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I Was Told What I Was Born To Do

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on February 25, 2003 21:08:22 UTC

I worked on what came to be known as Star Wars for my whole career, even including my time as a PhD student in physics at Harvard. I was a Raytheon Fellow and worked on their BMD proposals while a student. After that I worked on the staff of a lab in MIT and then for a number private companies.

Along the way I found out that Star Wars was a bluff designed to get the USSR to spend themselves into bankruptcy. After the Berlin Wall came down and the USSR split up, the Russians agree that it was Star Wars and Chernobyl that caused their downfall.

Anyway what I also learned was that Star Wars was a bluff. It was inherently vulnerable. As soon as you put in orbit a platform consisting of 20 kill vehicles(KV), the USSR with essentially one KV could shoot down the 20 KVs plus the platform, at a cost effectiveness ratio of like 50-100 to 1. Wars of attrition are won with CERs of 2 to 1.

So when Casper Wienberger (you may be too young to remember him, he was Reagan's Sec of Defense) endorsed the early deployment of Star Wars, a system we all knew was inherently vulnerable, I decided to stop working on space-based systems and try to get the govt to use only ground-based systems, like what they are doing now.

I am a race walker ( once ranked 5th in the world for my age) and I was relating this delimma to my race walking buddy, when suddenly my buddy began talking with an Irish brogue. He identified himself as Joe McHale and said that before I was born I had promised to try to stop the deployment of weapons in space. He said that that was the irreversible move that always leads to a devastating nuclear world war.

It sounded like a great adventure. So I replied OK. And for several months whenever me and my buddy trained together, I would talk to Joe at some point and review my progress.

It was a little frustrating at first because no one would listen to me- even those that agreed with me. But finally I got in contact with MIT's Prof Henry Kendall (who later got the Nobel Prize for experimental confirmation of the quark) and who was also the Chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. We had a couple of press conferences in Washington, the first in the US Senate Office Bldg., and again at MIT,I wrote some papers on the vulnerability of Star Wars- one made the centerfold of Arms Control Today.

Finally as a response to my critique, Greg Canavan of Los Alamos and Edward Teller of Livermore invented what is called Brilliant Pebbles. Greg in-person confirmed that their invention was a direct response to my papers.

Brilliant Pebbles is Bush's ultimate system. The present ground-based is just a foot in the door. It is a space-based system in which the 20 KVs on each platform are orbited independently, amounting entotal to 10.000 orbiting KVs that can shoot down any ICBM in boost phase. It really works and is not at all vulnerable.

However, back in 1988, the thought of 10,000 KVs attacking everything going to space killed all thoughts of space defense. Nowadays the Bush administration is not likely to be adverse to such a system. We have come a long way.

Anyway Joe agreed that I did the job and I have not talked to him since 1988.


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