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Author Topic: Is the NDP wasting time on "Star Wars"?
Budd Campbell
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posted 05 November 2004 04:09 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
The NDP makes a fairly large deal of opposing the American missile defence scheme and in particular any weaponization of space. But really, has anyone in the NDP actually researched this issue?

The last issue of Scientific American had an article, cited below, which basically says the system would be ineffective.

In particular, it says that any weapons placed in space would be totally useless because any military that can build missiles could easily - and very cheaply - destroy these satellite weapons. Yet the NDP position seems to be based on the scary sounding premise that these spaced based weapons could be a genuine hazard to security. Is the NDP wasting time chasing a paper tiger for ideological reasons?


Holes in the Missile Shield

The national missile defense now being deployed by the U.S. should be replaced with a more effective system

By Richard L. Garwin

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=000A45A2-E044-115D-A04483414B7F0000&pageNumber=1&catID=2

RICHARD L. GARWIN has worked with the U.S. government since 1950 on the technology of nuclear weapons, missiles, air defense and missile defense. He is an experimental physicist with a research background in nuclear and particle physics, condensed-matter physics and the detection of gravity waves

Here are a few quotes from the article:


"A strong defense against ballistic missiles is a worthy goal."

"But despite the more than $80 billion spent by the U.S. on missile defense since 1985, this system will not provide significant protection for many years, if ever."

"The fundamental weakness of midcourse intercept is that the countermeasures are all too simple. The money and skill needed to implement them are trivial compared with the effort required to design, build and care for the ICBMs themselves.

"I am so persuaded of the effectiveness of these countermeasures--specifically, decoys and antisimulation balloons--that beginning in 1999 I strongly urged the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (the predecessor of the MDA) to abandon the midcourse defense and assign higher priority to boost-phase intercept instead."

"A space-based system, however, would be extremely costly and vulnerable."

"What is more, the primary missile threat to the U.S. is not ICBMs. If a nation such as North Korea or Iran is intent on attacking an American city, it is far more likely to do so using short-range missiles launched from ships near the U.S. coasts. In a press briefing in 2002 Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld noted: "Countries have placed ballistic missiles in ships--dime a dozen--all over the world. At any given time, there's any number off our coasts, coming, going. On transporter-erector-launchers, they simply erect it, fire off a ballistic missile, put it down, cover it up. Their radar signature's not any different than 50 others in close proximity." Despite this acknowledgment, however, the Defense Department has no system planned for deployment that could defend against these missiles."


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 05 November 2004 04:14 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post
Isn't its apparent uselessness just as valid reason to oppose it as its potential danger?

Certainly public opinion is on the NDP's side on this one. It's not likely to be a winnable battle, but perhaps it's one people will remember when marking a ballot next year or the year after.


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BLAKE 3:16
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posted 05 November 2004 04:25 PM      Profile for BLAKE 3:16     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agree, RB, about its uselessness and immorality damning it. The possibility for catastrophic accidents only increases when such stupid paths are pursued.

It seems pretty winnable to me. Canadian hostility to the program and general hostility to Bush may paint Martin into a corner. Many Liberals aren't too keen and the Conservatives will need to be a bit careful at triumphing US militarism.

It's great that Layton is pushing the issue.


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Thrasymachus
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posted 05 November 2004 04:26 PM      Profile for Thrasymachus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The tech arguments make it scarier. Nothing is worse than a false sense of security. E.g. we can invade North Korea because we have the technology to stop incoming missiles.
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Budd Campbell
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posted 05 November 2004 04:31 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Thrasymachus:
The tech arguments make it scarier. Nothing is worse than a false sense of security. E.g. we can invade North Korea because we have the technology to stop incoming missiles.

If the system is ineffective, how does this argument play?


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
BLAKE 3:16
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posted 05 November 2004 04:34 PM      Profile for BLAKE 3:16     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Cuz if smart bombs ain't so smart, it doesn't mean that folks don't get blown up by them. Just the "wrong" folks.

Space exploration is incredibly dangerous, and when you mix it up with imperial goals and a disdain for the environment and human life it just gets more dangerous. For the whole planet.


From: Babylon, Ontario | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 05 November 2004 04:41 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by BLAKE 3:16:
I agree, RB, about its uselessness and immorality damning it. The possibility for catastrophic accidents only increases when such stupid paths are pursued.

It seems pretty winnable to me. Canadian hostility to the program and general hostility to Bush may paint Martin into a corner.



What possibility is there of a "catastrophic accident" with a system that is useless. I don't follow this logic.

I agree completely that wasting scarce public funds, including scarce defence dollars, on a useless white elephant is reason enough to oppose a project.

But the NDP has stated its opposition not on practical grounds of economy but rather on the principle that weaponizing space would constitute a dangerous escalation in the arms race. Which is ridiculous, because the weapons in space would be totally useless, and there is no one left to race against.

As for opposing Bush and all things Bushy, I wonder about the politics of this. Bush has just been relected despite our objections, but cannot seek a third term. What is the currency, even among Canadian voters who dislike GWB, of launching an armada of rhetorical rockets at this guy, now that he is over the hump and on the glide path to retirement?

Is ritualistic, almost fetishistic opposition politically marketable, does that really sound to people like the conscience of Parliament talking? Or do we just become Carolyn Parrish with no access to the public trough because we aren't good Liberals?


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Budd Campbell
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posted 05 November 2004 04:43 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by BLAKE 3:16:
Cuz if smart bombs ain't so smart, it doesn't mean that folks don't get blown up by them. Just the "wrong" folks.

Space exploration is incredibly dangerous, and when you mix it up with imperial goals and a disdain for the environment and human life it just gets more dangerous. For the whole planet.



ROTFLMAO!

I knew I shoudn't have started this. Good thing there's a weekend coming up.


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miles
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posted 05 November 2004 04:53 PM      Profile for miles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
the ndp is wasting its time for one reason only. the deal is done. the liberals will hold a vote on it but it will not be a binding vote.

had the ndp won 2 or 3 more seats and be able to threaten to defeat the government of keep it going sort of like the rae peterson accord in ontario in 85-87. then and only then action could be taken against the missile defense shield.

but realistically why should the liberals listen to the ndp on this issue. even if half of their members vote against the harper tories will vote in favour lock stock and barrell.

this time the numbers are not in the ndp favour


From: vaughan | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
BLAKE 3:16
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posted 05 November 2004 06:54 PM      Profile for BLAKE 3:16     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
miles, why the pessimism? There are contradictions within the Liberals -- their moderate success was due to Chretien's departing centre leftism as opposed to his previous years of centre rightism.

Much as they're poopooheads, they do have a constituency that unites the very rich and the very poor. It's an odd political formation, but simple pessimism isn't going to get us anywhere.


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Raos
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posted 05 November 2004 07:24 PM      Profile for Raos     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
IMO, something this is idealogically wrong has to be opposed whether you think its a real possibility or not. Would you simply let a fascist party go on their merry way espousing fascism without vocal opposition simply because you knew they'd never form government? I believe the weaponization of space is the wrong thing to attempt, whether it ends in success or failure.
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Budd Campbell
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posted 05 November 2004 07:33 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Raos:
I believe the weaponization of space is the wrong thing to attempt, whether it ends in success or failure.


These weapons would be useless, albeit very expensive. Why would you waste time trying to scare people into thinking the problem was some kind of arms race leading perhaps to accidental war, when the real issue is simply a tremendous waste of money and real resources?

Does ideology demand of its adherents that they engage in political action of a type that is plainly at variance with the facts and with informed opinion?


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kingblake
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posted 05 November 2004 07:33 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One of the great things about this as a major issue is that it is one on which there is considerable disagreement and debate within the Liberal caucus. While PM will probably go ahead with it, I think we stand to score some major points by spearheading a movement against it which involves the odd person from the Liberal and Conservative caucuses, most of the Bloc caucus, as well as a wide range of NGOs and "non-party people" like at Ceasefire and Échec à la Guerre.
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radiorahim
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posted 05 November 2004 07:42 PM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hey Budd can you please use Tiny URL or Make a shorter link when posting URL's?

Otherwise we get this awful sidescroll.


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Left Turn
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posted 05 November 2004 08:07 PM      Profile for Left Turn        Edit/Delete Post
The NDP is absolutely right to oppose missile defense!!!

What makes Missile Defense so dangerous is the fact that George Bush has convinced the American people the missile defnse is 'necessary' to keep them safe. If anything, Missile Defense makes Americans less safe, as the system is likely to amlfunction and result in a disaster in the US. On top of which, Bush insists on spending millions of dollars on missile defnese whille at the same time making further cuts to America's already threadbare social saftey net. Expect poverty levels in the United States to rise further.

