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Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror
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Started by rshowalter at 09:55pm Oct 24, 2000 BST

Except for this first entry, and an ending entry, this is a thread, originally posted on 26-27 September 2000, originally titled "IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER" and originally placed in the Science folder. That thread was deleted after a time passed without additions. The post sets out basic mechanisms of how psychological injury happens, and how human interactions often work, with reference to the classic movie CASABLANCA. It points out patterns so widely recognized that they've seemed right to people

rshowalter - 09:57pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#1 of 135)  | 

for generations, in a somewhat more analytical way.

A key point is how psychologically injurious, and devastating, the psychological injury associated with deception can be.

The later part of the thread deals with the story of the nuclear arms race between the US and the USSR, from a psychological warfare perspective. This makes bracing reading, but I believe that people interested in having the world survive nuclear destruction, and people interested in resolving problems in the Middle East. The Middle East shows many of the same impasses that have occurred in the fifty year nuclear terror which is still with us, and if these difficulties can be resolved in the Middle East, as I believe they can be,

rshowalter - 09:58pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#2 of 135)  | 

Started by opaz at 02:42am Sep 26, 2000 BST 'and it came to be so'. The mmemeaning of this based-on-the-bible occult saying is that for every two opposing forces there is a third - the force of 'balance'. Psychologically, this is thought to refer to the quest to resolve the contradictions in one's inner world - animal versus civilised, left versus right, good versus bad, etc. This 'third way' seeks to resolve these contradictions by accomodating them. To what extent do you recognise this polarity in your own life and how easy is it for you to find a way of reconciling these forces? Give examples if possible

rshowalter - 10:01pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#3 of 135)  | 

What a wonderful question! Opaz is saying something wise, and basic. Her question speaks to me. I'd phrase it a little differently. For every two opposing forces there is a NEED for balance, and for a balance that can be used, and guided, and can preserve our ability to act as free beings, and not slaves to "logic" or "forces." When Opaz speaks of "contradictions" I'd speak of tensions .

There's no contradiction between being an animal and being civilized - people, civilized are not, can't escape being animals, and the beauty that people have is alway partly an animal beauty. But there are tensions between our animal natures, and the needs of civilization.

We need redemptive compromises, saving graces, to resolve these tensions, and not, by denying one or the other, sometimes getting ourselves reduced to absurdities and contradictions.

These compromises always involve, and must always be understood in terms of, aesthetic elements, but they have control aspects too. These compromises often contain elements of choice - elements where we can choose more of one aspect, or more of the other, and so get good action from what might otherwise be passive, inflexible tensions.

rshowalter - 10:03pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#4 of 135)  | 

I am always a civilized animal. But more or less, and in shifting ways. If perchance, I interact with a friend, male or female, the civilized and untamed aspects may be differently expressed, in changing ways. Once, years ago, when I was in my middle teens, I had a friend and weightlifting partner. Sometimes we'd be serious, staid, intellectual, and other times, with no more than an eyeblink's warning, he'd try to knock me across the room, and come at me (or I'd come at him for the same half serious, half fun pleasure of a tussle). Which could be graceful or rough. But we were civilized animals all the while, with shifting aspects of the civilized and the animal, as moods changed, circumstances changed, and it pleased us. And it made us feel safer, too. If we were attacked, and we were afraid we might be attacked, we were more prepared, because of this horseplay.

I've had some such relations with the opposite sex, too. They didn't seems like tensions, or at least like awkward tensions. They seemed like dances, graceful interactions, little dramas, aspects of beauty and choice. In writing, many of the things that please me seem to involve a switching, a changing of the balance, between elements in a certain kind of tension, a certain kind of opposition, with the balance maintained. I often admired the way H.L. Menken did this. And many other writers and journalist, too.

Most people, and most successful organizations, handle tensions of all sorts all the time, and it looks graceful, facile, and comfortable. When tensions look awkward, or ugly, I think that says something important. And when tensions look unbearably, starkly ugly, it means something is wrong, something is defective, something ought to be changed.

rshowalter - 10:05pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#5 of 135)  | 

If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to speak of something that concerns me, where the balance is very ugly, and the situation is both menacing and paralyzed. I'm speaking of our current usage of nuclear weapons, and the threats of nuclear use. These usages don't look anything at all like the healthy balance of cooperation and threat that characterize stable peaces between nation states. The nuclear "balances" are ugly. Garish. Inflexible. Brittle. Not understood. Uncontrolled. There is a NEED for balance, but the need is conspicuously unmet. On aesthetic grounds, which connect to intensely practical grounds, I think we should get rid of nuclear weapons. They CAN'T be in balance, because of their nature, and because of some unchangeable aspects of our human natures. They have produced a graceless, dangerous paralysis, functionally and logically, that is both uglier, and more dangerous, than anybody wants to understand. My life has been blighted by this, because I've understood enough about them to be tainted with their ugliness, and inherent imbalance.

If history goes on, people may look back and say that the best thing about nuclear weapons (after they are gone) may be that they forced us to confront ourselves, and the necessity of graceful compromise we must face as animals, in areas where we've been denying rather than compromising, and where denial didn't work on matters of nuclear war.

rshowalter - 10:08pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#6 of 135)  | 

We are agressive animals, hunting animals, dangerous animals, animals well adapted to fear, and it has seemed most civilized to simply ignore this. But that has carried costs. One of them is that our denial has made the history of nuclear weapons unbearably dangerous, ugly, and threatening to our survival.

Here's a civilized fiction about human nature, that is almost unbelievably dangerous when it enters into calculations involving nuclear weapons. Somehow, despite the evidence, people somehow believe that when human being are threatened, they retreat. They retire. They run away.

This is a lie. When people are threatened, they react. If they have no alternatives to reacting by fighting, they fight.

This amounts to a "sign error" in our nuclear calculations. We've thought that, to maximize stability, we need to maximize threat. This is a recipe for explosive malfunction of stressed people. The fact is, to maintain military balances, threats have to be nearly ever-present, but controlled, and fit, in calibrated ways, to what we want to happen.

Nation states threaten each other, in various implicit and explicit ways, all the time. They must. But too large a threat elicits escalating confrontation, or a war of explosive disarray. There are many examples, especially in this century.

Because nuclear threats are too large, nuclear weapons are not useful military instruments, if the objective of the military is balance, or containable conflict. Nuclear weapons guarantee insults on the other side so great that fights can only be to the death. They are extermination weapons.

To "civilized people" who think people shrink when threatened, these weapons have a certain "perverse beauty." But this is a dangerous misunderstanding. People when threatened, will fight, and if the threat is high enough, rational controls go by the wayside, especially when undisciplined troops are involved, as they so often are. The United States has held the Russians near the edge of an uncontrolled fight reaction since the middle fifties, and using some very effective psychological warfare, has forced them into paralyzing the Russian nation with excessive, ill chosen military spending.

Now, long after the cold war should have ceased, we continue with the nuclear threats, because we've forgotten, or never admitted, how we've been using them. Now that we've won the Cold War, we should get rid of the nuclear weapons, and make an overdue peace.

Nuclear weapons may have saved the world from communism, but they had terrible moral and practical costs, and we should eliminate them now, because they could (in my judgement, if things go on, they will) destroy the world.

We might get a dividend from this exercise. If we learned more about how humans deal with threats, we might know a great deal about designing our nation states for peace, and not always partly inadvertent war.

rshowalter - 10:11pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#7 of 135)  | 

Nuclear war has bothered me because of personal experience. As a bookish boy with big muscles and a forceful disposition, I found that I had to fight or defer, found that I fought pretty well, and learned something about fighting, both with individuals and with groups. When I went to college, I got interested in some matters of applied mathematics which had military significance, where it was felt that, if the Russians solved a certain class of control problems before we did, we might find ourselves, without warning, stripped of the capacity to fly planes that could survive air-to-air missile attack. That is to say, we'd find ourselves without an air force, and conceivably losers in a war with the very terrible Soviet Union. That made the problem interesting to me, and I've kept at it, and made some progress on this class of problems, since.

There was a difficulty. Here was an instability. Change a simple mathematical circumstance, or perceptions of it, and perceptions of military risk shifted radically. If we could lie to the Russians, and say we'd cracked the problem, we might scare the hell out of them, at trivial cost. Just a little theatrics in the service of bluff. Scaring the other side, with bluffs (lies) is standard military practice. I found myself asked to get involved in what I took to be serous Russian scaring. I refused to go along, after talking to some people on the other side, because of my old fighting experience. It was my judgement, right or wrong, that they Russians were already plenty scared enough, and if scared much more, they might lose control, and fight without wanting to. I may have made a big mistake.

But I did become convinced that the United States was carrying on a very careful, calibrated, but terrible tactic.

We were maintaining the Russians at a level of sufficient fear that they spent much more than they could afford, in money and manpower, on their military. The feeling was that, if we kept at this, for many years, the Soviet system would become degenerate, and collapse of its own weight. I believe that this is what in fact happened.

I'd been appalled at the tactic (as I understood it) because I didn't think the controls were good enough, and feared unintended, world destroying war might result.

But when the Soviet Union fell, my guess was that the tactic had been maintained, and controls had been good enough, and the plan had worked. Nuclear weapons, used as terror weapons, had defeated the Soviet Union, yet never been actually fired.

opaz - 10:12pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#8 of 135)

hi rshowalter, nice to see you again.

not that it's that important, but the thread to which you refer was called 'The Mind Of The Father Said, Into Three'

you hijacked this thread to express your anti-nuclear feelings. But, although I created the thread, I didn't mind. The original theme, about the tripilcate nature of the cosmos , just didn't 'have any legs', as they say.

rshowalter - 10:13pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#9 of 135)  | 

That was a decade ago. A terrible thing has happened since. Our nuclear weapons (always plainly dominant of theirs) have not been taken down. Russia, which went down in disarray from the stress and psychological dislocation of our lies and terror, is still in disarray.

I've been wrenched, watching this.

The problem, I think, is that Americans couldn't admit what they'd done, even to themselves. There'd been too many deceptions, and deceptive conspiracies, penetrating too deep for too long. Our constitutional system had been too compromised.

We had built a system that was not only in tension, but in paralysis, incapable of function or comfortable balance.

In my view, we should admit what we've done, so we can understand the system that we must dismantle. Nuclear weapons are harmful, even when they don't actually fire, and in the new world of the internet, and of ill supported Russian forces, they are far more unstable and dangerous than they used to be. We should take them down. The technical aspects of the takedown are easy. The only hard part is that we need to understand what has happened, and how these weapons have been used.

We need to know this. The Russians do, too.

rshowalter - 10:15pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#10 of 135)  | 

We have to understand a good deal about the kinds of animals that we are, so that we can dismantle the uncontrolled doomsday machine that we have unwittingly fashioned. Only the truth can possibly make us free here. It has to be the same truth, for us and the Russian, so that we can go on, as perhaps as hated competitors, but in all events to go on an a reasonably stable peace. Does anyone have any comments, before I go on? We need to face a tough question. It is a question of how you check systems that have been carefully built, for long times, to maintain lies.

rshowalter - 10:17pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#11 of 135)  | 

tethys2 - 11:45pm Sep 26, 2000 BST

"Somehow, despite the evidence, people somehow believe that when human being are threatened, they retreat. They retire. They run away. This is a lie. When people are threatened, they react. If they have no alternatives to reacting by fighting, they fight."

You are clearly very eloquent and I feel I may not be quite in your league, but I don't think what you say above is always true....what about Ghandi? and I have just finished a book on Tao & Te which refers to the 'bobbing cork' reaction to agression which I find very effective.

rshowalter - 10:23pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#12 of 135)  | 

- 11:59pm Sep 26, 2000 BST

Can I post a cite from the evolution thread, that impressed me, and then respond. I'd like to do so with respect to a movie many know - CASABLANCA -- Here's the cite: shazam2 - 08:34pm Jun 1, 2000 BST (#28 of 116) One of the world's most perceptive media critics, Herbert Schiller, a professor of communication, Schiller had been warning against such corporate trends in cenorship for decades. He urged people to consider the dire consequences when giant companies dominate and wield the latest media technologies. "It is not necessary to construct a theory of intentional cultural control," Schiller observed in 1989. "In truth, the strength of the control process rests in its apparent absence. The desired systemic result is achieved ordinarily by a loose though effective institutional process." Schiller's book Culture, Inc. - subtitled "The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression" went on to cite "the education of journalists and other media professionals, built-in penalties and rewards for doing what is expected, norms presented as objective rules, and the occasional but telling direct intrusion from above. The main lever is the internalization of values."

"If liberty means anything at all," George Orwell wrote, "it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."

As immense communications firms increasingly dominate our internet society, how practical will it be for journalists to tell their bosses - and the public - what media tycoons do not want to hear about the concentration of power in a few i 'politically correct'corporate hands? " ·

  • *** I find shazam2's cite wonderful, and would observed that freedom in Orwell's sense, can be surprisingly rare and constrained, even in our "free" societies.

    tethys2 - you make a important point. Looking at human behavior, I've come to feel that we need to be more careful about what we mean by i "threat" - perhaps we might use the word "confrontational stimulation" - It seems to me that "confrontational stimulation" is an essential part of the grammar of human function and interaction -that threats, large and small, are ubiquitous parts of our human interaction. Movies often illustrate this well, b CASABLANCA particularly well.

    You asked "did Ghandi fight when threatened?" NO. But recall what I said:

    "When people are threatened, they react. If they have no alternatives to reacting by fighting, they fight."

    Ghandi's most special contribution to world culture was to show how many new, effective reactions that were not fighting could be shown, while maintaining effective defiance. He didn't fight. He did react. And he found alternatives to fighting that educated the world. . Alternatives that others could not have found.

    Even so, Ghandi's alternatives may not exist in a soldier's circumstances.

    rshowalter - 10:27pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#13 of 135)  | 

    Can I assume that everyone has seen the movie b CASABLANCA , and remembers it?

    I'm sure the answer is no, and that's a pity just now, because if I were to choose a movie to illustrate issues important to our understanding of nuclear war, and important to the jobs we now face in peacemaking, I'd choose CASABLANCA as the text to refer to. It is one of the most popular movies ever. It shows clear examples of peaceful harmony (for real manipulative, conflicting people) in a small society, RICK's nightclub.

    It shows the core facts about psychological warfare, especially how damaging emotionally important and unresolved lies can be to minds, and to social function. It also shows examples of redemption in the practical sense, that I find genuine and compelling.

    I think CASABLANCA rings true - I think it shows real human behavior.

    Depending on how you look at it, it is one of the most romantic, or one of the darkest, movies I know. I think it is both romantic and dark. Everybody manipulates everybody else, sometimes with consent, sometimes without. Often, the manipulations are graceful, and work.

    When lies are involved, the manipulations are rougher, and results are worse.

    I'm gonna go on as if people know CASABLANCA . It is a fine way to spend an hour and a half. I'll try not to lose anybody, but it'll be easier if you know the movie.

    One point to start, that I think is important when we think why we should prefer peace to war, and prefer direct statements fit to circumstances, to deceptions, is that deceptions and false understandings get us into trouble when unanticipated changes happen. The truth is distincly safer, when you have to react to unforseen complications. A lie, that you happen to believe, can clobber you. In fact, in military or adversarial circumstances, that's the main reason people lie so often.

    rshowalter - 10:32pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#14 of 135)  | 

    The core story of CASABLANCA is of a courtship between two people in Paris, just before France falls to the Nazi Germans. The female lead is Elsa Lund, played by Ingemar Bergman (a knockout!) and the male lead is Rick, played by Humphrey Bogart. These characters are passionately in love, they are smart, and they work hard at their courtship. It is some stunningly beautiful footage. But the courtship has a deep flaw.

    Elsa won't discuss her past. She says "no questions" ... and Rick agrees. They don't know things the ordinary chattering of courtship usually tells the people courting, and arranging their minds for close cooperation.

    Disaster, not made clear until much later in the movie, strikes when Elsa finds that the husband she thought had died in a Nazi concentration camp is alive, and needs her, just as she is about the flee Paris with Rick. She sets Rick up (we find out later in the movie) to leave on a train without her (something he'd never do voluntarily), and stands him up, with a note saying "I can never see you again .... you must not ask why .." . Rick is devastated - his mind injured - he is in unbearable pain. It is a very gripping, convincing scene to me.

    This recounting happens in the middle of b CASABLANCA , as a flashback.

    CASABLANCA begins by showing a wonderful, convincing little society that Rick has built in his night club b RICK'S CAFE AMERICAIN . The night club runs perfectly and amusingly. RICK is a totally dominant Alpha Male character, everybody does as he arranges, he's got a breathtaking woman he doesn't care much for under conspicuous control, and the defenders of the cafe (the employees) handle the invading customers gracefully, with manipulations that everybody basically understands and accepts. (There's a nice scene of predation, too, with a pickpocket who distracts (lies) lifts a wallet, and escapes.) This is a beautiful example of a working society, and very convincing to me. Absolutely everybody is manipulative in this society - everyone is, by turns, manipulated and manipulator, usually in stereotyped and mutually satisfactory ways. There are little emollient deceptions, but it is a model of good commercial conduct and nice entertainment.

    rshowalter - 10:36pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#15 of 135)  | 

    Rick is the alpha male, in total control of his world. Then disaster strikes. Elsa enters, with her journalist-hero husband. b Rick is devastated. It is interesting to see.

    In fact, the bottle scene, where Rick is devastated and disabled by the emotionally and logically devastating, unresolved confict of Elsa's never explained treachery, is a fine example of how unresolved, emotionally laden lies can disable, can be useful in psychological warfare. Rick, a man totally in control, is brought to his knees, just by seeing his old flame. It is worth seeing the movie, to see how Bogart plays this. (This really does have to do with nuclear weapons - we used absurd contradiction, combined with terror, to psychologically disable Russians, and did so with considerable success. To a terribly unfortunate extent, in my view, that continues.) That bottle scene is worth going a long way to see, and worth a careful look. In this scene, Rick is trying to drink himself into oblivion, trying to drug his pain away, trying to somehow resolve the contradictions and pain in his mind from Elsa, while Sam, the piano player (you may recall the line "play it again, Sam ..." from the movie) is doing everything he can to try to get Rick away from Casablanca, away from Elsa, who he knows, and who he knows is now so damaging, so devastating, to Rick's mind.

    Sam sees how dangerous the situation is, and really works to get Rick out of there.

    Bogart's depiction of psychological agony is very beautiful and convincing to me. It is here in the movie that the Paris flashbacks occur - Rick orders Sam to "play it again" and Sam plays "As Time Goes By" as the flashback scenes roll.

    Elsa meant everything to Rick, they loved each other, things were going great, and then, with no explanaiton at all, she blindsides him, drops him, and breaks his mind!

    The scene of Rick's agony as Sam barely gets his crying husk onto the train is, again, a scene worth going a long way for. end of flashback.

    rshowalter - 10:39pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#16 of 135)  | 

    (hint: when I first saw Casablanca, some things looked a lot like the nuclear arms talks to me. With the Russians a lot more upset and victimized than we were, but plenty of Americans traumatized, too.) To continue with the next shots in the movie .....

    Rick looks up, bleary from drink, and choking back tears. There's Elsa, standing before him. She shows up trying to explain herself, trying to explain what happened. Another wonderful, very dark scene.

    Elsa tries to explain, to establish emotional contact ---- Rick cuts her off, attacks her honor and femininity sharply, effectively, and clobbers her.

    After a little more, two people who are still in deep need of each other separate, each in agony.

    Note: They "aren't reading off the same page" - they haven't yet agreed about what happened in the emotionally significant past, and so emotional and practical contact between them isn't possible.

    End of scene.

    tutusxxi - 10:41pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#17 of 135)


    On the fighting: Ghandi is not a good example - he was facing one of the most humane colonnial oppressor known, the British (some of my other comments notwithstanding, although, the British can be stupid in their pomposity, and brutal at the football game).

    Ghandi knew that he could provoke a desired intellectual response in British. Not everyone was so lucky in history.

    In general, the fighting urge is not always automatic: when put in the dire circumstances, not everyone will fight. And historically people WERE making deals and offering concessions rather then suffer obliterating defeat, or, simply, to prevent senseless bloodshed. Unfortunately, the latter consideration occured much more infrequently.

    As for the nuclear imbalance: I think that instead of weakening the existing superpower (the US), it would be wiser to strengthen the RUSSIANS, who in their present day weakness will under no circumstances give up their nuclear capability, as it serves as the last vestige of their superpower status, and provides the emotional shield.

    rshowalter - 10:43pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#18 of 135)  | 

    Point to emphasize - The Russians and we "aren't reading from the same page" about what happened during he cold war, and especially what happened in our nuclear and pyschological warfare interactions. Until we come to agree about the basic facts (not how we feel about those facts, but objectively what happened) we can't interact emotionally and practically well enough to make peace.

    We'll go on clobbering each other, sometimes intentionally, but also, tragically, by mistake, sometimes when we're trying hardest to make contact.

    In my opinion, our nuclear stalemate would be easy to take down, and the weapons would be easy to eliminate, if we were "reading from the same page" in the sense used above.

    The Russians, knowing this, have worked for clarification of facts for decades. Worked hard. The Americans have resisted clarification at every turn. We've wrenched the Russians by absurdity and obfuscation, again and again.

    Here, the Russians have the necessities of peacemaking straight.

    We need a clear, verifiable, workably complete accounting of what happened in the past. That is, what happened that matters for nuclear disarmament. We need this so that we can communicate, and maintain the marginal but still real trust that disarmament is going to take.

    As it stands, American and Russian military officers barely communicate at all at any level of emotion.

    rshowalter - 10:48pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#19 of 135)  | 

    Back to CASABLANCA . The next scene may be the least convincing in th movie, because Rick looks in half decent shape the next morning. Anyway, after conducting some business he happens to meet Elsa.

    There's a market scene illustrating how powerful Rick is in his world, but the main part of the scene is this - Elsa baffles Rick again, this time not meaning to maybe, by giving Rick a truth, incompletely contextualized, that he isn't set up to think about. Elsa, it seems, has been married to her husband (played by Paul Henried) all along, and was when she was with Rick in Paris. Not a fit to the way she acted !

    Truths can be unassimilable, and even useful for disorientation, when they don't occur in a workable context.

    There are some other scenes, nice but not on point here .... except that Rick would rather die than let Elsa and husband have visas that will get them out of Casablanca, because now he hates Elsa .... then, Rick goes up to his living quarters, above the night club, and there, in shadows, is Elsa, looking threatened and wrenched, but breathtakingly beautiful as usual.....

    She wants another go at explaining herself, and also the letters of transit to get herself and her husband out of Casablanca. Some nice confrontation and dialog, especially if you like the style of '40's movies, and some distraction of Elsa, who is conflicted, wanting as she does to declare her love, snatch the exit visas, and tear herself away at the same time.

    Anyway, a time comes when she pulls a gun on Rick. This gun is a useful rhetorical device, because, after a little back and forth, it immobilizes Rick just enough so she can get some basic truths into him.

    And their messed up minds heal. Once they have the facts straight, communication is possible again. !

    The romance (or treacherous manipulation, or both) gets heavier here, and at the end of this set of scenes, it looks like Elsa has agreed to leave her husband for Rick, and it looks like Rick has agreed, and maybe he has but it isn't clear.

    There follows a beautiful sequence of scenes about mutual human manipulation, and various kinds of social redemption.

    (Hint: this movie is really worth seeing, or seeing again if you haven't looked at it in a while.)

    tutusxxi - 10:48pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#20 of 135)


    It would also be good to have another superpower which can relate to the parts of the world the US does not.

    Would also warm up the hearts and minds of the Western Europeans, who would be less inclined to judge the US foreign policy as ignorant and stupid.

    rshowalter - 10:50pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#21 of 135)  | 

    A student of military function, and the use of deception and setups in battle and butchery, will definitely appreciate the rest of the movie, where repeatedly, sequences that seem to be leading towards one end are switched, by surprise, by one of the "dancers" or another. People end up, manipulated like robots, in places they didn't expect, where they are often defenceless. Nearly everybody whipsaws everybody else. . .. .

    The kinds of whipsaws on show are analogous to the ones involved in any militarily sensible attack - especially any militarily sane attack with nuclear weapons.

    The message these scenes show, from a military perspective, is an ancient one. It is this:

    If you trust somebody, for even a few steps, and they switch signals on you, they can kill you.

    This is, of course, the primordial fact about military function ... a fact well worth remembering if one wants nuclear disarmament sequences that can actually work with the real military officers who have to make them work.

    You don't want to be anywhere near "trusting" relationships. Nobody feels safe with them, and they are unstable.

    What you need is clarity of fact, combined with distrust. That's stable. That's where the hope for success has to lie..

    rshowalter - 10:54pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#22 of 135)  | 

    Remembering this adds real spice to a viewing of the last parts of CASABLANCA .

    Lots of ambushes. And by and large, the ambushes "work."

    At the end, a woman who has been working very hard to ditch her husband on the plane to Lisbon, so she can stay with Rick, is instead coerced by Rick onto the plane with that same husband, .... and all cry a little and praise the wisdom of it all, to the tune of patriotic music. Off everyone goes to face their duty. H.L. Menken would have found it funny as hell, but I'm soft hearted, and I cried a little, too, smiling in appreciation of all the ironies going along.

    It is worth remembering that in these scenes, the major players set each up like robots, and the setups and switches work like clockwork.

    Just at the end, the scenes all have a socially redemptive flavor - redemption occurring when, in the senses that matter "everybody is reading from the same page" so social life can go on without the insanity that comes from disagreement about facts.

    The only way to redeem a situation including a certain Nazi major is to shoot him, and he is shot.

    The only way to fix up the relation between Elsa and Rick, so they can stay sane, is a recapitulation of what happened. · ***

    rshowalter - 10:57pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#23 of 135)  | 

    For a while now, I've felt that a good start on nuclear arms talks would be to get the people to agree on what happened in CASABLANCA . The patterns of human behavior that matter for negotiation are on view in that movie. I don't mean that different parties have to agree about their feelings about the facts. But they should agree on the facts themselves. For the movie, that seems a possible thing to ask for. There are only so many disagreements likely to occur on such a finite text, and each, I believe, would be simple enough to resolve, even for Americans and Russians, if the Americans (and Russians too, but this is easier) were playing it straight.

    If they could talk about the things in CASABLANCA as an agreed upon text, they might make shift to avoid impasses, or clarify them enough to make mediation possible, in disarmament agreements.

    So long, that is, as nobody really trusts anybody else much, and patterns of checking are very complete, so that there can be no surprises, and "everybody's reading off the same page." The Russians need to understand how we beat them, so that they can heal, and put their society back into more effective, more stable shape.

    And we should stop subjecting the Russians to terrorization and psychological warfare by systems of deception, since the Cold War's long since over.

    I also think that we Americans should feel sorry for the mess we've made after the fall of the Soviet Union, when our warmaking should have stopped, and we should extend some helping hands, in effective ways, to help Russia heal.

    All the while taking down nuclear weapons as fast as we can. Which could be done quickly according to the patterns set out in up to entry 269.

    rshowalter - 11:03pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#24 of 135)  | 

    03:10am Sep 27, 2000 BST (#32 of 60) I'm going to bed. Tomorrow, I'll say some more about notions of balance, and about the effectiveness of the combined terror-psychological warfare policies of "the Americans."

    There is a problem. The policies that won the Cold War were not pursued with the informed consent of the American people, or of most American politicians. If one wonders "could there be a vast right wing conspiracy" I think the answer is yes.

    I believe there was some justification for setting this conspiracy up. It was been arranged to make an obstensible democracy, the United States, capable of fighting a bitter, desperate Cold War. (Yes, Americans were terrified by the Soviet Union, and had plenty of good reasons to be terrified.)

    Problem is, this shadow government somehow, never shut down, and in many ways we've gone right on fighting the Cold War, after it ought to have been over.

    Which gets back to a point made before, and deferred, about how to deal with institutions built to conceal and defend lies. America has some institutions like that. They stand in the way of peace. They also stand in the way of more efficient operation of American society, and much more efficient operation of the rest of the world. And, in my view, these shadowy institutions are putting the country at grave risk, because nuclear "balances" are now so unstable, and these operations have told so many lies, not only to others, but to themselves, that they are hopelessly incompetent to face the challenges that we have to face.

    I feel that we should take nuclear (not conventional) weapons down. Soon. I think, if the core problems related to history could be resolved, we could do this by Christmas of this year.

    For thirty years, the Russians (Soviets), their shortcomings and brutalities notwithstanding, have been trying to moderate the growth of nuclear arsenals, or eliminate them. It is time to admit that they have been right here, and get rid of nuclear weapons.

    I feel that all the nuclear weapons in the world should be taken down, and believe that it would be practical to get this done. Nuclear charges are obsolete weapons of extermination. Once people understand how terrible, and terribly uncontrolled these weapons have been, I think a prohibition on their manufacture and use could be made permanently effective.

    rshowalter - 11:07pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#25 of 135)  | 

    JackGladny - 03:19pm Sep 27, 2000 BST opaz: are you rshowalter? I always thought you were in need of psychiatric attention.

    rshowalter - 05:52pm Sep 27, 2000 BST Opaz is a brilliant female, I'm a mere male. And taking a little time to be careful.

    Here's one thing that I think investigation would show. The Soviets, very often worked terribly hard to try to meet our very detailed and difficult suggestions for a reduction treaty. And when they thought they had it, and were exhausted but full of hope, were left in much the same case as Rick, at the train, and looking at a note saying "I can never see you again ..... you must not ask why." Don't know how many times it happened. A journalist who asked might get a straight, detailed answer. Many. The psychological agony was very, very real, because these Soviet people, who knew very well what genocidal threats were like, having dealt with the Nazis, wanted our genocidal threats relaxed.

    Year after year, we worked them, frustrated them, and never let them "off the hook" ---- when Gorbachev offered total nuclear disarmament again - a terrible risk, and was rebuffed in Washington, he made a gesture we thought emollient, and "western."

    Gorbachev stopped his motorcade, and reached out to talk to, and actually touch, some Americans. Were they indeed human? My view, watching at the time, was sympathetic. He had reason to wonder.

    He'd offered to disarm, if only the Americans did too, and was jived, scorned and rebuffed.

    As I watched what we'd done, I was ashamed.

  • ****

    Does anybody but me around here know the classic story of the imprisoned Nazi officer, after the war, explaining the secret, well known to the Nazis, of how to fight Russians? Would the story bore anyone?

    It is a dark story. I think I'll eat lunch, and relax, and then tell it, unless anybody would find it boring.

    rshowalter - 11:13pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#26 of 135)  | 

    08:26pm Sep 27, 2000 BST I guess I'll have to move slowly. It is a terrible story, and I find myself upset as I review it.

    After the almost unbelievable agony and sacrifice Russia endured during World War II, The Soviet Union found itself facing American troops, actively prepared to use atomic weapons against the Soviets. These American soldiers had taken in many German war criminals (at this point, the Russians considered all German soldiers who had fought in Russia as war criminals) and used these Germans as thoroughly effective military teachers.

    So, with almost no time to relax, the victorious Soviets found that they faced a new enemy - Americans fully trained in all the tactics the Nazi Germans had actually used with success against them. Somehow the Germans had quickly become American friends. The Soviet Union, which bore the disproportionate burden of World War II, was the new enemy.

    There were reasons that the Americans acted as they did, including very good pragmatic military reasons. But this was a wrenching experience for the Soviets, whether one happens to like them, and everything they did, or not.

    The Germans had a main tactical message for the Americans. It was that Russian soldiers were very brave , hated to lie , and didn't dissemble well.

    When you threatened Russians, they'd practially always fight. So, if you threatened effectively and then stepped back into a tactical defensive position, you could butcher them as they charged you. The Germans had done a great deal of this during their time in Russia, and it had worked well for them. Most Russians died attacking Germans in tactically defensive positions (sometimes tactically defensive positions fashioned in seconds). Russians charged into well watched killing zones set up by Germans, and many more Russians than Germans died in the conflict, because of this pattern, which persisted at the tactical level all through the war.

    Although training can mask this, Russians, at the level of culture, are very brave, and not quick tactical dissemblers. Which made it relatively easy for the Germans, who were skilled and carefully disciplined military liars, to kill them.

    American battle plans depended on this knowledge, all through the Cold War.

    The key thing to know, fighting a Russian, was how b brave the Russians usually were, and therefore how vulnerable to a force that could switch positions quickly, and take them down in order.

    Our combined conventional, nuclear, and psychological posture toward the Soviets evolved assuming these things that the German officers had learned so well, and taught us so carefully.

    For all the reasons one can understand, it remains very sad that the nation which, more than any other, saved the world from Nazi domination became our enemy so quickly, and hostility and distrust between our countries escalated so rapidly and implacably.

    No matter how terrible the Soviet system was, no matter how monstrous Stalin was, no matter how ugly the Gulag was, no matter how easy it is to describe the Soviets, from a distance, as "the bad guys" and the Americans, from a distance as "the good guys" it remains true that our two countries, and generally subordinate allies, were in a continous standoff, without territorial change, for over forty years. All this time, we were posturing to each other, as militaries do, the war of words was continuous, and military deceptions were accumulating. Almost all this time, though there were switches of forces, and therefore exceptions, and though details were complicated, we were in a primarily offensive posture, with superior armaments, and the Soviet Union was in a primarily defensive posture, and usually outgunned. Our own people weren't told this. Our politicians may not have appreciated this, or been in much control of our core military decisions vis a vis the Soviets. But this was how it was.

    tutusxxi - 11:17pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#27 of 135)


    Please, don't blame Americans for all that's wrong with Russia right now. Whatever is happening there is a chapter in the long historical process which Russia has undertaken and undergone mostly on by its own (or God's) choice.

    Did America contribute in the past 10 years? YES. First, the US did not foresee the collapse of the USSR, nor did it know how really weak was the infrustructure of its former Cold War enemy, hence such rapid disintegration.

    Second, the US believed that the Russians will jump at an opportunity to build a democracy with the free market economy, in the US's image. No, Russia had always taken its own path, however misguided.

    The result: misplaced efforts on both sides, deep disappointment in and apathy for the western style democracy and free market economy, even though no one should have tried to implement it in Russia in the first place, nor expect it to work in such a short period.

    On the other hand it is very difficult to understand a country which hardly understands itself. But Russia needs help, and help it should get, but after a deep analysis of Russia's specifics, and without this notion, that all these years under the Communists Russian people were just waiting for the western style reforms. THEY WERE NOT.

    rshowalter - 11:20pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#28 of 135)  | 

    opaz - 09:14pm Sep 27, 2000 BST thank you, rshowalter for your extended contribution to my humble thread. I didn't have the nuclear arms race in mind when I posted it of course but that doesn't matter - 'as above, so below'.

    My original motivation was to explore a thought that had been creeping up on me over the last few months - that everything comes in threes. Then I came across the 'into three' saying in a book I'd found about symbols.

    Earlier that day I'd been thinking about two friends who are opposites in the following respect: 'Janet', a long-term buddhist, is so 'grounded' that she is constantly aware of her surroundings and is thus highly sensitive to what's going on around her. So much so, that she has almost ceased to be as a distinct personality. She cannot get carried away or lose herself in something. She is no longer spontaneous, she merely observes. 'John', on the other hand, is totally egofull, always attempting to steer events to his liking, often oblivious to those around him except as they relate to him.

    I was thinking that I wouldn't want to be like either of them and that some kind of half way house between the two personalities would be the ideal. And yet somehow this neither one thing or the other approach seemed unsatisfying and unsubstantial, a woolly compromise.

    Then things began to clarify. Polar relationships, where things have to be one way or the other, on/off etc, don't tell the whole story. 'Balance' is a legitimate third guest at the party, and a very welcome one.

    I don't know how clear any of this is to anyone else. It's basically a small nugget from my own inner world (one of the best things about these threads is the way you can talk to anonymous people as if they were intimate friends). The point of my thread was to see if anyone else had thought about such things. It's nice to see that others have, even if it manifests in different areas of experience.

    2 points of information:

    1. people who don't know me often assume I'm female. is it something about the way I write or is opaz a girlie name? I do hope it's the latter.

