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Space Technology

Military Seeks Approval to Develop Space Weapons 878

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-no-moon dept.
ranson writes "The New York Times is reporting that U.S. Air Force officials are seeking Bush's Approval to begin researching and developing space arms. While analysts feel this move will be unwelcome in the international community, military officials believe that "Space superiority ... is our destiny, ... our vision for the future.""
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Military Seeks Approval to Develop Space Weapons

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  • Base Closings (Score:1, Insightful)

    by gotpaint32 (728082) * on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:03PM (#12572509) Journal
    So they are going to close some 20-30 bases in the US so we can have weapons in space. Space weapons sound cool, but a substantial ground presence is needed in any confrontation, either to mop up the mess, or contain it.
  • NASA vs USAF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dark grep (766587) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:07PM (#12572541)
    From informative, well researched fiction by Stephen Baxter (Moonseed) and others, I gather than the USAF has long held a grudge against NASA. Could this be the not so thin edge of the wedge of moving all space funding to a militarily organisation rather than a civilian one?
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:07PM (#12572543)
    "Don't throw the past away,
    You might need it some rainy day,
    Dreams can come true again,
    When ev'ry thing old is new again!

    - Throw rock
    - Hit other guy with stick
    - Throw rock with stick on the end of it
    - Shoot stick with rock on end of it at guy with curved stick
    - Hit rock with fire, make copper, bronze, iron, steel rocks to put on ends of stick
    - Put fire in tube, throw rock with fire.
    - Put fire in metal tube, throw metal rock with fire.
    - Put fire in metal rocks, drop exploding rocks on other guy
    - Drop rocks made of unstable atomic metals on other guy
    - Head for the asteroid belt. Throw rock

  • Star Wars part II? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jailbrekr (73837) <jailbrekr@digitaladdiction.net> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:07PM (#12572544) Homepage
    Ronald Reagan pushed his Star Wars plan at around the same time (rough estimation) that Episode VI was released, and Bush is pushing Star Wars part II at the same time that Episode 3 is being released. Coincidence? I think not!
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:10PM (#12572560) Homepage Journal
    Will some nation eventually deploy weapons in space? I'd say there's a high liklihood.

    To me then, the question boils down to, do you want to be first or attempt to be second?
  • Escalation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:11PM (#12572578)
    This is an escalation targetted against the rest of the world, and will be taken as such.
  • by FriedTurkey (761642) * on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:12PM (#12572579)
    Nothing will defeat terrorism like billion dollar space weapons!!!

    You never know when Al Qaeda is going to build a rocket.

    Those kids in Explorers [imdb.com] did.
  • Re:Base Closings (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:12PM (#12572586)
    Meh, a good focused laser weapon attack from space will always be good at mopping up the mess or contain it... just raze a few cities and they'll back down.

    At least, that's what this admin thinks, IMO. It's a dangerous idea, one devoid of morals.

  • by mauriatm (531406) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:12PM (#12572593) Homepage
    Remember his speech, now known in history as the "Star Wars" [cnn.com] speech.

    "As we pursue our goal of defensive technologies, we recognize that our allies rely upon our strategic offensive power to deter attacks against them. Their vital interests and ours are inextricably linked. Their safety and ours are one. And no change in technology can or will alter that reality. We must and shall continue to honor our commitments."

    Sad how little has changed.
  • Re:Base Closings (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:13PM (#12572600)
    Oh they're closing Submarine and Bomber bases too.

    I'm all for the military industrial complex and all. But there's not a whole lot here technology wise. A kinetic kill weapon just needs a ride up. And since I don't seem them reexamining nuclear rockets for those rides, it's just a sink for cash as opposed to an investment. It the want to get a high band gap semiconductor laser array going, woohoo, but I somehow doubt that's on the near term chistmas list.

    I love how the republicans ran on a platform of strengthening Americas military, and all they're doing is cutting back, complicating logistics, DURING the invasion of two countries. Biggest. WTF. Evar.
  • by failedlogic (627314) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:17PM (#12572632)
    Its sad to see that the 'militarization' of space is the only 'hope' that we have of making additional space ventures.
  • Colonization (Score:1, Insightful)

    by TLouden (677335) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:22PM (#12572677)
    Why not develope space technologies to help in safely travling through and living in space instead of ones to kill each other out there. We're already killing ourselves too much here so why must we be able to do so elsewhere before we'll even work on being able to go elsewhere?
  • by zerbot (882848) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:24PM (#12572692)
    Do you honestly think they would launch a missile (expensive to develop) that is very easily tracked back to the source rather than smuggling something in? Tons of drugs are imported to this country every year and you don't think they could get a nuke on site, and avoid retaliation?
  • Space Superiority (Score:3, Insightful)

    by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:24PM (#12572701) Journal
    I don't know about you but I read that as a grand "fuck you" to the rest of the world. "We own the entire rest of the universe and we'll blast you to subatomic particles if you try to have a piece..."
  • by Wandering-Seraph (878056) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:24PM (#12572702)
    Breaking treaties isn't exactly a new sport for the American Politic. Remember the American Indians? Yeah... no, really, we wont utterly annihilate anyone in our way using nefarious means. Never. One only hopes to learn from history...
  • Re:Base Closings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:25PM (#12572707)
    So they are going to close some 20-30 bases in the US so we can have weapons in space. Space weapons sound cool, but a substantial ground presence is needed in any confrontation, either to mop up the mess, or contain it.

    I'll bite. Why? As long as we have enough bases to serve or armed soldiers, why do we need a few extra in, say, South Dakota? To repel an invasion from the inner Canadian provinces? I don't think that confrontation is coming anytime soon.

  • Re:Base Closings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:25PM (#12572709)
    It's a dangerous idea, one devoid of morals

    As opposed to guided missiles? Supersonic bombers? Flamethrowers? Trebuchets? The tool/venue is, by definition not a moral issue. What you do is. So, if China starts taking out our satellites, and we've got no means by which to prevent it... that's a good thing?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:26PM (#12572724)
    Have you bought so far into this phony-ass defense-driven attitude that has rum rampant in America that you can't even see the other alternatives? How about (and I know this is crazy but bear with me) if America and its allies start using some of their money for building up the rest of the world instead of creating new ways to destroy it. How about if we start treating the rest of the world with a little dignity and respect and start actually helping them instead of undermining them out of some post-cold war paranoia? Yeah? Is that too nutty? Because you know, when we start doing that, we start eliminating a lot of the reasons that other countries might want to fire off a few missiles at us. And when we do that, we start setting an example that the masses in countries like North Korea and Iran and Saudi Arabia want to aspire to and will rise up and overthrow their own governments if they don't get. But when we have a leader who imagines himself a two-bit cowboy and is too quick to shock and awe those who disagree with him, then it creates an environment where people start to feel threatened, and when people start to feel threatened, the start thinking in terms of how to take out that threat.

