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Obama's Proposed Space Weapon Ban

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the real-science-will-never-come-true dept.

The Military 550

eldavojohn writes "Obama's proposed ban on space weapons is a complete 180 from George W. Bush's stance on them. Space.com looks at the two sides of the issue and quotes Michael Krepon explaining, 'The Bush administration rejected space diplomacy. We refused to negotiate on any subject that could limit US military options. We have a shift from an administration that was very dismissive of multilateral negotiations [as a whole], to an administration that is open to that possibility if it improves US national security.' You may recall discussing the necessity of space based weapons and Michael Krepon from 2005."

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550 comments

Childish (0, Flamebait)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736671)

Obama has a child-like view of the world. The notion that everyone can be reasoned with isn't diplomacy, it's stupidity. Ask a rape victim how saying no to her attacker went over.

Re:Childish (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736709)

nice try, republican troll, but your attempts to inject racism into the debate through the use of a rape analogy (most rapes are committed by black men) won't work.

Re:Childish (2, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736783)

You are an idiot. And the mantra that anytime you disagree with Obama you're a racist is infantile. Grow up, go to school, and quit mooching off your parents. There is absolutely no racism in that statement. And you have no idea if I'm Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian. Stop taking sides and start being an American first.

Re:Childish (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736987)

I agree. I've been trying to figure out how to tell people that Obama is a man who happens to be black, and because of this hysteria, he has arguably been given far more trust than any president should be given.

There are plenty of arguments for why we should have space based weapons. If you read the right books, we need them to be prepared to repel alien visitations. Other opinions are equal to the notions of what would have happened if the US had decided that we don't need automatic weapons.

In the end, you will have them. The only question is how much damage are you willing to sustain before deciding to build them.

There is another angle. Space based weapons can be built using civilian space travel/exploration technology and the other way around. I don't think it's a case of having to pay twice as both programs can share development costs in various ways.

Obama has made several statements that lead many of us to believe that he's not quite sure WTF he's doing. Nobody is perfect, but this 180 degree shift doesn't make sense unless he is just pushing the program underground or plying for political favor somewhere. Neither of those options speak well of him, and neither explanation bodes well for the security and safety of the citizens of the USA.

Those who criticize him for it are quite right to do so, not to mention they are within their constitutional rights to do so. We need to think critically and criticize where it is appropriate. Letting the executive branch run around wildly is what happened over the last 8 years. Time for that to stop. If that means Obama has to explain himself in detail and quite often, so be it. We need transparency and wisdom in the Whitehouse.

Saying that any criticism of Obama is racism is exactly the kind of thinking that Bush used: Any criticism of the Executive branch is unamerican. This, my friends, is what fascism looks like.

Re:Childish (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737147)

Obama has made several statements that lead many of us to believe that he's not quite sure WTF he's doing

Here's [time.com] something that worries the hell out of me. Apparently we shouldn't be keeping our nuclear deterrent reliable and having any sort of assurance that the weapons actually work as designed.

Re:Childish (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26737405)

Go fuck yourself asshat!

Well Done! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736737)

Obama has a child-like view of the world. The notion that everyone can be reasoned with isn't diplomacy, it's stupidity. Ask a rape victim how saying no to her attacker went over.

Bravo, your analogy is flawless.

*clap*

*clap*

Re:Childish (2, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736753)

While I agree with you, your analogy has a flaw. I do not believe that there are a lot of 'evil nations' out there just waiting to rob the US of everything they have or some such thing.

Most outside aggression the US faces today stems from past administrations' behaviour toward other nations. Right at this moment, the US cannot afford to let its guard down at all.

Re:Childish (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736895)

Most outside aggression the US faces today stems from past administrations' behaviour toward other nations. Right at this moment, the US cannot afford to let its guard down at all.

That's a naive view. American invervention in many countries has understandably stirred up a lot of discontent, but the problem of Islamic aggression has much deeper roots than US misdeeds. I'm from Finland, an obscure Nordic country with little foreign policy to speak of, and even I get hate. I have traveled throughout Muslim countries, and while local people have been extremely generous and hospitable to me as an individual, I've constantly heard them complain that Europe has not embraced Islam, that Europe has a culture they find odious, and that the West must be attacked both with force and subterfuge until it is brought to its knees. Even if the US tried hard to atone for its past, it wouldn't change much when so many hate the West just because of its cultural values. Bush might have been a dumbass, but comments along the lines of "They hate us because we are free" speak much truth.

