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Has Bush betrayed GOP values?
The Desert Sun ^

Posted on 12/10/2003 11:33:12 AM PST by Stew Padasso

Edited on 05/07/2004 5:43:37 PM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]

"The majority of Repub-licans, at the urging of the president and GOP congres-sional leaders, voted for the $7 trillion prescription drug entitlement to become the nationís new welfare-state party, depriving the Democrat Party of its sole claim as champion of big government."

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bush43; gop; heritagefoundation; medicare
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To: Final Authority
(That is indeed how bad the political choices have become.)

Right. The Repubs know this and count on us voting for them since they are only communist lite.
81 posted on 12/10/2003 2:52:50 PM PST by HoundsTooth_BP
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To: Paul Ross
nice summary
82 posted on 12/10/2003 3:01:38 PM PST by Tauzero (Avoid loose hair styles. When government offices burn, long hair sometimes catches on fire.)
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To: scrutiny
Here's the Hardball transcipt in which he mentions that issue:

DEAN: Not with a 10-foot pole, am I touching that one.
Where we’re at right now in this cycle is that we need somebody to mitigate the power of corporations. Corporations are not bad things. They’re neither good nor bad. But the problem is, they’re a bad influence on society if they get too much power, because their basic interest is the bottom line. And they forget that human being have-human beings have souls. We’re not meant to be simply cogs in a machine.

And right now, we’re at that cycle where we are cogs in a machine. When I first went to Iowa, the lesson I learned from about 20 ordinary people was, we don’t trust our employers anymore because they don’t value us, because they’ll move our jobs anyplace, including offshore.

MATTHEWS: How do we reregulate America? Is that what you want to do, put-enforce more public policy?

DEAN: I want accountability. What I really want is accountability. I don’t think it’s OK for ordinary people to invest in mutual funds and then find out that you’ve been cheated in the stock market.

I don’t think rMD+IT_rMD-IT_it’s OK for Enron to steal ordinary working people’s pensions. If the CEOs goes broke, so be it. They took a lot of risks. They made a lot of money. There are a lot of ordinary people who have nothing to retire on because of what happened at Enron. And its Tyco and its Global Crossing, and again and again. And this administration is permitting it and winking at it. And I’ve had enough of that.

MATTHEWS: What about the Democrats that went along with...
MATTHEWS: Travel, the Democrats’ Ted Kennedy was part of that deregulation, the deregulation of radio. There are so many things that have been deregulated. Is that wrong trend and would you reverse it?

DEAN: I would reverse in some areas.
First of all, 11 companies in this country control 90 percent of what ordinary people are able to read and watch on their television. That’s wrong. We need to have a wide variety of opinions in every community. We don’t have that because of Michael Powell and what George Bush has tried to do to the FCC.

MATTHEWS: No, seriously. As a public policy, would you bring industrial policy to bear and break up these conglomerations of power?

MATTHEWS: Well, how about large media enterprises?

DEAN: The answer to that is yes.
I would say that there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country. We need locally-owned radio stations. There are only two or three radio stations left in the state of Vermont where you can get local news anymore. The rest of it is read and ripped from the AP.

MATTHEWS: So what are you going to do about it? You’re going to be president of the United States, what are you going to do?

DEAN: What I’m going to do is appoint people to the FCC that believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one.

MATTHEWS: Well, would you break up GE?
MATTHEWS: GE just buys Universal. Would you do something there about that? Would you stop that from happening?

DEAN: You can’t say-you can’t ask me right now and get an answer, would I break up X corp...

MATTHEWS: We’ve got to do it now, because now is the only chance we can ask you, because, once you are in, we have got to live with you.

MATTHEWS: Are you going to break up the giant media enterprises in this country?

DEAN: Yes, we’re going to break up giant media enterprises. That doesn’t mean we’re going to break up all of GE.

What we’re going to do is say that media enterprises can’t be as big as they are today. I don’t think we actually have to break them up, which Teddy Roosevelt had to do with the leftovers from the McKinley administration.

MATTHEWS: ... regulate them.

DEAN: You have got to say that there has to be a limit as to how-if the state has an interest, which it does, in preserving democracy, then there has to be a limitation on how deeply the media companies can penetrate every single community. To the extent of even having two or three or four outlets in a single community, that kind of information control is not compatible with democracy.

MATTHEWS: How-how far would you go in terms of public policy?
MATTHEWS: This is not-what you describe is not laissez-faire. It’s not capitalism.

