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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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dirac_10 - 03:38pm Jan 8, 2001 EST (#544 of 550)

rshowalter - 01:53pm Jan 8, 2001 EST (#543 of 543)

What ever happened to the blistering crossexamination? The scientific reasons it wouldn't work?

Cat got your tounge? After all the trouble I went to to write it out for you?

And I was so looking forward to the science lesson.

It's pretty thin soup, and has nothing to do with whether it would work, but here's what Gorby has to say:

"Need an example?

It's more than you seem to get around here, shoot.

The expansion of NATO eastward,

Politics. Politicians wanting the Polish vote etc. Nothing to do with some grand plan. You gotta believe the smart folks in Russia are well aware of it.

the handling of the Yugoslav crisis,

Well Gorby, you are completely out to lunch here. It was virtually all of Western Civilization. Most of the rest of the world too. The most united Europe has ever been in it's entire history by far. You are letting your predjudice and bigotry get the best of you. Couldn't have anything to do with race and religion could it? Just a cooincidence is it?

the military theory and practice of U.S. rearmament --

Sorry Gorby, we have cut our spending rather radically. Probably why we are finally whipping butt on the global economic stage finally.

including the latest and utterly extravagant

And when Saddam's missle is on the way, and we are wondering if it will work, I wonder how many Americans will wish we hadn't extravagantly wasted the money. Perhaps cut some corners.

Anti-Missile National Defense System, which, in turn, is based on the truly bizarre inotion of so-called "rogue states."

Bizarre huh? How bizarre to think Saddam might use poison gas against others. How bizarre to think Bin loonie or any of his followers would want to kill Americans. How bizarre to think a country like N. Korea, with it's 4 international phone lines and forced hero worship of a total dictator could possibly act irrationally.

And, goodness knows, in 20 years when 50 countries would have the ability to destroy the US, there is no chance whatsoever that they ever would, even by accident. After all, we know Iraqi engineering is flawless...

dirac_10 - 03:39pm Jan 8, 2001 EST (#545 of 550)

At any rate, my analysis stands unrefuted.

Now, why is that?

rshowalter - 09:46pm Jan 8, 2001 EST (#546 of 550) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Could it be that I've got some other things to attend to?

dirac_10 - 10:07pm Jan 8, 2001 EST (#547 of 550)

The irony of it is that if Mighty Mother Russia that was buldin' Hydrogen Bombs and sending up sattelites 50 years ago is worried about it, It will work like a charm for Saddam.

Kinda obvious if you think about it, isn't it?

dirac_10 - 10:17pm Jan 8, 2001 EST (#548 of 550)

Now, we've known since Godel's Incompleteness Theorm in the thirties there will always be an exception, a loophole in our axiomatic system. And, of course, Turing's Halting Problem demonstrates that we can't be sure if the computer can do the calculations in a pinch. Not to mention Chaitin's full blown Algorithmic Information Theory, that, among other things, says that if we ever came across the best plan, it is absolutely impossible for us to know it.

So despite the cold hard fact that it is impossible to have a foolproof system, the idea is to make it so difficult, that there is a high probability of Saddam's missles not getting through.

rshowalter - 06:07am Jan 9, 2001 EST (#549 of 550) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

A missile defense system that would work, or, as you suggest would be the best that could be hoped for, very probably work, would be a good thing. A very good thing.

Worth the negotiating trouble it would cause. I think we'd agree about that.


So the argument to "keep trying" is a good argument.

Like other arguments, it has to stand and fall on technical details, and on necessarily less than certain judgements.

Our attempts at Star Wars have been falling short, in many, many ways, for a long time.

  • *******

    I believe that if we put even a tenth as much effort into finding ways for an effective, enforceable nuclear disarmament, that we spend on Star Wars, we'd get a much better solution.

    My own view, which may be wrong (and you may be privy to all sorts of information that I have no access to) is that I haven't seen an antimissile proposal out of the Star Wars (I,... II, ... III, ....n ) programs that I'd give one chance in 1000 of actually working in the real, dirty world.

    If the odds are anything like that, we ought not to bet too much or our national security on the success of the program.

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