Re:Childish (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26737183)

Dear Finlander I don't agree your view of the Muslims hate Europe because they hate your freedom. I think the issue is more materialistic then cultural or emotional. The bottom line is they hate Europe because Europe is richer. By Europe I mean not only EU but also US. Actually I should even call it Christendom as oppose to Muslim world. Also there is the element of exploitation of Europe those countries. Maybe Finland as a country did not do that but England, France etc. those countries did their fair share of colonialism in Middle East. So this issue of Muslim aggression is not something that is started yesterday it has its roots all the way back to 1800.

Re:Childish (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737237)

Your experience is very interesting and since I do not have any experience with muslims in the first place, I do not doubt yours.

I'll have to ask you, though, whether you are sure that the reasons you were given were the actual cause of this 'hate' against the west, or just a symptom.

I would imagine that, like a lot of people who yell 'think of the children', those reasons might have been presented to the population just to keep an already lit fire burning.

It is, after all, much harder to get humans to move their lazy asses against people who have been benevolent and civil than it is against people who rudely tried to push their agenda's, uncaring of whom they ran over.

Re:Childish (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736961)

I do not believe that there are a lot of 'evil nations' out there just waiting to rob the US of everything they have or some such thing.

There weren't a lot of 'evil nations' out there in the 20s either. Times can change and I see no reason we should leave ourselves vulnerable or needing to play catch up if one emerges.

Re:Childish (5, Informative)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737317)

from past administrations' behaviour

This again, eh? Tell me exactly WHAT Bill Clinton did to earn us a 9-11? In 1992, AQ attacked 2 hotels in Yemen, targeting US troops. What did Bill Clinton do to anger them? In 1993, AQ tried to blow up the WTC...again, what did Clinton do? He wasn't known as a war hawk or anything. How did his policies earn this? In 1994, AQ set off a bomb in Philippine Airlines Flight 434, killing one person. This was a test for a bomb attack on US planes, later. Again, under Clinton. How did he anger AQ? 1998, two US embassies (Kenya and Tanzania) were bombed. Then, the USS Cole in 2000. I'm sure this was because of Clinton's policies.

Bush really hadn't done anything with foreign policy before 9-11.

Is it possible that violence and war will always be simply be a fact of life? You can't always ascribe it as someones fault. Like your bullshit attempt to say the US just got what it deserved.

Re:Childish (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736761)

That's right because only bullies can bring peace. Just ask Stalin how killing people leads to stability.

Re:Childish (5, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736835)

The mere owning of a weapon doesn't make you a bully. Therein lies the the flaw in your thinking and, possibly, Obama's.

Re:Childish (1)

ThoreauHD (213527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736907)

And since we'll be launching nuclear weapons from space and not bullets, I'd say that Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the proper analogies. And yes, those weapons did end the war.

Re:Childish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736941)

No, it just makes you a narrow minded, violent brute.

Re:Childish (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737217)

Possibly, of course. We can't prove the non-existence of something, after all.

The question is, where is the evidence that Obama thinks this way? Just because you can arrive at the conclusion "we oughtn't pursue space weapons" from the premise "owning a weapon makes you a bully" doesn't mean that the premise is logically necessary. A->B does not imply B->A.

Re:Childish (1, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736877)

Wrong side of the equation. How do you reason with Stalin? Or Hamas or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Do you compromise, only let them build half a nuclear bomb, only kill half the jews?

Re:Childish (4, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737075)

You needn't reason with Stalin. He's dead.
You needn't reason with Hamas. They can't attack you (provided you're not in Israel).

So what's left is Ahmi. And he's if anything a loudmouth. He has to be. He's a politician after all, and he's saying what his voters want to hear. Do you think he's stupid? Attacking the US would mean immediate retaliation and the Iran, while anything but a backwater country, can't hold out much longer than the Iraq did, when facing a military machinery like the US army. He would lose. And he knows that.

Ahmi wants to stay in power. That alone is enough reason for him not to attack any place the US could consider important enough to launch a retaliation strike.

