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back to article Russian push into Georgia could knock Nasa off ISS

Russia’s invasion of Georgia is sending ripples right out into space, with NASA facing the possibility of no longer being able to hitch a ride to the International Space Station on Soyuz flights. With the space shuttle due to retire in 2010, and the US not likely to have a replacement manned space flight option ready till 2015, …

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Gold badge

Made me laugh.

"If I were president I'd be pulling out all the stops to get Russia to understand the consequences of continued bad behavior,"

So, the consquences will be that they get a huge space station, mostly paid for with US dollars, all to themselves for a few years. That should get them busily drawing up lists of other US-friendly places they might want to invade^H^H^H^H^H^H go on maneuvers in to keep things ticking over nicely.

Of course, they'll have to put up with a bit of sabre-rattling from the US and the odd diplomatic protest while they're at it, but they can always stick their fingers in their ears if it gets too annoying.

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*koff* hypocrites *koff*

It beggars belief how the US are being so arsey about Russia's actions in South Ossetia.

But then again, it doesn't secure American oil reserves and construction industry, sorry, **national security against 'tourism'**, does it?

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This space left blank.

I keep wondering about all this stuff RE the shuttle. There is a story almost every week about NASA/the US fretting about not having a shuttle replacement ready in time for the retirement of the existing fleet. Why do they not just continue to use the current shuttle? Atlantis is pretty new compared to the others anyway. In fact, given the amount of repairs and diligence required for each flight these days aren't the damn things mostly new components anyway?

Is there some compelling reason that they MUST be retired on schedule that I have missed?

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Anonymous Coward

Ha!

Oh, man. $100Bn investment and the Russians just took it off them "by accident". Serves them right for relying so much on a country that was so recently their enemy...

Well, we can only hope now that the Americans can keep the shuttles going for a bit longer or build a decent replacement.

Alternatively, this could be just the boost the ESA needs- if no-one's really going to want to use Soyuz anymore we could probably make a lot of money off them with our own space programme and get them to launch with us. And annoy the Americans at the same time- it's a win-win for Europe!

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Anonymous Coward

what a waste

100bn! Jesus. It could have been spent towards eliminating world hunger. Think of the dent it could have made. The world truly is the plaything of the tiny minority of rich war mongerers.

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IIS redefined - oops

Oops - I forgot Canada's arms.

That's the friendly robot-y type of arm. Not the sort of arms the US wants to put up there...

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Yeah, yeah....

"Senator Bill Nelson, the Florida-based democrat who is a major advocate for Nasa, has publicy acknowledged that Russia’s increasingly aggressive stance...."

What increasingly agressive stance would that be, then?

"agressive" == "unhappy about being repeatedly rogered by the USA"

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The I of ISS redefined

"We don't want to deny ourselves access to the space station, the very place we have built and paid for."

-cough-

So Europe, Russia and Japan haven't paid for *any* of it then.

Clearly ISS stands for "amerIca's Space Station".

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Paris Hilton

@what a waste

You only have to look at what happens when people try to throw money at solving the Worlds hunger problems - you get more war where the local warlords start and more people become caught in the aid trap

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Chickens coming home to roost?

Clearly a case of the US's foreign policy coming back to bite them in arse now!

How on Earth can they even consider complaining about Russia's actions when they have been trampling all over 'sovereign' countries for their own gains/agendas?!

The US really is the spoilt brat of the world...

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bet they are kicking them selfs now

NASA BOFFIN "you know whe should replace these shuttles

BEEN COUNTER "that is costley and we can always out sorce it to the russins"

NASA BOFFIN "but that would leave us vunraible"

BEEN COUNTER "but it will save us lost of mony to bomb places"

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Anonymous Coward

Tits and Tats

Since the Russians need American parts to service the ISS and there's a goodly wodge of roubles invested up there as well, they don't need to sell anything, they just shift the burden of responsibility and fly the yanks for free.

No "tech purchase" required.

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Bronze badge

to get Russia to understand the consequences of continued bad behavior

And what exactly are those conequences? America is not known for attacking someone who can actually fight back.

