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Missile Defense -- Who needs it?


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Tactical advantages conferred by a defense during multiple missle attacks do exist. Part and parcel of defensive tactics is denying your attacker certainty of the outcome of an attack, forcing them to commit more resources, and still have a larger degree of uncertainty than if they were certain all of a first strike would arrive on target.


Right now, with no defense whatsoever, *any* attacker who can get a missile in the air with sufficient technology to reach it's target and explode is virtually assured the attack will succeed. We have no defense, all thats required for success is proper tech and a clean launch.


In a multi attack, sure some will get through, but when you're going for a knockout punch that *must* include all facilities capable of retaliation in order to lower retaliation damage, some isn't enough. Which targets will be hit and which defended successfully? The uncertainty about what will remain undamaged causes problems with planning an attack.


Part of defensive strategy is also economics. Part of the reason the Soviets collapsed was their attempt to maintain parity with the US while we charged ahead with an economy fine tuned to produce surplus and innovation while they used an archaic system of top down control that could barely supply enough light bulbs for it's people, let alone maintain parity with a capitalist juggernaut that can churn out goods and make a profit doing it!


The reason I mention this is that once in place, defensive missile technology will most likely be cheaper (IMO) than the missiles it destroys on a launch by launch basis. It will certainly be cheaper than letting missiles get through.


If defensive systems are not that accurate, then you double or triple them up. Especially in a single launch scenario, where sending 3,4,5 or 10 intercepts to make sure is well worth the cost.


As beam weapons become more practical, especially particle weapons not affected by atmospheric humidity (lasers can have problems with this), they'll doubtless be more effective than interceptor style technology. The army recently succeeded in shooting down an artillery shell in flight with a beam weapon, which heralds the end of simple artillery barrages as unstoppable attack methods.


Sure, weapons can be delivered in other ways and a missile defense cannot protect against these other methods. But it can defend against missiles, and denying that method of attack or complicating the tactics of same same at the least has value. We have anti tank weapons that don't work against airplanes, and machine guns that don't work against tank.... that missile defense doesn't work against shipping containers is besides the point. It's not supposed to.

Edited by MtnGoat
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While Dr. Flash Amazing is loath to get into a verbal tangle with Mr. Goat, in the Doctor goes anyway, against his better judgement ...


Goat, just a couple things. First, regarding your mention of beam weapons (about which, it should be noted, DFA knows nothing but what he's inferred from your post), sure, they might make a great defensive weapon -- until enemy X starts bringing mayhem with their own beam weapons. Can you see how this shit might escalate quickly to us needing a new defense?


And regarding it being beside the point that missile defense won't work against a suitcase (or, implicitly, the proverbial box-cutter-weilding terrorist, etc.), it is absolutely not beside the point. That is the point. Our man in the Oval Office (Texan, salt and pepper hair, jumbles words on occasion -- you've seen him) made a great display of our commitment to the war on terrorism, and how we needed to develop new defenses to combat this new kind of threat. Well, guess what? George got his Department of Prying and Witch Hunts ... err, Homeland Security, which seems like it's targeted toward this new threat, in if not a new way at least a consolidated way (but that's another thread, no? Yes.). Shooting missiles outta the sky with other missiles doesn't really address the postulations previously purveyed by El Presidente.


Not only that, but it is widely accepted (at least according to the article DFA read, which cited a couple different sources who were actually involved in government and or defense) that the missile defense system is idiot simple to effectively outfox. You mention that we should simply more missile defense stuff available to remedy this situation, but we're already dumping $45 billion dollars on this project. Obviously, this isn't cheap hardware we're talking about. What happens to the cost of it when you multiply the amount of that uncheap hardware by ten?


Lastly, DFA will pose to you the same question he posed to Greg regarding this. Since this defense technique has been repeatedly and historically proven to be easily defeatable and not even 100% reliable at that, why do you find it so viable? Given your fanatical need for indisputable proof of something like human influence on global warming before you'll agree that fuel standards should be increased, which is bound to cost far less than 45 billion bucks, how is it that you can so enthusiastically embrace this relatively shaky technology?


Fuck, man, that was way too long! Look what you made the Doctor do! LOOK! shocked.gif

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Isn't this a bizarre time we're going through? I pray every night for a decent world for my kids. It's looking sketchy at best.

I share that sentiment. It's hard to imagine what my kids will be experiencing when they are my age. I can only conjure images of a world like in Blade Runner; crowded, dingy and violent.

But then, hey it's snowing in the hills and I have new wax and fresh edges on my skis.

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that missile defense doesn't work against shipping containers is besides the point. It's not supposed to.


Actually, I hardly think it's beside the point. What needs to be kept in perspective is what type of attack are we realistically looking at?