Re:Childish (3, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737201)

Give them they're fucking country back?

Give them security by removing Isreals atomic option?
Why is MAD an ok tactic for the west but banned in the middle east?

Re:Childish (1)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737013)

And just ask the Jews of WWII how being disarmed helped them. Ask Neville Chamberlain how diplomacy in the face of your enemies worked out.

Re:Childish (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737227)

And just ask the Jews of WWII how being disarmed helped them

<sarcasm>Everybody knows that if the Jews had been armed they would have been 12 times more likely to injure themselves than the SS officers. Imagine if their kids had found those guns or something? Think of the children!</sarcasm>

Ask Neville Chamberlain how diplomacy in the face of your enemies worked out.

Ask the Czechs.....

Re:Childish (0, Troll)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737457)

Ah slashdot, one of the places where restriction of certain types of space weapons can be compared to Neville Chamberlin and the Holocaust. You people do realize that we spend more on our Military than every other country combined, right? We spend 7x what China does. Lack of space-missiles is pretty tame. Here's a liberal [salon.com] point of view on how far our military spending is outpacing all other nations.

Re:Childish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736861)

Obama has a child-like view of the world. The notion that everyone can be reasoned with isn't diplomacy, it's stupidity. Ask a rape victim how saying no to her attacker went over.

If you don't want to be mugged then don't carry a glass briefcase full of money in the bad part of town. Also, don't sing "I'm in to money" as you walk down the street.

I guess my points is...don't flaunt your prowess unless your looking to get mugged. Leave your money at home.

Re:Childish (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736929)

Ask a rape victim how saying no to her attacker went over.

I wouldn't know the answer to that. The only person I've ever known who almost got raped ended the attempted attack with three shots from her .38 special. Don't tell any of the liberals though, they'd probably get upset that she didn't try to reason with him and/or call the police. She could have gotten hurt, don't you know?

Re:Childish (1)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737031)

Stop slamming liberals, I am a liberal and I support the 2nd amendment.
I think you are confusing god-damn hippies with liberals, there is a defining line.

Any way back to the original topic, non-space based weapons currently have the ability to hit any target on Earth plus they are cheaper to maintain as they do not require a shuttle launch plus in the case of a nuclear sub they are very hard to hide.

Re:Childish (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737071)

Stop slamming liberals, I am a liberal and I support the 2nd amendment.

So who did you vote for then?

I think you are confusing god-damn hippies with liberals

Well, sometimes it's hard [wikipedia.org] to tell the difference. Mind you, I live in a State where the Democratic party just freaked the fuck out because our Governor had the audacity to appoint someone to the Senate who is pro 2nd amendment even though that someone is a Democrat. You'll forgive me if I'm skeptical about the Democratic Party when it comes to guns.

Why we want to preserve the status quo in space (5, Insightful)

graymocker (753063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736955)

Actually, Obama is pursuing a very rational course here. In short, the US does not want to start an anti-satellite arms race, because we're already so far ahead in the satellite race - why reset the game board to zero? A couple of points to consider:

1)In current US military doctrine, superior satellite coverage is a key "force multiplier" by providing C4ISTAR advantages (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance). US military planners are particularly keen on these so-called "force multipliers" because they field a comparatively small force numerically.
2)The US has a huge interest in maintaining the status quo in space. The US has a strategic advantage in satellite coverage, and that advantage is currently very difficult to assault in a wartime, short-time-horizon scenario.
3)For the US, declaring "space" a "neutral zone" would basically mean that a whole bunch of military equipment that makes our soldiers fight better is legally considered off-limits
4)Compliance with a space weapons ban is comparatively easy to monitor, because deployment of anti-satellite technology requires testing.

So for the US, a space weapons ban is a no-brainer. The trick will be getting the Russians and the Chinese to sign on (at this point no one is suggesting a unilateral ban on space weapons and such a policy would obviously be inane from a national security standpoint.)

Re:Why we want to preserve the status quo in space (1)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737039)

Care to take a bet on whether or not China and Iran sign on and comply?

Re:Why we want to preserve the status quo in space (1)

graymocker (753063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737285)

Iran? Certainly not, but it doesn't matter because they don't have the technology and economy required to develop ASW. Their only hope is that someone else invents it and gives it to them (like the Russians or Chinese).