OPPOSE US MILLITARISM AND IMPERIALISM!!!

[ 05 November 2004: Message edited by: Tim Kennelly ]


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BLAKE 3:16
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posted 05 November 2004 08:27 PM      Profile for BLAKE 3:16     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Totally with you Raos and TK.
From: Babylon, Ontario | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 05 November 2004 08:50 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by radiorahim:
Hey Budd can you please use Tiny URL or Make a shorter link when posting URL's?

Otherwise we get this awful sidescroll.


No, I am too lazy. Sorry. Don't know how to use tinyurl and can't be bothered learning at age 49.xxx.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 05 November 2004 08:53 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by kingblake:
One of the great things about this as a major issue is that it is one on which there is considerable disagreement and debate within the Liberal caucus. While PM will probably go ahead with it, I think we stand to score some major points by spearheading a movement against it which involves the odd person from the Liberal and Conservative caucuses, most of the Bloc caucus, as well as a wide range of NGOs and "non-party people" like at Ceasefire and Échec à la Guerre.

A nice political angle in terms of other parties and MPs. Good idea as far as it goes. But there's an old saying, "How will this play in Peoria?". OKay, make that Kitchener.

How does this play with the general public? Do they really think this is a serious issue, or do they see it as a kind of way out there thing that doesn't really affect them personally. If the latter, they are probably right, except insofar as the expenditures are concerned.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 05 November 2004 09:04 PM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From the narrow standpoint of the NDP's political success, this issue is pure gold. The Liberals are sneaking it past the back door, and the Cons are fully behind it, so only the NDP will be sticking up for the majority view of Canadians. You don't get a gift like that every day. A nice, easy-to-understand display of NDP values (anti-proliferation, and pro-sovereignty) dovetailing with popular opinion. It's a textbook wedge issue.

From the much more relevent viewpoint of actual governance, opposing this is still the only sane response. The system may be useless, but that doesn't mean it turns to powder when you hit the on button. It means that the missile defense system fails to provide defense. This has nothing to do with the unacceptable situation that Canada would be put in of having US missiles shooting over our airspace, or even worse, sitting in silos on our soil but not under our control. We don't know exactly what participation would entail, but they obviously want something from us. They're not just giving us a heads up to be polite. If we are participating we are bringing something to the table, but if the system is a sham, why should we give anything? It's just stupid.

And of course, if it does someday work in the future then that is a nightmare scenario that must be resisted at all costs.


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intheright
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posted 05 November 2004 10:04 PM      Profile for intheright        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tim Kennelly:
The NDP is absolutely right to oppose missile defense!!!


OPPOSE US MILLITARISM AND IMPERIALISM!!!

[ 05 November 2004: Message edited by: Tim Kennelly ]


Until canada is attacked.


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kingblake
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posted 05 November 2004 10:58 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why would the US attacking us change anything?
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Debra
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posted 05 November 2004 11:03 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by kingblake:
Why would the US attacking us change anything?

HA!!

My thoughts exactly!


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sgm
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posted 05 November 2004 11:45 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Budd Campbell,

Thanks for that link to the Scientific American story; it has other useful links itself.

If I understand your argument, you are suggesting the NDP is wasting its time ringing the alarm bell about the dangers posed by space weapons which may grow out of NMD. The NDP is wasting its time, you suggest, because the space weapons will never be able to work as their builders plan, and will, therefore, not pose the danger the NDP says they will. Your evidence the space weapons will never work is the article from Scientific American.

If I have that right, I would disagree on several points. Unworkability is indeed a point in the NDP argument, as this PDF shows. Nevertheless, the unworkability argument is subordinated even there to the "arms race" argument (for which evidence is provided) and, moreover, the article you quote talks about the unworkability of space-based boost-phase kinetic-kill weapons, while the NDP document I linked to takes the position that there has yet to be a fair, successful test of land-based kinetic-kill weapons.

Also, your argument would seem to depend on two other premises I question: 1) that the article you cite proves space-based weapons could never work; and 2) that weapons that don't work as their builders plan pose no threat to security.

As for 1), the article your quote argues no space-based kinetic-kill weapons will be useful at destroying ICBMs or other BMs in the boost phase. That does not disprove the NDP claim that space weapons growing out of NMD could pose a threat. There are other potential kinds of space weapons that could support NMD, such as Anti-Satellite measures designed to protect US intelligence-gathering satellites, or more agressive A-SAT weapons aimed at "denying" or "negating" a potential foe's space capabilities (communication or intelligence-gathering, for example). (Check out the Rest of the World forum's thread on American attitudes to the Galileo programme planned by the EU and China.)

As for 2), I think Thrasymachus makes a good point about a false sense of security. That a weapons system will not work as its builders plan does not mean it can't pose a threat to security. If either the one relying on the system or the one threatened by it believes the system might work, the potential for destabilization is there. In my opinion, people like Donald Rumsfeld, who have been pushing for BMD and space weaponization for decades--even before the Reagan years--think these things can be made to work. You and I may think they're wrong--and we may be right--but Rumsfeld and his ilk think otherwise, and that's dangerous.

It's dangerous because NMD supporters are not, in the short- and medium-term, really worried about an unprovoked or accidental launch of an ICBM from North Korea or Iran, despite what the article you linked to has to say about "irresponsible" states: rather, they are concerned about guaranteeing US/NATO "freedom of action," the ability to act pre-emptively if need be in a conventional way without fear of the only deterrence available to "rogue" states in the current circumstances of force asymmetry: BMDs bearing weapons of mass destruction.

In a more general way, NMD backers in the US are concerned about maintaining US space "dominance," and attaining space "supremacy," which involves the right to "deny" any other state the right to the use of space at will, and to "negate" their space capabilities when necessary. Only the US, according to this thinking, is to be permitted to use space as a "fourth medium of warfare."

I would make two other points to be stressed in opposing NMD and space weapons:

a) environment: even the testing of space-based weapons will involve explosions in space which will mean an increase in space debris that threatens peaceful uses of space;

b) international law: as a step toward NMD, Bush ripped up the ABM treaty as well. Recently, there have been indications he's thinking of disregarding the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The US has consistently opposed efforts at the UN, backed by Canada, to reserve space for peaceful purposes and to keep weapons out of space. Canada's signing on to NMD would further trends towards US unilateralism and rejection of international treaties. What we gain by signing on is possible access to defence company contracts, and a rubber stamp on any decisions the US decides are in its interest re: continental space defence.

In closing, I think that if the NDP and the broader range of groups opposed to this NMD scheme (like the folks at www.ceasefire.ca) were not having an effect on public opinion on this subject, the Liberals would not be sending this fellow. out to do the rounds and make the case, while posing as a disinterested academic. Nor would we see Stephen Harper's party declare, as reported on tonight's CBC World at Six, that it is "neutral" on the issue of missile defence. So, in that sense, the NDP is not wasting its time. It is making a difference and standing up for what is right. Indeed, the NDP is standing up for Canada's traditional position on space weaponization while the leadership of the Liberal party struggles to find a way to acquiesce to Bush without seeming to sell out.

In any event, I appreciate questions like the ones that started this thread because they are useful for missile defence opponents to hone their arguments as the public debate continues. (Expect the selling job on the part of the Liberal gov't to intensify shortly, by the way: sovereignty and security will be their watchwords.)

[edited to change "three" to "two" other points]

[ 05 November 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 06 November 2004 12:02 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sorry, I also meant to ask you, Budd Campbell, if when you ask if the NDP is wasting time on "Star Wars," you are saying that it's just a waste of time to make the space-weapons argument against NMD (since in your view those unworkable weapons pose no danger), or if you are saying that the NDP shouldn't be wasting time on missile defence at all as an issue?

If the answer is the latter, why shouldn't the NDP focus on it while it's in all the headlines and the other parties are scrambling to come up with a position? And on what other issue should we focus more attention, in your view?


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 06 November 2004 02:57 AM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jacob Two-Two:
And of course, if it does someday work in the future then that is a nightmare scenario that must be resisted at all costs.

You've really lost me here. Why would a system that actually worked be a nightmare? Assuming that is, that it would be affordable, or at least affordable in the somewhat inflated world of American defence budgets.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 06 November 2004 03:20 AM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sgm:
Sorry, I also meant to ask you, Budd Campbell, if when you ask if the NDP is wasting time on "Star Wars," you are saying that it's just a waste of time to make the space-weapons argument against NMD (since in your view those unworkable weapons pose no danger), or if you are saying that the NDP shouldn't be wasting time on missile defence at all as an issue?

