Comments: The depressing reality of rejecting Missile Defense

I think that Mr. Martin ended up making a tough decision. Making tough decisions is what leadership is all about in the final analysis.

Afterall, "joining" the US was not going to cost us anything, but it would have lent credability to a military program that lacks credability. The facts are that scientists and engineers from Alaska to Massachusetts all agree that designing and building "anti-missile missiles" is not possible, and it has been made even more difficult a proposition by the recent Russian announcement to build a hypersonic cruise missile to deliver nuclear, chemical and biological warheads. Such unmanned vehicles can cruise in the upper layers of the atmosphere at Mach 6 or better, and are capable of "high dynamics" manoevers that exceed 30 "g" along the entire path, making the problem of attacking and destroying them, virtually impossible with conventional explosives. You can think of them as hypersonic bombers that are continually doing aerobatic maneovers on the way to the target and what it takes to "intercept" and destroy such a bomber. And do not forget that these days stealth radar technologies allow such vehicles to have a minimum radar cross section as well. And since such vehicles travel just inside the atmospheric envelope, attacking them from spaceborn platforms is just as problematic, even with lasers and xray lasers.

Canada did a great deal of research on such weapons back in the 1960s and finally concluded in 1970 that such systems could only be effective with nuclear warheads large enough to destroy the incoming missiles. That of course defeats the entire purpose of a defensive missile shield. Nothing has changed in these earlier Canadian studies and nothing has changed in the conclusion.

I thought that Mr. Martin would have gone along with the Bush Administration in this expensive boondoggle on the US taxpayer, but to his credit he recognized bullshit when he saw it and was not afraid to say so publicly.

And I also think that Mr. Harper must be giving off a huge sigh of relief because the Conservatives know full well that this was simply a money grab by the Carlyle Group and its companies, since no credible scientist or engineer is prepared to recommend this sort of development. In case you have missed it, the Carlyle Group is now in control of the American nuclear weapons programs, and safely out of sight of Congressional oversight since its a private company. Oh yes, that is the same Carlyle Group that counts among its members the Bush Family and the Bin Laudin Family.

Canada concluded, back in 1970, and its valid still today, that the only workable method for nuclear arms control is "disarmament". By violating international missile treaties, the US is harming, not helping its own defence posture.

Congratulations to Mr. Martin for his willingness to call a spade a shovel. By steering clear of this corrupt US program, Mr. Martin has spared Canadians the embarassment that is surely coming when Congress begins to find out how it spent so much money for something that could not work in principle.

Posted by Joe Green at February 27, 2005 04:31 PM

Yikes!

Another voice of opposition to the Debbye website!

Good going mr. Green... I didn't know the Carylye group was in charge of the program. (Not that I'm surprised)

Oh well, the nutjobs can always defend themselvs simply by saying "that's irrelevant" or the good ol' "I'm not answering that question." Thank God (LITERALLY) that they have 40-45% of the populatin that believes everything they say and another 5-10% "undecided" voters to scare with 9/11 paranoia.

YIKES!

Another Home Run for Rafer Alston, the best baseball player for the Toronto Maple Leafs!

Posted by Rafer's Mom at February 27, 2005 05:34 PM

"Another voice of opposition to the Debbye website!"

This is the voice of free speech, Canadian style, celebrating opposition to a website. In America, we unsophisticated generally express opposition to viewpoints, not to websites. Canadians seem to have a more expansive view on the right to oppose free speech.

No, Joe, I'm not putting you in the same category. I hate to ask this, because I object to comments that constantly demand "proof" in the form of links to supporting material, but in your case you have revealed a lot of new (to me) information and I would appreciate it if you would provide a link to the material you are using. You are very specific, so undoubtedly you have read something somewhere about the Russian program.

"...could only be effective with nuclear warheads large enough to destroy the incoming missiles. That of course defeats the entire purpose of a defensive missile shield."
Oh it does? Would you not do a nuclear airburst at 60,000 feet to prevent an airburst at 10,000 feet or a ground level nuclear explosion at Toronto?

Much of your description seems counterintuitive. Any 'cruise missile' traveling at hypersonic speeds has to be very, very high to keep from burning up. At the same time, defense agencies don't need radar to track hypersonic craft because they would light up like a meteor from their heat signature.

Opposition because 'it can't work' doesn't ring true. The more plausible reading, and the common one in America, of Canada's opposition is that Canada hopes to benefit from America's shield, as it has in the past, except that now it hopes to benefit and at the same time separate itself from American, British and Australian policy worldwide. Hopefully the terrorists and the nations who support them will see Canada's support for their totalitarian regimes and Islamic fundamentalism as reason to grant a pass to Canada and the missles will pass by her door and strike her 'allies'.

Posted by mikem at February 27, 2005 07:24 PM

I knew very little about missile defence, so I did some research. I've posted links to what I read here:

http://www.darrenbarefoot.com/archives/002402.html

The missile defence system seemed like a waste of resources and a riskly political tactic, and what I read hasn't changed my mind. I'm keen, however, to read some thoughtful arguments in favour of missile defence. Can anybody recommend some? You don't have to make the argument yourself--just point to something compelling. Cheers.

