Is the Missle Defense System dead?
September 13, 2001 5:47 PM   Subscribe

Is the Missle Defense System dead? The rules have changed, they say, but many of us have used this argument against SDI all along. What happened on Sept. 11 demonstrated irrefutably that any enemy determined to inflict mass destruction upon America can do so without ballistic missiles.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet (14 comments total)
Libraries, aircraft carriers, pencils, and 100% beef hot dogs wouldn't have stopped the attack either. That doesn't mean they can't serve their own purposes.
posted by marknau at 6:08 PM on September 13, 2001

posted by jcterminal at 6:09 PM on September 13, 2001

That's specious reasoning!

And I'll buy that Tiger Rock of yours
posted by mkn at 6:18 PM on September 13, 2001

Just because I say that X does not invalidate Y does not mean I believe Y to be unconditionally true. I would like a Tiger Rock, though.
posted by marknau at 6:22 PM on September 13, 2001

So: if a bulletproof vest will protect me if a bullet is headed for my chest, but not for my head, I shouldn't bother? I mean, because if some bullet could still get thru, why bother stopping any?

skallas: I haven't seen any attacks from alien robots, true, but I have just seen an attack from a rogue state...
posted by terceiro at 6:24 PM on September 13, 2001

Missle defense is probably not dead. Proponents of it will be able to play on people's fears, regardless of the facts, and push it through quite easily now.

The military-industrial complex is going to use this as an opening for a huge power grab. Law enforcement, too. Their budgets are going to quadruple. At least.

You can kiss a lot of your civil liberties goodbye, too. Cops will now have a near blank-check for phone taps, e-mail sniffing, searches & seziures, etc.
posted by Potsy at 6:28 PM on September 13, 2001

To me, it's a matter of cost. Sure, it might help. Is it worth it? I don't know enough to say.
posted by whatnotever at 6:34 PM on September 13, 2001

Missile defense systems are not intended to stop terrorists, because ICBMs are not good terrorist weapons.

Missile defense systems are intended to allow us to meddle in the affairs of countries with ICBMs, that would rather we not.

Like, for instance, Afghanistan.

They don't have ballistic missiles now, but it wasn't that long ago that only the US, Russia, Britian, and France did. Now you can add China, Israel, Brazil, Pakistan, India, and North Korea. The genie is coming out of the bottle whether we like it or not.
posted by jaek at 6:36 PM on September 13, 2001

Few of us get shot at, and few of us wear bullet proof vests. Should we spend billions and equip the populace? Many of us are killed by disease. Perhaps the "bullet-proof vest billions" are better spent on health care.

My own analogy thus suggests allocating limited resources where they will do the most good. A missile defense system would not have prevented the deaths in New York or Washington, but pounding money into the missile-defense rathole may have drained money from programs that *might* have helped to prevent the terrorist attack.

The threat is not from missiles. That is a sop to the greed of corporations by their purchased agents.

But I'm not so big on the military in most forms anyway, so caveat emptor, eh? To paraphrase an old Vietnam war flick, "It is not a missile that kills -- it is a hard heart." Perhaps we should look at softening hearts as a more cost-effective defense system.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 6:51 PM on September 13, 2001

My opinion of SDI is that it's nothing more than a $100 billion slush fund for Bush buddies.

I won't even go into the scores of professionals declaring that it will never work, or the rigged tests.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 7:08 PM on September 13, 2001

I think one likely effect of this whole catastrophe will be increased defense spending in general. As in other programs will be cut, and maybe we'll get missle defense AND increased funding for CIA NSA FBI to combat terrorism.
Obviously we are not (nor have we been) safe. Ergo, we don't spend enough on defense. Whether or not SDI should be part of that increased spending is another issue--I'm just saying that it's pretty obvious that we're going to have to do something.....and that's going to take money.
posted by dr_emory at 7:31 PM on September 13, 2001

It should be the end of SDI, but I'm afraid I agree that it won't be.

And as far as increased defense spending goes, Congress is considering spending $40 billion dollars to "to fund recovery efforts and combat terrorism."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:34 PM on September 13, 2001

Missle defense is a rather good idea - especially as we move forward into a terrorist future.

Several items:

1) Given the instability of many regions with access to nukes it is not outside the real of possability that a group could gain control of, and launch a single weapon or small set of weapons.

Such a limited strike would be possible to defend against, even if the hundreds of missles the USSR could have sent would not.

If you think it is impossible that a terrorist or radical group could get hold of nukes I think you should reflect on their abilities in light of recent events.

2) While a first gen SDI system would only work on ballistics there is no insurrmountable problem to prevent a space based system that could target and strike ground co-ordinates with devestating effects.

Such a system is a perfect tool to fight against highly mobile enemies (terrorists) who would be long gone before your planes got there.

For example, THOR would work here.

Future generations of such systems may be able to knock down small planes and airliners when needed.

Until you build the first one, you cannot improve it.

3) As we move into an era where more and more countries have missles with mass destruction abilities (nuke, chem, bio) it is still reasonable to try and knock those missles down.

Especially when over time these countries and the US might be in open conflict over terrorist harboring and pursuit.

IN OTHER words, your damn right I want to be able to meddle in a nuke capable country without having to take a missle up our collective behinds.
posted by soulhuntre at 12:24 AM on September 14, 2001

Bush's SDI proposal is overinflated by at least 1000%, but we need projects like SDI to keep our science and scientists sharp. We need to keep the scientists and engineers working, and provide places for the new graduates. There is no place else for them to work!

You can't just stop space exploration and expect to pick it up again when it is more convenient. And if you ever thought the space program was motivated by anything other than military interests, long and prosper I guess.
posted by username at 7:29 AM on September 14, 2001

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