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    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?

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rshowalt - 07:51pm Oct 30, 2000 EDT (#455 of 461) Delete Message

Instrumentation gets better and better, communication gets better and better, data processing gets sharper and sharper - surprises get harder and harder to come by. In another decade, surprises will be harder still to arrange. We're coming into a world that will be much more stable, much better for defense rather than offense, once existing nuclear weapons come down. And a world where we can make nuclear disarmament stick.

kalter.rauch - 08:05am Oct 31, 2000 EDT (#456 of 461)
Earth vs <^> <^> <^>

I know you two are locked in some Supreme Utopian Pied Piper lemming march over a cliff, but it has nothing to do with missle defence.

We need to discuss real-time remedies to the loss of security once offered by distance?!?!?

Since it's too late, by 50 years, to think about "banning the bomb"......few are aware that the celebrated "peace sign", /|\, was a sandwichboard slogan from '50s and '60s British anti-nuclear cells. Before that......a rune......

rshowalt - 12:10pm Oct 31, 2000 EDT (#457 of 461) Delete Message

If it is "too late, by 50 years, to think about "banning the bomb" then your question has no solution.

Nuclear weapons are compact enough that one can always come up with ways to get (at least a small number) to targets, without missiles. Conventional weapons are nothing like so dangerous, except for poison gases and biological weapons, that aren't tactical or aimable.

Kalter, could you be a clearer on the reasons why it is impractical to "ban the bomb" as an operational weapon?

It certainly looks practical to me, and much more practical than any available alternatives.

Could you be particularly specific about the "impracticality" of getting rid of the tens of thousands of warheads that Russia and the US now aim at each other, and now arrange with controls set up so that destruction of the whole world is distinctly possible?

Getting down these huge numbers of weapons is an enormously important interim goal. For the life of me, I don't see anything even faintly impractical about it. Both the military forces in charge of this mutually constructed doomsday machine want large reductions already. The reductions haven't been made because orders from the politicians haven't come down to the military units involved, which have long been technically ready to take the weapons down. The recent CNN documentary Rehearsing Armageddon made that very clear.

97%+ of all nuclear weapons are in U.S. and Russian hands. The others are in the hands of a short list of nation states - most probably willing to take them down, if others would. The most likely holdouts would be Pakistan and Israel - serious challenges, but not challenges at the level of destruction of the world.

Once current nuclear weapons were down, would it be technically feasible to make new ones? Of course it would.

That isn't as big an objection as it may look. Since WWI it has been possible to make more poison gases than are needed to destroy the world many times over. The same can be said of biological weapons, as well. Those genies won't go back into the bottle either.

But a combination of consensus morality, and knowledge of the military ineffectiveness of these weapons, keeps them from being used. A similar combination of consensus morality and knowledge of their military ineffectiveness, combined with monitoring for nuclear testing and other enforcement,would stand a good chance of keeping nuclear weapons from being made again, or being used again, once they were taken down.

kalter.rauch - 07:20am Nov 1, 2000 EDT (#458 of 461)
Earth vs <^> <^> <^>

I don't see what you mean by nuclear weapons being militarily ineffective. They ended WWII and kept World Bolshevism at bay. Are you denying the validity of deterrence? If not, then you have to admit the advantages to a nation's military and civilian sectors. Are you aware the US Army has only 10 active divisions? If it weren't for nuclear weapons, the US would have to reinstitute the draft, and increase the order of battle to over 50 divisions......better yet, a hundred divisions, with the main emphasis on heavy armor and air cavalry. The you have any idea how many capital ships would be needed? Reagan's Navy Sec. Lehman had a "600 ship Navy", but aside from carriers and subs, it was mostly support ships, indefensible on their own. I would call for a 1000 ship Navy. The Air Force......those 20 B2s and the remnants of the once mighty B-52 air fleet would be of little decisive utility in the event of an emergency without nuclear clout.

The public, naturally enough, is mesmerized to paralysis by the thought of Nuclear Armeggedon, but it can take sustenance in knowing that the enemy is even more afraid of The Fire.

lunarchick - 07:32am Nov 1, 2000 EDT (#459 of 461)

It was developed by the British "Committee for Nuclear Disarmament" (CND), apparently about 1958. It is comprised of the two semaphore flag positions for "N" and "D," standing for "nuclear disarmament"

lunarchick - 07:42am Nov 1, 2000 EDT (#460 of 461)

above post in deference to :

"think about "banning the bomb"......few are aware that the celebrated "peace sign", /|\, was a sandwichboard slogan from '50s and '60s British anti-nuclear cells. Before that......a rune...... "

Were there anti-nuclear cells in the UK or was there an upfront marching B.Russel, M.Foot, lead peace movement .. when jazz was vogue and Merseyside embryonic ?

kalter.rauch - 08:52am Nov 1, 2000 EDT (#461 of 461)
Earth vs <^> <^> <^>

I'm just going by a picture and its caption. These looked like shell-shocked survivors of The Blitz.

There may have been beatniks amongst their ranks......the ringleaders, I'll wager...strollin' side-by-side with old Tommy Giles, the Air Warden.

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