I think the NDP, or anyone else for that matter, ought to see the missile defence system for what it is, a white elephant. It will cost the Americans a great deal of economic resources if they go ahead with it, and it will not provide them or anyone else with any real protection at all against ICBMs. Of course, even by design it will provide no protection at all against shorter range BMs or cruise missiles launched at the US from a rusty freighter 400 kms out to sea.

In other words, the NDP ought to have the integrity and the parliamentary professionalism to base its opposition to this silly bugger system on a foundation of truthfulness. The proposed system does not represent a dangerous destabilization of some imaginary balance of forces, becuase there is damn little left of the old US-Russian balance of terror to upset. It threatens nothing but an enormous waste of money.

What I think wastes time is the whiney rhetorical excesses that bore the living Hell out of even people who agree that Bush is a jerk and that missile defence is a gigantic waste. They end up concluding that the NDP is still locked in ideological dreamland and cannot get out for anything.

It confirms the voters' worst suspicions about us, that we are prepared to exaggerate to a ridiculous degree and to tell them military fables in which the monster characters Bush and Rummy are threatening to blow down the homes of innocent Canadian working class folk, etc., etc. IOWs, it makes us look just as driven as the Tories who are forever kissing Bush's ass. We're just playing the same game in reverse.

Wouldn't it be simpler just to play this ball where it lies rather than hatching all these wonderful strategies that are really designed not for the general public, but for the delegates to the convention?


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Jacob Two-Two
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posted 06 November 2004 03:26 AM      Profile for Jacob Two-Two     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
You've really lost me here. Why would a system that actually worked be a nightmare?

Because the ultimate aim of the system is to produce an America that is impervious to attack but can use its satellites to obliterate any target on earth. I fail to see how this is a worthwhile goal that we should rally around. It sounds more like the worst future imaginable.

[ 06 November 2004: Message edited by: Jacob Two-Two ]


From: There is but one Gord and Moolah is his profit | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 06 November 2004 03:46 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
quote riginally posted by radiorahim:
Hey Budd can you please use Tiny URL or Make a shorter link when posting URL's?

Otherwise we get this awful sidescroll.

No, I am too lazy. Sorry. Don't know how to use tinyurl and can't be bothered learning at age 49.xxx.


That's true. You are lazy...too fucking lazy to click on the links which would show you how to do it. Sheeeshhhh!!!!


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miles
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posted 06 November 2004 10:08 AM      Profile for miles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
i wish that the ndp national council had cared as much about the possible recounts against cpc candidates in the last canadian election as they do about star wars now.

had one recount gone the ndp way then they would have firmer ground to call for a national debate and binding vote on missile defense.


From: vaughan | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
the grey
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posted 06 November 2004 10:58 AM      Profile for the grey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by miles:
i wish that the ndp national council had cared as much about the possible recounts against cpc candidates in the last canadian election as they do about star wars now.

had one recount gone the ndp way then they would have firmer ground to call for a national debate and binding vote on missile defense.


What ridings do you expect a recount to have changed the results in?

(BTW, it's a federal council, not a national council, and federal council doesn't decide where to request recounts.)


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Secret Agent Style
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posted 06 November 2004 11:01 AM      Profile for Secret Agent Style        Edit/Delete Post
The NDP isn't wasting its time on Star Wars; the American government is.
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Scott Piatkowski
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posted 06 November 2004 09:47 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here's a thought:

Wouldn't a country that believes that it's protected by a missile defence shield have a tendancy to act differently (read, more agressively, without regard to consequences) on the world stage? Especially if that country is the United States?

BTW, Budd, if mastering TinyURL is too much work, at least use the URL function provided on the site. It looks like this: and produces no sidescroll if you use it properly.


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Raos
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posted 07 November 2004 12:02 AM      Profile for Raos     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The AIM of the system is something I would disagree with. The fact that it isn't likely to work is another reason to be AGAINST it. Paul Martin appears to be considering joining the program, which I would oppose if it had the possibly of working, and I would because because it would be a waste of money that would do nothing. Therefore, it makes sense to me, to OPPOSE it. Shouldn't you be whining more about Paul Martin wasting time considering it?
From: Sweet home Alaberta | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 07 November 2004 02:37 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
According to this news story by Mike Blanchfield, part of which is quoted on Spector's site, some Liberal caucus members are annoyed at Martin's foot-dragging on NMD, particularly because continued delay allows the NDP to make it a campaign issue:

quote:

"But if it's not done and it's still an election issue, they may vote against us," said a senior
official. "If we just don't deal with it, Jack Layton can talk about it every day. When we've
done it, he can't talk about it."

Mr. Layton, the NDP leader, was not in the Commons yesterday, but that didn't stop the party's daily assault, which was carried on by foreign affairs critic Alexa McDonough. She accused Mr. Martin of dragging Canada into "Bush's missile madness."



From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 07 November 2004 05:04 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes. It is an immense waste of time. Or more correctly a badly framed idea that misses its target.

I was appalled when I read about it as the main plank of the NDP's election campaign in the boomph I got from the party. Safe, but not exciting or appealing to any new potential party supporters.

Safe, safe, safe. It's depressing.

People talk about trying to attract new Muslim voters to the party yet missed the c-36 (anti-terrorism) legislation and the war as two key issues impacting new Canadians. Monia ran for the party but no literature on the attack on civil liberties!

Geeze. I had a big fight with my mom about it even.

I took the day of work but didn't vote. I would have if I got any sense the NDP had a cohesive foreign policy platorm based on principals.*

Star Wars was a big motivator during the Cold War. Need I say it? That was then, and this is now. Even Reagan is dead and the new war is a hot one, not cold like the cryogenically preserved "weaponization of space" peace issue.

I make a point of mentioning weaponization of space because the anti-missile defence iissue is based in the theoretical background of the "anti-weaponization of space" movement which is in turn based in the movement toward international arms control treaties.

[BEGIN THESIS] This is why the issue is unwinable and therefore sucks:

The foundation that made the "weaponization of space" a winnable issue has been ripped up by GWB and replaced by a new unilateralism. The idea that one could prevent the weaponization of space is based on the nest of international arms control treaties (ABM, START, SALT, landmines, '72 convention on bio weapons etc.) signed by the USSR and the USA, as well as a whole series of other treaties (Kyoto and the ICC etc.) GWB has essentially ripped apart all of that nacent groundwork for an effective body of international law around these issues.

If the USA is not going to respect the treaties of the past, why would it respect a new one?

[END THESIS]

The NDP should be attacking the new US unilateralism, period, as a whole not one of its manifestations, as in the ABM Shield. You can't cut down a tree by cutting of its branches, you have to take it down at the trunk.

* and that was before I found out how badly Jack's position on Palestine sucked.

[ 07 November 2004: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 07 November 2004 01:28 PM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I was appalled when I read about it as the main plank of the NDP's election campaign in the boomph I got from the party. Safe, but not exciting or appealing to any new potential party supporters.

Cueball, this new poll on BMD would seem to blow your thesis above out of the water, as nearly 2/3 of Canadians are against Canadian participation in missile defence. Opposing BMD is both correct in principle and also a huge strategic plus for the NDP, especially in the wake of Bush's re-election.

However unworkable or impratical in BMD is, and even if it may not be an immediate threat to global security, it symbolizes all the unilaterial, imperialist, war-mongering aspects of Bush's agenda, which the vast majority of Canadians strongly opposes. And the big difference with BMD and all the other unilateral Bush moves that Cueball lists is that the Liberals are leaning towards actively collaborating with the Bush agenda on BMD. That would erase the moral high ground the Libs achieved by opposing the war with Iraq.

There's a reason why the Libs are delaying the House vote on BMD and why the CPC is wavering on it. Most Canadian voters hate Star Wars II and outside Québec, the NDP is the only party to represent that majority viewpoint. I'm proud of Jack and the caucus for their strong stand, and if anything, we should turn up the heat on this issue big time in the coming weeks. Let the protests, rallies and meetings begin! I'm e-mailing my local (Liberal) MP today on BMD and I encourage all babblers to do the same.

[ 07 November 2004: Message edited by: West Coast Lefty ]


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Dagmar
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posted 07 November 2004 06:23 PM      Profile for Dagmar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Is the NDP wasting time on this. Yes.

Star Wars isn't good to eat. It doesn't create jobs. It doesn't relieve taxes for the middle class. It doesn't help the growth of small business. It doesn't improve health care. It doesn't help our kids get post-secondary education. It doesn't clean up the environment.

And neither does complaining about it.

The above are the issues that we should focus on. Leave the Star Wars and Free Trade to the Council for Canadians.


From: Santa looks a lot like Daggy! | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 07 November 2004 09:31 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Dagmar:
Leave the Star Wars and Free Trade to the Council for Canadians.

I like the Council of Canadians, but I can't vote for them.


