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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 (230 previous messages)

ketair7 - 12:09pm Aug 30, 2000 EST (#231 of 11863)

Seems I just tuned in to semantics. Fact: Just about every scientist of note has come out against the Star War missile defense systems. You might want to read, if you haven't, the last issue of HARPER'S mag where exposure of Pentagon cheating on tests was proven by a well-known scientist. His long report was sent to Clinton, and it was immediately CLASSIFIED. HARPER'S published the article.

At this point to continue with Star Wars, a Ronald Reagan, Buck Rogers'/Flash Gordon/Reader's Digest dream, with the expense of money, but most importantly the waving of a red flag under the noses of China, North Korea, Russia, is about as short-sighted as it gets.

In 1985 we were truly on the brink. To reinvigorate the arms race is NUTS/MAD ... To violate the basic, hard-won treaties is testosterone/money-motivated b.s. to put it mlldy. The planet is slowly being destroyed now; what do we want to do; speed up its total destruction?

I think we would be smarter and certainly more farsighted if we took the $60 billion more the Pentagon wants to continue to financially assist Russia, North Korea, African and Latin American countries/peoples to become viable competitors in the world marketplace and help when people are starving wherever they are. That's more of a future defense than any tinker-toy missiles that hit weather balloons and other decoys in tests rather than on-coming missiles.

This will be the greatest nation on earth when we take care of our own people and share our largesse of knowhow with others to help them get to a place of equality.

I hate the feeling that at the whim, political dogma, greed, competitiveness, short-sightedness of those who sit in offices figuring out how best to destroy "the enemy put my life, my children and grandchildren's lives and the life of every living thing on this planet in jeopardy ... for what?

As my mother used to say, You can get more flies in the dish with honey than vinegar.

Military strength is important and necessary, but this Star Wars vision, decried as nonsense by the vast majority of members of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and other very wise and knowledgeable people (Einstein would be one if he were alive now) and for several years has proven itself to be very expensive nonsense, is ultimately a waste of time, energy, money and positive possibilities for the future of this planet and the life on it.

I would like to suggest that all those who hold high elected or appointed office be required to live on the monies of poor folks in Mississippi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Russia, and on and on. I think a little helplessness and going hungry would change their perspective.

We are talking matters of life and death here. Semantics be damned. When are we going to connect our heads to our hearts and get it right?

Oneupmanship, and "man" is in that word, shows in so many of the arguments on bulletin boards and forums. Oneupmanship will not save me or my brothers and sisters on this planet if playing with Big Fire remains the primary gamesmanship at the Pentagon and in the halls of Congress or the corporate boardrooms. That's a guarantee that eventually everyone is going to be burned. Money and power and who is #1 will cease to matter.

beckq - 12:12pm Aug 30, 2000 EST (#232 of 11863)

ketair7 - 12:09pm Aug 30, 2000 EDT (#231 of 231)

Correct. That is why NMD is a mistake and undermines the principles of MAD. The same principles enforced under SALT I. That holding each others civilians hostage actually reduces the threat of use.Thank you for your post and please continue to voice your opinion against this system.

vic.hernandez - 01:53pm Aug 31, 2000 EST (#233 of 11863)


Re: Your postings #205 and #227.

Good thought about the panic of China responding to a deployment of an ABM. A rapid ten-fold increase in their nuclear arsenal would exact a tremendous toll on their resources. There would be a large number of hurdles to be overcome. Among them: - Infrastructure. Facilities would have to be expanded to accomodate the increase. Technicians would have to be trained. Supplies procured.... The list in this arena alone can be staggering. - Technical. Do we use an old design? How do we protect the force economically? How do we maintain control of the force?(don't want unathorized launches you know!)... - Political. What would Japan, Taiwan, India, Russia, or the USA do? What message are we sending Taiwan about a peaceful incorporation? How would our populace react?... - Financial. Where is the funding for this comming from? Where do we sacrifice to free up the resources?... - Military. Do we gain suffient prestige and power to justify the deployment? Will our military establishment tolerate the sacrifices we will need to make in the conventional forces to afford this? Will it force us to curtail the continual modernization and upgrade of those conventional forces if we are to keep them credible?...

These type of things do not happen in a vacuum. It is one thing to build a demonstration weapon that is set off in a tunnel or a piece of desolate territory. It is something else to build up all the background stuff that is needed to support such a deployment. And if the execution is not there, the credibility is not there.

In #227 I'm not sure that there would be a decrease in the number of land based missles with treaties cutting the number of weapons. One thing for sure though, there would be a decrease in the number of warheads available.

Perhaps we should invite the other budding nuclear powers and get a commitment from them to only deploy their weapons on ballistic submarines. That way they could be relatively sure that their firepower was safe. Also, it would tend to limit the amount of weapons produced and deployed. What do you think?

beckq - 12:50pm Sep 1, 2000 EST (#234 of 11863)

The first battle has been won.

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