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Why?

A couple of answers.

NASA are funding a large fraction of the costs of the new launch system with the money saved by not flying the shuttle. A single launch costs in excess of $500M. Most of this is the massive army of support needed. Even if any capability remains the costs of flying the shuttle remain huge - many billions. The recent announcement that NASA was delaying the first Aries launch was made almost totally due to the fixed flow of money available to NASA. If you need X dollars, and get X/5 per year, it will take 5 years. Congress show no sign of allocating NASA any additional funds, so NASA are pretty much constrained.

The launch facilities will be converted, thus rendering them useless for the shuttle. Ironically converting them back to something much closer to the original Apollo style launch platforms from which they were derived.

As to the cost of the ISS. $100G is a lot of money. But to imagine that it was available for more humane uses is naive. Within each country the money spent went to local residents, who pay local taxes - and so much of the money goes around in circles. But it is more important to look at who gets this money. Companies like Boeing, Lockheed, Martin etc. Big huge high tech companies that make more money in making weapons than just about anything else. The sad and awful reality is that keeping the armies of engineers out there employed in the space business keeps them from looking for other ways to make a living. Like making and selling more advanced weapons. The US courted Russia for the ISS and subsidised its space industry with the quite overt intent of keeping at least a goodly fraction of their gifted high tech engineers out of the weapons business.

Famine in the world is almost entirely due to the impact of war or massive government disfunction (usually due to a recent or impending war - not always outside of the county's borders.) The strange irony is that spending money on the ISS actually may have acted to improve things. The last thing you want is a surplus of high tech weaponry being sold into the third world to keep American and Russian aerospace engineers in a job.

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Paris Hilton

Why does NASA need a shuttle?

Can't they put together a Soyuz-like capsule to use until the new shuttle is ready? Oh, right, money, bureaucracy, corruption and election year posturing from congress. Why build something simple that works when you can spend 100x the money and 10x the time to build a fancy shiny thing.

Paris, because she knows about style over substance. And has her own "pocket rocket" to get her into orbit.

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Anonymous Coward

ISS

I would hope that the US would at least stop subsidizing the Russian Space Program now. We would have been better off only involving reliable partners such as Canada.

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@ Chris

"Clearly a case of the US's foreign policy coming back to bite them in arse now!

How on Earth can they even consider complaining about Russia's actions when they have been trampling all over 'sovereign' countries for their own gains/agendas?!

The US really is the spoilt brat of the world..."

Dude, grow up. There is a HUGE difference between the US going into coutries where Dictators or Theocracies have KILLED THOUSANDS OF THEIR OWN CITIZENS and in Iraqs case invaded neighboring countries, to put in Democratic governments (granted yes Democracy isn't perfect either, but better than someone who uses Mustard gas on his own civilians) and Russia invading small neighboring Democratically elected governments under the guise of "peacekeepers".

Further, since English is fairly obviously a language you are very familiar with I'd remind you this "spoled brat" of a nation has very likely, in fact almost assuredly, saved your countries ass at least once, probably twice, by "trampling the rights" of another sovereign nation. Unless I miss my guess I'd say Germany would be a safe bet on the nation we trampled in that instance. Point blank, wars aren't pretty, they aren't fun, as was once said though, once war starts "war to the knife, and the knife to the hilt". That said the ONLY justification for war that weighs in historically is to end regimes such as Nazi Germany, Iraq, the Taliban, and, it must be said others which are by their very nature abusive, aggressive, and threaten the lives and freedom of their own people, and given teh opportunity their neighbors as well.

Anything else is merely Expansionism.

Which I would point out Europe is even more famous for than the US is Historically speaking.

Expansionism is not what the US has done in Iraq, or in Afghanistan. What we have done is to replace governments which were - granted - opposed to us, and were abusive of their own people, and aggressive within the limits of their abilities with their neighbors, and replaced them with fledgling democracies.

