For Ratboy - Should we have nuclear weapons?

Ratboy said:

A lot of world leaders want nuclear weapons. A lot have them. The reality should be that nobody should have them. Period. These are not weapons to win wars and stop terror; these are weapons to destroy nations and cause terror.

So?

Does anyone think that the world would be a better place without nuclear weapons? Why?

As a threat and deterrent, nuclear weapons have done a remarkable job for the last 50 years. Communist expansion was slowed by the threat of nuclear war for the duration of the Cold War. WWII was ended in the Pacific simply because of the threat of further nuclear action against Japan.

Sure, it would be great if everyone held hands and sang joyous songs together. But unless you have a plan that makes that a reality, a dominant military force, backed by the threat of annihilation from afar sounds like a great compromise.

And before someone starts spouting about how we should settle disputes with diplomacy and negotiation, let me ask one question: is diplomacy and negotiation effective in any situation where there is no threat of military action?

Why do you think that other countries want nuclear weapons? Is it to use them? Of course not. It is so they can negotiate with their neighbors from a position of strength.

I've got more, but I'll open the floor.

No, we shouldn''t. The Cold War very nearly turned into World War III over nukes in Cuba. I don''t think any one nation should wield the power to destroy the world, nor do I think a lot of leaders have the wisdom to use or not use them wisely. Look at the current controversy over tactical nukes and the Pentagon''s desire to make more. Let me ask you a question, JMJ, has having the nuclear deterrent since the end of the Cold War prevented war? Has it caused enemies to surrender? Has it deterred enemies from attacking? Would a nuclear response to a terrorist attack with WMDs change anything? If al-Qaeda destroyed New York tomorrow, would a nuclear response be warranted? What city would you destroy? Would you be willing to condemn an entire Arab city to destruction?

No, the world is too complex now for Mutually Assured Destruction to work now. Nuclear weapons have no practical use. Do I think there will be a global disarmament? No, many countries still want them. Do I think the US should still have them? No, our armed forces have displayed the ability to crush an opponent without a nuclear strike. I also think that the US should abide by the Nuclear Test Ban and not continue with the reckless development of battlefield tactical nukes. It''s not only uneccessary (a MOAB could pack more firepower than one of those nukes), but their creation is illegal under international treaty.

I think our millitary might hold quite a distinct advantage without them. If other countries have them we should have them there is no doubt about that. The one use they do have is as a deterent against others using them. Lets be honest, that is the sole purpose for which they exist.

If no other country has them then we should hold on to the technology and systematically eliminate them. I have no doubt, should the need arise, that we could manufacture an adequate supply if its warranted.

We dont need bragging rights anymore. There is no competition to make bigger and bigger megatons. Why destroy the world over 100 times when 3 times would suffice.

And I dont want any of these MOABs either. Do we really want to improve the technology so that we can get closer and closer to a nuke without calling it a nuke?

To put it bluntly, as long as nuclear weapons exist I certainly want this country to have them.

And the Pakistani President disagrees with you, Ratboy. He believes that nukes have deterred war between India and Pakistan.

http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/jun/...

Rather than treaties to disarm or not pursue nuclear programs (which are generally ignored anyway) I''ve got a better idea. Let''s make nuclear missiles obsolete. Say for instances, a missile defense system? Sure it wouldn''t stop a smuggled nuclear bomb. But an effective missile defense system would prevent the destruction of the United States.
The patriot missiles are showing promise, but clearly more work needs to be done. We should spend more money on it. What do you think?

Like I''ve said elsewhere, the current system being tested needs...more testing. I really don''t want to rely on a system with a 3 out of 5 average of hits. Not exactly sure on that figure, but I bet I''m overestimating.


I really don''t want to rely on a system with a 3 out of 5 average of hits. Not exactly sure on that figure, but I bet I''m overestimating.

You know, you have just hit the crux of the issue. I think that 3 out of 5 is a more than effective deterrent. If I am North Korea, thinking about launching a nuke at the US, I know the minute I launch I have assured the death of my country...but at least I get to take LA with me. But wait...what if I know that there is a 60% chance that my nukes won''t hit, but I''ll still be wiped out of existence?

A missile shield that works 50% of the time is a perfectly good deterrent, just like the nukes that back them up.


The one use they do have is as a deterent against others using them. Lets be honest, that is the sole purpose for which they exist.

Absolutely. They are one hell of a fine deterrent. Not against terrorist groups willing to die, no. But against sovereign nations? Hell yeah. Everyone knows we wouldn''t launch first. But we would sure finish the fight.


Let me ask you a question, JMJ, has having the nuclear deterrent since the end of the Cold War prevented war?

War in general? No. But no one has started a war against a nuclear power since WWII.


Would a nuclear response to a terrorist attack with WMDs change anything? If al-Qaeda destroyed New York tomorrow, would a nuclear response be warranted? What city would you destroy? Would you be willing to condemn an entire Arab city to destruction?

