Third Party & Independents Archives

Building a Nuclear Missile Shield Adds Dangerous Incentives into the International System

Upon reading this recent NY Times article, I could not help but remember my old schooling regarding nuclear deterrence. Some may think that with the end of the Cold War, theories of nuclear deterrence are no longer relevant for a post-Cold War world. I beg to differ.

While a nuclear shield of some sort would provide short-term protection against a state like Iran, it would be a mistake not to think about the broader ramifications associated with protecting ourselves from nuclear attack.

The premise of nuclear deterrence relies on second-strike capability. That is, if one is to launch a nuclear attack they would have to expect that the second-strike capability of the target state would retaliate. Given the high cost of a nuclear exchange, no state would rationally undertake this course of action.

What happens when you introduce a nuclear defense program? You essentially eliminate the second-strike capabilities of the other nuclear powers. No doubt, as expressed in the article, the Russians and potentially the Chinese would find this worrisome. The U.S. would be viewed as having dangerous first-strike capability, becoming very threatening. Their response would have to be the development of a means to subvert the defense system or a build-up of nuclear arms to overcome the system. Either way, it adds dangerous incentives towards arms race into the international system.

These are things that must be taken into consideration if we are to continue to fund a multi-billion dollar project of nuclear defense. While it may provide short-term protection against states like Iran and N. Korea, we may be introducing dangerous long-term security problems.

Posted by Fitz at May 23, 2006 6:41 PM
Comments
Comment #150668

Fitz,

You are absolutely right. Wouldn’t it be nice if nuclear deterrence was mastered and the technology given to every country in the world, so as to destroy the existential threat that nucs represent? Too bad that will never happen.

Instead, we must rely on the theory of “mutually assured destruction,” or “balance of terror,” as a preventative measure against nuclear attacks. Personally, I don’t find the theory all that convincing. After all, it’s based on a single example, the Cold War. Talk about insufficient evidence. I actually got into an argument about this theory with a fellow schoolmate. He thought it was a perfectly reasonable theory, so I asked him: “are you willing to bet your life on it?

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 23, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #150675

Fitz and Dr. Politico, take into account that nations with nukes are nowhere near the threat that individual non-nation groups pose with nuclear weapons. One can retalliate against a state, it has geographical coordinates. How does one retalliate against al-Queda?

The problem with Iran, Pakistan, etc. is not that they are or will soon be nuclear states. The problem is who will they share that technology with who doesn’t have a street address for retalliation?

Fitz, your argument against nuclear shields has been a valid one since the first mention of “star wars” technology years and years ago. However, a nuclear shield may now become necessary as rogue groups, not nations, acquire weapons or access to them.

It is foolish to fail to contemplate that al_Queda members are devising how they can infiltrate governments and design plans of access to their nuclear arsenal. Does one retalliate on a civilian population whose nuclear defense weapons were hijacked for 16 hours by terrorists and launched?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2006 7:56 PM
Comment #150678

Fitz, by the way, Welcome to WB’s Third Party and Independent’s column.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 23, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #150681

Thank you, glad to be here.

As for Remer and Dr. Politico’s comments. You make valid points. A shield would no doubt serve as protection against smaller nuclear powers. The danger is if the system is expanded. If the larger nuclear powers see a nuclear shield as a means for the U.S. to have a first-strike advantage, then states like China and Russia could not help but view it as a threat. Given that their security is now threatened, they would have to resort to a build-up to protect themselves or develop a new weapons system.

Dr. Politico doesn’t buy into deterrence theory. However, I believe states like Russia and China would have no choice but to respond in this way to ensure their own security.

Posted by: Fitz at May 23, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #150683

Fitz,

I didn’t realize this was your first post. Otherwise, I would have said “welcome aboard.”

Great post!

Posted by: Dr Politico at May 23, 2006 8:27 PM
Comment #150684

Thanks again! Good to see another student of foreign policy and IR on here that I can argue with :).

Posted by: Fitz at May 23, 2006 8:39 PM
Comment #150694

You guys do realize that any Missile Defense System degrades if faced with too much data?