    Do space-based weapons do anything about that?

    Remember, it was the Republicans in the 80s insisting that the only defense against the dreaded Russian menace was exactly this kind of thing. Do you remember that? Did that swirl away down the memory hole yet?

    Get out of this perpetual war mentality you're stuck in. Get out from under this premise of fear that you cling to. Attitudes like yours are far more dangerous to the safety of the planet than North Korea.

    I trust that's not too tough to understand, right?

    =>jd

  • by Pyromage (19360) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:26PM (#12572726) Homepage

    nuke 'em from orbit...that sure sounds like us.

    Hell yeah it sounds like us. America fights to win. Now maybe we fight too often and in the wrong places and for the wrong reasons (I'm not interested in debating the appropriateness of the most recent war, I hate it, but that's not the question at hand), but when we fight, we don't just march out some poor draftees in front of enemy machine guns to be fair to the enemy. We airstrike them and snipe them and smartbomb them, because we're not there to be fair, we're there to win. We're there to liberate or conquer or raze, but we're not there to die.

    I hate this war and I hate the reasons for it and I hate those who perpetrated it. But I won't hate the man that saves legions of my fellow Americans by taking out the enemy from safe distance.

    It is as great a crime to send our boys in defenseless, ill-equipped, and without backup to die as it is to subjugate and persecute the enemy.

    And as for the name 'rod of god', it's a nickname for Pete's sake. It's not official marketingspeak from the government, it's a bloody nickname! And a pretty damned good one, too.

  • by AxsDeny (152142) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:27PM (#12572735) Homepage Journal
    ...regarding NOT militarizing space [globalissues.org]?
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:29PM (#12572750) Journal
    I'd rather see no further manned exploration in space for another 50 years than see any exploration (exploitation?) that's driven by a military agenda: all that will acheive is a military build up in space with the US and most probably China developing space-based weapons.

    Space exploration and space science should be carried out on peaceful, scientific grounds only. The world's major militaries can all wipe out life on the face of the Earth already, so being able to do it a few minutes faster with space-borne weapons is hardly my idea of progress.

    Serious science, and even pseudo-science like manned missions to the Moon or Mars, provides the West with the best means of fostering positive relations with China in the medium term, and I'd hate to see any opportunity for the betterment of mankind blown because some cowboy decides that putting nukes above our heads is a smarter move than making sure that nobody will want to do it.

    Just as the US's nukes begat the USSR's, which begat China's, which begat India's, which begat Pakistan's, any overt US militarisation of space would only lead to others following suit.
  • by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:29PM (#12572751) Journal

    You'd better not make a mistake with one.

    You'd better hope their orbits are stable.

    You'd better hope their orbits don't decay

    What if one gets fired by accident or software bug?

    The basic problem is that once the weapon is deployed into orbit, it's already half fired.
  • by PaddyM (45763) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:30PM (#12572765) Homepage
    Imagine if some terrorist organization hacked into the communications channel to something like 'Rods of God' and fired at will on America?

    What am I thinking? It's not like the terrorists would ever think of using our own technology against us.
  • by PaddyM (45763) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:36PM (#12572807) Homepage
    Enemies? Wake up. We're in the information age. The thing that controls these space weapons is information. We can spend all this money putting up creative technology in space, and all our enemies have to do is gather the information to control it.

    My point is that we need to get rid of our enemies. And the only way to do that is to spend money on convincing our enemies that we're not their enemies at all.
  • by wall0159 (881759) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:38PM (#12572829)
    If we're talking about arms in space, what's to stop [insert nuclear-capable country here] from declaring that their airspace extends above geostationary orbit levels, and that any transgression thereof will result in terrestrial nuclear retaliation?

    The US is waning as a global superpower. Get over it.

    The US *could* set an honourable standard of behaviour for superpowers while they still can, but I suspect that greed will get in the way. Oh well...
  • Re:Base Closings (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:42PM (#12572852) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the bases in the US are all that necessary. We aren't trying to protect ourselves from Canada, and the Feds really aren't trying to seal off the border with Mexico, which isn't a military problem.

    As it is, it looks like states are fighting closures because they want the money they bring. It seems to be pretty rare that the Pentagon actually has liberties to determine what they need for the mandates they were given. It seems like they are often being told what to develop, what to buy, even if it doesn't align so well against their mission. I've heard of weapon systems, ships and other stuff gets chosen for them because a company in some particular congressman's district needs to build something.
  • by iggymanz (596061) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:42PM (#12572855)
    well, this is a little different. George and his big corporation buddies are right now making big bucks with the cheap cost of production in countries that don't have liberty and esteem for human life or safety. These countries will use alot of that wealth to develop strategic weapons (for example, China will upgrade its missiles to ones that don't take 25 minutes to fuel/prep so they could then preemtively strike the U.S.A. if need be), so now we go to phase 2a of The Plan, which is pump the military industrial complex with our tax dollars for the day when phase 1 comes back to bite us in the ass. Phase 2b of the plan is to get everyone to own nothing, everything will be leased so as to provide recurring source of revenue, whether your're talking about entertainment or housing or transportation. Only electronic money, the goverment and banks get a slice of every deal. Stay tuned for phase 3, you won't even recognize the place!
  • by SparksMcGee (812424) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:50PM (#12572928)
    Much as our allies (and others) raise legitmate objections about the possibility--nay, probability--of an arms race in space following the widescale implementation of space-based weapons, it's important to realize--as the Times article points out--that such a race comes with an absurdly high pricetag. When it comes down to it, America currently has a damn sophisticated ground and air-based weapons systems, with satellities to provide supplemental information, if not attack capability.

    When you think of the cost of putting such systems into orbit, let alone maintaining systems with enormous destructive power (remember what the Hubble and ISS pricetags have been so far?), it's enough to bankrupt many a nation. And of course we also have to ensure that they can't be tampered with by other satellites or massive EM storms like the recent one.

    The point of all this is not to say that space should stay completely demilitarized--much as everyone would like that, the odds are that it's a pipe dream. If the United States decides to play the altruist and refrain on ideological grounds from militarizing space, that's just an invitation for less scrupulous powers like North Korea to try it at a future time. At some point the issue will inevitably come up.

    But this does not necessarily mean that America needs to be proactive in the deployment (though it certainly does in the development) of such systems. The astronomical pricetag and tremendous practical issues associated with any space-based weapons deployment are such that any country attempting it, including hostile countries, could not do so without extensive difficulty and a very long time, and wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell of being clandestine about it.

