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NASA Sends One Up; DoD Shoots One Down

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the defense-contractors'-delight dept.

Technology 401

drbrain writes: "They seem to have succeeded again, their Helios is their first success of a remotely, solar self powered aircraft. Looks kinda weird. They plan to use it for research and the military." Meanwhile, Guppy06 and many others sent in stories about a successful test of the Star Wars missile defense system, which will protect us from all those ballistic missiles that foreign nations don't have and would be silly to use, when you can just drive down from Canada with a suitcase nuke.

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The real problem (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 13 years ago | (#82921)

As I have explained in some other place:

The danger is not that the system will work -- it's that US will behave as if it works. If it just worked, no one would care unless nuclear war actually started, but if it affected US' behavior at the extent that US started causing completely unacceptable damage to everyone else, the only possible remedy would be to actually attack US. Missile defense, of course, wouldn't do much, so US will respond with their nuclear weapons.

So, for US it's a game "give me your wallet!" while for the rest of the world it's damage that US causes by looting everyone vs. damage from nuclear war that will happen if measures that can stop the looting were taken.

With enough looting (US is unaware of the game rules for others and doesn't put any limits to looting) at least for some nuclear-capable country the perceived cost of looting will outweight the cost of nuclear war, but once one country started a war with US, others can only decrease the amount of damage to themselves by making the war shorter, and that means attacking one of the countries that originally started it. It will be more beneficial to attack US because that would also eliminate the possibility of the subsequent nuclear war if some other country will make the same decision as the originator of the war even if the originator will be defeated, so everyone except extreme US loyalists will have no choice but to attack US. This means that in the long run the global nuclear war is the only possible outcome.

It may be argued that after the first failure of missile defense everyone would expect that the US would stop the looting, so they will then attack the original aggressor and not the US. This is unlikely because then the US, if it will survive the war, will continue the same behavior, relying on the precieved support of the majority of the nuclear-capable countries, so attacking the aggressor will still increase the probability of the appearance of the new aggressor in the future, while attacking US will reduce it. In any case, at least one large-scale nuclear war inevitably happens.

This is NOT Starwars! (1)

volkris (694) | more than 13 years ago | (#82924)

Starwars is a completely different deal based on completely different methods.

People seem to miss this.

They also miss that Bush is not proposing to build this defense system, he is only testing its technology. Deployment of a defense system would be a completely different consideration.

IF the technology proves feasable, deployment will then be up for consideration, but not a guarantee.

Re:Solar Technology (1)

volkris (694) | more than 13 years ago | (#82925)

Thanks for the worth reading post on something other than the nukes :)

Re:paying attention? (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 13 years ago | (#82927)

I'll be rather annoyed though. Oh, and dead too.

doh... messed that up... (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 13 years ago | (#82928)

Shoulda previewed......shoulda been like this:

I don't think you're understanding. Yes, China and Russia have nukes. So do India and Pakistan now. So does North Korea. But none of them want their entire country to glow in the dark. So they don't attack us. This has worked pretty well for the last 50 years. Now Bush wants to go and fuck it all up by giving us what looks to everyone else as an edge in the MAD (mutually assured destruction) game.

They'll continue to quietly build (under cover) until they have enough arms to be a significant threat.

They already have more than enough to annihilate us and most of the rest of the world. Russia has thousands of nukes. The US has over 10 thousand. If either of us launch, the world is fucked. Get it?

At least instead of developing more nuclear arms, the US is now trying to render existing arms less effective.

Umm.. you mean render EVERYONE ELSE'S existing arms less effective. And they will respond how? By building MORE EFFECTIVE missiles, of course. Plus, they'll be a lot more likely to use them if they feel we're gaining the upper hand. We'll be back in the 50s again waiting in fear for someone to finally push the button.

Now, as things stand today, we're really not in any danger of another country launching a nuke at us. At least not any more than we've always been. As the previous poster pointed out, it's much more likely that a nuke will be smuggled into the country and detonated. It would be a lot easier to do it that way, and a lot harder to track the source. This system will do nothing to protect us from terrorist attacks, which is the bogeyman dejour these days. Then there's the little problem that the system will not likely be able to deal with more than a few missiles, and if those missiles have even rudimentary countermeasures, it will probably completely fail to hit them.

And you've been smoking what now? (2)

Danse (1026) | more than 13 years ago | (#82929)

Russia ALREADY HAS LOTS OF NUKES! Even if they had to build more, they would do it. They've done it before without worrying about the consequences to their economy.

Either way, it wouldn't take very many to fuck us up anyway. This missile defense system won't be able to handle very many missiles. And if they decide to equip those missiles with even rudimentary countermeasures, we will be severely fucked.

Re:Extraordinary events (2)

Danse (1026) | more than 13 years ago | (#82930)

And that jeopardizes our supreme interests how? All the treaties we made with the Soviet Union were inherited by Russia. I fail to see how this jeopardizes us in any way.

Re:nitpick (2)

Danse (1026) | more than 13 years ago | (#82931)

Don't we have our own nukes in Japan too? Plus nukes in subs all over the place? The US supposedly has over 10K nuke missiles total, and plenty more warheads IIRC. Whatever happens, we have the capability to destroy the entire world if we chose to. We don't need nuclear allies.

Re:paying attention? (5)

Danse (1026) | more than 13 years ago | (#82939)

I don't think you're understanding. Yes, China and Russia have nukes. So do India and Pakistan now. So does North Korea. But none of them want their entire country to glow in the dark. So they don't attack us. This has worked pretty well for the last 50 years. Now Bush wants to go and fuck it all up by giving us what looks to everyone else as an edge in the MAD (mutually assured destruction) game.

They'll continue to quietly build (under cover) until they have enough arms to be a significant threat.

They already have more than enough to annihilate us and most of the rest of the world. Russia has thousands of nukes. The US has over 10 thousand. If either of us launch, the world is fucked. Get it?

At least instead of developing more nuclear arms, the US is now trying to render existing arms less effective. Umm.. you mean render EVERYONE ELSE'S existing arms less effective. And they will respond how? By building MORE EFFECTIVE missiles, of course. Plus, they'll be a lot more likely to use them if they feel we're gaining the upper hand. We'll be back in the 50s again waiting in fear for someone to finally push the button.

Now, as things stand today, we're really not in any danger of another country launching a nuke at us. At least not any more than we've always been. As the previous poster pointed out, it's much more likely that a nuke will be smuggled into the country and detonated. It would be a lot easier to do it that way, and a lot harder to track the source. This system will do nothing to protect us from terrorist attacks, which is the bogeyman dejour these days. Then there's the little problem that the system will not likely be able to deal with more than a few missiles, and if those missiles have even rudimentary countermeasures, it will probably completely fail to hit them.

It's not star wars, but the sequel (2)

DataPath (1111) | more than 13 years ago | (#82946)

Technically, it is not the star wars program, but son of star wars... minor clarification

Re:Splitting hairs (2)

Zagadka (6641) | more than 13 years ago | (#82957)

You think forcing China to build lots of nukes in order to slow down their economy is a good thing? Exactly what kind of crack did you say you were on?

Suitcases and chaff. (2)

Apuleius (6901) | more than 13 years ago | (#82961)

Russia can develop countermeasures to Star Wars, meaning decoys and chaff for their ICBMs. If they are smart, however (and I believe they are), they will keep these to themselves.

Other countries are fscked, however. Saddam isn't going to have a suitcase nuke any time soon. That takes too much effort, with the Israelis ready to repeat 1982 and the US patroling the air. He'll be lucky to build a truck nuke, which is not as easy to bring into Canada, let alone across the border to a population center, with the FBI and assorted other spooks working exactly to prepare for such an event..

The same applies to ICBMs. Saddam can't add chaff countermeasures or anything else to his ICBMs (if he gets any), because his nukes will still be too large. Now, keep in mind that if Saddam, or Osama, or Moamar, or whatever next lunatic comes around (unpleasant thought of the day - what if Pakistan is taken over by someone madder than Musharaf?), is able to nuke the US and gain something by it, he will. So while Star Wars cannot protect against Pissed-Off Putin, it can protect against tinpot dictators.

Re:Thank you, Michael, for mentioning this! (2)

InfinityEdge (9122) | more than 13 years ago | (#82963)

I'm stealing this quote without giving credit; if someone knows the author please post.

"How do you smuggle a nuclear weapon into the United States? Simple, just hide it in a bale of Marijuana."