    2. Jack, I'm cleary not rshowalter. get a grip, man.

    Now, I'd like to hear about the best way to fight russians, according to a captured nazi officer. Do continue, rshowalter.

    rshowalter - 11:23pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#29 of 135)  | 

    tutusxxi - (#27 ) I'll get back to you. I'm copying the old thread. The story it tells isn't "the whole story" about Russia's problems by a long shot. But I think it is part of the story, and a part sometimes missed.

    rshowalter - 11:27pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#30 of 135)  | 

    It was an especially terrifying standoff - first, with only the Americans in possession of atomic bombs, and then the Soviets got atomic bombs, too. Then only the Americans had the far larger Hbombs, and then the Soviets got H bombs, too.

    And methods of delivery got better and better, and nuclear deployments got larger, and larger, till a misstep could clearly destroy the world.

    Almost always, the American forces were ahead, qualitatively and quantitatively, but the Russian forces were terrific too.

    The business of military staffs, if they hope to use their forces, is to come up with first strike patterns that actually work, and all this time neither side got one they dared to use. But the dream of a nuclear first strike, that avoids retaliation and actually wins, has been in the hearts of soldiers on both sides.

    A major American pattern was to always look, from the Russian viewpoint, like such a first strike extermination was in the offing. Most of the time, Americans succeeded in this objective - Russians were afraid, and stayed afraid, of a first strike from the Americans. Our fears of a first strike attempt from Russia were strong, but I believe less severe.

    Opaz, the lesson about fighting Russians is that you scare them so badly that they panic, and attack you in an uncoordinated fashion. In WWII this happened again and again. And a crucial aspect of American military policy, over many years, was to keep the Russians scared, near to the edge of breakdown, so that they'd not have the psychological or manpower or financial resources to make their own country work well. We set them up for exhaustion and collapse. And eventually it worked.

    For fighting and winning a Cold War, without actually firing nuclear weapons, it might have been the best, or even the only, workable way to proceed.

    But then a terrible thing happened, we forgot that, after the Soviets collapsed, we had to dismantle our threat apparatus, and give them a helping hand, so that we could build a workable peace.

    We didn't do that. We should do it now.

    Lulu100 - 11:29pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#31 of 135)

    opaz Have you heard of the aristotilian mean, or golden mean? He was talking about what was the function of mankind, and one of the things he said is that our main function is to live "the happy life". He goes through lots of ideas, and being a philospher, comes up with this as the way to live a happy life. One of the things he said, which I really like is the idea that there is a happy mean in all our behaviour, so not too emotional, not to cognative, to be over brave is stupidity and not brave enough is cowardlyness. I would say that the mind is needed to work out the happy mean for each situation, but the emotions or heart will make that mean move from person to person, situation to situation. Well thats my understanding of it anyway. PS I seem to have killed the ten items or less thread! My first thread murder, i feel so guilty.

    rshowalter - 11:30pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#32 of 135)  | 

    Opaz , so long as the nuclear weapons and the extermination threats polarize, we are paralyzed in fixed and inflexible (and very dangerous) ugly positions.

    If we take the nuclear weapons down, we'll be able to achieve a more flexible, creative balance .

    Russia is so formidible, and so different from us, that we'd never be able to invade them successfully. For territorial defense, they're well defended, without any need for the terror of nuclear weapons.

    The U.S. and other NATO countries are formidible, too. We're well defended without the nuclear weapons.

    The nuclear weapons are past whatever use they may have had historically, they are terribly dangerous, they tend to paralyze everybody who gets involved with them, and we should take them down. So that both our societies can resolve the inherent tensions we face in more graceful, flexible, comfortable ways.

    rshowalter - 11:36pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#33 of 135)  | 

    Let me paraphrase things I said about Opaz's beautiful question. Opaz is saying something wise, and basic. Her question speaks to me.

    I'd phrase it a little differently. For every two opposing forces there is a NEED for balance, and for a balance that can be used, and guided, and can preserve our ability to act as free beings, and not slaves to "logic" or "forces."

    Nuclear weapons are polarizing, and when we have them, we are slaves to their cruel "logic" and "forces" - we should get rid of them.

    When Opaz speaks of "contradictions" I'd speak of tensions.

    We need redemptive compromises, saving graces, to resolve these tensions,and should not, by denying one or the other, get ourselves reduced to absurdities and contradictions.

    Nuclear weapons have immobilized us into very terrible, dangerous, paralyzing absurdities and contradictions. We should get rid of them. Workable tension resolving compromises always involve, and must always be understood in terms of, aesthetic elements, but they have control aspects too.

    These compromises often contain elements of choice - elements where we can choose more of one aspect, or more of the other, and so get good action from what might otherwise be passive, inflexible tensions.

    Once we get rid of nuclear weapons, we can regain our freedom to make choices, and free ourselves from terrible fears that still blight our lives.

    Nuclear weapons are terrible, gruesome things - extermination weapons. They have no good use. We should take down the ones we have, and outlaw them. If we can recognize, at long last, how ugly these weapons are, I think we can rid the world of them, forever.

    We need a world of more flexibility, more hope, and more balance. Getting rid of nuclear weapons would be a big step toward that better world. The hard part, now, is agreeing on what happened, well enough so that the stand-down, which is mechanically easy otherwise, can proceed. Maybe that won't be so very hard after all. But it will be a challenge, and perhaps to some degree a challenge of redemption of constitutional institutions, within the United States.

    I think nuclear weapons, in the world of the internet, are incredibly dangerous and we should take them down. Perhaps it could be done by Christmas 2000, a date that would be easy to remember for many years to come.

    Note: Recopying this text a month later, this date would still be technically possible, but it would take a miracle of change and wisdom in many human hearts.

    rshowalter - 11:40pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#34 of 135)  | 

    Possumdag - 03:55am Sep 30, 2000 BST Thanks Opaz for stepping from thy bower of white roses and opening this thread ... an interesting recount of folly ... hammered home in ripper fashion ... if nuclear whiteouts could be deflected via dismantlement within the silos - and it's easy ... why don't the ND bodies make demands?

    Mohammed Bedjaoui , President of the World Court , para. 20 of the appended Declaration, 8th July 1996.

    "Nuclear weapons, the ultimate evil, destabilise humanitarian law which is the law of the lesser evil. The existence of nuclear weapons is therefore a challenge to the very existence of humanitarian law, not to mention their long-term effects of damage to the human environment, in respect to which the right to life must be exercised.....Atomic warfare and humanitarian law therefore appear mutually exclusive, the existence of the one automatically implies the non-existence of the other" -

    Possumdag - 05:38am Sep 30, 2000 BST So, if there is a world court, then, why can't the citizens of the world go to it, point out their logical concerns ... and get a ruling to take down the missiles.

    Possumdag - 06:38am Sep 30, 2000 BST On Outrage: Lady Margaret Simey - "just plain Margaret, if you please" - is already a nonagenarian. I rang her one evening to discuss an unclear sentence and, once we had dealt with that, her voice suddenly changed. "What on earth has happened to outrage?" she demanded. "There is a hell of a lot in this life to be furious about - and not just things affecting older people - and yet everybody seems to be taking it all so easy. We want more outrage.",3605,373528,00.html

    Possumdag - 06:40am Sep 30, 2000 BST 4refs,above see also : New York Times on the Web Forums - Science- Missile Defence

    BritCraria - 11:40pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#35 of 135)

    I'm glad that someone raises such issues, but I wonder if the most draculan forces won't emerge from the anti-nuclear powers in the end, hiding unimaginable cruelties under the name of non-violence.

    rshowalter - 11:47pm Oct 24, 2000 BST (#36 of 135)  | 

    This thread was written with nuclear weapons involved, but the long section on Casablanca explains basic issues of how deceptions, that are emotionally charged, act in psychological warfare. This section applies directly to the Middle East, where deception and passion are both common, and many places elsewhere, too. The importance, and safety, of getting at factual truth is worth emphasizing in the Middle Eastern context. Sometimes, awkward as it may be, only the truth is safe enough to permit complex maneuvering at close quarters - the sort of maneuvering that peace and coordination actually need.

    The section on the Cold War may be a useful cautionary tale in the MidEast. An incredibly stupid impasse has persisted, among intelligent, and socially able countries, for a terribly risky decade. Nothing in the Middle East is as dangerous as this impasse, which could easily destroy the whole world - producing about sixty million times the number of deaths in the last few weeks of Middle Eastern conflict. Even so, the Middle East is full of many impasses of a similar kind. Learning to make peace in the Middle East may be an essential step toward resolution of many problems in the world, including a continuing nuclear terror that could kill us all.

    I appreciate the chance to post this, and hope some people are interested, and will comment.

    xpat - 01:47am Oct 25, 2000 BST (#37 of 135)

    I'll down load this into a word doc, setup a calm pastel background, put my feet up, pour a glass of dry reisling (isn't that what Guardian readers do ? ), and comment back later on this Deception in dealings theory ...

    hoib - 01:57am Oct 25, 2000 BST (#38 of 135)


    You leave my peer group (the over fifty) unable to wade the north face of Everest your pontifications present.

    Go back, edit; Present your points to pursuade rather than to pontificate.

    And NEVER use "Casablanca" as a fulcrum.

    This could be the begining... of what?

    xpat - 02:48am Oct 25, 2000 BST (#39 of 135)

    Showalter: compulsive reading with an Opaz subplot of deception. Hoib - print the thread out via word and enjoy the poetry!

    duncanjet - 02:51am Oct 25, 2000 BST (#40 of 135)

    conpulsive reading, you all should visit the sci pan website

    tutusxxi - 09:42pm Oct 25, 2000 BST (#41 of 135)


    I actually am originally from Russia, and, although first leaft it long time ago, had to return and lived there from 1988 through 1997. I still travel there quite often, speak and write it fluently, and have been witnessing all the developments that engulfed that country and the region first-hand. Coincindently, I was in Berlin on the night the wall went down.

    I'd love to get a viewpoint that contradicts, or compliments mine. Will be waiting for your reply, although this takes you a bit away from the original subject of this board.

    negro - 10:11pm Oct 25, 2000 BST (#42 of 135)


    Very interesting. May we all learn a bit from it.

    Power to your elbow


    rshowalter - 10:23pm Oct 25, 2000 BST (#43 of 135)  | 

    tutusxxi - I'd be glad to converse, in print or by voice. To get clear on what you have in mind, please email me at <> . Odds are we'll talk on the phone after that.

    I haven't had the honor of knowing many Russians, but the ones I've been able to spend time with I've liked. And because of my interest in nuclear weapons, I'd like to know them better.

    I have deep respect for the Russian schools of mathematics, which match my plodding feet-on-the-ground engineer's approach, and when I read them extensively, years ago, much preferred their work to the American stuff, which, in my view, was sometimes given to tricks, dodges, and "gotchas."

    negro , thank you.

    Hoib , I'd like to write better than I do, and will take another look at my writing, in hopes of seeing how to make it better.

    rshowalter - 11:31am Oct 26, 2000 BST (#44 of 135)  | 

    There's a stunningly good SPECIAL REPORT on the Shayler Case in GuardianUnlimited today.

    The story it tells, in large part, is of the use of secrecy rules by an intelligence apparatus, to avoid embarrassment to itself.

    There can be entirely valid reasons for secrecy rules. For all I know, these rules are being validly used in this case. If so, the proper motivations remain in shadows.

    In the case of nuclear weapons, however, these security rules, these discussion suppression rules, may be prolonging a real and important threat to the survival of the world, suppressing discussions that need to occur for nuclear disarmament to happen.

    Some may have watched a CNN special about two weeks ago "REHEARSING ARMAGEDDON" - that made a clear case that the end of the world was possible, and a cause for level headed concern, because nuclear disarmament has not happened. A standdown of nuclear weapons is in the interest of almost everyone in the world, and the closer you are to the nuclear armaments, the more likely you are to know it. "Rehearsing Armageddon" made that clear. Nuclear disarmament is now, in my view, being blocked as a practical matter, by security organizations with history to hide.

    Intelligence organizations, worldwide, have a profound, unchangeable interest in deception, and psychological warfare. They should. To do their job, they have to.

    But in the compex world of today, lies are increasingly dangerous, and increasingly make hopeful accomodations impossible. Society as a whole has a huge and increasing interest in the truth.

    rshowalter - 02:05pm Oct 28, 2000 BST (#45 of 135)  | 

    And, if you look at world diplomacy, as a whole, over the last five months, there's reason to think that more and more people are becoming aware of that.

    A problem, still, is that when patterns of deception have occurred, people with power may percieve a penalty for truthfulness.

    The idea that everyone decieves, which at one level is as old as humanity, is, at another level, still an unfamiliar idea. It needs to be more widely understood.

    If people cannot admit to deceptions without grave penalty, and if a circumstantial view of permissable deception does not exist, then there are patterns of truth that can never be established, in the world as it is.

    Instead, people become passionately, desperately indentified to perhaps the biggest lie at all - the idea that they and the "real people" in their own group, the people who "can really be trusted" never decieve.

    Whole large classes of redemptive solutions in human affairs are ruled out when people believe this, as they now, quite commonly do, against all evidence.

    rshowalter - 08:38pm Nov 6, 2000 BST (#46 of 135)  | 

    I wrote a poem about redemptive solutions. It is expository, and explains what redemptive solutions, as described here with respect to Casablanca , are. It may sound too personal, or too idealistic. But my own view is that "solutions" that maintain extermination threats, or that look unstable and ugly, are in reality far less practical than solutions where "everyone knows the same facts" and, through some complex of negotiations, everyone can live with them. I believe nuclear disarmament (not conventional weapon disarmament) would make a more beautiful world, and a much safer one.

    Here's my practical "dream" - a "dream" that has characterized much useful human social interaction, I believe, for more than a million years of complex socio-technical cooperation and mutual support. It was originally written in the "THERE'S ALWAYS POETRY" thread in the ARTS section of the TALK.

    rshowalter - 08:39pm Nov 6, 2000 BST (#47 of 135)  | 

    rshowalter - Nov 4, 2000 BST For Jihadij and Leda,

    I'm dreaming of redemption,
    not denial, not agony,
    not lies told or
    amorphous deceptions
    amorphously defended,
    but redemption.

    Redemption for all concerned,
    with a decent concern for all,
    with feelings felt and not denied,
    weights weighed, and not forgotten,
    needs of flesh, nerves, guts and mind
    all remembered, and workably in place
    with neither lies nor torture.

    I'm dreaming of redemption,
    where all concerned
    can know the same stories,
    and live with that,
    and look back and go on comfortably,
    not unreasonably proud,
    or unreasonably ashamed,
    in ways that work
    in private and in public.

    I'm dreaming of redemption,
    for myself, for the evil I've done,
    and the good I've tried to do and failed,
    and the limits and narrownesses that are
    unchangeably a part of me.

    And I'm dreaming of redemption for others,
    in similar ways, without pretense,
    with real, vital, feeling futures
    not closed off.

    There is too much good here,
    too much reaching for the good,
    too much hard, disciplined work
    in the face of pain and fear,
    too much to hope for.

    Too much to hope for the world, too,
    too much hope for primal needs of peace,
    too much of interest,
    too much condensed and seeming right,
    too much, from too many, that seems good,
    and moves me and others.

    No checkmate. No closing off of hope,
    no wallowing in agonies that might be,
    with more wisdom, and clean negotiation,
    assuaged and replaced
    by honest joy and comfort.

    No checkmate. I'm dreaming of redemption,
    and a world that goes on, safer and richer,
    and knowing more about redemption,
    because we've struggled.

    rshowalter - 08:11pm Nov 9, 2000 BST (#48 of 135)  | 

    The military people most responsible for nuclear weapons, mostly hate them. I

  • ***

    There are MORAL objections to these weapons, forcefully expressed in "The Moral Flaws in our Peace" by Tyler Stevenson of Global Security Institute, published Wed, July 26, 2000 in THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

    Here are quotes:

    "Our nuclear-war plans require at best what would be hanging offenses at Nuremburg - the wholesale burning of millions of civilians.

    "There is a breathtaking evil in our sterile arguments of strategic necessity and the invention of a doctrine of a Mutually Assured Destruction .

    It would be a great cleansing of the world, if these nightmare weapons were taken down, and effectively prohibited.

    Another moral and political point was made in

    "Do As We Say, Not As We Do Defense: The world can see through our hypocritical preaching about nuclear arms control.

    By Robert Scheer The Los Angeles Times Tuesday, March 28, 2000

    rshowalter - 12:29am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#49 of 135)  | 

    Working through these threads is sometimes a fine way to push ideas to new focusings. With much distinguished help, I set out what I think is a new insight in Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness? ---- (Society thread) .

    I'm coming to think that it is just as natural for people to act "inhumanly" - that is cruelly, and in a dehumanizing way towards OUTSIDERS as it is natural for people to act warmly, and with accomodation and mutual support, for people WITHIN their group.

    I think the story of the nuclear terror, and reasons why it has continued, may be more easily understood if this is true.

    xpat - 12:39am Nov 15, 2000 BST (#50 of 135)

    NB: You get what you give !

    saying suggest escalation or downspiraling of effects that may be negative, or conversely uplifing. to a society.

    Somewhere equilibruim may intervene.

    Legislation has been used through the last 2 centuries (First World) to improve the lot to the common man, later women. and later children.

    Possumdag - 04:21am Nov 17, 2000 BST (#51 of 135)

    How do we learn that some people are outsiders ?

    Possumdag - 04:22am Nov 17, 2000 BST (#52 of 135)

    Why are we taught that some people are outsiders?

    hoib - 06:37am Nov 17, 2000 BST (#53 of 135)

    #51 & 52 should keep me busy for quite a while poss. Excellent questions both.

    Don't wait up peeps.

    rshowalter - 09:03pm Nov 18, 2000 BST (#54 of 135)  | 

    Maybe it is tough to be an "insider". But people socialize, and build common ground, if they're in the same group. People in the same culture exchange thousands and thousands of words, somehow construct very similar notions about the world -and when they interact for the purpose of some action, they agree on a great deal. So interaction is easy.

    And when agreement is expected, and doesn't occur, they stop and compare notes. And if it happens enough, about too many things, or about things that matter too much, they stop interacting - they avoid each other -- they start to dislike each other ---- maybe being an outsider is as easy as that.

    But however it happens, unless there are some disciplines of culture, the ways outsiders deal with each other can be ugly, brutal, and dangerous.

    rshowalter - 02:46pm Nov 23, 2000 BST (#55 of 135)  | 

    And in a family meeting, the ways different people deal with each other can be beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving, yanks!

    Possumdag - 01:36pm Nov 28, 2000 BST (#56 of 135)

    With the US elections there are to be 'Insiders' (inner/Whitehouse) and 'Outsiders' (outer - loosers), the problem is the real INSIDERS don't get to vote ... so how can Yanks believe they live in a democacy?

    bNice2NoU - 04:05am Dec 2, 2000 BST (#57 of 135)

    How does the non-transparent US election fit in with the Casablanca psychology ?

    rshowalter - 02:43pm Dec 3, 2000 BST (#58 of 135)  | 

    There's a great deal of dishonesty and manipulation. In Florida, there appears to have been a great deal of decision making, most probably within the law, to bias results, as well as possible to fit the needs of the Republican administration.

    Afterwards, there were many times when coercion, intimidation, and delay were used to avoid clear answers that would have made sense in terms of core ideas - re-elections that could have been done,were not, counts that could have been done were not done, and in some cases, were impeded by coercive force (Miami is a violent town, and if the people who decided to stop counting were not substantially threatened, and reasonably afraid, I'd be amazed.)

    The lying and manipulation carry costs - psychological costs, and practical costs. When people feel deceptively manipulated, they are injured and alienated, and society divided. Societies, to work well, have to have "everybody reading off the same page" about basic facts -- and that has been frustrated, to a significant degree, in this case.

    Americans do many things well, but this election has not been one of them.

    The credibility of the United States, to itself and to the outside world has been diminished. We're looking at a political exercise with much in common with the O.J. Simpson trial.

    For very practical reasons, effective negotiation in complicated cooperative circumstances - the circumstances national function needs, has to be based on truth, rather than manipulations that can't reasonably stand the light of day.

    We're seeing an example where the media will tend to make the world better. Because of the coverage, such debacles will be less likely than before, and undercover, marginal or large manipulations less likely in future elections.

    The costs of war are going up because of the press, and especially television. The costs of shady or technically shoddy election practice are, as well.

    America's right to preach as the "shining light of democracy" has been diminished, and the general resevoir of good will of the US has been diminished, internally and externally.

    xpat - 10:58pm Dec 3, 2000 BST (#59 of 135)

    A revision of electoral law, system, and control seems necessary. I noted that Florida cities had electronic scanning of a cross, whereas, Floriday country was using the antequated punch hole - non-working system.

    rshowalter - 01:52am Dec 9, 2000 BST (#60 of 135)  | 

    Here's an interesting piece, that also uses CASABLANCA as reference and illustration.

    Casablanca's Régime: The Shifting Aesthetics of Political Technologies (1907-1943) by Jorge Otero-Pailos Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico © 1998 Jorge Otero-Pailos. All rights reserved. ----------------------------------------------------------

    ...the concept of reality is always the first victim of war. --Paul Virilio, paraphrasing Kipling (War and Cinema 33)

    Otero starts:

    Vacillating Realities 1. At the corner of the bar a man in a white suit, probably an American business traveler, asks for more coffee and looks intently at a young professional woman who, seated across the room, is slowly sipping a Martini. The bartender notices his stare and quietly smiles while drying off the sparkling glassware. The room is dimly light by wall sconces that cast a pale glow over posters of Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca. "As Time Goes By" is playing almost imperceptibly in the PA system. Five clocks on the wall mark the time in L.A., New York, Paris, Moscow, and Tokyo. He could be anywhere in the world. The napkin under his drink has a familiar logo that reads "Rick's Café," and through the front door he can see the Hotel receptionist. The man finishes his coffee, walks slowly to the front door of the Hotel, and exits. He pauses for a moment to light a cigarette and to look around. An immense boulevard lies before the building dividing a row of modern structures from an old masonry city wall. "Is this really Casablanca? It looks nothing like the movie," he murmurs. It is a typical scene inside Casablanca's Hyatt Hotel.

    xpat - 01:35pm Dec 16, 2000 BST (#61 of 135)

    I'd like to go there ... and check!

    Possumdag - 04:33pm Dec 22, 2000 BST (#62 of 135)

    "State affairs are deemed too complex to explain to everyone, yet they must somehow meet with the support of all affected by them if the government is to function effectively. Therefore, policies and directives, once resolved at the legislative level, must be presented as the best and most desirable solutions, and communicated to the socius in simple but persuasive terms. This aspect of politics--the interface between government and individual--is all about representation, about wheedling, about influencing the public's understanding of reality. In this sense, war is a perfect political technology: It exercises its political strength by placing an emphasis on difference, and rallying a particular and otherwise heterogenic socius into a cohesive unit--within which difference is not tolerated. It is a condensation of complex diplomatic relations into a simple and understandable right and wrong: either you are in or out; it is a matter of life or death. "

    from 10 of 30 paras Post 60 ref

    rshowalter - 06:03pm Dec 22, 2000 BST (#63 of 135)  | 

    I have hopes that some of this thread (and the meat of it was posted early) will serve a persuasive purpose. If people understood, in historical and human terms, how psychological warfare works, and how nuclear terror came to be, we'd live in a world with better odds on a safe and decent future.

    Lies are more dangerous, in practical and pschological terms, than people think. And since lies have always been a conscious, powerful part of military and military-political strategy, the need for sorting out the truth can be compelling, if right action is to be reasonably possible.

    SeekerOfTruth - 12:10pm Dec 26, 2000 BST (#64 of 135)

    Interesting to note that 'casa' is spanish for house and 'blanca' could be white.

    Are there any parallels between Casablanca (the movie) and Casablanca (the Whitehouse) - just a passing thought :)

    Tony50 - 12:34pm Dec 26, 2000 BST (#65 of 135)

    rshowalter, just read this thread, and was captivated. We share an experience - I was part of the 'big lie' as well, for a while.

    Like you, I believe that it worked, against the odds. Partly by accident, and partly by design, it produced 66 years of relative peace, in a century that had previously averaged a global convulsion every twenty years.

    I am personally grateful, in that I was able to use the period to have and bring up a family in 'time of peace'. But I now find myself saying to them "I don't envy you the future - it was better in my time".

    I differ from you though, in that I do not see the problem as being solved by 'rapprochement', increased frankness, between the Russians and the USA.

    I see the problem as being that nuclear weapons, though they served the purpose of maintaining peace until this time, are now no longer a 'political' weapon. They are increasingly routine military hardware, available not just to 'super-powers' but to smaller nations, which may soon decide that they would like to be bigger ones, by fair means or foul.

    And I don't see any way of controlling, or 'disinventing', those weapons.

    SeekerOfTruth - 07:55am Dec 28, 2000 BST (#66 of 135) Richard Butler - Weapons Inspector, talks about his remarkable career

    rshowalter - 11:33pm Dec 29, 2000 BST (#67 of 135)  | 

    I think nuclear weapons MUST be controlled, and must, as soon as possible, be outlawed. We must find a way of controlling these weapons - and though we can't disinvent them - we CAN make it very difficult - in a reasonable moral climate, to make them, or threaten to use them. If the world is to survive veyr long, I believe we MUST find ways to do this. In THE NEW YORK TIMES forums, in the Science section, there's an extensive discussion on MISSILE DEFENSE.

    I'll have some references from that thread, and a rough guide to it, fairly soon.

    In #268 I write this: The technical part of full world nuclear disarmament isn't especially difficult for the nation states that would have to do it. The motivation to eliminate nuclear weapons is the harder part.

    I make a proposal in #266-269 September 25, 2000 Ridding the world of nuclear weapons, this year or next year. What would have to happen?

    "Given sufficient understanding (and hence motivation) among the main participants, primarily the U.S. and Russia, almost all nuclear weapons could be dismantled in about four weeks time, with rapid mop up and convergence to a nuclear weapon free world thereafter. "The massive arsenals of the U.S. and the former USSR could be dismanted by the military forces responsible for them, with the opposite side, in every case, observing and assured that the weapons could not be used as part of a first strike trick in the course of stand down. Trust or good will would not be necessary nor would they be assumed. Distrustful checking and deterrence would be used to provide the vital assurances the nation states would properly need."

    rshowalter - 11:36pm Dec 29, 2000 BST (#68 of 135)  | 

    From #270-304 there's and extensive discussion, taking the better part of a day, between me and a personage I've suspected was William Jefferson Clinton. Here's the beginning of it At #304, I close that discussion with this:

    ....."Some mistakes have been made, and you and I weren't very old when they were made. They can be fixed. A lot of things would improve if this were done. They are American mistakes, and Americans, and American leaders, have to fix them."

    Tony, perhaps you'll find this dialog of interest. The thread is still continuing. I'll have more to say about it in a while. I think we CAN get rid of nucs, and think that we must.

    In my view, the role of journalists, and literary people, would be vital in such an effort.

    dozer - 05:58am Dec 30, 2000 BST (#69 of 135)


    How does one outlaw the nuclear weapons? How does one control proliferation thereof?

    How can one force various nations with opposing and diverse interests to think alike? The idea is certainly grand, but a possible outcome may be disasterous.

    bNice - 08:29am Dec 30, 2000 BST (#70 of 135)

    Don't know what Showalter thinks, but, for myself, i think that all of us who are under 'target' threats from nuclear nations ought to put a mass international insurance claim to a world court re the 'terror and emotional suffering' we are undergoing and stressing over.

    Take a look at the power station that 'blew' in 1985. The people there eat food grown in radioactive dirt. The people are radioactive. They have illness and thyroid cancer. Some of these kids come over to us (my country) for vacations. The area around the powerstation should be sealed off and the people moved.

    If there's spare cash in the world it should be used to tidy up this mess!!

    The only thing that causes moral reckoning in the USA is a court decision that involves big dollars!

    Tony50 - 08:37am Dec 30, 2000 BST (#71 of 135)

    rsho, had a look. The discussion was interesting, but also very centred on the Russia/USA point.

    I'm not so worried about super-powers having the bombs. I'm worried about smaller, less stable ones having it - particularly the ones that are run by military dictatorships.

    You can't negotiate a solution with countries like that. Or rather you can negotiate what looks like agreement on a solution, but you can't rely on them to honour it. Nor can you check up on them - as Richard Butler found out.

    You are dead right on one thing, though. Only one country in the world can 'solve' the problem; the United States. But I fear that the 'solution' is the same one that obtained during the Cold War; the threat of 'massive retaliation' on anyone who uses the weapons, anywhere, against anyone.

    And only one country has the resources to carry out that threat, anywhere in the world.

    I'm afraid the USA is going to have to adopt - or should I say 'continue in' - the role of 'world policeman'.

    dozer - 09:29pm Dec 30, 2000 BST (#72 of 135)


    I see that you have divided the world between superpowers, who are presumed to be stable and civilised, and others, who are presumed to be not so.

    Does it mean then that there ARE different ways of going about conflicts, warfare, resolutions thereof, peace treaties, etc., among different people of this planet?

    When I referred to the difference is perception and attitudes on these matters that exist in the Middle East you made some snide derrogatory remarks. Now, you seem to take an elitist position on the issue of who deserves more concern with respect to the possession of the nuclear weapons. Are you then a hypocrit, or just confused?

    hannnah - 09:30pm Dec 30, 2000 BST (#73 of 135)


    rshowalter - 10:38pm Dec 30, 2000 BST (#74 of 135)  | 

    The problems of dismantling the big arsenals - the ones that could so easily destroy the world, are a central concern. Terrorism, so far as I can see, isn't going to produce as many deaths as malaria, or tuberculosis, or other things we tolerate, for a long time, if ever.

    The huge arsenals and lousy controls the US and Russia have set up NOW could quite easily destroy the world.

    So looking at the U.S. and Russia makes sense - even if nothing more could be done.

    But much more could be done, I believe. The problem is that people would have to understand, intellectually and morally, what nuclear weapons are. Here is a SIMPLE point, that needs to be understood, and understood widely.


    There needs to be a consensus about that. If there were, the things could be effectively outlawed. I don't happen to be a pacifist. But nuclear weapons are horrific - and THAT has to be widely understood.

    Lots of people understand it already.

    This is an area, I believe, where journalism might make a tremendous difference.

    I think an effort ought to be made to negotiate a full nuclear disarmament, and motivate it. Given the dynamics of the situation, I think a "dry run" at this might well be done by several major newspapers, working together, in work that would be superb journalisms and, in my view, a major contribution to world peace.

    A good deal of spade work towards that end has now been done.

    Every argument FOR and AGAINST nuclear weapons, and FOR and AGAINST disarmament, might be set out side by side. All the institutions FOR nuclear weapons and FOR the current balances could be given every encouragement to explain themselves. There are ways, now that the internet exists, and people are getting used to its usages, to get around most, if not all, of the basic barriers that have kept people from knowing the truth about nuclear arrangements. Enormous bodies of information are in place, and competent organizations are, too.

    The output could be superb journalism, at the least, and I believe that it might shape policy.

    With the facts clear (and many recognized people would bear a hand in making them clear) to the general population in US, UK, and elsewhere, I think that the we'd be well on the way towards ending the nuclear nightmare, and effectively outlawing nuclear weapons. I'll be back about this.

    I think the nuclear terror is a problem ripe for solution.

    hannnah - 10:41pm Dec 30, 2000 BST (#75 of 135)

    and i think you're just the man to sort it

    rshowalter - 11:01pm Dec 30, 2000 BST (#76 of 135)  | 

    There are good organizations, and many good people, ready to work hard for disarmament, and many are "names" that would interest readers. contains this:

    There is a silence that the people at the Global Security Institute http://www.gsinstitute/ the Fourth Freedom Forum and

    the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

    and many other organizations (not least, the United Nations ) are trying to penetrate.

    In the NE edition of the NYT, on page A7b there was a very impressive full page ad from Alan Cranston's Global Security Institute with an enormously impressive list of people, including senior military, nuclear arms talk, and CIA people, many Republicans, in support (see their web site) of a statement that read as follows.

    "An Appeal to End the Nuclear Threat: Concerned Americans Speak Out Now is the Time

    " The end of the Cold War has offered the most promising opportunity since the advent of nuclear arms in 1945 to free the world from nuclear danger.

    " Instead we witness the spread of nuclear weapon technology and the deepening crisis of the nuclear arms control regime fashioned by both Republican and Democratic presidents.

    " To take advantage of the new opportunity and avert the new perils, we call upon the United States goverment to commit itself unequivocally to negotiate the worldwide reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons, in a series of well defined stages accompanied by increasing verification and control. As immediate steps along that path, we urge the global de-alerting of nuclear weapons and deep reductions in nuclear stockpiles."

    Signatories of the Global Security Institute appeal as of October 2, 2000 seem well worth listing, because I find the list hopeful and impressive.

    I have reason to believe that most of the people on this list would, if asked, supply good, insightful copy on disarmament.

    Tony50 - 07:49am Dec 31, 2000 BST (#77 of 135)

    rsho, the problem is that there is a whole 'second generation' of nuclear-armed powers to whom the old rules no longer apply.

    You seem to be arguing on the basis of harnessing public opinion to the point where all relevant governments come under pressure to disarm.

    This sort of 'bottom up' pressure could certainly be applied to governments like those in the USA, Britain, and France.

    But are you sure that the Cold War is over, and will stay over? Prospects for peace and co-existence don't seem as good now that Russia has a new leader.

    And what of India, Pakistan, Israel, China, North Korea - and possibly countries like Iraq and iran? You cannot hope for 'public opinion' to sway most of those governments in the way it might in the west. For a start, several of them 'control' public opinion. But more important, they didn't acquire the weapons on a whim, by accident - they acquired them because they don't trust their neighbours.

    How would you set about persuading India and Pakistan, for example, to trust each other enough to disarm? What arguments, what persuasion, would you use?

    And even if you got some sort of treaty, how could you be sure everyone would conform? Who would enforce such a treaty, and how would they do it?

    rshowalter - 10:21pm Dec 31, 2000 BST (#78 of 135)  | 

    Tony50 , you ask very good questions. We don't seem to have much essential disagreement about the "first generation" of nuclear powers, and let me adress what there is of that disagreement, first.

    I'll go back and check, but as I remember, Russian and the US, between them, have 97+ % of the nuclear explosive power in existence. Most of the rest is in the hands of UK, France, and China.

    The US and Russian arsenals, which are now on hair triggers, and now exist in an internet world far less stable than the world these obsolete weapons were designed for, could easily destroy the world.

    So major reduction of these forces is an important goal. The mechanics of disarmament for Russian and the US is relatively straightforward. The crucial issue of primal distrust (not trust, which is impossible where nucler weapons are concerned, but distrust) must be handled. It can be. That issue handled, full or nearly full nuclear disarmament could happen quickly. My proposal in #266-269 sets out a way where the mechanics of take-down of these weapons could proceed. There are doubtless other ways. The crucial matter of mechanics is the assumption of distrust, which is realistic, rather than trust.

    Now, Vladimir Putin may be the devil incarnate from some perspectives. I don't think that matters so much. He has suggested DEEP cuts in nuclear weapons (down to hundreds, from tens of thousands). The cuts can be entirely verifiable. If the AMERICANS were willing to cut their forces so deeply, and if the Americans were willing to do so on a basis that did not ask for trust, but assumed distrust, then massive, if not complete disarmament between the US and Russia would be possible. Similar degrees of disarmament with the other "first tier" powers would be possible, too. Public understanding would be essential for this, but I believe that it would be a reasonable thing to bring that public understanding, and public sympathy,into existence.

    rshowalter - 10:22pm Dec 31, 2000 BST (#79 of 135)  | 

    Tony50 , that doesn't address your "major concern." But it does mine - I'm concerned, first and formost, with the destruction of the world.

    Your concerns about India, Pakistan, Israel, China, North Korea, perhaps Iraq, Iran, and possibly other nations are essential concerns.

    And, as you correctly point out, "public opinion" won't and can't suffice to motivate nuclear disarmament of nation states against their own percieved interest.

    (Even so, public opinion CAN be powerful, and an essential part of any workable long term solution to the nuclear nightmare we've come to live in.)