So them, big difference, open your eyes and realize it. The US may interfere in other countries affairs, true. But when we do it their citizens end up with MORE rights.. when the Russians do it their citizens end up in siberian work camps. Just ask whats left of Yugoslavia, Poland, the Ukraine.... oh wait.... their Leaders are in Georgia too, criticising the Russian INVASION for what it is, rather than hiding behind rose colored glasses that were bought by the blood of British and American fighting men (and French... umm.. wine makers) for over half a century.

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Tcch

america just took section of the iss into orbit, and the eurofighter cost more to create, there could always be the real ww3, russia would only have its nukes left after a few months,

a $50bn war for soyuz sounds like future headlines

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Anonymous Coward

re: space left blank

"Why do they not just continue to use the current shuttle? Atlantis is pretty new compared to the others anyway. In fact, given the amount of repairs and diligence required for each flight these days aren't the damn things mostly new components anyway?

Is there some compelling reason that they MUST be retired on schedule that I have missed?"

Well, last time I checked, a Shuttle mission to the ISS was about 10 times more expensive than a mission using Soyus. And they are probably extremely nervous about losing another shuttle, simply because it would make them look really incompetent in the court of world public opinion.

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Anonymous Coward

ISS is a waste of money

This whole space station thing is a waste of money anyway. The scientists say that they get far more scientific bang for the buck on unmanned missions. The ISS is not for the purpose of efficient research, but its primary purpose is show-off and then there is the aerospace industry and its lobby who make plenty of money on it.

If the primary purpose was science, they'd put the money into unmanned missions instead and can all the manned missions. For example, they decided to shut down the Hubble telescope. Yet, that telescope has delivered more advances in science than all the manned missions put together, and at a much lower cost, too. This alone shows that there is no rationality involved when it comes to manned space missions.

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Anonymous Coward

@James

That's funny, I could have sworn they went into Iraq because of WMDs.

Oh that's right, they didn't find any, so we're now getting the "topple the brutal dictator story".

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Unmanned missions

are limited and cant create future craft technology you for those that care about getting off this fucking planet and never coming back, to go on and survive the next big bang when the last star dies with the bigget ship that possible, yall can buzz around in flying saucers enjoying a sunny day

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@James Monnett

Iraq and Afghanistan...

Who helped put the dictator's there in the first place? Who helped train the Taleban? Oh yes. That'd be the US.

And get over WWII already, the US used up all it's good will on that one a long time ago.

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@ James Monnett

You are mistaken. The US entered the war against Nazi Germany only after Nazi Germany delivered an official declaration of war to the US government.

As for Iraq, you are confusing the first gulf war with the second one. The first gulf war was a result of Iraq having invaded a neighbouring country. The second gulf war was a result of an unprovoked declaration of war by the US against Iraq. Not only was it unprovoked but since then it has been established that the pretense for war used by the US government was entirely fabricated.

It is therefore legitimate and justified to use the second gulf war as an example where the US has behaved in a way that the US government now criticises Russia for in the present conflict with Georgia, hence the accusation of hypocrisy.

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Anonymous Coward

@@ Chris

The conflict in Georgia whilst not the same as actions taken by the Allies in Iraq, Afghanistan or Kosovo, set certain precidents. The Iraq action in particular.

Simply put the action taken by the U.S.A. and the U.K. seriously undermined international law and authority whilst also weakening the image of the U.S.A.

Further to that the USA is engaged in two active conflict zones.

No longer does the USA seem to be the protector of Freedom, instead it seems to be the monstrous oil thief, parading its way around the world enforcing its ideals on others.

So, why shouldn't Russia? (That being the reasoning behind the Russian government and people I suspect.) The USA and UK invaded sovereign nations that were substantially weaker then themselves. There were varying reasons behind these actions, oil, terrorism, past annoyance, securing jumping off points for future actions.

It's a curious situation, will Russia annex Georgia, or withdraw after it has plundered it. I'd strongly suspect the second option, it unlike the USA and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan has little need to stay there.

The reasons to completly destroy and intimidate Georgia is to show those around it that it isn't a joke, and that it is willing to launch brutal decisive attacks when it deems them necessary.

