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Mota Boy
11-17-2004, 01:58 PM
Is it a hopeless dream? Will we ever have failsafe technology to stop missiles? Will it launch a new arms race? Is it worth the cost, both in monetary terms and in terms of alienating the rest of the world? Can the money be spent better? Do North Korea and Iran pose that big of a threat?

Do my homework for me.

RXP
11-17-2004, 02:03 PM
Think about it. A truck with a nucelar bomb is just as effective is a missile delivering its payload.

Waste of money indeed.

wheelchairman
11-17-2004, 02:06 PM
I would say waste of money. Especially if our only enemy is 'terrorists.'

Mota Boy
11-17-2004, 04:08 PM
Circa 2002 it would've been an easy case to win, hands-down. The problem, though, is that Kim Jung-il has nukes, and he's craaaaaaazy. THEY'RE POINTED RIGHT AT US!!!

It's just very difficult to win over an audience when you're facing that.


And from a strategic perspective, the mere ability to hit targets in the continental U.S. carries immense power. It severely constricts our dealing with "rogue states" if they could potentially bomb us.

Basically as I see it, there are numerous good arguments against missile defense, but the arguments for it - the potential risks - are few, but so incredibly persuasive that they're as difficult to shoot down as an incoming ICBM.

lousyskater
11-17-2004, 04:47 PM
the chances of a missile being shot out of the air by some SA weapons is very slim, and not to mention how easy it is to store a small nuclear weapon in a car.
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malumboman
11-18-2004, 06:28 PM
nukes dont go off at their full potential unless they detinate hundreds of feet over the ground.

lousyskater
11-18-2004, 07:06 PM
nukes dont go off at their full potential unless they detinate hundreds of feet over the ground.

yes i know that, but a nuke can still do considerable damage on the ground.
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malumboman
11-18-2004, 07:14 PM
considerable, true, but it would be about as powerful as three large car bombs, which are a million times easier to use than a nuke

lousyskater
11-18-2004, 07:49 PM
considerable, true, but it would be about as powerful as three large car bombs, which are a million times easier to use than a nuke
what the hell have you been smoking? the very first atomic bomb was detonatied only 50 feet off the ground, yet it was powerful enough to decimate at least a quarter of Manhatten. yet we have smaller more powerful nukes so it would probably have the same amount of power of the first nuke even though it is on the ground. yes, a nuke being detontated 400 feet off the ground would do more damage, but not much more.
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RXP
11-18-2004, 11:43 PM
considerable, true, but it would be about as powerful as three large car bombs, which are a million times easier to use than a nuke

Radiation, EMP pulse.

Also you are stupid. You can't say 'large' car bombs. You gotta give them some figure in mega tonnes. Oh shit wait you can't fit that much TNT into a car.

Also what's so hard about flying a nuclear bomb in a cessna?

lousyskater
11-18-2004, 11:57 PM
Radiation, EMP pulse.

Also you are stupid. You can't say 'large' car bombs. You gotta give them some figure in mega tonnes. Oh shit wait you can't fit that much TNT into a car.

Also what's so hard about flying a nuclear bomb in a cessna?

it's good to know that other people on this forum actually know what their talking about.
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Endymion
11-19-2004, 12:07 AM
a) none of you know what you're talking about
b) a report i helped write (with funding from the gov't) was marked classified and labeled "blueprints for terrorism" by the dod and homeland security.
c) even a mild nuke at street level will do more damage then a bunch of car bombs.
d) the reason you blow a nuke up above ground level is so the pressure wave hits the most surface area--the explosion is exactly the same no matter where you do it.

RXP
11-19-2004, 12:11 AM
a) none of you know what you're talking about


Incorrect.

Mota Boy
11-19-2004, 04:45 AM
OK, it is now roughly three hours until my class and I have finished my paper. This topic is now over, thank you all for contributing your opinions on the best altitude to detonate a nuclear weapon.

RXP
11-19-2004, 04:49 AM
np
........

RXP
11-19-2004, 05:05 AM
Oh yeah post your paper.

Paper = essay in non gay terms btw.

Mota Boy
11-19-2004, 01:54 PM
Fine, if you want to see it. It's a piece of shit, but here it is.

Resolved: There are genuine threats to US national security against which a ballistic missile defense system is a viable and important response.