As for the Chinese and the Russians, I agree that it'll be difficult to get them to sign on. But it's worth a shot. Remember, Obama is proposing a worldwide ban here, not unilaterally stopping our own development. Provided that the opportunity costs aren't too high I think it's reasonable for the Obama administration to pursue a ASW testing ban.

Keep in mind, there's plenty of stuff we could negotiate with as incentives to get them to sign on. I'd be perfectly happy to give the Russians North Ossetia if that'll make them sign on, for example. The Georgians really messed up and the Ossetians want to be part of Russia anyway. Off the top of my head I can't think of anything we could give the Chinese at little cost to ourselves, but I imagine there are a few possibilities people in the administration are working on.

Re:Why we want to preserve the status quo in space (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737249)

For the US, declaring "space" a "neutral zone" would basically mean that a whole bunch of military equipment that makes our soldiers fight better is legally considered off-limits

What makes you think it will stay off-limits if a full-fledged war were to break out? Are you drawing upon the history of cities not being bombed and unrestricted submarine warfare not happening? Oh, wait......

Re:Why we want to preserve the status quo in space (1)

graymocker (753063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737437)

Because no one will have the weapons to breach those limits. If the there were some way for the UK to successfully negotiate a no-submarine-development treaty in 1900, for example, it would have been absolutely in there interest to do so. Of course, such a treaty is infeasible because compliance is entirely unverifiable. The nice thing about ASW is that their development past the testing phase is sufficiently verifiable that a treaty banning their development is feasible. Obviously, they may try to do as much development as they can, up to the treaty limits - you can bet we definitely will. But given our comparative military spending, I think it's just as likely with a treaty in place ASW development will seem like a frivolity to the Russians/Chinese.

Re:Why we want to preserve the status quo in space (1, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737441)

Not as inane as it may look at the first glance, because politics play a huge role in modern wars. The only thing that matters in a war today is the question who started it. You want to go to war? You need a reason. You can't just go and invade some country.

Them using anti-sat technology against your "multiplyers" would be a really awesome reason. You didn't do anything harmful, after all, that's just surveillance sats to make sure everyone plays nice, right? And they went and sent up some surveillance killer sats. That's aggressive behaviour, they're the aggressors, you have every right to fight back.

Drop 'em bombs, boys!

OK and So? (1)

BigAssRat (724675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737455)

Do you really think that should there be a next "world war" that China, or whomever our opponent is, is going to be so kind as to allow us that HUGE military advantage simply because they signed some silly piece of paper at some point? Don't be so naive.

You know, I really don't understand the whole concept of weakening the United States military simply to "make freinds." It is not going to work.

The ONLY reason that other countries want US to sign this thing is because they know that we ARE the leader in space and they would like a more fair playing field if anything happens. Well guess what! War is NOT fair. Get over it.

Uh, that would be YOU. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26737043)

The reality is this is a strategic and political move, not a military one. Even if we signed a space weapon ban treaty, we will still have weapons in space. It will just be more expensive because we'll have to hide their existence, deployment, and use. Or we'll have to call it something else (GPS is a "space weapon" isn't it?) For that coin we'll gain things we don't currently have, like greater international support, and a greater capacity to prevent China from getting weapons in space.

Improving security by lowering defenses (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736691)

Nothing says safe from harm like walking around naked.

Re:Improving security by lowering defenses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736831)

rape!=harm?

Re:Improving security by lowering defenses (4, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737011)

So the only way to be safe is to keep building bigger weapons? I don't suppose youve ever looked into the 50 year immediately following WWII? Whats that meme round here "those that don't understand the mistakes of history bound to repeat them".

Not only is heading towards a cold war situation generally a bad idea, but given the current economic situation America doesn't stand a chance. China has a manufacturing capability much greater than America and given how china virtually owns America, you cant even hit china with trade sanctions.

Re:Improving security by lowering defenses (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737177)

You hit the nail right on the head. The US is in the middle of a total meltdown, and if anyone is sending up space weapons, it's going to be their rivals. America doesn't stand a chance. Therefore, they want competition outlawed.

Seriously... who gives a shit what he thinks? He's the captain of a sinking ship.