    So it becomes necessary to ask "what are these things good for?" How are they useful to a nation state? And also, how can we make them less useful?

    I want to take time to deal with that carefully. The issue of what threat means, and how human beings respond to threat, is essential here.

    The very word "threat" has been a major stumbling block in the nuclear arms talks - it is a word laden with fear and confusion, and notions around it are dangerously muddled.

    I'm going to take a little time to collect my notes, and search some texts.

    But here's an essential point.

    Nuclear weapons are worse than useless for any kind of war, except for wars extermination. Extermination of whole nation states. Even for monsters, wars of extermination are not worthwhile. Nor, even with nuclear weapons, are they easy.

    Nuclear weapons are not cheap and easy to get, or cheap and easy to own and maintain.

    When people better understand, not only how useless they are for "limited" war, but also how reprehensible their use is, and come to dishonor, rather than honor, those who have them, it ought to be possible to outlaw them, so that the prohibition sticks.

    Pakistan and India are the toughest case. There is no hope if they are asked to trust each other. If it is assumed that they distrust each other, there is considerable hope for disarmament, which is in the interest of both sides, or can be made to be.

    I'll get back to you, with more on the crucial issue of threat, and what unlimited threats do to people. There's a basic fact that "nuclear strategy" ignores. Human beings, if you threaten them enough, are likely to fight.

    Great questions. Happy New Year !

    bNice - 10:50pm Dec 31, 2000 BST (#80 of 135)

    Public opinion is often 'behind' that of strong moral leaders ... perhaps they don't know the facts, or perhaps they are shrouded in 'old propaganda type knowledge' ... therefore great moral leaders may be needed to GIVE MORAL LEADERSHIP ... so who have they been, where are they, and why aren't they developing strategies to lead us into a peaceful world ?

    Tony50 - 02:28am Jan 1, 2001 BST (#81 of 135)

    Thanks for being so open-minded, rsho! There are so many issues to be discussed now that we had better take them one at a time. First of all, a slight digression on the subject of the nature of nuclear weapons.

    At first these were treated as a military option; 'just another weapon', but bigger and better and cheaper to deliver (in terms of lives expended). But the military rapidly realised that they had very little direct use for them in any likely military scenario.

    NATO (and no doubt the 'other side') considered using nuclear weapons tactically in the '60s - shells fired from guns, or bombs dropped from tactical support aircraft (that was actually the part of the picture that I was peripherally involved in). It rapidly became clear that, once the armies were locked together at tactical ranges, you'd be killing your own people as well. Using them against 'lines of communication' in the enemy's rear looked feasible, but even then the fallout would affect your own people.

    The military debate was exactly analogous to the debate on use of poison gas after WW1. All armies had stocks of phosgene and chlorine and mustard-gas throughout WW2 (they probably still do) but they don't get used much - only by nutcases like the Iraqis - because of their unpredictability and the danger to your own people.

    So you can take it that nuclear weapons have largely been 'disinvented' by the military (the saner members of it anyway) already.

    But nuclear weapons have had important political effects. The first is that they have legitimised 'area bombing' of civilian populations. In WW2 the Germans bombed cities indiscriminately from the start - following up with rockets and missiles that could quite literally land anywhere. But the British and Americans spent a lot of lives on fruitlessly trying to bomb 'military targets' only. Sure, they fell back on 'area bombing' eventually, as being the only thing they could do in practical terms - but they had to go to great lengths to conceal that fact from their respective 'parliaments', otherwise they'd have been stopped in their tracks.

    Strange that, since the advent of nuclear weapons, all of us accept that the civilian population of any country will now be a legitimate target? That wasn't the case in the democracies, until 1945.

    That acceptance, plus the sheer power of nuclear weapons, would make sure that, in any war between the 'great powers', the politicians would die too. Call me a cynic if you will, but I believe that that has been the main reason why there hasn't been a World War Three.

    The Pentagon, in its clinical (slightly deranged) way, actually elevated this principle to the level of a recognised war-winning tactic. They called it 'decapitation'. I'm sure it's still in the 'Strategic Bombing Playbook' - remember, it was tried on Ghaddafi, Saddam Hussein, maybe even Milosevic. But thankfully with HE bombs only.....

    And there's the fact that the weapons could be used as a 'last throw' - if you were losing the chess game, you could sweep the pieces off the board, or even tip the table over, so nobody wins........

    All this leads me to believe that, given that nukes are 'political' weapons, it would be very difficult to get all pollies to give them up.

    And I can still foresee situations in which their deterrent effect might once again be 'a force for peace'.

    rshowalter - 10:47pm Jan 1, 2001 BST (#82 of 135)  | 

    The politicians respond to the logic, and moral standards of the populations they represent.

    In the Science in the News forum of the The New York Times I posted this, and I think it fits here

    Here it is in part:

    "rshowalt - 05:00am Sep 27, 2000 EST (#1648 of 2549)

    "As a mathematician, I've used a pattern, that is as old as the perfection of scientific instruments, that may be called the "loop test." Things are supposed to add up. Proportionalities are supposed to yeild consistent results . . . . . . .

    "How about "getting things to add up" in moral conduct? Isn't it necessary to our function as social animals, in practical ways?

    "Nobody can say "it is all right, under some circumstances, to make a first strike with nuclear weapons" and have things add up, according to any SELF CONSISTENT ethical standard at all. Try it, and try sequences of reasoning, and you'll find that the consistency of your moral universe self destructs.

    "In some of the literary forums, people talk about the death of culture, the death of any standards at all. I think it starts here, and think that it is profoundly important. Our culture has been corroding, degrading, eating into itself, and making the moral instruction of children foundationless, by staying committed to the proposition - a basic stance of our national policy, that the U.S. President can, and will, use nuclear weapons when he chooses, and that "morality is not applicable to the actions of nation states."

    "Americans insist on that in international conferences and negotiations.

    "It is a horrific stance. If morality doesn't apply to nation states, how does one object to Adolph Hitler, or Eichmann, or their like? Logically, one cannot. Even so, to justify the use of first strikes with nuclear weapons, one logically has to take this stance. The United States Government does this, and has done so for more than thirty years.

    "I feel that, even if the dangers with nucs were small (and they are HUGE) this moral confusion would be too high a price for us to pay for keeping them.

    ". . . . . . . the United States of America insists that it has the right to use nuclear weapons when it chooses, and it has coerced silence on the point from the Russians and the rest of the world.

    "If we're trying to get even rough senses of proportionality in morality, and if we presume to make moral judgements of others, how can we make this stick?

    "And if we want to comfortably do the complex negotiating that our society needs to work, don't we need some moral common ground amongst ourselves, that people can agree on?

    "We're paying far too high a price for keeping nuclear weapons, and for justifying our past actions, which may have been necessary during the Cold War, but are surely not justified now. We should get rid of them, and admit the obvious fact that they are reprehensible, shameful, weapons - the ultimate no-nos by reasonable moral standards. Things to be forbidden.

  • * The thread continues, with some interesting contributions by Lunarchick .

    Moral questions are practical questions. Moral beliefs shape human action.

    The arguments for outlawing nuclear weapons have been set out by many people -- it is worth noting that some very careful consideration of them has been given by a number of Islamic clerics. The moral justification of terrorism offered by Islamic clerics depends, in large part, on comparisons with the "moral justification" of nuclear weapons.

    Compare anything at all to a first strike with nuclear weapons, and it comes up looking "justifiable" if the first strike is ever justifiable.

    Then there's another issue. What, from a totally "morals-free" point of view, are nuclear weapons good for? As Tony50 points out above, they are worse than useless in "limited" engagements -- they are good for the extermination of nation states (with all the allies those nation states may happen to have) -- and nothing more.

    Such extermination is not a practical policy, even for terrorists or monsters.

    I believe that the confusion about the morality of nuclear weapons, which is now almost solely the responsibility of the United States, is the greatest barrier to nuclear disarmament. Breach that, and set out clearly that the U.S. is not justified in acting as if first strikes with nuclear weapons are workable, and widespread nuclear disarmament becomes a practical proposition -- far more practical than missile defense, for example, which cannot work, and has absorbed huge amounts of resources.

    The idea that "morality cannot be applied to the actions of nation states" is not only morally repulsive, it does not describe what nation states do. Nation states, all of them, use moral arguments to justify what they do (whether one agrees with these arguments or not) both internally and externally.

    If moral comparisons are useful at all, and they must be, there is good reason to insist that it is never all right to make a first strike with nuclear weapons. The logic of nuclear disarmament depends, I believe, on getting this clear. It would seem a rather simple point, if the United States had not been asserting the contrary, forcefully, for so many years.

    rshowalter - 10:54pm Jan 1, 2001 BST (#83 of 135)  | 

    I'll be back on the issue of "threat." Confusions about what threat is good for, confusions that concern questions of fact, are central to discussions of the practicality of nuclear disarmament.

    Pakistan and India can't use the nuclear weapons they have, or could reasonably be expected to build. Nor could any other nation. If they understood that, getting rid of these holocaust makers would be doable.

    bNice - 11:17pm Jan 1, 2001 BST (#84 of 135)

    USA Clinton has signed a document ratifing a 'world court' of some type. The USA population don't want it to apply to the USA internally! Would this type of court be strong enough to rule on Health&Safety Nuclear Matters i wonder.

    Tony50 - 02:37am Jan 2, 2001 BST (#85 of 135)

    The logic of a 'first strike' was that the enemy would be targeting your missile silos/air bases. So if you waited till he attacked, you'd have nothing left to reply with!

    Don't forget the deterrent effect, though, rsho - particularly my point that the politicians know that they would die too.

    SeekerOfTruth - 10:47am Jan 2, 2001 BST (#86 of 135)

    So you're expecting a pecking order of logic to apply to button pressing ?

    gjowilson - 10:53am Jan 2, 2001 BST (#87 of 135)

    You must remember this; a kiss is just a kiss. A smile is just a smile. The fundamental things apply; as time goes by

    Tony50 - 11:01am Jan 2, 2001 BST (#88 of 135)

    Yes, SeekerOfTruth, logic. rsho and I agreed ages back that that logic spared you and the rest of us from having to sit through World War Three, ages back.

    rshowalter - 11:07am Jan 2, 2001 BST (#89 of 135)  | 

    Logic unconnected to emotion, and not integrating to supporting evidential detail, is a weak thing.

    Logic connected to emotion, and integrated with supporting evidential detail, can be powerful. Often, in action, decisive.

    Similar things can be said of moral statements.

    Tony50 - 01:47am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#90 of 135)

    I think, from the perspective of Europe in the Sixties, rsho, the remorseless military buildup of the Warsaw Pact along the West German border appeared as a clear threat to one's way of life. So I suppose fear was the dominant emotion!

    The decision was made that there was no way the West could withstand an invasion by conventional means. This led inevitably to the development of the 'nuclear deterrent' principle.

    And having decided the principle, it had to be thought through logically. In 18th. Century battles, officers of both sides often used to confer as to which side would fire first, like tossing a coin in cricket! But in the context of nuclear weapons, clearly, letting the other guy fire first would just amount to letting him 'win'.

    Ironically, looking at the way the Russian Army performed in Afghanistan and Chechnya, NATO might possibly have been able to defeat them by conventional means. They seemed ill-trained, badly led, and demoralised before they started. Certainly, they'd have lost an awful lot of people if they had ever tried it.

    But that never seems to bother the Russians.....

    rshowalter - 02:25am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#91 of 135)  | 

    Tony, I don't think there was EVER any realistic risk that the Russians were going to invade -- they were outgunned, though not outnumbered, virtually all the time. We had conventional superiority essentially all through the cold war.

    When their numbers looked "good" it happened because people were counting untrained troops, in poorly organized groups, against our much better trained, equipped, and organized people.

    The propaganda supporting the notion of our "outnumbered, outgunned forces" was just that. It was enormously effective. But a big lie, for a long time, supported in large measure because the press was neutralized, by rules that kept it from determining what balances actually were.

    Not that the Russians would have had any qualms, had we been undefended. But the fact was, we outgunned them conventionally, and outgunned them with nucs, essentially all through the cold war. The Russians did a lot of blustering, and waving about of "secret weapons" -- such as chemical and biological weapons. But they were in an essentially defensive position, on balance, all the while. And we made sure that THEY were afraid that WE were going to attack them. They were afraid of US, and we made damn sure they stayed that way.

    I'm glad we won, and glad we won in the way we did. But once the Cold War ended, we should have taken steps to let Russia get back together. The horrors of Russian degeneration exist, in large part, because when we should have stopped "fighting the cold war" we didn't, and kept right on with patterns of psychological warfaren that have damaged Russian society. These days, they can't even keep drugs in stock, or organize themselves well enough that the men can find decent work.

    rshowalter - 02:27am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#92 of 135)  | 

    Correction: the Russians might well have had qualms about invading us. They know what war is, all of them, in a way that our populations (especially in America) do not.

    anarchy - 02:31am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#93 of 135)

    lol rshowalter. I think it was similar with the Kurds. In the sense that they were encouraged to believe in American politicians and were then left to fend for themselves!

    edevershed - 03:08am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#94 of 135)

    Rshowalter: Thankyou for this thread, I love Casablanca, my favorite bit is when rick says something like

    "I've got a journey to go on and where I'm going you can't come."

    Any idea where they lifted that quotation from? It's older than Casablanca, and in my view it's the key to the whole movie.

    Of course the West should disarm. One of the reasons that unilateral disarmament was a policy of the true left in Britain, is that it makes a moral statement. That you're doing it because it's right, and you hope others will follow the example.

    But your government is under the control of criminals, as is ours. And they make a lot of money from the arms business.

    When you look at America today, is there any reason not to call it, "The evil empire."

    rshowalter - 03:20am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#95 of 135)  | 

    There are degrees of evil. Getting rid of nuclear weapons ought not to require virtue - certainly not sainthood --- but only sanity.

    edevershed - 03:23am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#96 of 135)

    In a way though, this idea that morality is not applicable to governments or nation states has some merit. Nation states or governed peoples form systems, and in as much as the people participate in the system, they necessarily participate in a mechanical system, in which they have job which they are expected to carry out conscientously, but without resort to their own personal conscience. Cogs are not expected to think for themselves. The actions of nation states are described in human terms, X threatened Y, Y responded defensively. As very dumb machines, considerably less intelligent than we domesticated primates, nation states, are not capable of sophisticated moral responses but only of crude playground posturing.

    The solution as I see it is to get rid of nation states and all the government apparatus that maintains them. I suppose someone needs to occupy power in order to stop it from being forcibly taken by criminals, but they should in no way use this power at all, except to prevent others from exercising power over others.

    It is governments nation states, and military command structures that make war possible. You wouldn't have a hope of getting people into that kind of madness without them.

    Maybe they're really worried about military coups if they try and get rid of the military.

    Did you ever hear the story of the English civil war?

    It was fought over the question of whether the king had the right to raise tax for his private army without parliament's consent.

    Parliament divided for and against the king, and at the end of the day Parliament won and the king had his head chopped off.

    For the next ten years or so, the Lord protector continued to raise the money in peacetime for his standing army without the consent of parliament.

    And he wasn't a bad guy, for all I know.

    edevershed - 03:48am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#97 of 135)

    Quotations from the universe next door;

    The fact that plutonium was missing originally leaked to the press in the mid-1970s. At first there was a minor wave of panic among those given to worryijng about such matters, and there was some churlish grumbling about a government so incompetent it couldn't keep track of its own weapons of megadeath. But then a year passed, and...eventually a decade... but nothing drastic had happened.

    Terran primates, being a simpleminded, sleepful race, simply stopped worrying about the subject. The triggering mechanism of the most destructive weapon ever devised on that backward planet was in unknown hands, true; but that was really not much more unsettling to contemplate than the fact that many of the known hands which had enjoyed access to plutonium belonged to persons who were not in all respects, reasonable me. (See TErran archives Ronald Raygun, bullshit artist, career of.)

    The six-legged majority on Terra were never consulted when the domesticated primates set about building weapons that could destroy all life-forms on that planet. This was not unusual. the fish, the birds, the reptiles, the flowers, the tress, and even the other mammals were not allowed to vote on this issue. Even the wild primates weren't involved in the decision to produce such weapons. In fact, the majority of domesticated primates themselves never had a say in the matter.

    A handful of alpha males among the leading predator bands among the domesticated primates had made the decision on their own. Everybody elsde on the planet, including the six-legged majority, who had never been involved in primate politics, just had to face the consequences.

    Most of the domesticated primates of Terra did not know they were primates. They thought they were something apart from and superior to the rest of the planet.

    Even the educated didn't often think of themselves as primates, and above all never understood that the alpha males of Unistat were typical leaders of primate bands. As a result of this inability to see the obvious, they were constantly alarmed and terrified by the behaviour of themselves, their friends and associates and especially the alpha males of the pack. Since they didn't know it was ordinary primate behaviour it seemed JUST AWFUL to them.

    Since a great deal of primate behaviour was considered JUST AWFUL, most of the domesticated primates spent considerable energy trying to conceal what they were doing.

    Some of the primates GOT CAUGHT by other primates. All of the primates lived in dread of getting caught. Those who goth caught were called no-good shits.

    The term no good shit was a deep expression of primate psychology. For instance, one wild primate taught sign language by two scientist domesticated primates, spontaneously put togehter the signs for "shit" and "scientist" to describe a scientist she didn't like. She did the same for a chimpanzee she didn't like, she was calling him shit-chimpanzee.

    This metaphor was deep in primate psychology because primates mark their territories with excretions , and sometimes they threw excretions at each other when disputing over territories.

    Among the anal insults exchanged by DP's when fighting for their space was "UP your Ass"

    When primates went to war, or got violent in other ways, they always said they were about to "knock the shit" out of the enemy.#

    They also spoke of "dumping" on each other.

    The primates who had mined Unistat with nuclear bombls intended to dump on the other primates REAL HARD.

    edevershed - 04:08am Jan 3, 2001 BST (#98 of 135)

    Time to face up to our shit, and start dealing with it, then maybe we can leave the age of bullshit behind.

    I have some sympathy with the nutter who tried to crash the aeroplane.

    This man, you could say he was evil, but I reckon he was just confused, tried to kill a number of other innocent people.

    But there are others, who I would call evil, who seem to be intent on crashing spaceship earth, and they call themselves sane, and they accuse the people who try to stop them of insanity, or of not living in the real world, this "real world" being an insane hell that they created, and imposed on the rest of us.;

    rshowalter - 11:49pm Jan 4, 2001 BST (#99 of 135)  | 

    edevershed , that's very good, very pointed writing.

    There's a surreal horror to nuclear weapons - primate patterns have been applied to technical arrangements far, far beyond those for which human intellect or emotion evolved.

    Tony50 - 02:50am Jan 5, 2001 BST (#100 of 135)

    Britain or France could probably dismantle their nuclear 'capabilities' without much impact, one way or the other.

    But if the US disarmed, and Russia didn't, is everyone quite sure that Putin or someone like him wouldn't perceive a 'wider range of possibilities'?

    Also, it isn't commonly known that the main reason for the inception of the 'Manhattan Project' was that Germany was known already to be trying to develop nuclear weapons.

    Anyone care to speculate on what would have happened if Hitler had had the atomic bomb, and the Allies hadn't?

    rshowalter - 05:29pm Jan 6, 2001 BST (#101 of 135)  | 

    Hitler didn't, and by 1944, we knew that to pretty good certainty.

    But if he had had fission weapons, then the questions would have been "how many?" and "how big?" A few Hiroshima size bombs wouldn't have stopped the Allies, I don't believe. An unlmited supply of them would have.

    On "America disarming its nuclear weapons without Russia doing so, or vice versa" NO ONE expects that, or has ever suggested that.

    Russia has enough nukes that it COULD exterminate the US. -- and so, they have a usable force, if we had no deterrance.

    And vice versa.

    So, both sides need to disarm together, and the mechanics of that have to assume the emotion and distrust that are going to be there.

    It is in the interest of both sides to do so.

    And to take the number of weapons down so far (to hudreds or fewer) so that first strikes make no sense. If no one can reasonably go first, the situation is inherently far more stable.

    Though accidents could still occur, they would not destroy human life.

    Tony50 - 12:17am Jan 7, 2001 BST (#102 of 135)

    rsho, with respect, you are reading history 'in the rearview mirror' a bit!

    About the A-bomb, you say "Hitler didn't (have it) , and by 1944, we knew that to pretty good certainty. But if he had had fission weapons, then the questions would have been "how many?" and "how big?" A few Hiroshima size bombs wouldn't have stopped the Allies, I don't believe".

    We know now that Hitler didn't have the bomb. And that the war ended in 1945. But no-one knew either of those things then.

    On a personal note, I was living near London at the time, still within two hundred miles of German airfields, with V2 rockets arriving. One would have been enough for me - and, I suspect, for the Allies. A very large proportion of the Allied war effort was concentrated in and around London.

    Subconsciously, I think you (and others) have a similar 'rearview' approach to the Cold War and the nuclear deterrent - "There was no WW3, therefore we didn't need it".

    I happen to believe that there was a fair bit of 'cause and effect' there. In particular, as i have said several times, that politicians on both sides concluded that war was 'unthinkable' - mainly because they would also have died.

    I'm afraid that that leads on to another bit of 'hard logic'. The only way of surviving a nuclear attack is to be somewhere else. So if you wish to maintain a deterrent, which is effectively based on frightening the pants off the relevant politicians, you have to have enough weapons to cover all the places they might hide.

    Possumdag - 12:36am Jan 7, 2001 BST (#103 of 135)

    Balkans Syndrome: Nato okayed use of uranium in the bullets that piereced tanks. Peace Keepers die throughout Europe.

    The problem with nuclear thinking is that it isn't clean. Where does ecology lie in military thought processes?

    rshowalter - 12:42am Jan 7, 2001 BST (#104 of 135)  | 

    Tony50, Well, that's a 'nice' logical justification for extermination.

    If you have to be sure of killing the top politicians, then you have to be doubly sure of killing everybody else.

    "So if you wish to maintain a deterrent, which is effectively based on frightening the pants off the relevant politicians, you have to have enough weapons to cover all the places they might hide."

    Do political systems ACTUALLY work that way? I don't think so. Human beings do terrible things, but not in quite that way.

    I hate to ask for mercy personally, but I'm going to ask for a little. Or beg a little pardon.

    If you read back in this thread, it says something about my background. Specifically, I was set to looking for a "needle in a haystack" problem of some military consequence -- as a very young, very junior, expendable man.

    One might say, an expendable and somewhat insubordinate, headstrong young man.

    Well, I've found the mistake, after an inconvenient passage of time - a mistake that is 350 years old. And rather thoroughly buried. Something about the mistake, and the difficulties involved with correcting a mistake so embedded in the culture, is set out in the "Paradigm Shift - whose getting there" thread in the SCIENCE section of these Guardian TALK threads.

    Now, at some risk to myself, I seem to have an actual chance of proving my case, before witnesses, and with enough engagement of major institutions that if I DO prove the case, it will make a difference. I have hopes that, if I'm right, it will propagate detonatively through the culture. If I'm wrong, I'll be in a compromised position.

    A big time matter of life and death for medical reasons, and also, in terms of my own life, which matters to me, a matter of psychological and perhaps physical survival.

    So I'll be moving a little more slowly on this thread, and responding with somewhat less attention, than I'd like. For a reason based on personal weakness - I'm otherwise engaged.

    And for a reason of more general validity. -- If I make my case, on a matter concerning the math-physics interface for coupled physical systems, I'll speak with a louder and more credible voice on matters of defense policy.

    I'd like that louder, more credible voice, because I feel that, for the survival of the world, and for moral reasons, too, nuclear weapons should come down.

    Thanks, and I'm sorry I'm responding more slowly than I'd wish. Some hopeful but pressing things are upon me.

    Tony50 - 01:14am Jan 7, 2001 BST (#105 of 135)

    rsho, I assure you that it worked exactly that way. I still remember attending (in a junior capacity) a meeting with a group of London County Councillors in the Sixties.

    They had asked for a briefing to help them with 'disaster' planning. The guy in charge of the briefing was an Intelligence major, very forthright and well-informed. He didn't tell them anything that they couldn't have read about from unrestricted sources - but he put it over beautifully.

    They started off asking about the power of 'a bomb dropped on London'. He explained, of course, that we weren't talking about one - more like twenty-plus.

    Then they moved on to the question of 'evacuation'. He said obviously they should plan as well as they could - but time constraints, and the effect of panic, and the limitations of the transport system, probably meant that very little could be done.

    The crunch came when they asked about 'VIPs'. It was quite clear that many of them were hoping to be told where they should assemble to be airlifted out themselves. He handled it beautifully - pointing out the levels of people who had to be evacuated (starting with the Queen!), telling them helicopters take time to load, fly slowly, and would have to go a long way out - and then saying 'time will be short and there are only so many helicopters based close to the London area'.

    I saw it dawn on them that there was no way they or their families were ever going to get out of London in time. Talk about a bunch of 'instant pacifists'......

    So yes, it did work that way - at the lower levels of government, anyway. I said before the nukes were (are?) 'political' weapons.

    You were a bit cryptic above - if you are ill, and things are approaching a 'crunch point', all the best to you.

    Also, can you give me a reference point on the 'Paradigm Shift' thread? I'd like to look that up.

    rshowalter - 02:33am Jan 7, 2001 BST (#106 of 135)  | 

    Tony50 - -If you go the the Science section of TALK Unlimited, and go to "Paradigm Shift- whose getting there" a good place to look would be #259-263. You might then like the poem at #264. It is about secular redemption - something the world could use more of. We need to redeem the mess we've made about nuclear weapons.

    Possumdag - 01:04pm Jan 10, 2001 BST (#107 of 135)

    JOURNEY: poster way above:

    rshowalter - 03:17pm Jan 10, 2001 BST (#108 of 135)  | 

    I said some things on the New York Times on the Web Science Missile Defense forum and was pleased to see that more distinguished people, looking at the same facts, drew similar conclusions. These conclusions were surely independent of my own. I was glad to see them expressed so well.


    Editorial , The New York Times January 10, 2001

    Missile Shield Illusions

    "Given all the technological and budgetary uncertainties about building a missile defense system, it is hard to believe that the incoming Bush administration would be ready by March to approve groundbreaking at the first radar site. But that is what the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization seems to hope the new administration will do. Rushing ahead with this project would be a serious mistake.

    Tony50 - 12:13pm Jan 11, 2001 BST (#109 of 135)

    I read those references, walter. Have to admit that I couldn't follow them entirely.

    As far as I could see, you hope to reform world opinion by means of a process of reforming logical thought. If I'm right in that, I'm afraid that you must face up to the fact that our generation is not noted for its capacity for logical thought, even in quite high places.

    And the trouble is, even if you can achieve 99.9% acceptance of the logic of your position, the 1 in 1,000 who doesn't see it your way can bring the whole thing down in ruins.

    Possumdag - 04:17pm Jan 11, 2001 BST (#110 of 135)

    Thanks for the link Robbo, i liked this:

    "Meanwhile negotiations have begun that could eliminate, or at least delay, North Korea's missile program."

    Perhaps they threw a banquet for their starving!

    Possumdag - 05:41pm Jan 12, 2001 BST (#111 of 135)

    Casa Blanca ?

    bNice2NoU - 05:24am Jan 13, 2001 BST (#112 of 135)

    rshowalter - 10:11am Jan 13, 2001 BST (#113 of 135)  | 

    bbc is a wonder of the world.

    Possumdag - 09:16pm Jan 13, 2001 BST (#114 of 135)

    Sunday, December 17, 2000

    `Key Largo,' `Almost Famous,' `Unbreakable' Q. A friend tells me that in "Key Largo" (1948), Edward G. Robinson makes a speech to Bogart that is timely right now. Here's how he quotes it: "Let me tell you about Florida politicians. I make them. I make them out of whole cloth just like a tailor makes a suit. I get their name in the newspaper, I get them some publicity and get them on the ballot. Then after the election we count the votes, and if they don't turn out right, we recount them and recount them again until they do." Is this on the level?

    jihadij - 01:52am Jan 18, 2001 BST (#115 of 135)

    No comment here ^ from Showalter ... as yet!

    rshowalter - 12:24pm Jan 22, 2001 BST (#116 of 135)  | 

    Showalter's been very busy - trying to give honest credit where it is due, trying to resolve some conflicted circumstances, and trying to deal with a matter of applied mathematics that has some relevance to missile and antimissile control systems. I did take the time to post on the NYT Missile Defense thread, citing the Guardian's recent special coverage of Star Wars (the sequel)

    rshowalter - 11:15pm Jan 24, 2001 BST (#117 of 135)  | 

    Tony50 asked

    "As far as I could see, you hope to reform world opinion by means of a process of reforming logical thought." and he pointed out difficulties with that. "I'm afraid that you must face up to the fact that our generation is not noted for its capacity for logical thought, even in quite high places."

    The difficulty is not with reforming logical thought, but, most often, with asking for logic, which works well for people under emotionally neutral circumstances, to be applied under circumstances where more emotion can be in play --especially the motivation of fear.

    I'm involved in a situation now, that looks like it may resolve, where the key issue, again and again, is getting around circumstances where good results are blocked by fear. Finding ways to substitute a graceful solution for one dominated by fear are essential, again and again. In my view, such solutions always must be consistent with the truth, but must alos frame that truth in a way that acknowledges, and emphasizes, the human circumstances of the people involved. Finding such solutions is partly a moral act, but to a very large extent, it is an intellectual challenge.

    bNice2NoU - 12:15am Jan 25, 2001 BST (#118 of 135)

    I heard De Bono note that people do well when they develop 'perceptively' .. (via a certain brand of thinking of course) and he set this against logical thinking as a means of achieving ends.

    Is a 'Gut feeling' perception or logic - i wouldn't know.

    Then there a the senses as in it has 'a nasty taste/smell about it' not forgetting 'i don't like the sound of that' and 'it was a sight for sore eyes' ... so using your 'sixth sense' please 'listen up' to De Bono, for even without logic, good and better outcomes may be achieved.

    rshowalter - 04:32pm Jan 29, 2001 BST (#119 of 135)  | 

    In my view, America is sick, and western culture as well, in a practical and moral sense, that may be able to improved significantly. There's a disjunction, in the culture, between


    technical manipulation of objective and human facts,

    and morality.

    As a result, things in America that seem well run, and beautiful within a limited perspective, coexist with the most wrenching disproportion and ugliness.

    The connection between aesthetics, objective and human fact, and morality seems to me well framed if one thinks of "beauty" as the word is often used informally, and it's opposite, "ugliness."

    In "Beauty" Mark Anderson quotes Heisenberg's definition of beauty in the exact sciences:

    "beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole."

    The connection to objective fact seems apparent - falsehood is ugly (and hence, in human terms, always has something of the impractical about it.) The beautiful, in this scientific sense, must be thought to be true, and the reasons for thinking so have to be good ones.

    The connection to morality, in my view, is apparent also. I think the argument that

    "something that,carefully considered, in detail, looks like it includes avoidable ugliness is probably immoral"

    is much under-used, though that argument, in implicit and less sharp forms, is widespread. And maybe primordial.

    In this sense, "beauty" "morality" and "competent manipulation of the objective" are ALL cultural constructs, and depend, in the dirty and complex world, on priority orderings. For example, I'm running a negotiation, involving a paradigm change, and I was carefully coached on the need for priority ordering some years ago, by a wise bureacrat. My priority ordering, this time, says that I must find accomodations that serve, in order of consideration and importance

    The national interest

    The interest of a major newspaper, taken as an exemplar of "the public good as percieved by a moderatly elite readership"

    The interest of the scientific community in general

    The interest of the University I'm part of,

    and my own interest.

    This isn't an altruistic or impractical ordering. Thinking about the priorities, with that ordering, combs out a number of alternative courses of action, and tends to organize thought in directions that meet the real social and intellectual needs that workable action, in our society, really requires. In my own case, if I can meet the priorities above my own in order, I'm in a pretty good position to strike a good deal for myself, and to do so in a way that permits me to work effectively, flexibly, and comfortably, as a member of the society in which I live, with the obligations that I have accrued, considered in practical detail.

    I think nuclear weapons are unbearably ugly, with the moral and practical difficulties overwhelming ugliness carries. I think that if the problems were adressed by the governments involved, with priorities explicitly clear, accomodations much better than the present ones could be worked out.

    dozer - 11:19pm Jan 29, 2001 BST (#120 of 135)


    Aren't we indulging in a bit of wishful thinking? "If" the problems were addressed... "If" the governments were more responsive... "If" human beings could better control the animal part of their nature...

    Could it be that, to the countrary of some of our wishes, the way things are is precisely the way they are suppossed to be? That the only way people can maintain peace is under a threat of mutual all-out obliteration, and not by addressing problems and dealing with issues in timely and responsible manner?

    rshowalter - 10:35am Jan 31, 2001 BST (#121 of 135)  | 

    MAYBE it could be that way -- but that would depend on some very specific details, wouldn't it. I think there's so much stupidity in the world, so much ineptness, and so many lies, that it CANNOT be true that "we live in the best of all possible worlds" and better solutions - sometimes, including significant times, HAVE to be possible. Especially on things that are so overwhelmingly ugly as the current nuclear impasse.

    rshowalter - 06:39pm Feb 2, 2001 BST (#122 of 135)  | 

    Postings 634-641 in "Missile Defense" forum, NYT

    bNice2NoU - 06:10am Feb 4, 2001 BST (#123 of 135)

    Play it again Sam .. did she say that?

    rshowalter - 08:08pm Feb 5, 2001 BST (#124 of 135)  | 

    I posted this on There's Poetry -and I'm posting it here. It comes from the "hypothesis ...." thread in Europe, started by Beckvaa . It represents, we believe, a reframing of the notion of scientific theory, that, if it were adopted, might much reduce the probablility and seriousness of paradigm conflict impasses. In it, I refer to "my beloved partner." She, under a number of pseudonyms, has been my main co-author in this thread. We fell in love with each other (platonically so far - we have never so much as touched hands ) in the writing of this thread, and the paradigm thread. We hope to take the content of each of these threads further, and publish them.

    rshowalter - 09:44am Feb 4, 2001 BST (#95 )

    My beloved parter and I dance together in our work as partners.

    Here is something we did as partners. And it shows reasons why I love her as a partner, adore her as a partner, long for her as a partner, and think she's beautiful as a partner.

    WE did this.

    I couldn't have done it without her.

    She couldn't have done it without me.

    I'm proud of it, and think it is is important.

    rshowalter - 08:10pm Feb 5, 2001 BST (#125 of 135)  | 

    rshowalter - 09:44am Feb 4, 2001 BST (#96 )

    I'll call it, for now:

    An operational definition of Good Theory in real sciences for real people. "Partnership output of a beloved lady partner, not yet named, and Robert Showalter.

    In "Beauty" Mark Anderson quotes Heisenberg's definition of beauty in the exact sciences:

    "Beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole."

    SUGGESTED DEFINITION: Good theory is an attempt to produce beauty in Heisenberg's sense in a SPECIFIC context of assumption and data.

    Goodness can be judged in terms of that context,

    and also the fit with other contexts
    that, for logical reasons,
    have to fit together.

    The beauty, and ugliness, of a theory can be judged,

    in terms of the context it was built for, and other contexts, including
    the context provided by data not previously considered.

    Words, pictures
    and math have to fit together
    comfortably and workably,


    as far as
    internal consistency goes,

    and in terms of fit
    to what the theory
    is supposed to describe.

    Theories that are useful work comfortably in people's heads.

    Both the "beauty" and "ugliness" of theory are

    Both notions are contextual, and cultural.

    Ugliness is an especially interesting notion.

    To make theory better,
    you have to look for ways
    that the theory is ugly,
    study these, and fix them.

    The ugly parts are where new beauty is to be found.

    ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    ( Note: my beloved thinks "dissonant" is nicer than "ugly", and she's right, and I think that "ugly" is sharper, and closer to the human interest, and that seems right, too. So we're weighing word choices here. )


    A lot of people think Bob Showalter is ugly. He's always pointing out weaknesses, uglinesses, of other people's theories.

    But the reason Bob gives (which is maybe, from some perspectives, a rationalization, but may be right in onther ways) is that the ugly parts provide clues to new progress -- hope that new, more powerful kinds of theoretical and practical beauty can be found.