That means that an effective method of negating Star Wars would be a swarm of nuclear warheads instead of a few. This means that China and Russia will once again massproduce Nukes to maintain balance.

Posted by: Aldous at May 23, 2006 9:20 PM
Comment #150706

Ah… but the walking little bombs aren’t going to help the profit margins of the GOPs biggest supporters, is it?

The Star Wars Program is guaranteed to generate ga-zillions for the Military Industrial Complex. What’s more. Its a Contract noone expects to succeed. So the Corporations can build thier super Bradley Tank in the sky without ever worrying of a Senate Inquiry.

Cool.

Posted by: Aldous at May 23, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #150714

Were I the President, and faced with the threat of a nuclear device being smuggled into this Country and activated, I would pick 3 countries and let the leaders of said countries know where and how I would retaliate against a terrorist attack. Most likely it would be Pakistan, Saudia Arabia and Iran. In no uncertain terms I would explain that it is their problem to deal with Bin Laden and his thugs.Should they not deal with their problem then retaliation would be swift and complete. But thats just me.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 23, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #150725

David beat me to the comment and he was right. Deterance requires that your enemy have a return address and something to defend. The leader of a rouge state may not be deterred, and the defense is for/against this guy.

Aldous

In its current form missile defense is not supposed to stop Russia or China. In the original formulation (which included Russia) it was supposed to add to the uncertainty of an attack. Star Wars scared the crap out of the Russians because they could not compete with American technology.

Todays missile defense is to make life uncertain for a rouge state. We won’t know if the system can stop a missile, but the N. Koreas will also be uncertain and even they might think twice.

SO could they break through? Probably. Many things can be done in theory, but some things just are not in practice. Understanding the difference is what separtes intelligence from wisdom.

There is also the paradox of what works and what should work. Think of the nuclear freeze of the 1980s. Made logical sense, but had it succeeded the arms race would still be going on.

Posted by: Jack at May 23, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #150726

Call me crazy, but this conversation assumes quite a bit.

According to the CIA, Iran spends about 4.6 billion on it’s military a year.
Iran “might” be able to build a nuclear weapon some time in the future.
According to the NYT article quoted, Iran has a missile that “might” reach as far as Israel.
According to recent news reports Korea “may” be developing a missile that “might” reach Alaska.

Here in America we seem willing to place all our hopes on technology that has NEVER worked.
Part of the reason that the Soviets went into the dumper is that we forced them to spend more money on their military than they had.

Gee, while this all sounds strangely familiar, it just seems dumb as a box of rocks.

Posted by: Rocky at May 23, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #150732

The real issue here is money. What this is, isn’t about nuclear defense. It’s about a contract. This is being pushed by people who will profit from it.

The patriot missiles did not work to defend israel against scuds. That was disinformation. “Star Wars” isn’t a sheild. As Jack has stated, it’s purpose is to increase uncertainty of an initial attack.

When these balloons get floated, hold on to your wallet. This is push to send your money to wealthy war mongering defense contractors and their mansions adjacent to the politicians and “advisors” mansions. Where are the conservatives screaming about this kind of theft, instead of the welfare mom who squirts out another kid to get some food stamps?

P.S.China is launching satelites, too. A few months ago, a U.S. satellite blew up, NASA was tight lipped about it. Do you think maybe that’s where a major part of the next superpower war might take place? The first step might be to knock out the satelites of the other side.

I’m more concerned about China financing our budget than Iran attacking Europe.

Posted by: gergle at May 23, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #150735

It makes sense to invest in a defensive system meant to stop an accidental launch, and maybe a limited one. That is about it. I think we already possess that capability.

Does it matter if Iran develops nuclear weapons? Not really. Developing nukes is a very expensive, long-term venture. If the Iranians wanted to cause massive casualties, it would be much faster, cheaper, and easier to conceal a biological weapons program. Such a program would be every bit as effective for second strike which would assure M.A.D.

