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"Star Wars" not quite the joke it was
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, September 29, 2007

Brian Faughnan draws my attention to this:
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced today it has completed an important exercise and flight test involving a successful intercept by a ground-based interceptor missile designed to protect the United States against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack. The flight test results will help to further improve and refine the performance of numerous Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) elements able to provide a defense against the type of long-range ballistic missile that could be used to attack an American city with a weapon of mass destruction.

The interceptor was launched from the Ronald W. Reagan Missile Defense Site, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. For this exercise, a threat-representative target missile was launched from Kodiak, Alaska.
Technologically, there is nothing which says this is "mission impossible". And my guess is the ground based interceptors will eventually be integrated with a space-based system as well (whether that space-based system includes a kinetic interception capability or just a tracking capability remains to be seen).

As soon as this becomes viable and reliable, the entire strategic balance in the world changes (and that is why Russia is so adamant about opposing it). It would put NoKo, Iran and any other of the "rogue states" back to square one, effectively neutralizing their strategic threat.

This is one defense system, given the potential to make such a dramatic change in the threat level the world faces, we should continue to develop.
 
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Just in time for the Democrats to kill it and sell what we learned to the Chinese.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
It would put NoKo, Iran and any other of the "rogue states" back to square one, effectively neutralizing their strategic threat.
Not quite. It means they would have to choose a different delivery mechanism.

I’ve never put as much worry into Iran or North Korea having missiles as I do into the basic fact that they’ve got nuclear bombs at all. Firing a nuclear-tipped missile at us is a fancy way of committing suicide. There are potential leaders crazy enough to do that, so a missile shield is obviously a good idea, but that’s a much smaller risk than those who think they could sneak one in and use it without suffering payback because of the confusion over who did it.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Not quite. It means they would have to choose a different delivery mechanism.
Huh. Now you see, to me that’s "square one". ;)
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The interceptor was launched from the Ronald W. Reagan Missile Defense Site, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. For this exercise, a threat-representative target missile was launched from Kodiak, Alaska.
I hope this test was not as rigged as the previous.
Not quite. It means they would have to choose a different delivery mechanism.


Exactly

Some folks want to spend tens of billions, maybe hundreds of billions of dollars defending against the least likely scenario.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Exactly

Some folks want to spend tens of billions, maybe hundreds of billions of dollars defending against the least likely scenario.
If you don’t defend against it, I guarantee you it won’t stay the "least likely" scenario

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Captin Sarcastic wrote:
Some folks want to spend tens of billions, maybe hundreds of billions of dollars defending against the least likely scenario.
I have to agree here. I don’t think a strategic nuclear attack on the USA via missile system was ever in the cards for these regimes. They might use a missile system for a tactical detonation to kill US forces on their own soil; but I think that any sort of offensive detonation on US soil was going to be delivered unconventionally anyhow. On top of that, it makes the other nuclear powers antsy (especially Russia,) and I don’t think that making Russia’s security elite any more nervous at this stage is very helpful. They’re unpredictable enough as-is. To me, this represents the kind of wasteful Cold War legacy spending we should have axed long ago. Wouldn’t this money be better invested in R&D for new infantry/ground vehicle systems for our present and future Mideast interventions?
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
shark wrote:
If you don’t defend against it, I guarantee you it won’t stay the "least likely" scenario
We do have a defense against it, which served us for a half-century just fine - good old MAD. It only works against conventional missile systems, but it does that a heck of a lot cheaper than ABM tech.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Be careful McQ, you are attacking another leftist sacred cow that missile defense will never work. Watch for the new spin.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
We do have a defense against it, which served us for a half-century just fine - good old MAD.
That only works with a rational actor. With Iran and NoKo, that is not a sure situation.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
capt joe wrote:
another leftist sacred cow that missile defense will never work.
This isn’t about leftism or whether or not ABM works (I think McQ’s initial post demonstrates that the technology can work.) It’s about finally burying an old Cold War conservative sacred cow, that ABM is the only way we can protect ourselves from the Communist menace. It’s not a question of whether ABM works, but rather if it’s cost-effective and worth pursuing.
That only works with a rational actor. With Iran and NoKo, that is not a sure situation.
I would think by now that Iran has sufficiently proven it is perfectly happy with causing mayhem through non-state actors. I don’t see any reason why we should expect that an Iranian nuke would be imprudently delivered via a long-range missile (which I don’t think Iran yet possesses?) when they have friends in Hezbollah who are perfectly happy to act as substitute missiles.

As for the DPRK, they are indeed more of a wildcard, but Kim Jong Il probably prefers living to nuking the US (after all, we’ve payed him appeasement money, why would he want to risk that? He’ll just play brinksmanship till we either pay him off or kill him off.) In any case though, a North Korean nuke is likely more of a threat in the sense that it will get sold to a non-state actor, rather than being deployed by North Korea itself.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Yeah, the fact the President as well as the Supreme Leader to-be of Iran are both Apocalyptic Cultists makes me feel perfectly secure.

