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Author Topic: Why the hell do we need more nuclear weapons?
Pod
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Seriously!

Apparently the Senate decided to not strike measures "for research on low-yield nuclear weapons and converting existing nuclear warheads into weapons capable of penetrating bunkers."

My biggest problem however is this quote:

quote:
Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, said, "In a world where you have terrorist organizations and terrorist-sponsored states and you no longer have the two great superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, facing off against each other, the question is what kind of nuclear deterrent should we have."
In this world where we have terrorist organizations and terrorist-sponsored states, how can nuclear arms seriously be seen as a deterrent to anything? They certainly didn't stop Al Qaeda, and they've certainly not stopped North Korea's threats. Nuclear weapons are a chainsaw compared to the high precision scalpel work that needs to be done in terms of military action.

And really, what benefits do nuclear wepaons have over conventional arms if you're going to scale down the power? The whole point of nuclear arms was they make a really big boom. The unfortunate side effects of course being large amounts of radiation. Thus, if we have no use for the catestrophic amounts of energy typically characteristic of nuclear arms, what's the point in using them?. Why not use conventional "deterrents"? How are nuclear arms going to deter any more than the guns and missiles we have now?

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newfoundlogic
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Low yeild nuclear weapons enable us to strike something we can't with conventional weapons without destroying an ecosystem.
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Eruve Nandiriel
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We're not neccissarily going to use the nukes. Have you ever heard of the cold war?!
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Head Ditch Digger
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Why do we need more?

Because I don't have one, and I want one. It's not fair.

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Bokonon
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HDD, quit monkeying around.

-Bok

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Bokonon
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HDD, quit monkeying around.

-Bok

EDIT: Hatrack burped. But I think it's funny enough to post twice!

[ September 17, 2003, 05:48 PM: Message edited by: Bokonon ]

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Eruve Nandiriel
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OOOOOH! I want a nuke, too! AAAAH radiation! Better than caffene! [Evil]
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Head Ditch Digger
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[Big Grin]
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slacker
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Pod, I think part of the thinking is that the Government wants to make sure that they have a deterrant against a country using (or threatening) to use their nuclear weapons against someone.

I'm sure that it didn't help that countries like North Korea are actively developing nuclear weapons, and also that they were developing them in secret.

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Youth ap Orem
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I am the Nuke Nazi! No Nuke for you!
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Eruve Nandiriel
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*pouts*
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Caleb Varns
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At this stage of the game I'd have to agree with Pod. There are no targets on this planet that we could possibly want to hit that couldn't be hit with our non-nuclear arsenal. It's pretty big and sophisticated, as I understand it.

The reason we HAVE TO HAVE NUKES is because someone else might USE a nuke, and in that case we want to have our part in initiating armeggedon.

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Teshi
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An old song by Tom Lehrer (cold war, please excuse the jokes, it is supposed to be making fun, not targetting any one)

quote:

(spoken)
One of the big news items of the past year concerned the fact that China, which we called "Red China," exploded a nuclear bomb, which we called a device. Then Indonesia announced that it was going to have one soon, and proliferation became the word of the day. Here's a song about that:

(the song)
First we got the bomb, and that was good,
'Cause we love peace and motherhood.
Then Russia got the bomb, but that's okay,
'Cause the balance of power's maintained that way.
Who's next?

France got the bomb, but don't you grieve,
'Cause they're on our side (I believe).
China got the bomb, but have no fears,
They can't wipe us out for at least five years.
Who's next?

Then Indonesia claimed that they
Were gonna get one any day.
South Africa wants two, that's right:
One for the black and one for the white.
Who's next?

Egypt's gonna get one too,
Just to use on you know who.
So Israel's getting tense.
Wants one in self defense.
"The Lord's our shepherd," says the psalm,
But just in case, we better get a bomb.
Who's next?

Luxembourg is next to go,
And (who knows?) maybe Monaco.
We'll try to stay serene and calm
When Alabama gets the bomb.
Who's next?
Who's next?
Who's next?
Who's next?

[Roll Eyes]
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Pod
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NFL: explain to me how nuclear weapons do less harm to the environment than conventional arms.

Next, supply me with an example of a target which would be suitable for striking with a nuclear weapon, that would not be suited for conventional weapons.

Modern warfare waged by the US army is about precision strikes and not about long term damage wrought by radiation.

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Storm Saxon
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With application of wondrous American know-how, of course!