Re:Improving security by lowering defenses (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737383)

America doesn't stand a chance

Oh really? In what regard? Is somebody going to nuke us into the stone age? Hmm, that might not end well [wikipedia.org] for them. Is somebody going to invade us? Hmm, that might not end well [wikipedia.org] for them either. You can hate us all you want but we'll be around for a long time. We might draw inwards a bit but most of us wouldn't consider that a bad thing. Either way we aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

He's the captain of a sinking ship.

Be careful what you wish for, the suction from that sinking ship may pull you under too :)

Why? (2, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736713)

For the most part, agreements between one or two are effective (a bilateral agreement is like a contract), while agreements between many are simply meaningless gestures that only bind the honest.

Remember that governments aren't honest.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736865)

how many nations have space weapons? usa, china & russia, now my maths isn't that great but i count that as an agreement between the us and one or two other nations.

Re:Why? (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737103)

What about Pakistan and India, both of whom have both nuclear and space programs? What about Iran now being a space power, and claiming to be a nuclear power? The days of Russo-American nuclear hegemony are now over. The old cold war agreements are no longer effective at promoting worldwide security.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736957)

Translation: Illegalizing guns means only criminals will have guns.

Illegalizing space weapons means only criminals will have space weapons.

Re:Why? (1)

phorest (877315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737287)

If space weapons were banned, only Klingons would would have space weapons!

Re:Why? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737393)

And the Romulans, we can't forget the Romulans.

Or the Cardassians, we can't forget them either.

Or the Ferengi.

Might as well add the Borg while we are at it.

Screw it, only the Federation will be defenseless.

Too bad (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736715)

The United States have trampled or weaseled around so many treaties in the past decade that it's hard to believe they're not just trying to stall others while they prepare for another run around the rules (if not this administration then the next or the one after that). Thanks, but I don't think a proposed ban has a chance unless the USA are prepared to sign it without immediate reciprocation.

Re:Too bad (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737463)

Maybe you should be a little more worried about countries like Iran and North Korea having space weapons... you know, countries that might actually use them irresponsibly.

China supports this! (5, Insightful)

Jogar the Barbarian (5830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736731)

Obama: "Today I have signed an executive order banning all space weapons."

China: "Yay! We fully support this."

*China blows up all U.S. satellites*

Re:China supports this! (2, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736757)

U.S.: responds to first strike and rains down 1,400 nuclear warheads on China

so what's your point again?

Re:China supports this! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736981)

U.S.: responds to first strike and rains down 1,400 nuclear warheads on China

See, there's the folly in your thinking. You leave the United States with no other response than a nuclear one if China blows our satellites up? Flexible response [wikipedia.org] has been our policy since the 60s and seems much more likely to deter someone than being limited to killing hundreds of millions of people.....

Re:China supports this! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737115)

wrong, blowing ALL our satellites up could only be interpreted as precursor to chinese nuclear strike. Your imagined body count in that scenario is low, over a billion would die. your Flexible Response would apply to destruction of one or a few satellites, perhaps. sorry.

Re:China supports this! (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736985)

Blowing up a US satellite does not equal a first strike to a US city. It would be very hard to convince the rest of the world (much less the citizens of the US) that such a disproportional retaliation is warranted.

However, the ability to also destroy China's satellites is a nice deterrent due to the fact that retaliation is swift, proportional, and no one is vaporized in the process. Well... Not yet.

I have to agree with the GP that Obama may not have what it takes to maintain a national defense. I mean space weapons is not a hot topic at the moment, so why even bring it up?

Re:China supports this! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737161)

wasn't talking about A satellite or even a few, but ALL. Being severly near-blinded in our global monitoring capability, the only possible valid assumption U.S. could make in that case is that nuclear strike by China was next.

Re:China supports this! (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736995)

U.S.: responds to first strike and rains down 1,400 nuclear warheads on China

One good hit on the Three Gorges Dam would probably suffice.

Let's hope there is sufficient deterrence value for all sides not to go down that road.

Re:China supports this! (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736997)

China's space weapons destroy 99% of the nukes before they reach their targets.

Re:China supports this! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737419)

China's space weapons destroy 99% of the nukes before they reach their targets.

Ballistic missiles aren't the only way [wikipedia.org] to deliver [wikipedia.org] nuclear warheads.....