And not just any old "doomsday will eventualy come" cultists, but ones that believe man must actively force the Apocalyptic events to transpire.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
So we don’t need ABM because we can trust the Iranians and North Koreans?
Yup, that’s the spirit, count on the intentions of your enemies. That’s worked so well in the past.
After all, we all know that Saddam did all he could not to be invaded or attacked. I mean, he allowed the inspectors free roaming in his country. (pssst psst pssst).
Oh, you mean he didn’t?
Never mind.

The problem is, the rulers of those two countries care not one whit for their "people" and would kill them all to keep power.
Another thing, Russia is all up in arms about it. They keep insisting on having veto power over the defense of countries they enslaved for 40+ years. Why is that? Maybe they want them back? And maybe Russia likes having a nukular threat hanging over the world because that’s the only thing keeping them relevant these days.
As for China, I read back in the 80s and 90s that they were building huge, underground complexes in the Himalayas (There’s a reason they wanted Tibet), what exactly do you think those are for?
 
Written By: Veeshir
URL: http://
I hope this test was not as rigged as the previous.
a) All tests are "rigged" or they would be worthless.
b) Not all test are meant to evaluate the full system.
c) Not all tests are demonstrations of success but experiments to learn from.

Do you really think they went from chalkboard to fully functional atomic bomb with a live fissionable core in one step?

 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Veeshir wrote:
So we don’t need ABM because we can trust the Iranians and North Koreans?
Yup, that’s the spirit, count on the intentions of your enemies. That’s worked so well in the past.
Given that that exactly zero nuclear missiles were fired during the Cold War, yes, I’d say MAD worked pretty OK. Granted, past results do not guarantee future performance, but these leaders generally seem primarily interested in preserving their regime (Iraq slowly became more co-operative to UN inspections as the threat of war drew closer. Obviously, Mr. Bush was looking to depose him no matter what, but the threat did induce some co-operation.)
Another thing, Russia is all up in arms about it...
I understand your logic, and it’s not an unreasonable point of view; but I don’t see how a US national ABM shield would be helpful. Obviously, as Mr. McQ said, it would upset the geopolitical balance of power. Now, do you think the Russians and Chinese would meekly accept this new world order, or do you think they’d strive to find some way to counter-balance this enhanced US power? I think it’s clear that the latter is the more likely scenario, and that could have a lot of unintended consequences for the West. What if Russia/China chose to re-balance the power by tacitly or overtly supporting an Islamic nuke and worked to increase proliferation? A Western ABM shield would make the twitchy security elite ruling Russia even more on-edge, and who knows what they might be liable to do? If Russia is made to feel any weaker or less relevant than they already are, they might be inclined to do something crazy. You know, animals that are cornered get violent, and all that. I think that a national ABM shield would just have too many unforseen negative consequences, and not enough benefits, to make it worth pursuing.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
That only works with a rational actor. With Iran and NoKo, that is not a sure situation.
Yup ... if you’re eagerly waiting on the 12th Imam, suddenly MAD isn’t such a deterrent, is it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I never claimed MAD deters nuclear suicide bombers - and neither would a missile shield. What makes you think that Iran would launch missiles from home when they already have an experienced international terror group at their beck and call? The Iranian government might be evil, they might be crazy, but they aren’t idiots. Why send an MEU when a couple Delta Force guys can do the same job more discreetly? Same idea.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
I never claimed MAD deters nuclear suicide bombers - and neither would a missile shield.
Well it would if they were relying on a missile, which is the point, I believe. That’s why I said that if this works, and their plan was to use missiles, this puts them back to square one.

That seems inarguable.

That they’d have to seek another means of delivery would seem obvious (but that’s "square one").
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What makes you think that Iran would launch missiles from home when they already have an experienced international terror group at their beck and call?
Here’s the thing about a missile: when you let it go, you know for sure where it’s going, and you know it’s going there fast. If your opponent doesn’t have a missile shield, you know it’s going to hit rather reliably.

When you put your trust in a human being (or group of them) to deliver that weapon, all of those things go out the window.
You hand a nuke off to a terrorist, how can you be absolutely sure that they’re going to deliver it to the right place? How soon can it be delivered? And how sure are you that it’s going to hit its target?
On the odd chance that your nuke is intercepted before it goes off, it may be traced back to you rather quickly, and you don’t even have the satisfaction of hitting the USA first. The chance of a smuggled nuke being intercepted, however low you believe it to be, must be higher than the chance of a missile being intercepted by a defenseless country.

Then there’s the minor issue that a nuke on the ground is less effective than a nuke detonated in the air.

