Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(The New York Times)   The U.S. only needs 311 nuclear weapons. It has 4,802 too many   (nytimes.com) divider line 98
    More: Interesting, nuclear weapons  
•       •       •

2218 clicks; posted to Politics » on 24 May 2010 at 3:00 PM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



98 Comments   (+0 »)
   

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2010-05-24 01:13:25 PM  
This article is All Mixed Up, NYT needs to Come Original, You Wouldn't Believe it, but this will end in a Beautiful Disaster.
 
2010-05-24 01:21:23 PM  
311's got the boom.
 
2010-05-24 01:21:24 PM  
TheRealist: This article is All Mixed Up, NYT needs to Come Original, You Wouldn't Believe it, but this will end in a Beautiful Disaster.

I am down with the artilce. Be it summer or jack'o lantern weather outside, guns are for pussies. And so are nuclear weapons.
 
2010-05-24 01:23:02 PM  
eBay!
 
2010-05-24 01:47:03 PM  
Commies!
 
2010-05-24 01:57:46 PM  
"It's better to spread the wealth nukes around"
 
2010-05-24 02:37:19 PM  
How will we nuke the whales then? HUH?
 
2010-05-24 02:38:11 PM  
gustakooka: TheRealist: This article is All Mixed Up, NYT needs to Come Original, You Wouldn't Believe it, but this will end in a Beautiful Disaster.

I am down with the artilce. Be it summer or jack'o lantern weather outside, guns are for pussies. And so are nuclear weapons.


You guys need to come original.
 
2010-05-24 02:38:51 PM  
They're an OK band but I wouldn't let them go dictating our nuclear policy.
 
2010-05-24 02:41:41 PM  
The U.S. needs 312 nuclear weapons. As God is my witness, I'm not going to die before I see Tampa, Florida nuked off this planet. And deep down inside, they know why.
 
2010-05-24 02:43:09 PM  
gopher321: eBay!


Aweseome seller. Sent me a hydrogen bomb when he ran out of nukes. Will do business with again. A+++
 
2010-05-24 02:43:45 PM  
Adjective Bird Whiskey: They're an OK band but I wouldn't let them go dictating our nuclear policy.

Well, to be fair it was down to 311 or Justin Bieber. I think they got this one right.
 
2010-05-24 02:56:24 PM  
Not sure if there's a "right" number, but improvements in accuracy probably obsoleted 90% of our nuclear arsenal.
 
2010-05-24 03:03:52 PM  
Nukes are like Pokemans. Once you start collecting them, it's hard to contain yourself.
 
2010-05-24 03:07:24 PM  
311 sucks.
 
2010-05-24 03:08:16 PM  
ecmoRandomNumbers: The U.S. needs 312 nuclear weapons. As God is my witness, I'm not going to die before I see Tampa, Florida nuked off this planet. And deep down inside, they know why.

Tampa? Only if the blast incinerates Clearwater along with it. Where is your Xenu now?
 
2010-05-24 03:09:34 PM  
Just think: That's 4,802 nukes we could sell to some currently-friendly middle eastern dictator! No chance that will ever backfire, right? Just ask Russia!

Bladel: Not sure if there's a "right" number, but improvements in accuracy probably obsoleted 90% of our nuclear arsenal.

It wasn't really about accuracy, it was about survivability. The more nukes you had, the harder it would be for your enemy to destroy so many of them as to render an effective counter-attack impossible. If your enemy had as many nukes as you plus one, they could wipe out your entire arsenal and still nuke your capitol. (Well, not exactly but I think you get the idea...)
=Smidge=
 
2010-05-24 03:10:37 PM  
Bears can't hug whales with Nuclear arms!
www.cartoonstock.com
 
2010-05-24 03:11:31 PM  
"Every thinking person fears nuclear war and every technological nation plans for it. Everyone knows it's madness, and every country has an excuse." -Carl Sagan

/bevets
 
2010-05-24 03:11:59 PM  
Smidge204: Just think: That's 4,802 nukes we could sell to some currently-friendly middle eastern dictator! No chance that will ever backfire, right? Just ask Russia!

Bladel: Not sure if there's a "right" number, but improvements in accuracy probably obsoleted 90% of our nuclear arsenal.

It wasn't really about accuracy, it was about survivability. The more nukes you had, the harder it would be for your enemy to destroy so many of them as to render an effective counter-attack impossible. If your enemy had as many nukes as you plus one, they could wipe out your entire arsenal and still nuke your capitol. (Well, not exactly but I think you get the idea...)
=Smidge=


Not so much survivability as MAD

/no one survives!
 
2010-05-24 03:12:18 PM  
pylon23: ecmoRandomNumbers: The U.S. needs 312 nuclear weapons. As God is my witness, I'm not going to die before I see Tampa, Florida nuked off this planet. And deep down inside, they know why.

