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(Slate)   Current US spending on nuclear weapons equal to that of the height of the cold war. Your dog wants armageddon   (slate.msn.com) divider line 229
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6775 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Apr 2004 at 11:28 AM (10 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2004-04-24 01:37:22 PM  
EvilGnome

Because nuclear weapons, no matter how big, small, tactical or widespread they may be, all carry the stigma of being, well, Nuclear Weapons. Even if we don't nuke a big city, just drop a little nuclear bunker buster on some terrorists, we still will have been the first ones to use that nuclear bogeyman. Once that happens, all hell is going to break loose, since the image of restraint is gone. Those unfriendly nations will get it into their heads that if we used a small one why not a big one? And if we're going to be so free with our nuclear arsenal, why can't they? After all, we struck first.

It's kind of like Pandora's Box. There is no opening it just a little bit.
 
2004-04-24 01:38:16 PM  
jafac: The second amendment is nice and all - but it's irrelevant in this modern age, unless you, as an individual citizen, can buy a B1 bomber and a set of cruise missiles. - and in FACT, in order for your 2nd Amendment Rights to be excercised, you've got to break the law anyway - so frankly, you don't really NEED this as a right.

-Oh come on. I can duly exercise my right to own and carry a gun without breaking any law, so I don't see how your line of thinking is valid. I can defend myself within the law if I am threatened by someone else. How is that illegal? You speak of the government trampling on the aforementioned amendments, but figure that it's a lost battle, so why have guns anyway? How fatalistic. My gun is the ultimate protector of my freedom, and the government can take it when I'm good and dead.
 
2004-04-24 01:38:46 PM  
Step 1: Create vast nuclear stock pile of world destoying weapons that no one in your country wants and the entire world fears to futher your ideological and deluded quest for a multiple page bio in the history books of the future.

Step 2:

Step 3: Profit.
 
2004-04-24 01:39:45 PM  
2004-04-24 11:57:14 AM PimpJuice

These guys need to be run out of Washington on a rail. I mean WTF?!? We're in the worst recession we've seen in years, huge deficits...

While I agree that we shouldn't be spending this much money on nukes, I do have to mention that we are not, in fact, in a recession anymore. Haven't been for some time.
 
2004-04-24 01:40:50 PM  
 
2004-04-24 01:43:18 PM  
I don't think we need to spend all that money on nukes, and "star wars".
Let's use the money to attract the best and brightest minds to education. Smaller class sizes, fewer administrative levels, more learning.
Use the money for pure science. Maybe we can come up with alternative fuel sources.
Give people incentives to start businesses, and employ people.
Divert the money to finding cures for the world's diseases.
Make sure the soldiers that defend our freedom are safe, and ready to keep the enemies of freedom on the run.
Allow hard-working people to keep more of our money.
But whatever we do, throwing money at the atomic boogeymen is NOT the answer.
How hard is that?
All of our Constitutional Amendments are there for a reason. Those that came before us, sacrificed a great deal to ensure the blessings of liberty. For us to give up any of those rights tarnishes their memories. I am unwilling to do that.
I don't care who you vote for, but, for the love of Freedom, make your voice heard this November.

/soapbox
 
2004-04-24 01:43:41 PM  
"The truly scary thing is they are spending money on the "robust nuclear earth-penetrator." This is a bomb they want to USE."

I read some positive hype about this yesterday. Every sentence had the word "dictator" in it. It's funny, the Pentagon guys can go on and on about safeguarding people from tyranny, but they can't waste a single sentence explaining how their tactical nukes aren't illegal WMDs.

EvilGnome --

"what is the difference between killing soliders with conventional bombs and nuclear bombs?"

You should know this. Think for a moment.
 
2004-04-24 01:44:24 PM  
No tritium, no boom.
Actually, no tritium=small boom, the fission bomb part will still detonate.
 
2004-04-24 01:45:03 PM  
Maybe we should just nuke the world and start over.
 
2004-04-24 01:45:50 PM  
Yoda

I am glad someone else finds annoying this constant bickering whereby every issue in the world bolis down to Democrat v Republican according to loads of US farkers on these threads -

/although it may actually be somewhat appropriate in this thread...
 
