Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Ebay

Readers with about $1.5 million to spare might want to buy a former Titan ICBM silo on Ebay. When my son saw the schematic below he said, "dad you've just got to buy this".

The Cold War loomed for so long over the world that it's hard to accept the way it ended. And yet that end should not have been wholly unexpected. It was fought not just with weapons but with propaganda. If the Titan Missile epitomized the nuclear deterrent, the Saturn V represented the apex of the rocket as a weapon of ideas. The clip below shows Apollo 11 it lifting off. Look for the moment in the slow motion video when the letters "USA" slide past the camera lens. And when the Moon Rocket rises into the air against the background of clouds in the final seconds, you understand why bystanders, even critics of the space program, leapt to their feet, cheering. Yet for all its explosive magnificence, I'm glad the Cold War is over.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.


Blogger RWE said...

That’s a Titan I site. There were not many of those, and they, along with the much more numerous Atlas E above ground “coffin” complexes and Atlas F silos were phased out in the mid-60’s. Some old Atlas complexes are in fact being used as living quarters. Subsequent missile systems were decommissioned under the provisions of arms control treaties and thus were more thoroughly destroyed. In fact, there are a few retired missile crewmembers that are out there right now digging up some of the old sites for nostalgia’s sake.

The Cold War did end strangely. When it did, it made me think of the Cold War strategy described by the Admiral in the film “The Bridges of Toko Ri.” He explained that we had to knock down those bridges, because one day there would be a meeting of the Politboro in Moscow and someone would run in and announce breathlessly “The Americans have even knocked down the bridges at Toko Ri!” And at that point the communist leaders would say “They beat us again. They always will. We give up.” But we would never know which “Bridges of Toko Ri” would do the trick.

That summed up our Cold War strategy. And sonofagun, one day it worked.

Maybe Tom Clancy is right. Maybe the events of 1989-1991 are explicable only as the direct intervention of God in the affairs of Men. It was sure a lot more impressive than even the 69 Metts.

9/18/2007 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's a good one for an RWE Comment!
US faces losing lead position in manned spaceflight, warns NASA chief

9/18/2007 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in a Jane's Defence Weekly report that
dozens of Iranian engineers and
15 Syrian officers were killed
in a July 23 accident in Syria.

According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas.

Analysis: There's a reason world is quiet on alleged IAF strike
J'lem downplays Iranian threat; Olmert: I respect Assad

9/18/2007 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

One of the lesser known requirements of any useful WMD weapons system was reliability and positive command and control. A WMD arsenal isn't much use if the weapons keep getting lost or blowing up in one's face as seems to have happened to the Syrians and Iranians lately, if Janes is to be believed.

The problem with industrially backward countries which try to leapfrog ahead by buying off the shelf technology from arms bazaar merchants like AQ Khan is they wind up with systems of heterogenous sophistication. Technologically advanced components are grafted onto relatively primitive human and physical infrastructures.

A weapons system where components are shipped, disguised as cement on small tramp freighters, presumably trucked around in disguised containers and secretly assembled in remote bases is a system where Mr. Murphy will be right at home.

But things will get immeasurably worse if non-state actors get WMDs. The problem with states, even primitive states like Syria, giving terrorists WMDs is that command and control goes completely out the door. What if the terror cell changes it's mind? What if instead of blowing up Tel Aviv they divert to Paris, France and issue a demand for 100 Billion Euros in ransom? What the terror cell loses its bomb and the Israelis return it to Damascus, timer still ticking, by accident? The possibilities are endless.

Of course, once the game advances to really lethal biological weapons things really start to get bad. Westhawk makes the point that some Third World intellectuals believe that proliferating nuclear or biological weapons is a way of breaking the power of the United States. Gee those guys are smart. And they'll find out just how smart when the Islamabad goes up in smoke and nobody knows why.

9/18/2007 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger rickl said...

The clip below shows Apollo 11 it lifting off.

There's plenty more where that came from.


9/18/2007 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

1.5M for a Titan site is too much. I recall some underground bunkers in central Washington going for much less than that, even adjusted for inflation. Let the buyer beware.

9/18/2007 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

rwe said they are rare, AlBob:
Collector's premium.
My guess is that Google's Lunar Challenge competitors will have slightly smaller Boosters than Apollo!

9/18/2007 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Not a Muslim in sight during those lift-off pictures. Tell me again what a superior religion Islam is, and how it produces such good supermen types.

9/18/2007 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Who volunteers for a nuclear-free world?

Writing in the National Journal (“Reagan was right”), legal analyst Stuart Taylor Jr. wishes for a world free of nuclear weapons:

The best chance of saving our cities, and our way of life, is to stop and then reverse the inexorable rise in the number of nations with nuclear weapons. And the best way to do that is to lead the world toward Ronald Reagan's vision of abolishing all nuclear weapons, including our own.

9/18/2007 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Back in the early 90's, when the USSR retired from the Cold War in order to spend more time with the family, they put all and sundry up for sale. And the first thing they tried to sell was the stuff that did not work.

This is quite normal. In the U.S. there are no more enthusiatic marketers than those who have cancelled programs. And that added to the mix the Soviet programs that they did not know if would work or not because they had not been tested. New, unbuilt missile systems, chemical and even nuclear rocket engines of suspect and untested design and so forth were added to the acres of old Migs and tanks that were available. Step right up folks! Buy the worst the losers could produce!

And some people don't learn fast about buying a nice new Edsel, either. The first Indian indigenously built rocket with geosynchronous capability was launched with much fanfare and was announced as a success. In reality, it's nice, new, never flown before Russian 3rd stage engine proved to be a little low on performance and left the payload just short of geosynch. This is analogous to a car that will make it up the freeway entry ramp Okay but then won't go over 30 MPH. 3 days after the "successful" launch the first Indian geosynch satellite was turned off - quietly.

So, yes, chances are they will buy the crap that is available first. That nuke that Doc Brown sold them may not have old pinball machine parts inside the casing but it won't have anything that will work, either. And then, like in the film, their focus will become the people who ripped them off.

9/19/2007 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

The only way to get rid of nuclear weapons is to make them useless. Unfortunately, missile defense only works against missiles. Nukes delivered by truck require other defenses.

9/19/2007 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger chaochao said...

Sell on ebay With Lowest wholesale price

9/23/2007 04:03:00 PM  

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