    In other words, it is unlikely given America's current military superiority that we need to militarize space at this point. We would likely (for the time being, when anti-missile lasers are not yet practical) have sufficient time to destroy any hostile nation's weapons systems and implement our own--sharing the cost with our allies instead of unliaterally bankrupting ourselves for the sake of pie-in-the-sky showboating. Frankly, now is not the time to start the arms race when we don't have to. Keep space weapons free until such time as we reasonably expect to need space-based weapons (are we really going to need tungsten rods with the kinetic energy of tactical nukes in order to take out guerilla fighters and small terrorist bands? What's the immediate large-scale military threat that requires this sort of tech?).

    We can't kid ourselves that it will never happen, but we can for the time being avoid spending astronomical sums on an unproven system to address a threat that doesn't exist at the expense of international censure. The arms race doesn't need to happen now.

  • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:53PM (#12572945)
    While Ronald Reagan was visualizing the Soviet Union as "The Evil Empire", George W. doesn't have as easy a target to rail against: the vague threat of a terrorism.

    So let's compare it to a movie that did extremely well financially despite a half baked idea behind it. Viola, we have "Star Wars, The Phantom Menace"
  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:53PM (#12572951)
    Assuming these military industrial complex string pullers get their way, we will probably find ourselves in another version of the Starwars type programs Ronald Reagan tried to push during the 80's. It will for sure cost tens/hundreds of billions of dollars, makes go deeper in debt, and will bring nothing but space war stalemate.
  • by Frogbert (589961) <frogbertNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:55PM (#12572962)
    Yes because I'm sure if china wanted to attack then saw the US building up its arms it would stop and think, gee well they certainly put an end to that.

    Honestly what do you think would happen to the US if china decided to stop exporting goods. What if all the asian countries got together and stopped exporting goods? No more electronics thats for sure.

    The US building up arms is just as bad for global stability as the middle east building up arms. Most countries are worried the US will attack them and other countries who are allied with the US are afraid the US will attack someone close to them and thus result in crapping up their country. South Korea is just as worried about the US attacking North Korea as the North is.

    I'll let you in on a secret, other countries don't like being in this position.

    Don't be so arrogant as to think the US is invincible.
  • by eln (21727) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @07:55PM (#12572964) Homepage
    The original space ventures weren't exactly done for pure science you know. Superiority in space was seen as a major military objective in the 1950s and 1960s, which, combined with the propaganda value, is why the government was willing to pour so much money into it. Apollo would never have happened if we weren't trying to defeat the Soviets.
  • by thefirelane (586885) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:03PM (#12573029)
    I know you got a knee jerk + mod... but think about it. You could replace "space" in that whole post with:

    Air flight
    Computer Networking
    Atomic Research
    Satellites
    etc...

    Face it... the only institution that can continue to pour money somewhere before it is profitable to do so is the military. Space will progress just like everything else has: the military pours money into advancing technology, then when technology is sufficiently advanced private industry picks it up and innovates more.
  • by TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:04PM (#12573038) Journal
    Being second won't be a major problem. The weapons will take time to develop and mature, so I doubt that the first generation will be perfect. That leaves a decent window for other nations to get going with their own 'death from above' systems.

    I think that's a moot point, anyway. All it takes is a well-aimed bucket of gravel in the right orbit to take out a space-based system. Launching buckets of gravel is pretty cheap, so unless the US system is 100% effective, this system will suffer from the same flaws as the anti-missile system - it's easy to overwhelm it with a lot of cheap countermeasures.
  • by koko775 (617640) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:20PM (#12573175)
    Wasn't our space program fueled by a tense rivalry with Russia? Didn't we build rockets rivaling and eventually surpassing Russia's because of the competition with the Soviets? If you think it was a battle of the intellect, you're sorely mistaken. We wanted to be better than them, pure and simple. I don't think that we should seek to drop weapons on the rest of the world -- I hate it -- but it's naive to think that a space program can exist divorced from any military interest.
  • by birge (866103) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:25PM (#12573207) Homepage
    That all sounds rather nice, but is really rather hollow, reactionary thinking. Space-borne weapons might offer a way to fight conflicts with precision and minimal loss of life to both sides. The science involved will invariable trickle down. Do you have objections to the fact that airplanes benefitted from military research? Hell, we got the jet engine from the Nazis for the most part.

    Finally, if we didn't develop nukes, they'd have been developed by all the countries you mention by now. Except maybe we'd all have been incinerated by the Russia by now, who would've been the first. Sometimes the hippy dippy shit that sounds so good is just a gloss coat on reality that makes you feel smug. But it comes at the cost of the complexity of the real world.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:27PM (#12573221)
    Yes.. I can see how weapons from space would stop someone going into the middle of a street and pressing a button on a backpack. No wait, no I can't. When was the last time that happened in America again?
  • by generalphilips (816053) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:35PM (#12573296)
    Do you really think the Chinese government's space program is all about peace and love?
    I don't agree that we should be putting nukes in space, but we must research the technology to preclude others from doing so. People may hate me for saying this, but if there is a nation that is going to have this capability, I'd rather it were this one. I'm not naive enough to believe the no other nation has such ambitions.
    While idealists sit around extolling peace, pragmatists are busy preparing for war.
  • Re:You obviously.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Snowman (116231) * on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:36PM (#12573304) Homepage

    You obviously.. ...haven't read the "Patriot Act" have you?

    Neither did the Senate.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:45PM (#12573360)
    I hate this war and I hate the reasons for it and I hate those who perpetrated it. But I won't hate the man that saves legions of my fellow Americans by taking out the enemy from safe distance.

    This isn't about "winning", it's about not provoking the rest of the world to hate us (that *certainly* doesn't help "secure peace" in the world!), it's about not militarizing *space* (once we do it, Russia and China will follow--how would *you* feel knowing the Chinese can nuke us from space? Now imagine Chinese space nukes when Taiwan declares independence.), and it's about not being grotesque monsters who nuke whole populations of innocent people.

    Hell yeah, fight to win, but let's remain a people worthy of winning, if we can.

    The neocons suffer from a severe case of hubris. No one's saying "don't fight to win", they're saying, "the only winning move is not to play the game". How can we be so utterly stupid as to be the ones to *start* the game? It's one thing to be forced into it (you can't help that), but voluntarily starting it?
  • by d474 (695126) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:48PM (#12573378)
    "So I think the real potential for space weapons is lasers. We've gotten to the point that if you can see it, you can kill it..."
    Actually, putting anything in space as a weapon is not a very dependable weapon for the very reason you say: "...you can see it..."

    When it's in orbit over China, if China doesn't like it, they'll take it out before it becomes operational or after it's first used against them. You don't think China (and USA for that matter) aren't already able to take out anything they want to in orbit?

