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RedCedar
There's a new movie out called "Why we fight".

http://www.sonyclassics.com/whywefight/

It talks about how we waste so much money on military and how we get wrapped up in conflicts because the greed necessitates the need.

Questions:

1) Is our military spending worth it?

2) Programs like missile defense, which are claimed by experts to be a total waste of money, worth the billions of dollars in the small chance they MAY work?

3) When we have massive budget deficits/debt, trade debt, etc. is it wise to be spending so much money abroad? And if so, what are we getting out of it?
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Amlord
Perspective is the key to understanding these types of spending issues.

The United States ranks 27th overall in the amount of military spending as it relates to GDP. We spend $23.55 per $1000 of GDP. In other words, 2.355% of our GDP on defense.

Countries ranked ahead of us: France, Afghanistan, North Korea, Greece, Iraq and just about every other Middle East country. link

Those with the most to lose have the most incentive to protect what they have.

1) Is our military spending worth it?

Nah, I'd rather be communist... wacko.gif

2) Programs like missile defense, which are claimed by experts to be a total waste of money, worth the billions of dollars in the small chance they MAY work?

They are worth it if they advance our technological understanding of such systems. Keep in mind that the US military is much more than troops on a border somewhere standing guard. It is the cutting edge of technology where many of the wondrous innovations that we take for granted today were developed.

3) When we have massive budget deficits/debt, trade debt, etc. is it wise to be spending so much money abroad? And if so, what are we getting out of it?

Ah, now the goalposts move. Who claims this money is spent "abroad"? Certainly some of it is, but not all.

What are we getting out of it? A rehash of question #1 it seems.

We get a stable world, which means stable trading partners, which means prosperity.

We get a world that is reassured that if troubled brews, the US military is ready. Nobody likes uncertainty. Nobody likes not knowing which pot is going to boil over and who is going to remove it from the stove. The US military is a force for calm. A check on those who might be aggressive even if the military does nothing overt. The threat of the US military keeps things much calmer because it makes the stakes for breaching the peace so much greater.
Bikerdad
1) Is our military spending worth it?
On the whole, yes. Certain parts of it are not, but that is a problem that has plagued military spending since Og first decided to pick out a rock just for bashing heads. If the rock crumbled on first bash, or slipped out of his hand, or was too heavy to carry around, or if he never used it, then the time spent picking it out was wasted. (Remember, all Og had to spend was time, so time it was...)

Military spending is like insurance: you never know the real value of it until you need it.

2) Programs like missile defense, which are claimed by experts to be a total waste of money, worth the billions of dollars in the small chance they MAY work?
Its also claimed by other experts to be worthwhile, and to have a reasonable chance of working. Lets say that it only has a 10% of working, and costs $20 billion dollars. Now, calculate simply the economic cost of a nuclear tipped missile taking out Seattle... WAY past $200 billion dollars... not to mention the cost in human life.

I do agree with some concerns regarding the way weapons are developed, because I think it takes entirely too long. Of course, one reason it takes so long is the huge weight of paper meant to keep "greedy war profiteers" from taking advantage of the poor taxpayer.

3) When we have massive budget deficits/debt, trade debt, etc. is it wise to be spending so much money abroad? And if so, what are we getting out of it?
*
Our "massive" budget deficits are due to social spending, not defense spending. We're spending less of our GDP on defense now than we were 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago... The difference is the ever escalating costs of social spending, and the bulk of that is "non-discretionary", aka Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid/prescription drugs. As for trade debt, well, think of it this way: if we didn't have the "military-industrial complex" still needing proprietary, secret electronics, we might not have any electronics manufacturing capacity left. Ditto for machine tooling, which is one of the bedrocks of manufacturing. If you can't make the machines for the factory, its kinda hard to build the tanks, trucks, guns, bullets, etc. And the dishwashers, cars, toys, MRI systems, etc.

Rag on the "military-industrial complex" all you want, but realize that without it we would have lost even more of our industrial capacity.
Vermillion
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Jan 30 2006, 08:37 PM)

Its also claimed by other experts to be worthwhile, and to have a reasonable chance of working.  Lets say that it only has a 10% of working, and costs $20 billion dollars.  Now, calculate simply the economic cost of a nuclear tipped missile taking out Seattle...  WAY past $200 billion dollars... not to mention the cost in human life.


Yes, but in that somewhat shappy cost-benefit analysis you also need to factor in:
-the chances of a conventional nuclear missile being sent at Seattle.
-the cost of failure: your hypothetical was that it was 10% effective, so 90% of the time you spent $200 billion dollars AND lose Seattle.

The same logic to spending $200 billion to build an anti sun-eating-monster ray. You can't just say 'look at the cost savings if a Sun-eating-monster DOES show up', you have to analyse the odds, and do a genuine cost-benefit analysis.

Oh, and then there is the fact that the current sun-eating-monster ray doesn't even work.


Here is another tidbit of information. The Anti-missile defence sytem does not work right? Now of course, the more money that is thrown at it, the ods are it will, in some form, work eventually. Sadly, its already obsolete.

Even before it was made operational, the Russians have deployed the Topol-M missile, conceived during the cold war, which is a variable-speed, variable trajectory missile, the most advanced missile in the world, and is alreay interception-proof. In other words, the missile difence system has been beaten even before it was made operational. This has been confirmed by Jane's Defence, there is no way the current missile defence syetm, even if it operated as expected, could stop a Topol-M missile.

Now of course, when this is pointed out to proponents of the plan, they say 'Only Russia can defeat the system, North Korea, China and for that matter anyone else do not'. True enough. But the technology now exists, and it will not be long before it is duplicated, or perhaps evcen sold by the Russians. Then the pre-obsolete missile defence system will be the stupidest money the US military has ever spent.


QUOTE
Our "massive" budget deficits are due to social spending, not defense spending.  We're spending less of our GDP on defense now than we were 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago...  The difference is the ever escalating costs of social spending, and the bulk of that is "non-discretionary", aka Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid/prescription drugs.


Firstly, the current massive deficit is entirely the result of Bush Jr, the tax cuts and the Iraqi war and its (to date) $400 billion dollar price tag.

Secondly, I know it is vogue for the right to blame deficit spending on a social safety net, but that does not even make sense. The US has the worst social safety net of any first world nation, yet many of the others are managing to spend within their budgets. So it cannot be just that.
CruisingRam
1) Is our military spending worth it?

Whoo- loaded question! Well, if it were for defense INSTEAD o political elections- every politician in America KNOWS that if there is a war going while he is in office- he stays in office- war tends to radicalize the voters (Hamas anyone? whistling.gif ) -

but if were actually for defense of the country- instead of the way we have been pretty much wasting lives and money on pretty much every war since Korea for nothing- ya, sure.




2) Programs like missile defense, which are claimed by experts to be a total waste of money, worth the billions of dollars in the small chance they MAY work?

The entire SDI is a TOTAL AND COMPLETE waste of money- no doubt- the stuff can't hit missles when they know were the missles are, programed with where the "enemy" missle is going to be, and launched at each other with as much precision as they can muster- the missles miss most of the time w00t.gif - now- the research is probably worth it- but the whole thing has just turned out to be a money spigot for well connected CEOs to pay back Reagan for doing it- when pretty much every reasonable person EVER said it was science fiction.

I don't doubt that actually, on a much smaller scale, without all the "we need to stop nukes"- instead, say "we need to build the technology to someday build a missle defense system, without scrappig treaties and stuff"- I would have been all for it- but we have never been close enough in detection, target aquisistion and tracking to THAT degree- I mean, the patriot missles turned out to have missed most of the scuds- and they aren't exactly high tech missles w00t.gif - Basically- right now, a back yard builder with some killer electronic skills, can build a rocket equal to a scud- a gps, some pre-programmed evasive motions- and you got a small scud.

It was all "rah rah" and dog and pony show from get go- a political "we are taking the war to the evil empire" propaganda that so many Americans buy into.

No- it was not worth that money. Not even close- ever. There is only one country that has hurled nukes at anyone- not even Stalin did that!- so the whole premise that anyone but us was going to start throwing nukes is a non-starter in reality!

3) When we have massive budget deficits/debt, trade debt, etc. is it wise to be spending so much money abroad? And if so, what are we getting out of it?

Vermillion- Biker dad is right- we do spend way to much on social programs, unfortunately- we spend that money on social programs in IRAQ- you know, giving Iraq things like health care, schools, trainging cops, building roads- things that are "socialist" when we do the HERE.
bucket
I am sure those of us who live off this great massive military spending spree have a far different view as to it's necessity and have a more intimate sense of it's worth. So I am not really going to answer those questions seeing my family lives off of DoD money, perhaps I am a wee bit biased.

QUOTE
3) When we have massive budget deficits/debt, trade debt, etc. is it wise to be spending so much money abroad? And if so, what are we getting out of it?


Is this question only geared towards military spending abroad? And is it only the US government's spending you are concerned with, not private? I can't imagine it is if you cite the trade deficit as one of your main concerns.

I just wanted to then share a little piece of information....The US for all her debts and deficits still somehow manages to make more money on foreign investments worldwide than any foreign nation makes on us. How do we do this? It in fact baffles economists...because they really truly don't have an affirmative answer as to why.

When all the world is said to own us..trillions of us..and yet we are the ones making money. ha!

The Income Implications of Rising U.S. International Liabilities

But mostly they all agree it comes down to the fact that Americans are willing to take more risks, which when successful pay bigger. I think that little factor can be applied to pretty much all things American...Like That Patton guy said:
Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains that victory.






Bikerdad
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jan 30 2006, 07:24 PM)
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Jan 30 2006, 08:37 PM)

Its also claimed by other experts to be worthwhile, and to have a reasonable chance of working.  Lets say that it only has a 10% of working, and costs $20 billion dollars.  Now, calculate simply the economic cost of a nuclear tipped missile taking out Seattle...  WAY past $200 billion dollars... not to mention the cost in human life.


Yes, but in that somewhat shappy cost-benefit analysis you also need to factor in:
-the chances of a conventional nuclear missile being sent at Seattle.
-the cost of failure: your hypothetical was that it was 10% effective, so 90% of the time you spent $200 billion dollars AND lose Seattle.