If a "rouge state" wanted to seriously screw with the US and the world they probably wouldn't even use a nuke, nuke's are so passe. Hire a russian biological warfare scientist and create a nice mutation of the flu then release the bug in the nearest large international airport. The last huge, deadly, flu epidemic (in the 30's???) killed more people than WWI and WWII combined. Lot's of death and no nuclear winter or radiation! Perfect for the aspiring terrorist.

Missile defense? (1)

dido (9125) | more than 13 years ago | (#82964)

Hmmm, let's see. There's the Russian Federation (lots of missiles, obviously). There's China (DF-5/CSS-4, range 13,000 km). There's India (Surya, range of 12,000 km). The other declared nuclear powers (Pakistan, France, UK, and Israel) have IRBM's only at the very most, according to publicly available information, and with one exception these are all allies of the United States. The three other powers which do have ICBM systems are unlikely to use them against the United States. The expense involved in an elaborate ICBM defense system is thus difficult to justify in this case. See the FAS Nuclear Forces Guide [fas.org] for more facts and figures regarding nuclear forces. They got informative pages on other weapons of mass destruction as well.

Re:It's not star wars, but the sequel (1)

VValdo (10446) | more than 13 years ago | (#82966)

Yes, the anti-missile technology will protect us against Bush's various Phantom Menaces [time.com] .

Seriously, how many tons of drugs/immigrants/etc get into this country illegally? How many bombs are already here, waiting, you think?

Is *anyone* besides Bush and defense contractors FOR this program? I've not heard a single sensible argument for why might be a good idea.

W
-------------------

Your response is more painful. (2)

VValdo (10446) | more than 13 years ago | (#82968)

his is the same government that has executed more people in the past three months than the rest of the world has in the past three years (yes, that includes Texas, save your lame jokes).

Ah yes, remind me...

Which country has a higher percentage of its population in prison? [hrw.org]

Which administration is more likely to launch a missile attack [cnn.com] ? Which may or may not hit its target? [geocities.com]

Or crash their secret spy plane, for that matter? [washingtonpost.com]

Which country recently lost its seat on the U.N. human rights committee? [cnn.com]

In other words, you probably have to buy one from Russia.

Yes, that could never happen [pbs.org] . With Russia being so stable and all.

the US is pushing for increased Canadian border security and unified policies on security and entry into North America

No one ever gets anything past the Canadians [202.84.17.11] .

suitcase nukes are low-yield.

Uhhhh... Yah.

After all, look how nice the world is being to China, what with giving them the Olympics and all (worked really well in Berlin in 1936, didn't it?).

This is Yes, you are absolutely right. [time.com] Jesse Owens' televised humiliation [historychannel.com] of "Aryan superiority" having lead to WWII and all...

You have to understand that the Mutual Assured Destruction policies of the Cold War don't apply to unstable and fundamentalist regimes.

Hmm. Strange that the rest of the civilized world [cnn.com] seems to disagree. Of course, I'm sure this is the only time that Bush would dare propose breaking an anti-nuke treaty [nytimes.com] . I mean, any guy who's cutting the EPA by 6.5% while giving an additional 13.6 billion to defense [cnn.com] has his priorities totally straight. That, and his unbiased choices to head the EPA [nytimes.com] show that he isn't swayed by special interests. Which is why ultimately, other countries everywhere love [cnn.com] and respect [cnn.com] and cherish [telegraph.co.uk] him and support [cnn.com] his wise [cnn.com] policies [cnn.com] .

Don't let the facts stop you, though, Michael.

Yeah, whatever man.

W
-------------------

Re:Don't believe everything you read (1)

mengmeng (11008) | more than 13 years ago | (#82973)

An obvious target?? If any country launched an ICBM at the US, that country would be quite literally wiped off the face of the earth soon thereafter. No government will be stupid enough to do that. The true dangers are actions by terrorist guerilla groups who really don't care, and whose actions can't be stopped by something like Star Wars.

ABM Treaty (4)

Detritus (11846) | more than 13 years ago | (#82975)

The USA does not have to "break" the ABM treaty. See Article 15, Section 2 of the treaty. The text of the treaty can be found here [tufts.edu] . Either side can withdraw from the treaty after giving six months prior notice.

Yeah.. it would. (1)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#82988)

But it's not called 'Star Wars' as the /. editors seem to think. The Star Wars project was dropped years ago.

Re:Star Wars succeeds now, but.... (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#82989)

It's not Star Wars, and from what I recall, earlier tests failed, and the current one succeeded. That's why they are TESTS. You can only do so much in the lab, and in simulation.
IF earlier ones failed and current ones succeed, that means that the earlier tests achieved their purpose.

Re:This is serious (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#82990)

Scary? Kind of. But that IS what a permitier is for, no? To provide a margin of safety?
To define the edge of the controlled land?

Wow.. that's distorted. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#82991)

Who smuggles drugs into Canada? Aside from the (legally obtained) airplane glue you've obviously been huffing, there are LOTS of drugs in canada. Aside from the marijuana, EVERYTHING is smuggled in. You don't see any poppy or coca fields, do you?

Booze is cheaper in the US; I fail to see why it would be smuggled from Canada.

Cigarettes are cheaper in the US; ditto.

Marijuana? Of course it's smuggled into the US... it's an export. That proves nothing.

Hey.. you know what? (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#82992)

I like the US and all, fine neighbor to have... however. Regarding this 'border' with Canada.

In all my travels, I have *never* had more hassle at a border than simply driving south into the US. Talk about getting grilled 'Why do you have that laptop? Are you coming down here to work? How do we know you aren't entering our country to work illegally?' 'Because I don't like it there'

Re:paying attention? (1)

fitsy (22336) | more than 13 years ago | (#82995)

Cut the "Islamic EXtremist" bullshit.

Saddam invaded Kuwait for one thing, P-E-T-R-O-L.

The problem "Islamic Extremists" have with the US is their support of the Jews in Isreal w.r.t their "Settlement activity" and to a lesser extent the numerous US military bases scatteren in the middle east.

Read up on the conversation on kuro5hin.org about Osma Bin Laden.

Re:No nukes? (2)

Basje (26968) | more than 13 years ago | (#82997)

We tried that in Europe, just before WorldWarII. The result was that one modern, well armed and organised army ran over all other states' armies.

You may not like it, but when someone decides to threaten you, your only option is to be able to hit him where it hurts, and have him now that you can.

That said, I don't think an arms race will cut it against fundamentalistic islamic states. Hit them where it hurts isn't just killing them. They would consider themselves martyrs and double their efforts (well, not those you killed, but others).


----------------------------------------------

Re:Planes and bombs. (2)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 13 years ago | (#83000)

As far as nuclear war goes, the first attack that goes through and well...this planet is fuct.

Oh, the planet will be just fine. Us, on the other hand...

Re:No nukes? (2)

tbo (35008) | more than 13 years ago | (#83002)

does Michael honestly believe that other countries DON'T have strategic ballistic missles

Actually, they dont.


Not yet, but soon [cia.gov] , for North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and lots of other fun-loving dictatorships out there.

Why the hell would you launch it at the US even if you had one?

If nobody is planning to launch nukes at the US or build ICBMs capable of hitting the US, why do they care if the US has an ABM system? The US isn't starting an arms race--they're trying to win the one everybody is already in. China already has 20 or so nukes pointed at the US. What more do you need to realize we're already in an arms race, a few mushroom clouds?

If you want to nuke the US, you get or make a small bomb, like one of the infamous soviet suitcase nukes

Suitcase nukes are hard to make, and harder to smuggle than you might think (please see my other post [slashdot.org] for details).

Re: Star Wars (4)

tbo (35008) | more than 13 years ago | (#83006)

I'm going to agree with you about one point--the kinetic kill idea is silly. It's much easier to get close to a moving target than it is to hit it, and using nuclear-tipped interceptors is the easiest and most reliable way to do that. Remember that, in a nuclear missile attack, it's better to have a very small nuke explode 300 miles above your continent than a big one explode in your cities. I imagine the nuclear-tipped interceptor idea was killed because it was politically unpopular or not "green" enough or something like that. It's possible the current test result was faked to cover up that the kinetic-kill idea is stupid, but unlikely.

On the other hand, hitting something with a laser (i.e., the MIRACL airborne theatre missile defense system) isn't quite so hard, and actually sounds like it might be a good idea. I did some calculations a while back, and it seems quite possible for a laser of MIRACL's power to damage and destroy an ICBM (sorry, I'm too tired to dig up a link to my old post where I do the calcs).

