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Kung-Fu Monkey: "I Miss Republicans" - Elf M. Sternberg
Kung-Fu Monkey: "I Miss Republicans"
Kung-Fu Monkey on the missle defense shield that Obama just cancelled:
At $200 billion [the allocated cost for the missle defense shield from 1999 through 2009] we could literally give every person in the Middle East a thousand bucks to look the other way, maybe buy some Nike knock-offs and chill*. If we Fermi Problem it, figuring on just men, 50% down, then just adult men between , say 17-40, knock it down a quarter, then assume fairly effective terrorists need a smattering of English and some technical knowledge, that's down to maybe 10% of our working number ... that's between $50,000 to $80,000 to every reasonably viable terrorist to go out and not vaporize himself. That's good money. That's "let's focus more on the inventing-algebra parts of Islam and slightly less on the jihad aspects while we watch the game on my new big-screen" money. Sure, you're gonna get your martyrs, but hey, that's what the Dept. of Homeland Security is for.


Read it all: I Miss Republicans.

Now realize that Kung-Fu Monkey wrote that in 2004.

Current Mood: giggly giggly

18 comments or Leave a comment
shockwave77598 From: shockwave77598 Date: September 17th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Failures when testing new systems are inevitable. And the reason the test he mentions was canceled due to rain is not because it's not rainproof. The reason was because a) you minimize your variables when testing and b) cameras cannot see through rainclouds.

Besides, this is the smart move in the first place. Letting the Russian's win one makes them less hostile to holding Iran to giving up its quest for a nuke.

And we then quietly keep a ship with these missiles anchored in the Med where they can do the exact same job from international waters...
From: oldhans117 Date: September 18th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
The really stupid thing about this is if a terrorists nation wants to nuke the U.S. they will buy a old freighters put the nuke in a steel box in the belly, pile 500 tons of lead scrape on top of it. Have the nuke set to blow up in X days and tell the crew that there is a big bonus to get the ship to New York port on day Y. Boom, no more NY and no one could tell who did it.

Thanks to the total failure of the bush era less that 10% of U.S. cargo is ever checked. China looks at 100%, but they value their citizens over profit there.
tagryn From: tagryn Date: September 18th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tracing the after-bomb signatures back to their source would be challenging but not impossible. The question is, after one determines that the material came from Pakistan or Russia or North Korea, what to do about it, especially if the originating nation denies all involvement?

Anyway, if you put a nuke into a simple lead container, it defeats most radiation detection equipment. Heck, you don't need to even submit the cargo for scanning, getting the ship into harbor is enough for detonation to be effective, which is probably why the CBP initiative focuses on checking containers before they get loaded. Human intel will always be more effective than brute-force technological solutions at detecting plots which would lead up to such a disaster, anyway...which would point towards devoting more resources towards the CIA's foreign human intelligence gathering, nasty as that business is.

China looks at 100%, but they value their citizens over profit there.

Not really, if one looks at the mess they've made of their environment in the name of industrial development (i.e. profits). I see that as the West basically outsourcing the environmental consequences of manufacturing to the developing countries, but its also allowed the Third World to rise much of their population out of poverty, so it was a reasonable deal for them to make. They're not angels any more than we, though.
darrelx From: darrelx Date: September 17th, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Missile Defense was NEVER intended to be able to stop all missiles... it was intended to ensure that retaliatory strikes are still possible, thus enabling the Mutually Assured Destruction aspect of PREVENTING an attack to begin with.

It's amazing how many people (and now the president, too) just don't get it.

The cold war was won (thanks mostly to Charlie Wilson and Ronald Reagan)... but Obama's wussing out on Missile Defense opens the door to CWII.

Without Mutually Assured Destruction, countries with Nukes cannot be kept in check. Since we are NEVER going to rid the entire world of Nukes (short of using them all, and we don't want that), we need a Missile Defense system.
ben_raccoon From: ben_raccoon Date: September 18th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC) (Link)
We have more than 15,000 nukes as of '02, and over 10,000 of them are fully functional and available for launch. That's more than enough MAD to satisfy any Armageddon enthusiast.

Besides, you're assuming that Russia can even afford to re-arm, or even cares enough to do so. I find both to be highly unlikely.
elfs From: elfs Date: September 18th, 2009 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
The stated purpose of the missile defense shield from 2002 through 2008 in the former Soviet Satellites was to protect those states and states further west from inbound ballistic missile attacks from the Middle East. As KFM points out, that's incredibly stupid; the enemy won't use missiles, they'll use vans.

The unstated purpose was to antagonize and distract Russia. But we can't afford to play Reagan's game. (Hell, we couldn't afford it under Reagan). Our financial house is a wreck, and while Russia's may not be better, they've been demonstrably willing to sacrifice for their pride.

This is one of those things the bloodthirsty (and terrified) right doesn't understand. For a small gesture, we get huge savings and goodwill. And our defensive stance isn't affected one whit.
tagryn From: tagryn Date: September 18th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
As KFM points out, that's incredibly stupid; the enemy won't use missiles, they'll use vans.

Iran disagrees, hence all the research they've been putting into their missile technology.

For a small gesture, we get huge savings and goodwill.