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 07 November 2004 09:45 PM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Budd, you can't really be so dense, can you???

The 'Star Wars' system has certainly been ruled by all knowledgeable parties as completely and utterly useless - as a defense.

But if the goal is not defensive, but rather offensive, then the militarization of space takes on new meaning. As a threat, held literally over the world's heads, Star Wars could be most effective.

The Americans already have massive firepower and delivery technology on their side. Are you really encouraging them to up the ante yet again?


From: ... | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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posted 07 November 2004 10:19 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Scott Piatkowski:
I like the Council of Canadians, but I can't vote for them.

And they don't get to say anything during Question Period.


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 08 November 2004 07:29 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The NDP now has an e-petition against missile defence on its homepage.

NDP Home.

There is also a neat flash animation ad on the site which concludes with a mock presidential election poster. Guess who W's running mate is?


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Dagmar
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posted 08 November 2004 09:15 PM      Profile for Dagmar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Good God! Star Wars is a frickin dead horse! So when are they going to get around to doing something for rural folks, hunters, middle class families, and business?
From: Santa looks a lot like Daggy! | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 08 November 2004 11:59 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Cueball, this new poll on BMD would seem to blow your thesis above out of the water, as nearly 2/3 of Canadians are against Canadian participation in missile defence. Opposing BMD is both correct in principle and also a huge strategic plus for the NDP, especially in the wake of Bush's re-election.


Fine. Not my point however. My point is that all the election material I read used this 'easy sell' issue to get around talking tough on the ant-terrorism legislation and THE WAR THAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.... not the war that might happen down the road.

That was my point, aside from the uselessness of pushing forward an agenda that died with reagan.


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
the grey
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posted 09 November 2004 12:22 AM      Profile for the grey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Dagmar:
Good God! Star Wars is a frickin dead horse! So when are they going to get around to doing something for rural folks, hunters, middle class families, and business?

How about you take a look at what the NDP is actually doing, before complaining?

NDP News


From: London, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 09 November 2004 01:42 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well said, andrewtgsadler.

I disagree with both Cueball and Dagmar here.

As for Dagmar, this isn't an either-or issue. It's not as though taking a strong stand on the missile defence issue prevents the NDP, over the life of this parliament, from taking a strong stand on issues that matter to the other constituencies Dagmar mentions. Right now, because of the timetable Paul Martin himself set up, missile defence is a hot issue in the media. Jack Layton and the NDP--as others have pointed out--are the only ones in English Canada taking a strong, clear, principled stand for Canadian values on the issue. Good for Layton, McDonough and Blaikie for doing so in the House and elsewhere, I say.

As for Dagmar's suggestion that the issue is not relevant to rural folks, hunters, business, middle-class people, etc., I would ask why he doesn't acknowledge that the NDP is also speaking out on those issues as well right now. (Yes, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.) Child care is only one example of such an issue. Furthermore, I would ask Dagmar what "hunters" or "business" would think about his hero Pat Martin's efforts on access to information. I, for one, thank Pat Martin for those efforts. I don't dismiss them because they're not bread-and-butter enough for ordinary folks (I'm being ironic here, obviously).

Regarding Cueball's comment that this is an agenda that died with the Reagan era, I beg to differ. Speaking out on this issue need not imply the NDP's failure to speak out on other issues, including faulty anti-terrorism legislation. The NDP can speak out against NMD as a manifestation of the very unilateralism Cueball rightly criticizes. Rather than criticize the NDP for speaking out against this manifestation of unilateralism, we should positively encourage the NDP to link its NMD criticism, over time, to the current American administration's attitude to the UN, to the ICC, to Kyoto, etc., thus to establish multilateralism and international cooperation as Canadian values the NDP is willing to stand up for while the Liberals and Conservatives go another way.

My opinion, anyway.

[ 09 November 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Dagmar
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posted 09 November 2004 02:49 AM      Profile for Dagmar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by andrewtgsadler:

How about you take a look at what the NDP is actually doing, before complaining?

NDP News


Thanks, I did. Here's what I found: correcting spelling errors at the national museum, opposing Star Wars (yet again), removing vermiculite, and amending bills to allow more refugees. Yep, pretty bread and butter issues. It's odd that rural people and working folks don't join the party in fuckin' droves.


From: Santa looks a lot like Daggy! | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
the grey
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posted 09 November 2004 09:14 AM      Profile for the grey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Dagmar:

Thanks, I did. Here's what I found: correcting spelling errors at the national museum, opposing Star Wars (yet again), removing vermiculite, and amending bills to allow more refugees. Yep, pretty bread and butter issues. It's odd that rural people and working folks don't join the party in fuckin' droves.


Too bad you missed childcare, protecting Canadians from the Patriot Act, removing the GST from literacy materials, health care, budgets, agriculture and the public service. Let alone all the work that doesn't get posted on that single web page.

Sometimes it's amazing how much you don't see when you're being wilfully blind.


From: London, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 09 November 2004 02:42 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jacob Two-Two:

Because the ultimate aim of the system is to produce an America that is impervious to attack but can use its satellites to obliterate any target on earth. I fail to see how this is a worthwhile goal that we should rally around. It sounds more like the worst future imaginable.

[ 06 November 2004: Message edited by: Jacob Two-Two ]


Whatever the stated or imagined aims of this system may be, it won't work. And the Pentagon brass are probably well aware of that.

It's no doubt a massive patronage payoff to Republican defence contractors and for the party a chance to persuade gullible, uninformed voters that they are now safer, when of course they are not.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 09 November 2004 02:47 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by West Coast Lefty:

... it symbolizes all the unilaterial, imperialist, war-mongering aspects of Bush's agenda,


I have no doubt that the pure raw unadulterated symbolism you refer to is the operative ingreadient in the agenda. On both sides.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 09 November 2004 02:48 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Scott Piatkowski:

I like the Council of Canadians, but I can't vote for them.



I think Maude Barlow was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be a Liberal.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 09 November 2004 02:49 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Lard tunderin' jeesus:
Budd, you can't really be so dense, can you???

The 'Star Wars' system has certainly been ruled by all knowledgeable parties as completely and utterly useless - as a defense.

But if the goal is not defensive, but rather offensive, then the militarization of space takes on new meaning. As a threat, held literally over the world's heads, Star Wars could be most effective.

The Americans already have massive firepower and delivery technology on their side. Are you really encouraging them to up the ante yet again?



Who's being dense. Do you have a source for this?


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 09 November 2004 03:45 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, here at least is Lawrence Kaplan, quoting Robert Joseph of the NSC and the Rand Corporation on the offensive potential of a BMD system:

quote:

The real rationale for missile defense is that without it an adversary armed with long-range missiles can, as Robert Joseph, President Bush's counterproliferation specialist at the National Security Council (NSC), argues, "hold American and allied cities hostage and thereby deter us from intervention." Or, as a recent RAND study on missile defense puts it, "allistic missile defense is not simply a shield but an enabler of U.S. action." In other words, missile defense is about preserving America's ability to wield power abroad. It's not about defense. It's about offense. And that's exactly why we need it.

The full Kaplan essay goes on to argue for sea-based BMD instead of land-based BMD, for some of the same boost-phase related reasons mentioned in the Scientific American essay you linked to above, Budd Campbell. (In fact, he has a short quote in there from the same Dr. Garwin who wrote the SA piece.)

I think Kaplan is making the same point our own Canadian military planners did when they said that BMD (including NMD) is arguably more about maintaining US/NATO "freedom of action" than about a real fear of an unprovoked or accidental launch by North Korea or Iran. This was reported by David Pugliese in the Ottawa Citizen in May of this year.

[ 09 November 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 09 November 2004 07:47 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sgm:
Well, here at least is Lawrence Kaplan, quoting Robert Joseph of the NSC and the Rand Corporation on the offensive potential of a BMD system:


An interesting enough article, I guess. It too says the system being built is useless. Therefore it serves no strategic or tactical purpose at all, either offensive or defensive.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 09 November 2004 08:52 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Back in the Cold War, the US and USSR had missiles aimed at each other, right over Canada. Now, Bush & Co. want to rearm with more missiles aimed over Canada. Because of the great circle routes for going around the globe, a goodly portion of the perceived threat to the US means that their anti-missile missiles will shoot over Canada. If the system doesn't work, or even if it does, I think that every Canadian has a vested interest in ensuring that it doesn't get built.