On December 11th, 2002, the Pentagon launched what would become the last test of our missile defense program before its deployment at Fort Greely, Alaska, in late 2004. At roughly 3:26 a.m. EST, a rocket took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Twenty minutes later and 4,800 miles away, it was followed by a second missile launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The exoatmospheric kill vehicle, or EKV, soared through the atmosphere, failed to separate from its booster rocket and crashed back to earth without even being able to acquire its target. The operation cost an estimated $100 million. (Murphy, 2002)

The dream of missile defense is as old as missiles themselves. From the time that the Germans first were able to use long-range rockets in World War II, America and her allies have been thinking of ways to stop them before they reach their targets. The first, primitive attempts at missile defense began in the 1950s with the Nike-Zeus program, designed to detonate a 400-kiloton nuclear warhead high above the atmosphere, incinerating any incoming missiles. The program, however, suffered from poor radar technology that would be unable to track a large number of incoming missiles, a problem that would prove to be the Achilles heel of missile defense programs for the next quarter century (SMITH, 2000).

The program as we largely know it today was revived in 1983 by Ronald Reagan. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), or “Star Wars” as it came to be called, called for a massive, space-based program to destroy the Soviet’s enormous nuclear arsenal. This, however, was deemed technologically unfeasible in 1987 and the program shrank in scope to focus on a more limited series of ground-based anti-ballistic missiles. The program went into a state of semi-dormancy, well funded but not prioritized for the next three Presidential administrations until George W. Bush gave it new life with his election in 2000, stating that it would now focus on removing the threat of rogue nations rather than negating the Russian nuclear arsenal. For nearly half a decade the dream of missile defense was kept alive through a series of constantly evolving programs that mutated in response to changing technological limitations, presidential administrations and external threats.

Today, despite half a century of work and $75 billion spent, the viability and necessity of missile defense remains a hotly debated topic (Cabbage, 2004). Although the Soviet Union has long since passed away into history, nuclear proliferation and the emerging threat of “rogue nations” has kept the issue at the forefront of national security well into the new century. The idea of missile defense – destroying an incoming missile using a missile of our own – is often compared to “shooting a bullet with a bullet”. After decades of progress, however, this improbably dream has seemingly come to fruition. Yet despite rosy official predictions accompanying the installation of missile defense systems at the end of this year, the reality is that serious questions remain about the feasibility and importance of a plan estimated to cost $100 billon over the next six years (Cabbage, 2004).

According to proponents, missile defense is a vital component of our security in the new millennium. With the advent of nuclear proliferation, the argument goes, our country is threatened by a widening number of countries. As more “rogue states” possess nuclear capabilities it will not only directly threaten our cities with nuclear attack but will prevent us from acting in various global hot spots and severely limit our influence over recalcitrant countries. Using a limited anti-ballistic missile system, the United States will be able to successfully shield the United States from this threat and neutralize the threat posed by nuclear proliferation without challenging major world powers and inciting a new arms race. Such a system, many argue, is vital to protect U.S. citizens in the coming years.

It is my belief that proponents of ballistic missile defense are wrong on several fronts. First of all, I believe that the threat of ballistic missiles is greatly exaggerated, both in rogue states’ ability and desire to attack us. Secondly, viability of such a system has been greatly exaggerated and, quite frankly, I do not believe that the system will work at all. Thirdly, the cost of an anti-ballistic missile system, both diplomatically and financially, far outweighs any gain the system will bring. Finally, there are much greater, more immediate threats facing the United States that require attention and funds, and it is my opinion that spending such an exorbitant amount of time and money on an unreliable program addressing a relatively minor threat to our country is wasteful, foolish and dangerous.

Mota Boy
11-19-2004, 01:57 PM
Exaggerated Threat

The threat of ballistic missile attacks from rogue states in the near future is minute. North Korea is the only state that currently possesses nuclear weapons, and while many in Washington state that North Korea has acquired missiles capable of reaching American shores, many independent experts find that claim dubious. Joseph Cirincione, a specialist in weapons proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says "It would require a huge technological leap for them. I don't see the evidence that they've made the necessary breakthroughs." (Graham, 2004) The last North Korean missile test was six years ago in 1998, and the missile that was launched, the Taepo Dong 1, was incapable of reaching U.S. shores.

Though North Korea is the main justification for missile defense, Iran is almost always mentioned as a close second. Iran, however, only possesses missiles capable of traveling 1,250 miles, well short of the distance required to reach America. Officials believe that Iran is years, if not decades away from acquiring the rocket technology to reach the U.S.