In order to "work," it must intercept 100% of the incoming targets. If 1, or 5, or 100 nukes are launched at Washington DC, only 1 needs to get through

The system, as currently invisioned, is designed to work agains small attacks of one or a few ICBMs, and would involve multiple interceptors being launched against each ICBM. The capability to deal with large attacks would require an upgrade (pretty much only Russia has enough nukes to launch an attack large enough to overwhelm the system).

prevention is much more effective than interception

Prevention, in many of these cases [cia.gov] , would mean a pre-emptive strike, or a conventional war before the country gains nuclear capability. Otherwise, you have no guarantees. Please explain to me how else the US could convince North Korea or Iran not to develop ICBMs.

This whole fucking mess is just one monstrous pork-barrel: it can't work, it won't work, it'll never be finished

My previous reservations aside, doesn't the successful test make you want to eat your words?

They're our bombs and we'll do whatever the hell we want, treaties be damned.

The US is not breaking the ABM treaty. Either party is legally allowed to withdraw after giving 6 months' notice. IMHO, the US government is doing exactly what it's supposed to--take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of its citizens from foreign powers. If the foreign powers don't like it, that's too bad, because they won't be able to do much about it.

I know somebody is going to pull out the "suitcase nuke" excuse. Read my other post [slashdot.org] to see why it's not so simple.

Oh, the bullshit is painful (5)

tbo (35008) | more than 13 years ago | (#83007)

I'm so fucking sick and tired of Slashdot "editors" making blatant political statements when they're supposedly reporting the news. To add insult to injury, the statements are quite often false or misleading. Let's dissect this story's editorial comments:

protect us from all those ballistic missiles that foreign nations don't have

China has 20 or so CSS-4 ICBMs targeted at US cities [cia.gov] . Don't think they'd use them? This is the same government that has executed more people in the past three months [amnesty.org] than the rest of the world has in the past three years (yes, that includes Texas, save your lame jokes). Then there's Tiananmen Square, Tibet, Falun Gong, and a whole host of other human rights breaches in China.

Then there's North Korea, which is quite close to developing the ICBM technology [cia.gov] to hit the US with nukes or biological or chemical warfare.

Then there's Iran and Iraq, with weapons programs of their own, and possibly also an interest in buying from North Korea, China, or Russia.

when you can just drive down from Canada with a suitcase nuke

First of all, you have to get a suitcase nuke. They're not exactly easy to make (remember how big the first atomic bombs were?), and only a few countries in the world can make them (Russia, US). In other words, you probably have to buy one from Russia.

Second, you have to get it in to Canada. While we do have huge unguarded borders up north, you're going to have a hell of a time getting it from the Yukon or wherever to the 49th parallel. Also, the US is pushing for increased Canadian border security and unified policies on security and entry into North America. I think they're aware of the issue.

Third, you have to cross the US border. While I don't know for sure, I would bet there are hidden radiation detectors at all the border crossings. Liquid scintillator column-style detectors are incredibly sensitive, and it would be nearly impossible to shield the near-critical fissionable material in a bomb from the detectors (the gamma rays produced have too much penetrating power). I happen to work at a particle accelerator with just such detectors on the shipping gates (to prevent accidental removal of contaminated material), and you wouldn't know they're there if there weren't signs. They just look like part of the fence posts. Of course, it would be silly for the government to make the existence of such detectors public knowledge, because that would mostly defeat the purpose, which is to catch terrorists.

Finally, suitcase nukes are low-yield (as in around one kiloton). The man-with-the-briefcase approach also doesn't have the same political or military effectiveness that a working ICBM has. Rogue Country X has to actually use a suitcase nuke to convince the world that they have the capability, and then they'll get blown to smithereens by the US. Not much is accomplished besides killing a few hundred thousand Americans (worst-case), and getting Country X's population reduced to single digits. On the other hand, if it becomes known that X has ICBMs in hardened silos, then they're suddently part of the Nuclear Club, and they get to play with the big boys. After all, look how nice the world is being to China, what with giving them the Olympics [theglobeandmail.com] and all (worked really well in Berlin in 1936, didn't it?).

Re:paying attention? (5)

marcsiry (38594) | more than 13 years ago | (#83020)

On the contrary- Saddam Hussein thought he had the tacit approval of the entire world to invade Kuwait, thanks to some vague language employed by our ambassador to Iraq at the time (April Glaspie).

He was surprised when we got all hot and bothered about what he considered to be a local dispute.

More to the point: an enemy ICBM launched toward the United States has a big, flaming return address stamped on it. Any nation foolhardy enough to attack in such a manner would, for all intents and purposes, cease to exist thirty minutes later.

Even the most hardcore nutjob is likely to think twice in that situation. Most attacks against United States property and citizens come in the form of guerilla, surprise terrorist attacks... why should a nuclear attack be any different?

Missile defense is resources misspent in a manner that's just going to piss off our nuclear peers (Russia and China) and fail to address the real threat of terrorist nuclear attacks.

Self-fulfilling Defense Strategy (1)

underwhelm (53409) | more than 13 years ago | (#83031)

They may not have those ICBMs now, but once we break the ABM treaty, they'll have no reason not to start accumulating them.

Of course, now that we've elected two Texans to the executive branch, it could be argued that we're a new nation and treaties the United States of America signed don't apply to us. Welcome to the Republic of Texas!

Don't [lsjunction.com] laugh [geocities.com] .

Re:Thank you, Michael, for mentioning this! (1)

MrEd (60684) | more than 13 years ago | (#83043)

As a drunk guy in a bar once told me:

"The best way to detonate a nuclear warhead in a major metropolitan area of the United States is to smuggle it across the Canadian border in the back of a pickup truck..."

"...Preferably concealed inside a bale of marijuana."

( it's true you know )

Wah!

This is serious (1)

Chasuk (62477) | more than 13 years ago | (#83047)

...when you can just drive down from Canada with a suitcase nuke.

This is more serious than you would think. I've been stationed at military bases all over the world, and on many occasions seen cars abandoned for days outside of military perimeter fences without being visited once by military police.

Not a very comforting thought, is it?

Re:Yes, and I'm kind of nervous too.. (1)

themassiah (80330) | more than 13 years ago | (#83079)

Testing, Testing, Is This Thing on?

Facist Country in the Middle Of Europe? Who unfroze Stalin?

The Cold War is Over. Hot-headed, irration thought like what you displayed will not only re-kindle the sentiment (flames?) of the last cold war, but could possibly make it boil over into something worse.

The absolute LAST thing that Russia needs is something else like a Nuclear Stockpile (to get through missle sheilds) to drain it's economy further. You think it's bad over there now, wait until The Kremlin decides that it's better to dump money into arms manufacture than feed it's populace. Think before you post.

Impressive... (1)

riggwelter (84180) | more than 13 years ago | (#83081)

I want to make it clear before saying what I'm about to say that I don't like the idea of the US building this system, I think it will serve to strengthen it's position as more that the policeman of the world, but as police, court, judge, jury and executioner. (You want to see a rogue state? There's one wedged between Canada and Mexico! "You don't agree with us? Well then we'll break you economically, probably invade you if we think you're worth it, and generally make life as difficult for you as you can imagine, and maybe more so.")

But I was very very impressed to hear that this test worked! Sure, out of four carried out so far, this is only the second to work, but to hit one missile with another at the sort of range is an impressive technological feat in my book.

So, ummm, nice one George, you've proved it can be done, now go back to looking for Hawaii, there's a good chap.

--

Successed? (2)

epeus (84683) | more than 13 years ago | (#83082)

According to Stephen Pinker [mit.edu] overgeneralising a regular past tense is a common error in small children. Howver, 'to succeed' is perfectly reguar. 'Successed' is the kind of error made not by human brains, but by neural networks that don't have the concept of a variable. [mit.edu]

You have failed the Turing Test again. You are the weakest link. Goodbye.

Re:Suitcase nukes (2)

graniteMonkey (87619) | more than 13 years ago | (#83083)

But now that Michael's made mention of it, and Carnivore has logged it, the Feds should be able to haul him in before he helps someone do something about it.

Re:And you remember that (2)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 13 years ago | (#83088)

You sir, and please pardon my language, are a dumbshit, and no, this is not a troll.

The post you reference to was not an insult, and none of the people expressing surprise that the arm worked flawlessly were not insulting Canada. If you had bothered to do any research, you would have noticed that the ISS Canadarm2 has been PLAGUED with problems over the last month, and any surprise about it performing well is NOT based in some sort of anti-canadian rhetoric, but instead actual surprise that none of the so-called 'showstopping problems' ever reared their ugly heads during an exteremely complicated assembly sequence.

Traditionally, a person objecting to an insult is supposed to at least RECOGNIZE whether or not an insult was actually given.