Nuclear weapons are only useful as deterrents. They discourage enemies from using force which threatens survival. In the case of Iran, nukes can deter other nations from invading.

As for terrorists obtaining nukes, it is not worth spending time worrying about the issue. Nuclear weapons contain multiple safeties. Even if a terrorist someone obtained a weapon, it would be useless without the codes & a knowledge of how to overcome other built-in safeties. The plutonium itself would be more of threat as a poison, and handling plutonium is an extremely hazardous undertaking.

Only nations possess the means to manufacture nukes, and the weapons are complex, so they must be tested in order to make sure they work. The weapons of each country have distinctive signatures. In other words, once samples are obtained from a nuclear test, we can recognize & identify the nation of origin. (The Israelis obtained their program from the Brits). No country would willingly let nuclear weapons fall into the hands of terrorists, because their weapons would be identified, and the country held responsible.

In the case of the USSR, we could have never bothered to manufacture another nuke after 1980, and the Soviet Union would have just as certainly fallen.

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2006 11:36 PM
Comment #150737

So, building a missile defense system actually increases the probability of nuclear war?
If anything, a missile shield makes the idea of a first-strike against the US far less likely and reduces the probability that any country will use nuclear weapons against US allies.
A missile shield dramatically reduces the risk of a first strike, by increasing the risk that the nuclear strike will not incapacitate our opponent. For MAD to be credible, the US had to sufficient nuclear inventory that could survive a first strike to destroy the any opponent. A missile defense only makes that threat more credible by
1) ensuring that the nuclear capacity needed to threaten the US would have to be much larger that the USSR’s had at is peak,
2) increasing the risk of the attack, since if you saturate the missile defense, the attacker does not know which missiles will make it through. Therefore, any rational attacker would have to further increase his arsenal, since he can not take the risk that while some missiles may get through that and hit all the targets.
A missile defense also is a great tool to prevent nuclear proliferation of US allies. Consider Japan. Japan, while having nuclear technology to provide power, does not have nuclear weapons and has no wish to. However, China and North Korea (not proven, but I believe they do) both have nuclear weapons. China and Japan are not enemies yet, but North Korea certainly has hostile intentions to Japan. Japan can not use MAD against North Korea (nor China) since they lack a credible threat. Instead, the US has ‘coupled’ are nuclear weapons to Japan, stating that we would use them in retaliation for a strike against Japan. However, if North Korea also threatened the US, for example the several large West Coast cities, how many US Presidents would back the policy of ‘coupling’ are nuclear arsenal to Japan, given the potential large loss of US lives? If the US had a missile shield, the President would not have to face such a decision, and Japan could feel more confident that the US would reply in kind. You can use similar agreements for many of the Gulf states in regards to Iran.
Missile shield technology is not as far fetched as many reporters would have you believe. A ballistic missiles is not an invulnerable weapon, can be intercepted through out its flight, especially in the initial boost stage. In fact, I would advise to read about the modified 747 the US Air Force has. It has a chemical laser that can destroy missiles during their first boost.
On David’s point about using missile defense against terrorists, I don’t think missile defense has much validity here. I do not believe that Al Quada or any other terror group, would use a ballistic missile against the US. First of all, they lack the means of developing a ballistic missiles and would have to purchase one. I sincerely doubt that any major nuclear power would sell a mobile missile launcher nor would they build a missile on their soil for use against the US. Such a policy would lead to either a first strike by the US, or a catastrophic second strike.

Posted by: Thucydides at May 23, 2006 11:41 PM
Comment #150746

Thucydides,
Good point about the terrorists lacking the ability to launch an attack using a ballistic missile. It makes no sense, so missile defense would not apply.

Detonate enough nukes, and both attacker and defender will be destroyed. The weapons would not even have to reach a target; radiation alone would destroy most of civilization. Again, beyond a limited deployment to counter an accidental launch (unlikely) or limited attack (highly unlikely), missile defense makes no sense.

