Bush to Withdraw From ABM Treaty.
December 11, 2001 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Bush to Withdraw From ABM Treaty. "Last week we conducted another promising test of our missile defense technology. For the good of peace, we're moving forward with an active program to determine what works and what does not work. In order to do so, we must move beyond the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a treaty that was written in a different era, for a different enemy," Bush said.
posted by Bezuhin (25 comments total)
We had to destroy the village in order to save it.
posted by aramaic at 2:10 PM on December 11, 2001

Does make us seem a touch hypocritical talking to N. Korea and Iraq about respecting biological weapons treaties -- no?
posted by malphigian at 2:12 PM on December 11, 2001

Here's some more detailed info on the ABM Treaty. And the Open Directory has a category about Ballistic Missle Defense.

I was a bit freaked out at first, until I realized that we weren't dropping a treaty about nuclear weapons themselves. (Yes, I was a little slow on the uptake.) Can someone explain the reason for the ABM treaty, though? I imagine something like, "Alright, this has gone far enough. Now that we have Mutually Assured Destruction, we'd better stop the arms race and pull over here before we end up with Mutually Assured Yet Uneven Destruction."
posted by whatnotever at 2:17 PM on December 11, 2001

Yawn. The Soviets abrogated the ABM treaty years ago. We're just now making it official on our side.

And frankly, I don't see any correlation between withdrawing from a treaty prohibiting anti-ballistic missile programs and treaties prohibiting the development and use of biological weapons.
posted by CRS at 2:24 PM on December 11, 2001

The ABM treaty limits each side (the US and the USSR, at the time) to one defensive system each side. In other words, we (speaking as an American) can build a ground-based system to defend Washington against incoming ICBMs, and the Soviets could build one to defend Moscow (I would assume). There are other provisions to the treaty, I studied this a bit a long time ago, but that stands out the most in my mind.

And we are respecting the treaty by giving proper notice to withdraw from it. If we choose to do so, we have to give 6 months notice. Argue the merits of the treaty all you want (and I have mixed feelings about it), but we're not just saying "poof, treaty is gone," (or "moose und squirrel must die") we are setting about the procedure spelled out to shut down the treaty properly.

Repercussions of this? I dunno. But I do feel that missile defense is some part of the mix that my country needs, but it sure isn't a cure-all.
posted by ebarker at 2:28 PM on December 11, 2001

Although part of me wants to believe that a defense system like this would actually protect against "rogue missile launches," most experts say that the technology still isn't quite there to set something so largescale like this up.

Besides that, as the attacks on 9/11 proved, there's really no need for rogue states to even have missiles when they can comandeer a commercial airline. There are plenty of other vulnerable targets within the United States that could be pretty catastrophic (Nuclear Power Plants, etc) if hit, and I think the money spent on this system could probably be put into different, better places right now.

I also think that the administration is taking advantage of the current situation and trying to get some things pushed through that normally wouldn't have. Of course, that's just my opinion.
posted by almostcool at 2:31 PM on December 11, 2001

And frankly, I don't see any correlation between withdrawing from a treaty prohibiting anti-ballistic missile programs and treaties prohibiting the development and use of biological weapons.

That'll learn me for skimming links before replying, you're right, there's a huge distinction between withdrawing from a treaty in a manner allowed by that treaty, and secretly breaking a treaty. So I guess the answer to my question is "No, malphigian, it doesn't have anything to do with being hypocritical".

My snarky comments should have stayed focused on missle defense, ah well.
posted by malphigian at 3:08 PM on December 11, 2001

Another blow for world peace... very topical given the season and all. I've read too many conversations about Trident missles complete with homing beacons and flashing "AIM HERE" neon signs being completely missed by the nascent missle defense tech. a) this seems way premature, and b) how's this going to do anything but provoke more anti-american sentiment around the world?
posted by dorcas at 3:22 PM on December 11, 2001

Seems like an excuse for furthing bloating of defense contracts. We're already leaps and bounds ahead of all other countries' spending combined. I can only shake my head when politicians claim our defenses are not up to snuff.
posted by fleener at 3:47 PM on December 11, 2001

Agreed. Terrorists and rogue nations don't need missiles to inflict mass destruction. Heck, they could just as easily detonate a few warheads upwind of us outside our borders and let the fallout kill millions slowly with cancers and leukemia. A missile defense system is about the last thing I am concerned about.
posted by fleener at 3:52 PM on December 11, 2001

This is a big nothing, especially since Afghanistan/OBL has demonstrated (1) that the Bush administration is not crazy; and (2) only the United States has a clue how to defend itself from serious threats (as opposed to Europe, Japan...everywhere else...).

It's absurd to claim that an imperfect defense is destabilizing or better than no defense at all (to do so suggests we, as a nation are more evil than good, which is crap).