    And I think by beloved partner is beautiful, something I first felt, thinking of her as a partner.

    rshowalter - 08:12pm Feb 5, 2001 BST (#126 of 135)  | 

    rshowalter - 09:58am Feb 4, 2001 BST (#97)

    Here's a part were I did more work than she, though she was indispensible:

    To make good theory, in complex circumstances, beauty coming into focus must be judged, and shaped, in a priority ordering - and even though the priorities may be shifted for different attempts at beauty, the priorities need to be remembered, and questions of "what is beautiful" and "what ugly" have to be asked in terms of these priorities.

    She has been completely indispensible, and mostly responsible, here, and has been a world intellectual leader, here, for years:

    Intellectual work, and scientific work, is an effort to find previously hidden beauty , and this is what moves people, and warms people. This need for beauty must be remembered, and not stripped away.

  • * * * * * *

    For a long time, I loved her as a partner, and only really thought of her as a partner. When I thought of her, I mostly compared her to Steve Kline, my old partner, and friend, who died three years ago. ( How beautiful she was viewed in that light ! Though Steve was beautiful and special too. )

    And then, with overwhelming force, I found myself in love with her as a woman ... a beautiful woman in all the ways that mattered most to me.

    We're hoping to be effective, and find ways to reduce nuclear threats, which we find terribly dangerous. We want the world to go on. I feel so very strongly. I'm in love.

    rshowalter - 12:08am Feb 8, 2001 BST (#127 of 135)  | 

    In the Europe folder, there is a thread

    "We need an international missile system now - Why "son of Star Wars" is a good idea."

    started by Beckvaa that discusses nuclear dangers, and refers to this thread. Especially insert #9.

    In the History folder, there's another thread, also started by Beckvaa , If Jesus were alive today . . . that refers extensively, to this thread, and the expanded notions of "the golden rule" also discussed here.

    bNice - 04:29am Feb 8, 2001 BST (#128 of 135)

    In relation to Casablanca there is Beauty and Ugliness.

    The beauty has to be the Sweedish Actress Ingrid Bergman.

    Within the context of the story does the beauty, herself, find 'beauty' amidst the ugliness that is outright war and destruction. She finds 'love' which is beauty ... evenso, the love is transient and has to be relinquished.

    So how does this run with via the Beauty theory framework?

    xpat - 10:52pm Feb 11, 2001 BST (#129 of 135)

    .. still thinking on this ?

    rshowalter - 11:16pm Feb 11, 2001 BST (#130 of 135)  | 

    Was love relinquished, or affirmed in the movie? -- Interesting question !

    Yes, I'm still thinking on the issue.

    I'll say this - depending on how you look at it, Casablanca is one of the most beautiful movies ever, of one of the most pure examples of ugliness.

    I think the interesting answer is "both."

    discharge - 11:18pm Feb 11, 2001 BST (#131 of 135)

    Excellent movie - but this thread full of bollocks

    SeekerOfTruth - 02:58pm Feb 12, 2001 BST (#132 of 135)

    re-view the movie ... re-read the thread ...

    rshowalter - 06:22pm Feb 12, 2001 BST (#133 of 135)  | 

    In the last few days, the Missile Defense thread of New York Times on the Web Forums . . . Science has had interesting, hopeful discussions.

    I believe these discussions have been noticed by government officials.

    This thread has been referenced.

    rshowalter - 06:03pm Feb 13, 2001 BST (#134 of 135)  | 

    bNice (#128) asks

    "In relation to Casablanca there is Beauty and Ugliness.

    "The beauty has to be the Sweedish Actress Ingrid Bergman.

    " Within the context of the story does the beauty, herself, find 'beauty' amidst the ugliness that is outright war and destruction. She finds 'love' which is beauty ... evenso, the love is transient and has to be relinquished.

  • *****

    My sense is that Elsa tries for a kind of beauty, commits to it in her heart, with all its costs, and her lover, Rick, takes it on himself to trick her into the ugliest situation possible - in terms of the sense of beauty by which she made her decision. A decision she made in mutual love, and with emotional assurance flowing both ways, with Rick.

    In my view, and from a certain perspective - it is one of the most wrenchingly ugly, black, painful, funny sequences in the movies -- and a human drama that rings true.

    From another perspective, that I also see, it is beautiful - a personal redemptive solution, that sacrificed a socially redemptive solution, is switched , by a sequence of tricks, to a socially redemptive solution that is, nonetheless, a personal betrayal. If you feel more sympathy for the social redemption than the personal one (and the movie asks you to) then this is beautiful.

    Yet still wrenching.

    rshowalter - 06:07pm Feb 13, 2001 BST (#135 of 135)  | 

    I have two questions, at the level of imagination, about the movie, considered as a real human drama.

    The first is -- would there have been a solution, of any kind, that could have occurred without such trickery, without such bad faith?

    I don't know the answer. I believe honesty just might have found a way - in the real world. The Paul Henreid figure, being a dominant male, could surely have been fixed up well, with some other lady, in the not too distant future -- she and the Henreid figure did not have the super-strong, romantic, passionate - compelling love that Rick made her sacrifice. So I wonder about this. Something with more disciplined beauty might have been worked out, at least in less constrained circumstances.

    Though, as a tour de force of human mutual manipulation, the movie is superb.

    I have another thought - and because of some circumstances of my own, have given is a good deal of thought. The question is this - what about 1946?

    What would happen, and what might be graceful and right, if Rick and Elsa met again, after the war was won, with personal interests more important, and social imperatives less pressing?

    I think it might have been quite a love story, and one capable of much disciplined beauty - with redemptive solutions worked out for all concerned.

    Sometimes I feel that I'm in the middle of a "war" -- and I ask myself similar questions.

    Sometimes I think such a movie script, or such a novel, might be an interesting thing to write.

    rshowalter - 01:10pm Feb 14, 2001 GMT (#134 of 265)  | 

    A point essential to complex applications of the Golden Rule .

    Honesty is better than deception, and honesty, with careful thought and a few conventions, can be safer than people think. In nuclear arms negotiations, we need more honesty, more openness, and fewer lies.

    Generally: To live to together, in peace and prosperity, and comfort, we need more honesty, more openness, and fewer lies. We can all stay well defended, and even become better defended, if we are more open, in ways consistent with disciplined beauty as we see it, and as we expect others to see it.

    I referred to these things, in a place where I believe some people concerned with nuclear arms may be looking.

    captainz - 01:14pm Feb 14, 2001 GMT (#135 of 265)

    I blame Sobel filters myself. (that's a big wink to you missile defense bod's out there ;)).

    SeekerOfTruth - 07:40pm Feb 14, 2001 GMT (#136 of 265)

    Casablanc - revisited - the movie (1946) ... way to go RS .. need new leadingActors :)

    SeekerOfTruth - 07:42pm Feb 14, 2001 GMT (#137 of 265)

    Sobel filters ... could be brand name oil filters, could be a type of misile as per cigarette?

    SeekerOfTruth - 04:33am Feb 15, 2001 GMT (#138 of 265)

    Reflecting on Casablanc, the film may have allowed people who were 'on the move' and meeting many people for short time periods, in unusual circumstances ... to think back as to how this or that relationship may have worked out.

    This may not have been the immediate intention of the film, rather, on later re-runs, it would become such a vehical.

    A point re WWII was that many of the players were single people who then married ... and post war there may have been many "IF ONLY" regrets as people suspected that they had passed their "PERFECT PARTNER" by. Another aspect of WWII would be the question mark hanging over all memories ... did x or y or z live through the ordeal ... and they wouldn't know!

    SeekerOfTruth - 04:34am Feb 15, 2001 GMT (#139 of 265)

    .... no eMail hot addresses back then ...

    bNice2NoU - 06:54am Feb 15, 2001 GMT (#140 of 265)

    Morse Code was bigtime along with big band music ... wonder how a morse coded love letter would have gone down in Casablanca .- a dot and a dash then a dash with a dot -. only good 'spellers' would be in on the plot!

    captainz - 03:27pm Feb 15, 2001 GMT (#141 of 265)

    Love's Labour Lost.

    rshowalter - 06:36pm Feb 16, 2001 GMT (#142 of 265)  | 

    Nuclear war would be worse than anything the Germans did in WWII.

    New York Times on the Web Forums .... Science Missile Defense #690.

    Don't miss #s 691 and 691, by Edevershed ! These give perspective on the insanity of our nuclear circumstances, and makes the key point that we are primates, and part of nature. Primates with somewhat surprising traits that can make horror happen, and make the fight against horror difficult - because of the irrational but very powerful tendency of people to obey authority even at the expense of human decency.

    Stanley Milgram's experiment ought to be required reading for all trying to form judgements about the probable "rationality" of our current nuclear arrangements.

    "Rational man" assumptions, which exist all through our rationale for nuclear policy, don't match the primate facts of human existence.

    The mechanical traits described in this thread, combined with the powerful human impulse to obey authority - and to convert people to "others" - requires careful, wary thinking, and action, if we are make decisions good enough for the world to survive.

    rshowalter - 02:06pm Feb 17, 2001 GMT (#143 of 265)  | 

    Many more citations along these lines:

    New York Times on the Web Forums Science ...... Missile Defense

    Here are other references relevant to how willing we ought to be to say

    ..."the authorities say trust us so we should surely trust them. "

    The (11) references below (more, available through a hotkey) were gathered by Dawn Riley and posted on this (NYT MD) thread #317-322

    xpat - 05:39am Feb 19, 2001 GMT (#144 of 265)

    bNice2NoU - 01:39pm Feb 20, 2001 GMT (#145 of 265)

    Note that there is a trend towards people being 'encouraged to think for themselves' which should improve the moral outlook from Nations that have an emphasis on 'fairness' for all.

    rshowalter - 08:36pm Feb 26, 2001 GMT (#146 of 265)  | 

    I have the priviledge of posting a sermon, When the Foundations are Shaking by Dr. James Slatton of the River Road Church (Baptist) in Richmond, Va. - a church I grew up in, a church where my parents have both been deacons, and active in other ways. This church is much like the one Jimmy Carter goes to, theologically, though it is much richer, and more republican, and perhaps basically more conservative. River Road Church has resigned from the Southern Baptist Convention, for various reasons, but is well within the conservative Protestant tradition. I have deep intellectual, moral, and personal respect for the people at River Road Church.

    I believe that most people of good will, including exalted ones, could benefit from the 21 minutes this sermon takes.

    WHEN THE FOUNDATIONS ARE SHAKING ..... by James Slatton . . . . available in RealMedia, Quicktime, and Windows Media7 formats

    I think any military leader, or political leader, who ever attends any kind of religious service, anywhere in the world, could relate to this work.

    I think any member of the clergy, of any faith or creed, anywhere in the world, could relate to this work. I wish religious people in a position of leadership WOULD listen to it.

    People of a more secular view might want to skip ahead to 9:27 in the sermon . Thereafter, it is a tribute to a Russian colonel, who kept nuclear war from destroying us all, during the Reagan administration. And a teaching of lessons that most people know, and live well by, that are important to the preservation of our world. I believe that people of enough good will to be human would be interested, and moved, by this part of the sermon, no matter how secular their views.

    The notion is abroad that no politician can do much about nuclear weapons, because they cannot get their populations behind them. They think so because, when people are surveyed, no one wants to talk about nuclear weapons.

    This is the wrong answer. To deal with this threat, people in a position to influence events must face it. So the matter has to be realistically discussed.

    James Slatton's sermon offers a triumphant example of how possible and practical such realistic discussion is.

    I wish there could be many more examples.

    bNice2NoU - 01:44pm Mar 3, 2001 GMT (#147 of 265)

    What would Rick - Casablanca - have done were he given an order to 'press a button of destruction'?

    rshowalter - 04:02pm Mar 3, 2001 GMT (#148 of 265)  | 

    I HOPE I know the answer. But a lot of people obey orders.

    bNice2NoU - 07:28pm Mar 3, 2001 GMT (#149 of 265)

    How so?

    rshowalter - 04:33pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#150 of 265)  | 

    People obey orders because it is a reflex.

    Because they think that it is the right thing to do.

    People sometimes obey orders because they would be afraid not to.

  • **************

    It sometimes happens that a person feels he has to make moral decisions for himself (or herself).

    rshowalter - 04:35pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#151 of 265)  | 

    I've been doing extensive work and postings with Dawn Riley here on the Guardian Talk boards, but also in the NEW YORK TIMES --- Science forum Missile Defense.

    Because I hope it may interest some readers here, because of concern for the issues, and in part because of concern for my person, I am posting this summary of that work here.

    rshowalter - 04:35pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#152 of 265)  | 

    Summary of postings, Sept 25, 2000 to March 1, 2001 (part 1)

    My involvement with the Missile Defense thread began with (#266) Ridding the world of nuclear weapons, this year or next year. What would have to happen?

    for the rest of that day, I had a discussion with "becq" , who I believe was President Clinton, ending at #304, which is worth reading in itself ...

    There's much else, involving careful argument and hard work, but it makes sense to pick up the thread more recently, when it became clear, again, that there might be an opening fit for the practical large scale reduction, or elimination, of nuclear weapons. Key passages are set out and hotkeyed here, but I'm proud of the text in between, as well.

    #640 - Is nuclear disarmament something so far outside the real of the possible so that it is kind of foolish to have a debate on something you cant do anything about ? No one need doubt the importance of dealing with the other clear and present dangers. But is nuclear disarmament - actually undiscussable, beyond the pale? Plenty of able people, including senior military people, favor nuclear disarmament

    #374 - Signatories of the Global Security Institute appeal as of October 2, 2000 seem well worth listing, because I find the list hopeful:

    #664 _ An operational definition of Good Theory in real sciences for real people. and it applies to good military doctrine (which is military theory, built to use.).

    #668: I set out an attempt at a beautiful solution to nuclear disarmament on this thread, #266-269 rshowalt 9/25/00 7:32am . . . I think that suggestion adresses the valid concerns Dirac raises. It tries to. Perhaps the suggestion might provide ideas for a solution that would work. After that, I had a dialog with "becq" , who I believed at the time, and still believe, was William Jefferson Clinton. beckq 9/25/00 9:19am That discussion continued, taking all may attention, and, I believe, much of his, until the evening.

    rshowalter - 04:36pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#153 of 265)  | 

    Summary of postings, Sept 25, 2000 to March 1, 2001 (part 2)

    #679: Before the ugliness of nuclear terror can be well resolved, we'll have to come to terms with how afraid the Russians are of us, and how they are afraid, and also how afraid we are of the Russians, and how we are afraid of them. . No matter what anybody says, or how anybody poses (or what anybody says, however sincerely) both sides are fundamentally, deeply terrified of first strike tricks.

    #686: I made a proposal for getting nuclear weapons down rshowalt 9/25/00 7:32am that depends, in large part, on an insight from cryptography. Encoding in clear can be safe, and under circumstances of distrust, can be essential. With my partner, Dawn Riley, we did a demonstration.

    Summary of postings, Sept 25, 2000 to March 1, 2001 (part 3)

    #690: Nuclear war would be worse than anything the Germans did in WWII. "Populations with competent militaries know everything they have to in order to support what is done. In the same way, Americans, and especially Americans responsible for military action, must know - must be responsible for, the risks they take with atomic weapons. In the world we live in, these weapons may be necessary - the most beautiful accomodations must be the ones that fit reality, and are the best, in terms of clear, reasonable, humane priorities, that they can be. But it is ugly , and immoral in the extreme, to avoid procedures that get right answers that can be checked.

    #691-692" A beautiful essay by Dawn Riley: Quotations from the universe next door:

    #709-711: I'm working with a model system, important in itself, big enough to be realistic, showing how the most essential aspects of this impasse can be solved. The objective is to make a major change in a field of science, and to do so preserving infrastructure. To do so with an absolute minimum of casualties - perhaps with no casualties. To do so smoothly, in such a way that nothing goes "bang" ..... (a desireable objective, I feel, where nuclear weapons are concerned.)

    In my view, things are going breathtakingly well on this test case.

      "My own view, now, is that we may be in the middle of the cleanest, neatest, fairest, most beautiful, most bloodless resolution of a paradigm conflict in the history of science. That would be something we could all be proud of, and, in my opinion, might set a precedent that would be of long service to the United States of America."

    rshowalter - 04:37pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#154 of 265)  | 

    Summary of postings, Sept 25, 2000 to March 1, 2001 (part 4)

    #714-715: "The big picture." : How do our military arrangements look, in terms of what our military is supposed to do for our country, and for the world? .......And in terms of the totality of United States interests, and values, in the world? .......Beauty in context.

    #734_737: CHECKING FACTS: We aren't set up well to check facts. And the most basic fact, that we are ignoring, is this:

    Distrust and nuclear weapons go together. That's an inescapable fact. Fear levels, and human nature dictate that "in general." The historical facts reinforce the general tendency with irresistable force.

    #740-742: Key references, hotkeyed to sources elsewhere on the internet are set out in GUARDIAN TALK threads.

  • We need an international missle system now - Why son of Star Wars is a good idea.

  • Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror

  • Mankinds Inhumanity to Man and Woman -


    The problems of "paradigm conflict" - systematically different views of the same facts, from different human groups, seems evident in nuclear defense. We and the Russians do not see eye to eye -- and the differences can be garish and dangerous.


  • Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there? .... Summary

  • Paradigm Shift#300

  • ........ and especially A Lost Cause ..... by John Kay

    CHECKING is an essential, difficult issue in paradigm conflicts: Especially where power relations are involved, checking must be MORALLY FORCING .....If some basic facts could be checked, especially about the existence and dynamics of mistrust between our nation states, the problems of nuclear terror find solutions of disciplined beauty.

    I believe that everybody concerned about matters of defense, and especially nuclear deployments, should consider carefully the concerns about the “military-industrial complex” set out in the FAREWELL ADDRESS of President Dwight D. Eisenhower January 17, 1961. With circumstances that appear to show a disproportion and operational mismatch between means and ends, the speech seems to me to raise issues of crucial importance today.

    rshowalter - 04:37pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#155 of 265)  | 

    Summary of postings, Sept 25, 2000 to March 1, 2001 (part 5)

    KEY QUOTE: #748: To reduce threats, one needs to apply assurances that, in limited ways, for limited times, weapons are not going to be used.

    It is a FACT that the Russians, as a nation, feel that they have been, and still are, subject to an active first strike threat from the United States, and this fact can be checked.

    If one thinks about the Golden Rule, and applies it to the Russians, one has to remember this.

    #757: I feel that issues of morality deserve special emphasis in a discussion of nuclear costs. Moral damage has all sorts of costs, in quality of life and straight economic terms, because the complex cooperations of productive business are, so often, based on predictablity and trust. Therefore, moral inconsistency can be expensive. I suspect that a major problem, in most underdeveloped countries, involves such inconsistencies. I don't see how anyone, or any nation, can adopt a "first use of nucear weapons" policy, and maintain a moral consistency - it seems to me that our nuclear policies are corrosive to our whole moral and intellectual life.

    rshowalter - 04:38pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#156 of 265)  | 

    Summary of postings, Sept 25, 2000 to March 1, 2001 (part 6)

    People interested in religion and ethics may be particularly interested in #792-797, which begins: ..... Tina Rosenberg represents one of the most admirable flowerings of a tradition, admirable in many ways, that , taken no further than she takes it, makes an effective nuclear disarmament impossible. Rosenberg believes .... People need to know what was actually done. ...That's surely right.

    But what was to be done with the facts?

    . .. . .

    Something was missing from the book, and the situations it described.

    In the complex, conflicted situations described, beautiful justice is impossible. There are multiple contexts, each inescapable and in a fundamental sense valid.

    An aesthetically satisfying justice can be defined for each and every set of assumptions and perspectives that can be defined. But there are too many sets of assumptions and perspectives that cannot be escaped in the complex circumstances that are actually there. . . .. .. . .

    The situations Rosenberg describes, where she hungers for justice, do not admit of satisfactory justice. They are too complicated. . . . . . What is needed, for logical reasons that are fundamentally secular rather than religious, is redemption.

    On 1 march, I closed this summary as follows:

    Postings thereafter include some explict TECHNICAL reasons, why we need to be afraid, and need to do the hopeful, practical thing -- which is to GET RID OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

    rshowalter - 04:38pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#157 of 265)  | 

    Since March 1, there have been about a hundred additional postings.

    I believe that the stakes are high for the world , and of course the stakes are high for me personally.


  • We all understand that the development of nuclear weapons changed history. . Nuclear weapons radically and permanently changed "the worst that could happen" in war. -- That nightmare will, at some levels, remain with us, no matter how well our technical and political controls work. In this sense, the world was permanently changed in 1945, and the fifteen years thereafter.

    But nuclear weapons did not STOP history.

    Another change has come upon us, also historical. It will also be irreversible, permanent so long as civilization continues.

      The internet and related electonic changes, and the changes that will follow from them, have radically and permanently increased the speed of information flow, permanently increased the amount of information available, permanently increased the speed and power with which the information can be used, and permanently, radically reduced the cost of both information and logical inference.
    The connections between information (and deception) and war, that have existed since time immemorial, are now permanently altered.



    I believe that the world is going to be considerably safer and more stable soon.

    But militarily, it is also going to be different.

    rshowalter - 04:39pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#158 of 265)  | 

    Issues of deception are a central concern, and I believe that they now threaten the survival of the world. They are also of concern, when issues of dereliction of duty, and actual fraud, are discussed.

    The Clintons, in an unguarded moment, spoke of a "vast right wing conspiracy." I don't know that any such conspiracy exists, of course -- but sometimes things happen that don't seem to make any sense -- and here would be a motivation for such a conspiracy, and a source of BIG SCALE money for it.

    Anywhere else in government, journalists assume that powers that go unsupervised will eventually be corrupted. They're matter of fact about this - as Menken was. Why the assumption hasn't been ubiquitous in reporters looking at the defense industry, I surely don't know.

    rshowalter - 04:39pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#159 of 265)  | 

    From #885 to #892 is set out an example, with discussion, using the Gaurdian threads, both with hotkeys and without, to illustrate some new vulnerabilities that our nuclear weapons, which were most fundamentally designed in the 1950's, are not designed to take into account.

    rshowalter - 04:40pm Mar 11, 2001 GMT (#160 of 265)  | 

    Today, in #920 I spoke of

    "The surreality of the sitution- the action, over long duration, of American officials, against reasonable United States interests, in combination with elaborate deceptions -- CAN be interpreted by vulnerable nations (including Russia and China) as U.S. preparation for wars of conquest. Russia and China have acted on that belief, against their interests and their own. The costs in human lives and opportunity has been especially great in Russia - the cost in opportunities in China is likely to be great - and the risks of destruction of the world, already great, increase from such escalatory responses.

      I DO NOT believe that the US has any corporate intention to invade Russia or China, or any other large country, or to attack any country with nuclear weapons.
    I believe a better explanation is fraud -- some unintentional, some, involving very large financial interests and illegal activity, quite intentional. The military industrial complex of the United States is not nearly as malevolent as Russia and China fear. But it is much more corrupt, by many right usages of the word, than people now suspect.
      The cause of world stability would be served by making this clear. A strong circumstantial case for massive fraud and deception, involving massive violation of trust and law, is constructable now.

      It is possible to show, now, beyond reasonable question, that the means for this have been in place, and that, unless you happen to defer to the ethical purity of the people involved, massive fraud, including very large conflicts of personal interest close to the current administration, are consistent with the facts.

      I'll be continuing with this. Because I hope it may interest some readers here, and also because I feel the need for you to know, I am posting this here.

      rshowalter - 12:01pm Mar 13, 2001 GMT (#161 of 265)  | ends: "A strong circumstantial case for massive fraud and deception, involving massive violation of trust and law, is constructable now."

      "It is possible to show, now, beyond reasonable question, that the means for this have been in place, and that, unless you happen to defer to the ethical purity of the people involved, massive fraud, including very large conflicts of personal interest close to the current administration, are consistent with the facts."

      Concerns about Missile Defense, and nuclear disarmament, are crucial here. With Dawn Riley, I've done very extensive work on this, in many TALK threads, and in a NYT Science forum thread - Missile Defense . . . . . . . . set out in #153-162, this thread, with many hotkeys to that NYT thread.

      A basic point is that classified military expenditures are NOT REALLY SUBJECT TO CLEAR ACCOUNTING --- and so are subject to the possibility of MASSIVE fraud. ---- enough, over 50 years, to subvert the whole economy. " Now, we all know the standard usages of "front operations. . . . If one assumes those usages, what might be done with an enterprise such as the Carlyle Group , or a number of similar investment businesses?

      "one could do a great deal. . . How much would a substantial change in military policy change the current market value of Carlyles equity (currently about 3.5 billion.) ? . . . . Relatively minor changes might cut that equity by 2/3 or more. . . .. James Baker's share of that equity may be of the order of 180 million dollars. The share of the current presidents father is likely to be substantial, as well.

      "These influential people have very direct, and very specific monetary interests in military policy. They may have other interests and liabilities at stake, as well. . . . . Their interests are broad, and many --

      H"ow fast, within such a structure, would it be possible to convey information untraceably, or move money nobody knew they had?

      "How fast could you motivate a change in oil supply or price? How untraceably? How easily?

      "How fast could you buy a baseball team? How untraceably? How easily?

      Fast..... Untraceably. .......Easily.

      This isn't proof -- it is leads -- with motive, means, and opportunity. A lot of "coincidences" could be explained.

      rshowalter - 12:01pm Mar 13, 2001 GMT (#162 of 265)  | 

      Especially in the last two days,there are discussions with "almarst2001 --- who I believe to be an influential Russian, possibly Vladimir Putin.

      Highlights: 925: "China and Russia are afraid that the US is preparing a first strike, or preparing to to invade them -- because they can imagine no other explanation for what is being done.

      "And so they assume the worst.

      "They ought to imagine another explanation. A combination of a snafu, a "good" policy that involved so many lies that no one knew how to turn it off, and a fraud.

      "From the point of view of Russia, China, and many other countries -- how comforting that thought should be !

      "I'll be posting soon with more details -- enough to assist in the imagination -- an attempt at disciplined beauty to replace "explanations" that are so ugly and disproportionate that they don't seem to make sense to anyone.



      956: "It seems that nobody has anwers to our most basic questions about nuclear weapons, then the world needs them. . . . Answers can be gotten by press people -- more might be accomplished Goals:

      "Establishing FACTS beyond reasonable doubt - and explaining these facts very broadly.


      "Crafting a fully workable, fully complete, fully explained "draft treaty proposal" for nuclear disarmament and a more militarily stable world. Such drafting would, at the least, make for stunningly good journalism -- that could be widely syndicated among papers. Useful as that would be, I think the drafting would serve a much more useful purpose. That purpose would be actually getting the points that need to be worked out for nuclear disarmament set out coherently - - to a level where closure actually occurs. That would involve a great deal of staff work done coherently, quickly, and in coordinated fashion.

      "work . . . . done IN PUBLIC --- say if some Moscow Times staff, and people from a couple of US papers, some Guardian staff, and people from some interested governments, started an OPEN dialog together.

      closing last night:

      "Historically, presidents left a power vacuum in American nuclear policy, and people like LeMay and his proteges, and people in the CIA, and some contractors, filled it. And now, that conspiracy, long past any legitimate usefulness, and long since financially corrupt, is menacing the peace of the whole world, and imposing huge costs on innocent people.

      bNice2NoU - 07:04am Mar 23, 2001 GMT (#163 of 265)

      Vacuums always get filled, but, does the American Public or world Public have any controls ?

      rshowalter - 05:51pm Mar 23, 2001 GMT (#164 of 265)  | 

      They need to be established, because the current situation is so dangerous, and corrupt.

      rshowalter - 09:01pm Mar 28, 2001 GMT (#165 of 265)  | 

      Since March 13 there have been another 650 postings on the NYT Missile Defense threads -- many involving a person who may be well connected in Russian government circles. Perhaps we're getting closer to a time when some idea such as that of #164 can be brought to fruition -- and even to a point where real peace and security can become a reality.

      bNice2NoU - 07:59pm Mar 31, 2001 GMT (#166 of 265)

      Are there any cassablanca type players in the current USA higher profile figures?

      rshowalter - 09:06pm Mar 31, 2001 GMT (#167 of 265)  | 

      Interesting question!

      bNice2NoU - 11:26am Apr 5, 2001 GMT (#168 of 265)

      So, Are there any cassablanca type players in the current USA higher profile figures?

      rshowalter - 11:43am Apr 13, 2001 GMT (#169 of 265)  | 

      I've been so active on the NYT thread that I havent' been here -- but I've been referring to this thread, again and again, in contexts Russians and Americans are, I believe, watching, and this thread has been, and is being, influential. I hope it can be kept.

      rshowalter - 05:24pm Apr 13, 2001 GMT (#170 of 265)  | 

      Here are places, in the New York Times Missile Defense thread, where I've hotkeyed this thread --






















      rshowalter - 05:26pm Apr 13, 2001 GMT (#171 of 265)  | 

      I believe that the story this thead tells may have a useful effect on negotiating processes involving nuclear weapons, and deeply appreciate the Guardian for making this space possible.

      I believe that anyone who clicks the links above will see how important this thread is, to me at least, and how central it is to arguments that Dawn Riley and I are making.

      stevewk - 05:33pm Apr 13, 2001 GMT (#172 of 265)

      I think that this thread and a similar one in the NYT could be the most significant threads I have come across in the three weeks since I introduced myself to talk boards.

      I'm going to make a real effort to read these threads and to try to understand what rshowalter is saying. All I can say at this point is that I think something important might be being discussed here, and I really don't want to miss out.

      stevewk - 05:36pm Apr 13, 2001 GMT (#173 of 265)

      Plus, I'm interested in National Missile Defense.

      rshowalter - 08:17pm Apr 14, 2001 GMT (#174 of 265)  | 

      There's tangible progress in the mutual practice of "the golden rule" between the US, Russia, and other countries

      Powell, on Balkans Trip, Warns Against Fresh Violence by Jane Perlez
        Boeing and Russia to Study Making Planes by Sabrina Tavernise
          The question... "How do you create a system of international ethics that is transcultural? is being discussed, with reference to this thread and other Guardian Talk threads.

          bNice2NoU - 04:24am Apr 18, 2001 GMT (#175 of 265)

          "How do you create a system of international ethics that is transcultural?






          rshowalter - 10:50am Apr 18, 2001 GMT (#176 of 265)  | 

          Efforts to do that are pressing forward -- and I hope this thread, and other work on the TALK, are part of that. I'm continuing, sometimes with feelings of hope, in the NYT Missile Defense thread (much more material, since 176 above) ( there are 105 more messages -- many that I feel the posters have reason to be proud of, that are being attended to, I believe, in both the US and Russia. )

          rshowalter - 06:50pm Apr 24, 2001 GMT (#177 of 265)  | 

          There are now 315 entries since -- and I feel progress is being made.

          A very good piece in today's NYT on "the father of the H bomb" -- and "missile defense" -- Edward Teller

          Who Built the H-Bomb? Debate Revives by WILLIAM J. BROAD

          bNice2NoU - 11:24pm Apr 27, 2001 GMT (#178 of 265)

          Teller wouldn't make a movie star name ... sounds too much like a bank clerk ... in his counting house a-counting-out his money. Never heard of the guy is he rich and famous or infamous?

          rshowalter - 11:34pm Apr 27, 2001 GMT (#179 of 265)  | 

          Teller's infamous -- and has made a lot of people rich -- including an old investor of mine, who lived in a very nice 25 million dollar house in California -- money made, very quickly, in the nuclear weapon manufacturing business.

          bNice2NoU - 11:36pm Apr 27, 2001 GMT (#180 of 265)

          How can there be a lot of money in 'uselessness' ?

          bNice2NoU - 11:37pm Apr 27, 2001 GMT (#181 of 265)

          From the ref above:


          Dick understood physics," Dr. Rosenbluth said, "and certainly produced the embodiment that was actually constructible."

          He added that Dr. Garwin was virtually unique at Los Alamos in his ability to bridge gaps between experts in different fields.

          "I was a pure theorist, and there were a lot of experimental engineering types, but there weren't many people able to serve as a link between the two," Dr. Rosenbluth said. Dr. Garwin was probably the project's intellectual glue, tying many ideas into the successful device, he said.


          Additional to this i was struck by the fact that the bomb was tested, above ground, on an island, obliterating and contaminating it!

          If 'Dick' was such a good 'all rounder' .. it's a pity he didn't have foresight!

          rshowalter - 09:34am Apr 28, 2001 GMT (#182 of 265)  | 

          He may have had neither more nor less moral standing than the many "missileers" who stand ready, on orders, to end the world still today.

          rshowalter - 02:21am Apr 30, 2001 GMT (#183 of 265)  | 

          Also posted on

            Reader Discussion: 'One Awful Night in Thanh Phong'
          As some of you know, Dawn Riley and I, and some other people, including a Russian figure who seems to think like a Russian leader, have been discussing issues of nuclear balances, and missile defense, in the NYT - Science - Missile Defense Thread.

          The thread is extensive, and represents an effort to set down, using techniques the internet makes possible, an open corpus, with many crosslinks, adapted to assist in the focusing of issue toward closure. A summary of the thread, which is too large for easy reading, but not for sampling, is set out in a few pages with many links from #153 on in this thread rshowalter Sun 11/03/2001 16:35

          The Kerrey matter is not central to this work, but it is related, in part because of Kerrey's very good OpED piece ARMED TO EXCESS ... NYT , OpEd, March 2 and in part because nuclear war involves atrocity on an almost unthinkable scale, and the Kerrey story tends to make that more thinkable.

 <br> <br> <br> <br> <br>

 ends > " If more Americans could rise to (Kerrey's) level of moral sensitivity, current grave risks to the survival of the whole world could be ended."

          I'm grateful for the chance to post on these threads.

          rshowalter - 02:22am Apr 30, 2001 GMT (#184 of 265)  | 

          In these Guardian Talk threads and in the NYT Missile Defense thread, Dawn Riley and I have worked to focus patterns of human reasoning and persuasion, and problems with human reasoning and persuasion.

          These citations deal with that:

          We believe that controversies that could not be resolved before may be resolvable now.

          The techniques we (and so many other people on the net) are using to get things to closure are the same techniques that often work in well conducted jury trials.

          Perhaps we're too optimistic, but we feel that, in small part because of our efforts, and in large part due to the wonderful resources of the Guardian Observer that we've been grateful to use, the risk of nuclear destruction may be coming down.

          At least sometimes, we get that happy feeling.

          American opinion may, alas, probably will, have to lag opinion outside America on issues here. That makes the Guardian Observer , which is respected all over the world, an especially vital force.

          rshowalter - 01:59pm May 1, 2001 GMT (#185 of 265)  | 

          People and things need to be checked, and some things can be. Sometimes some progress gets made.

          rshowalter - 06:36pm May 5, 2001 GMT (#186 of 265)  | 

          The missile defense thread at the NYT goes on, and is being very productive. I believe that we are seeing a glimmer of a situation where real nuclear disarmament may be achievable, and to me, of much more immediate important, the current large risk of world destruction may be nearly eliminated.

          Here is an interesting citation that Dawn Riley found:

          rshowalter - 08:48pm May 12, 2001 GMT (#187 of 265)  | 

          This thread is perhaps the most influential Dawn Riley and I have written --- I think there is good reason to believe that it has influenced thought and action.

          I'm posting this note in Guardian Threads I'm personally very interested in, as a matter of pride, and to keep them current.

          The New York Times - Science - MISSILE DEFENSE thread would total about ten 1 1/2' looseleaf notebooks by now. I summarized it, in a way you might find interesting, and could read quickly, in 3532: , which reads in part:

            "We've had outstanding contributors -- who have furthered discussion by taking a special "stand-in" role.
          "We've had "stand-ins" who have imitated, or tried to imitate, the thought processes of important world figures, so that the discourse here could progress, and simulate more important dialogs to be hoped for. We've had extremely well written, thoughtful, and extensive contributions with a "Bill Clinton -stand in" a "Vladimir Putin -- stand in" , and a " Bush Administration Sr Advisor -- stand in" . Sometimes I've been in personal doubt whether these people have been stand-ins, because the work of these people has been so good. If you sample the work of these people, you may agree with how good their work is.
            Here are links to directories , each with many links and highlights summarized, for these stand-ins --- a massive amount of correspondence in all.
              I personally believe that correspondence between senior people in communication with their governments is going on in this Missile Defense thread. My opinion is only my own. The postings are, by intention of all concerned, provisional and deniable.

