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Author Topic: Layton's NDP Forcing Liberals To Reconsider Ballistic Missle Defence
leftcoastguy
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posted 06 December 2004 09:09 PM      Profile for leftcoastguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Liberals moving away from missile defence plan
quote:
In question period, NDP Leader Jack Layton continued his barrage against the prime minister, saying "this waffling and prevarication is really quite astounding."

"If we go back to the advertisements in the last election, they were very clear:
The prime minister tried to claim that all Canadians of progressive values should support him and his party because he would not go down the road that we saw being carved out by the Bush administration."



From: leftcoast | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 07 December 2004 02:07 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
GST, weapons in space. What's the diff ?. pfff
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 07 December 2004 02:40 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And so, if the Liberals are unable to engineer support for BMD, what are they going to give GWB?

It is normal in any negotiation to start out with a maximum demand that has a number of disposable items. Bush might be content with a few UN votes against Iran, increased support for Israel and recognition for the soon to be 'elected' government of Iraq.

I think BMD is disposable. The fact that Bush and Powell did not deny that BMD would lead to weapons in space directly to Jack Layton, is highly suspicious in itself.


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 07 December 2004 02:50 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here's a story I read today on NMD:

quote:

Missile Defense Still on Hold

Wade Boese

Despite deployment of the first contingent of long-range ballistic missile interceptors in Alaska two months ago, the Bush administration has yet to declare its limited missile defense system ready for action. Various military commands that will have a hand in running the system say they are still evaluating the defense and working out its operating guidelines.

...

Although MDA developed the system and will sustain and upgrade it, the duties of operating the system daily and firing it during a real attack rests on Strategic Command, Northern Command, and Pacific Command. Strategic Command is charged with defending against foreign missile attacks, Northern Command is assigned with U.S. homeland defense, and Pacific Command oversees U.S. military activities stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Some of Pacific Command’s naval vessels are outfitted with advanced radar designed to help track the early flight path of a ballistic missile launched from Asia.

The initial deployment is geared toward protecting against a ballistic missile launch by North Korea, which has not successfully flight-tested a missile capable of striking the continental United States.


Full Story.

The main point here, as I see it, is the second paragraph. Nowhere is there mention of NORAD as a possible controller of this system--a key selling point advanced by proponents of our joining this system. While it's true that the Commander-in-Chief of NORAD is also the Commander-in-Chief of NORTHCOM, this person is an American military officer answerable to an American--not a Canadian--chain of command.

Here's David Pratt, speaking in the house last year in favour of missile defence, according to Hansard:

quote:

As things currently stand, the North American missile defence mission has been assigned to the U.S.-only northern command. Reassignment of the North American missile defence mission to Norad would make Canada well placed to influence the development and functioning of this new missile defence system.



Note that Pratt refers--quite correctly--to NORTHCOM as a US-only command. The (false) equation of NORTHCOM to NORAD has been used by NMD-proponents to sell missile defence to Canadians. In the old Missile Defence Questions thread, I posted about two stories by Robert Fife in the National Post which boosted missile defence on the strength of Pollara polling data gathered through just this bit of sleight-of-hand. In fact, Fife appeared on Martin Stringer's CPAC show this week making this very point--if you poll Canadians in a certain way (i.e. telling them NORAD=NORTHCOM=Safety for all of North America from hostile attack), you get a majority response in favour of NMD (Duh!).

The big point here is that NORTHCOM, as one of the Unified Commands under the US's Unified Command Plan, even if given nominal control over missile defence, would be a US-only Command. There would be no real Canadian input on command and control matters. In fact, there are some who think, with good reason, that STRATCOM, the Unified Command in charge of nuclear missiles and missile defence, will be calling all the shots in the end. There isn't any serious Canadian presence there. At best, NORAD will be a set of "eyes" for a system Americans will activate as they see fit. We will have no real say over how the thing develops or how it is used.

I hope the NDP--and others--bring up these serious command-and-control, chain-of-command issues in the house and elsewhere.


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Left Turn
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posted 07 December 2004 03:00 AM      Profile for Left Turn        Edit/Delete Post
Also from the Politics Watch Article
quote:
When that vote will happen is still not known. The Bloc Quebecois and the NDP, which have a combined 73 seats in Parliament, are opposed to missile defence. Media reports suggest as many as 30 Liberal MPs are also opposed to the plan. For a motion to be defeated at least 155 MPs would have to vote against it.

Only 30 out of 135 Liberal MP's appear to be opposed to the missile defense plan. In my view this is only a minor opposition within the Liberal caucus on this issue. This puts only 104 MPs (including Carolyn Parrish) in the anti-missile defense camp. A further 51 Liberal and/or Conservative Mps would have to be in the No camp in order to defeat a vote on this issue. At the moment there appears to be no indication of this happening any time soon.