The same logic to spending $200 billion to build an anti sun-eating-monster ray. You can't just say 'look at the cost savings if a Sun-eating-monster DOES show up', you have to analyse the odds, and do a genuine cost-benefit analysis.

Oh, and then there is the fact that the current sun-eating-monster ray doesn't even work.
Gee, I'm such a slob, to overlook the possibility that the system might not work. Hold on, wait, uno momento bitte: perhaps I did give that some thought...

If the rock crumbled on first bash, or slipped out of his hand, or was too heavy to carry around, or if he never used it, then the time spent picking it out was wasted.

QUOTE
... Then the pre-obsolete missile defence system will be the stupidest money the US military has ever spent.
I doubt it, the annals of stupid military spending have some doozies. Whether or not SDI will work can be a worthy topic in another thread. I'm curious though, what would you have us do as a defense against small nuclear powers?

One last observation regarding the notion that greed of the military industrial complex is responsible for our being involved in wars. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The military-industrial complex can go on making plenty of money on weapon systems without them ever being put to the test. The beauty is, from the MI's perspective, no wars means that shoddy products never get put to the test. So, its to their benefit to avoid wars.

QUOTE
Our "massive" budget deficits are due to social spending, not defense spending.  We're spending less of our GDP on defense now than we were 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago...  The difference is the ever escalating costs of social spending, and the bulk of that is "non-discretionary", aka Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid/prescription drugs.

Firstly, the current massive deficit is entirely the result of Bush Jr, the tax cuts and the Iraqi war and its (to date) $400 billion dollar price tag.

Secondly, I know it is vogue for the right to blame deficit spending on a social safety net, but that does not even make sense. The US has the worst social safety net of any first world nation, yet many of the others are managing to spend within their budgets. So it cannot be just that.
*

The Federal government's #1 responsibility is protecting the nation. All other spending is secondary. Given that the total military budget, including what's being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, is far less than the Fed's revenues, by definition, the deficit can't be a result of defense spending. Of course, if your definition of the Federal gov't's priorities differs from mine, as I suspect it does, then you'll reach a different conclusion.

Yes, the politicization of military spending is a challenge, but it is a challenge inherent in our Constitution. It is one of the prices that we pay for clearly placing the military under civilian control. It is also an inescapable fact of human existence. Fighting a war, even preparing to fight, takes substantial resources, and whenever substantial resources are involved there will be politicization. The greater the quantity and concentration of resources, the greater the politicization.
Hobbes
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jan 30 2006, 07:24 PM)

Yes, but in that somewhat shappy cost-benefit analysis you also need to factor in:
-the chances of a conventional nuclear missile being sent at Seattle.
-the cost of failure: your hypothetical was that it was 10% effective, so 90% of the time you spent $200 billion dollars AND lose Seattle.


Not true. You are not factoring in the fact that no nation is going to be willing to send a nuclear missle at Seattle if it could possibly be shot down. Seattle is saved regardless, since the attack was never initiated.

This is the classic flaw in the way the anti-missle program is regarded. All it has to do to be almost 100% successful is exist. No rogue nation is going to risk potential destruction for nothing, and no large nation is going to risk total annihilation given a chance they'd get nothing or limited results in return. Further, it might allow us to withhold retaliation until after the strike, possibly averting the nuclear war altogether. Why wouldn't we want that?

Further, development of such weapons is probably the only thing that would render nuclear missles obsolete. Isn't that what we should be striving for? How much would that be worth?

Finally, you must factor in all the technological gains provided during the development of such a program. Often (almost always?) the benefit of these technologies and their off-shoot products more than covers the cost of the initial program. Consider all the products that were developed as a result of the lunar landing program.

Vermillion
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Jan 31 2006, 06:07 AM)
QUOTE
... Then the pre-obsolete missile defence system will be the stupidest money the US military has ever spent.
I doubt it, the annals of stupid military spending have some doozies. Whether or not SDI will work can be a worthy topic in another thread. I'm curious though, what would you have us do as a defense against small nuclear powers?


You are correct of course, it won't be the stupidest money ever spent, but it will be awfuly stupid.

Since we have a system that does not work, and if it ever does work is already obsolete, it is a waste of time and a collosal waste of money.

In answer to your question, at the moment there are no small nuclear powers which threaten the United States where a fully effective missile shield would make any difference. This whole ystem is premised not on the concept of a nuclear ttack against the US, but of a nuclear attack in the form of a single ICBM with the range to hit the continental United States.

Let us be very clear on that. Even if the missile shield somehow worked to cull anticipated capacity, and even if the enemy does not have a misile like the Topol-M, the misile shield would be INEFFECTIVE against the following attacks:

-Short range, intermediate range or submarine launched missiles
-Concealed Launch missiles (like NK did in its missile tests over Japan, which the world was not aware of until afterwards)
-Cruise or skimmer-type misiles, such as the US Tomahawk or the Russian Sunburn.
-Nuclear weapons introduced into the country through stealth, which according to the CIA is the single most likely scenario for a nuke going off insie the US.

So in answer to your question, the way to defend yourself against a nuclear armed nation is to secure the borders and try and prevent the attack before it happens. The misile shield, which does not work, is already obsolete, and only would work best case against a very specific and highly unlikely kind of attack, is staggering waste of money and time.


QUOTE
One last observation regarding the notion that greed of the military industrial complex is responsible for our being involved in wars.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  The military-industrial complex can go on making plenty of money on weapon systems without them ever being put to the test.


Thats not the case. Nothing increases defence spending like an actual conflict, and there is nothing like a war to spawn innumerable contracts for weapons replacements, remember that after Shock and Awe and afghanistan, the US hd burned through 85% of its stockpile of smart misiles and bombs. Those all need to be replaced...


QUOTE
The Federal government's #1 responsibility is protecting the nation.  All other spending is secondary.  Given that the total military budget, including what's being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, is far less than the Fed's revenues, by definition, the deficit can't be a result of defense spending.  Of course, if your definition of the Federal gov't's priorities differs from mine, as I suspect it does, then you'll reach a different conclusion.


Firstly, yes my spending priorities do differ from yours, but for the sake of argument lets presume your spending priorities for the moment.

Your logic makes no sense. Even if we accept that the primary role of the government is defence of the state, that ONLY allows for expense in cases where there is a threat to the state that can be reasonably stopped. The fact that defence is a priority in your mind STILL does not mean that ANY and ALL spending by the defence department, regardless of how wasteful or irrelevant is a priority.

The Iraq war did not make the US safer, it did the opposite. The Misile shield has not made the US safer. Might as well start building the anti-sun-eating-alien ray I spoke of earlier: after all this ray would qualify as defence spending, and thus is more important than providing health care, right?


QUOTE(Hobbes)
Not true. You are not factoring in the fact that no nation is going to be willing to send a nuclear missle at Seattle if it could possibly be shot down. Seattle is saved regardless, since the attack was never initiated.

This is the classic flaw in the way the anti-missle program is regarded. All it has to do to be almost 100% successful is exist. No rogue nation is going to risk potential destruction for nothing, and no large nation is going to risk total annihilation given a chance they'd get nothing or limited results in return. Further, it might allow us to withhold retaliation until after the strike, possibly averting the nuclear war altogether. Why wouldn't we want that?


That makes no sense.

Firstly, no rational state would fire an atomic weapon at the United States anyways. It would be an inherently irrational action. In doing so, they have clearly already accepted the inevitable annihilation as a result.
Secondly, anyone who can read CNN.com or Janesdefence.com knows that the missile defence does not work, hardly a deterrent.
Thirdly, your statement presumes that the attack comes from a state government that can be identified, targeted and destroyed.
Fourthly you ignore the possibility that the launch against the US is in itself a retaliation for a US attack.
Fifthly, you assume, improbably, that the attack would take the form of an ICBM, as any other attack as listed above would make the shield useless, but an ICBM which has not incorporated the already existing technology to defeat the missile shield.

The reality is, any nation or body or entity desperate or angry enough to be willing to nuke the US is not going to be deterred by the fact that an inoperational system exits which will not prevent the attack. Even if it did work, it would not act as a deterrent in the same desperate case.

QUOTE
Further, development of such weapons is probably the only thing that would render nuclear missles obsolete. Isn't that what we should be striving for? How much would that be worth?


ICBMs were already obsolete. They were rendered obsolete over two decades ago by the development of SLBMs, skimmer mssiles, cruise missiles and so on. Now they have been rendered FURTHER obsolete by the development of a new generation of ICBMs which are already immune to the missile shield, which by the way, does not work.
bucket
Regardless of the obvious national security benefits military spending affords this nation, what about the other benefits? Like the contribution to the hi tech industry through the research and development our military undertakes, or even just the most basic of contributions..... wealth. You guys really believe that when they spend this money it remains confined and contained and then some how loss within the "Military Complex" ?

The hi tech industry is one of the industries that America excels in and experiences a export surplus. What role do you think the US "Military Complex" plays in this industry and it's superiority ?

I think if you believe the US military leads in just bomb making then you really must not be at all familiar with exactly what it is the US Military does with all that money. Not everything is geared towards making war, some if has to do with communications, or perhaps better information gathering, sharing and networking.

Also I think the fact private industries or companies are now so intertwined and a part of the "Military Complex" that it is very difficult, no I would argue impossible, to claim that the US "Military Complex" is some distant individual body that operates independently and detached.
Google
Bikerdad
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Jan 31 2006, 07:10 AM)
You are correct of course, it won't be the stupidest money ever spent, but it will be awfuly stupid.

Since we have a system that does not work, and if it ever does work is already obsolete, it is a waste of time and a collosal waste of money.


We have a system that does work. Aegis ABM system, 86% kill ratio Perhaps that's why the Japanese are investing in it...