In addition, I recall that the US has a jet that we send up to test the radiation from a nuclear strike, which can deduce from the radiation signature the source of the nuclear material. I don’t remember what it’s called. But if I’m right, that means that even a smuggled nuke would likely be a fancy form of suicide.

Just some things to think about.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
McQ wrote:
That they’d have to seek another means of delivery would seem obvious (but that’s "square one").
Right, but what I contended in my first post was that missile delivery wasn’t really on the table for Iran et al anyhow - they know that a missile delivery is national suicide, and would require either R&D and testing of an in-house missile system, or procurement of a foreign missile system (pricey and dangerous in both cases.) Iran already has an effective weapons deployment system through Hezbollah; I would think that would be the most likely delivery vector. My take on this is that we have a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist, that it will be expensive, and it could provoke unpredictable and possibly very painful behavior from Russia or China. I think the Army and Marines have more pressing budget needs than this ABM project.

In any case, I don’t think the US would be the first target of a nuclear terrorist attack - a missile delivery is sure death, and as Bryan Pick correctly points out, an unconventional system is not totally reliable and would be difficult to carry out that far from their logistics base (although its worth considering we thought the same on 9/10.) I think the most logical target is nearby Israel, where there are already terrorist agents and networks embedded to facilitate delivery. While a ground-based detonation would indeed be less damaging than an airburst, I’m betting that for the terrorists it’s the thought that counts.

I’m not sure about the details on the aerial surveillance program, but I do know we’ve got satellites designed to detect gamma radiation released from nuclear detonations. I can’t fathom how an aerial surveillance system could somehow trace the origins of the source material of a detonation, but I’ll have to look that up as it sounds interesting.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Right, but what I contended in my first post was that missile delivery wasn’t really on the table for Iran et al anyhow - they know that a missile delivery is national suicide, and would require either R&D and testing of an in-house missile system, or procurement of a foreign missile system (pricey and dangerous in both cases.)
Look up Shahab 3. Oh nevermind, here it is.

Shahab 4?

Range?
The Shahab-4 is projected to include improved guidance components, a two stage version would have a range of 2,000-2,200 kilometers while the three stages Shahab-4 could potentially have a range of 2,672-2,896 kilometers range with a warhead weight on the order of 1,000-760 kilograms. The Shahab-4 would be capable of hitting targets as far away as Germany and Western China. The Iranian Zelzal project provided for the rework development of the North Korean No-dong missile with a 1,350-1,500 kilometer range.
Future:
Therefore, they are left with no other alternative but to work with the in hand existing North Korean launch vehicle technology, that they currently possess, and their rework of it to create the Shahab-4 and Shahab-5 programs in cooperation with North Korea. If there is anything the Iranian’s have learned from the SS-4 engine and or its rocket body production information it is how to apply it to the design they are developing for the Taep’o-dong-2/Shahab-5 and 6 boosters first stage which was already well along in development. Clearly the transfer of technology limits imposed on the Iranians is having a serious affect on their progress as is evident in the Shahab-3 program.
So the "foreign missile procurement" program has been in place and functioning for Iran for quite some time.
In any case, I don’t think the US would be the first target of a nuclear terrorist attack -
Nor does anyone else ... most think it would be Israel. Tell me, by which method would it be harder to get a nuke into Israel ... a missile or any other means you can imagine?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ wrote:
So the "foreign missile procurement" program has been in place and functioning for Iran for quite some time.
In that case, wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to simply go after their shipping and freight, rather than develop, test, deploy, and maintain a national missile shield? If we continue to deny them from acquiring long-range missiles from outside suppliers, they’re relegated to developing them from scratch in-house. I don’t think Iran would be able to test launch long-range missiles discreetly.
Nor does anyone else ... most think it would be Israel. Tell me, by which method would it be harder to get a nuke into Israel ... a missile or any other means you can imagine?
Two things - one, since you seem to agree that Israel would be the first target, why is a US national missile shield so important? If Israel is the one at risk, shouldn’t they be the ones paying the R&D costs?

Second, while a missile might be the ’easier’ delivery system (in the sense its a bit more guaranteed,) I don’t think that’s the question - I think the better question is which method is more likely? My guesses would involve either standard suicide bombing, since Hezbollah et al have plenty of practice with that, or fitting a nuclear warhead on truck-mounted MLRS ordnance. I’m not sure if a nuclear device would be too heavy to use on a Katyusha rocket, but it would likely be much harder for ABM to intercept, since it would probably be firing along a lower arc than an ICBM and could overwhelm the system with saturation fire.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
I wrote:
I think the better question is which method is more likely?
Oops, small addendum - the reason I think what I outlined is more likely is because a missile launch from an Iranian silo or Scud launcher would be an overt Iranian nuclear strike. A small rocket artillery strike performed by Hezbollah (or some other terror group) might get some other nations to look the other way. Granted, Israel would probably not show much restraint in either scenario, but I think Iran would still want to steer clear of a formal nuclear strike on Israel unless it felt a dire and immediate threat to the regime.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
In that case, wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to simply go after their shipping and freight, rather than develop, test, deploy, and maintain a national missile shield?
Do you assume them to be the only threat of this sort, now or in the future?

