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?
Much discussion of Missile Defense, including a basic question -
is it defensive or offensive - and another question - can it work?
Disarmament also undermines mutually assured destruction.
Unilateral reductions in the number of weapons may be desirable
however, especially if the weapons are now more mobile and harder to
destroy in a first strike offensive.
- 10:53am Feb 5, 2001 EST (#644
It is surely true that MAD, ugly as it is, has helped maintain
peace, and maybe been indispensible for it. And very many of the
people who have worked so hard, so passionately, so self
sacrificingly, to make it possible, deserve thanks and praise.
Even so, MAD is ugly, and if we can find a solution that is less
ugly, we should try to. But that solution has to be REAL.
We should all be on the side of world survival, and I believe we
are. That can mean, sometimes, that matters of detail, that need be
nobody's fault, but that can nonetheless be matters of life and
death, have to be checked effectively, honestly, and completely
enough so that we aren't risking more innocent lives than we can
count, or even think about. We also want to avoid risking our own.
- 03:40pm Feb 5, 2001 EST (#645
I am not the only one who believes that a nuclear bomb is more
likely to arrive in a suitcase than on a missile.mhunter20
Although MAD does help to prevent this tragedy, it is less
effective at preventing a hidden attack than it is at stopping a
missile attack. Would a President launch a nuclear attack on a
country because agents believe that we were able to thwart a covert
nuclear attack on our country? I don't think so.
The list of countries able to make nuclear weapons is growing.
If cheap energy runs in short supply (see Hubbert peak for oil
but also see Thomas Gold - oil and methane are abiogenic) or if
global warming is real then we will need to implement alternate
energy technologies to the burning of fossil fuels. (War can be the
result of a planet not ready to deal with an energy shortage.)
Nuclear energy is one alternative but spent fuel must be processed
in breeder reactors which creates Plutonium, a key component of
nuclear weapons. I believe that currently, there is only one
commercial breeder reactor operating in the world (England). Tesla's
World System (if it works) can provide relatively free (economic use
of the term) energy but the devices would have to be heavily guarded
by an international group of soldiers to prevent a terrorist use of
MAD is ugly and it is becoming less effective. Trust but verify
is the better solution. If we are to give up MAD, we must be able to
verify anything to a much greater degree than we can today. There
can be no excuse for any national leader to deny access of
international teams to any place on Earth. Verify is also a better
solution for preventing the use of biological weapons.
- 09:03pm Feb 5, 2001 EST (#646
Verify (and with military teeth if necesary - this is military
force in a good cause) and make the horriffic immorality of
the use of nuclear weapons clear enough, widely enough, that there
are MANY watchers, who will stand in the way of the development and
use of nuclear weapons.
The moral issue is crucial for practical enforcement. Worldwide.
And getting the moral issues clarified is a task for
intellectuals, including writers and clergymen, and for political
leaders, and for celebrities, and for the media.
I've listened to sermons on nuclear weapons at my parents church
(River Road Church, Baptist, Richmond Va ) - and moral concern about
nuclear weapons is widespread among the intelligent,
thoughtful clergy - of whom there are very many.
Here's an issue where Jerry Falwell, and THE NEW YORK TIMES, with
proper dialog, ought to agree.
Islamic clergymen of good faith (and there are many of them)
would agree too.
So would many, many responsible people from all walks of life,
including military people.
- 09:08pm Feb 5, 2001 EST (#647
A matter of perspective. If the HUGE arsenals of the US and
Russia came down, the nuclear menace would "only" be a few tens of
times worse than the costs of big earthquakes. With those big
arsenals in place, with controls as they are the world could very
Taking down the BIG arsenals is important.
This is not, in any way, to discount to importance of containing
But the nuclear terror that fills me with fear is terror of the
end of the world.
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