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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 (211 previous messages)

beckq - 12:17pm Aug 10, 2000 EST (#212 of 11863)

Yes but it always is reborn. It started in 1967 it died in 72. It rose its head again in 1982-3 and died in 86. It quietly sucked up research dollars until 1990 when the Bush Administration told the world about Brilliant Pebbles. Then came the World Trade bombings and the Tokyo Subway gasses -whom better to latch onto the national cry to 'do something' then good ole Newt and his small-very carefull requirement for NMD in his Contract with America- and now your where you are today.

vic.hernandez - 07:34pm Aug 10, 2000 EST (#213 of 11863)

beckq #210 & #211

Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you. After your references to my ignorance and phallic fixation, I had a check up with my doctor. She confirms it. The little head is not doing the thinking for the big head.

1) SALT 1 was not about preserving a mutual suicide pact, it was about reducing the expense of the Nuclear Arms Race going on at the time. After all was said and done, both sides agreed that it would be ok to build up to a set limit. All that was agreed to was to slow down the rate of increase, cut down on the expenses.

Only in the arena of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) thinking is attempting to find a way to survive bad. If you subscribe to the idea of mutual sucide this is true. But as more countries gain the capability, the idea of MAD is mad. palousereader, in #207, is correct in his statement about the balance changing. Can we justify the total destruction of a small nation that had the temerity to attack us with weapons of mass destruction? Not in our eyes, and definitely not in the eyes of the rest of the world.

"Thats why nobody played." No one else played because of the expense. But, technology moves on and now what was once difficult to do is now easier to do. Especially when others have shown that it is possible and quite often shown how it is possible.

As for the other uses that the money being spent could be put to use on... I remind you that we have spent an unbelievable ammount of money on just those items. Perhaps you need to ask your government representatives why it takes $3.00 - $4.00 of bureaucracy to provide $1.00 of benefit.

2) "Your country will no longer exist the way you knew it prior." That is the case already. The country I grew up in, the America of the 50s and 60s is seen only in the artifacts. We have changed. Hopefully, we have advanced. This much I do know for certain, there is no other system I would want to live under and darned few others that I would want to have to exist under.

3) "Balance of power is a system and has little to do with this debate." It has everything to do with this debate. Wether it is bi-polar or multi-polar, it is still a balance act. We only control one actor on the stage, us. Who do you want making decisions about us, us or some other entity that may or may not feel benign towards us. In this arena, I do not believe we should just trust in the kindness of strangers. Especially as a goodly portion of those strangers are downright hostile towards us.

4) #211. Take a pill and chill. If this were about name calling you would win hands down. Luckily, it is not.

kalter.rauch - 02:32am Aug 11, 2000 EST (#214 of 11863)
Earth vs <^> <^> <^> alarms me how some of you refer to the rest of the world as "predators" and "barbarians"...... patndmac 8/10/00 2:49am

Now that you've woken up, don't go back to sleep......

warwolf - 11:03pm Aug 12, 2000 EST (#215 of 11863)
"Distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful." -- Nietzsche

Forget missile defense.

It's much easier for the enemy to drop off a large suitcase containing a nuclear device in the middle of Central Park, NYC.

This is the era of portability.

frankmz - 06:49pm Aug 13, 2000 EST (#216 of 11863)

Now that the cold war has ended, we still must spend 60 billion dollars (for starters) for a missile defense system, so that we can defend ourselves against a fiendishly resourceful enemy (yet to be identified).

Whomsoever this enemy may be, will we feel better if we have this maginot line of illusory defense, or perhaps it is not really about our feelings, but about the feelings of the big defense contractors?

jkanon - 12:51pm Aug 21, 2000 EST (#217 of 11863)

Who said "if we don't read history, we are bound to repeat it"? We have an excellent case here. Remember the Maignot Line? France's great defense against Germany? Remember Fortress Singapore whose guns will blow any fleet out of the water? Remember what happened to them? A defense system will only work if the enemy is stupid enough to attack head on against it or has no other option. Our enemies are not that stupid nor do they lack other means, e.g. "a bomb in a suitcase in Central Park" as one poster has already said. Not only is the Anti-missle system a no goer in protecting us, it could also pose a serious threat to our safety. France and the British went complectent after they got their defenses up. They fell asleep at the wheel. They didn't keep their intelligence work up. Why should they? They were safe. And the same could happen to the USA. So let's take this valuable lesson from history and drop the whole thing and work on building our intelligence resources because that is what will keep us safe.

kalter.rauch - 01:49am Aug 22, 2000 EST (#218 of 11863)
Earth vs <^> <^> <^>

Completely sensible, jkanon......

Is a "passive" intelligence enough? Is it enough to distill the data stream into a product suitable for human intelligence? The satellite imaging systems...remote land and ocean sifting......most of that is on autopilot already. The micro-electromechanical revolution can deliver a potent tool...a "virtual level" within the "system", working efficiently and out of human awareness. Intelligent neural networks commanding legions of "smart" and "brilliant" robots will make "corrections" to the Big Picture before an enemy even thinks about commiting an agression.

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