DEAN: It is capitalism.

MATTHEWS: How would you-what would you call it?

DEAN: I am absolutely a capitalist. Capitalism is the greatest system that people have ever invented, because it takes advantage of bad traits, as well as our good traits, and turns them into productivity.

But the essence of capitalism, which the right-wing never understands ” it always baffles me-is, you got to have some rules. Imagine a hockey game with no rules.

83 posted on 12/10/2003 3:25:01 PM PST by Born in a Rage
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To: Southack
I never said our forces are not great. But they are also not the best we have ever had.

I'm sorry, but the 'modernization' excuse is just that. And Kennedy's book is pathetic. The U.S. has NEVER spent enough on defense. As a percentage of GDP, even at the $400 billion level, after adjusting for inflation we are well under what we were down to during the mid 30's prior to being attacked at Pearl Harbor. And btw, we are NOT AN EMPIRE. So none of your prognostications about our falling due to excess military spending apply. And as for economizing, We always fight the next war with last year's or older, technology. That is the ONLY economical way. The next stage of technology being developed will then be in the NEXT war. So keeping the not-so-old, 'old stuff' in fighting trim is actually the only truly economical way to go, while continuing to do the R&D for future warfighting technologies, and deploying if appropriate.

As for Rummy kicking ass, well, I am waiting for it to result in actual improvements in airframes. The ABM is NOT going up that Reagan promised. We are being given a Clinton-designed bogus 'imitation' ABM. And he keeps stonewalling on giving the go-ahead for the seabased Aegis system which could be done for under $6 billion. And guess what, he is also turning a blind eye on a number of other golden opportunities to save the service money: i.e., he could at a stroke triple the services troop-airlift by picking up for a song the Boeing airliners sitting idle in the desert in California. Which would simultaneously rejuvenate the airline manufacturer and restore jobs to the country. Rummy, who I love like my favorite uncle, unfortunately caved to the Prez on the Moscow missile treaty. He bucked it a good while, but then got unequivocal orders to cease.

Your concerns about military over-spending are warped. Just maintaining our previous deterrent only cost $4 billion a year. The Dismantling that has been ordered will cost over $20 billion! And that $20 billion comes from the DOD budget! Money that could have gone to giving us real capability, not robbing us of what we already have. Granted, the treaty says 2,200, not 1,700...but GWB has ORDERED the reduction to 1,700...lamely hoping the Russkies will do likewise. They have already announced they are in no hurry at all. And in fact, they think their First Strike weapons, the SS-18s are just peachy, and will keep them for another 17 years.

As for why we need 2, fact we really need 6,000 or more to be able to plausibly survive a number of first strike scenarios from the Russians and in combination with the Chinese Axis...or at the very minimun 3,500. A surviving fraction that could deliver a sufficiently devastating response to prevent these people from being tempted by thoughts of 'winning'. Donald Rumsfeld actually agreed with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on that number. So you and GWB are the ones out in left field. GWB has perpetuated the Clinton-ordered 'stand-down' non-alert posture that conceivably could catch us badly off guard. 'Looking-Glass' continues to languish.

More reason to seriously question the President's true seriousness about national security.

As for RPV's replacing the F-14, it is not going to happen. They are perhaps 15 years away. What you don't realize is that the F-14, in many ways is way ahead of the F-18 or the F-35 JSF for the mission of interception. And the future, hypothetical, RPVs will be limited to reconnaissance and air support. But as for interception...they are non-starters...they are not supersonic, nor are they immune from jamming or weather issues. And the lack of the visual information only a cockpit can give makes for a real loss of pilot situational awareness for combat. And as for ships, the Admirals have concurred that we have too few for the missions already committed. We need to deploy more than we are per year. We have a shortfall, based on all the commitments we have...if push comes to shove of 200 ships. We can't currently fight two wars let alone three simultaneously...Rummy's brave talk notwithstanding. We are fully occupied with Iraq. North Korea & Taiwan is a powder keg...and we are just bluffing. If it goes. Hence the talk of sizing the force to handle only one war at a time...tells you what is really happening. And Hence GWB's ignominous kow-towing to the PRC Chairman...doing effectively, his own version of the "Three-NOs." GWB's gambles with our security are gambles no honest conservative would take. Period.

