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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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redsox24 - 11:02am Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7814 of 7904)

I would like to respond to posting #7808.

Mr. Matel makes the point that a missile defense system need not be 100% effective to act as a deterent to nuclear attacks directed at the United States. This point is valid, in my opinion, but he neglects to mention several other arguments that outwiegh any adherence to this traditional argument for nuclear technology. There are at least three reasons why a missile defense system should not be a top priority.

First, the intended effects of such a policy could, in the absence of a comprehensive international agreement on the subject, actually decrease national security and increase international tension by creating a situation where other countries feel compelled to increase their own nuclear capacities to thwart a perceived increase in US capabilities. This is likely to occur if Russia and/or China are not involved in the United States' effort to create a missile defense. Given recent tensions among the US and both of these nations and the US position of informing other countries on what we already intend to do, I doubt that any international agreement will emerge.

Second, I don't feel that large expeditures on a missile defense system are the most effective way to spend our limited financial resources. In other words, the opportunity cost of sinking billions of dollars into a missle defense system comes at what could have been done with this money in education, infrastructure, health care etc., not to mention the other military initiatives touched on by Mr. Daschle in his speach.

Finally, there is serious doubt as to whether missle defense will be met with even a modest amount of success. In fact the former directer (scientific) of the program recently resigned due to his frustration in communicating what he perceives are serious and intractible scientific problems with the missile defense concept. He is currently lobbying the National Academy of Sciences to formally oppose a missile defense system on the grounds of scientific feasibility. This is similar to how economists responded a few years back when the "Balanced Budget Admendment" was being proposed.

clopes0 - 12:12pm Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7815 of 7904)

I support Daschle's position. The funds could be better spent on educating our citizens and rebuilding our internal infrastructure, rather than mounting another fear campaign that supports the republican oil and military/gun lobbies. The Bush Admin's unwillingness to sign on to international environmental and warfare reduction treaties in order to protect its perceived "economic" interests is at the expense of our children's environmental health and just regressive thinking. Get these dinosaurs out!

mazza9 - 12:27pm Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7816 of 7904)
Louis Mazza


Yeah, there's a direct correlation between federal dollars spent and educational achievement. More money spent = lower test scores. Given enough money to spend the federal goverment can attain that mythical, moronic level in the classic sci fi story entitled, "The Marching Morons"


ninglish - 12:43pm Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7817 of 7904)

I agree with Senator Daschle. We have more problems to worry about these days than a possibility of a nuclear strike. Also, if we were to maintain the Missile Defense System, it would only hinder our relationships with the other countries. Placing fear in the minds of our neighbors is NOT the way to earn respect.

gerrie2157 - 01:29pm Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7818 of 7904)

Bush wants to put tens of billions of our dollars into missle defense while even the pentagon's report was our most dangerous threats are within , suitcase bombs, etc. While missle shield might be worth some R&D, bush wants it to be his one big end to end all? What kind of man, i mean what goes on inside a man's head when he goes to Russia and looks into the head of the ex KGB chief and proclaims he "looked into putin's eyes and saw his soul!!! what is going on???? This reminds me of that movie, "CATCH 22", IS ANYONE HOME?

truegrit9 - 03:17pm Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7819 of 7904)

When people have to make a choice between food and insurance, sane people choose food and skip the insurance premium. That is exactly the same choice we are being asked to make between the Anti Ballistic Missile System and Energy. We can't afford both because it is going to cost many billions of dollar for each. The reason we have to choose energy (food) is because we are fast running out of oil/gas supplies within the next 20 years. It will take all the oil/gas supplies we have left, and all the missile defense money, to transition from an oil/gas economy to the new nuclear energy world. There is no other choice.

kuttner1 - 03:23pm Aug 9, 2001 EST (#7820 of 7904)

It is clear that adding to the $60,000,000,000 already spent on this Potemkin Village charade is a mistake in several ways:

it ignores the cost-effective and immediate availability and capability of preemptive strikes to destroy any icbm development and launch facility in a so called "rogue" state.

it ignores the crying need for training, operational improvements, and weapons upgrades we so badly need, from machine guns to tanks to field artillery to helicoptor replacements, to fight the wars that are immediately probable.

it ignores the delivery capabilities that now serve to enable any rogue state to smuggle in nuclear weaponry via conventional aircraft, ships, and plain old freight shipments.

it is based on rousing hysteria among the citizenry, and then lying about what we can actually achieve.

Other than for those whose careers and pocketbooks would be enhanced by funding SDI al la Bush, it is hard to find strategic or tactical benefits to the US and its allies in this program.

L. G. Kuttner.

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