I look forward to seeing this "goodwill" in operation with the Russians, but color me very skeptical that this'll do anything to change the equations in operation. Russia may well be "withering" over the long term, to use Biden's terminology, but they certainly appear to understand geopolitics better than the current U.S. administration does. I definitely don't think selling out Poland and the Czechs to make a gesture to the Russians was the right call.
gromm From: gromm Date: September 18th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I think that if Iran were to do something stupid like launch a scant few ICBMs at the US (or anyone), Iran wouldn't exist long enough to fully regret the decision.

But if those nukes were to show up in vans, then they might live long enough to deny any knowledge of the attack.

Just sayin'.
sianmink From: sianmink Date: September 18th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)

hardly enough for MAD

cadetstar From: cadetstar Date: September 18th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: hardly enough for MAD

That's assuming complete destruction of all land that humans inhabit. But, to me, MAD is more about destroying the military machine and infrastructure rather than complete destruction of all humanity.

So, for the United States:
51 (state capitals + DC) * 5 nukes each (many would not require this many, but let's over-shoot) = 255 nukes
100 large cities that are not capitals * 5 nukes each = 500 nukes

Total of 755 nukes. Even if you double the number for safeguard reasons, that's still only 1510 nukes. Throw in 207 public US Military bases with 10 nukes each and your total is still only at 3580 nukes.

Able to destroy all life on the earth immediately: no.
Able to destroy a great majority of the infrastructure and quite possibly cause a nuclear winter that wipes out civilization as we know it: Yeah.

gromm From: gromm Date: September 18th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: hardly enough for MAD

ben_raccoon From: ben_raccoon Date: September 19th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: hardly enough for MAD

Hell, some cities are so tightly packed, you would be able to take it out with one. I'm pretty sure a single nuke would be more than enough to completely waste, say, New York.

Plus, y'know, the fallout plume and radioactive dust covers an area several orders of magnitude larger than the initial blast. If you're feeling even moderately patient about destroying a country or the world, you can easily use a third that number of nukes, unless the infrastructure was spread out too much.

Not to mention, damage caused by the social fallout would be astronomical: disrupted transportation and communication, riots, general insanity, doomsday cults springing up, and so on. Hell, in the world today? A single nuke could probably just fuck things over entirely.
srmalloy From: srmalloy Date: September 19th, 2009 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: hardly enough for MAD

For maximum effect, though, you don't want to destroy cities, you want to destroy military facilities. For the civilian population, what you want are nice, big surface-detonation blasts upwind of cities and major agricultural areas to maximize fallout coverage, with only enough direct-blast effect in the cities to create enough damage to disrupt transport (food and medical care in, survivors out) in the area. In many cases, though, the attacks against military facilities will take care of that well enough.
ben_raccoon From: ben_raccoon Date: September 22nd, 2009 06:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: hardly enough for MAD

Yeah, that's pretty much what I was thinking.
ben_raccoon From: ben_raccoon Date: September 19th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: hardly enough for MAD

Prime example of what happens when you try to oversimplify the math. Nukes are far more than a simple concussive force, and the distribution of humanity is not a contiguous thing. This chart doesn't calculate the hundreds of imperfect variables that would make that number a *lot* lower. See cadetstar's comment.
_candide_ From: _candide_ Date: September 18th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
There was a wonderful cartoon in Physics Today back in the
'90s, when I was in grad-school. The punchline was something like
this: "We could take a billion dollars in pennies and launch them at the incoming missiles."

To any physicist, that's a perfect description of these missle-defense-shields.

You see, right now, physics can describe two things interacting, or 100000000000000000000000 objects bumping into each other. Anything in-between … well, the math doesn't exist yet, let alone the physics based on that nonexistent math. It's not a matter of technology.

There's just no way to model 1 missile + 1 missile + 1 planet + winds. And you can throw as much money at the problem as you want, it won't make the science come into existence.†

Shooting 100,000,000,000 pennies at an incoming missile is more likely to have an effect.

(Humanity spent millenia trying to predict the motions of the planets. Yet all of the resources of millenia of kings and emperors couldn't bring calculus into existence, and until we had calculus, we couldn't even begin to do physics, which Isaac Newton used to fully describe the motion of the planets.)

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 18th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
MAD? That's why ballistic missile submarines were invented. You'll have a hell of a time taking them all out before they can launch.
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: September 19th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Not your best post, Elf

Yes, that was a 2004 post. It was a stupid, willfully ignorant 2004 post. Why are you dragging it out five years later?

I don't know where the $200 billion figure comes from. Neither do you. Two minutes' research on Wikipedia will show you that the real number is much lower, a third or that or less. That puts it in the range of the direct economic damages to New York City because of the 9/11 attacks there.

The indirect damages to the US economy because of those attacks were far higher, well in excess of even Kung-Fu Monkey's figure. The damages to the Western world that would result from a nuclear strike would be far higher still.

Missile defense actually works. It's cutting-edge technology, and it's taken a lot of time and money to develop it, but it works. The tests show it. The tests showed it years before Kung-Fu Monkey wrote that piece of crap. He just ignored the facts because they contradicted his prejudices. Which is, I fear, what you've done. That isn't right.

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18 comments or Leave a comment