So let them go forward with trying to create missle defense. Just don't call it something other than experimental until it's something else. Then again, I'm not sure if anyone other than the media has ever called it something other than experimental.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:52 PM on December 11, 2001

Another blow for world peace

Like the blow which kept Communism from overruning the other half of Europe? Or the Chinese from erasing democratic Taiwan? Or the looney Arabs from erasing Israel? Or deranged Afghan/Arab terrorists from being close to neutralized in 8 weeks? Wake up.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:03 PM on December 11, 2001

Yipee! The arms race is back on! About time too... now if some boffins could just come up with an ICBM to get through this new shield, and then perhaps if India and Pakistan and France could flex a few more of those cheeky underground nuclear tests, then maybe this desperately dull new "era" that we're in could get a bit more exciting.
posted by dlewis at 4:26 PM on December 11, 2001

Now who has the suicidal willingness to launch knowing it'll take three seconds to figure out exactly where the launch came from? Few to none.

That last few months have demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a sizable minority of people in the world whose fucked-up view of religion includes suicide as no obstacle to destroying as many people as possible. Don't put it beyond 2020's, or perhaps 2005's equivalent of Osama, or Sadam to be able to blow up the world, or at least an adjacent country. Having an alternative to turning another country (and all those who don't share Osama's/Sadam's outlook) into molten glass is a good thing.

I wonder how many people opposing a missle defense initiative also opposed deployment of missles in Central Europe in the early 1980's. That's a good litmus test to flag the dellusionally pacifist.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:36 PM on December 11, 2001

Obviously ParisParamus is spoiling for a fight, he's trolling like a muthafucka! Why does he see the need to re-wage the Cold War on MeFi? It's a mystery!

"For the good of peace..."
Yes, I'm sure peace is the first thing that George W. Bush thinks of when he wakes up in the morning. And the missile defense system will be up and running as soon as the aliens arrive to give us the technology. Meanwhile, Bush's corporate benefactors can depend on another thirty years of publicly underwritten existence.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:50 PM on December 11, 2001

And as he speaks I am building my fallout shelter.
posted by benjh at 4:52 PM on December 11, 2001

As anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together knows, this is nothing more than a giant sell out to prop up the military-industrial complex. The "missile defense" tests from Clinton on have either been totally rigged or have been a miserable failure.

You know what the result from this is? Lots more Chinese ICBMs. Set piece defences have historically been a failure (see Hadrian's Wall and the Maginot Line). The great myth from Reagan on is that SDI can work. Do you think this will keep someone from sticking a nuke on a freighter and destroying New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Miami, Tampa Bay, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles or Seattle?

Did American technology keep thousands from being killed at the WTC towers or the Pentagon? Nope.

God almighty, people are so clueless. I wouldn't be totally against this if I thought it would really make any of us safer. It won't.

Do you have faith in government? I don't.
posted by zeb vance at 5:00 PM on December 11, 2001

Expensive. Dangerous. Ineffective.

The more I hear Mr Bush trying to sell this technology, the more I am reminded of a certain Mr Rivers trying to sell his technology.
posted by dlewis at 5:47 PM on December 11, 2001

Do you have faith in government? I don't.

Well then, nothing the government does, or the Pentagon does, will meet your approval (if only because you won't "trust" what "they" say). So basically, you're either an anarchist, or pacifist, or both.

If missle defense is a sham, it will be shown as such. I don't think it's time to concluded that yet. I also think the initiative has, up until now, been run by a bunch of dopes.

As for militarizing space, the current conception doesn't call for arms in space. And as for the Chinese, ICBMs are not what would be defended against.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:11 PM on December 11, 2001

Just remember people: it's really fun to bash to people in power. Whoever they are. Whatever they propose. Some people grow out of that in college; some never evolve. I got off that train in college when the other "passengers" had a problem (in the early 1980's) with making student aid contingent upon registering for military service.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:23 PM on December 11, 2001

I'll just point out that the latest "sucessful" test was delayed twice due to weather. So as long as our opponents are willing to wait for good weather, launch one missle at a time, and not take any counter-measures, then we might be able to come up with an semi-viable ABM system.
posted by rdr at 6:44 PM on December 11, 2001

wow, Paris is trolling.
posted by tolkhan at 9:56 PM on December 11, 2001

For the good of peace, we're moving forward with an active program to determine what works and what does not work.

Four clich├ęs in one sentence. Like Hitch says, I couldn't eat enough to vomit enough.
posted by Mocata at 1:49 AM on December 12, 2001

Paris, is there any way you'll admit that in your historical point of view the victims of the 9-11 attacks are mere collateral damage for our nation's geopolitical involvements in the Middle East? I think that's ultimately what you're saying, that the attacks are so "loony" that they couldn't be based on concrete actions of the US in the past (for or against Iran, Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan et cetera) and so are mere background noise in the everyday jousting of nations.
posted by retrofut at 12:00 PM on December 12, 2001

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