Oh, btw, we are NOT increasing our RV warhead yields at all. We are not producing ANY nuclear warheads at all. In fact, we are going the other way. When Clinton 'modernized' the Minuteman-III he lowered its accuracy and shortened its range. We have a subtantial reduction in counterforce capability thanks to Clinton and now GWB retiring the MX missiles. We are researching...repeat...researching only bunker busters in the small sub-kiloton range. Nothing else. And the ABM going up is comrade Xlinton's design. I am so reassured. Not.

84 posted on 12/10/2003 3:34:00 PM PST by Paul Ross (Reform Islam Now! -- Nuke Mecca!)
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To: Paul Ross
"We can't currently fight two wars let alone three simultaneously...Rummy's brave talk notwithstanding. We are fully occupied with Iraq."

That's just silly.

We are *rotating* troops out of Iraq, for crying out loud! If we were stretched thin we wouldn't be able to have the luxury of rotating seasoned troops out of combat.

Nor do we even have to maintain our present force levels in Iraq. We could pull most or all of our troops out of Iraq to smash Syria or Iran or even North Korea. Re-taking any lost territory in Iraq would be child's play for our military, once we finished whatever hot spots had flared up elsewhere.

So we don't need more troops.

We control the entire world's oceans, so we don't need more ships, either.

We also control the world's skies, and while the F-14 is great, it is still just an aerial platform for launching anti-aircraft and anti-ground ordinance. We've got lots of such aerial platforms, some of them rather stealthy (unlike the F-14), and others don't even have a pilot to worry about losing.

85 posted on 12/10/2003 3:45:09 PM PST by Southack (Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Paul Ross; hchutch
When Clinton 'modernized' the Minuteman-III he lowered its accuracy and shortened its range.

False. MMIII is significantly more accurate now--it has received the W87 and Peacekeeper guidance package.

We have a subtantial reduction in counterforce capability thanks to Clinton and now GWB retiring the MX missiles.

Yeah, because we actually agreed to a treaty that required it.

Of course, we have a supreme advantage in counterforce systems that we know will actually work...bombers. Nobody's live-fired an ICBMunder anything approaching combat conditions. Today's ICBM "test launches" in the US, Russia, and China are done after the missiles are extensively checked out by very scarce factory technicians, and only score about as well as space boosters that receive a similar level of prelaunch maintenance and checkout prior to flight (75%-80% reliability across all phases of flight). Combat reliability is extremely questionable, and is probably under 50%. (I would personally put it at about 40%, tops, for US missiles, and 25% for Russian and Chinese missiles.)

Meanwhile, the US bomber force has demonstrated a remarkable ability to deliver the goods over the years. Even against fully-alerted defenses with minimal (read: nearly nonexistent) Iron hand support (Operation Linebacker II), it took 100 SAMs to generate one hit against a B-52. And the performance of Russian and Chinese air defenses has been nothing to write home about, as Matthias Rust and the SIGINT folks who monitored the KAL 007 shootdown can attest.

86 posted on 12/10/2003 3:46:25 PM PST by Poohbah ("Beware the fury of a patient man" -- John Dryden)
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To: Stew Padasso
Good question. Let's look at Free Republic's two favorite Republicans:

1. Bush has refused to stop the invasion of illegal aliens.

2. Bush conducts a War on Terror but declines to make war on the biggest terror sponsor of them all: Saudi Arabia.

3. Bush supported and signs the unconstitutional "Patriot" Act.

4. Bush tells Israel to dismantle its walls, fences and settlements in hopes of fostering "peace" with the Arabs.

5. Bush tells Taiwan not to declare its independence from Red China.

6. Bush expands the cost and scope of government (aside from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and War on Terror)

7. Bush does nothing to extradite murderers, including cop killers, who escape to Mexico to flee justice.

8. Schwarzenegger fails to embrace abolition of the California car tax

9. Schwarzenegger thinks giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens is a good idea as long as it's done "right"

10. Schwarzenegger tries to put a $15 billion bond-tax on the citizens of California

11. Schwarzenegger's idea of a spending cap applies only to the General Fund, leaving other sources open

And the list goes on and on.... I remember in 1994 the Republicans came to power vowing to shrink government and slash the outrageous spending.

Now, its the Republicans building up big government and spending money like crazy. What the hell?

And Bush? If he signs that "Assault" Weapons Ban Reauthorization, he finally loses my vote.
87 posted on 12/10/2003 3:47:37 PM PST by StoneColdGOP (McClintock - In Your Heart, You Know He's Right)
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To: Orangedog
He has promised to sign the extension of the assault weapons ban if it reaches his desk...and it will, so he will, just like with CFR.