Re:China supports this! (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737175)

*China blows up all U.S. satellites*

This is as good as an arguement as saying "Cylons show up and nuke earth". Also, why would you piss off your favorite customer who buys all of your cheap crap?

Re:China supports this! (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737389)

I would expect *opposite* to happen. But with someone else than China.

After all, why propose treaty which you yourself will gain nothing and can end up paying dearly for upholding.

Iran... (3, Insightful)

Skiboricus (597702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736739)

Iran puts a satellite in orbit... We take ourselves out of the space based weapons party? Makes sense to me. HopeNChange will get us through the day!

Re:Iran... (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737411)

Iran builds first Iranian car...
The USA stops building the Abrams tank...

I'm not saying that they will not use their new found technology for malicious purposes, only that... you know... maybe they just want some TV, and their own Google Maps.

Saves money, too (5, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736741)

As I recall, the US economy got a boost from reduction in arms spending post-Communism, in the Clinton era. I remember discussions in the UK before that on how Japan benefited commercially from not having a significant military, meaning that not only did they not have to pay for it out of taxes, but engineers who might be making missiles could work on things like better cars.

To generalise wildly, countries with large military R&D spending and manufacturing tend not to be good at consumer products. Military "GNP" is akin to making lots of expensive goods and then putting them all on a bonfire.

In the present case, Obama can achieve several things: reduce the cost of government, please the bluer segments of the US, and perhaps give Bill O'Reilly and co heart attacks. Potential triple win for the new Administration, and no-one gets hurt.

Re:Saves money, too (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737019)

To generalise wildly, countries with large military R&D spending and manufacturing tend not to be good at consumer products.

Yeah, I can't think of any consumer products developed and produced by American companies that anybody would want to buy.

and no-one gets hurt.

Until some adversary emerges and we don't have the means to deal with him short of total war. Imagine if the French and Brits had addressed a particular problem in the early 30s instead of waiting until they had rearmed?

Re:Saves money, too (5, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737191)

Then we'd have seen terrorism emerge way earlier. Learn your history, but learn it well.

Germany was economically crippled and, worse, humiliated after WW1. A swift retaliation after Hitler decided to occupy some of the countries, wiping him off the map and forcing Germany to surrender yet again would not have solved this problem. What led to WW2 wasn't simply the emerge of Hitler. The core reason was the humiliation of Germany at the peace treaties of WW1 and the ensuing thirst for revenge, and the extreme fear on the French side with a doctrine that dictated that Germany has to be crippled to the point where it could never pose a threat to France ever again.

The solution was only found after both sides found that it's better for peace to accept the mutual right to exist.

Re:Saves money, too (1)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737035)

To generalise wildly, countries with large military R&D spending and manufacturing tend not to be good at consumer products. Military "GNP" is akin to making lots of expensive goods and then putting them all on a bonfire.

That's definitely wild generalizing.

Re:Saves money, too (1)

gopher_st (1470059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737113)

Military "GNP" is akin to making lots of expensive goods and then putting them all on a bonfire.

I agree with that statement, ... If by "bonfire" you mean Iraq, and if by "expensive goods" you mean bombs.

Re:Saves money, too (5, Insightful)

Kiuas (1084567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737247)

Military "GNP" is akin to making lots of expensive goods and then putting them all on a bonfire.

Exactly. Orwell had a point about this in 1984. And since everybody in /. loves Orwell here it is:

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed. A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the distinction between one group and another.

Prophet or not, the man has/had a point there, although it's not directly applicable to modern societies of course.

What about everyone else... (0, Redundant)

Brimmith (1090637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736775)

Were not the only nation with satellites in space. Whats to stop other countries from doing this first then the US is at a disadvantage. Were still here because other countries are afraid of the Military power we have. This would just make countries more reluctant to attack.

Re:What about everyone else... (0, Flamebait)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736969)

You are still their because in reality nobody gives a fuck that you are still there. The problem is that you are often just just there. You want to be here as well. If the rest would have liberated the Americans from the stupidity of Bush, you wuld be angry and rightfully so.

So stop doing that to the rest of the world. I hope that this is a good start to do so.