    What scares me is that space based weapons are only effective if there is no enemy capable of creating counter measures. IN-OTHER-WORDS, 1 world government attempting to control the global population through space based weapons. Once they are up, they are omni-present, quick, and 100% untouchable. You are effectively the Greek god Zeus in the heavens throwing down thunderbolts to the meek below.
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:53PM (#12573403) Journal
    Yet didn't the US and USSR have agreements in place not to militarise space? Treaties that banned space-borne weapons?

    The Space Race was about winning headlines, and proving the superiority of capitalism/democracy over communism (and vice versa), not military advantages.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:54PM (#12573409)
    The United States has thus far demonstrated that it is the most responsible when it comes to protecting human rights, helping countries in need, providing aid to other countries when disaster strikes

    Uh, riight. I guess you are ignoring cases where the US is the one who CAUSED said disasters.

    and because the American people are the most generous throughout the world.

    That would explain why everyone on earth just loooves Americans, right?

    this nation has done the right thing time and time again.

    Which time? When training terrorists for dirty little secret wars in South and Central America? Vietnam? Cambodia? Laos? Haiti? Panama? Iraq? Isreal? Face it, your foreign policy has been a total fuck up for over 50 years.

    The same applies to nucular weapons (I voted for Bush, can you tell?) and every other type of weapon in existance. This is because the U.S. uses such weapons responsibly

    Please explain the responsible use of said weapons. Nuking civilian populations? Providing said weapons to "friendly" dictators? Spraying said weapons over entire coutries? Let me know when I get to the example of responsible use.

    It is not okay for most other nations to have access to such weapons

    Really? Then why not get your retarded leader to invade Isreal and take theirs away. Or India. Or Packistan. Or China. Or North Korea. Or any of the vast number of nations who ACTUALLY posses said weapons. So far you have only managed to flaten countries who DIDN'T posses said weapons.

    This is akin to a police officer carrying a gun (the United States) versus a bank robber carrying the same gun (parts of: Europe, Africa, Asia--these areas have demonstrated, within the last century, that they are not responsible)

    Check your history books, I think there is one country you forgot on your list. Google "Fat man" or "Little boy", it will lead to the answer.

    Since you want to use cops carying guns as your example, wasn't it just last week that some of your ever responsible cops unloaded 120+ rounds on an innocent man (unarmed). The saving grace is that these cops were only able to hit the target twice. Trigger happy, ignorant, and incompetent. Yup, sounds like the US to me.

    Face it, the US has fuck all for moral authority. Rape, torture, war crimes out the wazoo, illegal invasions, state sponsored terrorism, you have it all. You want to police your people, go right ahead. I would love to know why you think you have the right to dictate to anyone else what they can or can not do in their own country.

    In case you wonder why the US is globally hated, read your post. You have included most of the ingredients.
  • by zoloto (586738) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:54PM (#12573412)
    exactly. This is how the internet was founded. It started by the Department of Defence
  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:55PM (#12573417)
    It's not really a matter of choice

    Yes, it is. We don't have to *choose* to deploy weapons now, and *that's* the choice some of us are making, poorly.

    Will some nation eventually deploy weapons in space? I'd say there's a high liklihood.

    Probably. It would be *stupid* to do it before it's necessary, though.

    To me then, the question boils down to, do you want to be first or attempt to be second?

    We're the USA, if someone starts to militarize space, we'll just knock their systems down. If they get a legitimate toe-hold in space, *then* we can jump in--it certainly won't take us long to dominate.

    There's just no way a country would pre-emptively attack us from space without an overwhelming chance of victory. But if we begin to truly militarize space, then Russia and China (and India) will as well (unless we truly undertake to conquer the world, shudder). As we all build-up together, it will be far easier for the countries involved to put up enough firepower to launch (and even believe they can win) a first-strike.

    No thanks!
  • by myowntrueself (607117) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:58PM (#12573437)
    "There is no such prohibition"

    Well, only under international treaties. Which be safely ignored by suitably arrogant, nuclear armed superpowers.

    "The Soviets had an automatic cannon installed in several of their Salyut space vehicles."

    cool. Links?
  • by UlfGabe (846629) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @08:58PM (#12573438) Journal
    weaponizing of space is a bad idea.

    nuff said.

    then the satellites you have up there to control global networks/weather/communication/internet/imaging/ec t? launch an interceptor sat, or a nuke in orbit and detonate.

    "never mind those 300,000 people that went blind from the nuclear blast in russia, we just cleaned up 14% of chinas weather satellites."

  • No Biggie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tmortn (630092) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:00PM (#12573451) Homepage
    1) Like it or not the US no longer holds to the no weapons in space treaty. Bush pulled out of that a couple years ago. So everyone stop whining about Bush breaking international treaties. I don't like him either but at least focus on what he is really doing.

    2) Space is the high ground making it highly strategic. All in all I think the US is better suited to handling the power of being first more than say China. ESA would be a good candidate too but they are pretty damn happy to sit back and let the US handle all the shit jobs and ensuing flak.

    3) Very surprised nobody has put together the other obvious piece in this puzzle with Griffon announcing a major new initiative by NASA to deploy space based nuclear reactors. Lasers in space have to have gigantic sources of power... Solar arrays are not very feasible and they remove darkside firing. Nuclear power will provide both power for weapons and propulsion that does not exist today. At the very least this will bring about serious space based observation platforms. Think AWACS in Geosync over a Theater of operations. One of the military thriller wirters used that for a book a while back... can't remember which one but the title was Silver Tower.

    4) for the gravel in space folks. Granted it can be effective... but I am not sure you grasp just how big an area you are talking about. Also, if you grasp orbital mechanics you will understand anything that is a continual problem (ie remains in orbit) you can match orbits with it to remove danger (small relative differences in velocities) or launch clean up efforts.

    5) For those that think space is silly considering you need ground troops I suggest you read up on what people thought about air power prior to WWII. A single laser system with a good rate of fire, capable of tracking an air target long enough to destroy it will alter the face of war in a way not seen since the introduction of mechanized assault. If it cost 100 billion to develop and 100 billion to launch it would be cheap. Check out the cost of the air force... then consider such a weapon could theoretically render it obsolete. Make it like mounted Calvary taking on tanks.
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:01PM (#12573463) Journal
    No, I'm not saying that if the US hadn't come up with the bomb that someone else wouldn't have, only that the US having the bomb lead directly to the USSR's zeal to develop it too, which lead to China doing the same, etc, etc.