And btw, much of what arrives in Iran from NoKo is brought in through other countries (China for instance) which don’t allow our interception.
Two things - one, since you seem to agree that Israel would be the first target, why is a US national missile shield so important? If Israel is the one at risk, shouldn’t they be the ones paying the R&D costs?
Who says they’re not?
Second, while a missile might be the ’easier’ delivery system (in the sense its a bit more guaranteed,) I don’t think that’s the question - I think the better question is which method is more likely?
The most likely is the one which most likely gain entry. Right now, that would be a missile.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, you’re obdurately missing the point. Defending yourself only makes them more angry, and we really don’t want to anger them, do we? After all, if we just leave them alone nothing bad will happen, right? The only safe thing to do is to eliminate all means of self-defense that might possibly work, prostrate ourselves, and hope that Sharia or The Workers Paradise or whatever is imposed on us by our moral betters doesn’t hurt too much.

Odd, though, isn’t it how all those who argued (and their modern descendants) that MAD was immoral prefer that to a ’passive’ defense system? I wonder why that would be?

Also, when, exactly is James O proposing that we hit shipping? Under what circumstances? Would we have to take someone to court first and get warrants and such to ’take out’ shipping? My guess is he wouldn’t like that a bit better than any other answer.
 
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://
Odd, though, isn’t it how all those who argued (and their modern descendants) that MAD was immoral prefer that to a ’passive’ defense system?
Faulty premise, I know of no one who felt that MAD was immoral and is currently arguing that they prefer MAD to a passive defensive system, and I would go sofar as to say that I guarantee that no one this board can be categorized as having those opinions. Feel free to poll them.

I think missile defense is a bad idea today for the same reason I thought it was a bad on 9/11/2001 when Condi Rice was ironically on her way to deliver a speech regarding the necessity of a missile defense shield. It puts too many resources to bear on too unlikely of a threat, and we do not have unlimited resources.

We cannot defend ourselves, nor should we try, from every possible scenario, including suicidal insanity, and if we are going to do more and spend more than we are now, we should do more to bolster our foreign intelligence gathering and scanning for the entry of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons across our borders. But even a reasonably complete scan of port entries is economically infeasible, so out best chance is really in knowing when, where, and how someone plans to attack us.

Life has some risks, accept it and relax.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
McQ, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I can see why for Israel, a missile defense shield would be a worthwhile investment (although I still think that they were more likely to be targeted by unconventional vectors anyhow.) However, I just can’t see how it would be of much utility to the US, in comparison to a host of other worthy DoD expenditures.

I’ve yet to see anyone respond to what the possible unintended consequences are (i.e. Russia doing something unpredictable and rash as their nuclear arsenal is now meaningless,) so I’m curious to know what you think about that, McQ (i.e. is it not really a risk, or is it worth taking, etc.) Also out of curiosity, what do you think about nuclear-tipped Katyushas? Is it feasible to replace their warhead with a nuclear weapon, or is their payload limit too low? It seems this would be an ideal tool to circumvent a missile defense shield (fire a barrage of 20-50 rockets and bet on them not being able to counter them all, and hope the nuclear one gets through.)

JorgXMcKie, I don’t see why you’re lumping me into the VLWC just because I’m disagreeing with McQ on one particular issue. I thought neo-libertarianism was about breaking away from dogmatic enforcement of ideology, but whatever. Please refrain from asserting my beliefs on my behalf if you would. Thanks!

I’m not proposing anything specific re. how to deal with their shipping, but I don’t think a naval blockade would be out of the question (it’s not like the DPRK has a lot of legitimate exports.) It might even be possible to get China to co-operate, since Kim Jong Il is now certifiably nuclear (which might make China quite uneasy.)
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
(i.e. Russia doing something unpredictable and rash as their nuclear arsenal is now meaningless,) so I’m curious to know what you think about that,

Dude the Russian arsenal is NOT made irrelevant by this system. The current and most likely future system deployed will be useful against a very "light" attack of single-warhead armed ICBM’s with no penetration aids. A Russian attack will involve HUNDREDS of missiles with THOUSANDS of warheads, some of which will maneuver, with extensive chaff and balloon decoys. So the US system represents NO threat to the Russian arsenal.

