What Would You Do?

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Suppose you became the President of the United States tomorrow. You are now the most powerful person on the planet, and will make crucial decisions that will impact the future of the United States and the rest of the world.

You realize that we live in dangerous times. Terrorists seek to slaughter American civilians wholesale. They are seeking WMDs.

A sworn enemy of the United States, North Korea, probably already has nukes capable of reaching some parts of the US. Another enemy of civilization, Iran, is most likely a few years at most away from having their own atomic weapons. Pakistan is just a coup away from having lunatic Muslim fundamentalists in control of a country with hundreds of millions of people and a rather capable nuclear program.

During your first press conference, you are asked by a reporter what you will do with regards to a missile defense system that seeks to be able to shoot down ICBMs.

What would you do?

Do you:

A) Say that you will spend whatever is necessary to develop such a defense, and put an imperfect, rudimentary system online as soon as possible?


B) Say that you think more research should be done before you commit one way or the other, and it’s probably unworkable anyway?

If you chose A, congratulations! You are a rational human being, and agree with President Bush.

If you chose B, you are a luddite who would leave the US defenseless against a nuclear attack in this very dangerous time. Oh, and you agree with Senator John F. Kerry.

Discuss amongst yourselves…

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About RJ

  • Remember this post and similar attitudes when you’re next confronted with the addle-pated claim that Republicans are fiscally conservative.

    It’s not just a system that probably won’t work, it’s a system that’s been proven to work only under conditions that won’t exist in the field.

    The old saying is that generals prepare to fight the last war, and this is a system designed around a particularly unlikely attack vector. It’s the Maginot Line and the tanks will just go around it.

    You think it’s a good idea? Why not spend that money on defense instead?

  • boomcrashbaby

    I would go with B.

    Spending ‘whatever is necessary’ on some kind of invisible dome over us sounds like the ultimate in paranoia.

    There are far too many ways for them to attack us. Spending unlimited resources on one way, does not protect us from cropdusters, biological vials, homemade bombs, food/water poisoning, economic (world bank) sabatoge, etc.

    My own personal thought on IF the attack was to be nuclear, would be that it wouldn’t be ‘fired’ in the air, but smuggled in, hidden somewhere in a populated city and then set to detonate. All that money on an invisible ‘dome’ wouldn’t do squat in that case.

    Sounds like Bush is making an irrational decision with our money and once again doing the wrong thing to keep us safe. Geez, this man needs to be fired.

    How about more covert activity? Infiltration into terrorist groups and violatile governments? That would do FAR more to protect us from nuclear attack and would be more effective and probably cheaper too.

  • first of all, if i become president…well, rj, i sincerely hope you and dick cheney enjoy your vacations in guantanamo.


    seriously though…no way i’d go for the missile ‘defense’ system.

    a system that large and compilcated will not and can not work. given the changing nature of the threat against us, it’s pretty unlikely that a nuclear device will be delivered that way.

    oh ya, remember to bring your swim trunks.

  • It is unworkable already.

    The correct answer is (B) because the American military admits that the missile systems cannot stop missiles. You can do a search for news earlier this year, but here’s one item:

    After two days of mixed results during high-profile military exercises, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia has successfully tested a new strategic missile system that analysts said could allow nuclear warheads to evade U.S. defenses.

    Pentagon officials downplayed the announcement, saying Russia could already evade, if only through the sheer number of its missiles, the $30.2 billion anti-missile-defense system scheduled for initial deployment in the United States this year. [Feruary 19, 2004]

  • Eric Olsen

    though I am highly skeptical that such a system would work, there are other factors: would such a system act as a deterrent, in which case it would work even if it didn’t work; and as has been the case througout human history, will the advances in technology brought about by a seemingly quixotic project yield benefits that make it more than worthwhile, a la the space program?

    I might choose C: there’s no way it will work but it might be worth it anyway.

  • Eric Olsen

    And again, for the RJ bashers: no one can deny that he consistently raises vital questions and issues. Thanks!