    There might well be an idiot in this discussion but if you can't join the dots between one country doing something then one of its rivals playing catch-up then, well, I'm not the one who should be having the idiot tag hung around his neck.
  • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:09PM (#12573493) Journal
    No, but at the same time I think the best way the West can stop China (or anyone else) from putting nuclear arsenals or other weapons in space is to develop a better long-term, mutually-beneficial partnership with them in space rather than just putting up whatever we like there and just keeping our fingers crossed that nobody else does the same.

    If you want to make sure that the other guy doesn't have a gun pointing at your head it's smarter to make sure that he's horrified by the very thought of putting a gun to your head rather than making sure that you've got a gun pointing at his head first.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:16PM (#12573530)
    Look at the history of the H-Bomb.
    America came up with the theory, but didn't test it. We thought we were taking the moral high ground.

    Russia came up with it and tested it...

    Guess who had to play catch up?

    You think if America dosen't do it nations like China, India and Paki won't?

    Please.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:20PM (#12573556)
    Face it... the only institution that can continue to pour money somewhere before it is profitable to do so is the military.

    Absolutely and fundamentally incorrect. The Department of Education, for example, is not profitable. NASA isn't profitable. The Forestry Department isn't profitable. Amtrak isn't profitable. The Corporation for Public Broadcast isn't profitable. The UN isn't profitable (jokes aside).

    And in case you're thinking being unprofitable is the sole domain of government, Amazon spent years being not-profitable, and businesses and government aside, there are plenty of non-profit organizations.
  • by Niten (201835) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:21PM (#12573561)

    I agree with you in one sense: In a time of war we need to protect our American soldiers using every means possible, including technological superiority.

    In a just war, space-based weaponry could be an incredible asset. However, there is at least one negative consequence to be considered: Such weaponry can lower the bar for what, in Americans' minds, is proper justification to go to war. The more "smart" weapons we have in our arsenal, the easier it is for our leaders to convince Congress and the American public that wars, including those fought for the wrong reasons, can be fought with relatively little loss of American lives. With a sufficiently superior military at our command the ideologues have much less to stop them from "liberating" other nations as they see fit, for better or for worse.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:29PM (#12573629)
    They want to close bases in the US, but maybe they need to close the ones in Uzbekistan.

    We go after dictators in Iraq and N. Korea but support them in other places like Uzbekistan. People world wide are seeing us as hypocrites.

    It is too bad that our country is not consistent in our policies. The only consistency seems to be "how do we get more oil".

    Any Neocon want to defend our support of Uzbek dictator?
  • by howajo (707075) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:31PM (#12573643)
    Space does not belong to the US military. Space does not belong to the United States. I would rather not have those who pioneer the exploration of space have to ask for permission to pass the US military's ring of Death Stars.

    This move should be viewed by citizens of the world in the same light as Native Americans might have viewed US military outpost showing up in the west.

    With the immenent exporation and and exploitation of space, the Military WILL try to lock down control before it becomes an area outside their jurisdiction and control.
  • Re:Base Closings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orin (113079) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:33PM (#12573653)
    A great advantage of having lots of little bases everywhere is that it means that there is less of a civilian/military divide and that the military is a part of the community. Put all the bases in the southern states and this divide will grow significantly greater as people in northern states see military personel as "different". They may already - but at least having members of the military visible in the community makes people see them as part of their community. Take the bases away and they won't. If people don't view military personel as a part of their community, they won't care so much when they are deployed - and might be willing to vote for deployments that they would otherwise vote against.
  • by BewireNomali (618969) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:41PM (#12573711)
    I agree with you on all your points, and they are well supported historically.

    however, I also agree with the poster who noted that the space program's greatest successes came under the duress of the Cold War. Strife stimulates uncommon innovation. The same cold war that begat those nukes is responsible for everything up to the still functioning mars landers.

    I'm opposed to war on the one hand, but I've accepted the notion that man is inherently warlike; it's something programmed into our genes. The same folks who espouse pacifism on the one hand scream bloody murder at football matches on the other, somehow missing the fact that all sports games are metaphors for war. that said, my hopes for a sudden paradigmatic shift in the very nature of the species is not something I'd put any money on.

    If we're going to live in a warlike world, I'd like to be on the winning team. Call me a frontrunner if you wish, but if anybody is going to have space weapons, I'd certainly like it to be us. As a matter of fact, being the cynic that I am, I'd be surprised if there aren't some already - and these statements are just to warm us up to the fact before the government starts actively using them.

    In regards to fostering positive relations with countries like China and regions like the Middle East, the issue here is fundamentalism, be it culture or religion. These are forces that will bend slowly at best, if at all. So the idea of genuine open positive relations with these regions is unlikely, in my estimation. The only way to foster change, in my estimation, is to actively promote american media in those regions (let MTV re-educate Afghani youth) and ride those guys into office, at which time we can deal with them. Can't deal with the hard line guys in office now.

    All of which to say, space weapons now will put humans on the moon soon, and into the cosmos, where I think some iteration of humanity ultimately belongs.
  • by kupci (642531) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:43PM (#12573716)

    Space exploration and space science should be carried out on peaceful, scientific grounds only.

    Given our not-so-stellar record, that's unlikely.

    Serious science, and even pseudo-science like manned missions to the Moon or Mars, provides the West with the best means of fostering positive relations with China in the medium term, and I'd hate to see any opportunity for the betterment of mankind blown because some cowboy decides that putting nukes above our heads is a smarter move than making sure that nobody will want to do it.

    China, except for small altercations with Taiwan and Japan, seems to be taking the 'speak softly and carry a big stick' approach. I agree that any move towards weaponization of space would be matched by them.

    There is an excellent book by Robert K. Massie, Dreadnought : Britain, Germany, and the Coming of the Great War [amazon.com] about World War I and Britain's efforts to stay ahead of Germany, to maintain their sea advantage as their land army was weaker. IIRC, they wanted to maintain a 3:1 ratio over the Germans. Britain as this sort of weakening power, overextended, struggling to maintain it's colonies across all parts of the globe, the sun never setting on their empire, yet the hordes ready to crush their Hadrian's Wall.

    Now the U.S. in a similar situation, relatively unopposed superpower, but it's unclear where the financial and technical ability to invest in Space technology would come from not too far in the future.

    One would think it imperative for the U.S. to balance the budget, start paying off debt, and likewise continuing to keep it's schools (whether college or grade school) top notch.

  • Re:Base Closings (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bergeron76 (176351) * on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @09:51PM (#12573776)
    Agreed. How about fixing the mistake we made in Iraq before investing in future mistakes.

    Iraq is the biggest clusterfuck since Vietnam. More than 100,000 dead (1,600 US Soldiers) and there isn't any modicum of hope for that place within sight.

    Considering that it was going to pay for itself, and we've only sunk $300 Billion into it, why not put another $82 Billion into space weapons.

    Why would we need to replenish our depleted Military disposables?