I really believe that will be the Rubicon and if Bush crosses it'll be Deja Vu '92 with a Low IQ named "W".
Conservatives and constitutionalists will vote third party en masse.

88 posted on 12/10/2003 3:48:45 PM PST by Vidi_Vici_Vinnny (An armed man is a Citizen. An unarmed man is a Subject.)
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To: Paul Ross
"in fact, they think their First Strike weapons, the SS-18s are just peachy, and will keep them for another 17 years."

Um, no. You should subscribe to Janes. Russia's Satans are being retired in 2007.

2 October 2000
Russia's strategic forces stumble

RUSSIA'S STRATEGIC nuclear forces have entered the millennium with a broad range of financial, technological, diplomatic and organisational problems. By the middle of this year future prospects were further clouded by the politicisation of the reform debate, linked to the succession struggle for the post of minister of defence. It seems unlikely that the Kremlin will be able to stabilise the operational capabilities of the force. The question is whether the force will continue to erode in a controlled or haphazard way.

Strategic nuclear forces

As with all combat branches of the Russian armed forces, the strategic nuclear forces face the future severely hamstrung by financial problems. This was demonstrated on 27 June when Strategic Rocket Forces (Raketnye voiska strategicheskogo naznacheniya - RVSN) troops from the base at Sibirskiy were forced to stage a commando raid on the neighbouring electric power company, which threatened to shut off power to the base due to a continuing failure to pay its bills. As in the rest of the armed forces, monthly pay for the missile troops has been erratic.

The RVSN remains the main element of the Russian strategic forces, being responsible for about 90% of the strategic missions even though it possesses only about 60% of the missiles and warheads. Funding for RVSN operations has been meagre, as has the maintenance budget.

Russia currently fields 780 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), of which about 60% are beyond their warranty life. Most Russian liquid-fuelled missiles of the fourth and fifth generation have a warranted life of seven to 10 years in operation. At the end of this period they must be removed from their silo and sent back to the plant for remanufacture as the corrosive oxidant can begin to leak, electronics deteriorate, and the warhead has to be serviced. This cannot be done in the silo due to the use of transport-launch containers that envelope the missile.

In the past, missiles have been rebuilt several times, extending their life to 25 years. The problem is that 226 of the missiles - Voevoda (SS-18 'Satan') and Molodets (SS-24 'Scalpel') - were built in Ukraine and so cannot be sent back to their original plant for rebuilding. A limited reserve of missiles can be substituted, but this is a finite resource that will be exhausted. The older UR-100NU (SS-19 'Stiletto'), built at the Khrunichev plant near Moscow, is being rebuilt to extend its useful life until about 2010. The 360 Topol (SS-25 'Sickle') mobile ICBMs that make up almost half the force are the newest missiles to enter service. Their manufacturing plant at Votkinsk is still in operation, and there is a reserve of about 50 missiles that can be substituted for time-expired missiles.

To further complicate matters, the main manufacturer of inertial-guidance platforms, Khartron, is also in Ukraine. When missiles are left on active alert with the inertial guidance unit fully operating, the system has an expected life of about three years. Since spares on these guidance units are dwindling, the RVSN has to face the choice of removing a significant portion of the missile force from ready alert, or allowing the force to become non-functional due to worn out guidance platforms.

Although figures have not been published, it is assumed that a smaller portion of the current missile force is kept on ready alert than a decade ago, if only to conserve spares. As a result of these trends, the Voevoda force will have to be retired by 2007, when it will become unsupportable. This will drop the total RVSN missile force size to about 600 ICBMs and drop the warhead count from the current 3,540 to about 1,740. This is planned under the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II) in any event.

At the moment, the only new missile entering the force is the Topol-M (SS-27), an evolved version of the Topol. In view of the current debate over procurement funding priorities, it is not certain that Topol-M production will continue at recent levels - barely 10 missiles a year. As a result, the RVSN ICBM force is likely to shrink regardless of treaty considerations.

The 1997 appointment of Igor Sergeyev, former commander of the RVSN, as defence minister helped to focus attention on the need for RVSN modernisation. Sergeyev is the first RVSN commander to have served as defence minister. He has argued forcefully that it is the strategic nuclear forces that make Russia a great power.