Tampa? Only if the blast incinerates Clearwater along with it. Where is your Xenu now?


Let's go with "the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg area" just to be sure.
 
2010-05-24 03:13:20 PM  
A strange game.
The only winning move is not to play.

How about a nice game of chess?
 
2010-05-24 03:14:01 PM  
war is too important to be left to politicians. They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought.
 
2010-05-24 03:14:34 PM  
3-1-1 is a joke.
 
2010-05-24 03:14:44 PM  
The U.S. only needs 311 nuclear weapons. It has 4,802. and the Pentagon wants more!


(after all, you can never be too safe)
 
2010-05-24 03:15:35 PM  
Badfrog: A strange game.
The only winning move is not to play.

How about a nice game of chess?


Ha, nice try. The only winning move in chess is to not play against a supercomputer.
 
2010-05-24 03:15:49 PM  
The problem with the "we only need just enough weapons to blow up a minimal amount of stuff" plan is the "first strike" issue. When you have that few weapons, and the other side generally knows where they are, they only need to go after your delivery systems with a first strike in order to completely remove you as a nuclear threat.

...and no, you can't rely on any single delivery system. "Subs are stealthy" is a good thing, but "oops, they figured out a way to track our subs and kill them" counters that. Intercontinental bombers? Sabotage or a good air-defense system. ICBMs? ABM systems or a massive first strike (the Russians currently have an operating ABM system that could kill about 10% of those 311 warheads, and a couple of hundred "air-defense" systems that could become anti-missile systems with the addition of a better radar and the right warhead). With only 311 weapons total, missile defense becomes increasingly cost-effective...

Due to the problems with our intelligence services (they aren't that good in many respects), we can't be sure that the other guys have revealed and reduced their actual arsenals, even under a heavily-monitored treaty system - which we won't get while Putin is still alive.

So when you see "we only need X," read that as "we really need 5 to 10 times X." Which means that we're in the ballpark right now with 5,000 or so.
 
2010-05-24 03:16:10 PM  
Giving each B2 a single nuke seems like an awful waste. As does putting 1 warhead on each Trident.

But converting another two Ohio-class boats into the conventional role does sound like a good idea.

And I now have Beautiful Disaster stuck in my head, you cockholes.
 
2010-05-24 03:16:36 PM  
"(The nuclear arms race is like) two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five."
-Carl Sagan
 
2010-05-24 03:18:51 PM  
Linux_Yes: The U.S. only needs 311 nuclear weapons. It has 4,802. and the Pentagon wants more!


(after all, you can never be too safe)


If killing every person on earth doesn't fix it, repeat until it does.
 
2010-05-24 03:19:04 PM  
Smidge204: Just think: That's 4,802 nukes we could sell to some currently-friendly middle eastern dictator! No chance that will ever backfire, right? Just ask Russia!

Bladel: Not sure if there's a "right" number, but improvements in accuracy probably obsoleted 90% of our nuclear arsenal.

It wasn't really about accuracy, it was about survivability. The more nukes you had, the harder it would be for your enemy to destroy so many of them as to render an effective counter-attack impossible. If your enemy had as many nukes as you plus one, they could wipe out your entire arsenal and still nuke your capitol. (Well, not exactly but I think you get the idea...)
=Smidge=


It's not quite that simple. You're assuming first-strike capability, which is limited by treaties and technical considerations.

Link (new window)
 
2010-05-24 03:19:54 PM  
"I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex."
-Jack Handy

/screw Carl Sagan!
 
2010-05-24 03:19:55 PM  
White boy reggae is a weapon of mass destruction.
 
2010-05-24 03:22:47 PM  
There's no need to worry, libtards...

i50.tinypic.com
 
2010-05-24 03:23:07 PM  
But what if we get involved in a land war in Asia?
 
2010-05-24 03:24:04 PM  
Gato Negro: There's no need to worry, libtards...

Wow...they colored Bush in a lot more than usual in that one.
 
2010-05-24 03:24:07 PM  
palelizard: pylon23: ecmoRandomNumbers: The U.S. needs 312 nuclear weapons. As God is my witness, I'm not going to die before I see Tampa, Florida nuked off this planet. And deep down inside, they know why.

Tampa? Only if the blast incinerates Clearwater along with it. Where is your Xenu now?

Let's go with "the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg area" just to be sure.


I'm OK with this.
 
2010-05-24 03:25:00 PM  
The Pentagon just wants to be able to, if needed, prove that old saying about only cockroaches and lawyers surviving a nuclear war.
 
2010-05-24 03:25:44 PM  
cirby:So when you see "we only need X," read that as "we really need 5 to 10 times X." Which means that we're in the ballpark right now with 5,000 or so.

So by your math, we need 3,110 nukes, which is 2,003 less than we have.
 
2010-05-24 03:29:57 PM  
fark the naysayers 'cause they don't mean a thing, cause this is the fusion we bring!
 
