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Subject: missile defense
Sir Tristam    7/16/2001 6:58:14 PM
The threat from China and rouge nations is real and the U.S. would be advised to build defenses against nukes delivered by missile. I think that the American public should support this effort. The damage done by even a few nuclear missiles hitting the United States is incalcuable and we should build an ABM system to prevent this as well as preventing nuclear blackmail.
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Vulture    RE:missile defense   7/16/2001 11:53:29 PM
While the Strategic Missile threat from China is certainly real, rogue nations will almost certainly attack via ocean going vessels. It is all to easy for "rogue" nations to put their nuke on board a merchant vessel and sail it into any major US port. The Coast Guard does not have the scanning gear for ABC devices. Maybe a drug sniffing dog might get lucky but this seaborne method is presently the best for a first strike on US soil. Beyong that I still would like to see development of energy/laser systems that are effective anti missile systems. This plus massive discrete atmospheric scanning means a safer Airspace for all involved. Of course the R&D spin-offs are predicted to be quite good for commercial apps as well.
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Quinns    RE:missile defense   8/8/2001 4:43:13 PM
Yes, this makes sense. The argument for dissuading "rogue" nations with a missile defense system is not tenable. Imagine a 100% accurate, functioning missile defense system. Then imagine you are a "rogue" nation leader and want to nuke the U.S. You would not waste any money building ways to defeat the Star Wars system. You would simply sail boats into ports (as Vulture stated), or backpack the nukes in from offshore, set the nukes up in key cities, then detinate them from a remote location. This is inifinitely easier than spending billions on a ballistic missile system in the first place.
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Themba    RE:missile defense   8/8/2001 7:03:05 PM
Since I am limited on time, I am mostly reposting what I said earlier in response to the idea that that there is no need to build a missile defense. Furthermore, I would recommend you also consider the fact that the possession of ballistic missiles is also a status symbol for a great many of the third world despots. In addition, nuclear warheads would be in short supply for a new nuclear nation, so why risk having it intercepted on a ship at sea, or worse yet accidentally detonating during the cruise. One final point, although I am not certain of this, I do know that the MASINT collection abilities of the US is not well known nor is it discussed openly, so any assertion that there is no way to detect incoming nuclear packages I view with skepticism. The idea that the US does not need a missile shield is a bit preposterous. North Korea already has a missile capable of hitting portions of the US. China has made it clear that their strategic weapons are to be used as a coercive tool of diplomacy, in the event of military action in the Taiwan Straits. Iran is expected to have a missile capable of striking the US by 2010, Iraq by 2015-2020, not to mention those nations with covert weapons programs. Ironically, the most common argument against building a missile shield is the idea of the suitcase nuke. This is a difficult technical project to be pulled off. Few nations have enough of a developed nuclear program to build such a small devise that would still be capable of any significant damage. Yet, at the same time it does nothing to refute the need for building a shield. It merely points out a possible alternate means of attack. When this and other arguments concerning alternate attacks are put fourth, all it says to me is we need to develop other detection and counters in addition to a missile shield to deal with as many contingencies as possible. Not refuse a helmet because we might be shoot in the chest. Including but not limited to: ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, conventional weapons, and Information warfare. Remember a mixture of fertilizer and diesel fuel pulled of the worst incident of terrorism in US history.
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Jay    RE:missile defense   8/8/2001 10:57:23 PM
We need a missile defense system for ourselves and our allies, as well as the Russians. If the Russians were under the umbrella of protection, they might be more amiable to this whole idea. It would be nice to have them on board and not in opposition to this idea. It's a terrible thing that thirld world despots and lunatics are going to get their hands on nuclear weapons, but like it or not, they will. Think about the nutcases you read about in the papers every day. The crazed suspect who shoots it out with the police over a speeding ticket. It doesn't make sense, he has nothing to gain and everything to lose by what he does, and he should realize he can't possibly win. Yet he does it anyway, because his mind doesn't recognize or doesn't care about consequences like a sane mind does. Now give a guy like that a nuke. "Houston we have a problem." Kim Il Jong's sanity is suspect. Kaddafi is getting old and might just want to assure his place in terrorist heaven before he takes the magic carpet ride to Allah. The communist Chinese have an annoying tendency to wage wars under the doctrine that they have a lot of extra people anyway. Who knows who could have the silo keys next week in South Africa or Pakistan. I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea. Mutually assured destruction worked great to keep the USA and USSR at peace. Both sides had men in charge reasonable enough to avoid Armageddon. Like it or not we don't have that security now. And there's plenty of people in the world who, if given half a chance, would love to take out an American city or two even if it meant their own destruction. This isn't imperialism my friends, this is simple self-defense.
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