QUOTE
Let us be very clear on that. Even if the missile shield somehow worked to cull anticipated capacity, and even if the enemy does not have a misile like the Topol-M, the misile shield would be INEFFECTIVE against the following attacks:

-Short range, intermediate range or submarine launched missiles
-Concealed Launch missiles (like NK did in its missile tests over Japan, which the world was not aware of until afterwards)
Actually, the Aegis ABM, which is only part of the overall missile defense scheme, is designed and deployed in order to prevent precisely two of these three threats. SLBMs are another matter, but since only the US, UK, Russia, France and China have SLBMs, they are less of a concern.

QUOTE
-Cruise or skimmer-type misiles, such as the US Tomahawk or the Russian Sunburn.
Which is where look down/shoot down technology comes into play. Of course, cruise and skimmer missiles are not long range, so they present a theater/operational threat, not a strategic threat.

QUOTE
-Nuclear weapons introduced into the country through stealth, which according to the CIA is the single most likely scenario for a nuke going off insie the US.
Yup, but since the Missile Defense system isn't intended to protect us against containerized nukes, faulting it for failing to do so doesn't advance your argument. Smuggled weapons require a completely different defense, where intelligence is key.

QUOTE
So in answer to your question, the way to defend yourself against a nuclear armed nation is to secure the borders and try and prevent the attack before it happens. The misile shield, which does not work, is already obsolete, and only would work best case against a very specific and highly unlikely kind of attack, is  staggering waste of money and time.
Well, I agree with you about securing the borders...

QUOTE
QUOTE
One last observation regarding the notion that greed of the military industrial complex is responsible for our being involved in wars.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  The military-industrial complex can go on making plenty of money on weapon systems without them ever being put to the test.


Thats not the case. Nothing increases defence spending like an actual conflict, and there is nothing like a war to spawn innumerable contracts for weapons replacements, remember that after Shock and Awe and afghanistan, the US hd burned through 85% of its stockpile of smart misiles and bombs. Those all need to be replaced...
Yes, but nothing in that statement supports the contention that the MIC is responsible for the war, which is the notion I was addressing.

QUOTE
Firstly, yes my spending priorities do differ from yours, but for the sake of argument lets presume your spending priorities for the moment.

Your logic makes no sense. Even if we accept that the primary role of the government is defence of the state, that ONLY allows for expense in cases where there is a threat to the state that can be reasonably stopped. The fact that defence is a priority in your mind STILL does not mean that ANY and ALL spending by the defence department, regardless of how wasteful or irrelevant is a priority.
Well, no argument from me there. No spending that is wasteful or irrelavent is a priority. We differ though on what is wasteful and/or irrelavent.

QUOTE
The Iraq war did not make the US safer, it did the opposite.
Again, we differ.

QUOTE
Firstly, no rational state would fire an atomic weapon at the United States anyways. It would be an inherently irrational action. In doing so, they have clearly already accepted the inevitable annihilation as a result.
No "rational person" would strap on a bombvest and board the E Line either, yet we have ample evidence that it happens. Given that there is no such thing as a "rational state", only leaders who may or may not be rational, we are left with the unsettling knowledge that there are armed kooks out there. If we aren't going to disarm them, then we have to ask ourselves whether we can do anything else for protection.

QUOTE
Thirdly, your statement presumes that the attack comes from a state government that can be identified, targeted and destroyed.
Given the enourmous resources necessary to field missiles, such a presumption is not unwarranted.

QUOTE
Fourthly you ignore the possibility that the launch against the US is in itself a retaliation for a US attack.
So what? The ABM system doesn't care if an incoming missile is an accidental launch, a James Bond scenario, the result of an LSD flashback by Kim Il Jong, or the righteous retaliation against an unwarranted attack by the US against France. Incoming missile = target.

QUOTE
The reality is, any nation or body or entity desperate or angry enough to be willing to nuke the US is not going to be deterred by the fact that an inoperational system exits which will not prevent the attack. Even if it did work, it would not act as a deterrent in the same desperate case.
I don't know if you've noticed, but suicide bombers don't make a habit of blowing themselves up in empty stadiums. Deterrence always has value. Your argument seems to be "if we can't guarantee stopping 110% of them, we shouldn't bother trying to stop any."

QUOTE
ICBMs were already obsolete. ... Now they have been rendered FURTHER obsolete by the development of a new generation of ICBMs which are already immune to the missile shield, which by the way, does not work.
*

I'm confused. ICBMs have been rendered further obsolete by ICBMs? wacko.gif

Vermillion
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Jan 31 2006, 08:01 PM)
We have a system that does work.  Aegis ABM system, 86% kill ratio  Perhaps that's why the Japanese are investing in it... 


You have a short range system in the testing phase which is used against missiles in the primary launch stage, meaning your Aegis cruiser has to be nearby and on ready status to have any ffect. It is useless in the intermediate, ballistic or terminal stage of the launch. It is nothing like the completely NON-functional missile shield plan.

QUOTE
QUOTE

-Short range, intermediate range or submarine launched missiles
-Concealed Launch missiles (like NK did in its missile tests over Japan, which the world was not aware of until afterwards)
Actually, the Aegis ABM, which is only part of the overall missile defense scheme, is designed and deployed in order to prevent precisely two of these three threats. SLBMs are another matter, but since only the US, UK, Russia, France and China have SLBMs, they are less of a concern.


Firstly, it would have no effect on short range misiles that never achieve anything close to ballistic trajectory, not to mention you have to know they have been fired. It is useless against SLBMs, though as you say those are uncommon. However, as I said even to have a chance against the one missile in that list it can stop, intermediate missiles, it needs to be in close proximity to the launch, aware of the launch and on ready status at the time of the launch. Useful if you are trying to contain a small nation like NK without mobile misiles (yet), not useful against unknown threats.



QUOTE
Which is where look down/shoot down technology comes into play.  Of course, cruise and skimmer missiles are not long range, so they present a theater/operational threat, not a strategic threat.


The tomahawk has a range of 1500 km, the Us ACM has a range of 3000 km, the Rusian Otomat Mark-II has a range of 800 km. The Chinese "Hong Niao” HN-2 has a range of 1800 km... I could continue, suffice to say they certainly have strategic capacity.

Look-down shoot-down capacity is currently only useful against aircraft, not missile in the world has this capacity againt other missiles.

QUOTE
QUOTE
The Iraq war did not make the US safer, it did the opposite.
Again, we differ.


Love to tackle this one, but we will leave it for another thread. wink.gif



Last, I mean no offence here, but the entire rest of your rebuttal was ill-founded. You were arguing against Things I never aid. I never said any of the scenarions you opposed were not true, I simply listed them as reasons why the non-functional missile shield would not have a reasonable deterrent effect, a claim made by Hobbes. Please read my points again, in that context.


QUOTE
QUOTE
ICBMs were already obsolete. ... Now they have been rendered FURTHER obsolete by the development of a new generation of ICBMs which are already immune to the missile shield, which by the way, does not work.


I'm confused. ICBMs have been rendered further obsolete by ICBMs?


The missile shield is being designed against a class of ICBMs that are obsolete, a new generation of ICBMs, already immune to the missile shield, even if it did work, are being produced.

ICBMs, such as the ones the misile shield is designed to defend against (but currently cannot) are obsolete. That was my point, again regarding Hobbes' post.
RedCedar
QUOTE(bucket @ Jan 31 2006, 09:33 AM)
Regardless of the obvious national security benefits military spending affords this nation, what about the other benefits?  Like the contribution to the hi tech industry through the research and development


This is a point I've argued before. The question is, "is defense spending better than direct infrastructure spending?". I mean you get indirect hi-tech benefits, but instead you could always put those billions right into universities to DIRECTLY advance hi-tech.

QUOTE
The hi tech industry is one of the industries that America excels in and experiences a export surplus.  What role do you think the US "Military Complex" plays in this industry and it's superiority ? 


And this is something to be proud of? We export weapons and we're the best at it....and this is good? I'm not terribly proud of that fact.


QUOTE
I think if you believe the US military leads in just bomb making then you really must not be at all familiar with exactly what it is the US Military does with all that money.  Not everything is geared towards making war, some if has to do with communications, or perhaps better information gathering,  sharing and networking. 


First the US military is building a lot of weapons that are really not viable in today's world. There a ton of links that expose this.

Secondly, no one wastes money more than the US Military, see Halliburton for recent trends and do you remember the $400 hammers?

Thirdly, there is a ton of money spent on bomb making.

And fourthly, military spending is not just limited to what the pie chart that the CBO puts out. See:

http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm

QUOTE
Also I think the fact private industries or companies are now so intertwined and a part of the "Military Complex" that it is very difficult, no I would argue impossible,  to claim that the US "Military Complex" is some distant individual body that operates independently and detached.


And that's one of the problems about cutting military spending, so many people have a vested interest you can't get a consensus to go against it.


Hobbes
QUOTE
That makes no sense.


Only to those who have a predisposition in the matter.

QUOTE
Firstly, no rational state would fire an atomic weapon at the United States anyways. It would be an inherently irrational action. In doing so, they have clearly already accepted the inevitable annihilation as a result.


Not true. They hold us hostage due to our inability to protect ourselves from such a launch. Consider the example of N. Korea. If they were to attack S. Korea, and threatened launching a missle at Seattle if we intervene, that creates a very serious dilemma. Rogue states with nuclear weapons could essentially use their nuclear capability to keep the US from intervening. This threat carries far less weight if we have a defense against it.

QUOTE
Secondly, anyone who can read CNN.com or Janesdefence.com knows that the missile defence does not work, hardly a deterrent.


Ahh, I see. Doesn't work at first, no sense pursuing it, then? Following this logic, we'd have no technology at all, would we?

QUOTE
Thirdly, your statement presumes that the attack comes from a state government that can be identified, targeted and destroyed.


No, my statement only presumes that we'd know where the missle came from, which we would with current technology. It alse presumes that those people who were the target of said attack would prefer to have a defense against it, which I think goes without saying.

QUOTE
Fourthly you ignore the possibility that the launch against the US is in itself a retaliation for a US attack.


No, it works equally well in that regard, which is probably what creates some of the sentiment against implementing it.