Sergeyev's procurement priority was the Topol-M ICBM effort, with the aim not only of halting the erosion of the force size but of firming up the defence industries on which the RVSN is so dependent. Priority or not, Topol-M funding has been barely adequate and, to date, only two regiments (20 silo launchers) have been deployed. Tests of a more survivable, but more expensive, road-mobile version were scheduled to begin in July 2000, only to be put off indefinitely due to a lack of funds and the current controversies over future Russian force structure.

Dead in the water

If the funding situation for the RVSN has been poor, it has been catastrophic for the navy. Funding has been so low that missile submarine patrols have become uncommon. Of the 62 strategic-missile submarines in operation in 1990, by 2000 only about 20 are still nominally functional, armed with 348 missiles. The state of the Project 941 Akula-class ('Typhoon') nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines is parlous. At least three are non-functional. Plans to rehabilitate the surviving three have been constantly delayed. The R-39 (SS-N-20 'Sturgeon') missiles on board will be age expired by 2003. This class may disappear over the next few years from neglect and lack of funding.

The Project 667BDRM Delfin ('Delta IV') is in slightly better shape. The lead boat of the class, Verkhoture, was supposed to go back to the Zvezdochka yard in 1993 for a major overhaul. Due to lack of funding it received only a medium-level overhaul seven years behind schedule, which was completed in July this year. These delayed overhauls will lead to a decline in reliability and premature retirement.

The missile situation for these submarines is not much better. The plant in Krasnoyarsk that manufactured the liquid-fuelled R-29RM (SS-N-23 'Skiff') closed in 1996 due to a lack of orders. The other submarine-launched ballistic-missile (SLBM) plant at Zlatoust that produced the solid fuel R-39 has also been idle due to a lack of orders.

Modernisation of the submarine force is dead in the water. Although the keel for the first submarine of the new Borey class has already been laid, the programme was halted by the cancellation of the troubled 3M91 Bark (SS-NX-28) missile in 1999. The missile development effort was 73% complete and the conversion of the first Akula-class submarine was 84% complete when this happened, throwing the entire submarine programme into turmoil.

Work has begun on a solid fuel follow-on missile called the Bulava, a co-operative effort between the Moscow Institute of Thermotechnology, which developed the Topol, and the Makeyev bureau in Miass, which has designed most Russian submarine ballistic missiles. The Makeyev design bureau, which has never been fond of solid-fuel propulsion, is pushing a liquid-fuelled alternative, the Sineva, derived from the earlier R-29RM. Either way, it is unlikely that a new submarine will be completed until near the end of the decade, if at all.

Unless funding patterns change it is possible that the submarine missile force could either disappear or shrink to insignificance by the end of the decade.

89 posted on 12/10/2003 3:52:51 PM PST by Southack (Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Southack
See the article about GWB's kow-towing to China over Taiwan. I am truly ashamed of his performance. Pathetic for such a 'SUPER' power.

And you still fail to get it about the F-14. The Phoenix missile system which ONLY the F-14 can carry is the premier fire & forget missile for long-range high-speed intercepts. So your postulated 'alternates' don't wash. There is nothing else currently, nor on the drawing boards that can do the mission the F-14/Phoenix system currently does.

90 posted on 12/10/2003 3:53:54 PM PST by Paul Ross (Reform Islam Now! -- Nuke Mecca!)
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To: StoneColdGOP
"1. Bush has refused to stop the invasion of illegal aliens."

President Bush signed the workplace verification bill to prevent hiring of illegal Aliens
S. 1685, the Basic Pilot Extension Act of 2003, was signed by President Bush on December 3, 2003.
It extends for five years the workplace employment eligibility authorization pilot programs created in 1996. It expands the pilot programs from the original five states to all 50 states.

91 posted on 12/10/2003 3:55:35 PM PST by Southack (Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: StoneColdGOP
"3. Bush supported and signs the unconstitutional "Patriot" Act."

Nonsense. There is *nothing* unconsitutional in the entire Patriot Act.

I've read it.

92 posted on 12/10/2003 3:57:13 PM PST by Southack (Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: StoneColdGOP
"4. Bush tells Israel to dismantle its walls, fences and settlements in hopes of fostering "peace" with the Arabs."

Incorrect. Bush said that the closer that the wall was to the Green Line, the less the U.S. would publicly complain.

