Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Choice This November Is...

Where do the people you are going to vote for this November stand on Missile Defence? Back Talk says that is the most important question you can ask before you vote this november.

North Korea just successfully tested a nuclear bomb. They, like Iran, decided long ago that so long as the world takes a diplomatic approach to the problem, nothing will stop them from making their nuclear bomb. It's a tried and true strategy, one that will result in a nuclear-armed Iran in the not-too-distant future.

With regard to the national security of the Unites States, ballistic missile defense suddenly becomes an even higher priority. North Korea has its bomb, and they are trying hard to perfect a ballistic missile that can reach the west coast of the Unites States. That being the case, you should find out where the Democratic and Republican contestants in your state stand on the issue of missile defense before you vote in November. Generally speaking, Democrats have been opposed to it.

In 2004, Barbara Boxer put forward an amendment to prevent the deployment of the first stage of our national missile defense system in Alaska. The amendment failed, and several interceptors, imperfect though they may be, have now been deployed. If North Korea launches a missile at the U.S. in the near future, I'll be glad to have that system in place. Democrats, by contrast, wanted the system to be 100% reliable before it was deployed...
No system is ever 100% reliable. Plus, for this type of system, tests must be mostly simulated. In addition early deployment helps raise reliability by pointing out operational difficulties.

It is strange that the folks who prefer that America take a defensive stance in the world want America to have a weak defense. Fortunately the Republicans since Reagan have plowed ahead despite the Democrats. A defensive system that is even 30% effective decreases the odds that we would have to nuke North Korea or Iran. It also helps us protect our European allies (who mostly don't want it - yet) and Japan and Israel who do.

If you are going to give up on the sword, best to have a strong shield. Remember that when you prepare to vote this November. No problem for me. I'm a sword AND shield kind of guy.

H/T Reader Paul


linearthinker said...

Liberal/Democrat agendas have put us at least three decades behind in this field. We'll get a reliable shield soon, but think where we could be without the LLL. I remember a faculty friend returning from a visit to the Albuquerque area about 1974. A friend had shown him around Sandia labs. All he could relate then was that there were systems in development that were unbelievable...probably in the directed energy realm.

Teddy Kennedy is one of the culprits from long ago, c.1968.

The railgun has achieved "muzzle velocity" from about a 30 ft rail that's faster than the explosive velocity of PETN. One "fly in the ointment" there is excessive wear of the "barrel".

In my own frame of reference, the older I get, I seem to have difficuty dealing in time intervals shorter than seasons.

linearthinker said...

"...Senator Edward M. Kennedy, for example, writes in his introduction to ABM: An Evaluation of the Decision to Deploy an Antiballistic Missile System: "Our nuclear forces are so large, and so sophisticated, that they would deter an enemy from attacking us while we sought an arms limitation agreement with the Soviets over some predetermined period, just as they have deterred our enemies over all the years of the nuclear age...".

Commentary Magazine, November, 1969.

M. Simon said...


Kennedy was probably right in 1969.

In fact the technology that was needed to do the job (with other than nuke explosions) did not exist.

By 1980 you could see that some kind of technology might be developed to do the job.

By 1990 the rate of computer development and sensor development made it obvious that something could be done. The Patriot missiles fired at SCUDs in 1991 showed we had a good chance (>70%) of making it work.

Today there is little doubt.

The problem with Kennedy is that he is stuck with his 1969 views.

linearthinker said...

Kennedy was probably right in 1969.

Only for a technology stuck at that point.

In fact the technology that was needed to do the job (with other than nuke explosions) did not exist.

True, with qualifications, particularly for direct impact interception, which even today may not be the optimum package, i.e., hitting a bullet with a BB. But only a few years later (5), the lasered family of directed energy weapons were at a developmental stage where my friend could bring back the stories from Sandia...and that was with the ABM Treaty brakes on the whole program.

With the problems of ranging and intercept calculations effectively simlified by direct beam interception, computational advances may have not been an overwhelming obstacle, and even that obstacle might conceivably been accelerated by technological need. Advanced radars would have been needed. The platform for the Aerial Laser system was available, the Boeing 747.

Where there's a will, there's a way (provided you can clear the donkeys from your path).

linearthinker said...

"The doomsayers work by extrapolation; they take a trend and extend it, forgetting that the doom factor sooner or later generates a coping mechanism. You cannot extrapolate any series in which the human element intrudes; history, that is the human narrative, never follows and will always foil the scientific curve."
...Barbara Tuchman

Perhaps we should paraphrase this, replacing the doom factor with the hope factor, so's not to give the libruls any confusion.