Re: more national missile defense

From: John Clark (
Date: Tue Jul 04 2000 - 11:29:24 MDT

S.J. Van Sickle <> Wrote:

> And your NMD has done its job by making the bad guys use a much
>inferior method of delivery. It is easier to detect,

Not quite, it's astronomically harder to detect a suitcase nuke than a warhead
screaming through the atmosphere, and even more important, it's virtually
impossible to trace.

>and if detonated does much *less* damage than a missile that can detonate
>at an optimal position

You could position your bomb with an error of only a few feet thanks to good old UPS.

>and altitude.

I'll grant that you might not be at the perfect altitude, but there are elevators, and with
such powerful bombs you don't need perfection.

>And it *cannot* be used as a credible long term *threat*...

Why not? Once a city, any city, blows up for unknown reasons no country would need
to overtly threaten the USA about hidden bombs in its cities because the implied threat
would always be there.

>It is only a weapon of terror, not an unspoken adjunct to diplomacy.

The distinction eludes me.

>How much differently would we have treated the Soviet Union
>during the cold war if we did not fear their nuclear missiles?

A nuclear missile will always be fearful have a political punch unless the population of
the target country is 100% certain it can shoot it down, 99% is not nearly good enough.
It's not going to happen.

       John K Clark

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