              Work on the NYT Missile Defense is ongoing, at a fast pace, and I feel things are happening that are sometimes wrenching, as deep disagreements are being made clear, but yet very constructive.

              I believe that the Guardian-Observer , and The New York Times , using the new possibilities of the internet, are making real world progress possible. Dawn Riley and I are trying to participate in some of that.

              rshowalter - 01:01am May 13, 2001 GMT (#188 of 265)  | 


              I feel that a great deal of progress has been made since gisterme's debut #2997:

              ....and my response to gisterme's direct question ... #2999: .

              Especially since gisterme's 3319 -

     which I responded in .. 3327-3328 : with the citation THREATS TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS: The Sixteen Known Nuclear Crises of the Cold War, 1946-1985 by David R. Morgan

              We've come long way since - common ground is being established, differences are being clarified, thoughts and ideas are coming into focus.

              Dawn Riley and I believe that, especially with the augmented memory of the internet, controversies that could not be resolved before may be resolvable now.




              It seems to me that the NYT Missile Defense thread, and the wonderful threads here, contain steps toward showing that.

              I've been heartened by how much progress is being made in these thread -- even in the four days, and 235 posting, since #3532 - .

              A lot has changed about the prospects for world peace and world nuclear safety in the last 100 days, and not all of it is bad, by any means. If we're more scared than before, and more frustrated, that could be all to the good -- some people are paying attention.

              jihadij - 11:34am May 13, 2001 GMT (#189 of 265)


              rshowalter - 11:44am May 13, 2001 GMT (#190 of 265)  | 

              again and again !

              rshowalter - 10:21pm May 14, 2001 GMT (#191 of 265)  | 

              In NYT Missile Defense #3839 almarst_2001 , our "Putin-Stand in" asked a key question - and in context, it is an example of good faith, and of difficulties to be faced:

              As I mentioned before, the nuclear wearpons and the MAD deterrance may be the only hope of any country not ready to submit to US or being treated like Yugoslavia or Iraq.
                Do you have any dought the Moscow would be bombed just like Belgrad a long time ago, if not for the MAD?
                  What assurances can anyone have in a current state of the conventional ballance of power and the way, the Washington politics works?

                    A great question, that I'm trying to answer, with people listening.

                    My argument is that deterrance need not be nuclear deterrance.

                    This thread, particularly, is effecting the discourse.

                    rshowalter - 08:34pm May 17, 2001 GMT (#192 of 265)  | 

                    Working towards less terror -- and using concepts worked out on this thread -- work on the NYT MD thread continues.

                    Many citations from Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there? Guardian Talk , Science, are cited, and are playing a crucial part, in dialog on the NYT Missile Defense thread that appears to be involving representatives of governments.

                    MD 4048:


                    I deeply appreciate Guardian Talk -- and anything Dawn and I are lucky enough to accomplish will be, in large part, due to the the wonderful resources and readers here.

                    jihadij - 03:15pm May 20, 2001 GMT (#193 of 265)

                    If in the film Casablanca, had she stayed with Rick (Bogart), and the film is influential, would the second half of the past century have played out differently?

                    rshowalter - 10:20pm May 21, 2001 GMT (#194 of 265)  | 

                    Maybe more gracefully. Not that it was THAT influential.

                    rshowalter - 05:32pm May 23, 2001 GMT (#195 of 265)  | 

                    Last weekend, I went to a small scientific meeting, and discussed both missile defense issues and some personal science. What I displayed is discussed and linked at NYT-Science- Missile Defense MD 4080-4081

                    I was pleased with the meeting. Paradigm conflicts are resolving on the scientific side. Some of the social-psychological-institutional conditions for workable discussions on reduction of nuclear risks seem to me to be promising.

                    Partly because they fit the MD discussions, I've reposted parts of an old thread started by Beckvaa -- "If Jesus Was Alive Today" in Detail and the Golden Rule -- Guardian Talk, Issues , and discuss it a little in MD 4159

                    I'm hopeful. And also very thankful for the Guardian Talk community.

                    It seems to me that paradigms are shifting .

                    rshowalter - 03:35pm May 25, 2001 GMT (#196 of 265)  | 

                    If the information here were more widely known, and faced, in the USA and the world, much good would follow, and much deception and misfortune avoided.

                    CIA's Worst-Kept Secret by Martin A. Lee May 16, 2001

                    rshowalter - 12:15pm May 27, 2001 GMT (#197 of 265)  | 

                    Putting Your Faith in Science? by GINA KOLATA is, I believe, a fine contribution to the culture. What it says reinforces, and reinforces strongly, the arguments Dawn Riley and I have been making, about the need for checking , in Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there? Guardian Talk, Science .

                    Kolata's piece, which makes essential arguments beautifully, and takes them into the mainstream culture with a grace I could never muster, and from the commanding position of the NYT Week In Review, ought to make a dent in many minds. It ends:

                      " Dr. McDonald said he wrote a paper 18 years ago that concluded that the placebo effect did not exist. But, he said, the New England Journal of Medicine rejected the manuscript, saying that everyone knew the effect existed. The paper was eventually published, in Statistics in Medicine. But he met with such disbelief that he gave up even talking about his findings.
                    " It wasn't the right time," he said. "But the good thing about science is that sooner or later the truth comes out."
                      'Subject to safeguards and checking, sooner is better than later. How many doctors, in this 18 years time, have comforted themselves that they've "done something" when they've prescribed a placebo -- when, without the comfort of a misconception, they might have thought harder?

                      sn1337: rshowalt 8/22/00 3:29pm

                      sn1342: markk46b 8/23/00 2:44am

                      sn1343: rshowalt 8/23/00 7:31am

                      MD4210: rshowalter "Missile Defense" 5/25/01 6:04pm

                      xpat - 01:57am May 31, 2001 GMT (#198 of 265)

                      so, Americas' favourite movie was not 'that' influential ... do movies follow culture or lead it?

                      xpat - 01:58am May 31, 2001 GMT (#199 of 265)

                      substitute 'art' for 'movies'

                      rshowalter - 12:12pm May 31, 2001 GMT (#200 of 265)  | 


                      rshowalter - 03:11pm Jun 2, 2001 GMT (#201 of 265)  | 

                      American politics is shifting in ways where much in this thread is likely to become "common ground." There's progress. I'm grateful for this thread.

                      xpat - 03:51am Jun 4, 2001 GMT (#202 of 265)

                      Interesting that the 'right' is dying out in the UK, Australia, and now USA. There's a shift to middle ground. The old right parties are so 'out of touch' the voters are jacking up and jumping ship! Parties have a life ... the right wingers are time warped to the past .. and are the natural parties to die ... as time goes .......... bye!

                      jihadij - 03:22pm Jun 7, 2001 GMT (#203 of 265)

                      Noted that Casablanca sits on the same time line as London ... interesting .. never thought of them sharing the same longitude ... how many 'distinct cultures' can there be on a longitude .. mulling this over .. :)

                      rshowalter - 05:42pm Jun 8, 2001 GMT (#204 of 265)  | 

                      In various ways the Bush administration, though pressing ahead, is also acknowledging its ignorance and pressing ahead. That's a sign that thought patterns are shifting -- perhaps for the better.

                      rshowalter - 10:38pm Jun 8, 2001 GMT (#205 of 265)  | 

                      Thoughts about getting more good done, and less bad, using internet discourse.


                      bNice - 03:03am Jun 13, 2001 GMT (#206 of 265)

                      Psycho - top US horror film ... of all time!

                      Bush looks for 'common ground' in Europe .. which sees the Sheild topping the horror ratings.

                      rshowalter - 07:11pm Jun 19, 2001 GMT (#207 of 265)  | 

                      This thread is the single most important TALK thread for discussions of military balances and peace, and I deeply appreciate the chance I've been given to post here. .

                      Since Missile Defense 4433 there have been 906 postings.

                      The NYT forums have now reinstalled a search function, after a long time -- and it seems to be the same one the Guardian uses, with search page lengths the same as in these TALK threads.

                      The NYT Missile Defense thread is being extensively used, and discussion and controversy are continuing. Main contributers are:

                      almarst_2001, previously almarstel2001 who, since March 5 has acted as a "Putin stand-in" in the Missile Defense forum, and shows extensive connections to literature, and to Russian government ways of thought.

                      gisterme , who since May 2nd has acted as a "Senior Bush administration advisor stand in" who shows some plausible connections to the Bush administration.

                      Posters ( beckq , cookies ) who, according to the dialog, are the same poster, who I'd interpret as "stand-ins" for former President Clinton since August 2000

                      Me, and Dawn Riley, who have been arguing for improved communication, and as much nuclear disarmament as possible within the imperatives of military balances, since September 25, 2000

                      Counting search pages, for characters, gives some sense of the participation. Here are the number of search pages for these posters:

                      Putin stand-in, Almarst --- 55 search pages.

                      Bush Advisor stand-in, gisterme ----- 35 search pages

                      Clinton stand-in, beckq, or cookies2 ----- 7 search pages

                      Dawn Riley - - - - 85 search pages

                      Robert Showalter - - - - 166 search pages.

                      I've contributed the most words to the MD thread, and Dawn the most citations and the most connection to the news.

                      But the involvement of the "stand-ins" has been very extensive, too, represents an enormous work committment on thier part, and their postings are, I think, very impressive. The involvement of these "stand-ins" continues. I believe that their work has assisted in the focusing of problems where neither the US nor the Russians were clear about how to make contact with each other before.

                      The thread is an ongoing attempt to show that internet usages can be a format for negotiation and communication, between staffed organizations, capable of handling more complexity, with more clarity and more complete memory, than could happen otherwise.

                      I believe that is something relatively new, in need of development, and clearly needed.

                      I feel that progress is being made, and that impasses that were intractable before may be more tractable now.

                      These Guardian threads are more flexible than the NYT threads, and stylistically freer. Many of the ideas at play in the MD thread originated and were focused here, and these TALK threads are extensively cited in the Missile Defense thread. For discussing an idea, over under around and through, these TALK threads are the most impressive place for discourse that I have ever seen, and I appreciate them very much.

                      rshowalter - 01:19pm Jun 24, 2001 GMT (#208 of 265)  | 

                      Work on the New York Times ... Science ... Missile Defense thread continues.

                      MD5913 includes this:

                        " If one looks at the history of the Cold War, I believe that this issue of auditing becomes a central one -- some VERY agressive patterns, VERY different from the patterns of personal kindness and tolerance widely distributed among Americans, have been VERY well funded, and well protected, and surprisingly unquestioned, since the 1950's.
                      " This is an issue where, for anything like workable understanding, research would have to be staffed , and consistency relations organized -- with the fundamental logical operator for research guidance the one that dominates human thought --
                        . . .
                          " I believe political parties, legislative groups, journalistic organizations, and nation states, in their own stark objective interest, and for moral and aesthetic reasons, too, should staff this, and see to it that the values that the people the United States and the other countries in the world share are not systematically violated, in ways that are degrading, and could destroy the world.
                            " Is there a "vast right wing conspiracy" controlled, inspired, and funded, in decisive ways, by illicit money flows from the military establishment, and particularly the small part of that establishment that has controlled US nuclear policy since shortly after the end of the Eisenhower administration?
                              " Looks that way to me -- though that is only my opinion, and it needs to be checked.



                                If one wants to see the enormous usefulness of the Guardian TALK section for the NYT Missile Defense thread, go to the thread, and search "guardian" -- there are 14 search page (the same size as TALK search pages) of citations - and I'm personally grateful to be able to make those citations.

                                rshowalter - 07:01pm Jul 1, 2001 GMT (#209 of 265)  | 

                                There have been 461 postings since MD5917 , some that seem important to me.



                                tell a story, from my own perspective, about the Cold War, and plans to end it with which I became involved.

                                rshowalter - 04:29pm Jul 8, 2001 GMT (#210 of 265)  | 

                                This thread continue to be useful. How grateful I am for the Guardian-Observer !

                                I was glad, on July 4th, our Independence Day , to have a chance to post some of the things I feel are important for the welfare of the US, UK, and the world, in these postings, many of which include other links:









                                Some who've followed my work may find the background interesting.

                                I'm posting them here, because I hope some may find them interesting, and because I feel that the more people read them, and the more widely this information is spread, the safer the world may be, and the safer I may be personally.

                                Progress is continuing on the NYT Missile Defense board, and I've got hopes that, with the help of Dawn Riley, and some others, we may make a positive difference for peace.

                                LohrM - 11:58pm Jul 8, 2001 GMT (#211 of 265)

                                And this got to be about and why?

                                quux - 12:06am Jul 9, 2001 GMT (#212 of 265)

                                I thought from the title of the thread this was the return of BritCraria (who seems to have gotten published if is anything to go by).

                                LohrM - 12:19am Jul 9, 2001 GMT (#213 of 265)

                                I'm terrified of having to hear film students discuss 'Casablanca' ever again.

                                rshowalter - 02:46pm Jul 10, 2001 GMT (#214 of 265)  | 

                                Missile Defense is a continuation of the Cold War -- and largely psychological warfare -- since so much of it is based on lies.

                                LohrM - 01:09am Jul 18, 2001 GMT (#215 of 265)

                                Why is it that Euros think that Missile Defense has to do with the Cold War?

                                xpat - 01:37pm Jul 18, 2001 GMT (#216 of 265)

                                bay of pigs

                                rshowalter - 07:51pm Jul 18, 2001 GMT (#217 of 265)  | 

                                Since July 4th, The New York Times -- Science -- Missile Defense forum has had 611 postings - many extensive. These include useful comments from almarst , our "Putin stand in", and gisterme , our "Bush administration high official stand-in."

                                Has the thread been influential? Worth the trouble? As successful as I'd hoped?

                                Perhaps yes, on all these points, though the work seems inconclusive in some ways. In the end, I'm hoping to set out many arguments, like a case to a jury, subject to crossexamination, and then "pick a fight" - in some way that can work in public -- to establish truths that remain, so far "somehow too weak." The case is far along. On the MD thread, and many other places. Getting to a place where a fight in public is possible is not far along -- though progress toward that goal may not be so far away.

                                MD7097 .. includes high praise for the Guardian-Observer , and especially its interactive specials, including

                                MD7098 .. contains a critique and a challenge. I point out the power that one person, willing to be at risk, can sometimes have, by means of a famous picture of defiance more eloquent than any words I could muster.

                                MD7100 sets out directories, and the key story set out in this thread, where I've said many of the most important things I'd like people to know.

                                including the key story, #13.. ... to #23.. and note #26 ...

                                Summaries and links to the Missile Defense thread are set out from #153 in rshowalter Sun 11/03/2001 16:35

                                MD7144-48 contain working summaries, and a working objective of the MD thread:

                                  To clean up the messes left by the Cold War, and make better security possible, communication has to happen between the staffs of nation states. The Missile Defense thread is built as an example of what would be required to meet the needs of this staffed communication.
                                Does the format work? Is the thread worth the effort? In some ways, I think the answer is yes.

                                Truths, that seem perfectly clear, are not being sufficiently influential -- they remain "somehow, too weak." ...MD6670

                                Bertotdt Brecht's essay, WRITING THE TRUTH, FIVE DIFFICULTIES is in my version of his play, GALILEO , set into English by Charles Laughton, and includes this:

                                  " It takes courage to say that the good were defeated not because they were good, but because they were weak."
                                When the truth is too weak, we have to ask: why? Was it indeed the truth? Or were there systematic barriers to the propagation of the truth -- chain breakers?

                                Fear is a problem, and a deeply embedded one, all through the system, for journalists, for members of the government, and for people who depend on the government (that is, all of us.) And reluctance to face new ideas is, as well.

                                I think some may enjoy "Chain Breakers" rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Fri 08/12/2000 20:05 in this regard. Some might enjoy it more in terms of the information linked to MD6613

                                MD6671 .... contains this phrase:

                                  " Hitler went unchecked. "
                                Hitler subverted an entire society based on nonsense and lies, many ornately detailed, and destroyed much of the world in doing so. He hoped, in the senses that matter to most of us, to destroy the whole world. In the ways that mattered, he wasn't effectively checked at the level of ideas.

                                Could the situation be as serious as that now? I think so -- I've long believed that the world could easily end, on the basis of things I believe I understand from a more grounded perspective than many have, that the world could end. I'm not alone in that fear:

                                In MD6024 I asked gisterme, who I believe represents high officers of state, the following question "What have I said that is not in the national interest?" The issue was whether I had committed, or was proposing to commit, treason.

                                gisterme replied to the question directly in these posting, and doing so conceded that issues of technical feasibility and probablility of projects, based on the open literature, can be discussed in the United States.

                                MD6028 MD6033 MD6060

                                That concession is important, in part because of the mechanics of discourse in these affairs. The shroud of classification, even when only used as a threat, can slow discourse down to a crawl. For example, the Coyle Report, . . . NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE DEPLOYMENT READINESS REVIEW 10 August 2000 . . . . , though not formally classified, has been restricted informally. It took months for Congressman Tierney to get it released -- something plainly in the public interest. Working outside of classification rules could be much faster -- and could happen in public -- ideally, recorded in streaming video on the net, with key calculations also on the net, and the whole world invited to see and check those calculations.

                                If this were done, and somehow made public -- some key points, now supressed, might stand out - - and some good decisions might come. I've been trying to find ways to force that checking -- with someone from the administration - with a real name, a real face, and real engineering creditials at risk - on the other side. People often will not attend to fancy arguments -- especially these, where it is so often numbers that are far fetched -- not qualitative ideas alone.

                                Perhaps, if it could be arranged, more might attend to a umpired fight. I might lose such an umpired, public fight, but I'm prepared to risk that.

                                The NYT Missile Defense thread is ungainly, in the same kind of way that human memory is ungainly, in the same way that trial transcripts are ungainly. In part because there is so much in it. But with the net, the details in it can be brought up -- it is a sort of "associative memory." Things come into focus -- and extensive focused evidence, subject to supplementation and critique, is there to be brought to bear. Perhaps the format can be useful.

                                My background is unusual. It is a source of both insight and difficulties for myself and people who have to deal with me.

                                My technical background and orientation: MD6397-99
                                  I'm trying, with enormous and distinguished help from Dawn Riley, within the limits of my strength and resources, to get some facts checked.

                                  I'm hoping to set out many arguments, like a case to a jury, subject to crossexamination, and then "pick a fight" - in some way that can work in public -- to establish truths that remain, so far "somehow too weak." The case is far along. On the MD thread, and many other places. Getting to a place where a fight in public is possible is not yet far along -- but perhaps not be so far away as it was.

                                  I deeply appreciate the fact that these talk boards are here -- and am grateful for the existence of the Guardian - Observer

                                  xpat - 03:00pm Jul 25, 2001 GMT (#218 of 265)


                                  rshowalter - 05:05pm Jul 25, 2001 GMT (#219 of 265)  | 

                                  There have been 262 postings on The New York Times -- Science -- Missile Defense thread since July 18th, and I believe that things have gone well - and hopefully.

                                  Dawn and I have worked hard.

                                  Postings that may interest some of you start with this:

                                    " I've often thought, writing on these forums, about whether I've been keeping faith with Bill Casey -- doing things that, on balance, he would have thought reasonable, and right . . .
                                  and includes this:

                                    " (Dawn and I) were especially interested in dialog with almarst after we read "Muddle in Moscow" ..... ... When we read that story, we imagined that we really were dealing with a powerful man who had taken time, with a staff, to do some listening."





                                  Minds are opening to the possiblility that the US may be fallible. Outside the US, and in America, as well. I take that as a good sign, for the sake of the world, and the United States itself. . . . . . Pollution deal leaves US cold by Charles Clover in Bonn

                                    " Margot Wallstrom, the European environment commissioner, said: "We can go home and look our children in the eyes. Something has changed in the balance of power between the United States and the EU."
                                  Perhaps a time is coming where it will be possible to get some key things checked.

                                  rshowalter - 10:21pm Aug 1, 2001 GMT (#220 of 265)  | 

                                  I know that I've posted a lot here, but I'd like to ask some help from any Talk folks who might be interested. I've felt, for a long time, that it should be possible to check the crucial technical issues involved with the US Missile Defense programs, in public, on the basis of what's known in the open literature. And, by doing so, show that, whatever one may think of them as strategic programs, they are also deeply flawed technically.

                                  I've been under some pressure about that, but have also gotten a good deal of attention - perhaps including some attention from people associated with governments. Perhaps some of you may be interested in some aspects of that, as background, set out in the following links.

                                        I'm wondering if anyone might have comments, especially involving technical issues (but also issues of exposition) about the specific issues in the following postings, which deal with technical aspects of the space based lasar weapons programs , and refer to a dialog between me and gisterme , the NYT - Science _ Missile Defense thread's Bush Administration Official "stand-in" and almarst , the thread's "Putin stand-in."

                                        I'm trying to make an argument that can stand in public -- that can be set out on the web, and that might be illustrated, for clarity, in the sort of detail that would work for a jury -- including perhaps the "jury of public opinion." Here are the links I hope someone might comment on:




                                        Thanks so much.

                                        Bob Showalter


                                        rshowalter - 12:33am Aug 9, 2001 GMT (#221 of 265)  | 

                                        Maybe a little less terror -- if work keeps on, and facts get faced.

                                        U.S., Russian Defense Officials Meet By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS includes this from U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

                                        "WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. and Russian defense officials are meeting behind closed doors at the Pentagon to explore the prospects for an agreement on building missile defenses and cutting nuclear forces.

                                        . . . . . "

                                        " Rumsfeld said there are psychological barriers to creating a new security relationship with Russia.

                                        "``There is an awful lot of baggage left over in the relationship, the old relationship, the Cold War relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union,'' he said.

                                        " ``It is baggage that exists in people's minds, it exists in treaties, it exists in the structure of relationships, the degree of formality of them,'' he added. ``And it will require, I think, some time to work through these things and see if we can't set the relationship on a different basis.''

                                        One doesn't have to approve of everything Rumsfeld has done, or even much of it, to be glad that, as a leader and working politician, he said these words. It means that many people, including military people, have these words in mind. Perhaps some things can get better.





                                        Perhaps we'll even come to some technical clarity -- something I hope for.

                                        To really end the Cold War, the United States would have to work itself through some fictions, and Russia would have to do so as well. That may take a while, as Secretary Rumsfeld suggests

                                        But perhaps some limited progress is being made, and more can be made, as more and more people draw reasonable conclusions from facts.

                                        Many of those facts well reported in the Guardian Observer.

                                        And just for beauty, and appreciation of good things, some nice sites found by Dawn Riley:

                                        xpat - 03:10am Aug 13, 2001 GMT (#222 of 265)

                                        Showalter - it's quiet - one assumes you've gone to Casablanca :) see these Plutonium: USA :

                                        rshowalter - 02:30pm Aug 21, 2001 GMT (#223 of 265)  | 

                                        Didn't get to Casablanca -- but did have some interesting time in Washington.

                                        This might work.



                                        The proposal, for checking of key technical points by professional engineers, with writers of PE exams serving as umpires, would involve some action by people with some power and independence. I've had contacts with such people that may be promising. On matters central to world peace, and balances, there should be "islands of fact" that all concerned are morally and socially bound to respect. Hard to get, but perhaps not impossible.



                                        Some things about military balances and security procedures in general could use some review.


                                        rshowalter - 01:29am Aug 29, 2001 GMT (#224 of 265)  | 

                                        A nice quote from Envisioning Information by Eward Tuftie and some illustration and explanation jobs I'm hoping to help get done.

                                        Some standards that have evolved in court practice:

                                        Some points by Dawn Riley need to be widely explained.

                                        We need some "islands of technical fact" for practical and moral reasons. <br>

                                        I'm hoping to find some resources. That is difficult in a world where I've been very effectivly blackballed for decades. Some key questions are going to have to be answered, including the question whether the NYT Missile Defense thread, for all its "deniability, has been influential or not. Given social barriers, usages in place, and legal concerns, that can be difficult.

                                        But there is some reason to hope that, after some "due diligence" - - some resources can be brought to bear, so that some fundamental questions of fact and proportion may be prepared well enough "so that they can be put before a jury." Well enough, perhaps, to influence events.

                                        It seems to me that the world is polarizing. That makes this a dangerous time. But a hopeful one, as well.

                                        rshowalter - 10:01am Sep 4, 2001 GMT (#225 of 265)  | 

                                        This thread continues to be influential, I believe.

                                        Here is some great coverage: The Fortunes of Russia and China, as Told Through the Pages of The New York Times

                                        The New York Times is a major source of information about missile defense. Discussion of that corpus, and the complexity, richness, and challenge of it, and link to many articles on missile defense that have been discussed on this thread. Listings of missile defense articles in the NYT, with working no-charge links MD8309 MD8310

                                        Colin Powell, and his TIME magazine cover story MD8392

                                        Some history, going back almost a year now, that may interest some who have been following the MD thread, and wondered about barriers to news coverage in the United States. It includes events set out in Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness? #163 . MD8393-8395

                                        We shouldn't miss what even a monkey could see: MD8289

                                        On issues of military and nuclear balances, "no solution as stated:" ... We need a reframing: MD8300-3

                                          Perhaps it is important that the "word" of the United States, and of US military officers, comes to be discounted -- and senses of obligation to the United States, among, allies, come to be diluted with mistrust. . . . the rest of the world has to stop deferring to the US, or being intimidated in every way by the US, and handle their own responsibilities themselves. MD8317-8318
                                        All responsible leaders elsewhere in the world have to do, to move things distinctly and clearly in the direction of peace, is to ask that essential technical facts about missile defense, that can be evaluated in public, actually get competently and clearly evaluated in public. ..... If they asked that it be done, directly or through back channels, it would happen. MD8319
                                          Getting core technical things about "missile defense" difficulties explained well enough for American political purposes, and for wider world politics could be done in terms of the open literature -- and the explanation would establish "islands of technical fact" that are needed for reasonable decisions. MD8343

                                          MD thread summary and background: MD8344

                                          The world could still end -- and we could fix that -- reasons for concern: MD8377-89

                                          Has all this work been useful? Dawn and I have tried to make it so. MD8386

                                          In any case, some stances are being taken by Putin that are just as Dawn and I would wish. MD8243 MD8380-82

                                          Perhaps, along with all the things there are to fear, there are reasons for hope. If some "islands of technical fact" could be established, I believe that things might go a great deal better. MD8343

                                          rshowalter - 04:17pm Sep 12, 2001 GMT (#226 of 265)  | 

                                          This thread continues to be essential.

                                          Since September 4th there have been 400+ postings on the MD thread.

                                          A few may interest some people here. I'm grateful for the chance to post links here, for the record.

                                          Postings dealing with the current tragedy in New York and Washington, and its relations to larger risks, involve postings Dawn Riley and I have done on these wonderful Guardian Talk threads: MD8827

                                          Points were raised by gisterme , the MD board's "Bush administration stand in" that led me to repost Detail and the Golden Rule here: MD8737 MD8743

                                          I made the point that American institutional and intellectual traditions, shaped by the Cold War, may be standing in the way of safety now, in

                                          Perhaps, ugly though things are, we can find some practical ways of making them better.

                                          rshowalter - 02:12am Sep 19, 2001 GMT (#227 of 265)  | 

                                          The Big Terrible by THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN


                                          To cooperate, we must act on the basis of ideals that work for our friends, and that can convert many people, against us now, to our side. To do that, we have to be the good guys.

                                          As a species, we are beautiful, but ugly, too.

                                          There were 714 postings on the NYT Missile Defense board this week.

                                          xpat - 09:48pm Sep 21, 2001 GMT (#228 of 265)

                                          <a href="/WebX?14@@.ee8de48/13">powys ""You are either with us, or against us." - George W." Fri 21/09/2001 18:56</a>

                                          International Gu Threads You are either with us or against us .. post 14

                                            Operation Infinite Justice ? Wouldn't a more appropriate title be Operation Casablanca ? Not because of the vaguely arabic connection but because of the line about just rounding up the usual suspects.

                                          rshowalter - 02:10am Sep 27, 2001 GMT (#229 of 265)  | 

                                          There have been 430 postings on the NYT Missile Defense Board since I last posted here, and since this posting, which cites a number of warning references posted on the Guardian: MD9421

                                          Dawn Riley and I have done most of them, but there have been many interesting ones from almarst and gisterme , people we have reason to think are associated with the Russian and US governments.

                                          In MD9757 I made the hopeful point that

                                            in very complex systems, patterns of solutions that exist and seem at all satisfactory, within a system of constraints, are likely to be few or unique. And often easy for people to think about and focus on in ways where they all agree.
                                          That's makes considering real complexities not just daunting, but hopeful, too.

                                          - - - - - -

                                          I review links discussing a proposal that I've made from time to time since March, and discussed with almarst and Dawn Riley extensively in - - - MD9842-9844

                                          The proposal deals with the idea of

                                            " Crafting a fully workable, fully complete, fully explained "draft treaty proposal" for nuclear disarmament and a more militarily stable world. Such drafting would, at the least, make for stunningly good journalism -- that could be widely syndicated among papers. Useful as that would be, I think the drafting would serve a much more useful purpose. That purpose would be actually getting the points that need to be worked out for nuclear disarmament set out coherently - - to a level where closure actually occurs. That would involve a great deal of staff work done coherently, quickly, and in coordinated fashion.
                                          "I wonder how much might be done IN PUBLIC --- say if some Moscow Times staff, and people from a couple of US papers, some Guardian staff, and people from some interested governments, started an OPEN dialog together? . . .. With all the government involvement possible, from all the nations concerned, and with "shadow" governments set up when the government in power did not participate.

                                          Conditions favorable for something like this may be ripening, among journalists, world leaders, and their publics. I personally believe that such a thing could solve a lot of problems, especially if the Russian, German and UK governments took an interest. I feel that chances of Russian interest might be substantial, though this is, of course, only a guess. If leaders were interested in such a thing, I believe some people of means, proud to support some of the expenses of the effort, would be likely to be available. I also feel that the work would be first rate journalism, justifying the effort of journalists on that basis.

                                          _ _ _ _

                                          Postings on the NYT Missile Defense board are often held for a while before they are displayed. People who make postings that are held can see such ongoing postings. The posting below was displayed prominantly for almost seven hours after it was removed from the ongoing (but hidden) part by the moderator. I'm sorry that it was removed, but glad that is was on display, at a time when I think people were looking, for those hours.

                                          rshowalter - 12:37pm Sep 25, 2001 EST (#9849 of 9849)

                                            "I've been making a working assumption, and Dawn Riley has as well, that almarst had good contacts, perhaps very close contacts, with Putin's staff. Counting postings, and looking at context, I believe it reasonable that gisterme and others have made similar assumptions. Whether the assumptions are exactly true, at the level of ideas, there are analogies that would be almost as useful as contacts, for some purposes. .
                                            "Missile defense is one issue, a very important issue, among a number in Russian - American relations. .
                                            "If my assumptions are correct, and I believe that they are at least reasonable, it seems to me that one can argue that this board has done good service to the interests of the United States of America. .
                                            "And been of some help to Russia, as well. .
                                          _ _ _ _ _

                                          I believe that, terribly unfortunate as the WTC and Pentagon tragedy-crimes were, they have given political actors a sense of urgency and reality that may be very useful. My own view is that with more discussion, and checking of key facts, some of the ugliest and most dangerous messes in the world could be handled much better.

                                          rshowalter - 01:07pm Sep 27, 2001 GMT (#230 of 265)  | 

                                          The world is interconnected, and one issue recurs with monotonous, but deadly serious regularity.

                                          It is that sequences where lies are involved are likely to go wrong in ugly, expensive, unjust, unpredictable ways.




                                          This isn't much reading, and perhaps some who looked at these pieces would find them boring. But perhaps some might be interested. I'm posting them on the off-chance that some people of responsibility, directly or indirectly, might find them interesting.

                                          rshowalter - 11:33pm Oct 5, 2001 GMT (#231 of 265)  | 

                                          The NYT Missile Defense board is going on, at high intensity, and I've had reason to think it may be being influential. And perhaps constructive.

                                          Some of the dialog , which I found revealing, and that may have influenced judgements of staffed organizations, has been deleted. I think that may be just as well. The dialog was up long enough, I feel, to have served a purpose. The board is being carefully censored. Under the circumstances, I'm grateful for that.

                                          Some movement toward closure on some technical points about missile defense has, I believe, occurred.

                                          For all the ugliness and stress, and despite the mourning and the fear, I think we may, perhaps, be living through a time where things get better.

                                          I believe THIS thread is being influential.

                                          rshowalter - 05:37pm Oct 10, 2001 GMT (#232 of 265)  | 

                                          Toward a New Security Framework

                                          Remarks of Sam Nunn
                                          Co-Chairman, Nuclear Threat Initiative
                                          October 3, 2001
                                 is a piece I find wonderful.

                                          It is a thoughtful, proactive response to events from September 11th to date. I think some approaches different from those he now has in mind might condense from the processes Senator Nunn gracefully envisions. I've not always been 100% on Senator Nunn's side, or an advocate of his associates, and perhaps I've been unfair.

                                          But I want to point this speech out. I feel that it is beautiful, and a beautiful integration of issues, coming form where the United States' "security elite" is, and has been.

                                          I like Nunn's ending remarks especially:

                                            " If the United States and Russia begin working together as partners in fighting terror and the weapons of mass destruction threat, and encourage others to join, the world will be a different place for our children and grandchildren. We face major challenges, but an historic opportunity. We must seize it now. .
                                            " Time and circumstance have given us a chance to shape new relationships and to build a new security framework, so that the pain of today will not be known by the children of tomorrow.

                                          I made a suggestion, on September 25, 2001

                                          in a day "web meeting" that ended with an offer:

                                          Senator Nunn would know all the reasons why the suggestion is impractical.

                                          If only the world were that simple.

                                          Sometimes, even now, I think it is.

                                          There have been more than 10,000 postings on the NYT MD board (counting the few deletions that have occurred) since September 25, 2000.

                                          rshowalter - 03:11pm Oct 12, 2001 GMT (#233 of 265)  | 

                                          Advice I got once:

                                            " There is no one standard, no one rule, no one pattern that fits all the time, and if you have a system that you need to check, the checking system, for complicated circumstances, has to be structurally different from the system checked, and has to "violate" some "rules" built into the other system, so as to get things that have to be checked checked." "What's the best advice you've ever been given?" Wed 10/10/2001
                                          Checking involves doubt, but after enough checking there are some times when answers, and right actions, are clear in terms of well defined priorities. Including right answers and right actions that would never have been arrived at, without the checking.

                                          I think

                                          is wonderful. Hope bin Laden reads it. Hope Bush does, too.

                                          Possumdag - 01:25am Oct 25, 2001 GMT (#234 of 265)

                                          Showalter - relate the thread title to WTC - when you find time.

                                          rshowalter - 01:41am Oct 25, 2001 GMT (#235 of 265)  | 

                                          Will do.

                                          xpat - 11:13am Oct 26, 2001 GMT (#236 of 265)

                                          Psychwarfare, Casablanca, WTC -- and terror

                                          myshkin01 - 05:50pm Oct 26, 2001 GMT (#237 of 265)

                                          Isn't the Green Peril the new Red Peril?

                                          SeekerOfTruth - 02:44am Nov 2, 2001 GMT (#238 of 265)

                                          Is green left of red?

                                          SeekerOfTruth - 10:24am Nov 9, 2001 GMT (#239 of 265)

                                            '.. The intelligence service in Jalalabad, he says, is run by a "megalomaniac" 24-year-old. When one prisoner escaped, Mr. Peyrard writes, the Taliban had the prisoner's three nephews — ages 10, 13 and 19 — arrested. The eldest, Mr. Peyrard writes, was tortured and suffered a mock execution in which the bullet hit the wall only inches from his head.
                                            Mr. Peyrad suggests that while American bombardment may be having some effect, the paranoia of the Taliban leaders themselves — and the hatred of ordinary Afghans for the Islamic militants from Arab and other countries who have affiliated themselves with the Taliban cause — could become important forces undermining the fundamentalist government in Kabul. ..'