Re: Star Wars (4)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 13 years ago | (#83089)

I offer a point by point rebuttal:

1. What is the level of evidence you propose to prove that it did happen? The DoD has showed radar tracks, video footage, and allowed reporters realtime access. If they had flown a super duper satellite with a video camera that could observe the impact first hand, you might suggest that was faked as well, so what impossible level of evidence do you need? Your statement is not food for thought, it is a red herring.

2. The first few airplanes did not fly. If all work on airplanes had stopped because the first couple didn't work, we would be in quite a pickle. Failure is a very real presence in any new endeavour, you would be a fool not to realize it. It is upon the backs of failure that success is born.

3. You suggest that if out of 100 missiles one got through that the attack would be 100% effective, and the system would therfor be ineffective. This is akin to arguing that condoms should not be worn during sex because they only reduce the chance of contracting an STD to 5% instead of 0%. Your argument is flawed, and the hundred million people that are or are not killed by the 99 missiles intercepted in your example disagree with you.

4. Any system that rellies on only prevention or only interception is bound to fail. A well structured defense embodies elements of both of those.

5. Citing a Bloom County cartoon as evidence is not very impressive. You would profit from finding better sources. It is a great comic strip, but a debate tool.

6. Your being 'scared' is also not data supporting your viewpoint. Additionally, if you have found a One True Definition to the word 'civilized' as you imply, the world will beat a path to your doorstep so you can settle the whole thing once and for all. If, on the other hand, you have NOT solved this world problem, please don't let the virtual door hit your ass on the way out.

Re:No nukes? (2)

Alpha State (89105) | more than 13 years ago | (#83090)

...someone in charge who might not have the same definition of the word "silly" (READ: Taliban).

Lucky for you they can't read this since they banned the internet.

Seriously though, does anyone believe that any country that can get a nuclear device can't also find a way to deliver it that doesn't involve lobbing it through space? Does anyone believe that any nation that can build an ICBM can't also build countermeasures that could defeat these missile defences?

I'm pretty sure that this is just another way for the US government to justify its huge military budget and stimulate the economy by buying heaps of stuff. Kind of economic masturbation. Wish I knew how it worked - you borrow heaps of money, spend it useless shit and then benefit from how great the economy is. Its just a pity they can't spend the money on better forms of energy, or better "education" systems, or other projects that would actually benefit people.

Re:paying attention? (1)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 13 years ago | (#83091)

Although a terrorist organization is more likely to go for B or C, rather than A - i.e. Biological or Chemicla weapons.

Yes, and I'm kind of nervous too.. (1)

burbilog (92795) | more than 13 years ago | (#83097)

...when I think about nutjobs bombing Serbia and now building fascist country in the middle of Europe. Such anti-missile shield will give a lot more freedom to U.S. to swing its nuclear saber. Guess what? I WILL support boosting production of new nuclear missiles here in Russia, because it will be the only way to escape fate of Serbia or Makedonia. May be Bull's "supergun", or something like extreme amount of decoys, but we CAN solve this problem. Yes, it will be hard on our staggering economy, but hell -- there is no way I would allow american command me! Mark me as flamebait, but I'm saying what anybody here will say......

That's how cold war works.

Re:Suitcase nukes (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 13 years ago | (#83102)

The sad fact is, our Northern friends have a much better record of policing their borders than we have of policing ours

Wait, wait, you're arguing *for* the case that smuggling nukes (or anything) into the US from Canada is relatively easy. If you're coming *from* Canada *to* the US (as I have, several times), you deal with the US border patrol, not the Canucks.

-Legion

Re:paying attention? (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#83104)

People can believe what they want. I believe the president (especially the current) would be happy to push that button. Really. Don't consider YOURSELF in that situation, you would probably not do it - that's why you're not in that position either. People in power are people that love power and making powerful decisions. They get a rush from it.

- Steeltoe

Re:Thank you, Michael, for mentioning this! (1)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#83105)

I would say you understand economy well, but your conclusion is missing. When the government creates advanced technology like missiles, alot of it comes back in taxes, research and technology (that rusts away) that is true. Money is circulating in society, that is also true. Where the money flows is cruicial. What types of people get money and how is it spent? Rich people will spend on luxury, which will benefit circulation in society. While poor people will often spend on the cheapest products that will have a more dramatic effect on production and the resources available.

All this looks good, you can have a good balance. However, you conclude that it doesn't matter what you do as long as you produce? I'd conclude otherwise: Think of how dramatic you can change the world if governments spend money on things that actually benefits the population and environment?

- Steeltoe

Re:No nukes? (2)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 13 years ago | (#83110)

And then we just get into the whole arms race again !

We imagine they have weapons, so build bigger weapons, they image we build bigger weapons, so build even bigger weapons, round and round in circles we go, where we stops, nobody knows.

The only solution is to take a proactive stance, reduce arms ! Now ! Oh and get rid of that George Dubya while you're at it.

Re:paying attention? (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 13 years ago | (#83112)



I get kind of nervous when I think about nutjobs running countries...

So do I. Especially when I hear about Star Wars and remember that before he got elected, the current US president couldn't even name the leaders [geocities.com] of the nations this 60 Billion-dollar system would 'protect' us from.



Seth

Don't take it personally (2)

jorbettis (113413) | more than 13 years ago | (#83113)

Micheal is appearently having a bad day, so, like anyone who isn't from there would do, he's taking it out on Canada [house.cx] .

See, no reason to get your panties in a knot about it, it's the natural thing to do.

Re:ABM Treaty (1)

malfunct (120790) | more than 13 years ago | (#83116)

I really wonder what good "rules of war" are in the first place? I mean its a lot of political posturing that you know damn good and well would be forgotten when a real war hit and someone wanted to defend themselves.

Granted its nice to say that I will be nice to my enemies and all that but when push comes to shove you know that we or any other group will do anything possible not to lose.

Re: Star Wars (1)

Timid_Monkey (125284) | more than 13 years ago | (#83120)

This system as conceived (e.g. interceptor missiles and/or Magical Space Lasers Of Death©) cannot work. A priori. In order to "work," it must intercept 100% of the incoming targets. If 1, or 5, or 100 nukes are launched at Washington DC, only 1 needs to get through for the attack to be 100% effective. Even the military, creaming their uniforms in ecstacy at the return of Republican pork-barrel funding, don't claim that this system can work 100% of the time.

First of all, "A priori" is Latin for "prior to". It is common in a legal scope for describing people who have committed crimes before those crimes were law. Hence, the act later defined as a crime was committed prior to the law being made.

Second, I believe that the news highlights the improvements made since the first test. I highly doubt there was no research into each failed test. Tell me, when you f* up at your job, do you continue doing whatever you do without looking for your error? You likely find your error and get all excited and cream your pants when you figure out what the heck you've been doing wrong. That's probably what just happened... they figured out what they've been doing wrong.

Laser Based Missle Defense System (3)

Timid_Monkey (125284) | more than 13 years ago | (#83122)

I believe that Lockheed-Martin is actively working on a Missle Defense System that will be based off of a network of airborne 747 jumbo jets in similar to that in Real Genius with Val Kilmer.

More on that project is available here [lockheedmartin.com] . It is in conjunction with Boeing and TRW.

A space-based laser is planned to follow (also similar to the plan of the plot in Real Genius. Though it is not due to be functional until 2008-2010, it is already in design stages. It is also a USAF & Lockheed Martin project. For more info about it, check here [lockheedmartin.com] .

It's interesting for those of you who have seen Real Genius how closely our Missle Defense System will follow the course of the movie. It is almost a theft of the plot. The main difference is that airborne/space-based laser in the movie was to be used for offensive strategy, not defensive.

RE: Star Wars (5)

legLess (127550) | more than 13 years ago | (#83125)

A few points thoughts, just for the hell of it:
  • We have no proof that the test actually worked. The U.S. military is not known for being open and honest about its failures (e.g. Gulf War "smart bombs"). All the reports I've seen said that two missiles were launched, then there was a bright flash of light. No collision was taped or witnessed. Granted, this would require some pretty gnarly cover-up and/or conspiracy, but it's food for thought.

  • GW Bush has said that he'll go ahead funding these tests whether or not they work. William S Burroughs once said, "In government, if something doesn't work, that's the best reason to keep on doing it."

  • This system as conceived (e.g. interceptor missiles and/or Magical Space Lasers Of Death©) cannot work. A priori. In order to "work," it must intercept 100% of the incoming targets. If 1, or 5, or 100 nukes are launched at Washington DC, only 1 needs to get through for the attack to be 100% effective. Even the military, creaming their uniforms in ecstacy at the return of Republican pork-barrel funding, don't claim that this system can work 100% of the time.

