New York Times on the Web



 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    Missile Defense

Nazi engineer and Disney space advisor Wernher Von Braun helped give us rocket science. Today, the legacy of military aeronautics has many manifestations from SDI to advanced ballistic missiles. Now there is a controversial push for a new missile defense system. What will be the role of missile defense in the new geopolitical climate and in the new scientific era?

Earliest MessagesPrevious MessagesRecent MessagesOutline (378 previous messages)

rshowalt - 03:32pm Oct 5, 2000 EDT (#379 of 396)

First, look at what is there, ready to go off, on each side, to blow up the world. Here's a television treatment of the case, that assumes much MORE stabilty than I believe is really justified.

The following is a transcript of a CBS 60 Minutes II segment entitled "The Missiliers." Produced by George Crile, it contains an extensive interview between Dan Rather and General Eugene Habiger (Ret.) , former Commander-in-chief of all U.S. nuclear forces.

Toward the end of the 2nd show in this series, there's this.

Habiger: ... We have reached the point where the senior military generals responsible for nuclear forces are advocating, more vocally, more vehemently, than our politicians, to get down to lower and lower weapons. Think about that.

Dan: I have thought about that. And the irony is extreme.

Habiger: Itís a dilemma. I know of no other situation in the history of our country where we face this kind of dilemma.

Studio Out: That dilemma may well get worse. At a time when trust has disappeared, the missiles on both sides continue to operate on full combat alert.

We need to take down our nuclear weapons (NOT our conventional weapons) based on the rational distrust and fear both the U.S. and Russia have. The mechanics are not difficult - this tread, #266-269 . rshowalt 9/25/00 7:32am

We should work with rational fear and distrust, which we have in abundance, and not ask for love and trust between America and Russia, which we can never expect.

rshowalt - 05:54pm Oct 5, 2000 EDT (#380 of 396)

There was an interesting detail in this 60 minutes 2 show. The implication was clear that the people in charge of firing the missiles, on both sides, expected them to be taken down. But the order to do so never came through.

The political and negotiating authorities of the two sides, in interaction, weren't able to do what almost everybody involved wanted to do.

They were hoping for a new dawn of trust. Trust didn't come. Why not take advantage of the the distrust we have?

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, almost all the assumptions about controls, and invulnerability of those controls, have been shown false by internet experience.

Does anybody LIKE these weapons? Why not take them down? People who know the situation use the word "hair trigger" to describe current deployment, and with classification rules in place, it isn't possible nor is it desirable to add too much detail to this.

My own view is that there's about a 10%-30% chance of the world ending, per year, from now on, until these weapons are taken down, or the world ends. I'd be grateful for a chance to describe, to authorities, with some trusted journalists watching, why I think so. (Others are not a lot more optimistic than I am - General Horner, for instance, thinks odds are good that an American city will blow up this decade. I agree with that, but am more concerned, because I think our missiles would be likely to fire, and destroy the world, if that happened.) A problem is, who can check, with classification rules as they are? Those rules are set up so that nothing that actually matters can be checked with decent confidence.

Just a note: The intelligence agencies are in the deception business, and they busily decieve each other, at all sorts of levels. Their bookeeping is terrible, and they tell each other so many things that aren't so that they are singularly ill qualified to check anything at all. These guys are sloppy.

Challenge: Can anyone in the government prove, by the ordinary usages, that I've ever had any access to classified information, of any kind, ever? Any at all? That ought to be easy to do. I bet they can't do it.

Now, these are the guys we are trusting to check our control systems, and negotiating stances, for reliability.

We're betting our lives on their reliability. And these folks are unbelievably sloppy, and have been telling so many lies, for so long, that they barely know whether they are coming or going. The only know that, no matter what, the rule is "hide it."

I believe that, our missile deployments are terribly dangerous, and we should take them down. On the basis of distrust and mutual fear we can do it, and do it soon. All we need, and this is especially on the American side, is a change of heart.

lunarchick - 11:31pm Oct 5, 2000 EDT (#381 of 396)
Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !

a change of heart .... or a survival brain?

The survival brain enables proactive reaction prior to danger. This is danger, but we are not holistically reacting. Suggests that people do not have full knowledge of fact and implications. Suggests that peace foundations haven't marketed the 'message', haven't positioned it for distain and the question is why?

America isn't willing to pay it's dues the the United Nations to enable function, and yet spends $25Billion a year maintaining it's worthless nuclear arsnal.

Were $1billion allocated to 25 world places of need it would do much to raise the quality of life of deserving people.

lunarchick - 12:49am Oct 6, 2000 EDT (#382 of 396)
Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !

Radiation - more terrible than believed:

lunarchick - 01:01am Oct 6, 2000 EDT (#383 of 396)
Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !

lunarchick - 06:01am Oct 6, 2000 EDT (#384 of 396)
Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !


rshowalt - 07:07am Oct 6, 2000 EDT (#385 of 396)

Robyn Williams Ockham's Razor is one of the great radio shows in the world. Lucky Australians, to have their ABC do so much well.

Do you suppose Williams'd take an interest in nuclear weapons, on the one side, or an interest in the dynamics of threads like this, which are public in some ways, but so isolated from "publication", on another?

More Messages Unread Messages Recent Messages (11 following messages)

 Read Subscriptions  Subscribe  Post Message
 E-mail to Sysop  Your Preferences

 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  / Missile Defense

Home | Site Index | Site Search | Forums | Archives | Marketplace

Quick News | Page One Plus | International | National/N.Y. | Business | Technology | Science | Sports | Weather | Editorial | Op-Ed | Arts | Automobiles | Books | Diversions | Job Market | Real Estate | Travel

Feedback | Classifieds | Services | New York Today

Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company