QUOTE
Fifthly, you assume, improbably, that the attack would take the form of an ICBM, as any other attack as listed above would make the shield useless, but an ICBM which has not incorporated the already existing technology to defeat the missile shield.


Eliminating the ICBM threat is sufficient initially. Those nations currently most likely to threaten us have very rudimentary technology. Future technology would render the other missles obsolete as well. Such is the way of weapons and technology throughout history, as I'm sure you're well aware.

The ironic thing is that being against creating a missle defense is, by definition, accepting the situation of mutual deterrence in which our very lives our being held hostage and placed in the hands of rogue dictators, and the potential that situation has for turning into WWIII.

None of which means that currently there might not be better alternatives for spending money. I agree that smuggled nukes probably present a bigger danger right now, and would likely require less money to make a noticable impact. There are also probably plenty of 'conventional' weapons programs that would rate as higher priority items currently. But I reject the arguments that discard such systems before performing such analysis.
RedCedar
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Jan 31 2006, 05:32 PM)
Ahh, I see.  Doesn't work at first, no sense pursuing it, then?  Following this logic, we'd have no technology at all, would we?


QUOTE
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) today released a letter to the President signed by 50 American Nobel laureates in the sciences stating that under current circumstances, "any movement toward deployment" of a ballistic missile defense system would be "premature, wasteful, and dangerous."


50 American Nobel laureates can't be wrong, can they?

That's why Clinton scraped it. But 75 cents of every dollar donated to Republicans in 2000 came from the defense industry.

http://www.fas.org/press/000706-news.htm

I am a scientist by education, but I'm not an expert on the missile defense. But I'll defer to highly respected scientist in addition to engineers that say it's a MONUMENTAL WASTE of money with little possibility of working. I think the term they use is "like shooting one bullet down with another bullet".
Hobbes
QUOTE(RedCedar @ Jan 31 2006, 07:24 PM)
QUOTE
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) today released a letter to the President signed by 50 American Nobel laureates in the sciences stating that under current circumstances, "any movement toward deployment" of a ballistic missile defense system would be "premature, wasteful, and dangerous."


50 American Nobel laureates can't be wrong, can they?


Nothing in this statement contradicts what I've been saying. Deploying systems that don't work doesn't make sense. Neither does stopping research into them. As I said above, being against the development of protection against missle strikes is being for being held hostage to rogue regimes as well as the MAD doctrine. How many of those same Nobel laureates, or those here on this board, are willing to state they're for that? I suspect no one.

CruisingRam
You are correct hobbes in saying we shouldn't stop researching them- but we don't have to spend gazzillions of mega bucks in a manner that only REALLY benefits politicians that get donations from those places like haliburton.

It is only suspected that the "defense Industrial complex" is starting wars- gee, it is not so hard to connect the dots is it? PNAC favors US global imperialism. Several members of this adminastration are members of PNAC. Cheney is CEO of Haliburton, a company that, while he was CEO, was fined by the SEC for accounting fraud- though of course, CHENEY- though in charge, never accepting any of the blame or responsibility (why is it that he and his party are always talking about personal responsibilty without taking any in thier own lives, ever? hmmm.gif ) - that being said- HIS former company gets super sweet "no bid contracts" for mega billions- a company well known for all kinds of fraud and overcharges and accounting "errors"- and how many billions do they get for the contract? 100 billion or more? -

Now- how much would have haliburton, Cheney and co make if there was no war in Iraq? hmmm.gif - in fact, who would have benefited from (how many billions have we earmarked for Iraq so far, 3-400 billion?) - gee, I wonder were half a trillion dollars or more we spent on Iraq (by the time we get out) could have:

1) Paid down the deficit- just saved the money
2) Complete overhaul of the health care system with money to spare?
3) Complete nationwide infrastructure rebuilding (this USED to be a republican strong suit- infrastructure building, which, incidently- is also beneficial to our "defense network"- most folks think about strategy- a soldier thinks about supplies and logistics) - not one penny has to be spent on those lazy, insufferable, deserving to die poor folks in the US.

All the above? With money to spare?

Ya- the only poeple benefitting from the current republican plan are those in the GW administration, and "defense industrial complex" groups- and the lion share of that money going to Haliburton- probably nearly all of it- since Halliburton is paid seperate from a seperate budget from the direct defense budget- which pays soldiers salaries- not CEO's multi-million dollar salaries - which, of course are "deserved" mad.gif -

It just amazes me to this day- that a republican can think of roads, schools, health care etc is "socialism"- but when you spend money on roads, schools, health care in dollars you don't even consider for US citizens- well, this is "defense, good for the country"-

So where does all this capitalism you guys preach supposed to kick in? Or is it already, in the form of this administration doing the bidding of the highest bidder? thumbsup.gif


We pretty much haven't had a single action since Stalin died, or the Korean war- that can even be REMOTELY called "defending the US"- not even close.

Eisenhour prophetically went out calling a warning against "the defense industrial network" NOT communism- he knew what was happening- he knew were the country was going- right into the pocket of very, very bad poeple.

To bad we didn't head the last good president's advice.
Ted
QUOTE
RedCeder
I am a scientist by education, but I'm not an expert on the missile defense. But I'll defer to highly respected scientist in addition to engineers that say it's a MONUMENTAL WASTE of money with little possibility of working. I think the term they use is "like shooting one bullet down with another bullet".



Nonsense. These scientists have an ulterior motive. They object to the money spent on missile defense that they feel should go to other (their) projects. If you read what they say they bemoan the fact that single interceptors have missed targets in some (not all) tests. This reduces the intercept probability for a single intercept by a single interceptor. And the systems will soon be good enough to guarantee a hit but regardless the obvious answer here is to fire more than one interceptor so as to guarantee interception. We are not trying to defend against thousands of missiles.

And IMO it is a worthwhile investment. NK can hit half the US today and is believed to have nuke warheads. They and other “rogue” nations can threaten us with unacceptable losses without a ABM system. One nuke launched by NK could kill millions and cost us hundreds of billions in property destruction.


http://people.howstuffworks.com/missile-defense1.htm


Mrs. Pigpen
1) Is our military spending worth it?

I think so, yes. Of course I'm prejudiced on this matter. The bottom line is, it depends what you want to be able to do, and the cost in lives you are willing to sacrifice to do it. Carpet bombing is cheap, placing thousands of ill-equipt soldiers on a leaky boat and sending them off hoping for the best is cheap. The type of technology we need to field today's threats effectively, however, is expensive. You can't turn a sewing machine factory into a fighter production factory overnight and train pilots quickly like the days of early WWII.

2) Programs like missile defense, which are claimed by experts to be a total waste of money, worth the billions of dollars in the small chance they MAY work?

It depends. Mr P is now working at DARPA (defense advanced research projects agency), and that is basically the mission statement of that agency. They research programs and spend money on the small chance that they might work. They have been pretty successful, too...UAVs, stealth technology, the internet, they are fielding revolutionary emergency medical equipment in the Gulf right now....

I have always taken a dim view regarding the missile defense system, though, and not because I think it could never work. Even if it does work, I believe it would be destabilizing because it would make nuclear war a conceivable option, and God help us if that happens. Such technology will not be contained either, so we should ask ourselves not, "how can we protect California from N Korea?" An unbelievably unlikely scenario, but something closer to, "what would happen if Pakistan had this technology and India didn't?" or even "what if they both had it?" The results would not be good.
RedCedar
QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 1 2006, 12:16 PM)
And IMO it is a worthwhile investment.  NK can hit half the US today and is believed to have nuke warheads.    They and other “rogue” nations can threaten us with unacceptable losses without a ABM system.  One nuke launched by NK could kill millions and cost us hundreds of billions in property destruction. 


You have proof NK can hit the US?? According to this article they can NOT.

QUOTE
Missile defense costs $10 billion a year. What do we get for that?
ASK THIS | January 24, 2006
Expert Philip Coyle notes that successes have been only under artificial circumstances and that in the two most recent tests interceptors didn’t even get off the ground; he urges Congress and the press to question the system.


http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fu...askthisid=00163

But I agree, with a President who neither has the ability or the will to deal diplomatically with other countries, we probably need some type of shield....who knows Europe may get nukes soon...

Ted
QUOTE
RedCedar
You have proof NK can hit the US?? According to this article they can NOT.


Here is some data that says otherwise. NK has nukes and missiles to deliver them. Still feel safe?

North Korea maintains uranium mines with four million tons of exploitable high-quality uranium.
In September 1989 the magazine JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY stated that North Korea "could manufacture nuclear devices in five years' time, and the means to deliver them soon afterward." In July 1990 THE WASHINGTON POST reported that new satellite photographs showed the presence in Yongbyon of a structure which could possibly be used to separate plutonium from nuclear fuel.
As of February 2005 Defense Intelligence Agency analysts were reported to believe that North Korea may already have produced as many as 12 to 15 nuclear weapons. This would imply that by the end of 2004 North Korea had produced somewhere between four and eight uranium bombs [on top of the seven or eight plutonium bombs already on hand]. The DIA's estimate was at the high end of an intelligence community-wide assessment of North Korea's nuclear arsenal completed in early 2005
If one assumes that the DPRK produced sufficient plutonium for eight bombs, and expended one of these bombs in a test in Pakistan in 1998, then as of 2005 their plutonium bomb inventory would be seven weapons. Taking the mid-point of the DIA's estimate of between four and eight uranium bombs, the plausible uranium bomb stockpile as of early 2005 would be six weapons, increasing at a rate of one bomb every two months. Thus the early 2005 stockpile would be 13 weapons, growing to about 20 weapons by the end of the year.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/nuke.htm

Missiles:
The Taep'o-dong-2 (TD-2) is said to be a two or three stage missile. North Korea has given various names to the Taep'o-dong missile, such as No-dong-3, Hwasong (Mars)-2 and Moksong (Jupiter)-2. Over time, the estimated range has grown substantially. It was initially estimated to have a range of 4,000 km, but is currently estimated to have a range of up to 15,000 km. The throw weight is variously estimated as between a few hundred kilograms to 1,000 kg, depending on the range.
On 16 February 2005 Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, U.S. Navy, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, testified that the " ... Taepo Dong 2 intercontinental ballistic missile may be ready for testing. This missile could deliver a nuclear warhead to parts of the United States in a two stage variant and target all of North America with a three stage variant. "
http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/dprk/td-2.htm

And if that isn’t enough:
In May 2004 Middle East Newsline reported that Western intelligence sources Teheran had been negotiating with Pyongyang for the purchase of the Taepo Dong-2 as Iran's first intercontinental ballistic missile as well as a space launcher

From 2004
http://csmonitor.com/2004/1221/p01s04-woap.html



RedCedar
QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 1 2006, 03:50 PM)
On 16 February 2005 Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, U.S. Navy, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, testified that the " ... Taepo Dong 2 intercontinental ballistic missile may be ready for testing. This missile could deliver a nuclear warhead to parts of the United States in a two stage variant and target all of North America with a three stage variant. "


You said "NK can hit half the US today".