  • And more, including North Korea, China and others:

    “Residual” Protection by 2004?

    The Administration has said it will deploy by 2004 a rudimentary ground-based midcourse system consisting of a small number of interceptors taken from the test program, and coupled with … a residual capability constructed with test assets in Alaska … Coming as soon as 2004, the residual capability would also have to rely on interceptor missiles that will not have been tested under realistic operational conditions … Also this residual capability would not have the intended capabilities of the SBIRS satellites because of the difficulties that program has been having.

    As a result, the residual capability would not work against missiles fired from Iraq, Iran, Libya, China or Russia. Against missiles fired from North Korea, the residual system would only have been demonstrated to work if those missiles flew on trajectories and flight conditions that were known in advance and similar to those already tried in earlier flight intercept tests, within range of the Cobra Dane radar, and with very simple decoys or no decoys at all. [Philip Coyle testifying to a House committee]

    Isn’t it time to take the Stepford-Republican blinders off and face up to reality? This time it’s critical, and facts should count more than politics.

  • Shark

    I would pick “A” — as long as they include a setting for “Crop Dusters”.

    And let’s hope it works better than the Patriot Missile did in ’91.

    feh. More welfare for the Military-Industrial Complex.

  • JR

    It’s an arms race we’re destined to lose. All an enemy has to do is build more offensive missiles than we have defensive missiles. And offensive missiles are cheaper and easier to build.

    File this under “How to Lose the Coming War With China”.

    …And consider moving to the Southern hemisphere.

  • Eric Olsen

    war with China? They already quietly recognize us as their most natural allies, now that the capitalist cat is out of the bag – they aren’t going back.

  • Eric Olsen

    you don’t go to the lengths that China did to integrate itself into the modern world – WTO, 2008 Olympics – and then try to end that world

  • JR

    war with China? They already quietly recognize us as their most natural allies, now that the capitalist cat is out of the bag – they aren’t going back.

    The Chinese no doubt recognize us as their ultimate competitor for natural resources. What else matters?

    you don’t go to the lengths that China did to integrate itself into the modern world – WTO, 2008 Olympics – and then try to end that world

    Sure you do. You lull your potential enemies into complacency until you’re ready to take them on.

    Where were the 1936 Olympics held?

  • Eric Olsen

    good point, but that was a very different world

    resources? We are their richest market – that’s what matters now

  • “And again, for the RJ bashers: no one can deny that he consistently raises vital questions and issues. Thanks!”

    Haven’t actually been bashing him, but what makes you think that taking a thoroughly discredited position and claiming it’s common sense (and ignoring the evidence that even the supporters of it are aware that it’s a non-starter) is a vital question?

    The only vital question is “can we keep this level of stupidity from the right on the front page long enough to scare the swing voters away?”

    I’m sorry I replied, I certainly didn’t intend to loan any appearance of utility or worth to posts of this nature.

  • Steve Sadlov

    Being a student of history, with no political agenda, and only the truth to guide me, I would assume that the current, unprecedented, interwar period will end just as all past ones have, in great war. I would assume that those who hate the
    West, and who view the US as its apex, are well along in the planning stages for nuclear mass destruction and world conquest. I would do the things I could to interdict the inevitable surprise first strike (since my own morals, as a Westerner, prevent me from starting the war) and assume that many missiles will make it through. I’d take on the woeful civil defense preps (unless one considers infantile denial of historical inevitability a “prep”) even if it meant an end to the hedonistic shopping mall oriented, butter over guns culture of the West. I would not be liked. The left would try to impeach me and may even succeed, based not on the law, but on their own political terrorism. In the end, I might fail to wake the sleeping giant but I’d know that I tried to do the right thing and that those who took me down will burn in Hell.

    Steve Sadlov

  • Laura

    “If you chose A, congratulations! You are a rational human being, and agree with President Bush.”

    I don’t believe the words “rational human being” and “President Bush” belong in the same sentence. Other than that, there is so much wrong with this “article” I don’t even know where to begin. Thankfully everyone else has already said it.