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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 11:48am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1307 of 1308) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Let me post the following, take an hour to get a start at it, and get back to you.

rshowalter - 11:48am Mar 22, 2001 EST (#1308 of 1308) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

From the dustcover of DARK SUN: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb Simon & Schuster, 1995

". . . . Richard Rhodes tells .... the secret story of how and why the hydrogen bomb was made; traces the path by which "the Bomb," . . . . became the defining issue of the Cold War, and reveals how close the world came to nuclear destruction before the United States and the Soviet Union learned the lesson of nuclear stalemate - a stalemate, Rhodes makes clear, that forced the superpowers into a tenuous truce for more than four decades, in the end bankrupting and destroying the Communist State and foreclosing world-scale war."

(But not world destruction, or enormous wastes and injustices that continue to this day.) The dust jacket continues:

"From the day in September 1941 when the first word of Anglo-American atomic bomb research arrived in Moscow via Soviet espionage to the week of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis wwhen Curtis LeMay goaded President Kennedy to attack the USSR with everything the US arsenal had, this book is full of unexpected, sometimes hair raising - revalations based on previously undisclosed Soviet as well as US sources.

. "The first Soviet atomic bomb was a carbon copy of the first US atomic bomb, its plans supplied by wholesale Soviet espionage.

. . . . . .

. "In April 1947, in the heat of the burgeoning Cold War, the US had no assembled atomic bombs in stock.

. "The Soviet Union was essentially defenseless against atomic bombing until at least 1960.

. "Building the Strategic Air Command, Curtis LeMay made persistent attempts to acquire control of US nuclear weapons independent of presidential authorization

(I'd add that, at very many essential levels of administrative detail, LeMay and his successors and allies did get this control, and their successors continue to hold this power, only slightly constrained by Presidential power, to this day. That is, they have enormous power over everything except the actual firing of the weapons. )

. "SAC flew daily intelligence missions over the Soviet Union throughout the 1950's, including deliberately provokative overflights of Soviet cities in broad daylight.

. "At the height of the Korean War, President Truman traded the US Joint Chiefs of Staff nine atomic bombs for General Douglas MacArthur's head.

. " US firebombing of North Korean cities and large dams killed more than two million civilians.

. . . . .

. " During the Cuban missile crisis, SAC put 7000 megatons into the air, menaced the Soviet Union with an unauthorized missile launch and deliberately flew bombers toward Soviet targets. The first and only direct confrontation between the superpowers was very nearly the last.

Some crucial facts are rather uglier than this, and there is much more detail, but these things are public.

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