It might be effective if the real goal were to provide taxpayer dollars to the military/industrial complex. But really, when it comes to squandering the money of American civilians through plain old fashioned corruption, why bother with missile defense? It would be hard to top a boondoggle like American Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #150767

I believe that the perception of an effective weapons shield may increase the likelihood of a nuclear conflict (with the US as the aggressor) as long as the shield didn’t actually work. If said shield were to be effective it would hand over global dominance to the already hegemonic US and secure that position as long as the US could prevent any other similar system. The real danger would be if the US thought such a shibboleth was effective and it was not.

Posted by: Xander Jones at May 24, 2006 1:34 AM
Comment #150780
Todays missile defense is to make life uncertain for a rouge state. We won’t know if the system can stop a missile, but the N. Koreas will also be uncertain and even they might think twice.

Why? Either way, they kow they’re in for massive retaliation. It’s not like 1 or 2 or even the eight nukes that Bush allowed Kim to build will destroy America’s ability to retaliate — even if North Korean missiles could reach the continental US, which they can’t.

I’m all for development of a missile defense system. What I oppose is they way Republicans are spending tens of billions of dollars every year to deploy a system that doesn’t even work.

Call me conservative in how I view building new defense systems, but the traditional method of develop THEN deploy makes more sense to me.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 24, 2006 2:09 AM
Comment #150804

A missile shield will not work. all I would have to do is send up one nuke and 300 dummies (if that) with the right heat/radar/weight signature. Total system overload. The number of variables is so great there is at present no computer system in the world that can compute kill trajectories in the short amount of time after liftoff.

Posted by: synecdoche at May 24, 2006 6:49 AM
Comment #150842

Two of the right combination of fissile materials held in each hand and slammed together with the strength in your arms is sufficient to set off a small chain reaction.

Folks, you build a ballistic shield and our enemies will do the simplest of all things. They will launch hand held missiles within our own borders. Who do we counter attack then? Our own cities and towns from which they were launched?

The great immorality of all this discussion is retalliating against thousands upon thousands of innocent people because a handful of enemies launched a missle, small or large, from within their midst.

Whoever said above, that launch codes and keys are a safeguard, knows nothing about how criminal minds work. Infilitrate the government, as al-Queda/Taliban already have in Pakistan, hold a gun to the heads of the key and launch code holder’s children’s head, and voila, they have access to the launch codes and keys.

I have been saying it for a long time now, and I will say it again. al-Queda is just a bullet or car bomb away from controlling Pakistan’s nuclear armaments, and 60% of Pakistan’s population supports OBL. Pakistan is our and the world’s greatest threat and most imminent. Their ability to take out 1/4 to 1/3 of our military in Iraq is only a few hundred miles launch away.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2006 11:02 AM
Comment #150859

David,
In most cases, detonating a nuke not only requires the weapon itself, as well as the codes, but also the delivery vehicle. That takes a group of people and a fair amount of knowledge about various parameters. Criminals would need to be running a government.

In Pakistan, that is not so far fetched. It is actually pretty silly to even worry about Iran, when a country like Pakistan is an unstable dictatorship with an intelligence service sympathetic to Al Qaida.

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2006 11:39 AM
Comment #150910

phx8, hence the word I used, infiltrate governments. Sleeper agents, whatever, you want to call them. They are already in the Pakistan government which is widely acknowledged by events such as assasination attempts which could not have occured without inside coordination. Other evidence includes the military’s raid on empty hamlets. Empty because the military’s plans were forecast to the Hamlet well in advance.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2006 1:38 PM
Comment #151011

Phx8

Re the Soviet Union falling, you didn’t know that in 1980. It might not have happened. History is not determined. Even very bad systems can sometimes limp along and when bad systems fall, they often take others with them (think Austria-Hungary).

Re the fall of communism, take a look at this article and pay attention to this part:

When Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate — and the Berlin Wall — and demanded that Gorbachev “tear down this Wall,” he was lampooned the next day on the editorial pages. He is a dreamer, wrote commentators. Realpolitik looks different.