You haven't shown proof, just that they could have the ability.
bucket
QUOTE(RedCedar)
This is a point I've argued before. The question is, "is defense spending better than direct infrastructure spending?". I mean you get indirect hi-tech benefits, but instead you could always put those billions right into universities to DIRECTLY advance hi-tech.


We do invest in university R&D. What do Americans spend on R&D by the government compared to the rest of the world?

Also being that we are not a nation whose economy runs on ideas and information alone , having this stuff out and about outside just the public, federal , government zone is helpful. That is one of my main points. My husband is a DoD contractor..one of millions I am sure, and his private company works within the Military Complex, they are not separate or distinct.

QUOTE
And this is something to be proud of? We export weapons and we're the best at it....and this is good? I'm not terribly proud of that fact. 


But I did not say weapons..I said hi-tech. Have a look at where and what America has an export surplus in, it is not just bombs. That is again my other point. I think you take a very unfair and limited view to what the Military Complex is and what it encompasses. I know from my husband's work..and he is not a bomb maker, that we have many arms of the DoD or the Military Complex, many partners, many contractors and many applications that have little to do with making bombs.

What about DISA? ARO? Or the NRL? DCIS, ERDC? Or as Mrs. P said DARPA? On and on there are many divisions or departments within the Military Complex that I feel to claim they all are designated or defined for war making or bomb making is a limited and inaccurate view of the Military. You think most of those who serve in our Military Forces and work within our Military Complex do so with the one and sole objective or mission of making war? Or do you think there is perhaps a more diverse and complex mission or goal of America's Military Complex?

For example..Take the Top Ten listing of super computers in the world. It gives their host sites, 6 listed in the USA and we have all of the top five in this nation and where or what is their host site?

Two are at the NNSA
Two are at Sandia National Laboratories one is at NASA and one is at Oak Ridge National Lab

And these are only the openly, publicly announced ones..other ones show up scattered around as $400 hammers.

Only one of the American listed super computer sites is a private site... IBM. Also the other 4 super computers hosted outside the US ..3 are made by US companies. And I think that is a nice example of how this hi-tech advancement benefits America and the nations we trade with.

Now maybe when you hear a lot of these sites... NNSA, Sandia, Oak Ridge and you hear nuclear you think bomb making..but I am asking you too see the whole picture..what about the super computers themselves? Are they not a major hi-tech advancement that obviously do not find much demand in the private or university realms? And do you think that some of the things they may be working on at Oak Ridge or Sandia could in fact be beneficial to us in some form other than blowing things up?
Mrs. Pigpen
Good points, Bucket...I'd like to add another that hasn't been mentioned. GPS.

The United States Department of Defense developed the global positioning system that people around the world use today....aircraft, drivers, farmers, hikers, hunters and boaters.
psyclist
Oddly enough, Forbes came out this article. today.

QUOTE
President Vladimir Putin boasted Tuesday that Russia has new missiles capable of penetrating any missile defense system and said he had briefed the French president on their capabilities.

"Russia has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," Putin said. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but it doesn't matter to them whether that exists or not


Now let's think about this. Russia has a missle that can get through our missle defense system if it were operational, which it's not. The numbers are a bit hard to track down but I found that in 2004 (which, let's say this took 2 years to build) their defense budget was $14 billion and in 2005 was $18 billion. cite. This site says the "total missile defense development cost for 2002 through 2009 will be $62.9 billion."
Now if I'm a manager at a major company, and I have a huge project, that is taking over budget, behind schedule, and not operational and now, completely ineffective, I'd be canned if I didn't cut the program.

From an engineering standpoint, the Missle Defense System will always be a step behind. It's just like computer hackers and anti-virus/firewall software, the hackers always find a way around the AV or firewall and a new virus hits. By the time the AV fix is out, the hackers are already on a new virus. And, my guess is that a missle defense system is not nearly as fast, cheap, and easy to upgrade as AV software. It could be a year or two before we are able to defend against the new "super missle" that China or Russia or NK just designed.

Bucket is right (wow, I haven't agreed with Bucket for awhile thumbsup.gif) that this money is going to defense but is benefiting tech. But, their is no reason that this same money couldn't be spent on other useful, non-military ventures that would yield just many new innovations. It's just like the case for NASA, we wanted to go the moon and as a result, we got all these new innovations in technology...like Tang smile.gif
So why can't we be putting this money toward setting up an alternative energy infrastruture in Ameria? Or a cost effective way to make salt water drinkable? Or funding for biotech in medicine? Any of these ventures could just as likely produce some wonder product that could benefit Americans and even be used by the military! Who's to say GPS couldn't have been the result of R&D from NASA?

Finally, I think that if we allow this Industrial Military Complex to continue, we're going to be "addicted to ammo" tongue.gif When, as the video in the OP states, we have a missle manufacturing plant in every state in the US, it gets hard to cut back on military spending because a large number of people in some or many states are going to lose their job and no politician is going to risk that. More and more jobs and corporations are going to be dependent on this militray complex and we wont be able to stop the trend.
RedCedar
QUOTE(psyclist @ Feb 1 2006, 09:38 PM)
Oddly enough, Forbes came out this article. today.

QUOTE
President Vladimir Putin boasted Tuesday that Russia has new missiles capable of penetrating any missile defense system and said he had briefed the French president on their capabilities.

"Russia has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," Putin said. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but it doesn't matter to them whether that exists or not



Wow, that's horrible. And people said it was no big deal that Bush scrapped the ABM treaty.

The Russians are deeply paranoid. This missile defense system is a waste of money...and it forces other countries to ESCALATE their capabilities.

I once read a paper that detailed all the easily manuevers that a missile could do to avoid such defense systems. Such as spinning a shiny missile to reflect lasers, or using MERVs, mult-entry vehicles, some dummies some carrying warheads, to flood the system.

An impenetrable shield is really impossible to create and to boot, you can never really test it....until the test comes in the form of a mushroooom cloud. blink.gif

If the project were millions instead of BILLIONS, I'd say go for it. But it's a gigantic waste of money.

Consder that we are scraping student grants and loans, food stamps, etc. to balance the budget and we have this behemeth out there that could save us BILLIONS of dollars each year.

It doesn't make sense.
RedCedar
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Feb 1 2006, 06:59 PM)
Good points, Bucket...I'd like to add another that hasn't been mentioned. GPS.

The United States Department of Defense developed the global positioning system that people around the world use today....aircraft, drivers, farmers, hikers, hunters and boaters.
*




But that didn't cost a bunch of money either. DARPA, under assistance from Congress (see Al Gore invented the internet), came up with the internet. It wasn't necessarily defense-based though as it was tied to many universities.

There's no reason you couldn't have that stuff created outside of defense contracts.

But it's funny because most of the good came in forms of infrastructure, which I argue is a better expenditure of our money. Why get a PORTION of your money toward infrastructure when you can get close to 100%??
Bikerdad
QUOTE(RedCedar @ Feb 2 2006, 02:55 AM)
QUOTE(psyclist @ Feb 1 2006, 09:38 PM)
Oddly enough, Forbes came out this article. today.

QUOTE
President Vladimir Putin boasted Tuesday that Russia has new missiles capable of penetrating any missile defense system and said he had briefed the French president on their capabilities.

"Russia has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," Putin said. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but it doesn't matter to them whether that exists or not



Wow, that's horrible. And people said it was no big deal that Bush scrapped the ABM treaty.

The Russians are deeply paranoid. This missile defense system is a waste of money...and it forces other countries to ESCALATE their capabilities.


repeat, I say repeat...
"Russia has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," Putin said. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but it doesn't matter to them whether that exists or not
Artemise
Cruising Ram,

I am kind of suprised that you havent given up the goods, that the Missle Defense System is a Ted Stevens boondoggle pork project for Alaska which doesnt work and never will, a generally dismissed and widely known joke round abouts. Everyone who knows, even those who work on the project laugh about it. They literally shake their heads at the misappropriations, the total ineptitude, but love the big salaries.

As far as the REST of military spending, advancing tech capabilities is always good. But THIS? This is one of the biggest bamboozles ever perpetrated on the american public.
Thank you Ted, youre the best cash cow Alaska has ever known.

QUOTE
Even before the added spending proposed by the Bush administration is taken into account, missile defense is already one of the most expensive military programs in history. The Pentagon has spent close to $100 billion on missile defense projects since President Reagan’s 1983 "Star Wars" speech. The last budget submitted by the Clinton administration allocated $4.8 billion for missile defense. President Bush has requested $10.2 billion for the project in his 2005 fiscal year budget, and another $50 billion is expected to be spent over the next five years to continue development and testing of ballistic missile defense system. Despite Bush’s more than 100% increase in funding for missile defense, the resulting multilayered system is no more workable than previous systems.