Posted by Darren at February 27, 2005 07:59 PM

Thanks. I'll take a look at it.

Posted by mikem at February 27, 2005 08:01 PM

Re: The Carlyle Group

Do you really think the Prime Minister made any decision based on the scare factor of the Carlyle Group? Wikipedia says his buddy Desmarais sits on Carlyle's advisory board.

Posted by Sammie at February 27, 2005 08:19 PM

Hey Debbie nice post, but how can the President even offer the Liberals a weapon system in the first place, hell they got problem with Walmart, puppets, and Macdonalds. Serious Debbie, look it they will not fund their armed forces but will throw away billions of the taxpayers dollars on the CBC. Did you see the Canadian elections 04? Hell the Liberals used American ships and troops as scare tactics in the vote. Surpised?

Posted by Dex at February 27, 2005 10:11 PM

Debbye, Don't get depressed by the above comments. Keep up the good work I guess these Chomskyites must read your stuff so perhaps one day a little reality will seep into their heads! Who knows? All the best David.

Posted by David at February 27, 2005 10:42 PM

Do you people read anything besides online sources, the Post and the SUN media rags? With posts like these above, I'm actually kinda of amazed you can read in the first place*

I'm curious to know.

PS: Also, this is far off topic, so i apologize for the derailment, but what's with the assumption that everyone who disagrees with you is a liberal who loves Noam Chomsky? Let's look at Chomsky in depth here.

Chomsky is very insightful and intelligent, but it would be difficult to take all of his writings as holy writ. To do so would require the pigheaded and ignorant dogmatism that only party hacks and bloggers seem to possess(I include the left and right in this assessment-especially the right).

Even at those "hotbeds of liberalism" that many of you shake your fist at while trembling in fear, the dreaded CANADIAN University, Chomsky is not well liked in most university departments such as political science and history. I am not including his linguistic and media theories(especially his media theories. You people act out "Manufacturing Consent" everyday without realizing it. It's both horrifying and fascinating to watch).

His political commentary is meant to be populist and easily accessable, as well as a form of agitprop-he can be a tad extreme-not academic.

Suprisingly, this assessment applies to most blogs as well. Good for some quick slanted news and sensationalism, not really that good for an intelligent in-depth discussion.

I have never seen his work discussed by professor in a serious academic manner, or placed on a sylabus. (but i'm sure international development is a different kettle of fish)

He has very good points at times, some incredible insights and is perhaps one of the great living intellectuals of our era, but he is not totally respected by people who prefer an academic study of policy and politics.

Of course, many well educated people without dogmatic baggage can come to similar (but less extreme) insights as Chomsky on their own.

Posted by Blackglasses at February 27, 2005 11:53 PM

Mikem? Rafer? Warren? And they say we're all the same person.

Calling someone opposition does not mean I hate free speech. Only an idiot would think that. What I mean is another voice challenging the American-cheerleading we find here.

Dex, you also are an idiot... The CBC is not a waste of money... It's our national news source... You're going to lecture us on nationalism?... The United States media can't go ten second without screaming FREEDOM! DEMOCRACY!... Wake up

David, you're calling me a Chomskyite?... Wow, that sort of labelling is exactly what I've been calling other people out on. Wake up and respond to the arguments I make instead of just screaming LIBERAL! EVIL! TRAITOR! like your brethren.

Blackglasses, it's impossible to prove Chomsky is a reasonable intellectual... None of these people have ever read anything by him besides the soundbites they find on blogs and other right wing news sites that take him out of context when he defends holocaust deniers, etc.


... There you go. 4 blowhards dismissed of in less than 3 minutes.

Posted by Rafer/MikeM/Warren's Mom at February 28, 2005 12:02 AM

"The United States media can't go ten second without screaming FREEDOM! DEMOCRACY!..."

The horror, the horror.

"..that take him out of context when he defends holocaust deniers, etc."

Don't you hate when that happens? One day you're defending holocaust deniers and the next day the REAL Nazis are criticizing you as a JewHater. Out of context, oh please. From the mouth of babes.


Posted by mikem at February 28, 2005 12:15 AM

mikem asked for some backround information related to the current American Administration and its fascination with ballistic missile defence.

So I will begin by giving you a URL that is somewhat outside the box but accurate as far as I can tell from my other sources.

http://english.daralhayat.com/Spec/10-2004/Article-20041010-838064fa-c0a8-01ed-004f-35394dc965fe/story.html

The "whos who" of the Washington "neo-con" club are there as is their views, conflicts, and contradictions. I thought it was rather well researched.

Second, as to Carlyle itself check this site out.

http://www.vivelecanada.ca/article.php/20040918050139299

Finally, check out the following URL about American "dirty politics"

http://www.opensecrets.org/

One other detail that you will find very interesting is that NASA (actually a US military program inside NASA) recently air tested a very high speed unmanned vehicle at very high speeds that uses a ram jet engine. Such engines have no moving parts, and are capable of propelling hypersonic cruise missiles of the type that Mr. Putin announced for Russia recently.