  • As a general strategy, prevention is much more effective than interception (e.g. the War on Some Drugs©).

  • The whole thing reminds me of a Bloom County cartoon from the Reagan Star Wars era. Opus the penguin submitted a grant application to the government to stitch $100 bills together by hand and deploy them in space as a missile shield. The grant was accepted, of course, and they started mailing him boxes of $100 bills. (I don't remember what he actually did with the cash - donated it to PETA, knowing Opus). Same idea, though. This whole fucking mess is just one monstrous pork-barrel: it can't work, it won't work, it'll never be finished, and the only end-product will be another house in the hills for some military contractor.

  • There are generally two types of countries with nuclear capability: civilized and uncivilized, or if you will, amenable to rational negotiation and not emanable. What the U.S. is doing here is pissing off and scaring literally every country in the world, and has tossed us squarely into the "not amenable to rational negotiation" pile; we're keeping company with Iraq on this issue. "They're our bombs and we'll do whatever the hell we want, treaties be damned." Christ that scares me.



"We all say so, so it must be true!"

Splitting hairs (5)

legLess (127550) | more than 13 years ago | (#83126)

That's splitting hairs, and you know it. The political fallout from giving 6 months notice and giving 0 months notice would be identical.

Here's a news flash: agreements between heavily-armed parties are a Good Thing. Breaking those agreements is a Bad Thing. In this case, everybody loses.

"We all say so, so it must be true!"

I'm sick of the suitcase senario (2)

evilviper (135110) | more than 13 years ago | (#83132)

The fact of the matter is;

a) A single nuke in a suitcase is a minor attack. While it might kill hundreds of millions, it won't wipe out the country.

b) We have defenses in place for that kind of attack. Everything from FBI, CIA, NSA, and so on, all investigate any suspicious activity. While we all see them as idiots, they are on top of things. It's long been the policy of the USA to hide their weapons (of all types) from the public in the interest of national security. I'm certain there are a handful of government agancies looking into my back yard right now, wondering what the hell that deformed hot-water heater is. :-)

Besides, even if you don't believe me, there is no logic in not defending yourself from one form of attack when another is possible.
Cops wear bullet-proof vests to protect them from gunshots to the chest, they don't just say 'screw it all' because they don't have anything to protect them from gunshot wounds to the head. Protect yourself in every way you can! I'm happy the US is finally wising up

---=-=-=-=-=-=---

paying attention? (5)

br4dh4x0r (137273) | more than 13 years ago | (#83133)

which will protect us from all those ballistic missiles that foreign nations don't have and would be silly to use

Michael, are you naive enough to believe that NO foreign country has, or is in the process of developing, ICBMs?

Wouldn't most people say that Saddam Hussein was "silly" for attacking Kuwait when he knew he'd have half the world kicking his ass?

I get kind of nervous when I think about nutjobs running countries that might shoot missiles at us. But maybe that's just me.

love,
br4dh4x0r

Put the nuke in a shipping container ... (2)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 13 years ago | (#83137)

... and send it to NY.

Altough it's a ground level explosion (much less efective than airborne) it still has a lot of punch.

Or how about putting it in one of those advertisement blimps...

Or maybe use one of those recreational sail-ships ...

Or put it on a plane from some crappy security airport ...

I think that probably the only reason why no terrorist group has ever tried one of this methods (or something else i can't even concieve), is because the lack the fissionable material (there aro too many "rogue" governments out there with big pockets trying to get their hands on the stuff - the price of it is probably too high for terrorist groups)

Re:Missile defense? (2)

marm (144733) | more than 13 years ago | (#83141)

Just a nit-pick, but actually both the UK and France have well-known submarine-launched ICBM capabilities. Indeed, the UK system is Trident, which is exactly the same as the US sub-launched ICBMs. The warhead/MIRV design is different, but of roughly equivalent capabilities, accuracy and megatonnage (up to 500 kilotonnes per warhead). The French system is entirely of their own design but again, has similar capabilities, payload and range.

But still, your point holds - it seems unlikely that any country would launch an ICBM-based nuclear attack against the US - to do so would mean complete annihilation for that country. Indeed, the only country capable these days of launching a crippling nuclear strike against the US would be the US itself - no other country has the weight of numbers of nuclear devices to be able to effectively knock out most of the US ICBM's...

Re:Thank you, Michael, for mentioning this! (1)

Judas96' (151194) | more than 13 years ago | (#83146)

Perhaps they should give border guards lightsabers so that they can keep the name but change the concept?
-- Judas96
"...don't take a nerf bat to a knife fight." - Joe Rogan, said on News Radio

Suitcase nuke? (2)

Jasonv (156958) | more than 13 years ago | (#83151)

[Ring... Ring..]

"Hello. Mr. Gretzky speaking.. ?"

"Your Eminence! This is Candian super secret special forces. They're on to us, eh!"

"What? They're on to us?"

"Yes... They've found out about the suitcase, eh. I'm not sure how, but we have to abort operation Hoser. Right now, eh!"

"Yikes, eh! I'll check in with our agent in Los Angeles!"

[Ring.. Ring..]

"Hi, Bill here"

"Mr. Shatner, this is Gretzky, eh!"

"Your Eminence! What can I do for you, eh!"

"They've found out about the suitcase! We need to abort, eh!"

"OH-MY-GOD....... How-did-they-ever-find-out about..........operation-hoser?

"We're not sure but we suspect Celine, eh. I never did trust her. What's our current situation in LA, eh?"

"We've-ammased..... 125,000 Canucks in LA. The 'mericans don't..... suspect-a-thing. You don't mean were going to...... have-to-abort, eh?"

"No.. not yet. I'll check in with the others..."

[Ring... Ring... ]

"Mr. Meyers speaking.."

"Mike! It's Wayne.. Operation hoser is at risk, eh. Have you heard anything?"

"Damnit, eh! After that South Park movie I knew they'd catch on. We've got most of the population's IQ down thanks to Mr. Carey's movies, eh? And now with the legions of hockey players situated in all the major cities -- it'd be a shame to stop now.. "

"Yes, agent Shatner said he was pretty sure the LA army was still undetected, eh. I think we'll scrap plan hoser and go with our backup plan - touque. They'll never figure that one out. Myers, can you call up the others: McLachlan, Martin, Fox, Levy, Shaffer, Trebek. I'm going to call an emergency meeting at 6 o'clock. 6:30 in Newfoundland,eh"

"Okay.. I got it.. I'll talk to you later, eh! Bye.."

Re:Oh, the bullshit is painful (1)

DaRkJaGuaR (161464) | more than 13 years ago | (#83156)

Are you trying to tell me an organsied, funded terrorist organisation with no base that can be attacked in retalitation can't sneak a briefcase into the country, or buy one on the black market??? And that were gonna go, bah, thats only one kiloton, who cares, it'll only take out half of manhatten island????? Vs a country, which is by firing a nuke at the US, jsut begging to be nuked to hell and back, and spending 60BILLION on it.

Re:No nukes? (2)

demon-cw (162676) | more than 13 years ago | (#83157)

Is it just me or has anyone else allready heard this kind of discussuion (in the eighties, maybe)?
I mean we're talking global nuclear war here. Hello? Are you thinking anyone except for some fanatic nationalists out there (who don't have access to ICBMs) may be stupid enought to launch a missile against the USA. They'd be dust in approx. 40 minutes...
What unnerves me more is the fact the someone in W. (everyone in charge right now) seems to be happy to spend billions of $ on missile defence on not a fscking buck on global warming...

Re:Suitcase nukes (2)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 13 years ago | (#83181)

Furthermore, the concept of a "suitcase nuke" is absurd. Such a weapon would have a relatively insignificant explosive yield.

Bullshit. From the New York Post [nypost.com] , November 8, 1999. (full text requires purchase).

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), citing the congressional testimony of KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin and Russian General Alexander Lebed, said the former Soviet Union produced 132 suitcase-sized, 10-kiloton nuclear weapons, but has accounted for only 48.

Little Boy, dropped on Hiroshima, was a 15-kiloton weapon. 10 kilotons is a significant fraction of that, and I think would quite easily satisfy some wacko terrorists' needs.

These weapons are known to exist and are known to be missing in large numbers. This is not just FUD. This is the world you live in.

You are making a false assumption that it is easier to bring a small scale nuclear weapon into the US through canada than it is to bring it by sea into a North Western state.

Yeah, Canada's not the way. Mexico is. How many thousands of mexicans make it into the US each year? Two trained and in-shape fanatics could get a suitcase bomb onto an unmarked shore in northern Baja, across the border, and into San Diego on foot in less than a week. No need to waste a cargo ship, even.