The Georgians misjudged this situation, and gave Russia "casus belli" against them, the Georgians expected that the Russians wouldn't be quite so prepared and quite so aggressive. They probably expected (at worse) that after the Russians had regained South Assetia (without launching many attacks outside of the conflict zone.) The west would give them more aid and support, possibly fast tracking Nato membership.

Of course that was overly hopeful. There is one thing that we can all be certain of Europe/Russia/China/USA never intend on having their troops in direct conflict.

But if it happens, my, we will be living in interesting days indeed.

I'd say that the "Western" actions are more like colonialsism (but not quite) or old fashioned cold war stuff. Whilst Russian actions are more Expansionism.

Of course there is a difference between the USA and Russia, the USA is mostly surrounded by water, with a friendly nation to the North. Whilst Russia has a large number of borders.

Also from Russian eyes nato and EU encroachment east is seen as expansion into their "backyard."

So it's curious, did the Russians trick them in the first place or Had they anticipated the Georgians assault? If it's the second option, why didn't they already have the forces in South Assetia to repel them? curious.

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@James Monnett

"Dude, grow up. There is a HUGE difference between the US going into coutries where Dictators or Theocracies have KILLED THOUSANDS OF THEIR OWN CITIZENS and in Iraqs case invaded neighboring countries, to put in Democratic governments (granted yes Democracy isn't perfect either, but better than someone who uses Mustard gas on his own civilians) and Russia invading small neighboring Democratically elected governments under the guise of "peacekeepers"."

Speaking as an American, I fail to see a positive difference between the most recent invasion of Iraq and the current Russian/Georgian conflict. In fact, if I were insistent on drawing a comparison, it would have to be with the first invasion of Iraq. You see, South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in 1990, effectively in the later years of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The only real reason the U.N. considers them to be a part of Georgia is a combination of politics and pragmatism. However, it is foolishness to think that this region is really a part of Georgia, and thus the military action by Georgia against South Ossetia is more akin to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait than anything else in recent Iraq history, with the response from Russia being most akin to the American response.

Personally, I find this comparison lacking in any number of ways, but it is FAR closer to reality than the current popular fantasy of Russia as the prime aggressor. True, Russia is using this as a method of flexing their might, but then, they are far from unique in that regard. No, I think if you'd bother to actually learn a little bit about what's going on, you'd see that we (the U.S.A.) really are being quite hypocritical here.

-Daniel

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Anonymous Coward

Japan and Germany lead the way

Say what you want about the japs and the krauts, but they have got this one right: their constitutions prohibit war unless their respective country is being attacked. The United States would be well advised to adopt this "gold standard". Ironically, these articles were established in the constitutions of Japan and Germany with US "assistance". Do we need any further evidence of hypocrisy?

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Responses

@ AC 15:16:

>>>That's funny, I could have sworn they went into Iraq because of WMDs.

>>>Oh that's right, they didn't find any, so we're now getting the "topple the brutal dictator story".

Regardless of the stated REASON that we went into Iraq and ousted Saddam, the fact remains that Saddam needed to be ousted. Given the choice, you'd all place Saddam back in power?? Unless your answer to that is "yes" then you need to close your mouths, because it occurs to me that you're not upset about the democratization of Iraq; you're upset that you were given false reasoning. This is one case where I will say the ends justified the means. The fact that the US fabricated the reason for going in doesn't change the fact that Saddam Hussein was a cruel, genocidal maniac who needed to be removed from power.

@ AC 15:37:

>>>It is therefore legitimate and justified to use the second gulf war as an example where the US has behaved in a way that the US government now criticises Russia for in the present conflict with Georgia, hence the accusation of hypocrisy.

You're missing the point entirely. James is referring to the difference between invading a country headed by a genocidal dictator with the end result of removing said dictator from power, versus invading a country with a democratically elected government that you just happen to not be too fond of with an end result of swinging your johnson around.

>>>...an unprovoked declaration of war by the US against Iraq.

As a matter of pedantry, the US hasn't formally declared war since WWII.

@ Robb Dunphy 15:57:

>>>Who helped put the dictator's there in the first place? Who helped train the Taleban? Oh yes. That'd be the US.