QUOTE
"We rigged the test," the scientist said. "We put a beacon with a certain frequency on the target vehicle. On the interceptor, we had a receiver." In effect the scientist said, the target was talking to the missile, saying, "Here I am, come get me . . . The hit looked beautiful, so Congress didn't ask any questions." Scientist involved in the Pentagon's June 1984 missile defense test, quoted by Tim Weiner, New York Times, August 18, 1993


And speaking of Defense and PORK:

Winslow Wheeler has written extensively on Senators adding pork projects to US Defense bills. (Winslow Wheeler served as a staff member for numerous congressmen and in the General Accounting Office for thirty-one years. From 1996-2002 he was the senior analyst for national defense for the Republican staff of the Senate budget committee. Wheeler served on the staffs of Pete Domenici (Republican, New Mexico), Jacob Javits (Republican, New York), Nancy Kassebaum (Republican, Kansas), and David Pryor (Democrat, Arkansas).)

QUOTE
With regards to wasteful expenditures in the defense bill passed after 9-11, Wheeler notes that the culture in Congress has so degenerated that there was no longer anything odd about the decision of senators to add massive pork to a defense bill passed in a moment of crisis. Calculating how to use defense funds to pay for fisheries, gyms, day care centers and defense systems of marginal utility has become a full-time job for many Capitol Hill staffers. That process is often more important than trying to evaluate the merits of proposals. Therefore, even in a pinch, staffers merely proceeded to do their jobs as they understood them.


QUOTE
The Secretary of Defense does not control the process described. If anything, his crime is sitting by as the process of meaningful procurement falls apart. The cost? Basic training, standard equipment, spare parts and relevant technology are ignored to the detriment of military effectiveness. That process has been accelerated by the unquestioning commitment of Vice President Dick Cheney to "privatization."


http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?Do...ge=../index.cfm




Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(RedCedar @ Feb 2 2006, 03:07 AM)
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Feb 1 2006, 06:59 PM)
Good points, Bucket...I'd like to add another that hasn't been mentioned. GPS.

The United States Department of Defense developed the global positioning system that people around the world use today....aircraft, drivers, farmers, hikers, hunters and boaters.
*




But that didn't cost a bunch of money either. DARPA, under assistance from Congress (see Al Gore invented the internet), came up with the internet. It wasn't necessarily defense-based though as it was tied to many universities.

There's no reason you couldn't have that stuff created outside of defense contracts.

But it's funny because most of the good came in forms of infrastructure, which I argue is a better expenditure of our money. Why get a PORTION of your money toward infrastructure when you can get close to 100%??
*



Do you know what GPS is? It is called a Global Positioning System, comprised of 24 satellites orbiting the earth. The DOD's investment in GPS is immense, billions and billions of dollars have been invested in creating and maintaining this technology. I doubt this investment would have ever been made without the DOD. Who would bear that level expense for no monetary benefit?

We built it for the security benefit, which is the purpose of the DOD. Security is the number one purpose of the state, incidentally. Try to organize a community without a police force. Look at the types of lovely infrastructure they have in countries where the law is outgunned and you have your answer here.
Ted
QUOTE(RedCedar @ Feb 1 2006, 06:45 PM)
QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 1 2006, 03:50 PM)
On 16 February 2005 Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, U.S. Navy, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, testified that the " ... Taepo Dong 2 intercontinental ballistic missile may be ready for testing. This missile could deliver a nuclear warhead to parts of the United States in a two stage variant and target all of North America with a three stage variant. "


You said "NK can hit half the US today".

You haven't shown proof, just that they could have the ability.
*


Sorry I did not mean to confuse you. Notice the statement above it and realize that 15,000 Km = 9,300 miles allowing NK to easily hit the US and since we know they have nukes we should be concerned.

It was initially estimated to have a range of 4,000 km, but is currently estimated to have a range of up to 15,000 km. The throw weight is variously estimated as between a few hundred kilograms to 1,000 kg, depending on the range.


QUOTE
RedCedar
I once read a paper that detailed all the easily manuevers that a missile could do to avoid such defense systems. Such as spinning a shiny missile to reflect lasers, or using MERVs, mult-entry vehicles, some dummies some carrying warheads, to flood the system.


QUOTE
An impenetrable shield is really impossible to create and to boot, you can never really test it....until the test comes in the form of a mushroooom cloud.


Nonsense. Did you even bother to read how the system works? Yes it cannot stop 2-4,000 MERV warheads but it can and will stop anything NK and currently China etc can throw at it. I spoke to an engineer at MIT LL who told me they had solved the problem of identifying real from dummy warheads – in 1988!

And just an FYI intercontinental missiles do NOT “maneuver”. They go straight up into space, point down and launch one or more “reentry vehicles” which is what the defense system targets.


Every system currently in use and very successfully at that has gone through the same development process. This system is expensive and will have several layers including the ability to destroy ICBM in the boost phase (ABL http://www.northropgrumman.com/missiledefe...eries/ABL.html) and the ability to shoot down cruise and other missiles launched off our coasts.

The lives of millions of Americans could be lost in literally under an hour if we have no defensive system. How much is it worth to prevent that possibility.
bucket
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen)
Good points, Bucket...I'd like to add another that hasn't been mentioned. GPS.

The United States Department of Defense developed the global positioning system that people around the world use today....aircraft, drivers, farmers, hikers, hunters and boaters.


Why thank you fellow East Coaster smile.gif

In keeping with the GPS theme ...here is the latest DoD major infastructure project.

The USA's Transformational Communications Satellite System (TSAT)

As video communications is integrated into robots, soldiers, and UAVs, and network-centric warfare becomes the organizing principle of American warfighting, front-line demands for bandwidth are rising sharply. The Transformation Communications Satellite (TSAT) System is part of a larger effort by the US military to address this need.

The final price tag on the entire TSAT program is expected to reach $14-18 billion through 2016, which includes the satellites, the ground operations system, the satellite operations center and the cost of operations and maintenance. By mid-2007, the U.S. Air Force will either decide to build the TSAT system on its current schedule and launch in 2013-2016, or postpone TSAT, take stopgap measures and add Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites 4 & 5 to the three slated for launch from 2009-2012.

Lockheed Martin and Boeing have won a total of $514 million each in risk reduction contracts for the TSAT SS satellite system, in hopes of making that Plan B unnecessary. Meanwhile, TSAT's $2 billion TMOS ground-based network operations contract has just been awarded.
CruisingRam
As Artemise said- I WAS waiting for someone to bring it up sometime, there are so many educated poeple on this board, that really like to look stuff up- and I was wondering if anyone had ever looked up the fact that we TEST the system up here, at poker flats missle range.

See, you guys all talk about the "the weapon tech was completed in 1988 to find MERVS and whatnot- you see, they tested it right here- not top secret- but the "liberal media" hardly mentioned what everyone here saw for thier own eyes- several times.

During testing, even when they knew were the missle was, when it was launched, and what trajectory it had- it missed a whole bunch of times. The funny part is- they don't count the "misses" in number of launches attempted and not even leaving the firing ground- In other words, if the "bad" missle wa launched, but the "good" missle doesn't launch, - they don't count it as a launch. I think they may have hit the KNOWN TRAJECTORY/LAUNCH/FLIGHT PATH missle- like one whole time, thumbsup.gif w00t.gif - oooooo, good thing we spent trillions on that defense shield thingy- and that is with a full time launch crew around the clock right up to launch time, trying to ensure the missle even launches!

Pretty much everyone in contact with this program, pretty much every scientist in the world that has anything to do with rocket science, knows this is a boondoggle- includingas Artimese said- Ted Stevens knows it is a boondoggle- but as long as Alaska gets a big share of the money- then he is cool with it- hey- I guess we Alaskans shouldn't be too unhappy with this project's expenditures- because it probably direct employs around 2000 poeple in Alaskan, at rough estimate, knowing how big the facility is and the support network for it.

So Uncle "show me the money" Ted Stevens gets the dough re' me' - and the conservatives fund yet another multi- gazzilion dollar waste of money- but somehow, they like to consider themselves the "fiscally conservative" ones-

Ya, it doesn't work- but so what I guess? mad.gif
RedCedar
QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 2 2006, 02:30 PM)
The lives of millions of Americans could be lost in literally under an hour if we have no defensive system.  How much is it worth to prevent that possibility.
*



You would make a good insurance salesman.

"You really need to get space-shuttle-hitting-your-home insurance, just imagine the cost of repairing your house once the space shuttle has hit it."

For one thing, we can monitor NK. Another thing, the most likely scenario would be to have a pre-emptive strike before it's even launched. And unless their leader doesn't care if we make his country one giant crater, he probably wouldn't want to get to quick to launch a missile at us....imagine if the missile fails!

Aside from NK, China and Russia can always upgrade missiles to penetrate a shield. I'm not sure how you detect dummy MERVs or not, it seems like it would be tought to do, don't you? Did he tell you how?

Diplomacy is where we should be making our efforts. A missile shield is a WASTE of money.

It's a whole lot easier trying to defeat a shield system than it is trying to make the shield system. And the problem is there are no dress rehearsals. You can't test it, you can't always know what your opponents have either.

There's a reason that MAD was the strategy for so long.

RedCedar
QUOTE(CruisingRam @ Feb 2 2006, 06:54 PM)
During testing, even when they knew were the missle was, when it was launched, and what trajectory it had- it missed a whole bunch of times. The funny part is- they don't count the "misses" in number of launches attempted and not even leaving the firing ground- In other words, if the "bad" missle wa launched, but the "good" missle doesn't launch, - they don't count it as a launch. I think they may have hit the KNOWN TRAJECTORY/LAUNCH/FLIGHT PATH missle- like one whole time,  thumbsup.gif  w00t.gif - oooooo, good thing we spent trillions on that defense shield thingy- and that is with a full time launch crew around the clock right up to launch time, trying to ensure the missle even launches!


I remember the news jumping on the fact that they finally hit a moving missile after so many misses. Turns out the missile had a beacon on it. So the key to success in the future is to have NK put beacons on their missiles so we can knock them down 1 in 1000 times.

biggrin.gif
Bikerdad
I'm not exactly sure why folks keep reaching back into the late 1980's as proof that the system doesn't work. The tests in the 1980s were the starting point, to determine if simply hitting a missile under the optimum conditions was possible. If y'all bother to recall, in the mid to late 1980s the "conventional wisdom" amongst the naysayers was that it was impossible to intercept an incoming missile under any conditions. They were wrong...