                                          rshowalter - 03:22pm Nov 18, 2001 GMT (#240 of 265)  | 

                                          I review links discussing a proposal that I've made from time to time since March, and discussed with almarst and Dawn Riley extensively in - - - MD9842-9844

                                          The proposal deals with the idea of

                                            " Crafting a fully workable, fully complete, fully explained "draft treaty proposal" for nuclear disarmament and a more militarily stable world. Such drafting would, at the least, make for stunningly good journalism -- that could be widely syndicated among papers. Useful as that would be, I think the drafting would serve a much more useful purpose. That purpose would be actually getting the points that need to be worked out for nuclear disarmament set out coherently - - to a level where closure actually occurs. That would involve a great deal of staff work done coherently, quickly, and in coordinated fashion."
                                            " I wonder how much might be done IN PUBLIC --- say if some Moscow Times staff, and people from a couple of US papers, some Guardian staff, and people from some interested governments, started an OPEN dialog together? . . .. With all the government involvement possible, from all the nations concerned, and with "shadow" governments set up when the government in power did not participate."

                                          Conditions favorable for something like this may be ripening, among journalists, world leaders, and their publics. I personally believe that such a thing could solve a lot of problems, especially if the Russian, German and UK governments took an interest. I feel that chances of Russian interest might be substantial, though this is, of course, only a guess.

                                          If leaders were interested in such a thing, I believe some people of means, proud to support some of the expenses of the effort, would be likely to be available. I also feel that the work would be first rate journalism, justifying the effort of journalists on that basis.

                                          The rest of the world is organizing in ways that should permit the United States to be held to reasonable account - - - and in important ways, the United States is behaving in ways more accountable to world opinion than it did before September 11. - The time may be ripe for reviewing the reasons why the current nuclear terror occurred, and coming to understand how we may, responsibly and carefully, get out of that horrible situation. It makes no sense to have thousands of obsolete and terribly dangerous nuclear weapons around for decades more, when they serve (especially at such high levels) no military purpose. The misunderstandings and terrible patterns that caused these weapons to come into being should be better understood, and the reasons for them examined and deconstructed.

                                          xpat - 12:09pm Nov 27, 2001 GMT (#241 of 265)

                                          Any comparisons re Casablanca re current engagement US/Afghanistan ?

                                          rshowalter - 12:26am Dec 5, 2001 GMT (#242 of 265)  | 

                                          The key one, again and again is that lies and misconceptions, when taken as truths, paralyze minds.

                                          Another is that, for idea systems completely unchangeable, and unacceptable, there may be no option but a fight. In Casablance, Nazis couldn't be defeated by argument -- they has to be fought and killed.

                                          We need to find ways to communicate so we get to such circumstances much less often.

                                          rshowalter - 09:43pm Dec 12, 2001 GMT (#243 of 265)  | 

                                          Vestiges of the Cold War, and very dangerous ones, still continue.

                                          U.S. to Pull Out of ABM Treaty, Clearing Path for Antimissile Tests By DAVID E. SANGER and ELISABETH BUMILLER


                                          SeekerOfTruth - 07:10am Dec 21, 2001 GMT (#244 of 265)

                                          War - might it happen less often

                                          I F

                                          if the countries that could - did

                                          D I D

                                          did help other countries by forming an alliance partnership to get them off the ground.

                                          Say first world countries each took a second or more countries and set out to constructively trade, train, and assist ...

                                          Wouldn't it be to the mutal advantage of both

                                          As standards and needs rose

                                          Giving hope to people in the disadvantaged situations that they did have the ability to drag their zone up by the bootstraps, set priorities and incrementally improve their situation.

                                          As a starter: Implementation of Moral and ethical standards - reasonably free - would instantly raise the quality of life for many people.

                                          rshowalter - 10:35pm Dec 23, 2001 GMT (#245 of 265)  | 

                                          Raising moral questions as common sense, practical questions more often would help.

                                          Nukes, for example, are crazy, the instant you look at them in terms of practical human consequences.

                                          So are threats, based on them, that disrupt and distort societies -- as the US and Russia have been distorted.

                                          We should, at least, see that they don't destroy the world.

                                          lchic - 06:58pm Dec 29, 2001 GMT (#246 of 265)

                                          Problem is some of the people working with them just view them in technolgical terms and don't fit that to human terms.

                                          rshowalter - 11:48pm Jan 3, 2002 GMT (#247 of 265)  | 

                                          It is terrifying, how easy it is for people to be "blind" in this way.

                                          History is stained, and defiled, by many of the consequences.

                                          rshowalter - 05:00pm Jan 4, 2002 GMT (#248 of 265)  | 

                                          I was glad to see by gisterme , a person who I suspect has high connections with the Bush administration.

                                          Gisterme said that

                                            " The massive nuclear arsenals are already on their way out, Robert. That's because there's way more trust between their possesors than there was prior to 1991. Be patient. We'll both likely live to see the largest strategic nuclear arsenals no larger than a few dozen missiles or perhaps even less. Maybe none. The things are obsolete as rational tools of political leverage because they are too terrible for any sane leader to ever use except as last-ditch defense. .
                                            " I'm entirely with you in wanting to see strategic nuclear arsenals reduced to the point where even the worst case would still allow survival of the species. That might not take as long as we may think. "
                                          I hope not.

                                          rshowalter - 09:56pm Jan 12, 2002 GMT (#249 of 265)  | 

                                          The Collapse of Enron-- Moderated is a very interesting forum - pretty short, with excellent stuff throughout.

                                          Postings on the MD board so far this year, though too many to interest the casual, involve things I believe ought to be of great interest to staffed organizations, all over the world, interested in military stability, and reduction of nuclear and other risks.

                                          HOW TO SEARCH THE NYT MISSILE DEFENSE FORUM



                                          bNice - 02:36am Jan 19, 2002 GMT (#250 of 265)

                                          There seems to be an EnronWar happening in the USA .. there all Gullivers little people are crying and taring out their hair ... pension gone .. jobs gone ... a big big big big mess! Casablanca was 1943ish .. what EnronYear is it in the USA ?

                                          rshowalter - 11:18pm Jan 19, 2002 GMT (#251 of 265)  | 

                                          MD10870 :

                                          Last year, Russia hosted a meeting on the militarization of space - something like 104 countries attended. The United States did not. Laser weapons were centrally involved in the issues of concern. Take away the laser weapons, and the other offensive ideas for space weapons don't amount to much.

                                          Reflective decal countermeasures (which would certainly occur to any engineer seriously thinking about defending against laser weapons) are so easy that these laser weapon systems, either on airplanes or in space - just don't make sense as weapons.

                                          The point, long discussed on the NYT Missile Defense thread, was discussed in detail, with respect to the ABL ("AirBornLaser) in





                                            A quote in Hitt's article is worth noting, when judging space weapons - "it costs a bar of gold to put up a coke can." If you know that, you know that "smart rocks" proposed to intercept missiles, starting from one orbit, and intercepting some trajectory not on that orbit, aren't very "smart."
                                          We need some "islands of technical fact" to be determined, beyond reasonable doubt, in a clear context beyond politics. MD10764

                                          I believe that if representatives of some of the countries concerned with the weaponization of space asked for clarification, on basic technical questions of feasibility beyond politics, the clarifications would happen. If this were done, I believe that some wrong assumptions, that now stand in the way of world safety, could be swept away.

                                          Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror #207-210 , linked in MD10882 , offers background on things that might be understood, and done.

                                          rshowalter - 11:28pm Jan 19, 2002 GMT (#252 of 265)  | 

                                          Here are wonderful NYT Op. Ed Pieces:

                                          ENRON AND THE GRAMMS by Bob Herbert

                                          THE UNITED STATES OF ENRON by Frank Rich

                                          rshowalter - 05:09pm Jan 27, 2002 GMT (#253 of 265)  | 

                                          The New York Times has been doing a remarkable job covering the Enron scandal, and a collection of their coverage is linked here:

                                          There is a moderated discussion on the topic "The Collapse of Enron."

                                          "lchic" has many especially useful contributions.

                                          Perhaps " enron " should become a verb.

                                          rshowalter - 05:25pm Jan 27, 2002 GMT (#254 of 265)  | 

                                          I was very glad to see Organizing the World to Fight Terror by IGOR S. IVANOV , Russian Foreign Minister

                                          Much of the NYT Missile Defense thread deals with subjects related to those that Minister Ivanov speaks of. MD11068

                                          The need for openness, and international relations built on trust is very great. Towards that end, it is useful that things be checked. MD11071

                                          People and nations do make their systems work better. Russia has made great progress since "Muddle in Moscow" .....

                                          Efforts on the NYT MD thread may not have had anything to do with any of that progress, but lchic and I have tried to be constructive. md7389

                                          rshowalter - 05:27pm Jan 27, 2002 GMT (#255 of 265)  | 

                                          This thread has been cited repeatedly as a guide to work done, including triangulation to this and other guardian talk threads, on the NYT Missile Defense forum. That will continue. I appreciate the chance to post here.

                                          lchic - 08:58am Feb 4, 2002 GMT (#256 of 265)

                                          Chance - is a random experience.

                                          rshowalter - 06:54pm Feb 6, 2002 GMT (#257 of 265)  | 

                                          There are those who think the current US defense budget proposal is excessive and misshapen, and I'm one of them. The NYT is of the same opinion.

                                          My own special interest is nuclear disarmament,and that has meant special attention to the NYT Missile Defense message board -- which remains quite active. I believe that it is being demonstrated that the basic technical parts of the Bush administrations's MD program are tactically useless. An interesting example is the Airborne Laser system (ABL) -- which depends on adaptive optics that requires a feedback path that does not exist. Key numbers are classified, but what is possible (and impossible) can be seen from widely known data in the open literature.

                                          Some days, I feel the MD board is productive -- I'm stuck there, to some extent, because of a "credentialling problem" that can be viewed from several perspectives.

                                          In the last week, I've had a subjective sense of progress.

                                          edevershed - 08:05pm Feb 9, 2002 GMT (#258 of 265)

                                          I like this thread.

                                          rshowalter - 01:38am Feb 13, 2002 GMT (#259 of 265)  | 

                                          I'm glad!

                                          rshowalter - 08:31pm Feb 13, 2002 GMT (#260 of 265)  | 

                                          The NYT MD board has been active this week -- with a great many postings by " gisterme ", a personage I've sometimes suspected of high US government connections.

                                          Dawn Riley pointed out that

                                          Within amorphous organisations some projects
                                          start-up and then take on a life of their own.
                                          The history, rational, and reasoning are lost
                                          as the initiators move on
                                          abandoning these ever-funded,
                                          now orphaned projects.

                                          That's happened, to a significant extent, to projects in the US military establishment.

                                          I was most interested in Margaret Thatcher's Advice to a Superpower MD11481

                                          With Enron much on the mind of the country, there have been some most interesting speeches by distinguished US Senators in and issues that have not been "second guessed" before, but deferred to, may be subject to more scrutiny. US credibility is being questioned, and that's being pointed out by Friedman, along with a very important point, on which Friedman and I agree with the Bush andministration -- deterrance has to be credible, and that means sometimes you do have to fight. Crazier Than Thou By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN.

                                          MD11526-11527 Some key issues on the functionality of the US missile defense systems were set out in MD11502 , with some partial agreement (on what matters, not what the facts are) from gisterme.

                                          For each weapons system, key questions are:

                                            Can it see the target? .
                                            Can it hit the target? .
                                            Can it hit the target hard enough to kill it?
                                          These questions apply for "best possible test conditions" and also for tactical conditions, including conditions with the existence of particular, defined countermeasures.

                                          I don't believe that the missile defense programs could stand careful, organized scrutiny about these questions, at the level suggested in MD10764 , and feel that it would serve the interest of virtually all people of good faith concerned with world security to get some key facts checked, in some way that went beyond "trust me" -- and got down to specific, clear cases.

                                          lchic - 07:24am Feb 20, 2002 GMT (#261 of 265)

                                          Casablanca came first with voters as the greatest love story ... was it people love or love of country that made it great?

                                          rshowalter - 04:21pm Feb 20, 2002 GMT (#262 of 265)  | 

                                          Concerns about the Bush administration are widespread -- very often, things are done for reasons that don't make sense, in terms that are explained. Perhaps things cannot be explained in terms that can stand the light of day. The Enron scandal may illustrate a great deal about the role of "information control" (aka fraud) in current US government policy, foreign and domestic.

                                          The emotive slogan in "Superman" comics, and movies, is

                                            . Truth, justice, and the American way . . .
                                          For any workable way of life, truth has to be fundamental-- because decisions have to be made, and people have to be able to cooperate and act in good faith. An editorial and OpEd piece in the New York Times could harrdly be more serious.

                                          Managing the News

                                            The new Office of Strategic Influence's plans to plant false stories in the foreign press would undermine rather than reinforce the government's broader efforts to build international support for the war on terrorism.
                                          Office of Strategic Mendacity By MAUREEN DOWD

                                          The NYT Missile Defense thread is extensive, and represents an effort to set down, using techniques the internet makes possible, an open corpus, with many crosslinks, adapted to assist in the focusing of a complex, difficult issue toward closure. It is set up as a prototype - illustrating patterns that may be useful for communication between staffed organizations.

                                          A fairly compact ongoing summary of this thread from September 25, 2000 to date, which is too large for easy reading, but not for sampling, is set out with many links in this thread from #151 on

                                          MD690 seems particularly appropriate here.


                                          MD 111656

                                          The administration's "missile defense" program is essentially a fraud - - based on what seems to be an assumption of a "right to lie and evade" built into current American arrangements in the course of fighting the Cold War. If facts, repeatedly pointed out by people with credentials, were taken into account, the "missile defense" fraud, and all its foreign policy implications, would simply be impossible.

                                          For practical reasons, important in America, and important elsewhere in the world, there have to be limits on the "right to lie" about subject matter that is of consequence.

                                          People need to expect decent action. It cannot be taken for granted, and has been to often - - something well illustrated in a piece today:

                                          An Enron Unit Chief Warned, and Was Rebuffed By JOHN SCHWARTZ

                                          Toecutter4 - 07:07pm Feb 23, 2002 GMT (#263 of 265)

                                          rshowalter - 04:21pm Feb 20, 2002 GMT (#262 of 262)

                                          Truth, Justice and the American Way

                                          That's Hollywood and Comic books. The real version is 'Truth, Justice and/or the American Way."

                                          The other is the motto of the US Supreme Court. "There is no justice, there is only just us."

                                          It was very appropriate that the blind fold went on the figure of Justice in the years shortly preceding the Taney Court.

                                          rshowalter - 12:29am Feb 28, 2002 GMT (#264 of 265)  | 

                                          In analogy to

                                            " Truth, justice, and the American way . . .
                                          TRUTH, RIGHT AND THE AMERICAN WAY A Nation Defined by Its Enemies By ROBERT F. WORTH

                                          rshowalter - 12:30am Feb 28, 2002 GMT (#265 of 265)  | 

                                          The NYT Missile Defense thread, which now fills 28 notebooks of text, is being rebooted - continued, but without holding previous text on the database. The last ten days have been especially active, with our "Putin stand in, almarst", and the "Bush administration stand-ins" quite active. I've saved the thread. I posted the following summary of the thread to date. (MD11896)

                                          . . .

                                          "This thread has made some progress. The "missile defense" programs are technically much less tenable than they used to be. I think the discourse on this thread has been part of that. Very serious efforts to defend BMD have been made here - and they have taken up much space, and involved many evasions. But they have made no specific and detailed technical points that have been able to stand about technical feasibility.

                                          The "lasar weapon" programs have been significantly discredited -- because countermeasures are easy, because adaptive optics is not easy, and because a fundamental misunderstanding about the "perfect coherence" of lasers has been made.

                                            " Alignment good enough for lasing" has been confused with the far more difficult alignment needed for laser beam coherence for destroying targets over long distances.
                                          "This has probably undermined every single BMD laser program in existence. (To be good enough for lasing, one needs alighnments so that the cosine of alignment angle is almost exactly 1 -- which is fairly easy -- to be good enough for aiming, alignment, already difficult for lasing - has to be thousands of times better -- probably impossible, even for a lab curiosity - certainly impossible for a high powered, tactical laser subject to system vibration.)

                                          "There are other key errors in the laser systems, too -- including a "feedback loop" in the ABL system without enough signal to function at all.

                                          "Whether these oversights have anything to do with a hostile takeover effort of TRW Corportion, I can only speculate -- but hostile takeovers of major US. military contractors are generally consistent with DOD policy.

                                          "The midcourse interception program that has taken up so much diplomatic space has always been vulnerable to extraordinarily easy countermeasures. This thread has reinforced points that should already have been clear. Points much of the technical community has long insisted on. It costs perhaps a ten thousandth as much to defeat the system as it costs to build it. Perhaps much less. Some facts are based on physics of the sending, reflection, and recieving of electromagnetic radiation (light, radio waves, or any other) are now well known, and inescapable.

                                          "Arguments on this thread recently have favored BMD as psychological warfare -- as bluff. In my view, the bluff is grotesquely more expensive than can be justified -- and fools almost no one, any more, but the American public.

                                          I feel that the technical credibility of ballistic missile defense ought to be questioned, in detail, and to closure -- because so much diplomacy, and so much of the current rationale for Bush administration policy, hinges on it.

                                          We need some islands of technical fact to be determined, beyond reasonable doubt, in a clear context. It is possible to do that now.

                                          rshowalter - 09:51pm Mar 2, 2002 BST (#266 of 331)  | 

                                          Since the NYT Missile Defense forum restarted on March 1, discussions have been constructive, and dense. Entry 265, above, has been an essential summary -- and at the level of technical issues, but little contested. Our "Bush administration stand in" and "Putin stand-in" are active, and being constructive. The rebooted forum, much shorter, will also be more compact and well organized. MD84

                                          rshowalter - 12:45am Mar 7, 2002 BST (#267 of 331)  | 

                                          Just a thought for a happy ending, based on the pattern in How a Story is Shaped

                                          Status Quo . . .

                                          Initial Problem . . .

                                          Exposition . . .

                                          Complications . . .

                                          Crisis . . . A superpower out of hand - - with plenty of muddle and danger.

                                          Climax boom, crash -- . . . A few world leaders say, in public, "this is an intolerable mess -- there are muddles here -- we want the key facts and relations sorted out -- staffed to closure -- beyond question . . ."

                                          to be continued .

                                          Denouement . . .

                                          Description of New Status Quo . . .

                                          New Status Quo

                                          I think some pretty satisfactory resolutions would occur, pretty naturally, once there was enough "news value" for public scrutiny -- along with formats that were able to handle the logical problems involved.




                                          I think many of the questions raised by almarst , the NYT Missile Defense thread's "Putin stand-in" are interesting, and I've collected some of them in MD183 to MD186 are worth a lot of respect, attention, and concern.

                                          rshowalter - 12:41am Mar 13, 2002 BST (#268 of 331)  | 

                                          Superb editorial: America as Nuclear Rogue

                                          rshowalter - 12:42am Mar 13, 2002 BST (#269 of 331)  | 

                                          I believe, for reasons of context that you can judge for yourself below, that manjumicha2001 either is, or represents, a major player in the Bush adminstration defense establishment. That is, of course, deniable, unless some journalists do some work.

                                          manjumicha2001's posted MD401 rather than respond, or have a cohort respond, to a challenge of mine explicit enough that it could not be run away from. MD393

                                          In MD401 manjumicha2001 says this:

                                            " I agree with you that NMD is a program that is 50 years old and has proven to be terminally challenged by the laws of physics.
                                          That's a key question of fact that needs to be widely, persuasively explained , so that the people who have to make decisions relating to that fact can do so. If my guess about the identity of manjumicha2001 is correct - - the admission should be a matter of wide interest.

                                          in MD401 manjumicha2001 continues:

                                            "Having said that, however, I do not believe the world turns based on merits alone. Pathos (either of a nation or people) matter and more often than not, it is the driving force of the events that shape history. "
                                          Pathos and folly may be understandable, but still regrettable, when matters of life, death, and agony are at stake. Here's a piece of my MD382

                                            "Facts and ideas, combined together in space and time so that people can "connect the dots", as Erica Goode says in Finding Answers In Secret Plots form the ideas that people and groups have. -- These ideas are patterns, which work well enough to sustain action and belief in some ways, though they may be totally invalid otherwise. These ideas, constructed by "connecting the dots" may produce grossly pathological results -- . . . Or they may be correct.
                                            "To judge that, one checks the "facts" "connected together" and one sees if the pattern conjured up fits more facts - - including many more facts. The process of judging this, like the process of putting the "explanation" together - happens in people's minds - and can't be forced. But the matching process -- the "connecting of the dots" -- is what effective persuasion is all about. And the internet offers new ways, some shown here, of connecting information in space and time that would otherwise be diffused and unconnectable.
                                          Because the carnage and loss from "pathos" can be so serious it seems worthwhile to set out postings from manjumicha2001 - so that if anyone wishes to "connect some dots" they may form some judgements about who (s)he is, and who (s)he converses with. My sense is that manjumicha2001 is a senior Bush administration official -- you may develop your own sense on the basis of manjumicha2001's posting - linked below:
















                                          Wouldn't it be dramatic if "easy inferences" from such dot-connecting happened to be right - - and people in positions of power and trust took the stances in manjumicha2001's MD401 ?

                                          If people responsible for making the United States a "Nuclear Rogue" know the technical things that they must know, and that manjumicha2001 acknowledges -- scandal ought to be fully justified.

                                          rshowalter - 09:05pm Mar 20, 2002 BST (#270 of 331)  | 

                                          Lead article in MIT's Technology Review Why Missile Defense Won't Work by Theodore A. Postol April 2002

                                          From -GEN. GEORGE LEE BUTLER former commander, Strategic Air Command

                                            " Nuclear weapons are irrational devices. They were rationalized and accepted as a desperate measure in the face of circumstances that were unimaginable. Now as the world evolves rapidly, I think that the vast majority of people on the face of the earth will endorse the proposition that such weapons have no place among us.
                                          The technical issues are clear - missile defense is a sham. The arguments have been well presented for a long time, by many people. But the US military-industrial complex has its own reasons to want to continue the fraud. To get to closure, there has to be a fight about facts and relations. Some of the analogies to the Enron case are close. Enron was dominant - deferred to -- respected -- on the basis of a pattern of ornate but blatant deceptions. But the lies were unstable - - and once some key facts solidified - with clarity - and with many of the facts presented together in space and time, so people could see -- the fraud collapsed. An admirable collection of facts and circumstances, contributing to that instability is here:

                                          Some key aspects of the US military-industrial-complex deserve analogous scrutiny. For it to happen, for it to be news, world leaders are going to have to ask for checking.



                                          There may be some reason to hope for that.

                                          I misjudged manjumicha2001 MD717 - - - and may have underestimated the amount of hard work, and brilliance, that NYT people are putting into the MD thread.

                                          rshowalter - 09:32pm Mar 20, 2002 BST (#271 of 331)  | 

                                          They'll Always Have Paris (and a Scholarly Web Site) March 18, 2002 By MATTHEW MIRAPAUL

                                          rshowalter - 09:10pm Mar 27, 2002 BST (#272 of 331)  | 

                                          The NYT Missile Defense thread was rebooted on March 1st, , and the summary was set out in #265 of this thread. There are some postings from the earlier thread that I'm reposting here, to facilitate discussions on the continued Missile Defense thread, and because I hope that some people may find them of interest.

                                          rshowalter - 09:11pm Mar 27, 2002 BST (#273 of 331)  | 

                                          rshowalter - 07:22am Jun 26, 2001 EST (#6057 of 7079) Robert Showalter

                                          I say here that I knew Bill Casey a little.

                                          And of course, everything's deniable - I'm not sure anybody has any records at all. Maybe I'm a literary figure -- call me Ishmael.

                                          The story I like best about me, in this regard, is that I'm just a guy who got interested in logic, and military issues. A guy who got concerned about nuclear danger, and related military balances, and tried to do something about it. Based on what he knew - with no access to special information of any kind, he made an effort to keep the world from blowing up, using the best literary devices he could fashion, consistent with what he knew or could guess.

                                          Let me go on with another story.

                                          I don't think of Casey as a critter, a phrase Dawn used above -- though he was capable of almost any evil at all. In fact, though I have mixed feelings, some of those feelings for Casey are of great respect. In significant ways, Casey's sophistication and morality seem to me to much exceed the sophistication and morality of the leaders who succeeded him.

                                          I didn't talk to Casey often, but during the '70's and 80's we had a number of meetings, each about 2 hours long, each at the Hotel Pierre in New York.

                                          They were intense, careful, interesting meetings -- and I left them, every time, with a lot of respect for Casey's intelligence and sophistication. I also left with real feelings, but not unmixed ones, that Casey had a real and intense desire to act in good faith when he felt he could. I also left those meetings relieved. But still afraid, though not so afraid as I was when I went into them.

                                          In my interaction with The New York Times , I've been doing just exactly what Casey coached me to do -- ordered me to do -- what I promised Casey I would do.

                                          When I got a problem solved (really several problems solved) after giving people a chance to take me in through other channels -- I was to come in through The New York Times . Casey thought that was what was going to have to happen -- but thought it had to be a last resort .. I should try other things -- things I did try -- first. ... But Casey felt that the TIMES was a last resort that would work. The TIMES would have the connections, when the situation seemed right, to get things moving gracefully and well -- the way America, in Casey's view, and mine, was supposed to work.

                                          When I figured out the "buried problem" in applied mathematics, and "figured out how to really talk to the Russians" -- and figured out what a stable stand-down of nuclear terror was to be like -- I was to come in. They wanted the answers, but weren't sure how they'd accomodate them, and would have to sort it out at the time.

                                          Its been rougher than that, for reasons, I believe, that Casey might be ashamed of.

                                          I've been doing my duty, I believe -- making decisions I've felt I had to. In this regard, a phrase that Casey used in an answer to me occurs. He said, with a twinkle in his eye -- but a menacing twinkle (people who knew Casey may remember such twinkles) that, under difficult circumstances "it was easier to get forgiveness, than it was to get permission."

                                          I've often thought, writing on these forums, about whether I've been keeping faith with Bill Casey -- doing things that, on balance, he would have thought reasonable, and right, on balance, under the circumstances. So far, weighing what I've known and believed -- I've always judged that I have. I believe that now.

                                          rshowalter - 09:12pm Mar 27, 2002 BST (#274 of 331)  | 

                                          rshowalter - 07:23am Jun 26, 2001 EST (#6058 of 7079) Robert Showalter

                                          I'm needing to weigh what to do - and while I do so, I'd like to post links to a Guardian thread where I've said many of the most important things I'd like people to know. Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 21:57

                                          including the key story, #13.. #23..

                                          note #26 ... rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 23:13 To see many references to this that thread, and to the movie Casablanca , search "casablanca" for this thread.

                                          Here are some postings connected to the Casablanca story that interest me especially today.

                                          MD3044 rshowalter 5/2/01 5:31pm .... MD3045 rshowalter 5/2/01 5:31pm MD3046 rshowalter 5/2/01 5:32pm ...

                                          MD3831rshowalter 5/14/01 12:09pm .... MD3523 rshowalter 5/8/01 4:12pm

                                          Summaries and links to this Missile Defense thread are set out from #153 in rshowalter Sun 11/03/2001 16:35 MD4778 rshowalter 6/11/01 7:31pm

                                          gisterme , raises the threat that I'm committing treason. I think not. I also think that the people saying so have been in such violation of the real interests of the United States, for so long, that they may not know what treason is --- because they have come to embody it themselves.

                                          They may have much good in them, too. The world is a complex place.

                                          We shouldn't let the world blow up. As of now, it could.

                                          And the world is far, far uglier than it needs to be, because people don't face up to facts, and deal, as responsible human beings, with things as they are.

                                          Lies are dangerous. We need to deal with some of them, that keep the Cold War going, when we should put it behind us.

                                          rshowalter - 09:13pm Mar 27, 2002 BST (#275 of 331)  | 

                                          rshowalter - 07:19am Jul 1, 2001 EST (#6370 of 7079) Robert Showalter

                                          Dawn, there were some important extenuating circumstances -- in many minds, including mine at the time -- about the way the US fought to Cold War -- ugly as it was. That is, there were before the fall of the Soviet Union.

                                          Bill Casey felt passionate about this - agonized about this. Yes - it had been and was going to be necessary to do terrible, morally indefensible things. Yes, gross injustice had been and was going to be done to many people. Yes, it had been and was going to be necessary to subvert the Constitution, and many of the most dearly held values of the American people and our allies.

                                          These things had been, and would continue to be necessary -- to fight the Cold War, against forces of totalitarianism that, Casey sincerely felt, had to be stopped at all costs - including both practical and moral costs.

                                          Yes, it had been and was going to be necessary to lie and cheat and steal -- and kill innocent people beyond the ability of any individual human being to count.

                                            (Ever tried to physically count to five million?)
                                          Yes, it was ugly -- ugly beyond anything you could get in your head -- ugly beyond telling.

                                          But the US, Casey felt, could do these things. Do them in secret, concealed in elaborate patterns of lies. With the secrecy and the lies justified, not only by expediency, but because there was a real desire to preserve the good things about America -- the kindness, the flexibility -- the opportunity -- the beauty. Preserve them by isolating them from the ugliness.

                                          Bill Casey deserved, I believe, the same criticism as Kissinger and his colleagues and proteges deserve -- that he took positions that "made Machiavelli seem like one of the Sisters of Mercy."

                                          And acted on them.

                                          rshowalter - 09:14pm Mar 27, 2002 BST (#276 of 331)  | 

                                          rshowalter - 07:19am Jul 1, 2001 EST (#6371 of 7079) Robert Showalter

                                          HOWEVER, Bill Casey also not only respected -- he revered , the standards of decency, and openness, and flexibility -- that THE NEW YORK TIMES tries to stand for -- and usually does.

                                          When I talked to Casey, he was very clear about the conflict -- and his sense of the terrible moral box he and others had gotten the United States into. When he talked to me, a special asset who, it had been provisionally decided, was not to be killed -- (at every meeting I had with Casey, I was sure he was re-evaluating that decision) -- what we talked about was finding an end game -- finding a way out of the horror .

                                          Perhaps, if Casey hadn't had the brain tumor he had, and died in 1989, the terrible tragedy of the last decade might not have happened quite as it did. Perhaps some grace not found could have been found. I don't know. This happened.

                                          When the Soviet Union fell, and everyone, on all sides, had so much hope, we didn't have an end game -- and the United States was so tied up with lies, that it could not sort out problems before it -- or help the Russians sort out their problems.

                                          Now, the country (those Americans led by the current Administration) is slam-banging into disaster -- throwing every decency imaginable overboard, one by one, in a doomed attempt to avoid having to face what has been done.

                                          If we faced it, as we must -- there'd be much hope.

                                          As it is now, --- America is being degraded, besmirched, made ugly - betrayed -- by the people now in control of the Federal government -- with but very few people standing up at all.

                                          Few are pointing to the obvious, pervasive lies that are so clearly before us.

                                          There simply is no alternative but for us to put the Cold War behind us. And that means that some core facts - that must be clear, for any reasonable shaping of the future --- must be set out.

                                          I think that this thread is part of that.

                                          lunarchick - 07:48am Jul 1, 2001 EST (#6372 of 7079)

                                          Interesting posts re Casey, Showalter. What you seem to be saying is that the US wanted to get rid of the 'Stalin' aspect of Russian communism - at any price. Even so, when it came to an end, had Cassey - the old critter, still been around, he would have still been looking for solutions to limit the pain and time-span of transition. (You're kinder to Casey than the Obituary comentator-links (above) seach Casey.

                                          Putin must be working some magic over in Russia. The reports in the financial times are worth looking at today.

                                          I know there's conflict here re the State taking more control, but, it seems to be a fight between State that may do things right for the people - if well lead, and the Russian Maffia types, who look after themselves.

                                            The Russian state firmly reinforced its control over Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, yesterday when it won six of the 11 seats on the company...

                                            Pilgrim Russia is up 59 per cent year-to-date, outpacing the main Russian index, the RTS, which is up 54.8 per cent
                                            In an acknowledgement of Russia's economic growth and increased political stability, Standard & Poor's on Thursday upgraded the country's debt... see (using FT only / search / Putin)
                                          lunarchick - 08:07am Jul 1, 2001 EST (#6373 of 7079)

                                          Russia is picking itself up off the floor .

                                          rshowalter - 09:16pm Mar 27, 2002 BST (#277 of 331)  | 

                                          rshowalter - 08:13pm Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7385 of 7435) Robert Showalter

                                          MD6057 rshowalter 6/26/01 7:22am includes:

                                          " I've often thought, writing on these forums, about whether I've been keeping faith with Bill Casey -- doing things that, on balance, he would have thought reasonable, and right, on balance, under the circumstances. So far, weighing what I've known and believed -- I've always judged that I have. I believe that now. These days, it seems to me that, if Bill Casey was looking down, he might be smiling. For one thing, I've had a helluva time, and knowing the old pirate, that might cheer him.

                                          But more than that, there was an admonition, an order, that he repeated again and again, when we met. If I had to come in, and things were awkward in various ways, there was one thing, Casey felt, that I had to remember. That was to "preserve infrastructure."

                                          He was very definite about what he meant by "preserving infrastructure." He meant that it was necessary to arrange actions, messages, and pacings, so that adjustments that needed to be made could be made, without unnecessary damage to people and institutions, with people moving at their own pace - in ways that worked for the human organizations, and the sunk investments, in place.

                                          I was told to "come in through the TIMES ," and I've tried to do that, and done so making minimal waves -- just setting messages out, and letting people read them, think about them, and check them.

                                          Has it been a waste? If only the past matters, not much but hope has been accumulated. But some things have been hopeful.

                                          rshowalter - 08:14pm Jul 24, 2001 EST (#7386 of 7435) Robert Showalter

                                          I was glad to be able to have a one day meeting on this thread with becq (who I thought at the time was Bill Clinton) on September 25, 2000 between MD266 rshowalt 9/25/00 7:32am and MD304 rshowalt 9/25/00 5:28pm . I still think the short suggestion MD266-269 rshowalt 9/25/00 7:32am makes human and practical sense, and the offer of rshowalt 9/25/00 5:28pm still stands. Did this accomplish anything? Maybe it sowed the seeds of some ideas.

                                          Anyway, I think Casey would have approved. He wouldn't have known of the internet channel, dying when he did, but he would have liked it, and approved of the usages. "Outside of channels" in some ways, but plainly "through channels" in some others.

                                          . . . . .

                                          rshowalter - 09:19pm Mar 27, 2002 BST (#278 of 331)  | 

                                          On my background:

                                          rshowalter - 08:00am Jul 2, 2001 EST (#6397 of 7079) Robert Showalter

                                          MD6376 lunarchick 7/1/01 8:23am . . . asked

                                            "Is there anything regarding this specialist problem solving approach that would be of interest to this board ?
                                          I think so.

                                          I don't think I'm doing US security any harm, or telling anyone anything very surprising, when I say that in the late 1950's and early 1960's, work at Fort Deitrich on biological warfare also included much work on "animal intelligence" -- especially as it related to guidance. How was it that birds or bats had so much greater ability to intercept moving tartgets than the best missiles? The idea crystalized - and it was an entirely reasonable idea, that there must be a gross mistake in the mathematics being used in our guidance systems -- the disparity between the clumsiness of manmade missiles, and the relatively fantastic grace and accuracy made this idea seem compelling. There were somewhat similar huge disparities involved in language processing and cryptography, as well. We had fast, powerful actuators, and plenty of speed and accelleration on our missiles -- but control was very problematic - and the instabilities encountered when tight control was attempted (a problem that was still central last year in MD experiments) were stunning and embarrassing, beside what animals such as bats could routinely do. It became clear that, if animal level control facility, or anything close to it, were achieved in our air to air missiles (or the Russian missiles) combat balances would shift radically. Then, as now, air to air missiles often missed. With good controls, they wouldn't.