McQ (i.e. is it not really a risk, or is it worth taking, etc.) Also out of curiosity, what do you think about nuclear-tipped Katyushas? Is it feasible to replace their warhead with a nuclear weapon, or is their payload limit too low?
Soviets never fielded weapons of less than 152mm as nuclear weapons. BM-21 is only 127mm and carries far too light a payload for a nuclear weapon. They usually weigh 45-50 kilograms, for a low yield .25 KT weapon a la the US 155mm AFAP. I would refer you to Chuck Hansen’s US Nuclear Weapons for a discussion of warhead characteristics.
I’m not proposing anything specific re. how to deal with their shipping, but I don’t think a naval blockade would be out of the question
A blockade is an Act of WAR, dude....unless we are at war with them we can’t blockade the DPRK to keep a potential nuclear weapon out of the US.

The US is vulnerable, in Iranian and North Korean eyes, to blackmail. IF the US is “war weary” from 4,000 KIA in Iraq, what would the US do in the event of a credible threat to destroy 500,000 or more US citizens? MAD was never fool-proof against the Soviets. It was MAD AND diplomacy and conventional deterrence. NOONE doubted that in a choice between the dissolution of the Soviet state and the use of nuclear weapons, the Soviets would have used nuclear weapons. For example if there was a 75% chance the USSR would be dissolved in a war with NATO, but there was only a 60% chance of defeat with nuclear weapons, the USSR would have opted for the nuclear weapons, so to with the Iranian and North Korean regimes. I believe Tehran and Pyongyang will decide that in a choice between certain regime destruction and the use of nuclear weapons or the threat to use them on US targets, the regimes would opt for the use. The Ballistic Missile Defense system prevents that, PLUS is the more moral choice. MAD necessitates the destruction of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of civilian casualties-innocent civilian casualties.

The BMDO system works against light, technologically primitive attacks, such as Iran or the DPRK present. In the long run, nuclear weapons are more cost-effective than ABM systems. It costs less to deploy more nuclear weapons than it costs to defend against them. The critical point is, IN THE LONG-RUN, in the short-run that is not true. So, BMDO AND regime change can make the US safer against Iran and the DPRK, in the short run, though it will not protect us against Russian or, in the future, the PRC’s nuclear arsenal.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Interesting response, thanks!
A blockade is an Act of WAR, dude....unless we are at war with them we can’t blockade the DPRK to keep a potential nuclear weapon out of the US.
I question whether we have any good non-war solutions to dealing with the DPRK (while their nuclear capabilities are still relatively limited,) but fair enough.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
Life has some risks, accept it and relax.
How far do you want to apply that idiocy?

Go run across a moving highway please. Just relax and accept the risk
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"Then there’s the minor issue that a nuke on the ground is less effective than a nuke detonated in the air."

That would depend on your objective. If you want lots of blast damage over a wide area, an air burst is good. If you want to generate a lot of nasty fallout or make a big hole in the ground, surface burst is better.


" Also out of curiosity, what do you think about nuclear-tipped Katyushas?"

You may find this of some interest;

http://www.brookings.edu/FP/projects/nucwcost/davyc.HTM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_(nuclear_device)

The technology is 40+ years old. Draw your own conclusions. Pleasant dreams.


"So the US system represents NO threat to the Russian arsenal


I think a good argument can be made that in addition to the warheads directly destroyed by an ABM system, there is an indirect reduction in the number of warheads able to be used because they are displaced by countermeasures. Antitank weapons, for example, may not destroy every tank, but they make the tank builders replace mobility, ammunition storage, range, etc. with protective measures, thus degrading the offensive power.

"I question whether we have any good non-war solutions to dealing with the DPRK"

Life is like that. Sometimes there are no good solutions, only better or worse ones.

"Life has some risks, accept it and relax."
"How far do you want to apply that idiocy?"

That is the question. People make choices like that every day. Some think it idiotic to go without health insurance, or ride a motorcycle. Some think it idiotic to go without a fallout shelter, or a small arsenal of firearms to prepare for the coming race war. As Dirty Harry might say, "How lucky do you feel?"

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
That is the question. People make choices like that every day. Some think it idiotic to go without health insurance, or ride a motorcycle. Some think it idiotic to go without a fallout shelter, or a small arsenal of firearms to prepare for the coming race war. As Dirty Harry might say, "How lucky do you feel?"
Agreed, and for my MONEY I’ll accept the risk of an insane government launching a suicide attack on us rather than spending tens of billions or more on missile defense, that may or not be overcome by inexpensive counter measures.

If that’s too much risk for some, they should move somewhere they think avoids that risk, or pay for it themselves.

I’ll take the risk that the several thousand ICBM’s we have will continue to be an effective deterrant against a missile attack.


 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Agreed, and for my MONEY I’ll accept the risk of an insane government launching a suicide attack on us rather than spending tens of billions or more on missile defense, that may or not be overcome by inexpensive counter measures.

If that’s too much risk for some, they should move somewhere they think avoids that risk, or pay for it themselves
By that same token, I’ll accept the spending of the tens of billions on missle defense, and if YOU don’t like it, you can move somewhere where you think the government spends their money more wisely
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
By that same token, I’ll accept the spending of the tens of billions on missle defense, and if YOU don’t like it, you can move somewhere where you think the government spends their money more wisely
Fair enough... so don’t whine when we get universal healthcare, and certainly don’t whine about it being some sort of violation of your rights or theft of your tax dollars.