Re:What about everyone else... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736971)

Doesn't it worry you that the only reason the US don't get attacked is a superior army and that they can browbeat everyone into submission?

Oh, wait, I forgot about terrorism. Guess why they attack you.

Re:What about everyone else... (1)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737009)

Space weapons had been banned for a very long time.

The Outer Space Treaty was enacted in 1967. According to wikipedia, there are 99 countries on the treaty, and another 26 who have signed but not ratified.

China and Russia will be real happy about this.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736797)

China and Russia will be real happy about this....

Space Diplomacy will be a failure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736811)

The only reason space diplomacy worked in the past was because of a confluence of interest between the Soviet Union and the United States. Namely, the USA wanted the Russians to slow down their space program, so they opened the space treaty negotations. Then, the Russians wanted the USA to slow down as they were increasingly concerned that the USA would succeed with the Saturn V program (it's really all about the boosters), and their own program was running into problems.

Nowadays, there's no confluence of interest. The USA MUST MAINTAIN communications and GPS to be effective.

Why Not Space Weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26736815)

We have weapons on land, air, sea, even underwater. Why is space so hallowed that people think there shouldn't be weapons there? ICBMs are space weapons, so are military spy satellites.

Some peaceniks are still in the anti-"star wars" mentality that they can't see that space is already militarized.

Re:Why Not Space Weapons? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26737159)

Why is space so hallowed that people think there shouldn't be weapons there?

Space is above your territory. All space technology requires flying "over" foreign territory. As long as space is not militarized (who am I kidding...), allowing other nations' spacecraft into the space above your territory is an acceptable proposition, but when there is a potential for low earth orbit weapons, then countries will start to extend their territorial claims into space, especially countries which do not have access to space yet.

Re:Why Not Space Weapons? (5, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737179)

We have more weapons on land, air, sea, even underwater than anyone else

...and you're still terrified.

How is arming yourselves even more going to solve the problem?

You have three potential threats:

1. Russia/China/etc: Have no interest in attacking the US, they have their own problems, they don't need yours.
2. Terrorism: The only successful counter to terrorism has been to make the underlying causes irrelevant.
3. Internal: Good luck with that...

On top of which there is a fourth real threat coming directly from the economic system that is collapsing around your ears and which is most certainly not going to be solved through wasting money on fantasy projects, isolationism, or "reds under beds" paranoia.

What is special about space? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736909)

Why can't we deliver equivalent weapon systems from the ground, sea, air? Those have been well used in past conflicts. Is there some special benefit to having a weapons platform in space other than the fact we can pass it through enemy territory without a diplomatic incident? There has to be some major benefit that offsets the cost of launching and maintaining something that is extremely remote. I get surveilence satellites but not weapons platforms.

Re:What is special about space? (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737067)

Yes there is. The weapons are virtually undetectible until it's too late. So if you target a countries known military bases/silos/leadership from space you can prevent them from retaliating. It just takes a very shrot period of time for the missile to hit, and again detection is harder.

Conventional methods could mean a missile will take an hours to get there. In that time the receiving country can detect, arm and launch their missiles at you. So targetting their missile silo's is kind of pointless, and taking out their leadership is that much harder because they are evacuating to safe, hidden, bunkers.

Re:What is special about space? (3, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737295)

The weapons are virtually undetectible until it's too late.

Yes, because launching a big freakin' rocket (big enough to put stuff in orbit) will go unnoticed. Especially when you already have satellites in orbit looking for events like that. Do you really think that the militaries all over the world aren't keeping track of the stuff the other side has put up there?

So if you target a countries known military bases/silos/leadership from space you can prevent them from retaliating.

Yes, if you can orchestrate that one, magnificent strike that will take out a few hundred targets in fifteen minutes or less (with weapons coming from satellites that are scattered over several orbits all around the globe). Oh, and don't forget bagging all those missile subs, too, because each one you missed will mean a dozen nukes coming your way.

Conventional methods could mean a missile will take an hours to get there.

If an ICBM (or any other ballistic missile, for that matter) takes longer than an hour, it's probably not going to come down at all anymore.

Re:What is special about space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26737447)

Why can't we run a mounted cavalry charge? Those have been well used in past conflicts. Is there some special benefit to having a weapons platform on a motorised vehicle other than the fact we can drive it across a battl-field with no-one killing us? There has to be some major benefit that offsets the cost of launching and maintaining something that is extremely mechanically complex. I get cavalry but not tanks.