                                          The story I heard is that McGeorge Bundy got interested in finding ways to get breakthrough math, and one of his initiatives, very informal, was to have the Ford Foundation fund the Cornell Six Year Ph.D. Program -- which brought together a lot of high test score, high achievement kids. I was one of these.

                                          In ways that were informal but highly disciplined I got recruited for a very unconventional, intense education. My impression was that I was told anything that I could use searching for answers people wanted, got all the instruction people could arrange for me, and was pushed as hard as they found it humanly possible to push me. My impression also was that my technical output earned my keep, from a fairly early stage. Kids are impressionable, and during this time, people found that the more they could tell me I was unusually smart, the more they could justify working me unmercifully, with my agreement. In many ways, I knew most of what was interesting before I came to Cornell -- I'd been deeply influenced by the Patent Office, by the process of invention, and by the questions involved in finding out how to do real, effective optimal invention, not in Edison's world, but in the much more complex and differently challenging, world of today.

                                          Perhaps the only really unusual part of my training was that I was taught to identify and solve differential equations in my head, using the series method. It was arduous to do this - but it did give me an ability to spot mathematical structures, and classify problems, that was useful. I believe that, before 1972, I knew every mathematical stumper that the government knew about -- had a sense of most technical anxieties -- and knew in some detail why the problems mattered. I also solved some problems, and I believe more than earned my keep -- most of these problems I solved, I believe, mostly because of my patent training.

                                          rshowalter - 08:00am Jul 2, 2001 EST (#6398 of 7079)

                                          My intention was to work for the government for my lifetime, solving problems I was specialized to do, giving answers that other people could and would use, concentrating on problems of importance that were thought to be, in some sense (in retrospect, usually a social sense) "too hard" for others. People around me emphasized these problems were "Robert Showalter problems." I was to make breakthrough inventions, on call, of a stark analytical nature -- and hand off he solutions when other people could use them. That was something I wanted to do -- and still want to do.

                                          I refused to lie, at a decisive time, on a matter connected to the discourse of the 1972 nuclear arms talks. I was to exaggerate how close I was to a solution of the tracking problem that made the difference between animal and human technical function on interception controls. I thought that do do so, in context, would be destabilizing.

                                          . . . . .

                                          Here's a snapshot of what I set out to do, with some encouragement and support, after stopping daily association with military matters. -- It is from a piece of writing I did some years ago. It gives a sense of what I knew at that time -- partly due to more-or-less formal education and work, partly due to attention to specific problems of concern to the government -- especially problems of system control and guidance, and partly due to an interest in inventions and patents that started when I was fourteen years old.

                                            " In my early twenties, I set out to make "analytical invention" a possibility and to make "analytical engineering" more efficient. I was interested in questions like "How do you define and design an optimal structure in a fully specified, complicated, fully commercial circumstance?" For instance, suppose an airplane design needs a wing, to mount an engine and connect to a specific fuselage. How do you arrive at a FULLY optimized design for that wing, in a case of real technical complexity, with "optimal" a defensible word in terms of all the technical considerations that pertain at all the levels that matter in the case (aerodynamics, structure, fabrication, maintenance, cost)? How do you even approach such a job?
                                          That's been my core interest -- and it relates to a special approach to doing problems referred to in MD6376 lunarchick 7/1/01 8:23am ... much of the detailed work I've done has related to issues discussed in references in MD6381rshowalter 7/1/01 12:05pm Some of that work has related to things of interest to the military, some not.

                                          You can say that I've tried to find ways to invent in ways that have disciplined beauty, in the real, complex socio-technical world in which we live. By training (perhaps mistraining) I've tended to concentrate on problems that are large, and that have, in some clear sense, stumped a field of endeavor. I can talk about nuts and bolts of that sort of work.

                                          rshowalter - 09:20pm Mar 27, 2002 BST (#279 of 331)  | 

                                          rshowalter - 08:02am Jul 2, 2001 EST (#6400 of 7079) Robert Showalter

                                          I think for this thread, it is more interest to talk of output I've gotten from this "optimal invention" approach that might offer examples of things that the military industrial complex might do, more profitable for all concerned than missile defense efforts that technically cannot work, and perhaps, for world peace, should not work.

                                          Here are things that I believe can be achieved --

                                            Very large area solar cells on the equatorial oceans. It should be possible to generate enough hydrogen to serve all word energy needs, forever. Hydrogen would interface well with existing energy sources and capital installations, from early prototype stage to the largest possible scale. This would be a practical and permanent advance in the human condition, and would reduce some major and chronic causes of war and conflict between nations.
                                            Very large area aquaculture on the equatorial oceans. With shallow layers of ocean surface water isolated so that they can be fertilized and harvested, aquaculture could could be used for carbon sequestration for full control of global warming. Aquaculture could also supply essentially unlimited nutrition for animals and people. This would be a practical and permanent advance in the human condition, and would reduce causes of conflict and war.
                                            Seawater distillation could be achieved at an energy cost not much more than twice the thermodynamic limit cost. I believe that cost per liter might be 1/10 to 1/50th the cost today. Scaling to serve cities and countries would be feasible. Much of the United States is short of water, and could benefit. This would be a practical and permanent advance in the human condition, and would reduce a major cause of conflict and war.
                                            (at a lower level of certainty) :A much more efficient way of getting large masses into space (if not in orbit around the earth, then in moon, sun or plantary orbits) appears to be possible -- and would be a good cooperative job for Americans and Russians - - the Russians would be better on the basic design, the Americans better on some of the execution. If this were possible, a major constraint on space exploration, which has almost stopped progress for many years, could be blasted through.
                                          In my judgement, many other useful things could be done. -- and many of them would take the resources that the military industrial complex is now squandering on projects that barely work or cannot work.

                                          These are just "back of the envelope" thoughts I have -- comparable in many ways to the "back of the envelope" designs DOD is now backing on Missile Defense. But there is a difference. These are all well within the realm of the possible, and subject to reasonable cost estimation, with information in the open literature.

                                          I've suggested that the impossibility of the administration's missile defense proposals (which are far fetched indeed given what's known about signal resolutions and controls) be examined, in public, by setting out the b miracles that DOD would have to achieve, in the sense of very large advances on what could be done with established knowledge in the open literature.

                                          The very same approach would show how possible -- in context, even easy, it would be to get global warming, human energy needs, and other basic human needs under far better control than they are now -- for less money than the administration is proposing to squander - to the reckless endangerment of the world, on missile defense programs that are, as I've used the phrase before, shucks .

                                          rshowalter - 07:31pm Mar 28, 2002 BST (#280 of 331)  | 

                                          Debate? Dissent? Discussion? Oh, Don't Go There! By MICHIKO KAKUTANI contains a lot of wonderful stuff -- I was struck especially with this line:

                                            " the Internet, which instead of leading to a global village, has created a multitude of self-contained tribes - niche cultures in which like-minded people can talk to like-minded people and filter out information that might undermine their views."
                                          That explains a great deal about how the optimistic, bouyant argument in Thomas L. Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree falls short -- and the optimistic, simplistic claims for "globalization" have fallen short. Friedman and many others didn't think enough about the barriers to communication that the new communication technologies do not strip away.

                                          We have to think about them now.

                                          When groups of people can "filter out" key pieces of information, the truth can be too weak, and results can be disastrous.

                                          When things are complicated enough, truth is our only hope of finding our ways to decent solutions. That means we have to find ways to keep people from "filter(ing) out information that might undermine their views."

                                          Challenge, questions, and invokation of the need for force:


                                          Comment and response:

                                          Betraying Humanity By BOB HERBERT

                                            . . . ultimately the many tribes that inhabit this earth are going to have to figure out a way to forge some workable agreements on how we treat one another.

                                          rshowalter - 01:25am Apr 5, 2002 BST (#281 of 331)  | 

                                          All Roads Lead to D.C. by EMILY EAKIN

                                            " Today, America is no mere superpower or hegemon but a full-blown empire in the Roman and British sense"
                                          Britain's Imperial Lessons by ALAN COWELL

                                          Almarst , the NYT Missile Defense thread's "Putin stand-in" has been asking "why so much American military power?" - - since March a year ago. Questions of "why?" and "in whose interest" are vital, in the old sense of "matters of life and death" because some of the easy answers, that Americans have been comfortable with, aren't working in America's interest, and aren't pleasing the other governments in the world.

                                          The question of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" is raised, and given focus, in .

                                          The Smoke Machine and Connect the Dots by PAUL KRUGMAN

                                          I believe that the "American Empire" is as large as it is, and has some of the characteristics that it does, because the interest of the United States, as a nation, has diverged from the interests of a "military-industrial-political complex" constructed to fight the Cold War, that has taken a dangerous degree of control over US government affairs since that time. The American "missile defense" program is interesting for some of the same reasons that the Enron affair . . . is interesting. The "missile defense" programs are nonsensical and corrupt, in the senses that ought to matter either technically or militarily, and illustrates broader corruptions that concern the whole world, because American power is as great as it now is, and is used as it now is.

                                          Checking on these issues is important - but for it to happen, some leaders of nation states are going to have to be interested - as I believe they should be, because it is risky to be led, and to defer, to an administration that is taking positions that go wrong, and produce unnecessary risks, costs, and fighting, again and again.


                                          MD1077 contains references to a Guardian talk, and ends with this:

                                            "I believe that I'm doing, as nearly as it possibly can be done, exactly what Bill Casey would want me to do now, for the good of the United States of America and the decency of the world.

                                          lchic - 03:42am Apr 10, 2002 BST (#282 of 331)

                                          From NYT:

                                          pleiotropik - 08:21am Apr 9, 2002 EST (#2285 of 2289) combustible human landscape

                                          Or check out this:

                                          April 9, 2002

                                          "DIPLOMACY In Morocco, Powell Pleads for Arab Help in Mideast By TODD S. PURDUM Associated Press Secretary of State Colin L. Powell met with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Morocco yesterday. Israel Starts Leaving 2 Areas, but Will Continue Drive

                                          CASABLANCA, Morocco, April 8 — Secretary of State Colin L. Powell began his Middle East peace mission in this moderate Arab nation today with frank pleas to two Arab leaders for more help in stopping Palestinian violence."


                                          tough thing to ask of arabs at this point if you´re asking me.

                                          rshowalter - 09:34pm Apr 11, 2002 BST (#283 of 331)  | 

                                          For many of the problems that stump people now -- for many of the things where we say "if only we could do the obvious" - and then do much worse -- there are problems of simultenaity, complexity, and human nature of similar forms.

                                          For instance, if you want to think through, in detail, what would be required for real, solid, sustainable peace in the Middle East -- I think asking the following question is useful in a number of ways.

                                            How would you make a good, persuasive, interesting movie about achieving real peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis? . We know how complex making movies is -- and people actually make them.
                                          When political leaders approach problems that are more important, and basically harder, these days - the approaches are very often stumped because patterns of socio-technical function are much less advanced than movie-making takes.

                                          That's true of technical problems, too. For two reasons, at least:

                                            1. Movies are at roughly the level of complexity actually involved. .
                                            and .
                                            2. Movies have to make emotional and aesthetic sense and everything else people do that works well has to make emotional and aesthetic sense, too.

                                          Especially after MD1234 , the NYT Missile Defense tread has been active. I made an "off the cuff" comment, and drew a distinguished poster in a very few minutes.

                                          rshowalter - 01:40am Apr 25, 2002 BST (#284 of 331)  | 

                                          The Rebirth of Debate By GEORGE PACKER

                                          rshowalter - 10:46pm Apr 25, 2002 BST (#285 of 331)  | 

                                          To sort out problems, including problems of peace (and the smaller related muddles of the missile defense boongoggle) people have to face the truth, tell the truth, and avoid misinformation. When right answers really count, they have to "connect the dots" ( MD1055 so that patterns emerge -- and to check those patterns.

                                          Here are some OpEd pieces by Paul Krugman quoted on the NYT Missile Defense thread:

                                          The Big Lie

                                          Bad Heir Day

                                          The Great Divide

                                          The Smoke Machine

                                          Connect the Dots

                                          At Long Last?

                                          The White Stuff

                                          Losing Latin America

                                          The Angry People

                                          A number of links discussing Krugman's pieces are set out in MD1741

                                          I'm so glad Guardian Talk is back!

                                          rshowalter - 11:25pm Apr 25, 2002 BST (#286 of 331)  | 

                                          Hatred - and LIES.



                                          Revenge - book review



                                          rshowalter - 10:50pm May 3, 2002 BST (#287 of 331)  | 

                                          The NYT Missile Defense thread has been very active, and I sometimes think that it may have been influential. I'll be referring to this thread there, many times again.

                                          U.S., in Surprise, Announces Global Talks for Mideast By TODD S. PURDUM and DAVID E. SANGER

                                          shows a situation where, if complications can be faced - - and resolved, enormous good could come. lunarchick's MD1972 includes key questions:

                                            "In one years time - where do we ALL want to be?" .
                                            "In five years time - where do we ALL want to be?" .
                                            "In ten years time - where do we ALL want to be?" .
                                            "In twenty years time - where do we ALL want to be?"
                                          "Planning should match the aspirations of those publics with a visionary future."

                                          For that matching to be possible, there have to be mechanics in place that make it possible, for the real people involved. I've suggested simple things, practical things -- mechanically easy things -- that I believe would increase the chances for real success in the middle east. They involve internet usages, for communication, condensation, clarification, and closure. For all sorts of complex cooperation, we need to do better getting to closure than we have done. We can.





                                          Opportunities for a safer, more prosperous world are very great -- but they depend on openness, and correct decisions. I believe some of the most essential opportunities were set out eloquently and well in Organizing the World to Fight Terror by IGOR S. IVANOV , Russian Foreign Minister . The reasons that the hopes expressed there have been lagely dashed (or at least postponed) bear looking at. U.S. and Russia Fall Short on Nuclear Deal by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS . . . I think that important hopes Ivanov expresses, and patterns or human cooperation he expresses, could be revived if the mechanics of complex negotiation were improved.

                                          If our techniques improved --- and they could, if people used the net as it can be used - - the planet might well last longer. And people might be more comfortable, as well.

                                          With more openness, there would be less terror, and much more hope.

                                          rshowalter - 02:38pm May 6, 2002 BST (#288 of 331)  | 

                                          I've asked

                                            " When large news organizations such as The New York Times or the Guardian-Observer cannot solve problems by covering the facts about them -- why don't the solutions happen, when they often seem very clear?
                                          A lot of the time, the problems can't be solved because the "dots" are not collected so that people, as they are, can actually connect them.


                                          Lchic and I just had a two hour, 70 post session on negotiation in the middle east in the Guardian thread Anything on Anything from lchic "Anything on Anything" Mon 06/05/2002 02:39 to rshowalter "Anything on Anything" Mon 06/05/2002 04:37 that includes many links to this thread.

                                          We considered the question -- if Thomas Friedman wanted to use web resources (with a staff) to facilitate the search for peace in the Middle East, what could he do?

                                          MD2043 MD2047

                                          rshowalter - 12:17am May 17, 2002 BST (#289 of 331)  | 

                                          A Wider Atlantic: Europe Sees a Grotesque U.S. by TODD S. PURDUM illustrates some of the challenges.

                                          "To travel across the Atlantic with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is to catch a brief glimpse of the unilateralist America seen by many European eyes."

                                          rshowalter - 12:26am May 24, 2002 BST (#290 of 331)  | 

                                          Referred to this thread on a number of occasions in the NYT MD thread. Grateful for it.

                                          I believe that Erica Goode has made a contribution to the culture, and that the NYT Missile Defense thread may also have done so. I'm only basing my jugement on statistics, and what I myself have noticed, and may be wrong. But the matter could be checked, pretty readily, by searching the net. It concerns the phrase "connect the dots." -- and whether that phrase has gained in meaning, and frequency, since Erica Goode's Finding Answers In Secret Plots . . which speaks of:

                                            "a basic human urge to connect the dots and form a coherent picture."

                                          lchic - 12:38am May 28, 2002 BST (#291 of 331)


                                          lchic - 04:43pm Jun 6, 2002 BST (#292 of 331)

                                          Joining the Casablanca Dots - there's a thought!

                                          lchic - 01:13pm Jun 13, 2002 BST (#293 of 331)

                                          Casablanca once again voted USA's favourite/topFilm of all time!

                                          rshowalter - 08:21pm Jun 20, 2002 BST (#294 of 331)  | 

                                          We all live in a real world of compromise, half-measures, and an avoidance of too-harsh realities. People couldn't live any other way - and it ought to be no surprise when muddles and messes happen. But there need to be limits, and when things are important enough, and we are paying attention, there is a great deal of agreement on what is important. I was very interested in the following are excerpts from a hearing yesterday of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee into the collapse of the Enron Corporation. . . . 21 U. S. Senators spoke, and very interesting excerpts are set out in

                                          rshowalter - 08:21pm Jun 20, 2002 BST (#295 of 331)  | 

                                          Work on the NYT Missile Defense thread has been busy, and I feel that some of that work might interest many readers of the Guardian-Observer, and participants on this thread. In that thread, Guardian articles, and TALK threads, are often referred to, and are important and much appreciated sources.

                                          A number of pieces have run in the NYT that I've been glad to see, perhaps this one most of all:

                                          Playing Know and Tell by John Schwartz .

                                          Schwartz's piece ends:

                                            " Listen."

                                          I sent a fax to an officer at the C.I.A., and at the same time, sent the identity of that officer to some senior NYT people. That officer and I have not conversed since - but a phone call between us was almost certainly recorded. That conversation contains nothing at all that can concievably justify classification. I think that conversation also involved a sort of "voice stress analysis" -- a sort of "lie detector test" over the telephone. It would be interesting to see what the test showed, and on what basis. For the record, during that conversation I was VERY disappointed, VERY upset, VERY scared, and too busy being careful to bother about being angry. MD2621


                                          MD2631 cites MD262, which includes this:

                                            "I'm thinking that a very few simple things, not embarrassing, not expensive, not difficult, would be good to do now. If some journalists could hear some recordings -- one from last week, between me and the C.I.A. - which NYT could get to if it wished -- and another that I'm guessing exists of a meeting between me and a trusted officer of the University of Wisconsin, Madison - - that could set things up for some graceful, simple steps."
                                          Gisterme responded in MD2633 and the response was especially interesting in light of the statistical argument about gisterme's interest embodied in postings MD2574-2590

                                          I think people who follow "missile defense" and related military and geopolitical issues, or any work of mine, might be interested in MD2637 to MD 2641 today.

                                          MD2637 includes this:

                                            I think that my concerns, and the reasonable concerns of the other parties in interest could be well served if the U.S. government agreed to do what Bill Casey promised me and the AEA investors, or something equivalent in the ways that matter. I personally think that's true, whether the government is willing to admit the truth of my story or not. .
                                            I personally think that an accomodation along those lines would serve, gracefully and well, the reasonable interests of the NYT, the federal government, people who've dealt with me, and people concerned with fairness and safety from various perspecitves. It would permit me to solve Robert Showalter problems, and sell them, without being too disruptive, and without having to pretend or claim to be anything other than what I really am - an ordinary person with a somewhat unconventional background and education. I think such a deal would fit comfortably within the traditions of the United States, and be an arrangement that could be reasonably explained to anyone reasonably interested.
                                          I think perhaps the Guardian-Observer, as a paper, might be interested in this. I'd be grateful for a chance to talk to any Guardian-Observer staffer who might take and interest. You might be "warned off" of me by a call to the NYT - but might not be. M.R. Showalter (608)-829-3657 . . . .

                                          lchic - 12:26pm Jun 28, 2002 BST (#296 of 331)

                                          Showalter - you're sincerely working for a 'better world' - as are most 'reporters' ...

                                          rshowalter - 05:30pm Jun 30, 2002 BST (#297 of 331)  | 

                                          I do not now see any errors in MD2770

                                            Verbal deal between M. Robert Showalter and William J. Casey for Showalter's work situation, as set out, to the what he claims is the best of his knowledge and belief, by Showalter. - - which is an EXECUTIVE SUMMARY, with details added in later postings . . .
                                          MD2771 is correct in the ways that matter most substantially to me, but includes errors about dates corrected in MD2775

                                          Those errors matter when they matter, and are big or small from different points of view. Did I make an inadvertent error - make an "error" setting up a "trap door" or "ambush" -- or set up a teaching device, to illustrate a point?

                                          Things be exactly right for some purposes, and treacherously wrong for other purposes.

                                          Systems built for stability, and systems that are explosively unstable, can look much the same.

                                          I appreciated Debuting: One Spy, Unshaken was an interesting, but not exactly balanced, review of The Bourne Identity.

                                          Am I trying to debut, as one spy, unshaken? Yes. I feel some progress has been made - and some work on making clear warnings made.

                                          Thought problem: You're Bourne - how do you "come in" -- gracefully, and in a way that is in the reasonable interest of the United States, and decency?

                                          Thought problem: You're me. It seems to me that there are solutions "all over the place" if some facts can be straighted out. Graceful ones, maybe.

                                          Progress has been made. What a wonder the NYT is!

                                          I've been working on this thread, and lchic has been working on this thread, for good reasons - - and motivated by strong concerns. MD2000

                                          With current usages, nothing can be checked in the face of opposition from "authorities."

                                          This is very dangerous. There are things to get straight, important in themselves - - and important because of the patterns that they show.



                                          Flavors of Fraud By PAUL KRUGMAN includes this:

                                          "I'm not saying that all U.S. corporations are corrupt. But it's clear that executives who want to be corrupt have faced few obstacles. Auditors weren't interested in giving a hard time to companies that gave them lots of consulting income; bank executives weren't interested in giving a hard time to companies that, as we've learned in the Enron case, let them in on some of those lucrative side deals. And elected officials, kept compliant by campaign contributions and other inducements, kept the regulators from doing their job - starving their agencies for funds, creating regulatory "black holes" in which shady practices could flourish.

                                          A reason it is easy to be corrupt is that our discourse, and our contracts, are full of gestalt switches and people need to check - and don't.

                                          It is terribly easy for us to come to believe wrong answers, unless we check more, and more systematically, than we have in the past. But with better checking, things can get much better. Things are so dangerous that they have to.

                                          lchic - 01:06pm Jul 2, 2002 BST (#298 of 331)

                                          296 - ambiguity in my use of word reporter!

                                          lchic - 03:33am Jul 8, 2002 BST (#299 of 331)

                                          Ambiguity leads to diverse thought patterns ... wonder who today's Bergman of the Screen will turn out to be ?

                                          lchic - 07:47pm Jul 13, 2002 BST (#300 of 331)

                                          Riefenstahl [Helene (Leni) Riefenstahl (1902- ) ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD] was an artist whose personal preoccupations were primarily artistic and technical, not political, but that her films were used by Hitler and the Nazi party for their own political games.

                                          If you've seen 'The triumph of the will' ... would you realise that you're watching a cut of the film from the CIA? Not her original version!

                                          Shot in September and October 1934.

                                          Original length: 3,109 meters; 114 minutes.1 35mm. Black and white. 1:1.33.

                                          Recognitions: German National Film Prize 1934/35; International Film Festival Venice 1935: Best Foreign Documentary Film; Gold Medal and Grand French Prize, 1937.



                                          rshowalter - 09:32am Jul 22, 2002 BST (#301 of 331)  | 

                                          The NYT-Missile Defense forum is extensive, and with the help of an excellent computer professional, I'm organizing it into the form of a CD, with indexing and some searches and search capability. I believe that copyright issues can be reasonably, fairly adressed. MD3155-57 There's plenty there to check - - the CD includes 5000 html text files (120mb of text files -- 5.7 million words.) It would take some effort to check the facts presented -- but there are enough of these facts, connected and crosslinked clearly enough to a checkable outside world, that it should be possible to establish a lot. And rule out the "fiction hypotheis" on a number of key points.



                                          MD3160 ... MD3158 ... MD2646 ...

                                          Sometimes the coverage in the NYT is so distinguished that it revives my sometimes-wavering confidence in Bill Casey's judgement and advice on a key issue. I think the following coverage is really distinguished.

                                          NEWS ANALYSIS Investor Confidence Ebbs as Market Keeps Dropping By GRETCHEN MORGENSON

                                          As the Dow Jones careened to a loss of almost 400 points by Friday, it became clear that many investors may have finally stopped believing in the stock market.

                                          Related Articles:

                                          News Analysis: No Strong Voice on Bush's Team

                                          Week in Review: Hold On for a Wild Ride

                                          I was especially impressed with this:

                                          INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC The Incredible Shrinking Stock Market More Than $7 Trillion Gone By SETH W. FEASTER

                                          What follows are various ways of looking at the market's continuing contraction.

                                          Here's a beautiful technique -- graphs under graphs:

                                            Click on the graph above to learn more.
                                          And what wonderful graphs!

                                          Market Value: 17.25 Trillion - March 24, 2000

                                          Market Value: 10.03 Trillion - July 18, 2002

                                          Market Structure:

                                          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                          FRANK RICH is right in The Road to Perdition . . . "Everything is connected."

                                          When Bill Casey advised me that, after easier options were exhausted, my best chance was to "come in through The New York Times - - he had good reasons. When exposition is difficult, and depth is needed - it is the best newspaper in the world. Surely the best in the U.S. Though not, perhaps, as good as Casey thought in every respect.

                                          The Times can't and won't break a story that is too difficult all alone -- and for pretty good reasons. But some situations are unstable - maybe even ready to "break" -- and break into print.

                                          If anybody wants a copy of the CD, which is presentable now, though it will be in better form later - please email me at with your mailing adress, so that I can mail you a copy.

                                          rshowalter - 06:16pm Jul 31, 2002 BST (#302 of 331)  | 

                                          I believe I'm justified in posting this due to the quite exceptional circumstances involved.

                                          3377^3825406@.f28e622/4240 includes this:

                                          "Lchic's point about "crowd's that don't even know their own staff list" refers to the CIA, but may also apply, in some measure, to a newspaper and institution I respect and revere - The New York Times

                                          "Am I, after all, wrong about George Johnson, and his interactions with me, on the boards and in private correspondence, over the last four years?

                                          "Is it possible that George was doing what he was told to do, or what people at NYT knew he was doing?

                                          "Was Johnson, who MRCOOPER pointed out is a "family man" with a family to support, being paid by the government to resist and defame me, with the NYT's knowledge?

                                          "It wouldn't necessarily be right for the public, or for Congressional people to know (thought that might make sense)

                                          "It wouldn't necessarily be right for me to know (though I think it would be.)

                                          "But it seems to me that it would be right for the top people of the NYT, near the masthead, to get themselves informed about this.

                                          "If I've connected some dots wrongly, I also believe I've done so reasonably here. If I happen to be wrong, on anything of significance, and can be shown that, I'll hasten to apologize.


                                          Repeated for emphasis:


                                          Almarst2002 , the NYT MD thread's "Putin stand-in" then rejoined the forum, after an absence. I was very glad that he did that, and made such interesting postings.

                                          3365 includes a number of citations to the Guardian Talk thread Psychwar, Casablanca, and terror - - -

                                          I'm asking that some things be checked. I believe that I deserve that much -- in the national interest, the world interest, and my own.

                                          - - - - -

                                          For some purposes, I feel that the NYT Missile defense forum has worked extremely well . . . .

                                          In very large part, it is valuable because it involves lchic - - probably the most valuable mind I've ever had the honor of being in contact with.

                                          And a first-rate animal and human being, as well !



                                          rshowalter - 06:56pm Jul 31, 2002 BST (#303 of 331)  | 

                                          MD3365^3829411@.f28e622/4227 includes a number of references to postings in the TALK thread Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror . . and includes this:

                                            It would be worth money, a great deal of safety, and worth honor too for leaders of nation states, all over the world, to ask that some key things about the history of the Cold War be checked. .
                                            Lies are unstable. Because they are unstable, there is a great deal of hope, if people show some reasonable courage.

                                          rshowalter - 07:53pm Aug 5, 2002 BST (#304 of 331)  | 

                                          Polls are shifting in the US. That could be important. Stanley Greenberg's What Voters Want includes this:

                                            "A public consensus is emerging that the behavior evident in the Enron and other scandals reflects a bigger problem: people in powerful positions now feel free to act irresponsibly and hurt ordinary people, without fear of being held accountable."
                                          In The Great Divide , Paul Krugman suggests that we're at "the ending of an era of laxity."

                                          Pity that markets have to dive to provide the discipline. All the same, US politicians who have felt immune to "arguments about details" before may be immune no longer. Some things that need to be attended to, and checked, may get checked. Problems that have festered may get addressed.

                                          Questions that people outside the United States have asked to be answered are more likely to be addressed thoughtfully now.

                                          rshowalter - 10:41pm Aug 12, 2002 BST (#305 of 331)  | 

                                          This thread is being very useful and much cited on the NYT MD thread.

                                          MD3668 -Aug 12, 2002 EST^0@.f28e622/4621 references a previous posting that read:

                                          Ann Coulter's new book (now #1 on the NYT "nonfiction list) includes a passage - that she's had to defend on television - where she asserts that "liberals hate the flag." I love the United States, and our flag.

                                          Reasons that I've had to believe that Ann Coulter has posted on the NYT Missile Defense thread extensively, as "kangdawei" are set out between MD3640^0@.f28e622/4586 and MD3643^0@.f28e622/4589 . . . There were 44 postings by kangdawei . Perhaps I'm incorrect in my inference that Coulter was kangdawei. But if so, I've drawn my conclusion for clear reasons - stated so that others can judge for themselves. My key evidence is that kangdawei posted a web link to Coulter -- and that it was removed quickly after I attempted to contact Coulter.

                                          Given the interaction in its totality, I think it is fair game for me to post this here, as well as on the NYT MD thread.

                                          Probabilities link. For a year of very extensive postings, gisterme knew that I'd been referring to (him-her), on this thread and on the Guardian, as a Bush administration stand-in - - and gisterme's postings played that role admirably, for more than a thousand postings. By Washington standards, I feel that those postings represented a million dollars worth of staff work. Almarst also knew that I'd been referring to (him-her) as this thread's "Putin stand in" and almarst's postings seemed to me to play that role admirably. They also reprented impressive and extensive staff work.

                                          Perhaps I'm guilty of jumping to some conclusions about who posters are. Playing a "game" - - one may forget that it is a game. But it seems to me I stated the case reasonably in MD1999^0@.f28e622/2484 whether I've made some "connections that aren't there" or not. MD3639^0@.f28e622/4585

                                          If I feel that I have apologies to make (and that is surely a possibility) I'll hasten to make them - but don't feel right about doing so now, on the basis of information that I have. I'm not sure any are warranted - though I'm willing to be convinced.

                                          The Odds of That by LISA BELKIN is a very interesting piece.

                                          The process by which human beings "connect the dots" -- form patterns in their minds -- is the same process - - whether the particular relationship "seen" happens to be real or coincidental. You have to check.

                                          Our culture, these days - is in a lot of serious and unnecessary trouble because checking has become so difficult. I believe that this is an especially large problem in the United States -- and an especially large problem in the Bush administration.

                                          Here are facts that it seems to me are basic - things that we all know - and have to know at some level - from about the time we learn to talk. In the United States, and elsewhere, it seems to me that these basic things are too often ignored.

                                            . People say and do things.
                                            . What people say and do have consequences, for themselves and for other people.
                                            . People need to deal with and understand these consequences, for all sorts of practical, down to earth reasons.
                                          Every individual, and every group, has a stake in right answers on questions of fact that they have to use as assumptions for what they say and do.

                                          Too often, it seems to me, the Bush administration forgets these simple facts -- on which some basic human needs rest. But much too much of the rest of America does, too -- and the failings are strictly bipartisan.

                                          rshowalter - 08:42pm Aug 19, 2002 BST (#306 of 331)  | 

                                          I believe that Patrick E. Tyler's Officers Say U.S. Aided Iraq in War Despite Use of Gas should be read carefully and repeatedly by citizens and nation states, all over the world. And by news organizations, too. There is a lot of substance, and, with a little thought, there are a lot of implications and leads from Tyler's story. MD3804 August 18, 2002

                                          rshowalter - 08:57pm Aug 19, 2002 BST (#307 of 331)  | 

                                          Aug 16, 2002 EST (# 3733-3734

                                          Looking back on the work of this thread since September 2000, I'm proud, and feel the work has been worth it. One can trace highlights of that effort reading from #151 in Psychwar, Casablanca - - and terror .

                                          I believe the NYT Missile Defense thread has accomplished the following already:

                                            It has demonstrated new ways of getting complex cooperation between staffed organizations using internet resources.
                                            It has been involved with neutralizing the main threat to world stability from missile defense. The Russians now know that US missile defense efforts, as they stand, do not as a practical matter threaten strategic balances. Before, US "missile defense" efforts were a major barrier to ending some of the worst aspects of the Cold War, because these strategic concerns were important. Now, though the program continues to soak up resources - the biggest objection to it from the perspective of world peace has been neutralized. The waste remains.
                                            The thread has shown new, effective ways of "collecting, connecting and correcting" "the dots" using internet resources, and has clarified some things about how people figure things out, as individuals and groups.
                                          This last may sound either too simple-minded or too ambitious - but it is an area where I believe there's a lot that can be done that will be useful and aesthetically and intellectually pleasing. I don't think I'm being too optimistic. A lot is possible when you're working with lchic

                                          rshowalter - 02:42am Aug 28, 2002 BST (#308 of 331)  | 

                                          In the last week, the NYT Missile Defense thread has been busy.


                                          The questions

                                            " how do people figure things out?

                                            " how does the process fail or mislead?
                                          have been central questions in philosophy for 2500 years - and we can make progress here. Not on the broadest part of the question of how human reasoning works - but on a related question.

                                            "What are the odds that we can figure things out in more orderly, more useful ways?"
                                          They are very good, and getting better. We can do MANY things a LOT better - when we learn more about how "connecting the dots" works - and how it goes wrong.

                                          I'm trying to get things organized to explain some simple facts that elementary school kids and teachers should know -- and statesmen, too. I've blocked out the explanatin in terms of reading instruction - an area of wider interest and more lasting importance than the missile defense boondoggle.

                                          Both to explain how technical solutions that get breakthrough results can be found and proven - - and how the processes of finding these solutions can be learned and taught.

                                          And to explain how socio-technical aspects of these problems are hard. Hard, but not hopeless. The social and psychological difficulties with getting solutions implemented can be handled more easily than they are handled now --- because of thigs that lchic and I have worked out.


                                          Since Socrates' time, at the latest, philosophers and ordinary people have discussed questions close to these questions:

                                          How can "connecting the dots" work as well as it most often does? (This is "Plato's problem." )

                                          We know a prodigious amount, and everybody agrees on an enormous body of common ground, about the meaning of words and many other things. How can the process work as badly as it sometimes does? When the process goes wrong, how can we know that it has gone wrong?

                                          We don't agree on even very basic things about how human reason works when it works well. Or how it sometimes fails.

                                          How can we know that one answer is better than another?

                                          Landauer, Dumais, and co-workers made a big contribution - that had precedents, of course - but that made a big difference.

                                            Landauer T.K. and Dumais, S.T. “A Solution to Plato’s Problem: The Latent Semantic Analysis Theory of Acquisition, Induction, and Representation of Knowledge” Psychological Review, v 104, n.2, 211-240, 1997 --- draft:
                                          Even so, I'd have chosen a different title . . . something like - "a BIG STEP toward the solution of Plato's problem . . . "

                                          I'm trying to clarify -- and simplify - - and generalize some of the basic points of Landauer, Dumais, and co-workers - and carry them further.

                                          What's new is a clear sense of HOW VERY BIG the payoffs with simplification usually are -- how VERY likely checked sequences are to converge on useful (if imperfect) order. And how VERY large the number of checks often are.

                                          Looking hard at the statistics of induction is worthwhile. That hard look lets us think about induction in a more orderly, hopeful way.

                                          I have tremendous respect for the references cited in 3936-3945

                                          But it seems to me that as far as human welfare goes, lchic's rhyme, widely taught, might do as much good as all those references put together. In part by summarizing much of what those references teach. With an added "sense of the odds" that hasn't been taught enough.

                                          Adults need secrets, lies and fictions
                                          To live within their contradictions

                                          If children and adults understood that - we'd be more humane, and solve more practical problems.

                                          Before adults would let children learn lchic's little rhyme -- they'd have to learn some things themselves.