    God help us, and we have 3.5 more years of G.W. still to come.

  • by TitanBL (637189) <brandon@titan-[ ... m ['int' in gap]> on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @10:17PM (#12573943)
    First of all, there is no talk of placing nukes into space.

    "the only winning move is not to play the game".

    Ask the French how effective this strategy was in 1940. Our foreign policy is what dertermines our 'worth' - but unchallengable military superiority ensures our freedom.

    "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free; unless made and kept so by the exertions of a better man than himself."
    John Stuart Mill
  • by NoTheory (580275) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @10:24PM (#12573985)
    China is doing its damnedest to become a military force to be reckoned with. And given their economic growth, China is the only nation with the capability to participate. But given the explanation in the article, it seems that the hawks in the pentagon are more interested in rapid deployment of force across the globe, the consequences (an arms race) be damned.
  • Errr, the USAF has a pretty abysmal record, when it comes to "smart bombs" - like knowing where they land. I seem to remember them getting lost over Libya by the order of a few hundred miles or so, too, when Reagan ordered a strike against Col. Gadfly. You think we should trust them with fission and fusion drives, just yet?
  • by Edmund Blackadder (559735) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @10:53PM (#12574196)
    You seem to be under the misconception that just because something can be done we must do it. Otherwise someone else (i think the chinese are the current boogeyman) will do it and gosh will we be in trouble.

    Why dont we spend one trillion dollars on building a giant golden pyramid? If we don't the chinese will surely do it before us.

    There is a misconception that if the chinese are first to develop space weapons then they would gain a huge advantage. Fact is, space weapons can be destroyed very easily (and cheaply compared to the price of the weapons) by any country with space launch capabilities.

    So if the Chinese are stupid enough to spend a trillion dollars on some space weapon, we can easily break the thing by sending a couple of pounds of explosives its way. The US (and Russia i think) both have missiles for destroying satelites in orbit.

    So no country will be able to gain any meaningful advantage over the US by building space weapons first.

    So "the if we don't build it someone else will" reasoning is complete bullshit.

  • by benjamindees (441808) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @10:56PM (#12574215) Homepage
    The science involved will invariable trickle down. Do you have objections to the fact that airplanes benefitted from military research?

    Good. I was sitting here trying to think of an example of why no one wants to invest in basic research any more. And now you've given it. Basic scientific research perhaps does, but military applications in general *don't* trickle down.

    You can say "NASA" and "velcro" all you want but the fact is that we haven't commercialized half of the tech that was on a space shuttle forty years ago.

    Throw in a healthy dose of "terrorism" and "the gov't needs to track everyone" and the real purpose of increased interest in near-space becomes thinly veiled.

    The fact is, we're way ahead of the game in the basic research department. The only thing holding back real progress is energy supplies, and throwing money at the Army hasn't seemed to help gas prices or invent affordable solar panels. Something tells me that more massive military forays would tend to waste more energy and resources than they would produce.
  • by guet (525509) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @11:11PM (#12574333)
    That all sounds rather nice, but is really rather hollow, reactionary thinking. Space-borne weapons might offer a way to fight conflicts with precision and minimal loss of life to both sides.

    Or they might not - hasn't this been the excuse for ever more destructive weapons since time immemorial 'they'll save more lives than they destroy'? It has never turned out to be true. The aim of war is never minimal loss of lives to both sides.

    The agressive militarisation of a domain which all space-capable countries have explicitly agreed not to militarise is an insane, hubristic waste of money which will backfire when China, Europe, India et al decide they can't tolerate a US with space weapons and start to arm their satellites. Why not press for ratification of a treaty which explicitly bans all weapons in space? You could then pour funding into the civilian related technologies directly.

    The science involved will invariable trickle down. Do you have objections to the fact that airplanes benefitted from military research? Hell, we got the jet engine from the Nazis for the most part.

    Why don't they spend the money on the science instead then? As an aside the Nazis were not the only ones developing a jet engine. [aerospaceweb.org]

    Sometimes the hippy dippy shit that sounds so good is just a gloss coat on reality that makes you feel smug. But it comes at the cost of the complexity of the real world.

    Sometimes that jingoistic talk is just a varnish on a primitive desire to dominate driven by fear. An attempt at cooperation with other nation states would go a lot further than unfounded paranoia about possible future threats.

    The complex reality is that war always kills thousands, maims hundreds of thousands, and sends the countries invaded back to the stone age. It is not something to be sought out or justified, even if it is, very rarely, a necessary evil. I'd be interested in an example of a war that has been fought with 'precision' - in Iraq they're not even counting the civilian casualties.

    The US has no need of a bigger, better, weapon - they already spend more on weapons than any other nation, almost 10 times more. [64.177.207.201]
  • by eraserewind (446891) on Wednesday May 18, 2005 @11:21PM (#12574401)
    The military doesn't pay for anything. They are spongers. You pay for everything.
  • Re:Base Closings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:06AM (#12574659)
    I've got guns in my house. I use most of them for fetching various things to eat. I keep a couple of them around because I am morally in tune with the prospect of using them to defend my family. From your perspective, owning anything lethal makes you equal to a murderer.

    That's incredibly simple-minded, and a *huge* bugaboo of the right. Any call for peace boils down to you can't protect your family!

    How disgusting.

    Do you not see a difference between owning a gun, and placing WMDs in space? Hmm?

    Keep your gun, I really don't care. I think you live in a fantasy world if you think you need it to protect your family (that, or you live in a strangely dangerous place where home invasions are the norm--I mean, really! If someone stormed your house with a gun, do you think you'd reach your gun in time? lol).

    On the other hand, do you think you ought to be able to keep a nuke in your house?

    Right now, space is relatively unarmed. *If* China, Russia, whoever, started putting weapons up there, then we can give it a go. It's disturbing to hear Americans demand that *we* be first. Once we do it, the rest of the world will follow more quickly.

    What's the fascination of the right with rushing to armageddon?

    Placing weapons in space, I'm sure, is something a lot of Chinese and Russians would like to do. But it's quite expensive, and they've got other priorities right now. But if *we* do it, they'll be "forced" to follow suit.

    If we found out that China, for example, was going to launch a nuclear space station, we would just go to the UN and demand a resolution to stop them, with the provision that we can shoot it down.

    As it stands, the US (and *maybe* Russia--with our consent) is the only nation that could begin to seriously begin to militarize space. That day might be inevitable, but there's no reason to rush into the prospect!

    the very nature of working in that environment (not to mention orbital mechanics and whatnot) means you have to be pro-active, not re-active.

    *If* we wanted to militarize space, we could do it in two years without breaking a sweat. There's no hurry.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:16AM (#12574707)
    "the only winning move is not to play the game".

