acquisition, targeting and homing, there'd be too many targets, most of which would be decoys that we couldn't distinguish from the real McCoys.

Why is Russia and China worried about it then? Why not just let us waste our money?

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