Re:No nukes? (3)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 13 years ago | (#83184)

Not yet, but soon, for North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and lots of other fun-loving dictatorships out there.

Okay, I'll grant you that a bunch of them will have them soon, it was my weakest point. You still haven't explained why any of them would actually launch against the US; witness the "giant flaming return address" theory.

China already has 20 or so nukes pointed at the US

Which they haven't changed in years; they've maintained pretty much the same nuclear stockpile for at least a decade. Despite not being a member, they agreed to the MTCR [miis.edu] guidelines in 1991 and 1994. They've been static because they know those 20 missiles are sufficient deterrent since we wont' risk losing a city.

Now, on the other hand, they've promised to escalate a new arms race if we build the NMD, because NMD threatens the deterrent factor of those 20 missiles. They need more to overwhelm it.

Suitcase nukes are hard to make, and harder to smuggle than you might think (please see my other post for details).

See my other post [slashdot.org] for a response to that theory. I'm not suggesting they make one - suitcase bombs already exist and 80+ became unaccounted for in the collapse of the USSR and the deterioration of their military. And while it may not be all that easy to smuggle one in, it's still easier than building a multimillion-dollar ICBM and doesn't carry anywhere near the liability or accountability.

And it is easy anyway. Thousands of Mexican civilians make it across the border undetected every year. You think a couple of trained terrorists couldn't do it with a 150lb suitcase?

Ever heard of the Maginot line? The NMD is the Maginot line, except that this time it's actually cheaper and easier for the enemy to go around it. Suitcase bomb or no, a wacko that wants to nuke us is going to find a way with or without the NMD. It's just a big honking waste of money that is guaranteed to piss off the rest of the world.

Re:No nukes? (5)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 13 years ago | (#83185)

does Michael honestly believe that other countries DON'T have strategic ballistic missles

Actually, they dont.

Point one:
A few other countries have NUKES. But probably only half of these have ICBMs that can actually reach the US. China has a few dozen, Russia has a lot. The other few are our european allies. India is close enough to space tech that they could probably build one. Maybe North Korea, adopted from China. Iraq if they work really hard for a decade. (Remember how proud they were of the SCUD, which had ~300km range? ) The Taliban doesn't even have electricity in 90% of their country.

Point Two: Why the hell would you launch it at the US even if you had one? A suicide bomber is one thing: you lose one guy and you blame it on a sect you can't control. But launching a missile? In 45 minutes, the US turns every city you have into a nuclear wasteland.

Point Three. If you want to nuke the US, you get or make a small bomb, like one of the infamous soviet suitcase nukes - dozens are unaccounted for. You send a single suicide bomber to carry it across the border from mexico or canada by hand. You lose one guy, there's nothing for the US to shoot down, and you don't have to develop any rocket technology. And a nuke leaves awfully little forensic evidence.

The rogue nation theory is FUD and W knows it. This is an excuse to get a start on something that could eventually be a full SDI shield and W, Russia, China, and everyone else knows that, too.

The real problem, of course, is that it breaks treaties (as if the rest of the world didn't hate the US enough already) and could start a new arms race with China, whose nuclear deterrent of ~40 rockets *could* be threatened by an ABM shield. An arms race is good for no one.

Except for W's friends in the military. And his friends in the companies that make the weapons. And himself. The truth is, the arms race with China will help Bush because .he needs a big bad enemy [time.com] .

Star Wars succeeds now, but.... (1)

SouperMike (199023) | more than 13 years ago | (#83187)

In the last test they did, a prototype for Star Wars failed two out of three times! So that means we get to protect Boston, but not NYC and Washington!

Not only that, but each test cost $100 million! They should just give me all that money, and I'd send Dubya a copy of the Phantom Edit!

Misnamed? (1)

SouperMike (199023) | more than 13 years ago | (#83188)

Also, why is it not called the "Missile Command" project? Star Wars is all about Jedis vs. Sith and blowing up huge things like the "Death Star". Oooh, maybe an even better name would be the "Allan Parsons Project"?

Re:Star Wars succeeds now, but.... (1)

SouperMike (199023) | more than 13 years ago | (#83189)

Yes, but consider this: this SDI, or child of SDI, or whatever its official name is, is out of our reach for the time being. That's right, billions of dollars of taxpayer money is being thrown down the drain. Any scientist or engineer worth his/her salt laughed at the Strategic Defense Initiative when Reagan suggested it, and they continue to laugh now.

When we have the technology, and the need, to develop this, I will favor it. For now, though, it's a complete waste.

So am I short-sighted? Or do I just realize that our illegitimate head of state is biting off more than he can chew?

And you remember that (4)

isorox (205688) | more than 13 years ago | (#83191)

when you can just drive down from Canada with a suitcase nuke. And next time you remember that before making another insult [slashdot.org]

Re:Star Wars succeeds now, but.... (3)

Vuarnet (207505) | more than 13 years ago | (#83192)

So that means we get to protect Boston, but not NYC and Washington!
And would that be so bad?


(Disclaimer: I dont live in any of those cities. I don't even live in the US. I just like "Cheers" more than "The district" or "NYPD Blue")
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Re:Self-fulfilling Defense Strategy (3)

Vuarnet (207505) | more than 13 years ago | (#83193)

Of course, now that we've elected two Texans to the executive branch, it could be argued that we're a new nation and treaties the United States of America signed don't apply to us. Welcome to the Republic of Texas!

To: The people of the Republic of Texas:

Now don't y'all go bombing the rest of the world or we're gonna come back and kick yer ass again.
Remember the Alamo!

Sincerely, the people of Mexico.


There. Now the world is a safer place.
Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earth-bound misfit, I

Thank you, Michael, for mentioning this! (3)

Futurepower(tm) (228467) | more than 13 years ago | (#83201)


"drive down from Canada with a suitcase nuke"

Thank you for mentioning the utter stupidity of thinking that people who wanted to start a nuclear war would use missiles. They wouldn't. They would bring nuclear weapons in the way cocaine is brought in.

Missiles are a way for powerful interests to get government contracts that are so secret that the taxpayers cannot see how much money is being made, and wasted.

Next time, I hope we elect a president who is smart enough to run the country, and not just sell it to the highest bidder.

Planes and bombs. (1)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 13 years ago | (#83203)

Now, I'd like to see one of those solar powered planes carry one of those nuclear warheads...THAT would be cool technology.

As far as nuclear war goes, the first attack that goes through and well...this planet is fuct.


/* ---- */
// Agent Green (Ian / IU7)

Re:paying attention? (1)

Agent Green (231202) | more than 13 years ago | (#83204)

Saddam Hussein wanted to get his ass kicked. Islamic Extermists of the middle east started tossing around that U.S. "Great Satan" garbage after Desert Storm started. I can only assume, as far back as my memory can attest to, that it was part of an idea to get a world rebellion going against the U.S.

Unfortunately for him, a lot of neighboring countries didn't feel that way and it backfired.

C'mon...even the French have nukes...and that scares the shit outta me.


/* ---- */
// Agent Green (Ian / IU7)

Re:No nukes? (1)

sourcehunter (233036) | more than 13 years ago | (#83205)

The problem with reducing arms is that there is no guarantee that any nation agreeing to the arms reduction will actually reduce their arms. Hell, there is no guarantee that WE ever reduced our arms even though we agreed to years ago. Countries (including the US) can put on whatever front they want to put on for the media, UN (powerless) inspection teams, etc but the fact remains that there is not enough power in the UN or NATO or EU or any other group of countries to completely force a reduction of arms of any sufficient magnitude.

No nukes? (2)

sourcehunter (233036) | more than 13 years ago | (#83206)

I will agree that it would be silly (by our definition) for any nation to use a nuke against the United States, but does Michael honestly believe that other countries DON'T have strategic ballistic missles AND don't have someone in charge who might not have the same definition of the word "silly" (READ: Taliban).

Re:Missile defense? (1)

vb.warrior (242890) | more than 13 years ago | (#83211)

Just a point, the UK has a fully fledged nuclear arsenal, mainly cause you keep selling us it :)

To the best of my knowledge, the UK has:

1. 6 Trident enabled Submarines, with about 5-10 nukes in each.
2. Cruise Missle Technology on the same submarines and soon to be fitted to destroyers
3. At least a couple of silo based missle sites

Also Im sure we still have a load of 'gravity' nukes which we developed for our (now redundant) Vulcan bomber fleet.

Yes its strange I remember this shit, but there you go.

