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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.

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palousereader - 07:22am Jul 6, 2000 EST (#120 of 11858)

evenbetta, I wasn't doing history, but am impressed with your lesson- it's nice to know others have shared the idea that defense is a better theory than offense. As for Canada being officially neutral, I guess in that sense it isn't; but in my mind it is one of those benign, peaceful nations that one would not expect to be the source of a nuclear attack- ergo my use of it in that example.

Neatly packaging rational actors in a separate container from irrational loose canons- it is precisely that type of thinking I worry about. Given that any effective defense shield would probably take what-10, 20 years to perfect...will that still be true? You seem to demand that we all accept these status quo positions as forever running parallel into the future. Since you are more familiar with history than I, find a suitable example of the world being caught with its pants down.

Once again it is the concept of defense over offense, the idea that we would have response time and control of events that argue in favor of changing our approach. And research being what it is, so many other ideas and smaller scale inventions might come from this change of direction, I just can't see us walking away. And now that the idea is out and about, bet on it; other rational countries aren't walking away either. No doubt, it's why they doth protest so strongly.

palousereader - 07:52am Jul 6, 2000 EST (#121 of 11858)

"Nobel Winners Urge Halt to Missile Plan". If it's any consolation, evenbetta, you seem to be traveling in good company. I give a lot of weight to these knowledgeable opinions- but still believe this avenue of defense is one we should not ignore.

grodh2 - 09:58am Jul 6, 2000 EST (#122 of 11858)

See the story in the NY Times, July 5, "U.S. study Reopens Division Over Nuclear Missile Threat". Once again, the threat from these countries, N. Korea, Iraq and Iran are likely to be overstated. Some of the analyses done previously focus only on the technical possiblilities of these countries creating a missile which could reach the U.S. Not only are some of these analyses overly generous in respect to the countries' technical prowess, but they totally ignore the political, social and economic issues which would make them not likely to attack the U.S. These analyses are created by people whose agenda is to build this system. They are not unbiased. Let's listen to the Nobel laureates and others who urge caution. At least let's take a breath and look carefully before we commit so much money to this system that we continue to build it only because it develops a life of its own. Continue the research, but let's not go down a path which will be expensive, irrevocable and has the potential to set off a new round of arms buildup that we all would regret.

evenbetta - 10:30am Jul 6, 2000 EST (#123 of 11858)

palousereader - 07:22am Jul 6, 2000 EDT (#120 of 122)

Once again Sir, you fail to understand that your 'defense' is 'offensive' to every thing else-and as such requires all others to move to match your 'defense' position-not against individuals-but against you.

evenbetta - 01:41pm Jul 6, 2000 EST (#124 of 11858)

"Neatly packaging rational actors in a separate container from irrational loose canons-canons- it is precisely that type of thinking I worry about"

  • Who talked of 'neatly packaging'. This is exactly what your ABM system wants to do. It wants someone to act 'this way only' yet it never considers that ANY WAY is suitable for the simple objective of attacking knowing without question and without care that such an action will mean being obliverated.

    "Since you are more familiar with history than I, find a suitable example of the world being caught with its pants down."

  • Any building of a wall in human history. The Great Wall of China.Building any wall in human history in the end is futile.They are temporary and your attempt to build one for a long term solution goes against the very patterns of time and human history itself.

    frankmz - 03:53pm Jul 6, 2000 EST (#125 of 11858)

    There is a certain insanity connected to this whole business of missile defense. To quote Tom Friedman "we want to build a system that doesn't work to defend ourselves from an enemy that doesn't exist". I concur with that statement.

    First, a "system that doesn't work". It is well known that the more complex a system is, the greater the likelihood that it will not work. And this missile defense system is exceedingly complex. The chances of something going wrong are infinitely greater than - say, the typical computer system, which in itself is never really bug-free.

    And where is the enemy? North Korea is already moving toward a peace with the south.

    As I write this, a test is being set up, a rigged test, I might add. Where its exact trajectory, size, weight, etc. is known. As well as everything about it's single decoy. Not only that but even the countdown will be heard by those responsible for intercepting it!

    And any missile defense system can be easily overwhelmed simply by increasing the number of missiles, the number of warheads on each missile and the number of decoys, and a "defense" will actually encourage other nations in doing this, including Russia and China, nations who don't see us in quite the benevolent way we see ourselves.

    But the real insanity in all this has been on the issue of nuclear prolferation. We've known for fifty years that the greatest threat to the world was the proliferation of nuclear weapons to many small countries. And not only have not we (and the nations of the world) done nothing about it, but have actually encourged it by the transfer of nuclear technologies to other countries.

    grodh2 - 07:03pm Jul 6, 2000 EST (#126 of 11858)

    When will responsible leaders and leading newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post, finally come out with the only responsible position on this issue of building an ABM system. The position is that there ought to be restraint, there is no credible evidence that this system should be built and that the more details that are known about this the more it seems that this is an idea which is premature at best. Let's see how we can stop this juggernaut that seems to have a life of its own before it becomes a reality.

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