>>>And get over WWII already, the US used up all it's good will on that one a long time ago.

I find the juxtaposition of these two statements humorous. On the one hand, you condemn the US for it's past actions in the middle east, but on the other hand you attempt to prohibit the US from referring to its past actions in europe and the pacific (WWII).

History is either on the table, or it isn't. If you want to judge the US for being partially responsible for installing the governments that we've spent the last 7 years dismantling, then you can't just ignore that the US is partially responsible for the liberation/freedom of a significant portion of Europe. I'm not saying "hey, you owe us one". because you don't. What I am saying is that if you want look at history, you don't get to look selectively.

Hell, if we're really honest, you should be applauding the US for cleaning up the mess we created by installing those governments in the first place. Oh, but I forgot, it's hip to bash the US. My mistake; please, proceed.

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hmmm

maybe the russians should have negotiated with the other country first, then built an international coalition, showing everyone (real, or well constructed fake) evidence of the genocide of the Ossetians, then invaded. My only problem so far, is the lack of evidence, especially since it's a border country.

Either the media is spoon feeding us what the "west" wants, or the Russians reacted overly aggresive. I see the attack on Gori as just a way to hurt Georgians. If it really is 'media blinders' then what the hell are we supposed to do w/o the right info?

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Jobs Halo

Dateline 2011

Apple to provide new funding to Russia for upkeep of International Space Station

With the strained relations between the USA and Russia continuing to keep NASA astronauts from returning to the space station, Russia has found a new partner in Apple. The specific details of the funding agreement have not been released, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, "This is a fantastic opportunity for our company, with the rebranding of the iSS, it provides a one of a kind marketing coup." What is next for the Cupertino problem solver, one word... iRaq,

----

Since there is already a U.S. vs. Them flamewar, I figure I might as well get an Apple fanboi/hater one going too.

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@James Monnett

I won't add anything to the what the others who backed me up have said apart from this.

There are plenty of dictators/autocrats around the world who are treating their populace abhorrently (zimbabwe, burma, china, etc), but strangely the US has no interest in getting rid of these tyrants. I wonder why? Oh yes, they don't have any oil and the US won't gain any $$ from the regime change.

Oh and BTW 'regime change' is illegal under international law. The WMD issue (as we all now know and many of us guessed then) was a smoke screen for the US and UK to enter Iraq illegally and divvy up the loot!

In hindsight, this invasion was not a 'good thing' regardless of the colour of your glasses. Ask the average Iraqi whether life is better now or before the invasion and you won't get a clear cut answer. Before, they knew who the enemy was, now it's not so obvious. In the five years since the invasion nearly 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died. In my book this does not sit well with 'the end justifies the means'!

Also, just to make it clear, I am *not* supporting Saddam or the Taleban or any regime that mistreats its people. They were and are evil and we should do everything we can to stop them, but within the law. We cannot invade countries willy-nilly just because we don't like the president/leader.

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Anonymous Coward

@Michael

The US war on Iraq was massively stupid, but then look at the idiot administration that did it. Democracy? Give us a break. The conditions there don't permit western style democracy yet.

What you had was an artificial country cobbled together after WWI to suit the colonial powers. Like Yugoslavia it held disparate religious and ethnic elements held together by a totalitarian leader. It was a Pandora's box, and once opened you can't get it back in the box. What it has done is to almost certainly hand the Shiite majority in Iraq to a linkup with America's more serious danger, Iran.

Saddam was weakening and using the threats of weapons to keep his enemies, Iran and the Kurds, at bay. Left alone, he would have been toppled from within by now. You had under Saddam at least a relatively secular society with rights for women and education. Now the fundamentalists hold sway.

In addition, due to this morass, the US is tied up and restricted from acting more aggressively in Afghanistan, or in Georgia or elsewhere. Not to mention what the debt from that war is doing to its economy.

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Dead Vulture

Thank you Bush and Republican Party

we will pay the price for your lack of vision. Bush can see into Putin's soul, but he is Color-blind and could not see black amidst all the other Colors.