93 posted on 12/10/2003 3:58:08 PM PST by Southack (Media bias means that Castro won't be punished for Cuban war crimes against Black Angolans in Africa)
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To: Southack
Jane's is frankly not tracking with the realities of the SS-18 force. Hence I don't subscribe to it.
94 posted on 12/10/2003 3:58:40 PM PST by Paul Ross (Reform Islam Now! -- Nuke Mecca!)
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To: Paul Ross; Southack
The Phoenix missile system which ONLY the F-14 can carry is the premier fire & forget missile for long-range high-speed intercepts.

If the Phoenix could actually hit anything in combat, which it has not. Four rounds fired over Iraq during Southern Watch: zero hits. The Phoenix is a Falcon on steroids, and the Falcon was an unmitigated piece of crap.

A 100-mile range missile with a pK of 0.00 is worthless.

95 posted on 12/10/2003 3:59:22 PM PST by Poohbah ("Beware the fury of a patient man" -- John Dryden)
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To: Stew Padasso; All
Everyone is free to vote for Dean if they believe that will change this situation.
96 posted on 12/10/2003 4:00:03 PM PST by squidly
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To: Paul Ross
Jane's is frankly not tracking with the realities of the SS-18 force.

Care to offer information demonstrating these alleged realities?

97 posted on 12/10/2003 4:00:36 PM PST by Poohbah ("Beware the fury of a patient man" -- John Dryden)
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To: Poohbah
False. MMIII is significantly more accurate now--it has received the W87 and Peacekeeper guidance package.

False right back at you.

Los Angeles Times
August 9, 2001
Pg. 1

Upgraded Missiles Found Less Accurate

Defense: The Minuteman IIIs, which carry nuclear warheads, have a shorter range too.

By Peter Pae, Times Staff Writer

A $4.5-billion Air Force program to upgrade aging Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles has come under fire following tests showing the refurbished missiles are less accurate and have a shorter range than the ones they are replacing, according to interviews and internal Pentagon documents.

The test results come as the Bush administration is proposing to disarm all Peacekeeper MX ICBMs, which would leave the 1960s-vintage Minuteman III as the mainstay of the nation's land-based nuclear arsenal.

Hoping to extend the life of the Minuteman, the Pentagon last year quietly began installing new guidance and propulsion systems on 500 missiles currently housed in hardened silos in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.

But according to internal assessments obtained by The Times, the upgraded models either had "miss distances" that were "considerably larger" than their predecessors or had "reduction in range" during several tests last year.

The assessments concluded the tests "did not decisively demonstrate that the accuracy key performance parameters had been achieved."

Defense analysts said the problems are not severe enough to jeopardize the missile's overall effectiveness. But it could mean added costs for taxpayers, as the Pentagon reports suggest the shortcomings stemmed from the Air Force's decision to try to upgrade the missiles on the cheap, without a full-bore overhaul.

Air Force officials initially chalked up the problems to development jitters that could be corrected, but two follow-up tests in the last six months raised alarms within the Pentagon, according to one source familiar with the program. The most recent test in June showed once again that an upgraded missile was not as accurate.

"The Air Force now agrees there is a problem," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because some of the information is classified.

The test assessments were written by the Pentagon's Office for Test and Evaluation, which declined to comment on the results, saying the documents were classified.

The Air Force, which is running the program, also declined interviews but issued a statement Wednesday downplaying the test assessments. It said two test flights were conducted for the new propulsion system, one of which was prematurely terminated during flight after a booster failed to separate.

The separation problem was unrelated to the upgrade program, the statement said, adding that all test objectives for the new propulsion system "were successfully met in the two test flights."

The Air Force also said it completed six flight tests of missiles with the new guidance system.

"Test results to date indicate a small accuracy bias that does not affect the overall weapon system effectiveness," the statement said. "A software update is planned over the next year to correct the bias."

The costs of that software upgrade and the actual performance record of the upgraded missiles were not addressed in the statement. It also was not clear by how much the refurbished missiles missed their mark. The current Minuteman can hit a target within a 360-foot radius.

A spokeswoman for TRW Inc., the main contractor for the upgrade, also declined to comment about the tests, saying they were classified. She did say that "we're in the early stages of a flight test program" and described the problems as "routine."

"We're extremely confident that if you ask the Air Force, this program has their full support," said spokeswoman Janis Lamar.

But the source familiar with the program said the problems are more severe, and Air Force officials have begun reviewing other options that could be costly, including a more comprehensive upgrade or scrapping the upgrades altogether.

"This has happened enough times now that the Air Force is agreeing it needs to do something," the source said.