Jack Layton is right about another aspect of MD; it escalates the arms race. North Korea, for one, has been arming itself ever since Bush mouted off about the Axis of Evil. We can stand back and say that MD doesn't work, but if you thought you might be a target of a renegade President, you would have to assume that MD could be used for an offensive first strike.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 09 November 2004 10:03 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The one and only purpose it srves in my opinion is to access taxers payers money, while doing nothing with it other than take it.
From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 10 November 2004 02:42 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One problem that is too often ignored is that defense establishments, in all countries, are supposed to be paranoid, to make plans for the worst case.
So, it doesn't matter if it's pretty dashed clear it won't work. The Chinese, the Russians etc. have to operate on the assumption that it just might, even if it seems ludicrous. As a result, the missile defense thang has already caused some arms race. The Russians have already released at least one weapons system they claim is specifically intended to bypass missile defense systems. And the Chinese are busily stepping up their aerospace spending.

Meanwhile on the enabling Americans to do bad stuff side, it again may not matter if it doesn't work. The Americans have shown themselves again and again to be amazingly capable at self-deception. I can readily envision a scenario where they decide that since they deployed it, it must work, and therefore they can get away with x, y or z actions that would otherwise risk retaliation. Now, in the case of someone like North Korea they probably don't really have any nukes, much less ones deliverable across the Pacific. Their real deterrent is masses of conventional artillery pointed at Seoul. So the Americans' belief in missile defense and their belief in NK nukes would probably cancel out in any attack they made (bye bye Seoul, mind you). But there are other potential scenarios that are more risky. There is a very small but finite risk that deluded American adventurism could trigger a nuclear exchange.

So my point is, sure it won't work. Which means that any good features of missile defense won't exist. But if they pretend hard enough, the Americans can still successfully gain all the bad features that would come from a working missile defense.

Oh, that and arms race results are not theoretical, they're already happening.

[ 10 November 2004: Message edited by: Rufus Polson ]


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
BLAKE 3:16
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posted 10 November 2004 05:03 PM      Profile for BLAKE 3:16     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
BC - You make a thread that most of us can barely read on our screens.

Then, you make 5 posts in a day with 4 in a row. The former I excuse, but the latter...

Budd from BC, better start spreading the BC bud or that's it.


From: Babylon, Ontario | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 10 November 2004 05:48 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Cougyr:
... If the system doesn't work, or even if it does, I think that every Canadian has a vested interest in ensuring that it doesn't get built.

... We can stand back and say that MD doesn't work, but if you thought you might be a target of a renegade President, you would have to assume that MD could be used for an offensive first strike.


So from the point of view of either Canadians or North Koreans, the view is really the same. It doesn't matter if this system is workable, or just a big white elephant. It matters, and must be vehemently opposed, because no decent person likes Bush, the renegade President.

IOWs, it's just pure perception-is-reality type political gamesmanship, the kind of thing that the Canadian Liberal Party has usually specialized in.

Tell me, with that in mind, do you think Jack Layton can recruit Carolyn Parrish on this issue?


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 10 November 2004 05:53 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Rufus Polson:
So, it doesn't matter if it's pretty dashed clear it won't work. The Chinese, the Russians etc. have to operate on the assumption that it just might, even if it seems ludicrous. ...

... But if they pretend hard enough, the Americans can still successfully gain all the bad features that would come from a working missile defense.


Whatever one may think, these foreign military leaders are not some bunch of impressionable fools. Many me be ruthless and murderous, but that doesn't mean they are stupid or technologically uninformed.

The idea that everyone is bluffed by Bush and Rummy as is the median Texas (or Ohio) voter is the sort of notion that really doesn't stand up. In fact the only other people likely to be successfully bamboozled are the Canadian left, who are self-imposed isolation from all other currents of thought and information.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 14 November 2004 10:37 AM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The US BMD Programme - an offensive capacity
quote:
The US BMD programme has rapidly accelerated not because of a change in the international situation but because the US Administration changed. The hawkish Bush Administration, closely allied to the arms industry, rejected earlier security assessments and made a priority of BMD. The programme has now been set free to go where it will, with rapidly expanding budgets and reduced congressional oversight. Indeed, the US Administration seems willing to field whatever the companies produce. In December 2002, George Bush announced that 10 interceptor missiles will be deployed to Alaska during 2004, this less than a week after the failure of the most recent test! Either the Administration has extraordinary faith or the effectiveness of the system is not the prime consideration.

Once a US Administration has confidence in an operational BMD system, it would gain the freedom to intervene where it might not otherwise have been able to. The US is explicit that it requires this freedom.

The weapons technology that is being developed for BMD - sensors, missiles, high-power lasers etc. - clearly have significant offensive potential. It would be unrealistic to expect a country so willing to intervene around the world and strike within sovereign countries, not to actively pursue a global sword in parallel with a global 'shield'.

The inevitable next step is for BMD to move into space. This is most obvious in the form of the anticipated space-based laser. The US has stated that its armed forces should have 'full spectrum dominance' which includes 'access to and freedom to operate in all domains - space, sea, land, air and information.'



From: ... | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 15 November 2004 01:27 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:

Once a US Administration has confidence in an operational BMD system, it would gain the freedom to intervene where it might not otherwise have been able to. The US is explicit that it requires this freedom.

This is a key point. The only reason a North Korea or an Iran would threaten to launch a ballistic missile bearing WMD at the United States would be if the very survival of the regime were at stake. Such survival would likely be at stake only if the US seemed to that regime as if it were bent on forcible "regime change" by conventional means, as in Iraq. Possessing the only credible deterrent open to them, such "rogues" with BMs capable of delivering WMD are able to restrict US "freedom of action" with respect to them. BMD thus does have an "offensive" character, in that its supporters hope it will free the US to act offensively when and if it feels it has to against BM-possessing states that threaten its interests.

Of course, that doesn't include China or Russia at this stage, since even China's small missile force and Russia's much larger one would easily overwhelm any BMD-defence currently planned, either with countermeasures or by simple numbers.

Terrorist and accidental launches of ballistic missiles capable of hitting North America are not realistic considerations.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 15 November 2004 02:32 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Whatever one may think, these foreign military leaders are not some bunch of impressionable fools. Many me be ruthless and murderous, but that doesn't mean they are stupid or technologically uninformed.

That's not the point. It's Bush's stupidity they have to worry about, not their own. They have to assume that he thinks the system works, even if any thinking human can see it doesn't. Remember, we're talking about people who thought they could invade Iraq with a few thousand troops, be garlanded as "liberators" by the grateful Iraqis, set up a pliant puppet regime, start happily guzzling themselves on Iraqi oil, and then sit back and watch as "democracy" spread effortlessly throughout the Middle East.

Given that record, as well as the Bushniks' openly stated intention of using US military might to bludgeon all rivals into submission, the Russians/Chinese/whoever don't have the luxury of assuming that Washington is driven by any kind of rational thought.


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 15 November 2004 02:35 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Lard tunderin' jeesus:
The US BMD Programme - an offensive capacity

Here is the key part of your excerpt:

Once a US Administration has confidence in an operational BMD system, it would gain the freedom to intervene where it might not otherwise have been able to. The US is explicit that it requires this freedom.

The weapons technology that is being developed for BMD - sensors, missiles, high-power lasers etc. - clearly have significant offensive potential. It would be unrealistic to expect a country so willing to intervene around the world and strike within sovereign countries, not to actively pursue a global sword in parallel with a global 'shield'.

"Once a US Administration has confidence", means, once the US Govt has started believing its own propaganda. That's not going to happen.

"...sensors, missiles, high-power lasers etc. - clearly have significant offensive potential." This is pure speculation, founded on nothing at all, and as Garvin makes clear not at all true at the present time. The thing doesn't work, meaning is has NO potential of any kind, other than as a vast patronage project. It's sort of like putting Chuck Guite in charge of a big chunk of the US defence budget.

Besides, haven't you heard? The distinction between an offensive and defensive weapon depends on whether one is standing in front of or behind it.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 15 November 2004 02:38 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by beluga2:
It's Bush's stupidity they have to worry about, not their own. They have to assume that he thinks the system works, even if any thinking human can see it doesn't.

They don't have to and won't make that assumption, because they are not idiots and they know the US Govt is not run by idiots either. Maybe ruthless hawks, but not idiots.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 15 November 2004 06:31 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Bill Blaikie says the NDP may push for an NMD vote before the gov't signs on:

quote:

NDP Deputy Leader Bill Blaikie says his party could introduce a votable motion in the House of Commons before or after the Christmas break to ensure the country's elected MPs can have their input before the Paul Martin government signs an agreement with the U.S. on the controversial national missile defence (NMD) shield.

"It's certainly an option," said Bill Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona, Man.), who is also his party's defence critic, in an interview with The Hill Times in reacting to Defence Minister Bill Graham's (Toronto Centre, Ont.) recent statement that a vote in the House on the NMD should take place after Canada has signed an agreement with the U.S.