Now more astronauts will die as the old shuttle fleet is put back into service while a new fleet will be built, making the United States' budget deficit that much larger. China will get an even bigger grip on the United States' pocketbook, while people desperately in need of governmental aid will be left empty-handed, and in some cases, homeless and starving to death.

Kudos to you, President Bush and the Republican Party. Your legacy to the world is volumes of unnecessary death. We should send you pale horses for your birthdays.

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Stop

@Michael

Aside from the drubbing you have received from subsequent comments, please bear in mind that Saakashvili is a bona fide Stalinist lunatic that apparently thinks nothing of shelling civilians with impunity - not to mention that much of his opposition has died in very mysterious circumstances. Just because he is in the pay of the Bush mafia doesn't mean he shouldn't be committed to an asylum.

Russia had a far better legal case for attacking Georgia than the US had for attacking Iraq or Bombing Serbia. Just because so-called "democracies" decide international behavioral norms don't apply to them is neither here nor there - the precedent was set with Kosovo and Iraq. Those who set the precedent can choke on it as far as I'm concerned - they've just allowed Russia to play the same game, and Russia knows there's fuck-all (aside whinge like the stinking hypocrites they are) that the "democracies" can do about it.

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@James

"I'd remind you this "spoled brat" of a nation has very likely, in fact almost assuredly, saved your countries ass at least once, probably twice, by "trampling the rights" of another sovereign nation. Unless I miss my guess I'd say Germany would be a safe bet on the nation we trampled in that instance."

1) If it wasn't for USSR holding up a HUGE part of the German army during WWII, at a MASSIVE cost of life, we'd be all welcoming our Nazi overlords some time around 1947.

2) I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it was the Russkies who kicked Adolph's ass in Europe. Everyone else just helped. For proof, read a history book and see which army took Berlin.

Of course, major props do go to the US for totally nuking Hirohito.

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Old Technology, Flawed Technology

>Is there some compelling reason that they MUST be retired on schedule that I have missed?

Its a death trap.

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100 Gigadollars?

"As to the cost of the ISS. $100G is a lot of money."

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@Anon Coward

Ever heard of Lend Lease? FDR pushed it through to keep the Birts alive before we officially entered the war because he KNEW congress wouldn't give him a declaration of war. Had it not been for that program, and the equipment and supplies it provided COURTESY of a US President, England would not have survived the battle of Britain, further even in normal sales Britain at the time could not have purchased, in cash, even a quarter of what they got under lend/lease.

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@ anon coward #2

What you dont call several tons of yellow cake and other radioactive materials indicative of a WMD program? one in its early stages maybe, but the intent to develope was CLEARLY there and that WAS proven.

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@ Dalen

I'll grant the USSR occupied a large portion of the German army during WW2 ----- ONLY after Hitler invaded the USSR, until that point the USSR was PERFECTLY content to let Germany roll over everyone else.

As to Germany winning the war without the Russians? VERY possibly correct, same could be said about them winning the war without the US, or Winning the war had England fallen, no ONE country possessed the industrial might, manpower, and technology to defeat them. England lacked the industrial ability, America and Russia lacked the technology, and Russia lacked the Military leadership no thanks to Stalins constant purges of his Generals.

In fact had the Italian leadership been HALF as competent as Germany's then things would likely have been very different too. HItler spent a HUGE amount of resources covering Italian Mismanagement and blunders.

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@RobbDunfy

We used up our good will over keeping your nation in existance?

Perhaps we should remember your nations good will is short term only next time its threatened.... by Russia in all likelihood... within 15 years if someone doesn't put them in check now.

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Black Helicopters

Good Will

Unfortunately, at the rate of US economic collapse it will be highly improbable that military aid from there would be available in 15 years anyway. A very interesting decade coming up methinks.

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@James Monnet

> I'll grant the USSR occupied a large portion of the German army during WW2 -----

> ONLY after Hitler invaded the USSR, until that point the USSR was PERFECTLY

> content to let Germany roll over everyone else.