Well, given that nukes aren''t intended as a response against groups, only nations, it is a different conversation at that point. I personally think that the way you fight terrorism is to hit them harder than they hit you. It is all about incentives. You provide them with the incentive to stop. Show them a better way, give them a chance at hope, and if they persist you crush them and everything they hold dear.

If they hit New York again, this time with WMD (be glad I''m not President), I''d start hitting Muslim countries so hard it would make them think that Allah had come for them. Terrorists might be willing to give up their own lives, but they sure don''t want to see their mothers, brothers, sisters, or children hurt anymore than we do. There are ways to fight these kind of attackers, you just have to have the will to carry through.

And yes, if it came to it, I''d nuke a Muslim country. I''d start with the places that are considered national treasures. And I''d make it clear that if the US was attacked by a terrorist threat again, Mecca would be next. I doubt that even a crazed Islamic fundamentalist would put Mecca at risk.


Do I think the US should still have them? No, our armed forces have displayed the ability to crush an opponent without a nuclear strike.

And as long as we have the most nukes, it will stay a conventional war, where we hold all the cards.


a MOAB could pack more firepower than one of those nukes

A MOAB is one big bomb, but it is not even close (by an order of magnitude) to even the smallest nuke.

Like I said, I would love it if there was no need for violence. But I recognize that the world will never accomodate that. And since that is the world we live in, I am glad we have the biggest guns, and that includes nukes.

"JohnnyMoJo" wrote:
I think that 3 out of 5 is a more than effective deterrent.

Pray you''re not in the two out of the five targets that don''t get saved.

But no one has started a war against a nuclear power since WWII.

Not counting 9-11?

Obviously 3 out 5 is unacceptable. We need more research into a viable system, but he Democrats object to any additional funding.


Not counting 9-11?

What nation declared war on us exactly?

"Lawyeron" wrote:
We need more research into a viable system, but he Democrats object to any additional funding.

Clinton was the one who greenlit the current program over the objections of members of his own party.

"JohnnyMoJo" wrote:
What nation declared war on us exactly?

Afghanistan. They provided the training ground for the 9-11 terrorists and provided safe-harbor for their leaders. The Taliban government, along with al-Qaeda, declared war on the US on 9-11. They laid down the gauntlet to the world''s hyperpower, then the US picked that gauntlet up and beat the living crap out of them with it.

If they hit New York again, this time with WMD (be glad I''m not President), I''d start hitting Muslim countries so hard it would make them think that Allah had come for them. Terrorists might be willing to give up their own lives, but they sure don''t want to see their mothers, brothers, sisters, or children hurt anymore than we do. There are ways to fight these kind of attackers, you just have to have the will to carry through.

You couldn''t be more wrong here. These people are willing to die because they think their relatives and in general muslims were/are hurt by us western civs. So if you go and nuke some cities, that is like trying to put out fire with oil.


Afghanistan. They provided the training ground for the 9-11 terrorists and provided safe-harbor for their leaders. The Taliban government, along with al-Qaeda, declared war on the US on 9-11. They laid down the gauntlet to the world''s hyperpower, then the US picked that gauntlet up and beat the living crap out of them with it.

That might be true is essence, but it is factually incorrect. The Afgani ambassador was crying bloody murder at the UN when we made our intentions to overthrow the Taliban clear, saying his government was innocent.


You couldn''t be more wrong here. These people are willing to die because they think their relatives and in general muslims were/are hurt by us western civs. So if you go and nuke some cities, that is like trying to put out fire with oil.

I don''t think so. If they weren''t concerned with their relatives, why would the wealthy in Saudi Arabia and Saddam both offer significant amounts of cash to the families of suicide bombers? And you don''t see a lot of wealthy suicide attackers, do you?

This has been proven. Before the rise of the instantaneous media, the British Empire fought guerilla uprisings in this manner in Africa and SE Asia. And it was very effective.

No, these people are people like any other, in that they have concerns for the well-being of close family. Threaten their sons and they will slow down. Threaten all they hold holy and they will stop.

But don''t you think that killing of their relatives and especially using nukes would make them even more mad? Sure they care for their families, but if you take them away there is little they have left. And those people are really dangerous as these are the ones carrying bombs into clubs, busses, concerts or football stadiums.
The recent terrorist attacks in moscow prove true that these people just get more mad if you kill their families.

"chrisg" wrote:
But don''t you think that killing of their relatives and especially using nukes would make them even more mad? Sure they care for their families, but if you take them away there is little they have left. And those people are really dangerous as these are the ones carrying bombs into clubs, busses, concerts or football stadiums.
The recent terrorist attacks in moscow prove true that these people just get more mad if you kill their families.

I think if we used nukes the problem would end very quickly. It would break their spirit and they would have to worry about the home more. I don''t think we should mind you, we should only use nukes if we were attacked with one.

Let me also add that if we use nukes, for whatever reason, international support for the US will go to zero.