2010-05-24 03:30:22 PM  
Black Kitty: There's no need to worry, libtards...
img522.imageshack.us
 
2010-05-24 03:31:51 PM  
Smidge204: Just think: That's 4,802 nukes we could sell to some currently-friendly middle eastern dictator! No chance that will ever backfire, right? Just ask Russia!

To be fair, we're theoretically supposed to be jump-starting alternative energy, and plutonium works as well as uranium in most reactors. We've got plenty of things to do with the leftovers.

And the guidance systems on most of the things are likely something some kid could whip up in his basement in half an hour nowadays anyway, beyond keeping the specifics from being known by people who could exploit weaknesses, most of our older-generation bombs could pretty much be sold for scrap with no real security concerns.

And rocket fuel is rocket fuel, give it to NASA.

//That said, 311 may be a bit low. Redundancy is important in a defense system. The treaty ceiling of 1500ish is probably more appropriate.
 
2010-05-24 03:34:12 PM  
Super Chronic:
It's not quite that simple. You're assuming first-strike capability, which is limited by treaties and technical considerations.

There's not a lot of "treaty" suppressing first-strike capabilities, and the Russians are busily developing and fielding new ICBMs with modern first-strike capabilities (like the "improved' SS-27, which supposedly only carries one warhead, but which could easily carry a half-dozen with only a swap of the missile bus).

Technical? Sheesh, with non-1970s hardware, you can park an 800 kiloton nuke on top of any ICBM silo you can find - and that's more than enough. They used to assume "you need multiple megatons to kill a silo," but that was assuming that the warhead would land at least a couple of hundred yards away on average.

My cell phone has enough accuracy to show a location within a few dozen feet of any spot on Google Maps. Between GPS and the Russian GLONASS systems, you can make a first-strike system that will easily do the job with not-very-big warheads off of a MIRVED ICBM.
 
2010-05-24 03:36:25 PM  
Aarontology: fark the naysayers 'cause they don't mean a thing, cause this is the fusion we bring!

But only after the fission. That's the sucky part -- fall-out. It takes a nuclear explosion to create another one. :(

As clever as we are, we still haven't harvested the power of hydrogen.
 
2010-05-24 03:37:37 PM  
I've got to wonder about the article's claim of the Minuteman having "pinpoint accuracy". Last I heard the CEP was around a quarter mile, good but hardly "pinpoint" even with a multi 100Kt warhead against a hardened bunker or silo. Plus, CEP assumes a 50% chance one warhead will land in that circle, so you need two for each target to get the odds better.

Tridents aren't nearly as accurate as the Minuteman, good enough for airfields and HQ's, but silos or underground targets? Uhhh, no. Like others have said, if someone figures out how to track our SSBM's, we're in trouble, just like if they develop anti-Stealth technology.

/311 seems too low to me
 
2010-05-24 03:38:58 PM  
They make a good argument, but it's not going to happen.
 
2010-05-24 03:40:30 PM  
Yeah well we only need about 150 billion a year in defense spending but fat chance on that happening too.
 
2010-05-24 03:42:07 PM  
ecmoRandomNumbers: As clever as we are, we still haven't harvested the power of hydrogen.

You'd figure, with all those silos buried everywhere, someone would have been able to harvest SOMETHING by now.
 
2010-05-24 03:45:46 PM  
That_Dude:
So by your math, we need 3,110 nukes, which is 2,003 less than we have.

No, by HIS math, 3,110 is a solid estimate, and is certainly in the ballpark of 5,000. If every one works, and if all of the delivery systems actually, you know, deliver.

In the real world? Most estimates start at 1500 or so deliverable warheads, minimum, with zero redundancy. Since the point is not to barely cover the requirement, you need to double it, then double it again. You have to remember that the cost of not covering the MAD "ante" is having and losing a nuclear war. It's not about ego ("we have more") or anger ("we need to kill all of them"), but about practicality ("when your enemy has nukes, you need to have enough left after a maximum first strike to return the favor - and that should stop them from pushing the button"). This has been the US and Russian/Soviet policy - one that demonstrably worked - since the early 1960s.

The Soviet Union used to claim they had a "no first strikes policy." We've found out (due to releases of a lot of Cold War documents) that this was a flat-out lie. They were on the verge of a first-strike nuke attack on China until Nixon threatened to join in. And no, the current crowd of people running Russia aren't any better - and are, in many ways, worse. Less predictable, to start.
 
2010-05-24 03:46:24 PM  
Bendal: I've got to wonder about the article's claim of the Minuteman having "pinpoint accuracy". Last I heard the CEP was around a quarter mile

CEP on a Minuteman has been under 150 meters for decades. The Minuteman IIIs got the new RVs from the Peacekeeper when those ended, so the CEP is now under 120 meters.
 
Displayed 50 of 98 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all



This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
Advertisement
On Twitter






In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report