Following the October Revolution, Britain and France, along with most of Europe and the US openly supported the White Russian side in the Russian civil war with weapons and expeditionary forces. The US alone sent 13,000 troops into the Russian far east. The Royal Navy and the RAF blockaded and bombed the Bolshevik navy in the Baltic. 50,000 Chechoslovakians fought their way along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Over 20,000 Greek troops invaded the Crimea... and following eventual Bolshevik victory, the Soviet Union was subject to trade embargoes, sanctions etc...

How sorry were the Soviets supposed to feel for the rest of Europe when the Germans started handing their arse to them in the early years of World War II?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Michael

"Regardless of the stated REASON that we went into Iraq and ousted Saddam, the fact remains that Saddam needed to be ousted. Given the choice, you'd all place Saddam back in power??"

Let's suppose, for arguments sake, that I agree with that for just a second ... Well in that case ...

If Saddam being a cruel dictator alone was a legitimate reason to invade Iraq, then clearly the same applies to Mugabe and Zimbabwe.

So why doesn't the US go into Zimbabwe and oust Mugabe already?

I tell you why, Zimbabwe doesn't have anything the US is interested in getting access to, such as large oil reserves or a strategic location for air bases etc etc.

Oil was the only reason and the only motivation to invade Iraq, everything else is just propaganda to keep the silly voters from revolting at the ballot box. And your example shows that the propaganda is working at least to some extent.

No matter how you try to spin this thing, the US will come out as liars and hypocrites. No matter what reason they quote, it can always be proven to be either a lie or hypocrisy or both. If it is about ousting brutal dictators, leaving Mugabe in place makes them hypocrites. If it is about WMD, that has been established as a fabrication already, so they will be liars. If it is because of Al Qaeda links, again proven to have been a fabrication, again liars. If it is about exporting democracy, then colluding with Saudi Arabia's and Khazakhstan's undemocratic regimes again makes them hypocrites. Even if they admit the truth, that it was about the Iraqi oil, then that still makes them hypocrites because they are criticising other countries (ie. Russia) for annexing or invading territory for similar reasons.

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Anonymous Coward

Q.E.D.

@Michael

">>>...an unprovoked declaration of war by the US against Iraq.

As a matter of pedantry, the US hasn't formally declared war since WWII."

Precisely that was the point. The US was once abiding by international law, but that was before they became a super power. Power corrupts, and super power super corrupts. They no longer think they need to follow the rules, they think they and only they have the right to make their own rules, rules that only apply to them, not to anybody else. That's what is the issue here.

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Pirate

Lend/Lease - so far off topic, I can't even see the ISS...

Cheers America for that. We actually managed to finish paying off the loans a few years ago while the countries that were being aggressive received huge grants under the Marshall plan. What nice friends!

Actually the German economy was collapsing even before the war really got started. The war allowed the government to extract a little more out of its people, but the disastrous attack on the USSR pretty much finished them. The Russian's cunning plan of retreating simply stretched the German Army too thinly and dragged them into a winter war for which they were not prepared. The Germans were into Blitzkrieg. The modern name for that is "shock and awe". Just like the Germans, the US simply couldn't win against a force which won't stand still long enough to be annihilated.

Anyway, neither bush nor blair read their history and thus were doomed to repeat it. Britain had been in Iraq before and a comment from departing personnel was, "this country is not governable by civilised means." I know it isn't very PC, but that means the citizenry likes to kill each other. In a similar manner to how Americans like to kill each other with guns (more so than the Canadians for example), had Saddam allowed freedom, there's a good chance the country would be rather like it is today. Perhaps a brutal dictatorship is required to keep the peace! Perhaps the only two options are "brutal dictator" or "warlord fiefdoms."

Regardless, there is a more important ethical issue at stake. The question is, who is going to do the killing? If three people look as though they are going to have a brawl, I'm not really helping if I jump in and shoot one of them dead. Neither have I done the right thing.

You certainly don't jump in with a preemptive war against a country which has no chance of attacking you, with the purpose of regime change. How exactly is *starting* a war going to make things better?

Skull and crossbones - because there are lots of those resulting from this action.