Ya see how that works?

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Fair enough... so don’t whine when we get universal healthcare, and certainly don’t whine about it being some sort of violation of your rights or theft of your tax dollars.

Ya see how that works?
Well Captain, defense is a constitutionally authorized expenditure. Healthcare isn’t.

So what you’re claiming won’t wash at all.

If he complains, he’s got a right to—the tax moneys that go to healthcare are stolen.

But maybe you don’t take the constitution seriously. Then I can see how you think you have a point.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
defense is a constitutionally authorized expenditure. Healthcare isn’t.
Nice one, but if you can argue that the Founders intended a missile shield to defend against InterContinental Ballistic Missiles, I can argue that they meant to include healthcare when they authorized, in Article I, section 8 of the U. S. Constitution, the power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defense and general Welfare of the United States."

Again, it comes down what you want, and your decision that it is within Constitutional bounds.

I suppose you could say that a space shield protecting us from alien invasion would be Constitutional, and I guess I we could say that providing an automobile to every American could be part of the "General Welfare".

Which leaves us exactly where we started, me not wanting to pay to ally your fears of a nukular ICBM attack, and you not wanting to pay for universal healthcare.

But as I said, in view of your desire to impose the cost of your fear on me, please don’t whine about being the victim of theft when Universal healthcare is passed.



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Nice one, but if you can argue that the Founders intended a missile shield to defend against InterContinental Ballistic Missiles, I can argue that they meant to include healthcare when they authorized, in Article I, section 8 of the U. S. Constitution, the power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defense and general Welfare of the United States."
If you’re dishonest or ignorant you can do that.

None of the Founders held the Preamble to grant powers, in fact, that concept was explicitly declaimed.

So which was it? Were you ignorant or dishonest to write your post immediately above?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
None of the Founders held the Preamble to grant powers, in fact, that concept was explicitly declaimed.
If you’re dishonest or ignorant you can assert that the General Welfare is only mentioned in the Preamble.

Article 1, Section 8, of the ARTICLES of the Constitution, which is, by defintion NOT THE PREAMBLE...
Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
So, for the sake of argument, I’ll answer what would have been an honest argument against the Constitutionality of universal healthcare... Does the Constitution authorize spending for programs not enumerated in the Articles. (you could technically call this a strawman argument, but since it actually improves on the original argument, I think it is a fair strawman)


Let me inroduce you to one of the Founders...

Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757–July 12, 1804) was an Army officer, lawyer, Founding Father, American politician, leading statesman, financier and political theorist. One of America’s first constitutional lawyers, he was a leader in calling the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787; he was one of the two chief authors of the Federalist Papers, the most cited contemporary interpretation of intent for the United States Constitution.

So we have established Hamilton as a FOUNDER, let’s establish his argument that the GENERAL WELFARE is more than the enumerated powers...
In his famous Report on Manufactures (1791), Alexander Hamilton argued that the clause enlarged Congress’s power to tax and spend by allowing it to tax and spend for the general welfare as well as for purposes falling within its enumerated powers. Thus, he argued, the General Welfare clause granted a distinct power to Congress to use its taxing and spending powers in ways not falling within its other enumerated powers.
So now, we have established that a FOUNDER has not explicitly declaimed General Welfare as being limited to enumerated powers, from there, all that’s left is deciding if Healthcare serves the general welfare, and is therefore Constitutional. The Supreme Court would be the final arbiter of this question, but considering that Medicare has been around for 40 years and it has not been found to be unconstitutional, the burden of proof would be on you to lay a successful challenge to the Constitutionality of Medicare (let me know when that SCOTUS decision comes in). If Medicare is Constitutional, universal healthcare is certainly Constitutional, but again, let me know when you successfully challenge it in the SCOTUS.

So, were you dishonest or ignorant when you asserted that the General Welfare is only mentioned in the Preamble.

How’s that alien space shield coming along?



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
And Hamilton is directly contradicted by the man who wrote the Preamble, and whose views of it prevailed in the adoption debates—Madison.

Your citing Hamilton’s attempts to illegitimately expand the federal government’s powers via a phrase in section 8, when that same interpretation of the self-same wording was rejected by the adopting conventions—and argued to the contrary in the Federalist papers which he had a large hand in writing—is of little note.

In any case, he was speaking of the subsidization of—not the entire provision for—industrial manufacturing, funded by tariffs, and by the mechanism of the Bank of the United States—later found to be unconstitutional.

You’ve cited a Founder when he was in the process of screwing up.