"Well, the point would be to have people [MPs] express their feelings, their position on this before there was an actual agreement negotiated. The other point is that we want to know who is in favour of it, in principle, and who isn't because at the moment the Conservatives are trying to have it both ways," he said.


On the courageous stand of Stephen Harper and the conservatives, the story has this to say:

quote:

The Ottawa Citizen reported last week, that the Conservatives are softening their position on the missile defence shield because according to one Conservative organizer close to the discussions the Conservatives are "sensitive to strong opposition to the project in Quebec and Ontario," and "Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) has nudged his party's position away from supporting Canada's adherence to a ballistic missile defence shield."

...

Asked to comment on the Citizen story suggesting the Conservatives are softening their position because of Quebec and Ontario, Mr. O'Connor said: "These are people outside surmising what's going on. At the moment, we are virtually neutral. We haven't even discussed this. This has not been brought forward to caucus."



Link to Hill Times Story.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 15 November 2004 08:04 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Budd Campbell:

Whatever one may think, these foreign military leaders are not some bunch of impressionable fools. Many me be ruthless and murderous, but that doesn't mean they are stupid or technologically uninformed.

The idea that everyone is bluffed by Bush and Rummy as is the median Texas (or Ohio) voter is the sort of notion that really doesn't stand up.


This is all very fine, but the Russians have already released a weapon system that they claim is intended to bypass missile defense systems such as the American one. There's not much point claiming that something doesn't stand up as a possibility when it's already reality.


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Budd Campbell
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posted 15 November 2004 08:38 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Rufus Polson:
... the Russians have already released a weapon system that they claim is intended to bypass missile defense systems such as the American one.

They have? What system would that be?

Since the American Missile Defence system is totally useless, I guess some other country could say we have just ordered one million pea shooters in retaliation.


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sgm
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posted 16 November 2004 12:07 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Rufus Polson may be thinking of this:

quote:

Russia boasts hypersonic missile

Associated Press

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Moscow — Russia has successfully tested a hypersonic anti-Star Wars weapon capable of penetrating any prospective missile shield, a senior general said Thursday.

The prototype weapon proved it could manoeuvre so quickly as to make “any missile defence useless,” Colonel-General Yuri Baluyevsky, the first deputy chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, told a news conference.


The Russians publicly denied in this story, however, that the experimental flight was a direct response to the Americans' BMD plans.

quote:

"The experiment conducted by us must not be interpreted as a warning to the Americans not to build their missile defense because we designed this thing," Baluyevsky told The Associated Press.

He said that Russia has no intention of immediately deploying new weapons based on the experimental vehicle. "We have demonstrated our capability, but we have no intention of building this craft tomorrow," he said.




Link to full story.

From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 16 November 2004 12:46 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sgm:
Rufus Polson may be thinking of this:


Link to full story.

So, in other words, the missile defence system is useless. Either with this new Russian rocket, or in fact, even with the old Russian rockets. So, ... the missile defence system is useless either way. Which is what I have been saying all along.


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Rufus Polson
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posted 16 November 2004 02:09 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes. And I agree with you. But you've been debunking my claim that it will nonetheless spur arms races, and indeed already has. But it will and it has.
Thanks, that link was what I was thinking of. And OK, the Russians are not claiming that it is a response to US missile defense. Indeed, they are carefully and diplomatically claiming that while it is a new system, and would bypass a missile defense system, it should in no way be interpreted as intended to bypass a missile defense system. Cute. Do you seriously believe that insurance against US missile defense (and/or the ability to say they had it) was not seriously on their minds when it was developed?

As to whether the Russians are ever gullible--we're talking about a military-industrial complex which did extensive, and badly flawed, research on ESP back in the cold war. And very few military establishments ever let their common sense get in the way of their paranoia. Sometimes they'll let their triumphalism get in the way of both common sense and paranoia.

Thinking of that, I'd like to briefly analyze the American political/military establishment. These are people who manage to compartmentalize their ideas to a remarkable extent. The essence of being a true Neocon seems to involve believing two or three mutually contradictory things before breakfast. So for instance on triumphalism and paranoia, they manage to do both at once, believing roughly "The world is full of fiendishly clever enemies, but our incredibly simplistic plan of action will be sufficient to rout them because we are the best and capitalism/Christianity/America is invincible. Therefore, there's no need to come up with a plan that isn't weakened by our venal insistence on making paying off our friends a higher priority than actual mission success."

It's quite amazing. But that seems to be how Iraq played out, with payoffs to Halliburton substituting for actual reconstruction, for instance, and they seem to have successfully managed to learn nothing. Such people would be capable of on one hand using missile defense as largely a kickback scheme for their defense contractor buddies, and at the same time putting into operation real-world plans that depended on it working as advertised. Our assumption that somehow, they must have some single worldview that makes sense hampers our ability to understand their actions. In fact, they are addicted to the notion that they can have their cake and eat it too. Which is what I would describe as "decadence"; it's how Enron managed to fail despite all its advantages--the bosses thought they could build a world-controlling company while simultaneously bilking it for all it was worth. If they hadn't been decadent, we'd still have Enron busily screwing over people all over the world with the muscular assistance of the IMF, the World Bank and the US state department. The Bush people and the Enron people are basically the same people, both in culture and in that there's actual overlap of identities.
Now in one sense, I'd love it if the Bush administration and the Neocons in general got too greedy, went a bridge too far, and did an Enron. The problem is, if the Bush administration pull an Enron with missile defense and it goes sour, the fallout would be much bigger (and potentially literal).


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 16 November 2004 05:29 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Rufus Polson:
...And OK, the Russians are not claiming that it is a response to US missile defense. Indeed, they are carefully and diplomatically claiming that while it is a new system, and would bypass a missile defense system, it should in no way be interpreted as intended to bypass a missile defense system. Cute. Do you seriously believe that insurance against US missile defense (and/or the ability to say they had it) was not seriously on their minds when it was developed?

Here's where the Russians are being clever. They are giving President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld rhetorical ammunition to use in getting Congress to OKay billions in funding for this useless program. It's the US waste of scarce defence dollars that they are hoping to encourage. The dollars squandered on BMD could have been spent on infantry, aircraft, aircraft carriers, submarines, etc.


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Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 16 November 2004 05:54 PM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
"...sensors, missiles, high-power lasers etc. - clearly have significant offensive potential." This is pure speculation, founded on nothing at all, and as Garvin makes clear not at all true at the present time. The thing doesn't work, meaning is has NO potential of any kind, other than as a vast patronage project.

The thing doesn't work as an interceptor. As a missile shield, it is useless.

But as a missile delivery system, it has much potential. As an offensive weapon, it is no less deadly than any land-based system - and likely harder to track and defend against.

Why do you find this concept so difficult?


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sgm
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posted 16 November 2004 07:17 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Getting back to the politics of the issue, here's part of an exchange between Layton and Graham in the House yesterday:

quote:

Mr. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, to think that only 12 months ago 96% of Liberals thought the Prime Minister and his views on star wars were just fine.

[Translation]

Nineteen months ago, the Prime Minister said he supported the missile defence shield. Yesterday, he said that the most important decision had already been made. The truth is that the Prime Minister's mind is made up.

As far as the defence shield is concerned, why does what Bush thinks matter more than what Canadians think?

Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think that 95% of Liberals think that the leader of the NDP does not know what he is talking about. That too is the truth.

A decision will obviously be made regarding the missile defence shield. The decision about Canada's participation will be made in the interest of Canada, taking into account the interest of the defence of North America and our American colleagues. However, before we do that, the whole issue will be put before the House and there will be a vote.


It would seem from Graham's answer that he's moved away from the position that a vote should follow a cabinet decision on an agreement.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 16 November 2004 08:33 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Lard tunderin' jeesus:

The thing doesn't work as an interceptor. As a missile shield, it is useless.

But as a missile delivery system, it has much potential. As an offensive weapon, it is no less deadly than any land-based system - and likely harder to track and defend against.

Why do you find this concept so difficult?


Because, as you well know, there is no foundation for what you are saying.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 16 November 2004 08:41 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sgm:
It would seem from Graham's answer that he's moved away from the position that a vote should follow a cabinet decision on an agreement.

In that he's now saying a vote will precede such a Cabinet decision? That appeared to be the meaning.


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sgm
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posted 17 November 2004 01:59 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That's my take on it, Budd Campbell. Earlier this month, Graham expressed the view that a vote might follow a cabinet decision (the substance of which we can guess, of course), though he acknowledged his was not the universal view. I thought later on that Harper's "let's see what the fine print says before we vote" neutrality might be a subtle kind of backing Graham's position: Harper also wanted a deal to be already in place before he ratified it. That way, he could sign on with less risk, perhaps even offering criticism of the already-settled deal in this or that detail.