2004-04-24 01:46:27 PM  
EvilGnome
It is entirely possible for nuclear weapons to be extremely useful in tactical situations. We're obviously not going to nuke a city, and please tell me, what is the difference between killing soliders with conventional bombs and nuclear bombs? They're just as dead.

No, it isn't. If you think there's some great difference in a .3 kiloton weapon on a city (a 600,000 pound bomb or the equivalent of more than 33 MOABs) and a 10 kiloton weapon on a city, pray tell us what the difference is?

Or do you believe that nuclear weapons do not leave residual radioactivity?

The Depleted Uranium already expended in country is going to provide lingering health dangers from now on.
 
2004-04-24 01:48:09 PM  
Don't our boys (and girls) in Iraq need more flak jackets?

I'm sure teh nukes will protect them!!!!!!!
 
2004-04-24 01:54:03 PM  
 
2004-04-24 01:54:28 PM  
EvilGnome,

Take a look at the last two conflicts in which US forces have been engaged. In both, a significant portion of tactical maneuvering took / is taking place in or around towns.

It's not like we line our soldiers up in a battlefield well away from cities and let them shoot at each other anymore. Urban warfare is the way things will probably work.

But suppose we had a non-urban environment. Say, in Afghanistan, with all those guys holed up in caves. Right?
Well, it turns out that nuclear weapons aren't terribly effective for application against hardened ground targets (And I think a mountain counts as a pretty hard target), unless they're detonated in a groundburst, which severely limits their blast radius in exchange for producing lots and lots of fun fallout.

Nuclear weapons are something the world would be better off having never discovered. This is at least in part because the hoi polloi are now terrified of anything with that trefoil radiation symbol - including nuclear power. Which, by the way, really is our best way to wean ourselves from dependence on foreign oil.

And yes, I know all about radioactive waste. Y'know what? The environmental damage done by the radioactive waste produced by the generation of [arbitrary amount of electricity] is less than that done by burning fossil fuels to get it.
 
2004-04-24 01:55:47 PM  
yeah, lets vote G.W. Bush out, and vote in someone who will take money from people who have earned it and give it to people who haven't, all for the express purpose of buying votes. Kerry perhaps. Nothing's sweeter to people who are fully able to do for themselves but won't than milk from the government teet. I'd rather have money spent on something that the government is actually responsible for like protection, rather than to a lot of people who should be taking care of themselves. Don't get me wrong, i've nothing against assistance to those who truly need it, but our money is being wasted quite conveniently by politicians and then by people who should be taking care of themselves. People who are sound of mind and body. I'm not fearful of a nuclear war, but if you think Russia and China are our friends now you're fools. It's important to keep our weapons up to date. You know at least China is.
 
2004-04-24 01:57:39 PM  
2004-04-24 01:55:47 PM short_bus_grad

yeah, lets vote G.W. Bush out, and vote in someone who will take money from people who have earned it and give it to people who haven't. Kerry perhaps.

First, you are assuming that Bush will not do this. Second, you are assuming that the only alternative is Kerry. There are more than two choices.
 
2004-04-24 01:59:08 PM  
"yeah, lets vote G.W. Bush out, and vote in someone who will take money from people who have earned it and give it to people who haven't"

Red herring, baby. Welfare accounts for an unbelievably small percentage of the budget. If you want your taxes to go down, curtail our expensive overseas romps and derail the war on drugs.

But that wouldn't be tough enough for you?
 
2004-04-24 02:00:04 PM  
EvilGnome
what is the difference between killing soliders with conventional bombs and nuclear bombs?

Allow me to explain:
Conventional bomb:
Nuclear Bomb:
 
2004-04-24 02:03:39 PM  
May I ask, and hopefully not sound too ignorant, why the Dept. of Energy is buying nuclear weapons?
 
2004-04-24 02:04:49 PM  
When did Halliburton start making nukes?
 