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Pirate

@James Monnett

Your SHOUTY ranting is very FUNNY, as is your completely one-sided VIEW of history and WORLD politics. Why don't you CALM down for a LITTLE while and try to take a more considered VIEWPOINT.

Or are you going to prove your own sorry national stereotype by continuing to fanatically defend your country like a child defending its favourite toy?

What was it you said - "Dude, grow up. " - Couldn't have put it better myself.

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@World hunger

"100bn! Jesus. It could have been spent towards eliminating world hunger. Think of the dent it could have made."

Probably absolutely none. Why don't you try looting the military instead.

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Unhappy

The US policy towards dictatorships....

Hmm, at those saying the US does the world a favour by overthrowing dictators...

Since WWII the US has covertly or overtly attacked 50-odd countries - and in nearly every case it has been to overthrow a democratically-elected government. Problem is, those governments were left-wing (and thanks to the 1950's 'Reds under the beds' hysteria generated by Macarthyism the US has always equated 'socialist' with 'communist') and were seen to threaten US economic interests (one of the first countries they attacked was Guatemala - they wanted to nationalise the fruit industry - unfortunately for them it was run by a US company whose head honcho was the brother of the then head of the CIA) and so had to go. So the US goes in, overthrows these governments and replaces them - generally speaking - with right-wing military-backed dictatorships that use torture and murder to keep folks in line (tatctics taught to them by the US at the School of the Americas in Georgia). But hey, these new governments are pro-US, so that's ok....

This is why Iran hates the US so much - in the 50's they overthrew Iran's first democratically-elected government (at the behest of us Brits - this new Iranian government was complaining about the amount of oil we were taking off them) and replaced it with the brutal dictatorship of the Shah.

As for overthrowing Saddam. Yes, Saddam was a brutal dictator. He is believed to have had killed some 300,000 Iraqis over the 30 years he was in power. But even conservative estimates put the total civilian casualties of American 'liberation' at some 500-600,000 dead and maybe as many as 4 million refugees....so have we REALLY improved the situation?

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@Daniel

"....Russia invading small neighboring Democratically elected governments under the guise of "peacekeepers"."

1. The Russian peacekeepers were invited into Abkhazia and South Ossetia by the Georgian government 16 years ago, under UN sponsored agreements;

2. The Georgian president went on TV Thursday evening to say how they would never kill fellow Georgians - two and half hours later his troops started shelling the South Ossetian capital from dug in positions (i.e. they had planned this). As the Georgians were due to attend peace talks in the same place on Friday, they presumably expected to kill the people they were to talk peace with;

3. The USA pushed this idiot into power in Georgia via a revolution. In the re-election"" last year, he had members of the opposition arrested, broke up rallies of the opposition parties and denied them access to the media;

4. The USA has sunk about 1 billion dollars into beefing up the Georgian military - what a pity they didn't put it into building up the country's economy so as to give the separatists economic reasons to drop their calls for independence;

5. Over 2000 people have been killed. Less than 10% were Georgian - the rest were Russian citizens. B.T.W. How restrained would the US goverment and military be if 2000 US citizens were killed and over 30000 bombed out of their homes?

6. South Ossetia was forcibly separated from North Ossetia by Stalin (another mad Georgian) in the 1920s. He then set about moving ethnic Georgians into South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The locals were deported/killed in large numbers.

The net effect of US foreign policy in Georgia is:

1. Over 2000 people have been killed and 40000 displaced.

2. South Ossetia and Abkhazia will never be part of Georgia and the Russian military will stay to ensure that;

3. Georgia will not join NATO because of 2. and because other NATO members do not want to get dragged into a conflict with Russia

4. Russia is unlikely to cooperate with the US on anything e.g. supporting action on Iran in the Security Council. Expect the Russians to veto anything the US suggests in the UN.

5. Ukraine will not join NATO because existing members will see it as having similar risks as Georgia.

6. US influence in the Caucasus region is reduced and most of their 1 billion dollar investment in the georgian military has been destryed by Russia.

7. Georgia has lost substantial military manufacturing facilities like the Sukhoi factory near Tblisi and sustained damage to their transport infrastructure.

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