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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 (112 previous messages)

palousereader - 10:10am Jul 4, 2000 EST (#113 of 11858)

Sorry, but I think all these arguments have an element of illogic to them. First, attempting to freeze our MAD theories in time just won't work. You don't stop technology (see global economy ideas, genetic crops, biotech medicine, etc.); the best you hope for is to go slowly, control it and contain any damage done by our ignorance.

To say that there will not be accidents, infiltration of a neutral country, irrational leaders, a hundred scenarios we can't envision now is pretty much like our head-in-the-sand thinking after WWI- as well as preparing to fight the last war type of thinking. The rapid pace of technology, miniaturization, global travel, borders that even now are porous as sieves, national alliances (China/Pakistan leaps to mind) that shift every 10 years- how can you think that defense is not better than confrontational bully bravado.

What new scenarios will there be in 20 years-worth of progress/time; shared defensive systems allow response time and options.

This is not a scenario by scenario approach; it is a logic approach. When we were at the arrow and shield point in war, a new and better shield didn't move the enemy to make more arrows; they adopted the new shield first, equalized the playing field, then moved on to 'something completely different'- guns. China/Russia/India will steal any defense system we build- and probably already are (we would do the same). Let's save time, money, nervousness and a shield-race mentality and share it now (and the costs). After a period of equalizing defense shields, we'll all move on to something new- lasers, whatever. To attempt to maintain outdated theories is more dangerous than recognizing change and controlling it while we can.

grodh2 - 10:50am Jul 4, 2000 EST (#114 of 11858)

If we can't predict the scenario's of the future why should we invest humdred's of billions of dollars in a system that will never be a perfect shield, and is as likely as not to be circumvented by something in the future. There are biologic weapons, chemical warfare, economic sanctions, conventional bombs smuggled in to key facilities. There are so many ways for a small country to terrorize the U.S. Let's not put all of our eggs in one basket. All the advances in war have only gotten us to the point where now our wars threaten global integrity. This is a huge investment and a huge gamble. These decisions are being made by politicians, this is not where military experts would put over 100 billion dollars to work.

The nuclear arms race has helped no one and has threatened our planet. Now with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, this threat has eased in the last several years. This is good, let us continue to work towards eliminating nuclear weapons as a global threat. Building an ABM system will only destroy the progress we have made and place the nuclear clock closer to midnight.

jasper102 - 05:47pm Jul 4, 2000 EST (#115 of 11858)

I am a 16 yr. old student in high school. As posted before, something most people fail to realize is that terrorism can not be stopped easily. Small budget, rogue countries don't go attacking the United States with ICBMs because they face obliteration. Instead of risking everything by starting an apocalyptic WW3 in which the involved nations annihilate each other, these countries can much more easily financially back terrorist organizations. Small nuclear devices from Pakistan can be placed in boxes or backpacks, shipped from China into Canada and carried across the widespread, unrestricted border. One sunny afternoon a few weeks later Seattle disappears and we never had a clue. The greatest threat to US security is not a thermonuclear war because we can take everyone down along with us. Quit spending billions trying to develop these outlandish Star War defense systems which will never work. This country faces enough problems internally, and we need to stop spending billions of citizens tax dollars on "Star War defense systems" and another favorite, the "War on Drugs". I am going to leave now, and hopefully I wont get shot in a public square by some mentally ill high school student who just purchased a rifle from the local Dick's.

palousereader - 07:06am Jul 5, 2000 EST (#116 of 11858)

I'm sure someone said to Wilbur and Orville- it won't work, keep your day jobs. And I'm sure those same people never envisioned jets, missles, radar and all the smaller inventions that came with moving in a certain direction. The concept of defense, on a large scale, might lead to defense on a small scale, defense from a variety of weapons. And sharing the research, advances and costs beats secrecy, tension, fear, one-upmanship. It isn't just direction but how we go about it; so far overblown claims, tests designed to deceive we taxpayers as well as other countries, unilateral declarations of treaty changes/interpretations- not terribly smart.

evenbetta - 10:55am Jul 5, 2000 EST (#117 of 11858)

palousereader - 10:10am Jul 4, 2000 EDT (#113 of 116)

the only thing 'outdated' is you.

Your perspectives go back as far as 1946-7 when America had not a clue what nuclear deterrence was. pump up things a bit futher on our historical line and your into Eisenhowers 'New Look' in which he figured he could reduce the budget by making everything nuclear (didn't work) jump up more and we hit Counterforce/Value concepts under Kennedy,LBJ and then taken to new heights with Nixon. Then of course add in Nuclear Utilization Theory-round 67-onward to this day. So please can your 'new' thinking by passing it as 'new'. your pissing about non state actors does nothing to the perspective that one need not have such a system. Non-state actors sit in Lebannon-Ireland-Germany, Japan, Syria, Israel, Libya, Pakistan, India, America, and about 184 other nations on this planet. You cannot control the irrational non state actor-and you cannot by their very name contain or deter an irrational actor. Doing so-offsets and entire system aimed at the majority of this world-in hopes of containment of the miniorty. To which it does not and requires everyone else to maintain a rational position against you-the rational actor whom by its very defensive moves creates the need for everyone to race to protect themselves.


evenbetta - 12:20pm Jul 5, 2000 EST (#118 of 11858)

palousereader - 09:49am Jul 1, 2000 EDT (#104 of 117)

a neutral country (Canada, Sweden, Switzerland) oh by the way Palo-

  • Canada is NOT a 'neutral' country. Canada is an active member of NATO

    so please enough with your history lessons.

    evenbetta - 12:26pm Jul 5, 2000 EST (#119 of 11858)

    In the end Mr Jasper said it best.

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