The larger political dynamics are interesting here. Bush's re-election doesn't help Harper among Canadians, in my view, and yet Martin will be somewhat harder pressed to portray Harper as the militaristic Bush ally in the next campaign (as he did in the last, despite his own defence minister's hawkish stand on Iraq) if he has to rely on Conservative support to pass a motion on NMD in the Commons.

Obviously, there'll be many other top-of-mind issues that come and go between now and the next election, but I think the uncertain and shifting stances of both the Conservatives and the Liberals reflects their awareness that this issue at least has the potential to resonate with ordinary Canadians.

I want to post something later on Garwin, but I'll leave this here for now.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 17 November 2004 12:24 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sgm:
The larger political dynamics are interesting here. Bush's re-election doesn't help Harper among Canadians, in my view, and yet Martin will be somewhat harder pressed to portray Harper as the militaristic Bush ally in the next campaign (as he did in the last, despite his own defence minister's hawkish stand on Iraq) if he has to rely on Conservative support to pass a motion on NMD in the Commons.

I said in another thread that I think Bush is such a polarizing figure in Canada that all three parties are, in one way or another, thrown off their game by his Presidency. It would have been better for all three parties had John Kerry won.


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sgm
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posted 21 November 2004 02:14 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Quite apart from stressing the "uselessness" or "space-weaponization" points, the NDP might usefully push the government on chain-of-command issues in the House as well.

Globe columnists like John Ibbitson like to write that operational control of NMD falls to NORAD (as he did in Tuesday's Globe), and Liberal friendly pollsters like Pollara like to stress that Canada is "part of NORTHCOM" when they test public levels of support for NMD. In truth, these are misleading claims. The US hasn't settled on a chain of command for missile defence, and unified commands like NORTHCOM (under the US's Unified Command Plan) don't function like the International Joint Commission that oversees the Great Lakes: they answer to the American Department of Defense. Period.

Here's Theresa Hitchens of the Centre for Defense Information at a November 9th conference on ballistic missile defence in the UK:

quote:

Another reason for the delay [of deployment] was that Northern Command, which is to operate the system, and Strategic Command, which is designated as the military's missile defense "advocate," have yet to figure out the chain of command needed to run the GMD [Ground-based missile defence] system. This is partly a bureaucratic wrangle, but also there is serious concern at both commands about the systems readiness. According to the Orlando Sentinel, STRATCOM officials "are so concerned about the effectiveness of the new system that they have decided not to rely on it if a missile attack appears imminent." "The system will not affect recommendations given up the chain of command," one source told the paper, "That means in STRATCOM's eyes, it's useless."

Those making the "Canada must have a say to preserve her sovereignty" argument should be
pressed to explain fully and clearly exactly whose hand will be on the NMD trigger, and to
whom the trigger-puller will be responsible. I e-mailed someone in the US who's working on the missile defence issue there and he wrote back to say that US anti-BMD activists are having a hard time figuring out exactly what the chain-of-command for missile defence will be: their Access to Information requests are not getting them very far and the US government is being deliberately vague about which of the Unified Commands–NORTHCOM or STRATCOM–is going to be calling the shots (it seems there's no real question of NORAD being in charge of anything, though NORAD is often held up as the "public face" of continental aerospace security).

Actually, he said that it might be helpful if specific chain-of-command questions were raised
in the Canadian Parliament. Let's hope some are.

(If it's STRATCOM that's in charge of missile defence, by the way, a Canadian won't be within shouting distance of the chain of command.)

Link to Theresa Hitchens' full speech.

[ 21 November 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]

[ 21 November 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Budd Campbell
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posted 24 November 2004 07:02 PM      Profile for Budd Campbell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by sgm:
Globe columnists like John Ibbitson like to write that operational control of NMD falls to NORAD (as he did in Tuesday's Globe), and Liberal friendly pollsters like Pollara like to stress that Canada is "part of NORTHCOM" when they test public levels of support for NMD. In truth, these are misleading claims.


These columnists and pollsters seem to be pre-occupied with the politics of this system in a manner than is completely divorced from any practical reality. Symbols and appearances and perceptions are the stuff of the discussion for them, not whether or not the system can actually shoot down an incoming warhead or whether the costs are justified. Just who's in charge, or more precisely, to what minor degree does control seem to have been shared with Canadians.

Earlier on in this thread it seemed to me that some were complaining about this system for reasons that, while different in direction, were similar in fundamental character. They were worried about US hegemony, imperialism, Bushism, etc.


From: Kerrisdale-Point Grey, Vancouver | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
yankcanuck
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posted 26 November 2004 12:10 PM      Profile for yankcanuck     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From Council of Canadians -

From: Council of Canadians
Reply-To:
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 2004 07:26:00 -0800
Subject: [26-nov-04] Action Alert! / Alerte Action!


ACTION ALERT / ALERTE ACTION ! Canadians reject the Bush agenda. Will Paul Martin?

Prime Minister Paul Martin will be meeting with U.S. President George Bush in Ottawa on Tuesday November 30th, 2004. President George Bush will be visiting Halifax on Wednesday December 1st, 2004.


This is a tremendous opportunity for Canadians to express their opposition to the President's policies and to demand of the Prime Minister "the Canada we want."

The Council of Canadians will be very active in raising concerns about Bush's policies during his visit to Canada.

Visit the Council of Canadians' web site now for more details.



Les Canadiens rejettent le programme de Bush. Paul Martin va-t-il suivre?

Le premier ministre Paul Martin rencontrera le président des États-Unis George Bush à Ottawa mardi le 30 novembre, 2004. Le Président George Bush visitera Halifax mercredi le 1er décembre, 2004.

C‚est une occasion extraordinaire pour les Canadiens d‚exprimer leur opposition envers les politiques du président américain et d‚exiger du premier ministre « le Canada que nous voulons ».

Le Conseil des Canadiens sera très actif pendant la visite de Bush au Canada.

Visitez le site web du Conseil des Canadiens pour plus d'nformations...

The Council of Canadians / Le Conseil des Canadiens
700-170 av. Laurier Ave West / Ouest
Ottawa, ON K1P 5V5 www.canadians.org


From: What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 30 November 2004 05:59 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Last night on the World at Six, Economics Reporter Mike Hornbrook had a story on the defence industry's quiet push to get Martin's Liberals to sign on to Bush's NMD plans.
Peter Boag from the Aerospace Industries Association worried about the business consequences of not signing on to NMD. His association's website calls for the elimination of barriers "that prevent Canadian firms from being considered partners and suppliers of choice in commercial and defence aerospace programs in North America, Europe and Asia." Some of these barriers include Buy-USA provisions supported last year by the US congress, which some in the defence industry put down to Canada's refusal to fully support the US in Iraq. Here is what Boag's association's website says:
quote:

A closer alignment between our foreign and defence policies and our trade interests, will enable and facilitate international industrial collaboration, program & project partnering and technology transfer.

I.e. Shift foreign policy for the good of the defence lobby.

Aerospace Association Page.

Spokesmen for other companies, such as Norbert Cyr of Oerlikon (makers of missiles and command and control software) made the same point: signing on to NMD will be good for business.

Backing up the defence industry spokesmen was Jim Fergusson, of the Manitoba-based Centre for Defence and Security Studies, an NMD and space-weapons advocate. Alexa had some things to say about him earlier this fall:

quote:

“In Paul Martin’s Ottawa, the government spends tax dollars for people to convince the government to overturn government policy,” she said. “This is a dangerous farce and one more reason for Martin to say no to George Bush’s dangerous plan now.”

At issue is James Fergusson, director of the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies. The centre receives funding from the Department of National Defence’s security and defence forum. The DND program has a budget of $2 million this year, according to the 2004-05 estimates.


NDP Press Release.

On the CBC report, Fergusson actually implied we ought to have signed on to SDI years ago under Reagan, judging by the lack of US defence-related business we were able to drum up afterward, compared to the UK, Israel and Japan (this last country, by the way, has recently been pressured by the US to relax its arms-export controls so it can collaborate more effectively with the US and other allies on BMD--another example of the "environment shaping" BMD-friendly treaty-busters in the US favour).

Fergusson, furthermore, said he had absolutely no doubt that NMD will work, and compared it to the Apollo programme of the 1960s/70s, which also had its critics.

Despite the behind the scenes lobbying and the official selling job by guys like Fergusson and Jack Granatstein (in yesterday's Post), today came news of a poll by Ipsos Reid showing that, while over 73% of Americans agree with missile defence, only 44% of Canadians do--a thirty point gap.

Globe poll.

