Monday, September 25, 2006

No Hans...You've been served

Hans rips on my dealert comment which wasn’t necessarily meant as an advocacy, given that it was part of a satirical post on my journal, which I think is a bit silly. Looks like someone got tired of looking for nudes of Barbara Boxer…

In any case, I think I can defend a dealerting advocacy.

First, I don’t think accidental launch is the only reason why we’d dealert, though it stands to reason that even if you have a handful of nuclear missiles on high alert it would be vastly preferable to a status quo where you have thousands on high alert. Even if we face a minimal risk of accidental launch you don’t have an argument; and additionally, I bet we’d save a ton of money by not having to staff these silos 24/7/365 and only having to do periodic maintenance. Though it’s debateable, and none of us have access to any real data that would indicate that the risk of US accidental launch is relatively high or low I think there are non-negligible risks that exist.

On the technical side there’s quite a few things that dealerting could mean that don’t just involve burying the silos.

There are other reasons why we might want to at least reduce if not eliminate the number of nuclear weapons we have on high alert, nonproliferation being at the top of the list. Standing down and rethinking our nuclear posture would go a long way towards taking pressure off the Russians, for example, and allow us to rekindle arms reductions while reducing the pressure on Iran or North Korea (or other potential rogue states) to acquire nuclear weapons. Even dealerting our ICBM force while maintaining a small number of tactical nuclear weapons would probably be sufficient to maintain our deterrent posture, satisfying defense hawks, and yet be a way to increase our ability to dissuade other nations from their own proliferation initiatives.

So Hans, we’re left with your final argument. Incremental solutions to the nuclear problem are bad (and I’m sure that the deterrence argument is one we can engage later, because I’ll go on record as being conditionally in favor of nuclear deterrence, though I think a lot of the deterrence debates would certainly be improved with the existence of hard data to test the theoretical assumptions or the generalized conclusions that we draw from history). Your internal link to the incrementalism argument is that dealert lets us numb ourselves to the existence of nuclear weapons, allowing us to render their use more thinkable. The logical continuance of your argument is that this even undermines a deterrence strategy based on MAD because MAD is all about rendering the use of nuclear weapons unthinkable. Unfortunately, you make absolutely no warrant for your claim; in fact, I think the argument goes the other way for the following reasons. First, dealert renders disarmament more thinkable, which re-energizes disarm/peace movements. Perhaps you have noticed that the disarm movement seems to be in a state of terminal apathy? The nuclear debate is one that is barely happening in our culture, and though I might argue that deterrence at this stage in our history key to peace I would rather live in a world where this debate continuously informs our government than not; I would much prefer that instead of debating how low the threshold is for the use of nuclear weapons, like Bush’s bunkerbusters, we be debating their necessity. Indeed, I think dealerting, by making us more conscious of how we are using these weapons, spurs us to question why we have them. Additionally, I think that if you want to engage the question of how we numb ourselves to the existence/use of nuclear weapons you should instead be questioning how the image of these weapons is marketed.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wisdom Before it is Conventional

If you want to know my pick for another post it in comments. House and Gov may come later.

Monday, September 18, 2006

On Iran

Ooohie... interesting lil scheduling snafu - Presidents Bush and Ahmenidjad (sp?) will both be speaking at the UN tomorrow... Miles O'Brien on American Morning today asked their WH reporter "what happens if they run into each other in the bathroom?"
That I would PAY to see...
might go something like this...

"President Bush!...How's it hanging?"
"Fuck you you shit-eating coon dune."
"I already have a wife you emasculated terrier - So when are you going to let me have the bo- I mean, let Iran practice the self determination it requires?"
"Over my cold dead body, rag head, when I'm snorting coke off 72 virgins' asses in paradise. And look, I know I got a cock the size of a scud missile, but would you mind not peering over the stall?"
"Sorry, I didn't realize you were as big an arrogant prick in person as you come off to be on sky news... I just thought it was the fucking euro trash shitting on you. "
"Well at least we can agree on that. Tell you what - no more of these stupid fuckin open letters and maybe we'll talk." (zips up, turns to walk toward the basin)
"Why not let me have the bomb? it helps stabilze the region!" (hurriedly zips up)
"bullshit! - someone explain why not to this koran humper - you! Pointdexter!"
"It's Hadley, sir." [ed. note - Hadley = NSA Stephen Hadley]
"Ya, whatever. Just tell him why that ain't gonna happen. "
"President Ahmenijad, we believe that with atomic weapons you'll hold your reserves hostage or worse attack israel. Although we don't import oil from you we can't allow that supply shock to the world market. And you know we can't let you fuck with the heebs. If you get the bomb, they will bomb you, with nukes made right here in the ole USA. Egypt burns itself into the med, the saudis freak out, all hell breaks loose. You get the idea. "
"That's a bit paranoid. I mean, you said as much about Pakistan, and we have better technology and safeguards. And you just excepted the Indians from the non proliferation treaty. You want access to our markets? you treat us like the rest of the modern world!"
"Oh yea, I'm sure there are oodles of American corporations ready to send their people over to a country who calls us the great satan... or for that matter something that the mullahs would allow. All that's beside the point. The first thing is India is different - they are 1.1 billion dot heads and only what? 80 million of you? We have to have them. Fuckin Gooks. We don't have to have you. This conversation is over Mak-mood."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Call This Shut The Fuck Up Dana Season

I would like to introduce the first winner of the Han's D-Bag award, and despite what you might think it is not our track jacket sporting friend Brian. It is....

Washington Post's Milbank: "I call this treason season. It's the time it happened in 2002, happened 2004, it's
happening again now, when Republicans go around and say, Vote Democrat and die, essentially, that the Democrats are with the terrorists. ... Democrats predictably respond to this by whining and saying, 'that's unfair, and of course we're patriotic,' when in reality, that's just playing into the hands of the Republicans making the charges" ("Countdown," MSNBC, 9/13).

A) Treason season are you fucking kidding me B) worse analysis ever! It is like he was like I am not going to look at what's going on and assume it is just like before. Dana Milbank you sir are a douche bag.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Eapen--You've been served!

In a recent post in Eapen's livejournal, he makes a support remark about de-alerting. What possible good could piling mud on silos do? The only nuclear related issue de-alerting solves is accidental launch--which is a) unlike b) empirically denied and c) in the event of an accidental launch I think I'd rather that shit blow up anywhere else. De-alerting is just a way to make nuclear weapons more cuddly to move us away from what needs to happen--DISARM.

This is a classic example of one of Hans' Laws: all change for the better is incremental, but not all increments are change for the better. In fact most are token concessions meant to keep the overall structure in place. For other examples of this see the 1964 civil rights act and the 1965 voting rights act.