2004-04-24 02:07:09 PM  
Funny thing (and not ha ha clown funny) is, I think Dubya has a good shot at getting back in.
 
2004-04-24 02:10:48 PM  
autopsybeverage
May I ask, and hopefully not sound too ignorant, why the Dept. of Energy is buying nuclear weapons?

At one time, what is now the Dept. of Energy was formerly called the "Atomic Energy Commission" until 1975.

From its inception in 1947 until its abolition in 1975, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) carried out a congressional mandate for a large federal role in atomic energy development. The commission maintained programs for nuclear weapons research, development, production, and testing; production of plutonium and weapons grade uranium; milling and refining of uranium ore; biomedical research into the effects of radiation and nuclear weapons; basic nuclear research in fields such as chemistry, physics, and metallurgy; development of nuclear reactors; promotion of a civilian nuclear power industry; and conduct of international Atoms-for-Peace activities. It was unique among federal agencies in combining responsibilities to both promote and regulate a technology. The agency was led by five commissioners. They played key, and at times, unique roles in the formulation of American nuclear policies and programs.
 
2004-04-24 02:12:43 PM  
Huh. Learn something new every day. Thanks, Vet_Curm.
 
2004-04-24 02:17:41 PM  
autopsybeverage
Glad to oblige. The AEC built 'em, and the military(potentially) delivered them. In structure, not too different from conventional bombs, which are purchased by the military from a contractor.

It was just in this case, the main contractor is also a government agency as well.
 
2004-04-24 02:22:23 PM  
wydok:

Thanks for the non-flammable response. I wasn't looking for a flamewar on my comments but i knew how they'd come off. I'll be honest, obviously the drug war isn't making a lot of headway so i'll give you that point. I also concede that foreign aid to countries is something that needs to be reined in. I wasn't talking just about welfare, but all social programs that are frankly a waste. That doesn't mean cut all social programs, just all those that are unnecessary and therefore wasteful. I'd prefer a much more limited government that minds it's own business which in my view is just internal and external security. Education is important but it's being screwed up from government all the way down to the school level. there has to be a better way.
 
2004-04-24 02:23:00 PM  
God damn, Bush frightens me.
 
2004-04-24 02:25:38 PM  
LarryDan43
"The US has a 97% literacyrate...is'nt that kind of disturbing? ... Every 30th person or so does not know how to read ..."

Anyone who has the mental capacity and WANTS to learn to read in this country has the opportunity to do so. Nothing is stopping that 30th person, except themselves.


person=singular
themselves=plural

/doesn't make sense.........
 
2004-04-24 02:28:06 PM  
my last post was actually referring to Mrgumbopants. Though wydok, your response was good too. (i'm at work so have too many things going on at once).
 
2004-04-24 02:28:20 PM  
At least Saddam will never get my precious bodily fluids with Bush's WMD's protecting me from harm.

/Strangelove
 
2004-04-24 02:29:56 PM  
It was just in this case, the main contractor is also a government agency as well.

I figured there was a contractor in there somewhere, but I guess it makes sense you'd have something a little more closely regulated than a private company handling plutonium & enriched uranium.
 
2004-04-24 02:33:02 PM  
Yeah, vote Kerry, and vote away our 2nd ammendment. He's signed every anti-gun law into effect that's passed his desk.

And your point is what exactly in a flamewar about nuclear weapons? RTFA before you post.

/not my president
 
2004-04-24 02:35:49 PM  
Short_bus_grad
The problem with all centralised ideas is that they aren't particularily efficent (as you probably already understand).
The only way to solve this is usually to throw money at it until it goes away. It's a very costly way to work things, but it is unfortunately the only way to go unless you want social programs to be of differing standards all over the country (which is a worse proposition than what you have now).

And the problem with being the richest country in the world is that you have to give handouts to those in worse cases and expect them to hate you. It's a biatch, but it comes with the territory.