Posted by: Jack at May 24, 2006 5:26 PM
Comment #151027

The fall was a surprise to the citizens. Was it a surprise to the government? Why did the CIA not tell us? Why was the biggest single development of the entire Cold War not told to the public until after the fact? It resulted in the US squandering enormous amounts of money unnecessarily on military projects.

They knew it was coming, Jack. But the Reagan and Bush boys kept steering money to the military/industrial complex. Feeding tax dollars to the MIC is more important to the conservatives than anything else.

Posted by: phx8 at May 24, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #151042

David,
Just how in the world, are terrorists going to infiltrate into the US (or our allies) nuclear missles? Do you realize how large a mobile missle platform is? We are not talking about hand-held surface to air missles used to target airplanes or helicpoters..
Futhermore, where are the terrorists going to get a nuclear missle? Do you honestly think there is an open market for one? For all the talk about the nuclear black-market, no rogue state or terrorist has yet to be able to purchase nuclear weapon, let alone a nuclear missle. Think about all the money that Libya, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan have spent on developing nuclear weapons. Also note, in most cases, all of these countries have purchased most of their military hardware (tanks, small arms, helicopters, artillery, etc..) through the international arms market. Therefore, given the amount of money spent on arms, and their proclivity to shop for foriegn weapon, why did not one of those countries get a nuclear weapon instead of spending huge amounts of money on TRYING to start a nuclear weapons program? We know Iraq was shopping for uranium, as is Iran. Why don’t they just buy a nuclear weapon instead? Again, it must the because there is NO international black-market for nuclear weapons, since NO country that currently has nuclear weapons would sell them, period. And if a nation-state, which has far more resources than a terrorist organization, can not purchase nuclear weapons,then I doubt any terrorist could.
I don’t doubt that terorrists want nuclear weapons, I just doubt they can get them. I think a far more credible terrorist threat would be chemical (for example, the attacks in the Japanese Subway) or biological (who send the anthrax letters?).

Posted by: Thuycdides at May 24, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #151051

Thuycidides, you apparently have failed to educate yourself on the history of A.Q. Kahn, who did in fact create a world wide Wal-Mart for complete simple plans for making nuclear weapons. And contrary to your erroneous belief, nuclear weapons can now be carried in a brief case. That small, they can be fired from very short range rocket launchers which are readily available on the world market for the right price, of course.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 24, 2006 7:58 PM
Comment #151076

David,
Perhaps, I was not clear. There is not black-market for nuclear weapons. A.Q. Kahn was willing to sell his skills and plans for nuclear weapons, but he nor anyone else has ever sold a NUCLEAR weapon. There is a world of difference between the two markets. I stand by the fact, that if so many countries are looking for nuclear weapons and and they are willing to spend huge amounts of money, why has there never been a case of a country buying a nuclear weapon?
As for the idea that a nuclear weapon could be storied in a suitcase and cause massive damage, that is to a large extent an urban myth.
The suitcase ‘nuke’ was first postulated by Alexander Lebed, who claimed that the USSR has developed suitcase nukes and he had scouted for locations to employ them in the US. In the interest’s of brevity, I will direct you to the following site:
http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/week/020923.htm
Again, I am not stating that Osama or his merry band of fellows are not trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Instead, I believe that it will be very difficult for any terrorist group to purchase a nuclear weapon or develop one. If nation-states have difficulty in developing nuclear weapons, why would it be easier for terrorist group?
Getting back to the theme of the thread, I am for missle defense, but I fail to see how it will be a effective defense against terrorists. If , by misfortune, Osama or another ‘evil-doer’ (to quote W) had a nuclear weapon is much more likely to be in the form of a warhead, bomb, or a nuclear artillery shell. They probably would deploy such a weapon either through a suicide attack by plan or more likely by a car bomb of some sort. A missle defense has no impact on either methods of attack.

Posted by: Thucydides at May 24, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #151083

Phx8

They didn’t know it was coming because in 1980 it was not inevitable. You don’t really believe in fate like that, do you? There are so many variables involved, so many choices.

I just don’t know what to tell you if you really believe all that. History is not determined and predictions are never that accurate.