Gee, the World Wide Web "didn't work" then either, in fact, it didn't even exist yet. I wonder if we've made any technical advances since the late 1980s?
The GPS system wasn't even complete until 1993, and the most recent launch of a GPS satellite was last September. Whattya wanna bet its a better satellite than the oldest one still up there, launched in 1989?

RedCedar
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Feb 3 2006, 12:48 AM)
I'm not exactly sure why folks keep reaching back into the late 1980's as proof that the system doesn't work.  The tests in the 1980s were the starting point, to determine if simply hitting a missile under the optimum conditions was possible.  If y'all bother to recall, in the mid to late 1980s the "conventional wisdom" amongst the naysayers was that it was impossible to intercept an incoming missile under any conditions.  They were wrong...

Gee, the World Wide Web "didn't work" then either, in fact, it didn't even exist yet.  I wonder if we've made any technical advances since the late 1980s?
The GPS system wasn't even complete until 1993, and the most recent launch of a GPS satellite was last September.  Whattya wanna bet its a better satellite than the oldest one still up there, launched in 1989?
*




GPS, the internet, etc. are red herrings to the debate of whether the missile defense system is a boondoggle.

Why don't we try to turn lead into gold. I'm sure technology will catch up sooner or later and we can become a very wealthy nation with that secret technology.

wacko.gif
RedCedar
Just a new heads up, Bush wants to increase military spending by 6% to nearly 1/2 trillion dollars, while he's giving tax cuts to the wealthy and slashing $40 billion in student loans and medicare spending.

I ask you, what would happen if we didn't spend that money on defense? Is Europe spending that much? What's happening to them?

I think it's insane that we continue this pattern of wasteful defense spending.

For all the people that say univeral health coverage is too expensive or moving to a hydrogen economy is too expensive, here's the money folks. We're stockpiling weapons and going into bankrupcty.

We're borrowing this money from our future generations, FYI. Is it really necessary?


Bush to offer $440 billion defense budget
2007 spending plan reflects nearly 5 percent increase from ’06

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11151873/from/RS.4/

psyclist
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Feb 3 2006, 12:48 AM)
I'm not exactly sure why folks keep reaching back into the late 1980's as proof that the system doesn't work.  The tests in the 1980s were the starting point, to determine if simply hitting a missile under the optimum conditions was possible.  If y'all bother to recall, in the mid to late 1980s the "conventional wisdom" amongst the naysayers was that it was impossible to intercept an incoming missile under any conditions.  They were wrong...

Gee, the World Wide Web "didn't work" then either, in fact, it didn't even exist yet.  I wonder if we've made any technical advances since the late 1980s?
The GPS system wasn't even complete until 1993, and the most recent launch of a GPS satellite was last September.  Whattya wanna bet its a better satellite than the oldest one still up there, launched in 1989?
*



So it's been 20 years since we started this program and we still don't have anything operational? Again, think of this as a project at your company, would you continue to fund and invest in this project? It's been 20 years and now their is technology that makes the Missle Defense System obsolete and this new missle cost the Russians a drop in the bucket compared to our taxpayer suck hole. I'm not saying their aren't worthy defense projects out there but a nation that invests primarly in war is going to be more apt to use war as a solution. When all you have is a giant, expensive, state of the art hammer, everything is a nail.
Ted
QUOTE
RedCedar
For one thing, we can monitor NK. Another thing, the most likely scenario would be to have a pre-emptive strike before it's even launched. And unless their leader doesn't care if we make his country one giant crater, he probably wouldn't want to get to quick to launch a missile at us....imagine if the missile fails!

Aside from NK, China and Russia can always upgrade missiles to penetrate a shield. I'm not sure how you detect dummy MERVs or not, it seems like it would be tought to do, don't you? Did he tell you how?


You really don’t get it. You can monitor all day but the position of all NK silos is not known, some are though to be buried in hardened mountain facilities. With now ABM defense once the missile clears the silo millions of people are going to DIE within an hour. As I have posted even Iraq is attempting to get long range missiles. IMO we need to be able to defend against this type of attack and they can “upgrade” but so can we. History says we can stay ahead. And frankly I think “their leader” is a nutcase capable of doing anything and I would prefer to be safe rather than sorry.

Same is true for Nuclear Terrorism. Unless we are prepared to take out any missile capability of any group or country in the world that “might” attack us we need a deterrent.
psyclist
QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 3 2006, 11:17 AM)
You really don’t get it.  You can monitor all day but the position of all NK silos is not known, some are though to be buried in hardened mountain facilities.  With now ABM defense once the missile clears the silo millions of people are going to DIE within an hour.    As I have posted even Iraq is attempting to get long range missiles.  IMO we need to be able to defend against this type of attack and they can “upgrade” but so can we.  History says we can stay ahead.    And frankly I think “their leader” is a nutcase capable of doing anything and I would prefer to be safe rather than sorry.

Same is true for Nuclear Terrorism.  Unless we are prepared to take out any missile capability of any group or country in the world that “might” attack us we need a deterrent.
*



What leads you to believe that we can stay ahead of any upgrades? That would imply that we would have to know/anticipate in advance the next iteration of missle development and then "upgrade" our Missle Defense System to protect us accordingly. Doesn't matter how much money we throw at it, we can't predict what the Russians will come up with next.

Also, I can see your reasoning for being so afraid of NK but I don't think Missles should be our greatest concern. It seems everyone is freaking out about terrorism remember. A missle defense system isn't going to do us any good if someone manages to smuggle in a bomb and set it off in the middle of a major city.
CruisingRam
We have poker flats right here, with most of the best missles money can buy from the SDI program- and there is not one whit of protection from the SDI from NK- and we are the most inviting and nearest target.

It is a system that doesn't work, has never worked, and has been nothing but a pork project since it's begining, with no hope of working.

Why is it so hard for folks to understand that?

I mean we aren't talking the 80s here, we are talking launches within the last 5 years that failed! thumbsup.gif

Once again Bikerdad- you are ignoring the fact that all tests have failed- UNLESS they put a homing signal on top of the "enemy missle", knew where the launch was from, new when it was going to occur, had a full proffesional staff of rocket scientists on hand for the intercept missle , and still missing 9 times out of 10.

Not a very good system for the buck dontyathink?
Ted
Lets remember that Clinton started this initiative because he and Congress felt it was needed. The program compares well with other developed and now deployed defense systems. The system is needed and will be operational soon.

President Clinton signed the NMD Act in 1999, committing to deploy NMD "as soon as technologically possible."
The final decision to deploy will come in 2000 after considering three key criteria: cost, threat, and the views of the international community.

http://www.wilpf.int.ch/disarmament/nmdcase.htm


In view of the rapidly emerging ballistic missile threat to the U.S. and our allies around the world, the need for the development and deployment of both theater and national missile defense systems by the US is driven by five major factors. 1) The preservation of U.S. freedom of action in the world by preventing ballistic missile blackmail. 2) The maintenance of U.S. security guarantees and alliances. 3) The deterrence of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. 4) The deterrence of missile and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation and 5) Denial of an enemy’s political/ military objectives if deterrence fails.
Even with the anomalous character of the system test failures to date, if missile defense systems are evaluated by the normal testing standards for weapon systems rather then the "unique" testing standard the critics want to hold these systems to, their track record compares favorably with most defense programs. The following chart graphically illustrates this point by comparing the developmental testing results of missile defense programs to date with some of the most successful rocket, missile and satellite programs in history.
http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/congress/2...aham_sept_8.htm
Trouble
QUOTE(RedCedar)
1) Is our military spending worth it?

2) Programs like missile defense, which are claimed by experts to be a total waste of money, worth the billions of dollars in the small chance they MAY work?

3) When we have massive budget deficits/debt, trade debt, etc. is it wise to be spending so much money abroad? And if so, what are we getting out of it?

*



1) I saw a comparison chart about six months ago that analyzed cost vs performance. I can't remember where I saw it. Anyways it compared over 50 countries and america didn't score too well for bang for the buck.

The Israelis scored very high as did Germany and Australia. Canada was in the top twenty if memory serves me correct. America was somewhere 7 -8 on the list.

Personally I would say no, it is not worth it.

2) Good question. Other than exercise and an excuse to warrant a really bloated DoD budget I can't think of a reason.

3) No but when did the fed ever use good judgement and common sense with other peoples' money? Theordore Rooseveltd was his own worst enemy because he decided to take a heavy handed approach and fix the economy during the 30's. We ended up in a depression. George, are you listening?
psyclist
QUOTE(Ted @ Feb 3 2006, 03:46 PM)
Lets remember that Clinton started this initiative because he and Congress felt it was needed.    The program compares well with other developed and now deployed defense systems.    The system is needed and will be operational soon.

President Clinton signed the NMD Act in 1999, committing to deploy NMD "as soon as technologically possible."
The final decision to deploy will come in 2000 after considering three key criteria: cost, threat, and the views of the international community.

http://www.wilpf.int.ch/disarmament/nmdcase.htm



Yes but Clinton didn't make a deployment decision for the system. He left that to Bush. The reasoning was after four years of work they still had a "lack of test under realistic conditions, the absence of testing of the booster rocket, and lingering questions over the system's ability to deal with countermeasures."




In view of the rapidly emerging ballistic missile threat to the U.S. and our allies around the world, the need for the development and deployment of both theater and national missile defense systems by the US is driven by five major factors. 1) The preservation of U.S. freedom of action in the world by preventing ballistic missile blackmail. 2) The maintenance of U.S. security guarantees and alliances. 3) The deterrence of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. 4) The deterrence of missile and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation and 5) Denial of an enemy’s political/ military objectives if deterrence fails.
Even with the anomalous character of the system test failures to date, if missile defense systems are evaluated by the normal testing standards for weapon systems rather then the "unique" testing standard the critics want to hold these systems to, their track record compares favorably with most defense programs. The following chart graphically illustrates this point by comparing the developmental testing results of missile defense programs to date with some of the most successful rocket, missile and satellite programs in history.
http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/congress/2...aham_sept_8.htm
*


How long did it take to put a man on the moon...even without all the high tech comptuers and materials that we have now? How long has this program been going on? See the problem? How far a long are we and how much further do we have to go?
Here is a nice article that seems to touch on each of the misunderstandings in your 5 points above.

