From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sun Jul 15 2001 - 16:17:10 MDT

Chris Hibbert wrote:

> > The SJ Mercury News would certainly agree with you.
> You say this as if it's a strike against my arguments. Is that what you mean?

Well, ja kinda. Chris I think the world of you personally, and
I value your opinions. Your short course you gave me on ecash at
last years nanoschmooze was quite educational. However my
opinion of the San Jose Mercury News is actually lower than
that of the National Inquirer as far as a *news* source, for they
so blatantly spin stories. I read the Merc and the SF Chron, not
so much for news as for entertainment, for I will hand it to the
Merc, their newspaper is *funny*. Very entertaining, both papers.
But they do spin stories shamelessly. Probably you will agree.

I have struggled with the ethics of this. Harvey's post on this
subject did cause me to waver. Ordinarily I am pretty much
a hands-off business, let-business-do-what-business-does-
make-money kinda guy, but news reporting *is* different in a
way. On the other hand, their constituency, those who still
rely on papers for *news*, i.e. those without internet, are
generally waaaaay left, so by spinning stories to the left, the
Merc is giving people what they pay for. I am torn.

A prime example of news spinning is the Merc's repeated
use of the phrase "...California's disastrous and costly
experiment with power deregulation..." etc. Never once has
the Merc attempted to answer what would have happened
had taxifornia *not* attempted to deregulate power. They
try to drill into the public by repetition that prices are set
by *governors*. Shameful. And the result of deregulation
is greedy Texas oil barons are robbing us? Shameful, Merc.
But I digress.

> > > claims of the SDI project are still the best reference on this subject...
> >
> > ...that you know of. {8-]
> Care to propose an alternative? Reddell and Nelson (his co-author)
> engaged in numerous debates with SDI proponents when SDI was hot twenty
> years ago. If you want to see transcripts, or listen to recordings, I'm
> willing to look for them.

The problem with this whole issue is that most of the critical documentation
is classified and most of the commentators uncleared, and many
are unclearable. Professor Postal was not cleared to see that
many of the feats he declared impossible had in fact already been
accomplished. They tried to clear him to show him the results, but
he refused to look at it. Then bragged about it. I guess he already
had it all figured out. Sigh.

> Not in today's paper. I didn't say a single missile could never
> intercept an incoming warhead. I said that's not the hardest problem it
> has to solve to be more useful than dangerous.

Granted there is a phase when it *is* more dangerous than
useful. Like when the first blocks of the Great Wall were being
laid, and the first shovels of dirt in the Maginot Line, the first
nuclear subs. All could be seen as provocative. Right now,
SDI research is likely more dangerous than useful. It needs
to pass thru that phase. Before very long, nuclear missiles
will become more dangerous than useful. For half a century
its been the other way. But nukes alone will not not keep the
world safe. More and more countries get them, you know
eventually some yahoo is gonna toss one. May their targets
have some recourse other than praying to their god or gods
to save them, for I can *assure* them, he or they wont.

> So far, the system isn't above %50 when there's
> one incoming, with several days warning of what the approximate
> trajectory will be, and a single decoy (as I read the article today.)

Clearly the system is in transition. It may be 10 or 30 years
before a really credible system will have a chance against
multiple warheads. But we do need to start somewhere.
If we dont, a nuclear war is only a matter of time. Of course
the Singularity *might* come along and solve everything. But
it might not.

> The FBM (if I understand what you're describing) is analogous to a
> system that needs to shoot down a single incoming missile. Redundancy
> leads to mutual interference in missile defense.

Not necessarily. ABMs can be fired from different locations and
follow different paths. The end-game strategies like PAC-3 have
fire-look-fire capability. Especially if it is only one missile fired by
a rogue commie sub commander, I suspect we have a reasonably
good chance of taking it out, given a large number ABMs. All the
diplomacy in the world cannot defend against some starving half-
crazed submariner out to kill masses of proletariat. This phase of
SDI will not be effective against an all out strike by a well armed
foe, Im not arguing that it will. But we must take the first step in
order to take the second.

I can see a successful limited interceptor causing a lot of the small
nuke-less nations to give up trying to get nukes. If they just say
to hell with it, the big guys are too far ahead, then the many hungry
citizens of these poorer countries will be spared great expense. So
in that sense, SDI feed starving children.

> You can't just deploy
> more identical systems. They'll all have the same priorities when
> choosing incoming targets.

They are trying to design them to be stacked and redundant.
We shall see how it works.

> You (and Mike) haven't responded to any of these points yet:
> > in the US government, such undertakings are vastly more
> > political. Getting reliable funding for any one of these for the life of
> > the project is problematic. Getting funding to work on integrating the
> > systems doesn't even make sense until some of the systems work.

Agreed, steady funding is always problematic when major systems
span several presidential administrations. The previous administration
set back progress about 6 yrs.

> ...If you stop 90% of 20 missiles, the
> > threat has not been countered....A coalition of
> > defensive systems do have to coordinate, and this is one of the hardest
> > problems if you have to be close to %100 successful to be useful.

Agreed. We depend on *diplomacy* until the time when we
*can* stop *all* the nukes. It may be many years in the future.

> > I'd like to hear how developing a system like this promotes stability in
> > the period in which it's an imperfect shield. Chris

Good chance it doesnt. Fortunately that transition period is during
a time of relative peace, and should be over in 15 to 20 years.
Eventually however, we must go thru this dangerous time, since
MAD will not keep us safe forever. As time goes on, the rich first
world countries become ever more vulnerable to countries we
never even heard of, that hate us, that want us all dead because
of our incessant blasphemy against [fill in god or gods here]. Building
a nuke isnt that hard to do, and more of the little guys are doing it.

Our nukes are the modern Maginot Line. If we dont keep upgrading
and improving it, we should not be dismayed the day someone stomps
it flat. MAD is not effective against a nation whose most valuable asset
was just launched toward us in the nose of a missile.

Nukes gave us peace (well, sort of) for a while. Unfortunately
new threats keep coming. We need SDI and while we are at it, some
means of defense against nanoweapons, suitcase nukes, cyberspace
terrorism, all of it. War hasnt ended, it has just shifted gears.
Let us shift with it. Or perish. spike

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:48 MDT