Don''t count on it with all your heart, as soon as the more sophisticated and miniaturized ''clean'' nukes will enter service and possibly be used the threshold for either using them or accepting their use will be much lower. If that''s a good thing is obviously the million dollar question though.

Hey, Ratboy, did Afghanistan declare war on us when Al Quaeda bombed our embassies and attacked the U.S. Cole?

Sure, but that doesn''t change the fact that a government declared war on the world''s only hyperpower.

In the way the current admministration approaches the situation I think they did, there just was no incentive to counterdeclarate at that time.

If Afghanistan declared war on us, than why did Clinton do nothing? I know it''s off topic, but I couldn''t resist. You don''t have to answer that.

Thats the question eh, I have pondered on it many times. Why would you declare war on some third world hellhole while the economy is going strong and the people are generally happy? He could have grabbed the chance that was given to him with both hands and create a great ''war of terror'' crusade like we are seeing now before it was deemed necessary but alas, something obviously got in the way.

To be perfectly honest, nobody was calling for that war back then. We were happy with our 401k''s, and we certainly didn''t want to risk our stocks (that were overinflated based on Web companies that were unprofitable and other companies that falsified their balance sheets). Please don''t get me started about how the ""Clinton economy"" was a total sham.

Anyway, as you can see from this article. The administation decided to take a ""quiet"" approach to dismanting Bin Laden. They didn''t treat it as a declaration of war from Afghanistan. They considered it an attack from a terrorist network. It''s actually an interesting read about how politicians called for an immediate and swift reprisal. Neither administration did anything until 9/11, when Bin Laden finally got the attention he was so desparately seeking in his previous attacks.

http://www.cnn.com/2000/US/10/23/uss...

I think a lot of what happened too is we got so worked up with the 2000 election debacle that the USS Cole was sadly forgotten.

I think that a full-scale war with Afghanistan in 1998 would have been a hard sell. For one thing, the attacks in Africa did not, in the eyes of the international community, rise to the point of justifing an Operaion Enduring Freedom-style campaign. Futhermore, the Clinton Administration would not have been able to convince the Republican-led Congress to go to war, partly because the threat of the al-Qaeda network was generally deemed minimal and that I really don''t think the Republican party would have followed Clinton into war, albeit a war that may have prevented future terror attacks; they hated him that much.

Another thing that is routinely forgotten is that al-Qaeda planned several attacks in the US to coincide with Y2K. Fortunately, they were stopped at the border. If they weren''t, we''d be mourning 12-31 or 1-1 rather than 9-11.


Sure, but that doesn''t change the fact that a government declared war on the world''s only hyperpower.

I am not trying to be a stick in the mud here, but can you show me a link where Afganistan declared war on the US please? I don''t think you''ll be able to, because they didn''t. Afganistan was the first regime to fall because they supported and harbored terrorists. The Taliban never declared war, their nation against the US.

And I take it there is no further discussion brewing about nuclear weapons.

Yeah but as far is I and obviously the Bush administration is concerned harboring terrorists in a post-9/11 world equals a declaration of war.

We can still go on topic though and I say, yes, the US should posess nuclear weapons, not only to face today''s threats but also tomorrows. It''s always handy to have some nukes lying around when you need some deterrence, there are a lot of potential other North Korea''s.

Basically an act of war equals a declaration of war.

I believe that attacking a military vessel, the USS Cole was an act of war.

Now can a non government declare war? That is an interesting question. Lincoln refused to acknowledge the Civil War as a war because he didn''t want to legitimize the Confederacy.

As far as nukes, another possible use would be if Aliens attack us or Godzilla rises again. You never know when you might need some real thump thump power.

Oh, yeah, and I agree with everything Ratboy said in his previous post.

However, he sold Bosnia when only 49% of Americans supported that war.

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1997/...

Now that''s salesmenship.

Yeah, I think the confident nobility required to be the first to disarm all nuclear weapons is something that the US will not find for one hell of a long time.

For myself, I couldn''t stomach it either. It''s nice to say, ""Give peace a chance."" But it''s another when you''re dropping your guard in a world full of people who want to kick you in the groin. Repeatedly.

The missile shield idea doesnt seem feasible. Its too sci fi. However, the Patriot and the 747''s with anti missile lasers do sound extremely promising. Im a big fan in that kind of millitary tech.

One question is though, are the patriots capable of neutralizing an intercontinental threat? We know they are 60% on short range. I know the decision gate and aquisition time is much shorter on Skuds. Yet, its a system that was designed for low altitude short flight missiles. How effective would it be with near space altitudes and faster speeds over longer distances? Its completely different trajectories.

Plus, even if they do get the missile, what happens if it blows up too close to target and is allowed to do partial damage? Partial damage of a several megaton missile is quite substantial.

We''re probably at least 20 years from a viable system. However, you are probably looking at a space based missile system for high rockets, 747''s for midrange, and land based patriots for low altitude.

It''ll be like command and conquer! Lots of toys.

And for people who think this research is a waste, they''ll be using patriot laser guided technology for my eye surgery.