We are in a place we have never been before been in history. People are richer, smarter and living longer. Obesity is a bigger problem than famine in large areas of the world. We are in a time of comparitive peace. And what do we have to worry about? Just quality of life. This is unheard of. Less than 100 years ago, children were working in coal mines at 14. Women couldn't vote. Segregation based on colour was rife. There really is no need to worry about education standards. They will get better. It may take time, and it will take a lot of money but they will get there. Just smile and realise you are blessed with living in one of the free-est countries in the world. Regardless of what the Bush baiters say.
 
2004-04-24 02:35:54 PM  
plautus

Wrongo, Russia still has an estimated 20,000 nuclear weapons while the US has only 10,000. Then there's China with around 400. Can anyone guess who comes into 4th place in terms of nukes? The UK? India? Pakistan? NOPE, its France. That right folks, France, with about 350 nukes, has the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world. So, the next time you bash France remember, they only have to push a button to get you back.

/is suddenly afraid
 
2004-04-24 02:38:12 PM  
 
2004-04-24 02:39:20 PM  
May I ask, and hopefully not sound too ignorant, why the Dept. of Energy is buying nuclear weapons?

AFAIK, the Dept of Energy regulates the use of nuclear material in the United States. When the military wanted some nuclear bombs they asked the Dept of Energy to build them some.

Off topic: Area 51 is owned by the Dept of Energy, not the US Airforce whcih is why they can consistantly deny knowing of its existance.
 
2004-04-24 02:44:44 PM  
you_varmints
they don't really need any reason to deny knowledge of its existence..
 
2004-04-24 02:47:03 PM  
SquirrelWithLargeNuts: Don't think the US is top or in the top ten for education expenditure.(http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/edu_edu_spe - Number 47 on that list)

Don't confuse him with facts!


That chart is as a percentage of the GDP though. The relevant figure is how much cash is spent on each individual student, adjusted for varying costs across nations. It's an extremely difficult number to quantify.
 
2004-04-24 02:53:06 PM  
PNAC needs all those nukes for when their hopelessly delusional attempt at world conquest fails and then they have to activate the "Mutually Assured Destruction" protocal that will take as many innocent people as possible with them to their deaths.
 
2004-04-24 02:58:15 PM  
"That doesn't mean cut all social programs, just all those that are unnecessary and therefore wasteful."

I know what you mean, and gov'ts are *always* inefficient on some level, but we spend so LITTLE on social programs as is that it seems pointless to get into it. Homeless people and the unemployed don't exactly have it good right now. But then again, I live in a big urban area where you can literally feel the crime rates go up when unemployment soars. I'll take a little inefficiency and some people abusing the system if it keeps folks from going hungry or dying in sub zero weather over the winter (or robbing my ass).



"I'd prefer a much more limited government that minds it's own business which in my view is just internal and external security. Education is important but it's being screwed up from government all the way down to the school level. there has to be a better way."

Education is screwed up but not by the feds -- it's overwhelmingly controlled by dumbfark local school boards and state funding.

Limiting government is just a tricky way of putting it. Government needs to be strictly limited in some things and expanded in others. We're stretched thin in Iraq and I wouldn't mind seeing ALL of our nuclear R&D money shifted over to help our volunteers, even if it means paying all the reservists more! College is expensive as hell, it needs to be subsidized. I can't get health care for less than 300 a month (I was hospitalized for something weird when I was 12.. that's 15 years ago!) and I get the feeling that the current administration isn't too interested in changing any of it.

Which is to say: *everyone* wants to limit the government. It's just a question of whose priorities line up with mine. And I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that the current leadership seems more interested in powerful and wealthy people than they are in fixing the real problems I see every day.
 
2004-04-24 03:01:36 PM  
autopsybeverage
I figured there was a contractor in there somewhere, but I guess it makes sense you'd have something a little more closely regulated than a private company handling plutonium & enriched uranium.

AEC was the main contractor as far as the military was concerned. The AEC employed private companies (Westinghouse at Hanford in Washington and Rockwell at Rocky Flats in Colorado, to name two) to run the facilities and do the actual work.
 
2004-04-24 03:04:02 PM  
Off topic... but it was brought up so I must add this...

the 2nd Amendment says this: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

A WELL REGULATED MALITIA. Not every goddamned mornon with a trigger finger!
 