You don’t really believe in the omniscience of our intelligence folks do you? And you have to also believe that they could keep it a secret for 25 years. If you think they are so smart, then you don’t believe in your own abilty to oppose “them” do you?

Posted by: Jack at May 24, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #151096

A little info about lasers. They do not work through atmostphere, over a distance, very well. When it’s cloudy they don’t work at all, even outside the visible spectrum.

This isn’t George Jetson, It’s the real world. My father worked on some of this technology in the 60’s and 70’s. Their is no such thing as a magic shield. Weapons contractors make many claims they cannot fill. It’s profitable to do so.

For magic reality, I suggest this site:

magic realism

Posted by: gergle at May 24, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #151103

gergle,

I worked as a laser light show programmer and technician.

While I concur with your statement about weather affecting lasers, we used frequency doubled infrared lasers as part of the shows. These Nd Yag lasers, with the proper tuning were used in the visible spectrum as lime green at about 70 watts.
These were pulse lasers and incredibly difficult to collimate, though when properly collimated, they were visible for about 70 miles.
Obviously any laser operating in the visible spectrum wouldn’t be powerful enough to use as a weapon, as the beam would begin to diverge immediately, and would basically be a very large cigarette lighter after about 100 feet.

Here is some speculation on the “Star Wars” lasers;

Beware, there are popups.

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread59959/pg1

“The US are developing a chemical laser in which hydrogen and fluorine react together to form hydrogen fluoride, which is a corrosive gas or liquid which can be made to release a powerful burst of infrared radiation. The laser is focused and aimed by prisms and mirrors. A chemical laser of sufficient power, at least 25 megawatts, could destroy a missile almost 2,000 miles away.”

A laser of this type would require immense amounts of energy to operate, and by the way, evety time it hits a mirror it loses some power.
Typically the visible spectrum lasers we used (noble gas and Nd Yag), the power required was kilowatts in to watts out.

Not efficient at all.

Posted by: Rocky at May 25, 2006 12:18 AM
Comment #151128

I think that the potential of missile shields are being sold short in this discussion. This technology is not meant to solve all issues related to the nuclear threat. What it will do, definitively, is make the ranged nuclear club much smaller and easier to manage. The same technology will reduce the effectiveness of limited conventional missile attacks also.

There is no reason why other nuclear deployment methods will not be used even if the US fails to develop this technology and you can be sure that other nations like China will develop it regardless of our actions.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 25, 2006 2:19 AM
Comment #151175

Ned,

“What it will do, definitively, is make the ranged nuclear club much smaller and easier to manage.”

At what expense?

If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

The nuclear club should be disbanded and all nuclear weapons should be destroyed.

That will be the only “perfect” means of defending against nuclear strike.

Posted by: Rocky at May 25, 2006 10:30 AM
Comment #151204

Rocky, that won’t work either. The genie is out of the bottle. You can’t go home, again.

Posted by: gergle at May 25, 2006 11:47 AM
Comment #151233

gergle,

I’ve been home. It’s pretty much the same as it ever was.

:]

Posted by: Rocky at May 25, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #151275

Thucydides, you set up a straw man. I don’t recall saying Kahn or anyone else had put nuclear weapons on the black market. I said the simple plans for creating nuclear weapons and the Wal-Mart for those plans and meterials to make them were put on the black market.

And no, you are wrong. The right combination of materials, one in each hand, slapped together hard can start a small neutron chain reaction. So, small suit case bombs are possible. They just won’t blow up a downtown area. They can however take out a building and contaminate a much larger area with low dose radiation. I will coin the term here and now, and call them “panic nukes”.

We agree on the rest. A shield will not protect against terrorist nukes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 25, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #151290

Rocky:

It is an interesting idea you have about disbanding the nuclear club. Shall you go back in time and accomplish this or shall I? While we are at it, let’s remove the combustible engine from the mix also to address this nasty environmental problem!

Meet me under the gumdrop tree and we will make our plans.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 25, 2006 2:20 PM
Comment #151304

ned,

Your dream world seems to include the possibility of a limited nuclear exchange.
How silly is that?