[Razz]

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Eruve Nandiriel
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This reminds me of something in The Book of Merlyn. It's when Arthur is with the warmongering ants. (it's a spoof on a Psalm)
quote:
..."the earth is the Sword's and all that therein is, th compass of the bomber and they that bomb therefrom,"..."Blow up your heads, O ye Gates, and be ye blown up ye Everlasting Doors, that the King of Tories may come in. Who is this King of Tories? Even the Lord of Ghosts, he is the King of Tories."
I was rolling on the floor when I first read it....

[ September 17, 2003, 10:13 PM: Message edited by: Eruve Nandiriel ]

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newfoundlogic
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Low yeild nukes won't destroy the enviroment like a normal nuke would. Conventional bombs will not always be able to do the job.
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Tresopax
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quote:
Why the hell do we need more nuclear weapons?
For the same reason we have this gigantic, super-expensive military.... because we are paranoid and unwilling to accept any risk, even if we have to endanger ourselves even more in preventing it. Our entire defense policy is based on this. We do not weigh the costs of our weapons against the actual need for them. Instead we just build anything that might ever be needed for any situation, ignoring the costs and dangers associated.

And the worst part is that we then go and complain when other countries start developing nukes or other WMDs, even when our programs our vastly more expansive than theirs.

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Eruve Nandiriel
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.....A Dr. Device would be more powerful......
[Wink]

[ September 17, 2003, 10:50 PM: Message edited by: Eruve Nandiriel ]

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littlemissattitude
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I can think of two possible answers:

Because they're like collecting baseball cards, getting tattoos, and eating potato chips - once you start, you just can't stop.

or...

It's like grown-up little boys with their cars: they just can't help wanting to soup them up and trick them out just a little bit more.

By the way, these answers are only partly tongue-in-cheek.

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mackillian
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Pod...purely to piss you off. Why ELSE?
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Pod
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NFL: now that you've clarified what your criteria from which you are measuring "less" environmental damage (which i think is ludicrous for alot of reasons), you still haven't indicated any sort of situation in which conventional arms wouldn't suffice for adequate firepower.

We've got really big rockets. Lots of them. If you really want, we can build really big non-nuclear warheads, but continued proliferation of nuclear arms is at best pointless and at worst could start an arms race.

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Erik Slaine
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Though I love the title of this thread, and part of me agrees, I think that, perhaps, it might be a bad idea to stop research on developing these particular weapons.

We learned much from the nuclear program. If we continue to develop them, we will learn even more. I disagree with proliferation, at this point, but I think it would be a travesty for the research itself to stop.

The advantages of a hot stream of fusion cutting through bunkers and worse does intrigue me. And, if you could localize the blast, It could prove a very effective surgical weapon.

Two quotes:
quote:
I am become Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds
--Robert Oppenheimer

quote:
It's pronounced "nucular", "nuc-u-lar"
--Homer Simpson

[Big Grin]
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Pod
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I'm not against nuclear research. I'm against nuclear weapons.
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Erik Slaine
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Sorry. Just thought that research on nuclear weapons is as valid as any other nuclear research. That approach may reveal something that other types of nuclear research may not.

You just never know.

But, yeah, fun as the idea of a pocket nuke can be on the Fourth of July, I guess we don't need them old ones either!

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Pod
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Erik:

Okay here's the thing. We can set off nuclear reactions, the major problem with civilan use of nuclear technology is sheilding and safety issues, not whether we can blow things up better. So, while i may be wrong on this count, from what i know about civilian nuclear use, i fail to see how further development of nuclear armament is going to benefit the civilan utilization of nuclear power (and actually, all it does is cement the notion that nuclear == destruction in the minds of environmental whackos).

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Dan_raven
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I am not one of our resident Physicists, so I won't suggest the value or ability to create a clean nuclear bomb or a green bomb, or what research can be gained by building another bomb.

However I am willing to come up with some circumstances where a nuclear arsenal might be useful.

China--Largest population in the world, and with an ancient history of believing itself to be the center of the universe may decide to spread their control over the rest of Asia.

Already some Chinese generals want to take Tiawan back. Could our army really stop them without Nukes?

To avoid that most dangerous of traps (next to getting involved with a Scicilian when death is on the line), a land war in Asia, nukes are all that we could use to slow down a Chinese assault.

Russia--Today is poor and corrupt. Twenty years from now they will still be the largest country on Earth. Perhaps those corrupt leaders will want to take out Europe. THere are still some nukes in their arsenal. What's to stop them from throwing them our way?

North Korea is tossing Nuclear Threats around. Thier country of hills and mountains would be difficult for our military to move in. Add the threat that nuclear explosions would be falling on our troops while climbing those hills, and on South Korea and Japan and Australia, and you can see where a better, more realistic counter threat is needed.