I believe the ignorance vs dishonesty question is on your part answered then.
How’s that alien space shield coming along?
Very well thanks.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://tomdperkins.blogspot.com/
There are ways to deter Iran and others from using proxies called "kill lists" which basically says that any nuke goes off and we kill every country on the list regardless of evidence of guilt. That should also encourage non-proliferation. But we have not yet started using kill lists.

Bryan Pick is right in that if we can tell who made the nuke anyways via analysis, missiles vs. shipping container isn’t really a big deal. I guess there could be more of a propaganda value where the Euros and the Left will inevitably claim we need more of a smoking gun, etc. etc., but that will be after the retalliation is long over.

Also, I think a lot of the countries getting nukes want them less for use against the USA or even Israel, then against other regional enemies. They probably also view them as a deterrent to regime change since 2001.

They want missiles for use against regional enemies because of the speed of use - it would be hard to threaten, say, Saudi Arabia like this: "Watch out you Arab dogs, or we will deploy our 40’ Container of Death on you! Once it clears your customs and is trucked to Riyadh (our freight forwarders say it takes about 10-12 work days) you shall feel our righteous Shia fire on your lands!"

And how about versus a first strike by your enemy? You’d have to have your slow-deploying nuclear bomb in a shipping container in some very safe area or it could be destroyed on the ground. Then once you have been hit, you’d have to ship it out to your target. No thanks I think.

BTW, the scariest part of all of these newly nuclear countries isn’t their flavor of politics but how close they are to each other and the probable lack of experience and skill with safety issues. Taiwan wanted a nuke in the 80’s (understandably) but we stopped them. One of the reasons was they’d have about 30-60 seconds of decision time if the ever saw a Chinese launch at them. Not a lot of time to correct yourself if the "attack" actually was a flock of birds, the moon (happened to the US), or just had a glitch.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Oh, and wouldn’t it be smart for Hillary Clinton (once the primary is over) to say that she would implement a "kill list" policy against Iran? She’d really burnish her national security cred.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
First, let’s clear this one element up...

Do you understand that when people refer to the "General Welfare Clause", they are NOT referring to the Preamble of the Constitution, but rather Article II Section 8, where it states...
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
It’s a yes or no question, and I think it’s clear enough, but your continued reference to the Preamble makes me believe that you may not quite get this.
Your citing Hamilton’s attempts to illegitimately expand the federal government’s powers via a phrase in section 8, when that same interpretation of the self-same wording was rejected by the adopting conventions—and argued to the contrary in the Federalist papers which he had a large hand in writing—is of little note.
That’s ridiculous, Hamilton, one of the Founders, is also the author of the Doctrine of Implied Powers, which though related to his desire to establish a national bank, has become the defacto argumentem against the Madisonian view that only enumerated powers could be authorized by Congress. Without it, it is argued that the exigencies of progess could not have been dealth with, such as Air Traffic control, or Jefferson’s (an opponent with Madison against the Implied Powers Doctrine) own use of the Implied Powers Doctrine argued to defend the Louisiana Purchase.
In any case, he was speaking of the subsidization of—not the entire provision for—industrial manufacturing, funded by tariffs, and by the mechanism of the Bank of the United States—later found to be unconstitutional
Yes, and no, and no, he was arguing the Implied Powers Doctrine as the basis for which the establishment of a national bank was in fact Constitutional, but it was by no means a "this train only" argument, but an argument that there are in fact implied powers not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. And by the way, the Doctrine of Implied Powers was not tested until 1819 in McCulloch v. Maryland, at which time it was upheld as a valid Constitutional interpretation.
You’ve cited a Founder when he was in the process of screwing up.
That’s a subjective statement, and irrelevant to whether this Founder’s arguments do in fact support the argument of the implied powers of the General Welfare clause (and others). Your statement is, by the way, a statement I happen to agree with, Hamilton did screw up. So did Jefferson when he used the same argument later. It may have been complicated and unwieldly to pass a Constitutional Amendment every time the exigencies of progress required the enumeration of additional powers, but we should have tried it that way. Although you may want to consider whether the establishment of Los Alamos and the Mnahatten Project would have required a Constitutional Amendment and what the consequences of that would have been. But my argument is as irrelevant as yours, the Doctrine of Implied Powers, through the Necessary and Proper Clause, is recognized, and as such, the Congress has the authority to do what it decides is necessary and proper to promote the General Welfare, making Universal Healthcare as Constitutional as national defense, unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise, which in over 200 years, it simply has deigned not to do.