Ineffective Response


Even if countries such as Iran and North Korea are able to attack the Unites States, our current missile defense shield is woefully inadequate at dealing with such an attack. From 1999 to 2002, the government held a series of eight missile tests under extraordinarily unrealistic conditions. For each test, the operators knew the location from which the target missile was going to be launched, its time of launch and its destination. The target missile was flying at slower than normal speeds, without the accompaniment of decoy missiles and transmitting a special signal to amplify its radar signature and make it easier to track. The tests were all performed in the daytime and postponed for inclement weather. Even with setting the program up for an easy success with these heavily scripted simulations, the tests have had a 62.5% success rate, with three out of eight failing to destroy the target, including the last test on December 11th, 2002. (Kaplan, 2004) After this failure, there have been no more subsequent tests of the system. Since then, Missile Defense Agency has relied solely on computer simulations to test the missile defense system. Thomas Christie, the Pentagon’s chief weapon’s tester, summed up the doubts surrounding these tests when he said "Due to the immature nature of the systems they emulate, models and simulations of [missile defenses] cannot be adequately validated at this time" (Boese, 2004: 23). Without knowing how it will react under real-world conditions, we will begin installing the first of several anti-ballistic missile sites at the end of this year, at a total cost of roughly $25,000,000,000.

Likewise, the systems designed to track incoming ballistic missiles have had scarcely any testing at all. A crucial part of missile defense is the Space-Based Infrared Satellite (SBIRS) program, has fallen years behind schedule and seen costs balloon from an estimated $10 billion to $23 billion. The program, which would use satellites to track incoming ballistic missiles, was restructured in 2002. No testing is slated until 2007. (Coyle, 2003: 7)
Publicly, the Missile Defense Agency estimates that the anti-ballistic missile system will destroy enemy missiles 80 to 90 percent of the time. However, a classified study earlier this year by the Christie came up with a drastically different number, estimating the system’s effectiveness at under 30 percent, and even this gloomy number may be too high. The Orlando Sentinel quoted an anonymous Pentagon systems expert as saying "[Christie’s] assessment is optimistic because they have given the system the benefit of the doubt in areas where there is no information. I personally think the real capability is much less than anyone is calculating, including Christie." (Cabbage, 2004) That the government would go ahead with any program as shoddily tested as missile defense is inexcusable, that they would build such as system as costly as missile defense verges on criminal.

High Cost

For all the questions surrounding the validity of the threat that it faces and its effectiveness, the anti-ballistic missile defense does not come cheap, both in terms of dollar amounts and diplomacy. Over the past forty years, an estimated $75 billion has been spent on missile defense, with minimal results. On top of that, President Bush plans to sink another $100 billion dollars into the program over the next six years (Cabbage, 2004), and possibly much more. In 2002, a Congressional Budget Office study concluded that the total cost may run as high as $230 billion (Murphy, 2002). At a time when we’re fighting not only a war on international terror, a war in Iraq and a ballooning budget deficit, such enormous spending on such an untested program is outrageous.

The cost for missile defense has not only been felt financially, diplomatically it has proven to be a wedge between many of our traditional allies and a provocation towards Russia and China. Though America has repeatedly proclaimed that our shield is solely for defensive purposes aimed at neutralizing the threat of rogue states, the rest of the world has largely viewed it as a means of further unbalancing the distribution of global power, and its inception already appears to be sparking a new arms race. Russia and China in particular are highly suspicious of the shield, afraid that it will render their ability to retaliate against a U.S. nuclear attack obsolete. In response, Russia has already developed a new nuclear warhead capable of ripping through our missile defense shield and China is expected to greatly expand its current nuclear arsenal so as to be able to overwhelm our defenses.

Mota Boy
11-19-2004, 01:58 PM
Missile Defense Directs Attention Away from the Real Threat


Roughly three years ago, national security advisor Condoleeza Rice did not give a speech about missile defense. She had been set to deliver a speech at Johns Hopkins University on national security and international terror that did not mention Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda or even fundamentalist Islamic terrorism, but instead focused on the reasons why we build a missile defense system. She never gave the speech because on the morning that she was set to deliver it, two hijacked airplanes destroyed the World Trade Center. (Malveaux, 2004)

As the events of September 11th grimly illustrated, America’s enemies do not need to use ballistic missiles to carry out devastating attacks on American soil. Fundamentalist Islamic terror is currently the biggest security threat to our country, and a missile shield would be woefully incapable of dealing with such a threat. International terrorists do not operate from a single country or a permanent base. They possess neither ballistic missiles nor the means to launch them. Instead, terrorists focus on less expensive, less detectable, more mobile means of attack. If terrorists were able to obtain a nuclear device, they would not risk the possibility of mechanical failure associated with a missile but instead deliver it personally to the target site. Along with nuclear weapons, of course, is the dreaded prospect of chemical, biological and “dirty bomb” attacks on U.S. soil, all of which could be extremely effective without having to make use of a ballistic missile. I contend that this is the real problem on which our country should focus and that wasting resources on missile defense, far from making our country more secure, is instead drawing attention away from the more critical matter of fighting terrorism and only exposing us to greater danger. It is towards this threat that we should instead direct such expenses.

