Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Star Wars Insanity

How US Missile Defense Plans Sabotaged Nuclear Disarmament Talks With Russia by Alice Slater via

If you watch American politics long enough, you eventually get to see both parties take both sides of any issue. For example, old fogeys like me remember how once the Democrats opposed the 'star war's idea of a missile defense shield.

Had Obama been willing to forego the illusory US missile shield (which is incapable of offering any protection against incoming missiles, since those missiles could easily be accompanied by a barrage of indistinguishable decoys rendering the missile defenses useless) Russia might well have agreed to larger reductions in their mutual arsenals which together now total about 25,000 warheads with only about 1,000 more in the possession of all seven other nuclear powers—UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. If the US and Russia agree to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear bombs to 1,000 or less, they would then have the moral authority required to bring all the nuclear weapons states to the negotiating table to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Lets be clear. This is a boondoggle that pumps billions into the 'defense' industries, while providing no real protection to any American. First off, its only useful against ICBMs that fly way up high into space and come back down. Nice in a 1960's JFK 'missile gap' sort of world. But completely useless against more modern weapons like the ground hugging cruise missiles that the US has been launching against the rest of the world for at least 20 years now. And also useless against submarine launched missiles and any sort of bomber attack.

Second, it doesn't really work against ICBMs. The US military has been rigging the tests by simplifying them for years, and the thing still barely works, sometimes, in the rigged tests. The big problem is that any such system can be overwhelmed by numbers. Russia today still has so many missiles we couldn't possibly defend against them all. And, there is the easy solution to be implemented to build cheap decoy warheads which would be used to flood such a system with targets to the point where it couldn't possibly stop them all.

And those last three words are important, "stop them all". Do we really want a 'defense' system where handfuls of doomed survivors can look up from the rubble of our nuked cities and say 'well, we stopped half the warheads coming towards us'. Not much good when your opposition launched a redundant four warheads at every target.

Nope, this whole thing has been one vast boondoggle to pump billions of dollars to the defense contractors building the thing. And now, Obama, just like Bush before him, has turned away a real possibility of negotiating down the numbers of suicide bombs that the US and Russia both aim at each other. And he's done so because he's unwilling to stop giving billions of dollars that we can't afford these days to contractors who are building a system that will never work.

And this is better than Republican rule exactly how?

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