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"President Bush intends to move ahead with a national missile defense plan
January 26, 2001 1:14 PM   Subscribe

"President Bush intends to move ahead with a national missile defense plan despite objections from Russia and other countries." Is it just me, or is Bush on some kind of mission to destroy America as we know it? Does anyone still believe that America is under threat of nuclear annhilation? (other than Dubya?) We are so screwed.
posted by liquidgnome (32 comments total)

 
Yes, thank you. I checked to make sure this hadn't been posted yesterday, today, last week, or six months before Bush was elected. I appreciate the concern for my well being, though.
posted by liquidgnome at 1:15 PM on January 26, 2001


Does anyone still believe that America is under threat of nuclear annhilation? (other than Dubya?)

The Clinton administration was pushing a missle-defense system as well. However, I don't know enough about Shrub's plan to say whether it's substantially different than what Bubba and Co. was proposing. Be that as it may, I was peripherally involved with SDI back in the Eighties and it was indeed a crock of crap.
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:22 PM on January 26, 2001


Don't blame me, I voted for Nader.
posted by snakey at 1:27 PM on January 26, 2001


We ought to develop a working missile defense system, and install it in every country on the planet. Then we'll all be safe!!!! Think Bush will go for it?
posted by cell divide at 1:31 PM on January 26, 2001


Don't blame me, I voted for Bill and Opus. And I already have my own missle defense system, thank you very much. All I have to do is watch the fish. (name that random reffernce, anyone?)
posted by Hackworth at 1:40 PM on January 26, 2001


BushAmerica: Kinder, gentler and armed to the teeth.
posted by xiffix at 1:40 PM on January 26, 2001


Does anyone still believe that America is under threat of nuclear annhilation?

Yes. And it's complete idiocy to believe otherwise. Russia still has a shitload of missiles pointed at us. China has a few, and wants many more. And there's always rogue states; even scrappy little North Korea isn't too far from throwing together at least

And in case anyone thinks strength leads to destruction instead of safety, please note that Ronald Reagan's methods led to the fall of the Soviet Union itself and the end of Communism throughout Eastern Europe.

We can't sit around and pretend that if we be nice and weapon-free, every other government on the planet will join our love-in. That's not the way the real world works.
posted by aaron at 1:46 PM on January 26, 2001



Fear not. There is apparently enough opposition to this that it would cost Bush too much in political capital. It's not going to happen. Talking about it is good posturing though.
posted by quirked at 1:47 PM on January 26, 2001


The Clinton administration was half-heartedly pushing a half-assed plan that everyone knew was going to perpetually ferment in the preliminary research phase. They were doing it to appease those who (for whatever reason) think the world would be better on as it was from the 50s to the 90s: in perpetual fear of nuclear annihilation.

Dubya's controllers are serious about a missile defense system, one that actually appears threatening to Russia, China and those "rogue states" who are constantly attacking the US. IMO, this is the most serious domestic issue: it has a lot more potential to fuck up the world than insane tax cuts and the deliberate creation of a recession. It also means violating the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

The last issue of The Sciences has an excellent article on the technical aspects of missile defense and argues convincingly that actually defending the country from missile attack is more or less hopeless. However, the real point, as far as I can make out, is not to protect the country from attack but to light a fire under the defense industry.

Jeez, with a little luck, Bush II can recreate all the worst aspects of Reagan's time: huge deficits, antagonistic relationships with nearly every other country in the world and constant military build up.

Hey America! Care about this!
posted by sylloge at 1:53 PM on January 26, 2001


Yes, we need $300 billion dollar defense program that can't defend itself against to guys in a rubber raft.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:00 PM on January 26, 2001


SDI was completely unfeasable in the eighties, and you can be sure that the Soviets knew it.

While one could argue that the arms race forced the Soviet Union to use it's economic resources on missile technology (instead of things like food and medicine) and thereby caused the collapse of communism, it's most unlikely that this was part of a 'master plan' on the part of the United States.

It most certainly wasn't a premeditated strategy by the dottering old man that was Ronald Reagan.

The only people who benefited from SDI were defense contractors, and corporations of their ilk. Dubya's Missile Defense promises more of the same.

I believe it all has something to do with his fondness for retro eighties stuff . . .
posted by aladfar at 2:01 PM on January 26, 2001


As if the bar wasn't long enough?
posted by mathowie at 2:01 PM on January 26, 2001


as far as missle attacks from those scrappy little rouge nations go, the technical infrastructure needed for ICBM's is immense...Rouge attacks if they occur will most likely take the form of bombs smuggled in, not missles. As the good capt.crackpipe reminds us...warfare isn't always hi-tech. Put a nuke in a rubber raft and erase any major port city in the world.

ok. Now i'm depressed.
posted by th3ph17 at 2:08 PM on January 26, 2001


Nothing came of SDI--literally. When nothing came of its scaled-down successor, National Missile Defense, the Pentagon falsified missile interception test results. When scientist Theodore Postol wrote an open letter showing their willful deception, the Pentagon classified his letter, even after it had been widely published e.g. Harper's, NYT. They wanted to hide that the prototype system repeatedly hit ridiculous balloon decoys instead of incoming target missiles, or nothing at all, after spending well over $40 billion. The tests were to determine whether more money was to be committed.