The $4.5-billion program was designed to make the 30-year-old Minuteman functional until 2020. The Pentagon already has spent $600 million upgrading computers in the control room where missile operators launch the missiles. Upgrading the propulsion system, which entails replacing the solid propellent in the rocket, is expected to cost $2.6 billion, while modernizing the guidance system is slated to cost $1.9 billion. About three dozen missiles have been upgraded so far under a program that is scheduled to last until 2008.

Defense analysts also said problems with the upgrades could hinder Bush's plan to dismantle the Peacekeeper MX ICBM program, which the president is seeking in hopes of appeasing Russia's concerns about his push to build a more robust national missile defense system.

"With the MX missiles being retired, the reliability and accuracy of the Minuteman will be all the more important," said Philip E. Coyle, a senior advisor for the Center for Defense Information, a Washington-based think tank, and a former Pentagon chief for test and evaluation.

According to sources and Pentagon documents, the upgrades appear to have been doomed from the beginning.

Citing costs, the Air Force insisted on retaining the Minuteman's old inertial measurement unit, the brains of the guidance system developed in the 1960s, while refurbishing only the electronics around it, such as the computer, signal converters and power units.

In replacing the propulsion system, the Air Force was confronted with having to use materials that are environmentally acceptable, while disregarding those that now are prohibited by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Pentagon report said "the requirement to use environmentally acceptable materials has increased Propulsion Replacement Program stage weights and slightly reduced the total propellant volume. These factors indicate a reduced overall range performance."

A Minuteman III has a range of about 6,000 miles, according to the Federation of American Scientists. It is unclear, however, how much of its range was diminished, because the information is classified.

Defense analysts, who were told of the test results Wednesday, said they were puzzled by the accuracy problems, because the requirements weren't that onerous. In fact, the Pentagon just wanted the upgraded Minuteman to have the same capabilities as its older model.

"How they would allow it to go uncorrected, I'm at a loss to understand," said John Pike, a defense policy analyst for, an Alexandria, Va.-based think thank. "It's particularly puzzling, since Minuteman III has been around so long and what they're trying to do doesn't involve path- breaking technology."

Moreover, the companies making the upgrades also helped develop the more modern guidance system on the Peacekeeper MX, a long-range missile capable of carrying 10 warheads in its nose. "With the fact that [the Minuteman] has been continuously modernized and maintained and overhauled, it certainly led me to believe that the latest upgrade was a low-risk undertaking and not the sort of thing that would have a shortfall in performance," Pike said.

The Minuteman and Peacekeeper missiles represent the land-based leg of a nuclear triad that includes the Air Force's B-52 and B-2 bombers and the Navy's Trident nuclear submarines. Bush has proposed eliminating all 50 Peacekeeper missiles.

How the test shortfalls will play out politically is unclear, because the U.S. has been looking to reduce its stockpile of nuclear weapons with the collapse of the Soviet Union and Cold War tensions.

Under a 1994 U.S.-Russian pact, the two nations no longer aim their long-range nuclear missiles at each other. The missiles are set on a trajectory that ends in the ocean, although pre-programmed wartime targets are stored in the missile's computer and can be switched on within 10 seconds.

Two Air Force officers sealed in a fortified capsule 100 feet below ground operate the control room where, with the turn of their keys in unison, they can start the sequence to launch a Minuteman III missile. The missiles each hold three nuclear warheads capable of wiping out several major cities.

98 posted on 12/10/2003 4:03:42 PM PST by Paul Ross (Reform Islam Now! -- Nuke Mecca!)
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To: Paul Ross
That article is from over two years ago, and there's been a get-well program since then.

Believe it or not, when hardware doesn't perform to spec in tests, it gets reworked and retested until it does.

Still, only a moron stakes the survival of his nation--whichever nation that is--on the combat performance of his nation's ICBM force. They just have not been combat-tested, and the results from "test and evaluation," where the missiles get checked out with a fine-tooth comb, are not encouraging.
99 posted on 12/10/2003 4:08:44 PM PST by Poohbah ("Beware the fury of a patient man" -- John Dryden)
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To: Southack
Come live in Southern California and tell me he's doing something SUBSTANTIVE to stop the illegals.

He's playing nice to his amigo Vicente Fox and not bringing the subject up. Same reason he won't get the cop killers and other murderers in Mexico extradited back to the U.S.
100 posted on 12/10/2003 4:09:22 PM PST by StoneColdGOP (McClintock - In Your Heart, You Know He's Right)
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