Basically any country on the face of the earth may succumb to an agressive tyrranical government at some point in the future. By the time we realize we need a nuclear deterrent, we won't have time to build one.

The continuation of our Nuclear Arsenal is not to threaten any single country. Its so we don't get caught without it when we need it.

The US History is to rife with people saying, scratch the army/navy etc. when war is over, only to leave us woefully unprepared when it returns.

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Erik Slaine
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Research on the weapon's side would make them less of a threat to the world in general, but it would be a double edged sword.

Also, being an SF geek, I like to think that weapons research may come up with the possibility of a better interplanetary or interstellar drive. Also what uses could they be put to in space in their destructive capacity? It's just like controlled fission for me: I don't want it on Earth, but it seems like a good idea for the radiation filled environ of space.

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Pod
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Okay, but once again, the whole point of our dealings with North Korea is that we don't want them to use nuclear weapons.

My point has been that having bigger and better nuclear weapons isn't a deterrent in any sense of the word, particularly when you're dealing with madmen. That's been the problem. We don't want want N. Korea to unleash nuclear devistation in Asia. I fail to see how threatening to unleash nuclear devistation in Asia is going to further the cause of preventing nuclear devistation in Asia [Razz]

We've got "the nuclear deterrent" whatever the hell that means, unless we can stop other people from blowing things up, having more nuclear weapons isn't going to deter jack squat.

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Pod
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And Dan, your point is aaaaalmost taken over the chinese troop thing. Again, why not just drop a couple daisy cutters? No radiation, really big boom. We've got munitions large enough to do what we'd want to do with a small tactical nuclear device.
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Storm Saxon
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What's really interesting is when you look at how incredibly small the Chinese nuclear deterrent is. If I recall correctly, about 300 nukes. That's it.

Pod is absolutely correct when he says that beyond a certain point, everything is just overkill. MAD works very well with just one nuke--as North Korea shows very well.

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Storm Saxon
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Let me also point out that one of the reasons NK is so dangerous is because it really is a rogue state. It's not really a part of the world's economy. It is almost completely shut off from the outside world. Arms sales for NK are much more vital to get cold cash than they ever will be for China. These things are what makes NK so dangerous.

China is absolutely, 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Its economy is the fastest growing in the world. It trades extensively with the US and every other nation in the world.

The problem in nuking China is that we are, in a lot of senses, nuking ourselves. Nuking China would cause a tremendous loss of cash flow, and jobs, for the US.

Why invade Taiwan? What's the point?

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Dan_raven
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China doesn't need nuclear weapons.

They have people.

My quick googling shows China has 75 Army Divisions, followed up with a 1.5 Million man militia and a 1 million man police force.

The US, by comparison, has 10 divisions, and all those reservists.

Consider how many cluster munitions it would take to stop a concerted advance by a 1 million man army, as compared to how many nuclear weapons it would take.

KOREA and Deterence. The idea behind deterence is that, if you blow me up, I'll blow you up. So deterence does work with mad men, as long as they believe that 1) you will blow them up if provoked and 2) you can blow them up if provoked.

You cannot hide from a nuclear blast. You can hide from overwhelming conventional weapons. This Osama and Sadaam have proven to the world. Without nuclear weapons we lose number 2.

Now I agree that the overwhelming might of the Cold War nuclear arsenal is not needed. What is militaryilly sound is a new type of nuclear weapon that will be more surgical. That is all they are researching.

(I know, Nuclear Weapons and Surgical should never be used in the same sentence. However, I am reminded of East Germany during the Cold War. They discovered that the Russian plan for defence meant leaving West Germany a nuclear barricade. The fact that radioactive fallout would also leave East Germany devastated did not bother the Russians. This was one thing that lead to the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Less Radioactive nuclear explosions may destroy half a city, but it won't destroy the whole country)

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Storm Saxon
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I am not against the idea of more surgical nukes, per se. (Edit: as in, *really* surgical and not just this bomb only irradiates one square mile of land versus 100 square miles.)

I guess my main point--and it looks like you agree with me on this to some degree--is that cold war warfare is almost a thing of the past. Again, a global economy means that the incentive for war is greatly reduced. What's the point in bombing the people who are buying your products? What's the point of invading a country with your military when you can just make it economically dependent on you?

Again, why is China going to invade Taiwan? What's the incentive?

[ September 18, 2003, 02:30 PM: Message edited by: Storm Saxon ]

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Caleb Varns
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Evil, apparently. [Smile]
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Dan_raven
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China/Tiawan is a whole new thread we could get into.