This should convince you of the influence of defense contractors on the NMD debate. If the priority was on the actual efficacy of such a system, then why were they trying to continue with the same design after repeated fail tests?

Gorbachev indeed knew nothing would come of SDI. When Reagan at one point threatened its construction, Gorbachev told him to go ahead, because he knew it wouldn't work.

Our money is better spent elsewhere than on a fantasy pandering to people's short-sighted bunker mentality, which places a deep and misdirected trust in astoundingly selfish and duplicitous defense contractors.
posted by Joe Hutch at 2:40 PM on January 26, 2001


those scrappy little rouge nations

It's not the rouge nations, but the eyeshadow ones you should really fear. Look at Katherine Harris, if you can.

More seriously: MeFis passim, Yorkshire's Fylingdales and Menwith Hill become target no. 1 for yer rogue nations, blah blah blah. Any missile defence system is only as good as its early warning system, and I'm praying that Blair kicks this one into touch before you can say "Airstrip One".
posted by holgate at 2:51 PM on January 26, 2001


Don't blame me, I voted for Nader.

Actually some of us who voted in the majority do blame Nadar's naive followers who believed Ralph's crazy comments that Gore and Bush were the same person.

Do the acts of the newly coronated president in his first week change your mind? They should:

He's already started wrecking the economy by trying to sour consumer confidence in order to build support for his tax-cuts-for-my-rich-buddies; knowing full well that consumer confidence goes down when enough people are told by the media that people are saying there will be a recession. And the media just parrots what Dick and Bush were saying every time they opened their mouths. Hello self-fulfilling prophecy!

He already started the process of returning women to dark alley ways to have unsafe abortions.

He's already nominated one of the most right-wing in-your-face christian ideologue in the country to be the next attorney general.

He's already nominated a James Watt clone to head the Department of the Interior so that his oil buddies can start drilling in Alaska.

So, yes, I do blame Nadar and his lamers...errr... raiders to some extent.

Maybe you should start smoking the female plants, snakey ;)
posted by terrapin at 3:03 PM on January 26, 2001


I don't want to blame Nader voters. I want to put them in all the most at-risk missile targets in the U.S., the way the Iraqis treated hostages during the Gulf War.

Ronald Reagan's methods led to the fall of the Soviet Union itself and the end of Communism throughout Eastern Europe.

Ronald Reagan's profligate military spending put this country in a financial hole that we're still addressing 12 years later. You want to go back to that so we can pour billions into a technology that won't work and alienates the rest of the world, including many of our allies?
posted by rcade at 3:22 PM on January 26, 2001


terrapin, rcade, and every other Democrat who keeps whining about Nader voters:

Very nice! That's a REAL good way to address the shortcomings in your party that alienated a crucial 2-3% of the vote nationwide. VERY damn constructive.

I am a liberal. But the Democrats don't own my vote. They have to earn it. In 2000, they did not, for a lot of reasons.

Yes yes yes, Bush sucks, but at least he has an excuse for acting like a Republican. Clinton's been listing to the right for years. If I have to blindly line up behind him and oil-flackey "environmentalist" Gore in order to join your club, I'd rather stay out here where it's Green.
posted by wiremommy at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2001


Wiremommy: A Nader-like defection won't happen in 2004. Four years of anti-environment, pro-life, pro-voucher, anti-union Republicanism will send most disaffected Naderites back to the Democratic Party.

Unfortunately, at that point the conservatives will probably have three new Supreme Court justices in the mold of Clarence Thomas -- one to replace Stevens, another for O'Connor and one for Rennquist.

Thanks, Ralph!
posted by rcade at 4:07 PM on January 26, 2001


Oh, and Russia is really, really looking for an opportunity to scale down its nuclear programme. It has enough trouble paying the ground troops these days.

So hooray to fat fucking corporate republicans who couldn't find a rogue nation (or their own nation) on a Sesame Street map of the world, sitting in their comfy bunkers while asking their "allies" to take the strain of providing early-warning for a system that doesn't work.

Yeah, the motto of the GWB administration is going to be "We won the Cold War: let's start a new one that we can 'win' too!" Idiots.
posted by holgate at 4:25 PM on January 26, 2001


The missile defense systems all proposed share at least one major flaw: none of them work. Because of this, it looks like there's no way that we can rationally expect the advantages to outweigh the disadvantages of developing this system. Clinton should have killed it when he had the chance.