The lack of Liberal Mps promoting missile defense probably has more to do with a desire to keep a lid on this issue due to canadian opposition to it (especially in Quebec), rather than anything resembling widespread opposition within the Liberal caucus. Here's to hoping I'm wrong.


From: BC | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
leftcoastguy
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posted 07 December 2004 04:18 AM      Profile for leftcoastguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well if I understood Transportation Minister Lapierre talking about the free vote concerning Canada's involvement in BMD on Politics Monday, he said that the Liberal government may disregard the results of the vote. In that case why bother having the vote.
From: leftcoast | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
quelar
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posted 07 December 2004 12:32 PM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why bother? To keep up Martin's perception of fixing the democratic deficit (despite the fact that the vast majority of Canadians do not want the missile shield).

All we can hope for is that the constituents make it known to their MP's. Keep the pressure on so they don't vote for it.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 07 December 2004 02:36 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by leftcoastguy:
Well if I understood Transportation Minister Lapierre talking about the free vote concerning Canada's involvement in BMD on Politics Monday, he said that the Liberal government may disregard the results of the vote. In that case why bother having the vote.

Sounds great. The reason to bother having the vote is so that if the Liberals do disregard the results we can hang 'em high with it.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
canucklehead
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posted 07 December 2004 03:25 PM      Profile for canucklehead     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
While I wholeheartedly agree with the NDPs principled opposition to Canadian involvement in missile "defence," I wish Layton would stop referring to it as "Star Wars" all the time, even if it does ultimately involve the weaponization of space. Frankly, it's starting to sound really silly and it just plays into the hands of those on the right who would love nothing more than to brand Layton as a "left-wing loonie" in the eyes of the Canadian public in an effort to undermine his credibility (and by extension, the credibility of the NDP as a whole).

While we're on the topic, did anyone else read the recent article in the Globe and Mail which cites a US defence expert who says that, while the interceptor missiles are woefully inadequate in terms of their stated purpose of shooting down an incoming balistic missile, they're perfectly designed for use as an offensive weapon against satellites and orbiting space stations. In other words, so-called "missile defence" is a wolf in sheep's clothing, an offensive system aimed at dominating and controlling space through the use of force. This is the sort of thing the NDP should be talking about as opposed to prattling on vacuously about "George Bush's Star Wars" and how it's out of step with Canadian values, etc.


From: Port Coquitlam, BC | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 08 December 2004 04:04 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Canucklehead,

I, too, saw the reports about the dual-use capacity of the Ft. Greeley interceptors in
Alaska. Given the US doctrine of "denying" potential opponents the use of space, and "negating" their space capabilities, the offensive potential of these anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons is quite clear. Moreover, even if one assumes the interceptors will be able to hit one or two ICBMS in their mid-course phase, the overall aim of the entire system remains offensive, in that this intercept capacity would theoretically allow the US to act militarily against a minor nuclear power without fear of deterrence (or so its proponents hope--likely in vain). The NDP should indeed stress this point, as should others.

I disagree with you, however, on Layton's use of "Star Wars" language for a couple of reasons, though I think I understand where you're coming from. First, Layton will be mocked and rhetorically marginalized whatever he says--it's in the interests of many to do it, so they'll do it. This isn't to say that Layton shouldn't choose his words carefully, but consider Layton's question in the House today on Liberal environmental inaction and Martin's upcoming visit to China. Layton pointed out that encouraging the Chinese to buy more Canadian oil and burn it would do little to help global greenhouse gas levels. In his response, Martin claimed his environmental record was just great, and mockingly thanked Layton for his insights on what is normally done with oil. Layton made a valid point, in my view, but was met with Martin mockery. Given the Liberals' aversion to truth on the NMD issue--not to mention the Cons' craven, self-interested stand--it's likely there's nothing the NDP could say on BMD that wouldn't be met with either mockery or the bogus charge of anti-Americanism by the Libs, Cons or the mainstream press pundits--that's their job.

Given that no language or arguments on BMD would protect the NDP from mockery, I would further make the positive case that "Star Wars" can be a useful phrase for two reasons: 1) it emphatically and memorably insists on a connection between NMD and an overall space-weaponization policy the Liberals would rather the general public thought didn't exist; and 2) it appeals to issue-specific activists in their own language, activists for whom "Star Wars" is quite acceptable "short hand" to address this topic. Of course, it remains to be seen whether an appeal to such activist groups will have an electoral pay-off, and your concern about appearing ridiculous provides an important caution. Still, I think that, on balance, Layton and the NDP are not wrong to use this term.

[ 08 December 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 15 December 2004 10:21 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. missile-defence test fails

quote:
Washington — An interceptor missile failed to launch early Wednesday in what was to have been the first full flight test of the U.S. national missile defence system in nearly two years.

The Missile Defense Agency has attempted to conduct the test several times this month, but scrubbed each one for a variety of reasons, including various weather problems and a malfunction on a recovery vessel not directly related to the equipment being tested.


