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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
(191 previous messages)
- 12:34am Jul 28, 2000 EST (#192
Missile defense is a folly from the beginning.
It builds on the wrong premise and sends the wrong message. War
is not ok. It shouldn't be a option. But nuclear war CANNOT be an
option! Ever! After a full-scale nuclear war, it would not matter
that the United States was saved from most explosions due to its
missile defense. The ecosystem would be so totally destroyed that
most organisms would face extinction. Higher predators (of which man
is one) would certainly die off.
This missile defense system would have the disastrous effect of
masking the apocalyptic nature of nuclear warfare. It lends a false
feeling of security to the country with the most nuclear weapons. It
also upsets the balance (a terrible balance - "mutual destruction")
that has kept nuclear war from occurring.
People need to stop thinking selfishly as a nation and begin to
think in terms of a global community. The solutions lie in
disarming, in peace talks, in deeper understandings. Further arms
races are not the answer! That road leads to disaster. It's time for
humanity to grow up, reach maturity. No longer are we playing at war
- we're playing at annihilation.
- 03:08am Aug 8, 2000 EST (#193
Earth vs <^> <^> <^>
Your words are defeatist, reflecting the rot of 2000 years of
It is better to be dead than a slave. You cannot love your enemy.
What kind of man breaks his sword, lays down like a sheep and lets
the invader have his way?
You have declined to defend the mothers and daughters of your
- 10:26am Aug 8, 2000 EST (#194
kalter.rauch - 03:08am Aug 8, 2000 EDT (#193 of 193)
In a nuclear war the living will envy the dead -Winston Churchill
- 10:23am Aug 9, 2000 EST (#195
beckq 10:26 8/8/2000 #194 patndmac 12:34 7/28/2000 #192
I think I got it, war bad, peace good. Nuclear power bad, no
Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle. War exists.
Nuclear weapons, power and technology exist. We can't wish them
away. The question is not how are we going to get rid of them? The
question is how we protect ourselves against them?
We haven't had a perfect man for about 2000 years. Even then it
only took us about 35 years to get rid of him. Until we do, we are
stuck with greedy, rapacious and agressive humans in positions of
Those barbarians lurking just beyond the glow of the campfire are
the ones we have to be concerned about. Having them sign a piece of
paper isn't going to deter them. Hoping that they don't paint
themselves or us into a corner isn't accomplishing anything real.
What do you propose to do about them? Just being against something
without a viable alternative that provides protection is just an
exercise in mental masturbation.
There never has been and never will be perfect systems. The
history of our institutions and technology has been one of continuos
incremental improvement. Very seldom has there been the total and
sudden overturn of structure. Even those events were built on the
accumulation of the past.
Again, there are predators beyond the light of the campfire.
Wishing they weren't there isn't a viable alternative. What do you
propose that will have a chance to decrease the probability that our
childres will not see the use of these weapons against us?
- 02:54pm Aug 9, 2000 EST (#196
And the building of a system that promotes the use of nuclear
power does this? Of course.
- 10:57pm Aug 9, 2000 EST (#197
beckq - 02:54pm Aug 9,2000 #196
How does the building of a defensive system promote the use of
nuclear power? The defensive system does not use nuclear warheads to
destroy the incomming target. In fact, present plans call for a
totally hit or miss system.
From what I have read, the idea is to get into the high 90s
percentile of a kill. The system does not guarantee perfect
protection. All it does is increase the uncertainty of the attacker
in destroying the desired target.
Like the world of Electronic Coutermeasures (ECM), nothing is
static. As we develop means to counter the opponent's detection
systems, he is forced to develop a fix to restore his capability.
None of this is perfect, but it does increase the uncertainty factor
in battle plans. There is no silver bullet solution.
Again, I ask, what are your solutions to the predators that exist
beyond the light of the campfire? How do we keep them at bay? How do
we provide our decision makers some options other than to take the
hit or to avenge our dead on a fabulous scale?
We need concrete plans. We do not need proposals thst put our
heads on a choping block, hand an axe to predators and then hope for
- 01:23am Aug 10, 2000 EST (#198
I think that we should give greater urgency to the threat from
thousands of warheads on missiles in the former Soviet Union that
are still targeting every city on the western world than to a
possible threat from N. Korea or Iraq several years from now. If a
small fraction of the missiles in Russia were to launch for some
reason, they would destroy the U.S. and/or western Europe within 30
minutes. I recently read a report explaining that, since the fall of
the Soviet Union, the Russian early warning system is not working
well and is only useful for approximately 12 hours per day, which
has on at least a couple occasions led them to believe that they
might have been under attack and to come within minutes of launching
a "counter attack". To increase our security, top priority must be
given to lowering the number of warheads on each side and we should
seek to entirely eliminate land-based ICBMs for both the U.S. and
Russia and stay with a small number of submarine launched missiles
and long-range bombers. To deploy a system, designed to protect only
the U.S, would send a bad message to the Russians and only slow down
progress on strategic arms reductions or even lead to a new arms
race. To defend against rogue state attacks and accidental launches,
it makes much more sense to develop an international missile
defense, together with the Russians and Europeans, and in
conjunction with sharp decreases in offensive warheads and improved
coordination of U.S. and Russian early warning.
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