The diplomatic consequences of developing an NMD would be nothing short of disastrous; China and Russia are watching the new administration intently to see whether they should engage with or expect isolationist tendencies from the new Bush administration.

I'd love to hear any scientist give a reasoned assessment of the possibilities of such a system being deployable at any price. Until that happens, this seems like the stupidest move possible.


posted by norm at 4:37 PM on January 26, 2001


"Because of this, it looks like there's no way that we can rationally expect the advantages to outweigh the disadvantages of developing this system."

Yeh, but that didn't stop us from sinking billions into SDI. It's obvious that the only defense against nuclear arms is to convince everybody to get rid of them but people don't want to believe that because that means that as long as anyone has them then they're in danger. Irrational though it may be it's much easier to believe in some magic shield.
posted by rdr at 5:00 PM on January 26, 2001


As always, Superman remains our best defense against missile attack. At least until the Russians and the Chinese start building Kryptonite missiles.
posted by kindall at 5:17 PM on January 26, 2001


aaron: Ronald Reagan's methods led to the fall of the Soviet Union itself and the end of Communism throughout Eastern Europe.

Read up on your history. Harry S. Truman had more to do with bringing Communism in Eastern Europe to its feet than any other President : Berlin Airlift, European Recovery, Marshall Plan, NATO -- the list goes on and on.

rcade: A Nader-like defection won't happen in 2004. Four years of anti-environment, pro-life, pro-voucher, anti-union Republicanism will send most disaffected Naderites back to the Democratic Party.

My rcade, how we're counting our chickens before they're hatched! You've got the DLC running around scheming at ways to lurch the Democratic Party yet more to the right which will inevitably result in yet more disaffection (and apathy) from anyone left of Michael Dukakis and still you're depending on the Republicans to do the Democrats' dirty work for them. All too convenient. I think I'll order my Nader ballot today.

kindall: Superman remains our best defense against missile attack.

You know, it's funny I was thinking the same thing.
posted by leo at 6:13 PM on January 26, 2001


It's complete idiocy to think a missle defense system will protect us. They'll just build better missiles.

How much did we pay for the stealth bomber? It does a piss poor job of evading radar. Go figure.
posted by fleener at 6:24 PM on January 26, 2001


... still you're depending on the Republicans to do the Democrats' dirty work for them. All too convenient. I think I'll order my Nader ballot today.

They already are doing all the work, with the reinstatement of the Mexico Policy, beginning the groundwork to resume the ban on RU-486, and the appointment of John Ashcroft.

Liberals should know better than to cast their lot with a guy who didn't even join the party he represented in the election. You might as well vote for a ficus.
posted by rcade at 7:37 PM on January 26, 2001


The purpose of this, of course, is to draw attention away from the 1.6 TRILLION dollar tax cut he's preparing to give to the rich. Argue away!
posted by muppetboy at 7:52 PM on January 26, 2001


Well, of course the tax cut is going to go to the "rich." Poor people don't pay any taxes. They can't afford to - that's what "poor" means. I mean, the bottom 40% of the population makes less than 10% of the income in a typical year, right? (I may not be. I never check my numbers.) So obviously, the rich pay the overwhelming majority of the taxes. If there is a completely even and fair tax cut, most of the money will go to the rich.

The whole tax cut for the rich issue is just a typical Democrat class war gambit.
posted by Jart at 8:19 PM on January 26, 2001


We absolutely need an anti-missile defense system. How else do you think we're going to get rogue nations to deliver their bombs in suitcases, thus boosting the American luggage industry?
posted by dhartung at 8:30 PM on January 26, 2001


You know, it's funny I was thinking the same thing.

Thank God Superman is an American!
posted by kindall at 8:41 PM on January 26, 2001


If there is a completely even and fair tax cut, most of the money will go to the rich.

Offtopic, but even != fair.

Giving Bill Gates a dollar is an "equal" benefit as a dollar to someone living on the streets, but it's not equally beneficial. It's also not fair that Gates has to receive a dollar in order for the homeless guy to get one.

"Equitable" would be fair: that's to say, a tax cut that benefits those who suffer most from marginal rates, at the very bottom of the scale, or at income levels where higher rates kick in.

To call it "class war" simply cheapens the argument, and smacks of economic naivety. It also misses the stark truth that the ultra-rich tend to pay very little tax, as wealth creates the ability to manipulate earnings in order to escape the world's tax collectors. (I give you Rupert Murdoch, who shifted nationalities as a tax dodge, and whose corporations pay next to nothing.) Now that's unfair, and a class war worth fighting.
posted by holgate at 9:35 PM on January 26, 2001


Welcome to the cold shower Nader predicted.
posted by trox at 10:13 PM on January 26, 2001


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