I hope Martin listens to the majority of Canadians on this issue--whose voice is reflected in the NDP's stand--instead of the defence lobby.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 02 December 2004 01:38 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A further point about the Canadian defence lobby and NMD. Tonight at a public meeting, I received a photocopy of a June 14th, 2004 article by David Pugliese in Space News (page 18) entitled Canadian Firms Eye US Missile Defense System Work

It's also supposed to be on www.spacenews.com, but their search engine doesn't appear to be working, so I can't link, but here are some excerpts:

quote:

Canadian companies wanting to win contracts for the US ballistic missile defense system should concentrate on longer-term programs such as the space-based kinetic energy interceptor, portable X-band radar, and second-generation kill vehicles, according to a recently declassified Canadian government study.

But Canadian firms face intense competition from other foreign bidders, and their position could become more precarious the longer the Canadian government delays participation in the missile defense program, the study and industry officials acknowledge.


The March, 2003 study--declassified under an access to information request--was entitled "Potential Canadian Industrial Participation in the US Ballistic Missile Defence System Program." It stressed the importance of signing on quickly, and predicted Canadian companies could "win $100 million to $180 million a year in contracts for missile defense."

The industry officials quoted in support of the report's findings included Norbert Cyr (mentioned above), who says that "There are certainly opportunities being missed because of [Canadian government hesitation]."

Another official, Ron Kane of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, is quoted as saying that he thinks the $100-180M/year figure is too high, but he nevertheless agrees that Canada should sign on to improve US-Canada relations (strained by our staying out of Iraq):

quote:

"I think there's political mileage to be gained in the US if we support missile defense," [Kane] said. "It sends a message to Congress that we are there to support the US."

The article also quotes Darren Gibb, communications director to David Pratt (Minister of National Defence at the time) saying he (Gibb) had not read the 71-page report. Nevertheless benefits to industry were an important point stressed by David Pratt in his letter to Donald Rumsfeld on Canadian cooperation with NMD:

quote:

It is our intent to negotiate in the coming months a Missile Defence Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States with the objective of including Canada as a participant in the current US missile defence program and expanding and enhancing information exchange. We believe this should provide a mutually beneficial framework to ensure the closest possible involvement and insight for Canada, both government and industry, in the US missile defence program. Such an MOU could also help pave the way for increased government-to-government and industry-to-industry co-operation on missile defence that we should seek to foster between our countries.

Link to Pratt letter.

At tonight's talk by Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons in Space, Gagnon said that the American administration has put the word out to aerospace defence industry officials around the world to lobby their governments to sign on to BMD. Whether or not the White House is directly behind such an effort, such lobbying is clearly happening here in Canada.

As I write this, it occurs to me to wonder, since Bush "unexpectedly" brought up BMD here in Canada, who else he might have met with or talked with while here in Canada over the last few days, and who else was on the guest lists at various functions, apart from the politicians we've all been focusing on.

[ 02 December 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 02 December 2004 03:00 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One interesting thing about Star Wars as an issue is that the Liberals can't co-opt it. Most social, economic, even to some extent class issues, the Liberals can heartily say "me too!" while reassuring their sponsors that nothing will really happen. But Star Wars is a game of perceptions as much as it is anything else. The point for the US isn't to get Canadian help--it's to be *seen* to get Canadian help. It's to get Canada's official seal of approval. So the Liberals can't say one thing and do another, it's the saying that's the main point. To curry favour with the Americans they have to publicly give at least qualified support.

So the NDP (and doubtless bloc) have the Liberals in a box where they have to take an unpopular stand and have little room to maneuver. In that sense it's a great issue politically for the NDP, well worth banging on.


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thorin_bane
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posted 02 December 2004 07:16 PM      Profile for thorin_bane     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You should have seen the cons waffle all over the place on where they stand. Also where they used to stand. They now say they never wanted to just join on to BMD...Ya right and liberals never lie! http://www.cbc.ca/politics/ Click on thursday PM(don't know if it will be up tonight or tomorrow) and look at about 40 minutes or so. Watch scott reid and geoff norquay waflle waffle wafle. I thought scott was going to stangle our NDP guy, man was he pissed.
From: Looking at the despair of Detroit from across the river! | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 02 December 2004 07:43 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh I tell, I wanted to verbally slap Scott Reid a few times listening to him. You have to know it is bad when Norquay sounded reasonable.

If the NDP wants to be taken in serious manner they have to do better than that on national TV. Particularily on an issue that the NDP are spear heading, like no to BMD's and Star Wars.

edited to add: was to grumpy to post that!

[ 02 December 2004: Message edited by: remind ]


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remind
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posted 02 December 2004 11:14 PM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
oops

[ 02 December 2004: Message edited by: remind ]


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 03 December 2004 02:15 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There was a brief clip of Layton on tonight's National (speaking in Vancouver, I believe), in which he reported on his private conversation with W regarding BMD and space weapons.

Layton said he asked Bush to rule out space weapons as part of BMD, and Bush responded that BMD would involve any means necessary (i.e. "No, we won't rule them out, Jack").

The best Martin can do is say that they have yet to be definitively ruled in--which is, technically, true, since the current "capability" based at Ft. Greeley in Alaska is ground-based, and the Missile Defense Agency will only begin testing a space-based interceptor in early 2006, with an experiment called NFIRE, with further tests to follow after 2008. (Eric Sorensen, on the National, spoke of a space-based BMD component being ready by 2012.) It's also worth noting that the ground-based interceptors in Alaska are dual-use, and could be used not only against hypothetical incoming missiles, but also against enemy satellites in the event of conflict.

In any event, it remains true that the US plans to weaponize space as part of its overall plan to gain "full spectrum dominance," and BMD forms part of those plans.

For the NDP, it might be worth pointing out that any BMD plan--space-based or not--could have serious negative consequences for global security, including nuclear proliferation, though that case may be harder to make, politically speaking since "defence" sounds innocuous.

[ 03 December 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Liberaler
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posted 08 December 2004 10:18 AM      Profile for Liberaler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes the NDP are wasting time fighting against the balistic missle program.
From: Toronto Ontario | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 08 December 2004 11:00 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, then, that clearly settles the argument. Thanks so much for weighing in with your thoughtful analysis
From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Liberaler
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posted 08 December 2004 12:00 PM      Profile for Liberaler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Scott Piatkowski:
Well, then, that clearly settles the argument. Thanks so much for weighing in with your thoughtful analysis


WOW! I love the sarcasm on this site. Man did I miss it. I guess that's what happens when you don't visit herein a long time and support the Liberals.


From: Toronto Ontario | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
quelar
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posted 08 December 2004 12:23 PM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Clearly Liberaler is wrong. The NDP continues to bring this back to the front pages of the newspaper, they keep talking about it. This is the last thing that Martin wants. He doesn't want to see the Globe and Mail poll saying that 80% of Canadians don't want it. Or the the Sun poll saying that 58% don't want it.

The NDP is not only right on this issue, but they're winning. And will continue to win no matter which way this goes.

If the house votes against it, Layton gets to write this down as a personal agenda victory, and if the house votes for it, the Liberals will suffer a blood bath of an election across the country and put the PC's in power, and strengthen the NDP seat count.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Bookish Agrarian
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posted 08 December 2004 05:46 PM      Profile for Bookish Agrarian   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by quelar:

The NDP is not only right on this issue, but they're winning. And will continue to win no matter which way this goes.


If you are not sure this is right check out the increasing vociferousness of the Conservative attacks on the NDP and Layton in particular. They know they are on the wrong side of this issue and they are hoping to win on hitpoints instead. They are beginning to spend as much or more time attacking the NDP rather than the Liberal wobbly position.


From: Home of this year's IPM | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 08 December 2004 08:32 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Alexa said this yesterday in the House during a debate on C-25:

quote:

Canadians in greater and greater numbers are making it clear they want absolutely nothing to do with participation in Bush's missile defence initiative. It is becoming more clear that Canadians are saying no to Canadian participation in missile defence, but are saying yes to our federal government and Parliament providing leadership. Canadians want us to persuade Bush to say no to the militarization of space, the weaponization of space that is inherently built in to the missile defence trajectory that the U.S. government is now launched on.

I don't know if Bush can be persuaded, but I wonder if others think it might be a good idea for the NDP not only to push against this Bush missile scheme, but also to push for positive, concrete steps against space weaponization, such as the draft Space Preservation Treaty.

Mel Hurtig, in his book Rushing to Armageddon, notes that a World Peace Forum scheduled for Vancouver in June of 2006, and suggests that an international conference could be organized along the lines of the 1997 Land Mines Treaty Conference in Ottawa.

Space Preservation Treaty Conference Link.

Here is a proposed Canada Space Preservation Act:

Link.

Here's the draft treaty:

Link.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged

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