Jon

michael wasn't thinking (2)

tulare (244053) | more than 13 years ago | (#83213)

Here we've got a double post: one interesting, gee-whiz feat of solar engineering, totally with merit, and well worth reading about (even if a better link to story could have been found). Unfortunately, this story will be buried under an avalanche of comments posted in response to another feat of engineering, with much more heat attached to it, if you will forgive my rotten play on words.
Perhaps we could split this into two seperate stories?
Congrats to the NASA team on their accomplishment.

Solar Technology (2)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | more than 13 years ago | (#83218)


I think it's great that we're seeing more and more solar technology being developed for different uses - however I think that we need to see more solar technology being used in construction.

There should be no excuse for new buildings to be built without solar panels in the roof to try and capture as much of the sun's rays as possible as "free" energy. Imagine how much this could ease the burden on the world's energy providers, then again, why should they promote this technology - they're the ones making the cash.

I know a lot of houses do exist with solar panels, but I still don't think there are enough - at the moment they are predominantly in "sunny" areas - but I'm sure there are still benefits to be gained in some of the cooler climates...

-- Pete.

Re:Well you gotta spend the tax dollars (1)

loopkin (267769) | more than 13 years ago | (#83229)

> France - Mainly short range but do have ICBM capability - You can bet US knows where they all are at any time

I'm not that sure the US knows where french nuclear submarines are at any time. they are smaller and far less noisy than Ohio class equivalents. but have nuclear warhead missiles too (M4-5 ICBMs).

what is ridiculous is that i really wonder why France will launch those missiles against the US. It's senseless !!!

> China - These guys are the only REAL nucleat power left other than the US - ICBM's and well mainitained - huge conventional forces HOWEVER China is the least likely to use the weapons as it doesnt fit with their national Psyche or their view of the world - they are by tradition a defensive nation and thus these weapons are seen as defensive only.

i'm not that sure too about their "defensive" views... especially considering Taiwan. what i am sure is that they are smart enough not to start a war in which they'll loose lotta people. they are far from able to avoid any of the US ICBMs that would be launched against them, nor to destroy them before they are launched.

so i agree ! Nuclear Weapons are the least of the world worries !!

Another reason to have better writers in Hollywood (1)

Mandelbrute (308591) | more than 13 years ago | (#83241)

It's interesting for those of you who have seen Real Genius how closely our Missle Defense System will follow the course of the movie. It is almost a theft of the plot.
Thank God they didn't base it on "Armageddon". Next up - governments implement internet security based on "The Net" and "Swordfish".

Re:paying attention? (5)

cheinonen (318646) | more than 13 years ago | (#83245)

Nutjob or no nutjob, people are in charge and running those countries because they love power. They like having control over everyone, and what they fear most is losing that power. When your country is below the US, it looks great to your people to attack them, hold them up to ridicule, and try to act like you don't fear anyone, but when push comes to shove, is anyone going to stand up?

If any of these rogue countries like Iraq or Afghanistan or North Korea ever did get the balls to launch a nuclear missile at us, they have to know that their life is over. Their power is gone. There is nothing they can do to save themselves at that point. For these leaders that thrive off power, do you really think they are going to throw it all away? What will this acomplish for them? Even if, somewhow, they destroyed the United States, don't you think that another country that is an ally (Great Brittian, France, Germany, etc...) would jump in and destroy them? Firing a nuclear missile at the United States has NO political gain for any other country.

However, a rogue terrorist group does have something to gain. They don't have a country you can nuke. They don't think as logically since, where Saddam Hussein might order his troops to death and he will never see a bullet, these terrorist leaders often get involved in the actions themselves. Far and away the most likely ways for them to attack us is to get a bomb into the US the same way people get drugs in, or to fire a missile from a boat off the coast and fly it in under radar. Can our missile defense shield protect against this? No way. Can it even defend against a large volley of nukes, like North Korea could possibly offer? With our current results, no way.

Lots and lots of people are making lots and lots of money off this plan. I'm sure lots of those people making money gave lots of money to the Bush/Cheney campaign last year, and now they are reaping the rewards. Of course, I'm sure they would have given the money to Gore/Lieberman as well, since they all sell out to the all mighty dollar here. If you really look at this plan, though, the countries that can send missles at us really have nothing to gain, where the wack jobs would never use a missile, they'd just get a suicide bomber to deliver it for them.

Re:paying attention? (2)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 13 years ago | (#83254)

Any nation foolhardy enough to attack in such a manner would, for all intents and purposes, cease to exist thirty minutes later.

Could you help publish a list of "optional" cities in the United States? Perhaps we could list these as preferred "first strike" targets for those countries developing nukes. Could we make sure none of the cities where my family are living are included on that list.

I honestly can't believe people are naive enough to believe that other countries (China included) aren't building up their own nuclear arsenal. Do you really think they are paying attention to the treaty? They'll continue to quietly build (under cover) until they have enough arms to be a significant threat.

Now, I agree that building a missile defense shield can lead to another sort of arms race. I'd rather see somebody come up with a technology that can detect ANY nuclear armaments in the world regardless of where they are stored. But that's not likely to happen. There's just no way to police compliance with the treaty. At least instead of developing more nuclear arms, the US is now trying to render existing arms less effective.

I also really like the way people criticize the Bush administration for this whole thing. Let's remember that the SDI concept started under Reagan, and missile interception testing began with Clinton in office. The only thing the Bush administration has done is accelerate what was already in progress.

GreyPoopon
--

The untold story... (4)

gnovos (447128) | more than 13 years ago | (#83257)

What they don't tell you is that the star wars test was successfull in shoting down Helios... doh!

BS on you, too. (1)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83259)

The NY Post is owned by a subsidiary company of the Moon cult. Their editorial policy is highly suspect, and this story reeks of BS alarmism. When the story is reported in the NY Times, maybe I'll believe you.

But, yeah, Mexico would be a better entry point, although if I were Hussein I'd smuggle it into Washington state on a tanker. Mexican border customs is pretty tight, and getting tighter. The only reason drugs get through is the amount that gets sent. You only get one chance with a nuke.

Nope (1)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83260)

Unless you assemble the nukes in Canada (do you know of any Canadians who actually want to nuke the US?), you have to get it into Canada first. Everyone else seems to have figured this out for themselves pretty quickly, I notice.

Re:Suitcase nukes (1)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83261)

My point was, the explosive yield of such a small weapon does not justify the risk/effort involved. Think about it.

I absolutely agree. (1)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83262)

I'm more concerned about the simpicity of bringing certain kinds of contraband in by ship along the North Western coast. This area is wide open to smuggling, simply because most cocaine exporting nations cannot get to it easily.

Sorry my nation can't tell a good Canadian tourist from a no-good job stealing illegal immigrant. Wonder how much of a problem they have with your kind stealing jobs in Northern states? Down where I am, we tend only to be concerned with Hispanics, and I frankly don't mind them. They seem to be doing all the jobs I don't want to do.

Not much risk?! Worst?! (1)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83263)

The risk is that the person is caught, interrogated, and the US retaliates, devastating your tin-pot country for the next century or so. I'd call that quite a significant risk for a measly 10 kilotons, wouldn't you?

The East coast is better patrolled (nt) (1)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83264)

No text.

Bigot. (1)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83265)

You think these people don't deserve to benefit from the prosperity of the US? That kind of mentality is part of what earns the US a bad name overseas. They contribute a lot to my home town and my state. I don't know many white people who are willing to do field work and factory work for rates that actually make farming and manufacturing competitive. Perhaps you think they should just all go back where they came from, do you? I can tell you, if you think they're stealing jobs here, if you deport them, they'll take the jobs with them. Ask anyone who used to work for the auto industry in Detroit where their job is now.

Re:Suitcase nukes (2)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83281)

Frankly, I think your estimates are fairly optimistic. Are they based on the total amount of nuclear material you could fit in a suticase? Remember, there's a lot more to a bomb than the plutonium. What's more, I suspect your statistics are based on open air tests. Built up areas complicate things. I doubt the explosion would affect more than five city blocks, although the resulting carnage would spread further, of course.

My point, however, since you seem to have missed it, is even a 4-10km area of damage would not justify the expense and risk of building and smuggling the bomb. If you are going to risk the ire of the US, you want to see a whole city bite it, not a couple of neighbourhoods.