More on Hamilton...
(among) Hamilton’s legacies was his pro-Federal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Though the Constitution was drafted in a way that was somewhat ambiguous as to the balance of power between Federal and state governments, Hamilton consistently took the side of greater Federal power at the expense of states. Thus, as Secretary of the Treasury, he established—against the intense opposition of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson—the country’s first national bank. Hamilton justified the creation of this bank, and other increased Federal powers, on Congress’s constitutional powers to issue currency, to regulate interstate commerce, and anything else that would be "necessary and proper." Jefferson, on the other hand, took a stricter view of the Constitution: parsing the text carefully, he found no specific authorization for a national bank. This controversy was eventually settled by the Supreme Court of the United States in McCulloch v. Maryland, which in essence adopted Hamilton’s view, granting the federal government broad freedom to select the best means to execute its constitutionally enumerated powers, specifically the doctrine of implied powers.
So, do you still want to argue that I am either ignorant or dishonest, or do you want to admit that your entire argument is based on your OPINION that it was wrong for America to adopt the Doctrine of Implied Powers, regardless of the FACT that America has indeed adopted this interpretation?

Don’t whine about your rights not pay for universal healthcare and then tell me I have to pay for missile defense. Feel free to argue that you don’t think it’s a good idea, but by accepted Constitutional standards they are both within the powers of the federal government and thus become political debates, not Constitutional debates.



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
So Congress has the authority to raise taxes. Nothing in this statement provides the power to enact federal healthcare.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Don’t whine about your rights not pay for universal healthcare and then tell me I have to pay for missile defense. Feel free to argue that you don’t think it’s a good idea, but by accepted Constitutional standards they are both within the powers of the federal government and thus become political debates, not Constitutional debates.
Except that is false.

Missle defense is constitutional:
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
No where does the Constitution mention healthcare.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
"No where does the Constitution mention healthcare."

Where does the Constitution mention missile defense?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Where does the Constitution mention missile defense?
It’s implied ;)
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Where does the Constitution mention missile defense?
Right here:
To raise and support Armies, . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Nothing in this statement provides the power to enact federal healthcare
and general welfare of the United States;
Not agreeing it applies, but don’t ignore those two magic words in the argument for healthcare.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Not agreeing it applies, but don’t ignore those two magic words in the argument for healthcare.
I already addressed that; the statement provides for federal authority to raise money for defense and general welfare. That’s why a seperate statement is required to raise an army, navy, etc.:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

. . .

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I suppose people think a missile shield won’t have any application beyond the ’shield’ aspect.
As an example of a defensive thing used offensively - think of the round boss on the front of a Imperial Roman scuta.

They’ll find an offsensive use for Star Wars technology.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
They’ll find an offsensive use for Star Wars technology.
An obvious offensive use, and the reason this could CAUSE global conflict, is the ability to undermine the MAD doctrine. If we could neutralize offensive missiles, but another country could not neutralize ours, then our previously unuseable nuclear ICBM’s would become useable offensive weapons again. The obvious implication of this would be a renewed arms race, missile shield, countermeasure, counter-counter measure.

All a waste considering the doctrine that says that any nation that launches on us will be turned to glass.

And then there’s the "rogue" nations, which would be insanely suicidal to deliver nukes with their own fingerprints on them. I think it’s a mistake to try to build national insanity into our defensive variables.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
our previously unuseable nuclear ICBM’s would become useable offensive weapons again.
I don’t think the average American is going to see that as a viable alternative, even when we’re really pissed off. There’s very little ’going back’ from a nuke strike, even a limited, low yield one.
We’re kinda caught up in the whole, limited damage, smart technology, pinpoint accuracy strike. You know, where we destroy Kim Jong Ill with our skybeam laser system, but don’t harm the fluffy kitty he was petting at the time.

IOW - we’re perfectly content to blast your country flat with dumb or smart iron, but I don’t think we’re ready to re-visit Hiroshima, and I don’t think as a nation we will be in my lifetime.
I realize that I may have an opptimistic view of my fellow Americans, but there it is.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
An obvious offensive use, and the reason this could CAUSE global conflict, is the ability to undermine the MAD doctrine. If we could neutralize offensive missiles, but another country could not neutralize ours, then our previously unuseable nuclear ICBM’s would become useable offensive weapons again. The obvious implication of this would be a renewed arms race, missile shield, countermeasure, counter-counter measure.
It could cause, or it could prevent, conflict. Then again, if it is viable (and some day it will be), I’d rather that we are ahead of the rabble.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I’d rather that we are ahead of the rabble.
I don’t disagree.

Do the research, develop the capability to build it, but don’t install it, use the threat of installing it if need be, rather than the overt action of installing a missile defense shield that changes the nuclear equation forever.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
"To raise and support Armies, . ."

That’s pretty general and vague, sort of like "general welfare".
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"To raise and support Armies, . ."
...especially in light of the two year caveat, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments to include a prohibition on having a standing army at all.
That’s pretty general and vague, sort of like "general welfare".
Yup, throw the Doctrine of Implied Powers into the mix, and defense and food stamps are pretty much indistinguishable Constitutionally, which may be a good thing considering how many Guardsmen’s families have been forced into economic conditions requiring them to avail themselves of foodstamps.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

 
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