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Old 01-31-2004, 03:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
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2005 Pentagon budget and Missile Defense System

I don't typically like to post in politics, because of how discussions typically degenerate... but I can't resist on this one.

US Defense bill to exceed $400bn

Quote:
American defence spending is set to pass the $400bn mark next year.
President George W Bush is set to ask Congress for the funding in his 2005 budget request which he will formally submit on Monday.

The budget proposals, inadvertently posted on the Pentagon's website, also reflect the effects of recent wars.

The budget request represents a 7% increase on last year's total and the big winner appears to be the Pentagon's controversial missile defence system.

It is set to see an almost 20% increase in its budget.

This system, which is currently being built in Alaska, is designed to track and intercept long range missiles.


The Bush administration argues it is necessary to protect America from rogue nations that could fire missiles loaded with weapons of mass destruction.

But critics say the system is too expensive and relies on unproven technology.

'Not enough'

Funding increases are proposed to repair and replace tanks and armoured personnel carriers, many of which have been severely battered by the harsh Iraqi environment.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, which have been used extensively in Afghanistan - mainly for intelligence gathering, but sometimes carrying missiles - will also see budgetary rises.

But despite the budget's anticipated $401bn price tag, it is unlikely to be enough to cover what the defence department says it needs.

The Pentagon is expected to ask Congress for tens of billions of dollars more later this year, specifically to fund its operations in Iraq.
What is up with our priorities!? A missile defense system just adds to the arms race, and wastes a lot of money because the chances are pretty good that it won't work very well in a real world scenario. So much money goes to the Pentagon for things that it doesn't need. What about the troops in Iraq that aren't given adequate equipment? Even the Pentagon admits this package isn't enough, but they include Missile Defense in it? This situation is so frustrating!
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Old 01-31-2004, 04:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A missle defence system would be useless. Why would a rogue nation fire a clearly traceable nuclear missle at us when it could just hide one on a ship and detonate it in port in seattle? Maybe it'd be more effective if they spent the money for the missle program on beefing up security at our ports. Just my opinion though. I'm sure the folks at whatever arms company that's engineering the missle defense system gave more money to bush than i did.
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Old 01-31-2004, 08:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by filtherton
A missle defence system would be useless. Why would a rogue nation fire a clearly traceable nuclear missle at us when it could just hide one on a ship and detonate it in port in seattle? Maybe it'd be more effective if they spent the money for the missle program on beefing up security at our ports. Just my opinion though. I'm sure the folks at whatever arms company that's engineering the missle defense system gave more money to bush than i did.

Just to answer the first question,

I believe Kim Jong Il would fire a missle if he felt he were on the way out, simply because he doesn't give a rat's ass about anything outside of his massively ass kissed ego.

So is this system necessary?

IMO, maybe.
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
Just to answer the first question,

I believe Kim Jong Il would fire a missle if he felt he were on the way out, simply because he doesn't give a rat's ass about anything outside of his massively ass kissed ego.

So is this system necessary?

IMO, maybe.
Why would he fire a missile when he could just as easily slip it over our borders through one of the billions of cargo containers that don't get inspected? The mistake people make about these people isn't that they are crazy, the mistake they make is thinking that they are stupid.
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Last edited by Sparhawk; 01-31-2004 at 09:52 PM..
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Old 01-31-2004, 09:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
Just to answer the first question,

I believe Kim Jong Il would fire a missle if he felt he were on the way out, simply because he doesn't give a rat's ass about anything outside of his massively ass kissed ego.

So is this system necessary?

IMO, maybe.
A) The system would have to be pretty advanced and have 100% accuracy. If it doesn't work the first time, then it is a total waste. All tests done so far have been so controlled that a real world situation is likely going to be too much for it too handle. The simplest defense counter-mechanisms (like an array of duds firing near it) could easy render the missile defense useless.

B) If Kim Jong Il or any other leader did that I would be very surprised. Nuclear weapons are points of leverage, when they are used they have no leverage and the entire international community will come crashing down on whoever would such a brash move. Even the most insane leaders want to keep their power. I've studied this extensively in the last few years, and absolutely everything about it goes against the rational actor assumptions we go by (political realists and liberals alike).

C) Missile Defense cannot work on as a safeguard against a massive first strike or even a response strike (if the world goes that far down the hole, count me out).

D) Missile Defense encourages the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The more we invest in Missile Defense, the more other nations are going to invest in nuclear weapons out of necessity. Historically, we know what happens when any nation tries to make itself impervious to foriegn attack. This is scene as an offensive maneuvor. If we cannot be attacked, then we are free to attack anyone. The classic example is how the Peloponnesian War started because the Spartans were worried that the power hungry Athenians were trying to make themselves invincible with their city wall. Attacking Athens was a more of a defensive move because building the wall was seen as offensive - just like Missile Defense is being viewed by other nation-states.


If Missile Defense is necessary, then we are admitting that our international relations with other nations has deteriorated so far that other nations refuse to see us as rational actors or that we truly are so offensive that attacking us is a realistic defensive move. If either of those things are true, then we have larger problems than if one or two missiles come flying at us from "rogue nations". Deterrence caused by MAD should be enough, esp. for nations that don't have excessive nuclear arsenals.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just to answer you both:

Why would he?

Because the man is insane.

As to proliferation, our not having one hasn't stopped other nations from trying to get nukes, so that argument doesn't work.

Would it work?

Hell, even a 50/50 shot is worth the try, as opposed to a 100% chance of losing Seattle, San Fran or LA.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
Just to answer you both:

Why would he?

Because the man is insane.


As a megalomaniac, the last thing any megalomaniac wants to do is lose what gives them power. He isn't stupid, there is a reason that he's still in charge.