Test Missile Fails Yet Again

Latest update on why Jack's and the NDP's stand on BMD is the correct choice other than it being just plain wrong. Can anyone say; tis but a Canadian tax payer money grab for the arms industry?


From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Liberaler
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posted 15 December 2004 10:46 AM      Profile for Liberaler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As I stated in a post in the Politics forum I do not like Bush but I agree on the Missle Defense program.
From: Toronto Ontario | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
No Yards
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posted 15 December 2004 10:58 AM      Profile for No Yards   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Liberaler:
As I stated in a post in the Politics forum I do not like Bush but I agree on the Missle Defense program.

Congratulations. You've been promoted to a *half* wit!


From: Defending traditional marriage since June 28, 2005 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Reverend Blair
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posted 15 December 2004 11:22 AM      Profile for Reverend Blair   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I support missile defense too...I think our government should be defending us from being involved in Georgie's insane plans to funnel massive amounts of money to military contractors while weaponizing space.

By the way BMD actually stands for "Bush's Missile Debacle."


From: Winnipeg | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
sgm
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posted 15 December 2004 12:15 PM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Liberaler would appear to be a bit out of step with his decisive leader on this subject:

quote:

Missile defence won't work

Prime Minister Paul Martin said yesterday he does not believe the U.S. ballistic missile shield will succeed in shooting down incoming rockets, as he threw up new roadblocks to counter President George W. Bush's strong appeal for Canada to join his continental defence plan.

Canada will not put any money into building the missile shield and it will not allow Washington to station rockets on Canadian soil as the price of participation in the multibillion-dollar program, Mr. Martin told Global National in a year-end interview.

...

Mr. Martin said Canada is not even close to negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. on missile defence, but added any document must include guarantees that it would not lead to the weaponization of space.

Canada would immediately pull out of the defence shield if it were to join and the U.S. subsequently put missile weapon systems in space.

"I don't believe space belongs to any country," Mr. Martin said.

"We will not engage in the weaponization of space."


Ottawa Citizen Link

Martin sounded similar notes in his year-end interview with Mansbridge on CBC's The National last night. He seems to be playing for time here, since the answers to the questions he's asking are already generally known: Canada will have no meaningful say in the chain of command; the US intends to weaponize space as part of an effort to "dominate" it and "deny" other countries its use as the US sees fit. (They're planning to do this quite apart from BMD, of course--missile defense is just part of the "full spectrum dominance" picture.)

As for a memorandum of understanding, Martin might get a meaningless assurance that the Ground-based Mid-Course Defence part of the system won't include any space weapons, but the overall system is meant to "integrated" and "layered," and space weapons are meant to be part of the mix.

The 2002 National Presidential Directive on Missile Defense says the system will evolve:

quote:

The Defense Department plans to employ an evolutionary approach to the development and deployment of missile defenses to improve our defenses over time. The United States will not have a final, fixed missile defense architecture. Rather, we will deploy an initial set of capabilities that will evolve to meet the changing threat and to take advantage of technological developments. The composition of missile defenses, to include the number and location of systems deployed, will change over time.

Among the improvements to the initial capability, this document lists Development and testing of space-based defenses.

Missile Defense Directive

Here's the US Air Force on Offensive Counterspace Operations:

quote:

Offensive counterspace operations preclude an adversary from exploiting space to their advantage. OCS operations may target an adversary’s space capability (space system,
forces, information links, or third party space capability), using a variety of permanent and/or reversible means.

They even claim the right to shoot down a commercial satellite belonging to a third party if they think an enemy might be making use of it (certain clauses of bill C-25 permitting the ministers of defence and foreign affairs to order Canadian satellite operators to cease providing data they've contracted to provide could be read in the light of this US doctrine).

quote:

On-orbit Satellites. Satellites are on-orbit assets consisting of a mission sensor and a satellite bus. The mission sensor provides raw data, which is usually sent to a ground station for processing. The satellite bus carries the mission sensor and provides it power, thermal control, and communications. OCS operations may target the mission sensor or the satellite bus. For example, a laser may deny, disrupt, degrade, or destroy certain types of sensors. Kinetic antisatellite weapons, on the other hand, usually target the satellite bus for physical destruction.

The kind of rocket that failed its test today could, in theory, be used as an anti-satellite weapon. Imagine the American response if Martin refused to sign on unless they promised never to shoot down another country's satellites.

USAF Counterspace Doctrine PDF

[ 15 December 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]

[ 15 December 2004: Message edited by: sgm ]


From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
quelar
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posted 15 December 2004 12:48 PM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
*Round of Applause*

That's for Layton.

We should ALL be thanking him for keeping this up in the forefront of the Canadian Agenda, and forcing Martin to accept this as it is, a complete sham.

Let's hope this dies a quick death and we leave the US out on their own.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged

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