    Ask the French how effective this strategy was in 1940. Our foreign policy is what dertermines our 'worth' - but unchallengable military superiority ensures our freedom.


    The French were in the game and didn't know it. It only takes *one* party to start a war. Right now there's no real space war going on. In other words, *no one* is playing the game. It's disgusting to think *we'd* be the ones to start the game.

    WWII *is* a good example. We didn't start it, but we helped finish it. That's the way it should be. Starting down the path to war undermines ones moral authority.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @12:30AM (#12574752)
    Here's a little bit of a news flash: people hate us because we're on top of the world militarily, economically, and politically. It's envy, pure and simple.

    "Anyone who doesn't like the leader is just jealous." Isn't that extremely simple-minded and conceited? So when you lot were mad at Clinton, you were just jealous? When we hated Germany and Japan during WWII, we were just jealous?

    There are many motives for hatred, and "jealousy" is one of the feeblest.

    People don't *hate* us because they envy us, they *hate* us because we go around killing them. Just look at South America. People really don't like having some jerks from thousands of miles away come and tell them what to do, and siphon away their natural resources. They *do* like a role model they can look up to, and who helps them.

    Which do you think we are?

    We keep creating the people we have to take down: Noriega, Saddam, Osama.

    Who was it who was screaming so loudly for us to come and defend them when Saddam invaded Kuwait? Oh, yeah, the Saudis...the same lot that's demanding we leave their terroritory.

    No, we lied and told the Saudis that Saddam was massing troops on his border with faked satellite photos. *They* didn't want us there at all. We also told Saddam it was alright if he wanted to invade Kuwait.

    Remind me again why I'm supposed to give a damn whether or not the world likes us?

    Are you purposefully being an ignorant fool? The world *used* to like us, and life was good. Now the Europeans are forming their own economic superpower, the Chinese are becoming powerful and would be good to keep as friends, and even our long-time friends in *this* hemisphere are telling us to take a hike.

    How can you *possibly* think that not having true friends and allies is good for America?
  • Re:Base Closings (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:20AM (#12574913)
    If you treat other people as enemies, what do you expect them do to you?
  • by Moofie (22272) <lee AT ringofsaturn DOT com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:40AM (#12574982) Homepage
    "They *do* like a role model they can look up to, and who helps them."

    Really? So the British people who disliked having American pilots defending their nation ("Overpaid, oversexed, and over here"), they were, what? Being ironic?

    I think Colin Powell was, by and large, spot on when he said:
    We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we've done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace

    In the eyes of the world, America can do no right. If we decide to fight, we're being imperialistic. If we decide not to fight, we're blind to the suffering of the world. There is no way to make the United States popular.

    The war in Iraq WAS the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. If, however, by some weird twist of fate, Iraq actually does become free, I guarantee it won't be America who gets the credit. (Even though nobody else was willing to lift a finger to get rid of Saddam.)

    I would, however, like the administration to stop doing the more obvious boners that actually LEGITIMIZE the hatred of America overseas.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:30AM (#12575144)
    "They *do* like a role model they can look up to, and who helps them."

    Really? So the British people who disliked having American pilots defending their nation ("Overpaid, oversexed, and over here"), they were, what? Being ironic?


    If you're referring to WWII, they *did* like us. Liking someone doesn't mean you can't criticize them. They were very glad for the help.

    I think Colin Powell was, by and large, spot on when he said:
    We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we've done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace

    That's a huge load. We've asked for *plenty*. We've asked for permanent military bases, we've asked for money and for troops to help us fight our unpopular wars.

    Most of our military actions ever since Korea have been exceedingly unwelcome by the people of the countries we've invaded, bombed, or otherwise attacked.

    No, the world doesn't hate us for when we offer true assistance--they hate us when we assert our will on them. They hate us when *we* are responsible for death and destruction.

    We're like the corrupt police who beat people and extort from the innocent. The people *hate* those police, and it's not because they are jealous, or because they are ungrateful for the times the police actually *do* protect them, it's for the times when the police abuse their power, and betray the public trust.

    The world was *overwhelmingly* with us after 9/11. They were with us on Afghanistan. They listened to us make the case for Iraq, and then said, "No, you're wrong." We went ahead anyway, and it turns out we *were* wrong.

    If, however, by some weird twist of fate, Iraq actually does become free, I guarantee it won't be America who gets the credit.

    Sure we will. But that credit also comes with the cost of the war--how many hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis will it have taken by the end?

    Not to mention the fact that we are *directly* responsible for Saddam's party gaining power in Iraq long ago, and we supported Saddam when he was gassing people, which we now hypocritically condemn him for.

    The world will certainly give us *all* the credit we are due, good and bad.

    I would, however, like the administration to stop doing the more obvious boners that actually LEGITIMIZE the hatred of America overseas.

    The current Iraq war isn't the beginning of American aggression in the world, it's just an extremely visible example. In other words, for many people, hatred of America was already legitimate.
  • by vigour (846429) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @03:21AM (#12575308)
    In regards to fostering positive relations with countries like China and regions like the Middle East, the issue here is fundamentalism, be it culture or religion. These are forces that will bend slowly at best, if at all. So the idea of genuine open positive relations with these regions is unlikely, in my estimation. The only way to foster change, in my estimation, is to actively promote american media in those regions (let MTV re-educate Afghani youth) and ride those guys into office, at which time we can deal with them. Can't deal with the hard line guys in office now.
    This is one of the many reasons for anti-american sentiments. The arrogant forcing of american culture and values on systems and people that intially wanted nothing to do with you (and the "re-education" of Afghans is about as enlightened as the re-education of dissidents in North Korea, and we all know how much you love their system) only turns them against you.

    And of all groups to do it, the American media! The dumbing down of America (and corruption of your "traditional" value system) by the media is already fo concern amongst some americans. Sending those guys with their own agendas to re-educate people is insane (letting Fox News loose on the Afghans, scary thought).

    I've nothing against americans, just don't force your culture on others.
  • by Threni (635302) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @06:18AM (#12576179)
    > It seems that most of the revolutionary technology was first developed by the
    > military and then released to the private sector to benefit mankind

    It's basically socialism, except it's defence contractors that get handouts for life (as long as they are pursuing research useful for maintaining American military domination around the world), rather than poor people. Of course, as you can see, the poor of America (and the rest of the world) are gaining from this wealth, as can be seen by the narrowing gap between the rich and the poor. I mean, they will do soon, surely. I mean, that's the point, right?
  • by Kombat (93720) <kombat@kombat.org> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @07:16AM (#12576618) Homepage
    Its sad to see that the 'militarization' of space

    Am I the only one who's sick of deliberately provocative and inflammatory rhetoric like "weaponization of space" and "militarization of space?" When navys first started developing seagoing military vessels, did partisan pundits of the day describe it as the "weaponization of the seas?" When governments first recognized the military potential of flight, did people cry how it was the "weaponization of the skies?"

