New York Times on the Web Forums Science
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
(211 previous messages)
- 12:17pm Aug 10, 2000 EST (#212
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.
- 07:34pm Aug 10, 2000 EST (#213
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.
- 02:32am Aug 11, 2000 EST (#214
Earth vs <^> <^> <^>
......it alarms me how some of you refer to the rest of the world
as "predators" and "barbarians"...... patndmac
Now that you've woken up, don't go back to sleep......
- 11:03pm Aug 12, 2000 EST (#215
"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.
- 06:49pm Aug 13, 2000 EST (#216
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
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?
- 12:51pm Aug 21, 2000 EST (#217
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.
- 01:49am Aug 22, 2000 EST (#218
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 sensing...network
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.
(11645 following messages)
New York Times on the Web Forums Science