We wouldn't build an elaborate system to safeguard against Martians, would we? So why would we build an elaborate system against a type of attack that no one in their right mind thinks we'll encounter! Although I do think there are some cold-war relics floating around in our collective (un)consciousness....

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How to defend against a shipping container or "suitcase" (a very low-yeild device) bomb:



1)North Korea: Put MAD doctrine back into effect. It worked in Europe in spite of the hysteria of the left. Reagan was right to deploy Pershing II! If Pyongyang has the balls to burn Tokyo, Anchorage, or Homer Alaska, we'll barb'que 'em. Make it real clear to "dear leader" Kim, and the rest of the world.


2)Radical Islamic Terrorists: Let them know, through back channels of course, that if we are attacked with a nuke, a couple of their "favorite" cities might be targeted. They'll know which ones we're talking about. Doubtful a good terrorist would want that stain on their resume.


3)Iran: Continue to encourage the secular undercurrent now growing within the populace. I think they will effect leadership change soon on their own. I really don't think the Iranian people wish us ill.

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4.5 percent of the worlds population (the US) uses 25% of the oil resources and about one-third of all the raw materials consumed each year. Think of it: less than 1/15th of the population of the world requires about five times its "fair share" to maintain its inflated position.... there's bound to be some hard feelings.


yes...but included in those stats...are countries which a minute percent have cars...andtheir countries are the size of some of our cities...for a more realistic statistic..you should try comparing the U.S. consumption to the rest of the industrialized nations...c'mon...you know better...

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Ok DFA, I'll see your call....


What I don't get is the assumption that national defense is a single priority issue. That we can't deal with Iraq if we're dealing with Afghanistan, that we must choose between this threat or that threat, or that we have the luxury of doing so. We simultaneously maintain vigilance with respect to everything we've encountered recently *and* more classical ground based warfighting capabilties as well.


Wether or not shooting missiles outa the sky fits a recent immediate concern of el presidente, it's still a very weak spot in a national defensive posture.


We have *zero*, zip, nada defense against a missile attack, other than allowing a freebie first and then killing more millions to retaliate. This is simply not an acceptable posture to me, and making deterrence instead of interdiction our basic policy, limits our range of responses. If we are hit we not only suffer tremendous damage, but will respond in kind. If we can deflect an attack, the need for immediate response with nuclear means is lessened.


Those who wish to harm us will always seek the means to do so as they become available and using means they can expect to get results with. Our current posture insures that a missile attack remains a viable method, difficult yes, but guaranteed to succeed as long as the hardware works.I personally find large scale warfare far less likely than a sneaky one or two missile venture and even that we have no hope of stopping if they fly and they work. That's not an acceptable risk to me.


The reason I am not using the same level of effectiveness here as a standard is a simple one. We're not discussing something we can change in a few years after mistakes become apparent. The "mistake" of not having a missile defense if one is needed is immediate and unacceptable to me. If the warming debate tips to the affirmative, we can take action at least equivalent to Kyoto (which even by it's own standards is pretty near meaningless) when it occurs. It's a long, slow process we can evaluate as we go, with ways to adjust and change and evaluate what is needed.


We're not discussing millions of deaths in an instant followed by millions more an hour later and then DFA goes whoops, a day ago I knew I was right and now millions are dead.

The debate over warming is of course of a larger scale but it also has time for debate and change.

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"What needs to be kept in perspective is what type of attack are we realistically looking at?"


We realistically need to look at attacks that have a high probability of success. this means shipping containers and missiles and bioweapons and chemical weapons and whatever else becomes apparent. No one attacks with a method that they think will fail, and telling an opponent there is one method you will not defend against, practically insures they'll consider it.


Additionally, depending on deterrence through retaliation when dealing with people to whom suicide is an honor is not exactly a real stable idea IMO. Or depending on deterrence when an opponent may simply not give a shit if they go to heaven or not if they get in a good shot first.


Or the interesting moral position that the best defense is to threaten to allow millions of your own to be killed, on purpose and with full intent of allowing it because you refuse to stop an attack in progress, and then follow it up by killing millions more.


As we continue to tighten up border inspections on cargoes in the US and even bound for the US, including ship surveillance on the high seas, it necessarily increases the difficulty of moving weapons here. While it is surely still possible, delivery methods which do not involve cross border shipments of cargo and a spread out network of planning and timing becomes more attractive. A missle need not cross any borders or be in a container thats inspected, until it crosses the borders of where it was launched, in a way we freely say we cannot stop!


Edited by MtnGoat
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For what it's worth - I worked on this missile defense system and intimately know how it works, the real success rates, specs, blah blah blah. Also the "beam" technology that has been mentioned is a VERY real thing being developed (successfully I may add) and if you guys wish to have a conversation off line I would be happy to do that. Obviouly proprietary information act prohibits me from detailing or discussing this in an open forum.


Notice that the change in government has escalated the defense missile process - it's been in development for some time.

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