Wasn’t it Nixon that started us down the road to nuclear disarmament, only to be thwarted by Cheney and Rumsfeld?
And at the time there were significantly fewer members to this “club”.
It’s not like once you push the button you can just say oops.
It’s done.
Kiss your ass goodbye.

Frankly, if I am going to dream I prefer a world where humanity doesn’t have to rebuild from the ground up.

Posted by: Rocky at May 25, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #151503

Rocky:

The only thing that would change if the US did not have a military advantage over the terrorists is that the terrorists would be more effective at fanatically trying to kill us.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 26, 2006 5:59 AM
Comment #151584

Ned,

“The only thing that would change if the US did not have a military advantage over the terrorists is that the terrorists would be more effective at fanatically trying to kill us.”

How does our not having a nuclear weapons program give the terrorists the upper hand?

Nuclear weapons do not make the world a safer place.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Robert_Oppenheimer#Trinity

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that one way or another.”

On Hiroshima and Nagasaki;

“Many people, including many of the scientists involved in the bomb project, were shocked by the devastation that the bombs produced, reports of which filtered into the United States over time. The pride which Oppenheimer had felt after the successful “Trinity” test was soon replaced by guilt and horror. “In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish,” he later famously said, “the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.” Los Alamos was awarded the Army-Navy “Excellence” Award shortly thereafter, and in his acceptance speech for the lab, Oppenheimer warned that:

‘If atomic bombs are to be added as new weapons to the arsenals of a warring world, or to the arsenals of the nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the names of Los Alamos and Hiroshima. The people of this world must unite or they will perish.’”

In the ’60s we were taken to the brink of nuclear war.
Are we in such a rush to go there again?

Posted by: Rocky at May 26, 2006 11:31 AM
Comment #151611

Fitz,

How long do you think before America has it’s own version of “Battle School”?

Posted by: Rocky at May 26, 2006 12:31 PM
Comment #151692

Ah, so true, but do you really think anyone ever expected to be able to shoot down nukes with space lasers? SDI was a ploy from the begining, it was just another way to spend more than the Russians so as to strain their government’s coffers. The problem is that the program, like every other government program that gets started, cannot be killed now. Hell, maintaining SDI was a platform Bush ran on, and on the day of September 11th, 2001, Condi Rice was going to give a speech ephasizing the importance of missle defense in the new world order. Turns out that terrorism became priority number one that day, and the missle defense issue got the back burner, but it never got put out. It drains money from our government every day, and there has yet to be a single successful test of the missle defense system.

Its one of many bloated government spending programs which is not given proper oversight.

Our government has a lot of those.

Posted by: iandanger at May 26, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #151733

iandanger,

From wikipedia;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Defense_Initiative#Controversy_and_criticism

“Physicist Hans Bethe, who worked with Teller on both the atom bomb and the hydrogen bomb, both at Los Alamos, claimed a laser defense shield was unfeasible. He said that a defensive system was costly and difficult to build, but simple to destroy, and claimed that the Soviets could easily use thousands of decoys to overwhelm it during a nuclear attack. He believed that the only way to stop the threat of nuclear war was through diplomacy and dismissed the idea of a technical solution to the Cold War, saying that a defense shield could be viewed as threatening because it would limit or destroy Soviet offensive capabilities while leaving the American offense intact.”

Unfortunately, other than the end of the “cold war”, nothing has changed since those words first appeared.

Oh, and by the way.

We still can’t make it work how many years later?

Hell it didn’t take this long to get to the Moon.

Posted by: Rocky at May 26, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #151796

Rocky,

“How long do you think before America has it’s own version of “Battle School”?”

Haha, I think every Nintendo Gamecube, PS2, XBox 360 has that already taken care of :).

Posted by: Fitz at May 26, 2006 9:40 PM
Comment #151801

And what with the games all hooked up to the internet for team playing, you’re probably not that far wrong.

Posted by: Rocky at May 26, 2006 10:25 PM
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