Suitcase nukes (5)

The Ultimate Badass (450974) | more than 13 years ago | (#83282)

You are making a false assumption that it is easier to bring a small scale nuclear weapon into the US through canada than it is to bring it by sea into a North Western state. The sad fact is, our Northern friends have a much better record of policing their borders than we have of policing ours, having an estimated ten times the amount of successful interceptions to quantity of illegal contraband ratio as we do. Furthermore, the concept of a "suitcase nuke" is absurd. Such a weapon would have a relatively insignificant explosive yield. For a nuclear device to be worth the effort of transporting it to the US, it would have to be about the size of a smallish crate. Finally, if I were Osama Bin Laden, and I wanted to seriously upset the US people, I know exactly where I'd detonate a bomb. I'd place a large one in a cargo ship, and send it to Pearl Harbor. He wouldn't even have to wait for customs to check the ship out before he detonated it.

Re:Thank you, Michael, for mentioning this! (1)

petecarlson (457202) | more than 13 years ago | (#83293)

Missiles are a way for powerful interests to get government contracts that are so secret that the taxpayers cannot see how much money is being made, and wasted. When you are talking about this kind of money, you have to realise that it is not real. What we are talking about is money going around in circles, the more it goes around, the more wealth is created. By spending money, the govt increases the clock speed of the economy and thus creates more wealth. I pay you to make something, you pay people and contractors to work for you. Part of your profit goes back to me, part of what you pay the people who work for you comes back to me, part of the money that they spend comes back to me part of the profit derived from their purchase comes back to me. In the end, I get all my money back plus a little, and as a byproduct some great technology is developed. Hit this flying projectile that is moving faster then a bullet. Lots of cool shit goes into developing something like that. Of course, I realy don't care about the product, all I care about is chosing a product that will move money around so that I get my money back plus a little.

Re:Thank you, Michael, for mentioning this! (1)

petecarlson (457202) | more than 13 years ago | (#83294)

Sory about running the previous post together like that. The first bit is a quote, not my words.
Pete

Re:No nukes? (2)

petecarlson (457202) | more than 13 years ago | (#83296)

>> Its just a pity they can't spend the money on better forms of energy, or better "education" systems, or other projects that would actually benefit people.

Education wouldn't work, doesn't produce much wealth(read that in context). Better forms of energy would be bad for the economy. It has to go towards something almost totaly useless that doesn't displace something that is already producing revenue. When Enron figures out how to charge for sunlight we will have more solar cells then we know what to do with.

what happened to MAD? (1)

trash eighty (457611) | more than 13 years ago | (#83297)

Mutually Assured Destruction has kept the human race from blowing itself up for 50 years now, it seems that missile defense could upset this balance. this is worrying though i guess that any defense system will take decades to be good enough to protect against a large attack. defeating a primative ICBM from N.Korea is one thing, stopping a hundred russian ones with penaids, multi-warheads and other fun things is another.

a problem with missile defense is that it has to work 100%. when did a military weapon ever work perfectly?!

Re:No nukes? (1)

thetman (465742) | more than 13 years ago | (#83310)

Wish I knew how it worked
It doesn't, the "military idustrial complex" is a conspiracy theory. Over-exaggerating actual threats to secure military funding though, yes, that does exist. Better safe than sorry though.

Well you gotta spend the tax dollars (2)

q-soe (466472) | more than 13 years ago | (#83313)

Like the dont have and wont use - they have the weapons but they wont use them

Russia cannot afford for pay their troops and its questionable that their missiles would work based on current inspections showing that the rocket engines in them have become unstable and would be just as likely to blow up on the pad as anything - havent been serviced in years - Their missile submarine fleet is rotting in Polyarny (Estimated that they have 0 serviceable nuc subs and only a few diesels - their aircraft are being sold off and they havent got money to buy fuel - Plus US knows where they all are

Israel - Short/Intermediate range delivery only and these weapons were made with major US help - and the US knows where they all are

UK - As for israel although they did have ICBM's - not sure of decomissioning timetable - US knows where they all are as they helped build them

France - Mainly short range but do have ICBM capability - You can bet US knows where they all are at any time

Pakistan - If you do a bit of research you will find that at best Pakistan have short range delivery - fighter and IRBM's and it s suspected they actually have less than 10 weapons- Their major focus is India who they have been techinically at war with for over 20years - US likely knows where they all are

India - Have Mainly IRBM's - the information is a little sketchy due to secrecy - they do have an excelent Deep Water navy (now i think 4th largest in the world) and advanced military but money is tight for this sort of weaponry as they are involved in a conventional war with Pakistan - Experts suspect that they may have as many as 50 but likely 20 short range low yield weapons. - Us may have knowledge of location.

China - These guys are the only REAL nucleat power left other than the US - ICBM's and well mainitained - huge conventional forces HOWEVER China is the least likely to use the weapons as it doesnt fit with their national Psyche or their view of the world - they are by tradition a defensive nation and thus these weapons are seen as defensive only.

Star Wars remains as ridiculous an idea as it was 15 years ago - the rest of the world thought the US was kidding about this when Bush brought it back in - I mean the US Govt Refuses to make an effective stand on Chemical and Biological Weapons (hint - you have the largest arsenal in the world and continue to develop them) despite their danger, you refuse to consider controls on weapons sales to non soveriegn groups (that is Non Countries = Arms Dealers).

And thats before the refusal to support greenhouse gas controls, etc etc and lets not even go near capital punishment and its conundrums (There are 3 countries in the world that execute children - you are one of them)

Now this is NOT America bashing - i think that so many great people and ideas come from there - what i am saying is that IMHO the US govt uses crap like Star Wars to prop up the military industrail complex and major corporates (GE happens to be the biggest defence manufacturer in the world - and also a major Republican Party Contributor) - this is what they do to take your attention of other serious issues.

Come on i could as was pointed out, drive into the US from Canada with a low yield nuke in my boot and set it off in New York without a problem - in fact i would have to be so unlucky to get caught it's not funny. Not to mention it would be easy to air drop Anthrax say over a major city (it would cost a limited amount to manufacture enough to kill millions).

Nuclear Weapons are the least of the world worries - think about what all this money could be used for ? Lowering Poverty ? Creating Jobs ? Building Homes for the homeless ? Controlling Global Warming ?

hell you could use it to buy microsoft and shut
it down if you wanted to :)

Re:Oh, the bullshit is painful - Yep IT IS (5)

q-soe (466472) | more than 13 years ago | (#83315)

Do a bit of reading - a suitcase nuke can be made for as little as $100k and requires no special equipment - it would be dirty and you might get radioactive poisoning but if you are on a jihad you wont care.

Yes they are low yield - you could get up to 10kt - BUT they are DIRTY - you would pack the outside of the fissionable device with More Uranium or spent plutionium (say an old fuel rod which would be easy to buy on the international market)

The point is you dont want high power in a city bomb - you want LOW yield to cause damage on a scale BUT also illness and sickness (Hence the dirty bit) thus overloading Emergency Services and causing maximum fear and panic)

this aint hard - as i said do a bit of reading

http://www.fas.org/nuke/hew/Nwfaq/Nfaq2.html
http://www.accutek.com/~moistner/nuclear1.htm

and others

PS - US still have NUC weapons targeted at all major Chinese and Russian Targets - so your point is invalid and a little redundant as despite the media hullaballo about the plane to the contrary the China and the US have a number of treaties, North Korea cant feed their people and their weapons programme has proven to be a lot of bluster, Iraq hasnt got the money left to make bombs anymore - they are the most spied upon nation on earth, and the US border is so easy to get thru its a laugh - go for a drive to canada, last time i was in the US we went back and forth across the border a number of times and it was all on backroads with NO sign of any customs (oh look were in Canada Again !)

And last point - I AM NOT TROLLING BUT - dont poke off at China's Human rights record - The US is also criticised (as is my country of Aust) for its record as well, im not going to be seen as US bashing but you have some questionable things as well.

Don't believe everything you read (2)

papertech (467382) | more than 13 years ago | (#83317)

Star Wars missile defense system, which will protect us from all those ballistic missiles that foreign nations don't have and would be silly to use...

Just because a countries political "leaders" claim they do not have any nuclear warheads or ICMB's does not mean that we should stop taking precautions to prevent attacks. If that logic was used to defend our nation we would be in serious trouble.

What you see on the nightly news is rarely the truth. Of course a nation like Russia may claim they possess no nuclear weapons. It makes them look PC, and makes us look like the 'bad guys' for building anti-nuclear weapons.

Defenses are useless if you wait until you have visual proof that a nation has ICBM's. By then it's way too late. Like the old saying.. Better Safe Than Sorry. In this case, the defenses can be proactive. If we make it known to other nations that we are prepared for a possible nuclear attack, it leads them to be less likely to attempt on. Whereas if we were publicly announcing we did not see the need for the defense, we would become an obvious target.
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