Re: SDI was Re: Expanding the "United States of America"

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Jul 19 2001 - 18:13:24 MDT wrote:
> I wrote
> >The point of a defensive system in a military theater is as you describe.
> >The point of a population defense system against WoMD has to be to stop
> all
> >or probably all incoming missiles. If you stop 90% of 20 missiles, the
> >threat has not been countered.
> replied:
> > That doesn't have to be the point of a population defense system.
> > Stopping a single accidentally launched missile doesn't sound like a
> > frivolous goal.
> While not frivolous, it doesn't remove the threat. If someone tries for
> nuclear blackmail, (or wants to take vengence on civilians) being able to
> stop 90% of their missiles won't stop them if they have a few. And while
> it would reduce the casualties, it wouldn't reduce the value of the threat,
> or significantly reduce the quality of the revenge.

Yes it does. Terrorist groups and the rogue nations that support them
operate on limited resources. All they get from an attack that fails so
miserably is a local rally of support from fellow extremists who only
respect the fact that they tried an attack. They surely won't stick
around for round two, when we decide to strike back.

> As you reinforce, the value does depend on what the goals of the defender
> are. I'll admit that Redell & Nelson's points (on which I base most of my
> arguments) were rooted in cold war strategies, which assumed that the
> opponents were armed, dangerous, and willing to fire if the value of their
> arsenal was threatened. In that situation, working toward population
> defense undercut the value of the the oponent's arsenal, moving him closer
> to firing preemptively. The current level of relative peace does change
> the strategies.
> That said, there are still many cases in which having a not-perfect
> defensive shield encourages attacks, and many in which it encourages
> potential attackers to invest in an arms race. I haven't seen anything in
> this discussion to make me think we're much closer than 20 years to
> creating a near perfect interdiction system given the approaches SDI
> considers. If we (the gov't) save the billions of dollars that SDI
> proposes to spend on deploying partially effective systems in the short
> term, we (the people) will have more money to spend developing technologies
> that may make this whole approach obsolete.

Chris, what makes you think even a country like Russia, which went broke
once before trying to outspend us, could possibly succeed at the same

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:39:50 MDT