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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 (191 previous messages)

patndmac - 12:34am Jul 28, 2000 EST (#192 of 11858)

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.

kalter.rauch - 03:08am Aug 8, 2000 EST (#193 of 11858)
Earth vs <^> <^> <^>

Your words are defeatist, reflecting the rot of 2000 years of christendom......

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 country.

beckq - 10:26am Aug 8, 2000 EST (#194 of 11858)

kalter.rauch - 03:08am Aug 8, 2000 EDT (#193 of 193)

In a nuclear war the living will envy the dead -Winston Churchill

vic.hernandez - 10:23am Aug 9, 2000 EST (#195 of 11858)

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 power good.

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 power.

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?

beckq - 02:54pm Aug 9, 2000 EST (#196 of 11858)

And the building of a system that promotes the use of nuclear power does this? Of course.

vic.hernandez - 10:57pm Aug 9, 2000 EST (#197 of 11858)

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 the best.

gorilla3b - 01:23am Aug 10, 2000 EST (#198 of 11858)

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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