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Comment Re:Evil, powerful men have enemies. (Score 1) 242

Few people helped them achieve these goals more than Dick Cheney did. So why would they want to kill him?

Because they ultimately failed. When your leader is reduced to hiding in a walled in compound, writing letters and watching porn, you're probably not on the path to success.

Comment Re:Evil, powerful men have enemies. (Score 1) 242

Prior to the 9/11 attacks Bin Laden was the head of the al Qaida state within a state in the very model of Islamic state, Taliban run Afghanistan, that he hoped to see spread around the world. His terrorist training camps were turning out thousands of trained terrorists per year with recruits of all races coming from around the world to learn their deadly lessons and return home to spread the Jihad. The world continued to slumber while he built up his forces and spread the poison of their ideology. In reaction to 9/11 he expected more cruise missiles as had occurred under President Clinton, and which had proven ineffective. Instead what he got was a Western alliance galvanized into action, an invasion that removed the Taliban from power, destroyed his training camps, devastated his base of terrorist fighters, choked off much of his funding, forced his sponsors in Pakistan to engage in combat against al Qaida and its allies, even if only half-heartedly, and caused his followers to flee like rats to hide in the dark. When they tried to regroup and confront the US in Iraq, they did even worse damage to themselves. They lost large numbers of fighters, exposed their funding sources to attack, and demonstrated to the Arab and Muslim world that they were blood thirsty and cruel thugs that were as happy killing Muslims as anybody. As a result of their conduct in Iraq they lost massive amounts of support in the Muslim world. All during this time their leadership was being hunted down by special forces and drones and killed or captured. Bin Laden was reduced to little more than a figurehead hiding in Pakistan. He died like a bandit in hiding, doing little more than writing letters to try to rework his failing strategy, and watching porn. I don't think it worked out the way he thought it would.

Comment Re:Not Apple? (Score 0) 80

The reason Samsung is using its cellular technology SEP patents against Apple is that Apple (unlike basically every other mobile device company on the planet) refused to agree to the standard terms for licensing the patents (a broad cross-licensing deal). And then when Samsung offered an alternative that Samsung claimed was fair and reasonable (a per-unit royalty on devices) Apple rejected that too. Hence Samsung suing.

If Apple would agree to the same terms everyone else in the industry has licensed these Samsung patents at, this whole mess would go away.

Comment Re:China and Russia continue to modernize.... (Score 1) 214

The Topol-M missile has a shorter range than the Minuteman III and the road-mobile Topol-M version is believed to be less capable than the siloed version as well as being obviously more vulnerable to nuclear airbursts compared to the silo-protected base Topol-M and Minuteman III. The extra maneuverability functions designed to avoid threatened US ABM deployments eats into payload which isn't a problem for the Minuteman III mission of course. Most of the other currently deployed Russian ICBMs like the SS-N-18 and -19 are even older than the Minuteman III, some are deployed well beyond their original service life.

The US currently has 450 Minuteman IIIs deployed in hardened silos, the combined Topol-M fleet is less than a hundred in number. On the Chinese side the DF-31/A counts less than 30 by some estimates, not surprising with only 200-300 warheads in inventory. A lot of the nuclear forces of Russia and China are not aimed (so to speak) at the US but at each other so their US-opposing missile systems tend to be less capable than the reverse since the US faces no close-in threats and all of its nuclear weapons have to have global range.

Comment Re:China and Russia continue to modernize.... (Score 2) 214

Whatever SSBN platform is built it will be designed around the venerable Trident D5, not a new missile and that D5 will carry the same sort of warhead that the current Ohios carry. Same with the British deterrent where the warheads are not being upgraded but simply maintained. I'm not sure what the French are doing with their own boomers.

As for the Minuteman being outclassed by modern Russian ICBMs, so what if that's true? The Minuteman III is a perfectly capable launch vehicle today and tomorrow. What would really be a problem for the US would be if the Russians started working on a Strategic Missile Defence to, say, defend themselves against the terrifying existential threat North Korean nuclear weapons pose. Scary!