When Mao conquered China all those who fought against him and could, ran to a small island off of the Chinese coast. There they yelled and cursed and thumbed their nose as Mao and his communists.

The island was called Tiawan. It was part of China.

China was ready to crush these rebels, but Tiawan ran to the US and said, "See, nasty Uncle Mao wants to spread his Communistic evil. Protect us."

We flexed our nuclear muscles and told China that if they invaded Taiwan, we would nuke them.

To this day China believes that Tiawan is a province that really belongs to them, and will return like Hong Kong.

Imagine if Staten Island decided to leave the US and become an Independent Country, then spent a lot of time insulting us and offering to be the staging ground for an enemy invasion. Many in the US would want to get it back.

Its a pride thing.

And why would you want to go to war when you could economically control someone? Simple. When that someone tries to economically control you, war seems an alternative wave to prove yourself.

Its a pride thing.

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Storm Saxon
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I'm well aware of the history, Dan. [Smile]

I doubt it will come to warfare, though. It's hard to really objectively weigh national pride in the equation of what is probable, but Taiwan is not a threat to China. They(China) have all the time in the world to grow their economy. What I mean when I say 'economically control' isn't in the sense that we call the shots as much as 'economically dependent'. I'm betting that within the next 50 years, Taiwan will ask to be reintegrated with China.

If China were to invade Taiwan, it would result in the loss of a lot of money for China in a lot of different ways. Loss of trade being the primary hit, but then there is the cost of rebuilding. Look at how much it is costing us in Iraq, and we're the world's biggest economy rebuilding a relatively economically small country. How much would it cost to rebuild Taiwan, to pay for the costs of occupation in both life and money, versus just letting sleepign dogs lie and making a lot of money off of Taiwan and just wooing them with sweet, sweet trade deals? Which do you really think is most likely?

This assumes, of course, that China continues to economically liberalize as a nation. I think it will. I mean, it's not like anyone in China is bone stupid and isn't going to see what a cash cow this whole capitalism thing is turning out to be.

I'm not against a strong military. There's the whole rest of the world to consider outside of China. I'm not saying for sure something won't happen and China will go clazy. I just really, seriously doubt it.

[ September 18, 2003, 02:46 PM: Message edited by: Storm Saxon ]

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ae
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And even then, are you sure Taiwan is worth nuking China over? I think not.
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Kayla
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quote:
Why the hell do we need more nuclear weapons?
Obviously to keep the defense industry well taken care of. I mean, we cut so much spending in the defense area during the 90's that some of these companies weren't making profits! Some of the CEO's were only getting 10 figure bonuses, people. They need the work.
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Pod
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Actuallly i'd just like to point out that Taiwan was under Japanese control. After the Japanese were defeated, the Maoists turned on the Republicans, and they fled to Taiwan.

That aside, Osama and Saddam aren't dead because we don't have the intellegence to find them, not because we don't have the weapons to kill them. I can't see the american people, or even congress agreeing that we should wipe out an entire city, or even several blocks just to kill Saddam Hussien or Osama Bin Laden.

Wide scale civilian death isn't cool. And, can still be accomplished with conventional weapons too.

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Shartae
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Makes you think with all this talk about nuclear weapons, that every house hold should have a nuclear weapon handy just in case someone decides to take over the household. >.<

People are crazy. We dont want to hear about any terrorist threats, and nuclear war... It scares us into believing that we acutally need them but we dont.

[Grumble]

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Sopwith
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Sadly, nuclear weapons are the easy way.

The same money could be spent on Intelligence and used more effectively. After the end of the Cold War, we started a shift in our foreign intelligence plans from people on the ground to electronic monitoring of communications. As the 90s wore on, we shifted more to the realm of surveillance rather than actual observation. It's pretty much like the police moving from the old cop on the beat to the quick response to 9-11 calls. On the surface it looks good and more economical, but in reality it means we get caught with our pants down regularly and have to respond to incidents as they happen.

A wonderful example can be seen in our surprise when India, then Pakistan tested their first nukes. And I'm not so sure that the Pakistani nukes weren't actually a couple of our old ones handed over to keep the status quo in that region.

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Sal
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<-- agrees with Kayla
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littlemissattitude
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Exactly, Kayla. Maybe someone should republish Eisenhower's farewell speech, in which he warned the country about the military-industrial complex.

quote:
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." Farewell Address. Radio and TV January 17. 1961

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Sopwith
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Very true, LMA and Pres Ike.
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