2004-04-24 03:07:38 PM  
My dog wants gerbils in his ass?
 
2004-04-24 03:08:08 PM  
Hi, it's me again, speaking on behalf of voice, logic, and reason.

The US administratin is escalating the 'war' on terror.

If you are hypocritical about a military stragegic advantage, your opponents will stop at very little to get even While we may be learning of this, I'm sure the majority of other governments world wide are well aware of Western nuclear development; which much to their alarm is only growing stronger.

But far more seriously is the military doctrine behind this, especially in a 'terrorism war'. Unfarkingbelievable. We won't know the consequences of 9/11 on foreign policy until at least a few more years minimum, but it's safe to argue one loud and clear point that defeats the purpose of this ridiculous nuclear gamble. Keeping in mind the US (and to a degree Russian) domination of nuclear weapons, it's vital not to forget this when anyone biatches about 'fighting' terrorism.

9/11 was carried out with boxcutters and a zeal of conviction no one born in North America will probably ever comprehend. It was not carried out with nuclear weapons.

I won't even touch the moral, ethical, or environmental reasons why (modern) thermonuclear weapons are the definition of paradox.

What on earth is this detering? There's no question anywhere that American forces will continue to have global hegemony for some time, and that's assuming China does keep growing at its current rate. We can't possibly use nuclear weapons against terrorists, as they have no state or governmental structure to aim at.

For anyone arguing deterance, here's an idea. Why don't you detere the budget? How's about healthcare? Or better yet, how about you detere against the asshatery of the military industrial complex that exists to perpetuate conflict?
 
2004-04-24 03:08:19 PM  
/guess I'd better get a dog, then
 
2004-04-24 03:13:42 PM  
Military strength has to grow proportionally in relation to the ratio of bleeding heart panzies to real men in the US.
 
2004-04-24 03:15:12 PM  
The second amendment is nice and all - but it's irrelevant in this modern age, unless you, as an individual citizen, can buy a B1 bomber and a set of cruise missiles. - and in FACT, in order for your 2nd Amendment Rights to be excercised, you've got to break the law anyway - so frankly, you don't really NEED this as a right.

Umm... It seems to me that some Iraqis are proving to be a thorough pain in the ass without B1s or cruise missiles. This kind of arrogance about the capability of our weapons systems is part of how we get into these messes. When it comes to occupation, you still wind up fighting man to man from house to house.
 
2004-04-24 03:17:30 PM  
"This kind of arrogance about the capability of our weapons systems is part of how we get into these messes. When it comes to occupation, you still wind up fighting man to man from house to house."

Which is why the 2nd ammendment covers rocket propelled grenades and stingers?

Iraq is chock full of military grade weapons. Not the mass destruction kind, but also not the use-at-the-gun-club or protect-your-house-from-a-burglar kind either.
 
2004-04-24 03:23:07 PM  
Corn_Fed:

"They increase America's production of WMD's"

What gave you that idea? They have decreased nuclear stockpiles from about 27,000 twenty years ago to 9,000 now. Not to mention that they've deactivated most (if not all by now) of the Peacekeeper ICBMs. I don't know what literature you are reading but most defense sources I've seen have consistently stated that America is decreasing its stocks of WMD.

That said, your blanket statements about conservatives is about as enlightened as those that rant about liberals being dirty hippies. Congrats...you've become the type of blind idiot that you hate. Glad to see that you've lost your ability to form and manipulate abstract thoughts and become just another blind drone.
 
2004-04-24 03:24:17 PM  
Wasn't there bragging rights during the cold war about the U.S. having enough nukes to wipe out all life on the planet 9 times over, or something like this? Surely at some point it stops being deterrence and starts being a joke. A really bad one.
 
2004-04-24 03:25:37 PM  
We already spend the most per student out of all the countries in the world (IIRC, if not we're in the top 10), throwing money at a problem is obviously not the answer.

Maybe if the starting salary of a teacher wasn't less than $25,000 a year, those who can actually teach would want the job instead of becoming something else, such as corporate trainers.
 
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