Politicians and technology just don't mix. A politician should not make the call as to whether this is feasible or not. Even if they consult 10 different engineers, and 9 of them say "It'll never work" and one says, "It could work"...they politician is going to go ahead with it because it's a politicially expidient move for him.
Hobbes
I see the discussion here going down ratholes. The relevant question, both for fiscal policies and according to the questions for debate, is not whether or not the missle defense system would work, but whether or not its worth the money. I think the debate would be focused better if it concentrated on that. There is NOTHING techonologically preventing the missle defense system from working, ie it is physically possible to perform (if anyone disputes this, please provide evidence...this was in fact the purpose of hitting the missle with the homing beacon, to show that it was physically possible). It is a matter of time and money to develop the technology and capability. There are plenty of very valid reasons to argue that there are better places to spend the time & money....stating that a missle system will never work is not one of them, IMHO....particularly without any evidence indicating its impossibility.
Bikerdad
QUOTE(Trouble @ Feb 3 2006, 04:00 PM)
1) I saw a comparison chart about six months ago that analyzed cost vs performance. I can't remember where I saw it. Anyways it compared over 50 countries and america didn't score too well for bang for the buck.

The Israelis scored very high as did Germany and Australia. Canada was in the top twenty if memory serves me correct. America was somewhere 7 -8 on the list.

Personally I would say no, it is not worth it.
That the Israelis and Australians would score very high doesn't surprise me. Germany has serious problems, Canada is even worse off currently. America's "bang for the buck" on snapshots is distorted due to the significant number of long term development programs that we have, including some Cold War programs that have been cancelled, and are thus "wasted." Two of the highest profile examples are the much discussed missile defense (which was sheiss-canned by Clinton in '93, then resurrected in '99) and the Comanche light attack helicopter.

Here's a good indicator of "bang for the buck":
The casualty rates for US forces in Iraq are historically unprecedented.

February 1, 2006: While the media didn’t notice it, the people in the Pentagon, and military historians, were shocked at the low casualty rate of U.S. troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The casualties (killed, wounded missing) per division per day were about SEVEN. That’s a historical low. ...

But first, let’s put that low, 2003, casualty rate, into perspective. During the 1991 Gulf War there were 12 American casualties a day per division. By comparison, during World War II the daily losses per American division were usually over a hundred a day. On the Russian front, it was often several hundred casualties a day for German and Russian divisions. The spectacular six week German conquest of France in 1940, saw their combat divisions taking 30 casualties (on average) per day. But during another spectacular military victory, the 1967 Six Day War, Israeli casualties the were 110 per division per day, and that actually went down to 90 a day during the less spectacular 1973 war. So by any measure, American troops have learned how to avoid getting hit. That continued after 2003. When the Iraqi Sunni Arabs began their terror campaign in late 2003, and the media was full of stories of American casualties, but no one pointed out that the losses were again at a historical low. In 2004, there were 4.5 casualties per division per day, while in 2005, that went down to about 3.5. All this time, the troops were heavily engaged.


QUOTE
3) No but when did the fed ever use good judgement and common sense with other peoples' money? Theordore Rooseveltd was his own worst enemy because he decided to take a heavy handed approach and fix the economy during the 30's. We ended up in a depression. George, are you listening?
Theodore Roosevelt, President from 1901 to 1909. But, since you brought him up, methinks this is some appropriate wisdom Teddy shared:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."


(edited to fix quotes)
psyclist
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Feb 3 2006, 05:28 PM)
I see the discussion here going down ratholes.  The relevant question, both for fiscal policies and according to the questions for debate, is not whether or not the missle defense system would work, but whether or not its worth the money.  I think the debate would be focused better if it concentrated on that.  There is NOTHING techonologically preventing the missle defense system from working, ie it is physically possible to perform (if anyone disputes this, please provide evidence...this was in fact the purpose of hitting the missle with the homing beacon, to show that it was physically possible).  It is a matter of time and money to develop the technology and capability.  There are plenty of very valid reasons to argue that there are better places to spend the time & money....stating that a missle system will never work is not one of them, IMHO....particularly without any evidence indicating its impossibility.
*



As with all engineering projects, it's impossible to seperate the techonogy, feasibility, and design from the budget. If you want to give this project an unlimited budget because it's worth it at all costs, then debating this is moot point. However, in reality, all projects have a budget and I think we've blown this one long ago.

As for evidence that it's not feasible, I can start researching right away and I'll try and explain the limitations of software AI, the principles of fuzzy logic, and randomization alogrithms needed for this system to work or, we can just ask those 50 American Nobel laureates which were so casually dismissed earlier.
Bikerdad
QUOTE(psyclist @ Feb 3 2006, 06:26 PM)
we can just ask those 50 American Nobel laureates which were so casually dismissed earlier.
*



Yes, the 50 Nobel laureates. Let's examine them (via Wikipedia, or at least the first seven (that's how many show up on my page before scrolling) :

Julius Axelrod: The Nobel Committee honored him for his work on the release and reuptake of catecholamine neurotransmitters, a class of chemicals in the brain that include epinephrine, norepinephrine, and, as was later discovered, dopamine. Axelrod also made major contributions to the understanding of the pineal gland and how it regulates the sleep-wake cycle. I suppose if the concern is whether or not missile defense systems will keep you awake at night, his expertise might be relevant. huh.gif Let's not forget his opposition to the creation of the National Cancer Institute. whistling.gif

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Baruj Benacerraf: A Venezuelan-American immunologist who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the "discovery of the Major histocompatibility complex genes which encode cell surface molecules important for the immune system's distinction between self and non-self". His brother is well-known philosopher Paul Benacerraf. Another expert on the matters of missile defense, as long as the missile is attempting to infect you with something...

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

J. Michael Bishop : An American immunologist and microbiologist who won the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Bishop is best known for his Nobel-winning work on retroviral oncogenes. Working with Harold E. Varmus in the 1980s, he discovered the first human oncogene, v-Src. Their findings allowed the understanding of how malignant tumors are formed from changes to the normal genes of a cell. These changes can be produced by viruses, by radiation, or by exposure to some chemicals. I suppose he can give us some good pointers on how to avoid mutations when we visit post-nuke Seattle, but aside from that, he's not exactly a "go to guy" when you want to know about missile defense, eh what?

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Sidney Altman : Is a Canadian-born molecular biologist. In 1989 he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Thomas R. Cech for their work on the catalytic properties of RNA. Useful if we want to use genetic typing to determine the identity of victims attendant an unsuccessful missile defense deployment, but otherwise I don't think he has much other than scientific celebrity to bring to the table, eh?

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Kenneth J. Arrow : An American economist, winner of the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in 1972. He is considered one of the founders of modern (post World War II) neo-classical economics.

His most significant works are his contributions to social choice theory, notably "Arrow's impossibility theorem", and his work on general equilibrium analysis. He has also provided foundational work in many other areas of economics, including endogenous growth theory and information economics.
Again, utterly unqualified to discuss the technical feasability of the project. Frankly, given the nature of his signature work, I'd think most modern Leftists would want to stay as far away from him as possible. Arrow's Impossiblity theorem states that there is no general way to aggregate preferences without running into some kind of irrationality or unfairness. Consider the implications of that next time somebody claims they want something to be "fair" for everyone...

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Hans Albrecht Bethe, founder of FAS : This guy is the most interesting of the first seven, and also the most instructive...

A German-American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1967 for his work on the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. During World War II, he was head of the Theoretical Division at the secret Los Alamos laboratory developing the first atomic bombs. There he played a key role in calculating the critical mass of the weapons, and did theoretical work on the implosion method used in both the Trinity test and the "Fat Man" weapon dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

During the early 1950s, Bethe also played an important role in the development of the larger hydrogen bomb, though he had originally joined the project with the hope of proving it could not be made.
hmmm.gif Guess he was wrong about that one, eh? We continue...

Bethe contended that the developments which led to the successful Teller-Ulam design (for the hydrogen bomb) were a matter of serendipity and not a question of manpower or logical development of previously existing ideas.

So, Bethe at least has technical credentials that give him some authority, but using him to buttress the argument that "it can't be done" is weak, weak, and, yes, weak. He believed that about the H-bomb as well, then helped it happen, and admits that, essentially, they got lucky.

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Of the 50, 13 are for Medicine, 5 for Economics, and 11 for Chemistry. So I'd suggest that perhaps the Nobel letter isn't quite so convincing as you might hope...

Hobbes
Careful, Bikerdad, you're in danger of having the facts get in the way of the rhetoric.

Psyclist, perhaps it would help if you examined your evidence before you cited it. As Bikerdad points out above, the vaunted 50 aren't even speaking from a position of any expertise in the field. On top of that, they aren't saying such a system would never work.
QUOTE
The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) today released a letter to the President signed by 50 American Nobel laureates in the sciences stating that under current circumstances, "any movement toward deployment" of a ballistic missile defense system would be "premature, wasteful, and dangerous."


Hmmmm...premature.

QUOTE
Premature: happening, arriving, existing, or performed before the proper, usual, or intended time


As you can see from the definition, the usage of the phrase premature implies that such a system is indeed quite feasible, but just not ready yet. So, actually, their statement backs up my position, not yours.

The physical feasibility of the system seems quite apparent. You are only trying to hit (well, actually, near misses are quite sufficient) one object with another. The object being hit is on a known trajectory, and isn't maneuverable. The only factors that make it difficult are time and speed. If technology is good at anything, it's doing something faster. This is essentially a computing problem, and computing technology proceeds at an unprecedented pace, essentially doubling speed or capacity every year. Given this, I don't think there's any doubt whatsoever that such a system is indeed possible. As I said above, that's not even the relevant question...the question is whether such development is worth the time and money. There are very valid concerns about this...why not focus on those?

All of which is, of course, only getting us farther down the rathole. Proceed downward if you must, but I think I'll come up for air.
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