Re: Media ignores Ballistic Missle Defense.

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 12:35:31 MDT

Brian D Williams wrote:
> >From: Eugene Leitl <>
> >Do you have doubts that a Cessna or a lorry will be unable to
> >deliver a 200 kg object? I'm pretty certain you can ship a piece
> >of slightly subcritical Pu239 with UPS, and no one would give a
> >damn. If it needs be, I'll just use a cartwheel.
> Why is it that international drug cartels don't ship their product
> via UPS or FedX then?

Besides, I can't even LIFT 200 kg, never mind deliver it anywhere....

> >Why are there no instances of properly done WOMD terrorism, yet?
> >Well, you have to be evil, irrational, wealthy and reasonably
> >competent, and marginally lucky. Such traits are more or less
> >independently distributed, though some of them are correlated.
> >There's a probability of such an event occurring, and with every
> >passing year it is getting easier. So, this hasn't happened, yet.
> >Will this happen, eventually? It sure seems so.
> I tend to agree with you on this. Of course the first successful
> terrorist attack with a weapon of mass destruction will probably be
> it's last since undoubtably the retaliation will mean complete
> elimination of said group.

Which is my primary argument against John's excuses. So long as we have
ANY nukes, and so long as terrorist groups are primarily interested in
PR and not military victories, those groups will be held at bay. What
SDI provides us is greater protection by upping the barrier to entry.
My kevlar vest makes my concealed weapon more effective in the tactical

> >But I don't have to burn gigabucks on improbable scenarios, hein?
> >Would seem rather wasteful, if not entirely pointless.
> Since we know the current system is "not ready for primetime" I
> agree that deployment at this time is inadvisable.

Odd that, ABM advocates agree with you at present.

> >> Biological warfare is considerably more difficult than most
> >>people believe.
> >Well, given a choice between aerosoling VX in the subway, or
> >dumping MDR anthrax spores into air ducts of said subway, or doing
> >airburst during a large sports game, or obtaining fissibles and
> >building a few kTon nuke I'd probably choose anthrax. VX would
> >come a close second, nukes I wouldn't even consider, until someone
> >helpful would supply me with more or less useful Pu, and even then
> >I would have a hard time. I would be a lot more comfortable with
> >vacuuming off anthrax in a suit than trying to make a few
> >100 kg of VX with heavy protection in the desert somewhere. Have
> >you ever worn heavy protection for prolonged periods of time? It's
> >not fun.
> Getting an airborne form of anthrax is not easy, the Japanese cult
> Aum Shinrikyo despite being technically very sophisticated failed
> in it's attempts. Good luck playing with VX.
> >Why would a terrorist want to use ICBMs? Tell me why this is
> >likely.
> Terrorists no, rogue nations yes.

Which are simply the geographic bases of support for terrorist groups.
Terrorists are simply 'diplomacy by other means' of nations who do not
want to engage in overt military action but are unsatisfied by
diplomatic domination by the opposition.

> >No, but if you're smart about it you apply your resources so that
> >you get optimal ROI. Star wars rapidly gets ridiculously
> >expensive. You have to add a zero to the officially published
> >numbers, then you're roughly in the ballpark of the real costs.
> I would once again argue that we are not talking Star Wars here,
> but a limited number of ABMs.

However, a limited system can be ramped up in only a few dozen launches
into a full system capable of interdicting major strike.

> >You mentioned China, for some strange reason, so I felt compelled
> >to point out that such umbrella is useless against a superpower.
> >You keep harping that terrorists are nice enough to make it easy
> >for you, which is somehow unconvincing.
> I have stated a number of times that the system we were discussing
> was not designed for either superpowers nor terrorists, but rogue
> nations.

Of which, China is fully capable of being. At the moment, they have only
80 ICBMs with single warheads. While more are in the offing, their
growth in missile forces will only become threatening in another decade
or so (about the time we should have a useful system).

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