Quote:
As to proliferation, our not having one hasn't stopped other nations from trying to get nukes, so that argument doesn't work.
Actually, it is nations like China that are producing more nukes because of this. Where we were once headed towards a world with less nukes we are headed towards a world with more.

Quote:
Would it work?

Hell, even a 50/50 shot is worth the try, as opposed to a 100% chance of losing Seattle, San Fran or LA.
Take a hundreth of money invested in this program that will likely not work and put it into diplomacy. I'd feel much safer if we tried working with nations that worry us, instead of calling them part of the "Axis of Evil" or something absurd like that. Also, from the reports that I've read, I find it unlikely that there is even a 10% chance that this multi-billion dollar program will successfully stop an incoming missile.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by wilbjammin
*snip*
Your opinion and mine differ.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ah, thanks for the respect. As I said, there's a reason I generally don't post here. Ok, I'll add an external source to provide some evidence for you to consider:

Missile Defense Testing May Be Inadequate

Quote:
[...]In his report, Christie said trying to take early advantage of some of the antimissile capabilities under development was "prudent." But he warned that little real basis existed for judging the actual worth of those capabilities. Much of the current assessment, he said, must be "based primarily on modeling and simulation" and tests of subsystems, "not end-to-end operational testing of a mature integrated system."

In eight flight tests since 1999, interceptors have scored five hits. But the tests have involved a number of substitute elements, including a surrogate booster and a prototype tracking radar, while the actual parts for the planned system have remained in development. Additionally, all the tests have run on the same course, with the target missile soaring west over the Pacific Ocean from an Air Force base in California and the interceptor launching from the Marshall Islands.

The last flight test, which resulted in failure of the interceptor vehicle to separate from its booster, occurred 13 months ago. Problems with a new booster, being designed specifically for the system by Lockheed Martin Corp., prompted the Pentagon last year to suspend further intercept attempts. The next attempt is scheduled for May using an alternate booster developed by Orbital Sciences Corp.

Christie called the testing suspension "reasonable," given the risk of further failure with the surrogate booster and the limited amount of new information that could be gained from flying essentially the same scenario. But the move, he added, has left "very limited time for demonstration" of the performance of the new booster and the rest of the system.

Delays in producing both the Lockheed and Orbital Sciences boosters "have put tremendous pressure on the test schedule immediately prior to fielding," Christie said. Noting that flight tests so far have involved only "simple target complexes," he urged conditions "more closely matching the projected threat."

Plans for the two tests this year call for more challenging targets and flight geometries, including a target launch from Alaska and an interceptor launch from California. But "even with successful intercepts in both of these attempts," Christie said, "the small number of tests would limit confidence" in the system's performance.
Maybe if this could actually be tested on various paths without us knowing that its coming, the viability of it working eventually could actually be tested. As it is, 5/8 with a lot of help of external sources and plenty of time to prepare isn't very promising. Nevermind the international relations fallout from this with China and Japan... (or corporate handouts) I'm just very frustrated by this because it is so expensive and I think it makes us less safe rather than safer.

In any event, you might as well close this thread down, I doubt this changes anything for you. I understand your side, I've heard this same argument before, and this is the last piece of information to support my side that I have to share. Take of it what you will.
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Old 01-31-2004, 10:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Why would I close the thread down?

I doesn't violate any board rules and no one is getting pissy in it.

You and I just disagree, that's all.

Nothing wrong with that.
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Old 01-31-2004, 11:01 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
Why would I close the thread down?

I doesn't violate any board rules and no one is getting pissy in it.

You and I just disagree, that's all.

Nothing wrong with that.
Yeah, I wasn't saying that we were violating rules. I just doubt that there's much else to add to the issue for either side, like it is a done deal. Not that you should close down the thread... I guess I'm being myopic. For continued discussion, we need some more input from someone else, I think. We'll see where the thread goes by what comes next.

I have gone over this subject so many times in several classes over the past 4 years, I think the thought of going back over it again after stating again how I feel about it seems excessive. Have you ever had something happen that you were hoping wasn't going to happen for a long time, and then you find out it is going to happen? That's how this is for me.

So, anyone who has another take on this issue - comment. As for me, I don't know if I have the will (at least tonight) to get into this any further.
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Old 01-31-2004, 11:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by wilbjammin
Have you ever had something happen that you were hoping wasn't going to happen for a long time, and then you find out it is going to happen? That's how this is for me.


All the time.
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Old 01-31-2004, 11:09 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
All the time.
Ah ha! I knew you were human!
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Old 01-31-2004, 11:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by wilbjammin
Ah ha! I knew you were human!
I have plausible deniability
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Old 02-01-2004, 08:12 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I've said it before, i'll say it again.

The United States of America needs to gets its budget deficit under control. Every year your government keeps spending tankers of money it doesn't have.

This can not go on forever.

If you want the toys, you need to pony up and pay for them. You need to raise taxes rather significantly.

The american public has it's economic head up its ass. You want all the toys but seem to think that your taxes are already too high.

This kind of deficit financing year after year is a recipe for a disaster as more and more of your tax dollars goes to pay JUST THE INTEREST on the debt. (What, 7 trillion now)

I would think that a rather painless chop to make would be missile defence frankly.

Last edited by james t kirk; 02-01-2004 at 11:28 AM..
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Old 02-01-2004, 01:51 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The missile "defense" system is a joke. The supposed "tests" they have run have all bin rigged: the incoming missiles have had tracking devices for the interceptors to home in on. Frontline has done a report which details all of the shenanigans the Star Wars lobby went through in order to make this pretend threat real. This is nothing other than the military-industrial-congressional complex at its finest.

You can watch the program here:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl.../missile/view/
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