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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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lunarchick - 02:19am Aug 10, 2001 EST (#7838 of 7904)

The vacation president

Bush can take as much holiday as he wants

Special report: George Bush's America

Leader Thursday August 9, 2001 The Guardian

You are probably expecting us to be outraged by the news that George W Bush has spent 42% of his presidency on holiday. How dare the man play hooky so often that he has managed to rack up a whopping 54 days at his Texas ranch, 38 days at the presidential retreat at Camp David and four more at his parents' place in Kennebunkport, Maine - and all in the seven short months that have elapsed since he took the oath of office.

Now he is back in Texas, starting the longest White House vacation since 1969. Forget Kennebunkport; this is the Can-I-bunk-off presidency.,7369,534041,00.html

bakho - 10:43am Aug 10, 2001 EST (#7839 of 7904)

Why missile defense can't work.

The object of missile defense is to protect the US from weapons of mass destruction. #1 reason- Missiles are neither the most likely or the most effective means of delivering a weapon of mass destruction by a so-called "Rogue State". While the tactical defense can stymie current offensive tactics, new tactics will be developed that counter the defense. For example, during the Civil War, rifling of the barrels of the Springfield rifles gave them much greater range and accuracy than old smoothbore muskets. Thus, defenders could pick off offensive artillary personnel and prevent them from supporting offensive attacks. Adding trenches, abiatis and headlogs made entrenched defenders virtually unbeatable.

This led to new offensive techniques to defeat the defense. Tunneling under the works and placing explosives was tried and could have been effective had appropriate offensive techniques been used in conjunction with the explosions. The most important technique was General Sherman's use of superior numbers to entrench a large part of his force in front of the enemy lines, protected from attack and use a smaller force in flanking maneuvers to interrupt the enemy's supply lines. Sherman used this technique to cause the withdrawal of Confederate forces from numerous defensive positions that were otherwise impregnable. In this way Sherman forced the Confederate army to retreat all the way to Atlanta. Eventually, Sherman cutoff all the railroads into Atlanta forcing the Confederates to abandon the city or be straved out in a seige.

The Germans used similar tactics against the Maginot line in WWII. Rather than assault the impregnable defenses, the Blitzkreig rapidly moved soldiers through Belgium around the impregnable shield and overwelmed the underprepared French in a few weeks. The Maginot line was never penetrated but it was untenable once isolated from the rest of the country.

So it is with missile defense. Missile defense ONLY protects against a frontal assault, the least likely attack to be made by an enemy with inferior forces and inferior numbers. There already EXIST the alternative offensive tactics to defeat this strategy. There are weapons of mass destruction that are very small and easy to transport. One only has to look at the lack of effectiveness in our efforts to interdict drug smuggling into the US to recognize that smuggling weapons of mass destruction is a much more plausable threat. Additionally, the "Rogue State" might be able to disguise its identity and thereby avoid retaliation. A missile launch at the US would be readily detectable and the consequences assured. For a modern analogy, look at Israel which had overwelming force superiority and can block any frontal assault against its forces but yet is vulnerable to low tech suicide bombers.

In a tiered system of defense against weapons of mass destruction, missile defense is the very last tier. The first tier has to be non-proliferation, efforts to get countries to agree that an expensive arms race is in no ones interest and does not make the world safer. A previous poster talked about China expanding their nukes to counter a US missile defense. Such a move would probably cause India to build more nukes to counter China and Pakistan to counter India and so on. This is not in the interest of the US. The second tier is deterence and interdiction efforts to prevent those countries that do not have the means of developing weapons from attaining them. The third tier is preparedness for possible threats. A missile defense only makes sense if the easier avenues of attack are not available.

Note that reason number 1 on why missile defense will not work is valid, even if all the technical considerations can be overcome. Current missile defense testing has a poor record against targets with extremely limited countermeasures. In fact, the last "successful" test was a sham because t

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