Stupid Stupid Stupid (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26736959)

Because we all know that everyone else will uphold the same morals.

Sorry, but this is just political grandstanding for his base. If the does follow through he will simply gimp the US going forward

Re:Stupid Stupid Stupid (1)

furby076 (1461805) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737099)

1) Ban arming space
2) Secretly arm space
3)...
4) Blow the crap out of everyone, from space, and celebrate in the nuclear holocaust

Obligatory (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737077)

When you outlaw space weapons, only outlaws will have space weapons.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Steemers (1031312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737321)

That simple truth has never worked to demonstrate what it is supposed to. The reason is that it is true for everything. If you outlaw rape, only criminals will rape. If you outlaw toys, only outlaws will have toys. Well yeah, at that point one cannot own a toy without being a criminal.

You need to find a different phrase.

No, move into space in a big way. (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737123)

Space is the ultimate high ground. Just having something up there you can drop is a heck of a weapon. More and more countries are moving into space, and several of them are unfriendly to the U.S. (Some for understandable reasons.) At least being able to defend the satellites we critically depend on is necessary.

But we can do it right. Stick some money into nuclear propulsion (not Orion, try a closed cycle gas core nuclear rocket [wikipedia.org]). If we're not limited to chemical power we can lift a lot more weight [nuclearspace.com]. Make solar-power satellites, a real space station, and so forth. Open up whole new industries...

My cold dead hands (1)

coren2000 (788204) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737173)

You can get my Raygun when you pull it from my cold dead hands.

The only good human is a dead human!

Re:My cold dead hands (1)

rwalker429 (1452827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737365)

I second this and the five day waiting period and subsequent background check I had to go through just to buy my Gundam was ridiculous!

Misleading Summary (5, Informative)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737205)

This is a misleading summary, albeit cribbed from the first story linked.

This is the basis of the story for both articles linked, it's a part of the Agenda found on Whitehouse.gov:

Ensure Freedom of Space: The Obama-Biden Administration will restore American leadership on space issues, seeking a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites. They will thoroughly assess possible threats to U.S. space assets and the best options, military and diplomatic, for countering them, establishing contingency plans to ensure that U.S. forces can maintain or duplicate access to information from space assets and accelerating programs to harden U.S. satellites against attack.

link [whitehouse.gov]

A ban on weapons that interfere with satellites is very different from a ban on space weapons. The former I could support, it's an agreement to protect the common good, mankind's access to space, from the possible disastrous consequences of ringing the planet with debris. The latter I would have deep reservations about.

Sea Saw Continues, Military to Civilian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26737211)

Ah the saga continues ...

Republican Military Hawks will be starting the get those Dems out so get spending. Just look at the History and see how Dems reduce Military spending and then the Republicans ramp it back up.

Just wait till Midterm and re-election.

weaponizing space not so nice (4, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26737329)

This is a game we can't afford to play. The cost of wrecking satellites is trivially low compared to the cost of replacing them. I would put space warfare on the same level as chemical warfare, if not in terms of human cost but damage done to the treasury. In WWII, both sides had the gas masks in case the other side used it first but neither did for fear of the chemical counter-attack. And this is in a war where carpet-bombing cities was considered an acceptable tactic.

Here's a question: years ago I read that a poor man's ASAT would be a booster capable of reaching a retrograde orbit on the same orbit as the target. It doesn't contain a guided kinetic kill video, just a big bucket of sand. The sand is released after the orbit is circularized and it becomes a giant, fine-grained shotgun blast that will destroy any satellite on the same plane. Is this one of those hoary chestnuts that just isn't true or is it very plausible?

The other question which I know is serious and yet unanswered: how much shrapnel would be left from an unrestricted space war? Would we be denying ourselves the use of certain orbits for hundreds of years? Low earth orbits will see the junk slowed by the atmosphere and burn up in time but high orbits would be free from the drag and could be there indefinitely. Would it even be possible to armor satellites sufficiently to survive the debris or would we have screwed ourselves but good?

Star Trek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26737341)

Beam me down, Scotty. It's boring up here now.

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