    Sorry, pet peeve of mine. I'm sick of double-standards. Weapons on land, sea, and air: OK. Weapons in space: end of civilized mankind. I don't buy it.
  • by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:17AM (#12577020) Homepage

    I mean seriously. First off, Europe is not a country, its a collection of sovereign states, with very different attitudes towards different aspects of their policy. It is worth noting that after 9/11, the US had more support, sympathy, and respect from Europe and most other countries in the world than ever before. The current leadership systematically squandered that in a breathtaking display of arrogance (which, by the way, is inextricably linked to ignorance) and militarism. I mean to take that much goodwill and turn it into the barely veiled contempt largely prevalent today takes some doing.

    The Europeans hate us because we had the nerve to get up and leave the oppressive regimes running the joint.

    France is in Europe, genius, and that was one of the nations that actively helped the United States of America against the British, sending armies and weapons to assist.

    The Arabs hate us because they believe they're supposed to be running the world

    The arabs hate you, slick, because you took a large part of their land and turned it into a refuge for Israel. This was largely sponsored by the religious right in US politics who actually want to bring about the apocalypse, and that can't happen until the jews are back in zion.

    The Africans hate us because of slavery

    Most Africans (thats a continent by the way, not a country, we call it gee-ogg-raffy) couldn't care less about America. They have enough troubles of their own.

    The Japanese hate us because they thought they were supposed to be running the world by now.

    The Japanese hate everyone, don't feel particularily special in that. Why do you think they spend so much time and money working on robotics? They want to replace all the migrant workers currently doing menial work in Japan with robots. Not that I'm saying thats wrong or right, thats just how their culture works.

    So fine, let's just go ahead and do it.

    Two points for you here, Einstein, invading a country and holding a country are two entirely different things, as you are slowly working out in Iraq. And the second point makes the first point moot, which is of course that other mations besides America have nucular weapons. Work with me here. Even assuming that a country has 10 nukes capable of hitting the US, which 10 cities would you like to permanently kiss goodbye to? And they will not launch unless they have been launched at first, so there would be an immediate exchange of nuclear weapons from everyone who has them. And then the sun goes down on the states for the last time... getting the picture?

    In a century or so, the Chinese might be calling the shots worldwide

    The Chinese are too terrified of having their own country fly apart at the seams to ever think about worldwide conquests.

    It seems the world loves to call us when something dangerous or dirty needs to be done

    Okay lets just deal with this whole rabid tirade. First of all, if the US hadn't gotten involved in WWII, they would have faced either a cosy little alliance between Hitler, Stalin and the Japanese stretching from Cornwall to Australia, or they would have been facing just Stalin. So, rather than face that kind of power (against which the US would ultimately lose), they got involved to save their own hides. Do us a favour and don't come over all altruistic now, the martyred heroes. The EU already exceeds the US in industrial power, wealth, and population. Imagine that under a dictator like Hitler...

    but we're a damned sight better than anything else that's come into being on this blue and green ball.

    Correction, you were better. Now you are shaping up to be worse. If the infiltration of the religious right into US politics is not stopped by the American people, you had better believe other countries will step in and stop it. What was the price for a congressman again?

    Remind me again why I'm supposed to give a damn whether or not the world likes us?

    You can give a damn or not as it suits you. The American people as a whole, however, had better start giving a damn.

  • by homebrewmike (709361) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:49AM (#12577344)
    Bah. Don't sweat it.

    Most on this board will disagree, but the military is how we in the US subsidize research. Rather than directly supporting Universities, our tax dollars go to guys with really sucky haircuts to do all the heavy lifting. After those BIG problems are solved, Coroprate Johny CEO says "hey, I can get a monopoly on X, protected by patents, and make some cash before my boon doggle goes pop." It's the way we do things.

    The system seems to work, don't knock it.
  • Reality check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Larsing (645953) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @08:49AM (#12577352)

    Time for a reality check!

    I can't speak for the other continents, but as for Europe, we don't hate you for reinventing the republic (do you, honestly, think that the people of Europe actually enjoyed being opressed by their governments? Do you think the French revolution was just for fun?).
    What we do hate you for is, that when we did learn from your example and introduced proper parliamentary democracy, freedom of speach etc., you turned the tables on us and became an endlessly more arrogant colonial opressor than we ever were! That is what pisses us off.

    We don't envy your success - we are inspired by it. But if, when we try to emulate your success, you attempt to force Coca-Cola down our throat, we will revolt! You see, it all boils down to each individual's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (does any of those words ring any bells with you..?).

    And finally, has it ever occured to you that, if everyone didn't hate you (for, more or less, well founded reasons), things like 9-11, USS Cole, ebassy bombings, etc. wouldn't happen in the first place..?

  • by mrt68 (883494) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @11:22AM (#12579502)
    Perhaps I should have been a bit more specific:

    Or smarter ...

    -Supply an initial velocity to a steel javelin so that it is accelerated towards the surface of the planet in a targeted manner.

    How can you have an intitial velocity and acceleration?

    As the javelin conintues on it's course, it gains speed due to the increasing force of Earth's pull

    The Earth's pull (also known as Gravity), is a constant, based on it's mass. The force increases because the distance decreases, but not by much. Gravity decreases by the square of the distance. The radius of the Earth is ~6000km, so 6000km into space, the force of gravity would be the square root of the force at the surface (9.8) which is 3.3 m/s/s

    It's spike-like shape(look up the word javelin in the dictionary) would greatly ease resistance due to atmospheric re-entry.

    Friction is also a constant. I think you mean that it's javelin-like shape would decrease air resistance due to it's small surface area?

    As it enters the earth, it starts accelerating at =roughly= 9.8 m/s squared.

    Once it enters the earth, it pretty much comes to a complete halt. But if you mean, once it enters the earth's atmosphere, it does indeed accelerate at 9.8m/s/s until it reaches terminal velocity. Terminal velocity is also a constant, and as such there are no minimal terminal velocitys. If your amazing javelin were to enter a trans-dimensional flux field and accelerated past terminal velocity, then it still wouldn't accelerate past the sound barrier (unless it was one of those special whisper-quiet, no sound javelins). At which point, it would be travelling about as fast as a bullet, but not as fast as a missile.

    Stick out your hand, you'll see what I mean.
    |
    oo|o
    You're right!

    Of course, this type of explanation is probably too much for someone just now learning the word "microgravity".

    What is this "microgravity" of which you speak that can defy the laws of physics?

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