These really are the next generation of ICBM because they are much harder to defend against and in any case they operate in a fashion that can use even smaller yield nuclear weapons. Thus the interest by the US in building nuclear weapons of 3 to 5 kilotons, or if you like, bombs equivalent to 6,000,000 to 10,000,000 lbs of high explosive. On the other end of the scale, the US Air Force last year tested a large bomb weighing something in the order of 40,000 lbs. These are "bunker buster" munitions and they can be made rather small because deliverable accuracy is high, typically within 2 to 5 meters with GPS guided munitions.

The point however, is that conventional warheads, or even dead weights like depleted uranium fragmentation shells, are "heavy" and are therefore very difficult to maneouver under conditions of "high dynamics". A 1000 lbs payload in conventional explosives weighs 30,000 lbs under conditions of 30 "g" turns. That takes a lot of rocket power and thrust to steer and guide.

It is obvious that if you cannot reduce the "closing error" to near zero for an "interceptor" that you then must use much larger explosives to destroy the target.

These studies were well done by Canadian Defence Research Board teams back in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War, and its conclusions are as valid today as it was when these studies were made.

The path to peace and security for Canada and the US does not lie in broken missile treaties, rather it lies in arms control treaties that are verifiable and under the supervision and control of the United Nations.

One last point. There are a rather significant group of Canadian Defence Staff Officers that opposed nuclear arms for Canada and who have well thought out positions as to how to best enhance our defence posture. All of these men understand the "snake oil" that is being peddled here by the Carlyle Group and its companies.

Posted by Joe Green at February 28, 2005 04:01 AM

Hey, the libs are right about missile defense and I have no problem with them dropping out,better for them to make a decision and move on. I just wish President Bush get the USA out of the UN becasue we can totally see our safety cannot be trusted to Nations that wish us harm. Concerts, candle buring is about healing but not in itself ensures peace like some would think but attraction of it makes libs feel good so be it.

Posted by Dex at February 28, 2005 10:29 AM

"I just wish President Bush get the USA out of the UN becasue we can totally see our safety cannot be trusted to Nations that wish us harm"

Have you ever read a serious account of International Realtions and the UN or just the idiotic tripe that is passed around in poorly photocopied newsletters and right wing blogs?

I'm leaning towards the latter.

An well read individual would never say something so ill-informed. You statement indicates that you do not even have a basic understanding of international politics, save the George W. Bush's bad William Wallace impersonation school*.

* To wit: "FREEEEEEDOOOOOOMMMM!!!"

Posted by Blackglasses at February 28, 2005 11:12 AM

Blackglass who ever you are congrads on your medal of being well read on so called international crap hell maybe they should give the Nobel.

Posted by Dex at February 28, 2005 11:29 AM

Great discussion. My knowledge about missile defense goes back to the 60's when we called it AMB defense, but the same reservations as to the ability of such a system to function remain.

Military technology is fleeting at best but how it figures as a deterrent is, however intangible, also a factor that has to be considered.

Thanks for the links, Darren and Joe, and for the info on Demarais' links to Carlyle, Sammie.

One note: I think I'm within my rights to insist that people not use a name like "Somebody's Mom" etc. Dragging in somebody's mother is maybe worthy of someone in 4th grade but degrades a discussion between adults into just plain abuse without any redeeming ideas or viewpoints.

I expect heat for myself, but please treat other commenters with a bit more respect.

Posted by Debbye at February 28, 2005 02:42 PM

Thank you, Debbye. And I think that giving these ignorants the status of 4th grade name-calling is maybe even too much credit. I think their maturity is well below that of a 10 year old.

Putting this behind now, I don't have much to add in the debate over Canada's refusal to join the States in the missile defence system, except I find that Paul Martin's decision on this matter is not surprising to say the least. With a little groundhog like Jack Layton chirping in his ears every day in Parliament, he had to do something to quiet him down.

Posted by Rafer at February 28, 2005 03:18 PM

Thank you, Debbye. And I think that giving these ignorants the status of 4th grade name-calling is maybe even too much credit. I think their maturity is well below that of a 10 year old. Putting this behind now, I don't have much to add in the debate over Canada's refusal to join the States in the missile defence system, except I find that Paul Martin's decision on this matter is not surprising to say the least. With a little groundhog like Jack Layton chirping in his ears every day in Parliament...blah blah blahbbity blah...

..I can't hear you...La la la...la la la...la la LAH

Look, sweetie, if you're going to criticise anyone for being childish, you might want to not call oppostition politicians groundhogs.

Just a suggestion.

Posted by Malika at March 1, 2005 09:44 PM

That admonition for 'childishness' was brought to you by Malika, of "fuck off", "motherfucker", "moronic, half-witted, rabid little vole", "douchebag" fame.

So pay it no mind.

Just a suggestion.

Posted by mikem at March 2, 2005 01:37 AM