Alternatives to Missile Defense

While I do not believe missile defense to be viable at the present, this does not mean that I wish to discard the program altogether. I am aware that, at some point in the future, we will have the technological capabilities to have a successful missile defense program. However, I believe that at this time, missile defense is impractical and, quite simply, will not work. It should continue to be researched, refined and tested, but it is nowhere near the point where it should be implemented. Many proponents of missile defense proclaim that it is at least better than nothing, yet this implies that such a system, though faulty, will actually be able to protect us from ballistic missile attacks. However, given missile defense’s lack of testing against real-world scenarios such as a fast-moving, unexpected missile with multiple decoys, it is a far stretch indeed to claim that it will protect us at all. It is equivalent to paying $5,000 for a t-shirt in the vain hope that it would protect you from gunfire after testing it out with a paintball gun.

The greatest threat to U.S. security at the present is international terrorism, and to divert billions of dollars away from protecting ourselves from that threat to funding an unproven system designed to protect us from a minor, perhaps non-existent threat is lunacy. Currently, 7.5 million cargo containers are shipped into the U.S. annually, only two percent of which are ever inspected (O’HANLON, 2002) . This lack of inspection is the most glaring hole in our homeland security, allowing literally millions of opportunities for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to enter the U.S. At the same time, many of our nuclear power plants and industrial facilities remain poorly guarded. The Bush administration has left security measures for these locations largely up to the private sector, which in some cases appears to be a disaster waiting to happen. Even at government-guarded facilities, such as the nuclear weapons factories and research labs run by the Department of Energy, the lack of safety is appalling.

According to 60 Minutes, since the September 11th attacks, terrorists have penetrated multiple levels of security on at least three occasions at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and Y-12 nuclear complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the country’s primary facility for processing weapon’s-grade uranium. It was only in August of 2004 that officials noticed that security guards at the Y-12 plant were cheating on mock terrorist drills, a practice that extended back 20 years (60 Minutes). For a recent HBO documentary on Indian Point, the nuclear power plant 35 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, director Rory Kennedy films herself and her camera crew hovering over and flying around the nuclear power plant in a helicopter without so much as a whistle blown. A former security supervisor at the plant confessed that research showed that anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of security guards were so out of shape that they were unable to get from a prone position into a sitting position. This is not an idle matter – this is a grave national threat. It is painfully evident that we still have much work to do securing both America’s border and her internal infrastructure.

In conclusion, at the present missile defense is neither a viable nor an important response to threats against U.S. national security. It is a criminally under-tested program designed to protect against a questionable threat that gobbles up money from programs that we desperately need to protect our national security in the present, rather than several years down the road. The missile defense program is just as misguided as the untested missiles it plans to use.

RXP
11-20-2004, 01:02 AM
Read it. Good factual information, very good actually. Although of course I haven't referenced your sources. I would have personally got into a bit more technical explanation because defence systems turn me on and I know a lot about them. Also talking techy to teachers/professors/whatever who don't really know anything about it bar what they've read in journals really gets into their good books.

What i don't get though is the sub titles? Do you (well you as in at American schools) always do this? It breaks the flow of the argument IMHO. But then again this didn't seem much like a argument type essay.

Man I gotta write some shitty essay tonight. Can't make any argument in it just describing. I hate essays like that.

Mota Boy
11-20-2004, 07:43 AM
If you want to read some technical shit about it, check here (http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000A45A2-E044-115D-A04483414B7F0000). Personally, I thought that it would've bogged down the paper in specifics that would be confusing for my teacher and any layman reading it. I felt that I had a very convincing case that the technology hadn't been tested under realistic conditions, and that by forcing to make the other side prove that it worked (which they, of course, haven't), then I would be saved from sorting through the technical mumbo-jumbo to prove that it doesn't.

Also, it would've sidetracked my argument. The SA article I've linked argues that, if we were to have missile defense, we'd need scores of batteries linked across the country. I'm arguing against missile defense entirely, not that we're going about our current program incorrectly.

I use headings for my paper occasionally when I have to write a long paper (this one was twelve pages with a cover sheet and a bibliography), they help both give it some organization (both to help me out and the reader, if they're looking for a specific point) and, most importantly, automatically make it a bit longer.

Not Ozymandias
11-21-2004, 07:43 PM
The technology isn't there now; it's impossible. It remains the cash-hole it was 20 years ago.

Does anyone know where Reagan is buried? I desire to urinate on his grave.

malumboman
11-21-2004, 08:17 PM
you are the least funny person in the world

Not Ozymandias
11-21-2004, 08:29 PM
Who's joking?