China shares a border with two nuclear-weapons states, India and Russia. It has fought brushfire wars with both of them within the last century and its nuclear weapons development programmes tend towards confronting those short-range threats. The US sits in perfect isolation thousands of miles from any real threats (who cares about Alaska...) so its SLBM and ICBM fleets are its main deterrent force. I'm not sure that the US has any IRBM or nuclear-armed cruise missiles left in deployment.

Comment Re:China and Russia continue to modernize.... (Score 4, Insightful) 214

The Ohios and their replacements are a platform, not a missile or a warhead. The new SSBNs will carry a Trident derivative, probably a slightly tweaked version of the D5 (as will the postulated replacement for the British SSBNs) and the warheads will be the same designs with the same yield and functionality as currently deployed because there is nothing to be gained in spending 50 billion dollars to develop and produce missiles and warheads that would be only fractionally better than what they replace.

A the moment the Chinese have no usable SSBNs never mind the small number (three minimum, one on patrol, one working up, one being refitted and if possible one spare above that) needed to maintain a credible second-strike worldwide retaliatory capability all the other members of the Big Five possess.

As for the capabilities of missile systems the Chinese see India and Russia as their most likely nuclear foes in any future shooting war; unlike the insular and isolated US such exchanges can and probably would be conducted with IRBMs and nuclear-capable cruise missiles hence their interest in developing such weapons and the lesser regard they have for ICBMs and SSBNs.

None of the other Big Five nations or the adjunct non-NPT nations with proven nuclear weapons (Israel, India and Pakistan) allow outside inspection and verification of their warhead stocks; the START deal is purely between the two 800-lb gorillas in the nuclear destruction biz. Just because China is big doesn't mean it's on the same scale as the US and Russia; I'd worry more about India's nuclear weapons stocks as they face an existential threat from their nuclear rivals, Pakistan.

Comment Pushback (Score 4, Insightful) 219

Wikipedia needs to embrace that companies want to get their products on a website with that much traffic

No we don't. It's one of the most successful web sites on the planet, and arguably the most successful example of collaboration in human history. Why would we possibly want to change that?

Exactly. It really annoys parts of Corporate America that they can't get their way on Wikipedia. That's a good thing.

I've encountered paid editing a few times. Carnival Cruises really, really wanted to make all the references to their various disasters (the Costa Concordia sinking, the Costa Allegra fire, the Carnivale Tropicale fire, the Carnival Splendor fire, the Carnival Triumph fire (ship adrift for four days), etc.) go away. Big editing battles. Finally the paid editors were kicked off.

There are a few individuals with promotional editors for their own bio articles. Michael Milken, the "Junk Bond King" who did time in a Federal pen, tried very hard to keep himself from being labelled as an ex-con. Nassim Nicholas Taleb has had people trying to keep the poor financial results of his hedge fund out of the article. Vivek Wadwa, who's heavily into self-promotion, put his grad students on pumping up his reputation, and seems to have an in with Jimbo Wales. It's an ongoing headache, but usually the good guys win.

Comment Re:China and Russia continue to modernize.... (Score 4, Informative) 214

The USAF test-fired one or more missiles recently, it caused a delay for the SpaceX Falcon launch from Vandenberg last month. The missiles in stock will do the job if called upon. There doesn't seem to be any real necessity for a brand-new missile to replace the existing fleet other than as the existing hardware ages out. Any new models would have the same basic capabilities as the older Minuteman III designs so other than fitting them with larger tailfins and spending a lot of money with defence contractors why bother?

The US has very good warheads; over half of all nuclear weapons tests since 1945 have been carried out by the US and there really isn't much room for improvement or a real need to develop new warhead designs. The focus is on maintaining the existing arsenal in a working condition which is what the new Pu facility mentioned in the article is intended to do from what I understand.

As for China its long-range missiles are 1970s technology, liquid-fuelled multistage designs which are cumbersome and vulnerable to pre-emptive attack. They have no SSBN capabilities despite spending a lot of money and effort in trying to develop that capability and they have no long-range bomber force either. China probably has about the same number of nuclear weapons as France or Britain, less than a tenth of the arsenal the US or Russia hold. Bringing them into a START process would be pointless - what counterbalancing incentive could the US offer to the Chinese to get them to reduce their current holdings from 250 warheads down to, say, 100? The US and Russia can negotiate as equals as they have similar stockpiles, the Chinese are a second-rate nuclear force in that regard.

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