                                          rshowalter - 09:35pm Sep 5, 2002 BST (#309 of 331)  | 

                                          Countdown to a Collision President Bush's promise to seek Congressional approval for action against Iraq was heartening but does not substitute for a comprehensible policy.

                                          No Action on Iraq Until Congress Approves, Bush Says By ALISON MITCHELL and DAVID E. SANGER

                                          President to Seek Congress’s Assent Over Iraq Action By ELISABETH BUMILLER

                                          Bid to Justify a First Strike By DAVID E. SANGER

                                            Implicitly, President Bush has agreed to engage the country in a discussion over a fundamental change in national security.
                                          German Leader's Warning: War Plan Is a Huge Mistake By STEVEN ERLANGER

                                          These are perilous times. From discussion - if there is enough care to get facts and ideas sorted to something decently resembling closure - we'll get to better outcomes.

                                          I've wondered whether the work on the NYT Missile Defense thread has in any way contributed to the discourse involved in the decisions being made - whether it has made a difference in Bush's decision to finally discuss more openly what he is doing - and share some powers the Us Constitution plains means have to be shared. Can't know, of course. But I do think that there are things that can be applied from the MD thread, and things that are coming into focus - that will permit better closure, and better outcomes - if people are willing to use them. Too often, we give up on even the pretense of a common culture - - we give up on the idea that we may agree about facts -- we give up on the idea that we can share basic ideas about right and wrong (in the linked objective and moral senses of "right and wrong.) Sometimes, when it matters, we can do better than that. Getting clearer on the mechanics and logic of "connecting the dots" can further that. Working through some key facts about missile defense would be a fine way to work out many problems that the whole world needs solved. 1076-77^4029732@.f28e622/1369 . . . . If the key points about the "missile defense" boondoggle can't be taken to clarity and sensible closure it is because, under current rules and usages -- nothing can be. I've had a personal concern - I feel that the current US policy of keeping me under effective house arrest, by keeping me in an intolerable security situation - - isn't in the US national interest - and if anybody is watching, isn't even good politics.

                                          There's room for improvement, people are stumped, problems are real, and President obviously has sense enough to know that he doesn't have all the answers exactly right. On the 3d, there was this. A Silence That Coolidge Would Envy By DAVID E. SANGER

                                          Now there's less silence.

                                          rshowalter - 09:38pm Sep 5, 2002 BST (#310 of 331)  | 

                                          4135^4078662@.f28e622/5216 . sets out Piaget's developmental stages 4136^4078662@.f28e622/5217 contains a good poem, and asks:

                                          I asked these questions after Friedman and Dowd filed the following pieces - but I'm so glad that they were thinking along similar lines. They were the two most e-mailed stories today.

                                          9/11 Lesson Plan by Thomas Friedman

                                            "The Times just ran an article about the trouble teachers were having in deciding what to tell students on Sept. 11. That's a serious question. This is a moment for moral clarity, and here are the three lessons I would teach:
                                            While evil people hate us for who we are, many good people dislike us for what we do. (summary)
                                          Superb instruction! Key ideas that everyone needs to know - needs to understand - and can't reasonably be expected to figure out for themselves on such a coherent basis.

                                          Who's Your Daddy? by Maureen Dowd

                                            In the Bush family, the gravest insult is to be called a wimp.
                                          Dowd makes the argument that the Bushes are acting childish - in plain language Piaget would admire. I wonder if Dowd has read Piaget's The Moral Judgement of the Child ? Seems to me that a lot of political operatives might profit from reading it. Have Karl Rove and his operatives evolved a system that reduces the American people to children with all the flaws Piaget describes? Both Republicans and Democrats might have fun thinking about the question. It is the sort of question that might, with a little wordsmithing, be understood by nearly all voters.

                                          It is also a question that I believe the whole world should be asking. Gerhard Shroder is asking similar questions. The US needs to treat other nations as grown ups -- not children. Nor should consultation be mere notification.

                                          rshowalter - 09:39pm Sep 5, 2002 BST (#311 of 331)  | 

                                          4140^4079964@.f28e622/5223 reads as follows. wrcooper - 08:37pm Sep 2, 2002 EST (# 4140 of 4141)

                                          "This is George Johnson this time.

                                          "You can examine me in light of Piaget all you want, but it's not going to change how I think, and it's not going to change the fact that your opinions represent a dangerous aberration that requires the strongest possible refutation.

                                          "You will be checked and checked thoroughly.

                                          "It is not for naught that we saw to it that you began posting here in the New York Times. This is a controlled venue. We know who you are and where you are.

                                          "Don't call the CIA again. It won't do you any good. If you want to talk to us, just whisper into your pillow.

                                          That posting was in response to this from me: "And it will be worthwhile to discuss the work of George Johnson (not that he's Cooper at all - but he does have a certain point of view) in terms of Piaget. And truth that is, somehow, too weak."

                                          As for the substance of 4140^4079964@.f28e622/5223 it seems to me fair to opine that

                                            Looking at this from a Republican and national interest point of view exclusively - it seems to me that "Johnson's" position is bad policy and bad politics - to say no more.
                                          If wrcooper is Johnson, that can't be hidden if anybody cares much about getting at the truth. Especially for the TIMES, but for others, as well.

                                          After some long hesitation, "wrcooper" now dismisses 4140 and related postings as jokes. My view is that cooper is George Johnson, that he lost his temper, and that he now needs a shed of deniability because -- once it is clear that cooper is Johnson -- there's a chain of evidence, some of it embarrassing, that leads quite clearly up to the oval office, and the President of the United States.


                                          Although my personal concerns are secondary to others - I care about this: The U.S. government owes the AEA investors something around forty million dollars (the number depends on interest rates) and even if that can't be worked out, a number of things should be.

                                          There's a lot more at stake than that - that involves the US national and world interest.

                                          I was assigned to solve some trillion dollar problems. And to find ways to avoid mistakes that were putting the whole world at risk. I've solved some problems. I've kept my promises - and done difficult duty. Whether Casey was murdered or not, whether I'm liked or not -- I should be talked to.

                                          When "cooper" imitated G.W.Bush in 4138^4391504@.f28e622/5221 - - Almarst noticed. On the speculation that if almarst noticed, some others could have, as well - - that could be embarrassing.

                                          This thread has many of the characteristics of pretrial discovery , 4146^4391504@.f28e622/5230

                                          When people are watching, lies are unstable. That can be bad politics - and, of course, in the long run it is almost always against the national interest, unless we're talking very short range tactical deception against enemies. Perhaps we can get some things sorted out. Consulting with Congress about Iraq is a step in the right direction.

                                          No Action on Iraq Until Congress Approves, Bush Says By ALISON MITCHELL and DAVID E. SANGER

                                          Flag waving: 4128^4391504@.f28e622/5205

                                          There are some links right up to the oval office 4106^4391504@.f28e622/5174 and they are getting stronger.

                                          Honorable conduct is usually the sensible thing - especially when people are watching.

                                          rshowalter - 09:40pm Sep 5, 2002 BST (#312 of 331)  | 

                                          A rather complete record of this thread exists, has been improved since 3145-48^4029989@.f28e622/3936 , and is being made available.

                                          4057-4059^3784635@.f28e622/5108 includes this:

                                          "Casey knew very well that he was participating in decisions that were killing millions of entirely innocent people -- decisions that were degrading values that he held dear - - and yet he went ahead.

                                          "And talked to me about it. Casey wanted better answers.

                                          "He didn't know how to do any better than he did, given the risks he saw, the situation he was in - and the terrible stupidity and ignorance both around him and within him.

                                          " He was stumped.

                                          "So were the Russians.

                                          "We can do a lot better now.

                                          Why don't we?

                                          . . . . . . . . .

                                          If Bill Casey were looking down, I think he'd be very proud of me. Though not of his old agency. The key things that Eisenhower warned against in his Farewell Address have happened - - and we need to fix them.

                                          Republicans could take the lead. That wouldn't be hard. Some prominant Wisconsin republicans, who were old friends and AEA investors, and who have met George Bush and some of his senior officers, know me well. With one call from the White House, a lot could be sorted out. . . . . . I'd do my very best if that happened. And I'll do the best I can, under the circumstances, if it doesn't.

                                          Key things that we need to do to sort out many of the world's problems can be illustrated with respect to reading instruction. An area where we ought all to be on the same side. A field of endeavor where I expect I can continue to work on in jail, if need be. 3923-3947^4318415@.f28e622/4946 deal with reading instruction, from a partly statistical perspective, with a new numerical insight in mind. Especially 3935_3946^4318415@.f28e622/4958

                                          3946^4318415@.f28e622/4971 asks "is it possible to do much better than we've done?" - - and suggests that it is. Lchic and I feel we're onto something new and hopeful.

                                          On the NYT MD thread, the notion of "connecting the dots" has been much discussed - and maybe we've made advances. 3991_4001^4318415@.f28e622/5024

                                          In a world where weapons of mass destruction are not going to go away completely - and where crazy hatred is real - interdiction has to be an option for nation states.

                                          Bid to Justify a First Strike By DAVID E. SANGER

                                          Implicitly, President Bush has agreed to engage the country in a discussion over a fundamental change in national security.

                                          The Bush administration is right that interdiction has to be an option - and it is a major point. It is a point that I've been arguing, in detail (but also in context) since September 25, 2000^1846609@.f28e622/2008 - . But interdiction has to be a last resort -- and it has to be justified (preferably before the fact, at least after the fact) in credible ways - lest the world get far worse than it is. For stability, interdictions that can be justified , and that make sense in terms of balance, may have to be an option for many or all nation states. The United States can't ask for a right to interdict for itself and long deny this.

                                          For credibility, a number of things have to be better done - by the United States, and other countries, too.

                                          Is interdiction really the best option available with respect to Iraq, now?

                                          The Bush administration is working to make the case that it is.

                                          I don't know enough to judge the situation for sure -- but it seems clear that people and nations on the other side have to carefully, but in ways that matter, also forcefully, make the case that it isn't.

                                          lchic - 11:41pm Sep 5, 2002 BST (#313 of 331)

                                          ... Casey was a banker

                                          ... next he's head of the CIA

                                          ... money talks

                                          ... money walks

                                          ... why did the CIA need 'a banker'

                                          ... interesting!

                                          rshowalter - 11:49pm Sep 5, 2002 BST (#314 of 331)  | 

                                          The 2nd in command of CIA, these days, - - - who quite emphatically refuses to talk to me - - was an investment banker - - a successful one -- and I knew him pretty well. (He was an early AEA investor.)

                                          The linkage between the CIA and the "investment banking" community is close - - and has since before the CIA's creation.

                                          The CIA can move money anywhere.

                                          When Casey pulled the plug on the AEA deal it was the most natural thing in the world. And I knew just exactly how it was going to happen (and was given notice that it would.)

                                          rshowalter - 11:51pm Sep 5, 2002 BST (#315 of 331)  | 

                                          I was also told that if I'd do my job (and I have) the agency would find a way to pay my AEA investors back.

                                          With interest - that bill would be about forty million dollars.

                                          Of course they hesitate - because to pay, they'd have to listen to facts that would make the whole world safer -- and save the US a trillion dollars.

                                          Fact is, I did what I was assigned to do, and have kept my promises. So far, they haven't.

                                          rshowalter - 12:54pm Sep 13, 2002 BST (#316 of 331)  | 

                                          Lchic and I have worked hard on the NYT Missile Defense board. I've also had the pleasure of meeting with some people face-to-face, and will meet with more.









                                          Here are articles cited in these postings - every one of them impressive in its way, with some comments of my own:

                                          Reflections on an America Transformed Tom Daschle, Muhammad Ali, William J. Bennett and 9 others explain their views on the most significant change the country has undergone since Sept. 11.

                                          9/11/00: Air Congestion, a Hot Enron and Unhung Chads By ANDRÉS MARTINEZ

                                            "Americans in that fall of 2000 were poised to suffer three cataclysmic shocks over the next year that would challenge their sense of invulnerability."
                                          Thinking about 9/11/00, and chances wasted between then and 9/11/2001 got me to thinking back about wasted chances over a decade. 9/11/1990 the Soviet Union was at the edge of collapse. By late August 1991 it had collapsed. We didn't have an end game. Things have gone far, far worse, and terribly differently from what we've hoped.

                                          From Powell Defends a First Strike as Iraq Option By JAMES DAO

                                          Smart People Believe Weird Things Rarely does anyone weigh facts before deciding what to believe By Michael Shermer

                                          'Wilson's Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century' by ROBERT S. McNAMARA and JAMES G. BLIGHT

                                          Condemnation Without Absolutes by Stanley Fish

                                          These are key things to check, patterns that generalize relationships that "condense out of the chaos of human relations" again and again. They are stability conditions. They should be checked, every which way, when stability matters enough to think hard about, for real systems involving real human beings, and real stakes:

                                          Berle's Laws of Power
                                          Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs
                                          The Golden Rule


                                          Think about these constraints, and sometimes "impossibly complex' problems become "simple." And practical. ... Technical constraints that are entirely inanimate matter, too.



                                          Maslow image: 2749 - - -

                                          These things are important, but people don't automatically know them, or think about them. They need to be checked, understood, learned, and taught.

                                          Lchic's simple lines need to be understood, too. They are basic, and people who don't know them should.

                                          Adults need secrets, lies, and fictions
                                          To live within their contradictions.

                                          So do children. So do we all. But when things go wrong -- we need to look and think - even though it does not come naturally. The middle east is full of horrors that look unresolvable unless our simple humanity and fallibility is recognized - and, when it matters enough - decently dealt with.

                                          Requiem for an Honorable Profession By GRETCHEN MORGENSON


                                          From lchic -- Times writer looks at Iraq attack 09-09-2002 -- New York Times writer Tom Friedman . . since the events of September 11 last year, he now has the freedom to explore what he has called "the biggest single news story in my life". [Hear the audio] (notably the "pottery shop model -- "if you break it, you own it" -- applied to Iraq and elsewhere.)

                                          Securing Freedom's Triumph By GEORGE W. BUSH

                                          Anger at U.S. Said to Be at New High By JANE PERLEZ

                                          Foreigners Ache for U.S., but Also Take Issue With It By FRANK BRUNI

                                          Echo of the Bullhorn By MAUREEN DOWD

                                          Noah and 9/11 By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

                                          Bush to Warn U.N.: Act on Iraq or U.S. Will by DAVID E. SANGER and JULIA PRESTON

                                          We can easily make mistakes, and often do.

                                          Piaget and communication models: 4129 lchic - - logic comes hard - and comes late - and for all of us - only comes imperfectly. We have to check, to avoid serious mistakes. And that is a basic piece of information that is not now an adequately emphasized part of our culture.

                                          rshowalter - 12:54pm Sep 13, 2002 BST (#317 of 331)  | 

                                          People respond better to stories than statistics - and that can be fine, so long as the stories convey messages that make sense -- that teach things in the interest of the listener, and not just the teller of tales.

                                          How a Story is Shaped.

                                          But lessons, to be effective - have to fit in a shared space, and within the shared reality of the people involved. A Communication Model

                                          Does the "story" the Bush administration now tells make sense -- if it is set out in detail?

                                          Does it work for other people who have to be involved?

                                          I wonder how difficult it would be to "tell the administration's story" -- about what it intends to do, and what it hopes for, using disney characters ?

                                          Bush's Pilgrimage Ends With Vow to Prevail Over 'Terrorist or Tyrant' By ELISABETH BUMILLER

                                          Kofi Annan's Speech to the General Assembly

                                          The human race is in a struggle to accomodate modernity - including science, engineering, and modern sociotechnical systems -- with the human condition, and humane values. Including religious values. Including national and tribe values. In a way that can work, from childhood up - a way that works emotionally, practically - comfortably - sustainably. That struggle's gone on a long time - for centuries in the west. That struggle has been HARD for us, and remains so.

                                          That same struggle is especially hard for the people of the Islamic nations, locked into, ambivalently trying to emerge from, a medieval mind-set that has shut out challenges rather than respond to them since the 14th century. Enriched in the last century with a windfall of oil wealth that cannot last - unable to block out the effects of mass communication and technology - the islamic world is full of tensions - some of them desperate tensions. They are trying, often, to make accommodations. They are, too often, paralyzed by lies and deference to false assumptions.

                                          That can happen to us, too.

                                          Doing nothing is not an option. But we have to be sensible in what we do. History is full of craziness. Is the United States making some crazy decisions now - making a bad situation, which needs to be made better, much worse?

                                          Pakistan Wants No Part in an Attack on Iraq By PATRICK E. TYLER

                                          Foreigners Ache for U.S., but Also Take Issue With It By FRANK BRUNI

                                          President Bush's speech to the United Nations - September 12

                                          If all the points and implications of President Bush's speech were clearly discussed - so that all the nation states in the UN were clear about what intended meanings were - now and in ways that would be clear in the future - that would be great progress.

                                          Not only points and standards with respect to Iraq, but with respect to the United States and other nations as well.

                                          Not only promises made by Iraq, but promises and statements made over the years by the United States, as well. (For instance, statements made, and agreements signed, about nuclear weapons reductions.) If these questions were asked and answered, very many of the concerns almarst and lchic have raised on this thread would become much clearer.

                                          The power of the United States (not only Iraq) would be clear - but also clearly limited. And we'd live in a safer world.

                                          We're a long way from that clarity, but the president's speech took steps toward it, if the United States is willing to stand up to questions about American national behavior. Perfection isn't possible and wouldn't be necessary.

                                          Adults need secrets, lies and fictions
                                          To live within their contradictions

                                          Chidren and nations need to tolerate some logical tensions, too. But when consequences matter enough - clarity is important enough to insist on. Not just from Iraq. From ourselves, as well.

                                          If we lied less -- if truth broke out -- peace might break out, too.

                                          At the level of technique - - the sorts of procedures discussed in MD1076-77 with respect to missile defense might be useful. These discussions describe a pattern of fighting to a finish - a pattern for settling things. Nobody has to be killed or, with honorable conduct, even much embarrassed.

                                          When situations are desperate enough, perhaps we could think more carefully. I'm haunted by Michael Shermer's lines:

                                            " Rarely do any of us sit down before a table of facts, weigh them pro and con, and choose the most logical and rational explanation, regardless of what we previously believed. Most of us, most of the time, come to our beliefs for a variety of reasons having little to do with empirical evidence and logical reasoning. . . . . . . . . We ...sort through the body of data and select those that most confirm what we already believe, and ignore or rationalize away those that do not. " . . . . Smart People Believe Weird Things
                                          On matter on which human welfare depends, we need to find the will and the means to do better. We'd handle our problems better if we weren't so often muddled. Perhaps I'm naive, but it seems to me that we might be able to make practical progress on this - from where we are - - without disproportionate pain, trouble, or expense.

                                          rshowalter - 05:10pm Sep 14, 2002 BST (#318 of 331)  | 

                                          MD3409-10 read as follows:

                                          I'm very concerned, for all kinds of reasons, and was impressed with Frank Rich's Never Forget What? . . . a piece that I hope is widely read.

                                          All the same, it seems to me that even Rich may be being unduly optimistic on a key issue. Rich dismisses the possibility that Iraq could be a quagmire, like Vietnam. I wouldn't be so quick to do that - the issue bears thinking about. We need to remember some things about what Vietnam was like. For all the horrors of that war, the still unfaced horrors of the Kennedy assassination, and all the carnage - it is also true that Lyndon Johnson, and many of the people around him, were in many ways very liberal and well-intentioned people. If it had been possible to convert enough Vietnamese for a political settlement that, in strategic terms, rejected Communism - many Americans would have tried, and tried hard - with resources as well as words, to make Vietnamese society prosperous and good in Vietnamese terms as we were then able to understand them. It didn't work.

                                          But we shouldn't say "of course" it didn't work.

                                          We didn't understand why that conversion couldn't be made to work then - and we don't understand now.

                                          And the results of the Vietnamese war, for us, for Vietnam, and for the whole world have been in many ways far worse than "might have been" if we could have understood. Some responsible people knew they had a problem here - and I was asked to look at it - if I could figure something out.

                                          Some things happening, it seems to me, are just as dangerous as they seem - and more dangerous than they seem on the surface.

                                          When we try to impose our will on Saddam - on Iraq - however reasonable our reasons -- we ought to remember these ancient lines from Maurice. Not to say that they apply simply - but that the compexities connected to these words are vital matters of decency, life and death.

                                            " This only makes a war lawful: that it is a struggle for law against force; for the life of the people as expressed in their laws, their language, and their government, against any effort to impose on them a law, a language, a government that is not theirs."
                                          People in the Islamic countries want to accomodate modernity - in many ways - but they are conflicted and confused, so are we, and some things are going very wrong - many times surreally wrong. It is a time to be very careful.

                                          4135> . sets out Piaget's developmental stages

                                          4136 contains a good poem, and asks "When information flows are degraded, and other patterns are manipulated, can we be reduced to thinking and acting like children?

                                          Have Karl Rove and his operatives evolved a system that reduces the American people to children with all the flaws Piaget describes?

                                          We can't afford to make childish mistakes now. Nor can we forget that children can be very brutal.

                                          With A Measured Pace on Iraq there is some time to sort some things out. The TIMES is surely right that "President Bush . . . has not shown that immediate action is warranted."

                                          jer55 - 05:15pm Sep 14, 2002 BST (#319 of 331)

                                          The theme of this thread is interesting, because it reminds me of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which happened when I was a very small child, in which the world really came close to being incinerated.

                                          Now at this time of heightened tensions, people are very frightened. In my city of New York, everyone I know is frightened. People want and pray for peace, especially in the services for 9/11. The heightened tensions are scary and frightening and it seems to many of us, unecessarily endangering the stability of the world. In that kind of threatening circumstance, many of us do think of God or religion as a hope (which I gather was the theme of the original thread this was clipped from).

                                          rshowalter - 05:20pm Sep 14, 2002 BST (#320 of 331)  | 

                                          Click rshowalter for details - including links to this thread.

                                          There's plenty of reason to fear -- and not just for religious people.

                                          We have to sort some things out.

                                          lchic - 01:35am Sep 22, 2002 BST (#321 of 331)

                                          What 'take' would Boges et al 'take' on Iraq/Nukes/life&times ?

                                          lchic - 12:39am Sep 30, 2002 BST (#322 of 331)

                                          Cassablanca - has 2 women in Parliament, quota to be adjusted to 30, and later to 50/50

                                          Morrocco could soon excel - elsewhere!

                                          rshowalter - 11:44am Sep 30, 2002 BST (#323 of 331)  | 

                                          I've been arguing for the necessity of interdiction (with respect to nuclear missiles in the hands of "rogue nations) on the NYT Missile Defense thread for two years. Interdiction, I've argued, makes sense as a last resort in the face of a clear threat. Not that interdiction was pretty. But that the "technical fix" of "missile defense" was an illusion - while interdiction, as a technical matter could work.

                                          "The National Security Strategy of the United States," does indeed make explicit a policy that is at variance with some old agreements. The US, under the leadership of G.W. Bush (no angel) is abrogating and renegotiating the key deal that the US has made with the rest of the nations of the world.

                                          The "new deal" could be far worse for all concerned, or better for all concerned. That depends on many details, many of them crucial.

                                          The "deal" proposed implicitly and explicitly in isn't cut yet - and for inescapable reasons, acknowledged in , is a multilateral deal.

                                          The new parts of the deal, as proposed in , seem to me to be this. Terrorism as a tactic is to be outlawed. Nation states led by people who do not conform to the hard won and fragile usages of modernity - as the United States defines it - aren't to be permitted to hold weapons of mass destruction.

                                          If the United Nations can't see to that, the United States will.

                                          In the last two weeks, the NYT Missile Defense thread has been very active - and discussed issues of international importance, including much discussion on Iraq. Links to the Guardian-Talk threads -- Psychwar, Casablanca, and terror ; Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman ; and others have been frequent, and useful. I'm grateful that the Guardian permits me to post here - on threads that are somewhat unconventional - because of somewhat unconventional circumstances.

                                          rshowalter - 11:46am Sep 30, 2002 BST (#324 of 331)  | 

                                          For a little while I've been distributing a sheet to a few key people that reads as follows:

                                          Here is a copy of a CD -- “Missile Defense - New York Times on the Web - Science Forum - by distinguished anonymous posters and M. Robert Showalter.” Some of the anonymous posters are very distinguished - by their writing, and by their role - as “stand-ins” for the Bush administration, and for Vladimir Putin, of Russia. I believe that:

                                            . this project and work closely related to it now represents a sunk cost to the New York Times of more than $100,000 ; .
                                            . the work involves major efforts by the Guardian-Observer of London; .
                                            . the work represents a probable cost to U.S. and Russian government staffs of more than a million dollars; .
                                            . for an extended time this forum has probably been (or has prototyped) the largest bandwidth, clearest line of political-military communication that has ever existed between the U.S. and Russia.
                                          I believe that these things are very probably true - insofar as I'm able to find out from my postion. There's reason to believe that some capable, placed people believe it. Related matters can be checked, in ways described in . . . . . the situation is awkward, but I'm handling it as responsibly as I can, keeping promises I made to Bill Casey, and acting, to the best of my knowledge and judgement, in the real interest of both the United States and the world.

                                          I believe that there are issues that need to be checked to closure - facts that need to be established, and I'm trying to work to see if that can be done. If journalistic organizations wanted it to be done - though it might take some external funding and some unusual cooperation, it could be.

                                          rshowalter - 11:47am Sep 30, 2002 BST (#325 of 331)  | 

                                          Lchic and I have been proceeding with our work on the NYT MD forum on the assumption (or fiction) that it is monitored by staffed organizations - and I'm posting this selection of links on the basis of that assumption. (for details, click rshowalter ). At a time when basic patterns of international law are being renegotiated, the discourse may be of interest to specialists - and the channel it represents may be of international use. If we're proceeding on the basis of a fiction, it is a fiction that may protype patterns that are not fictional at some later time.

                                          Big papers like the Guardian and the NYT are pushing the limits of what they can do, excellent as they are - without some additional initiatives, broader cooperation - and special funding




                                          references to Psychwar, Casablance . . . and terror:


                                          Iraq may be a quagmire: 4308-9


                                          Issues of humanity are practical concerns if we are to make peace stable. We're human beings 4364-4367

                                          4369-70 :

                                            Enough is going badly enough - things are out of balance enough -- there's enough crazy behavior - that people ought to seriously consider getting some key facts established - so that we'd know enough - about the past, and about ourselves - so that stable, peaceful relations might have a decent chance.
                                            If world leaders want some things clarified - they need to ask.
                                          4420 :

                                          "Here's a quote from a mystery story writer, Dashiell Hammet in The Thin Man , 1933. Hammet's speaking of a sexy, interesting, treacherous character named "Mimi". He's asked by a police detective what to make of what she says:

                                            " The chief thing," I advised him, "is not to let her wear you out. When you catch her in a lie, she admits it and gives you another lie to take its place, and when you catch he in that one, admits it, and gives you still another, and so on. Most people . . . get discouraged after you've caught them in the third or fourth straight lie and fall back on the truth or silence, but not Mimi. She keeps trying, and you've got to be careful or you'll find yourself believing her, not because she seems to be telling the truth, but simply because you're tired of disbelieving her. "
                                          The United States, in its diplomatic and military fuctions, can be too much like that.

                                          If world leaders want some things clarified, questions of US veracity are going to have to be adressed. If leaders want these matters clarified, these issues can be -- and I believe that it would be greatly to the benefit of the United States to have them clarified.

                                          The "missile defense" boondoggle is one fine place to start, because so many of the technical issues are so clear.

                                          rshowalter - 11:49am Sep 30, 2002 BST (#326 of 331)  | 

                                          Lchic and I have been proceeding with our work on the NYT MD forum on the assumption (or fiction) that it is monitored by staffed organizations - and I'm posting this selection of links on the basis of that assumption. (for details, click rshowalter ). At a time when basic patterns of international law are being renegotiated, the discourse may be of interest to specialists - and the channel it represents may be of international use. If we're proceeding on the basis of a fiction, it is a fiction that may protype patterns that are not fictional at some later time.

                                          Explosive instabilities: 4427^0@.f28e622/5591

                                          Neuro refs: 4428-29

                                          I've been doing my duty: 4430

                                          Links to CIA and my security problems: 3774-3779

                                          rshowalter - 11:51am Sep 30, 2002 BST (#327 of 331)  | 

                                          There are some good things in Bush's National Security Strategy - if there is balance 4451

                                          If other nation states wanted answers, that report would be an important one to refer to. 4455-6

                                          The United States is renegotiating the basic terms of international law with the rest of the world. 4467-71

                                          Religious crisis, and weapons 4474

                                          Lchic and I have been working on the NYT thread for two years: 4486-88

                                          Almost everybody else in the world approaches problems with some big parts of the communication tasks involved included in their work at all times. I've tried to specialize in working out solutions in isolation from these communication issues - in isolation from emotional issues - concentrating as strictly as I can, during this specialized work, on the logical problems that seem to have been stumpers, again and again.

                                          I've done so because I've felt (and been told, and seen) that there were very common logical problems when human affairs went wrong.

                                          On the NYT MD thread, I've worked with lchic , the most able communicator I've ever been close to - to solve complicated, unsolved problems in communication and problem solving. Particularly problems with communication between staffed organizations.

                                          rshowalter - 11:53am Sep 30, 2002 BST (#328 of 331)  | 

                                          Lchic and I have been proceeding with our work on the NYT MD forum on the assumption (or fiction) that it is monitored by staffed organizations - and I'm posting this selection of links on the basis of that assumption. (for details, click rshowalter ). At a time when basic patterns of international law are being renegotiated, the discourse may be of interest to specialists - and the channel it represents may be of international use. If we're proceeding on the basis of a fiction, it is a fiction that may protype patterns that are not fictional at some later time.

                                          Recalling efforts by many high status people in 2000 - efforts that have gone before, and reasons our NYT- MD thread effort was undertaken - concentrating on a new approach


                                          I often ask what I ought to do - how I can do my duty - in ways that Bill Casey would approve of - placed as I am, knowing what I know, with the skills I have, and concerned as I am that the United States government is making serious mistakes, recklessly endangering the security and the prosperity of this nation - and imposing grave risks and costs on the world, as well.

                                          I have a duty to warn 4508-11

                                          technical and moral issues: 4516

                                          A key point about stability, and a story connected to Nash's background, mine, and Psychwar, Casablanca . . . and terror 4530-4531

                                          As of now, we'd be quite close to stability - with military technology and human patterns in place -- if we didn't have bombing.

                                          No one would question US dominance if there was no bombing (or if Americans understood bombing to carry the expenses and exposures that it carried for most of the 20th century.) But the idea that the United States could kill, at a distance, with complete impunity would be gone.

                                          If that idea was gone - we'd be pretty close to the conditions a stable peace requires --- now.

                                          If missiles were as agile as bats or birds -- bombing would be obsolete.

                                          Game of "dogfighting" - intercollegiate competition problem:

                                          The US is making some very bad bets - and some trillion dollar procurement errors.

                                          Reprise on reading: 4564

                                          Keeping a clear head - C.P. Snow's perspective: 4565-66

                                          The corruption, waste, and damage involved in the US military-industrial complex, in missile defense and elsewhere is far greater than in the case of Enron and all the other business scandals. 4568

                                          If anybody with some rank, some independence and a name wanted to help - a lot could be sorted out - just by asking questions.

                                          rshowalter - 11:54am Sep 30, 2002 BST (#329 of 331)  | 

                                          Was JFK murdered - the matter should finally be checked to closure -- because so much historical interpretation hinges on it 4570

                                          Philosophical limerick: 4575

                                          This is a dangerous, but a hopeful time 4600 - - the costs of getting right answers established are tiny compared to the stakes.

                                          Links to CIA and my security problems, on the NYT MD thread: 3774-3779 . . . and an interesting response from a professional:

                                          Condoleezza Rice for VP or President? University background and guardian links: 4616

                                          Question of an "ad hoc committee": 4618-19

                                          Here's part of an undelivered speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, written shortly before his death:

                                            " Today, we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships --- the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world, at peace."
                                          This quote was on the last page of the American Heritage Picture History of World War II , by C.L. Sulzberger and the editors of American Heritage , published in 1966.

                                          Among other things, the Vietnam War showed that the science of human relations still had important things to learn - that people did not yet understand. Some of those problems are still not understood.

                                          Working systems need rules, and patterns of exception handling (more or less ordered) - often in stages. Complex circumstances can dictate this. We seem to be in a circumstance now where exceptions to the basic rule of the U.N. -- "no territorial aggression" - -are being renegotiated. Given circumstances, that negotiation may be necessary. The United States is not abrogating all international order - nor could it. US military power is constrained by circumstances, including circumstances of ideas. But it is time for great care - and risk - and we need clear heads, and courage. 4308 Sometimes, for unavoidable reasons - that will require us to learn to acknowledge some shared facts. Human relationships, often enough, cannot be peacefully sustained without them. 4297-8

                                          rshowalter - 09:17pm Oct 3, 2002 BST (#330 of 331)  | 

                                          The NYT Missile Defense board has been busy since my last posting here, which I summarized in MD4680

                                          Today I posted this: MD4739-40

                                          To give a sense of my sense of my situation and my problems - here's a sheet I've given to some people over the last few weeks . . .

                                          4572 sets out that sheet, also referred to on this thread a few days ago.

                                          Links to CIA and my security problems, NYT MD thread: 3774-3779

                                          I very much appreciate gisterme's hard work on this thread, after some absence, between 5:13 pm yesterday and 3:00 in the morning today.

                                          If gisterme is not Rice, (s)he has many of the same capabilities - including those of both clean and dirty academic administrative discourse.

                                          The analogies between US military policy and patterns of enronation are uncomfortably close. Perhaps some things are coming to a head. . . . .

                                          If I'm right about who gisterme is, some politicians know about this thread, and are asking questions. If those questions are sensible and responsible, that means that some things long hidden - sometimes "hidden in plain sight" - are going to be understood and exposed.

                                          Gary Hart is profoundly right that the democrats need a defense policy based on rationality and truth. Republicans need one, too.


                                          For some purposes, it is the logic that matters - and identies don't matter. For example, the logic of the technical arguments on this thread don't change, whether you believe the story I've given of my background, or "call me Ishmael" <a href="/WebX?14@@.ee7a163/289">rshowalter Wed 27/03/2002 21:11</a> . But some things do depend on my background.

                                          For example, the seriousness of my personal situation - the question of whether or not the U.S. government owes the AEA investors about forty million dollars -- and the question of whether I have a right to say that the United States is making serious mistakes - including technical mistakes that are wasting vast amounts of money - and making the world far more dangerous than it has to be.

                                          For example, I say that I've worked hard in important ways since 1991 to get some key messages to the government - under careful, reasonable, classification constraints. Since September 2000, whether you believe my story or not - I've been working at it full time - and asking for a chance to debrief. Whether you "call me Ishmael" or not makes a difference.

                                          I've now set out the key message that I felt must be most classified - in a way that professionals ought to be able to read -- and it is this - it is now technically easy to shoot down every winged aircraft the US has, or can expect to build - to detect every submarine - and to sink every surface ship within 500 miles of land - the technology for doing this is basic - and I see neither technical nor tactical countermeasures. I've finally set that message out in public, because, finally - that is what the reasonable security of the United States requires. The costs and risks of keeping this secret are justified no longer.

                                          In judging that message, it makes a difference whether I'm carrying on a literary exercise - if I'm Ishmael - of if I'm telling the truth. I've been working very hard, trying to get my country to check on that.

                                          Identities do make some difference. Because weights make a difference - and socio-logical connections make a difference.

                                          For example, if gisterme is Rice, then this thread is something that the President of the United States knows something about, and pays some attention to.

                                          When National Security Adviser Rice wrote this, I believe she wrote something profound and hopeful. I'm doing the best I can to help make it true.

                                            " Today, the international community has the best chance since the rise of the nation-state in the seventeenth century to build a world where great powers compete in peace instead of continually prepare for war. . . . . . The United States will build on these common interests to promote global security. " "The National Security Strategy of the United States," . page 2.
                                          For that to be true - we need to make decisions based on correct information .

                                          I'm doing my duty, as best I can. If I'm correct, and senior people are watching - I hope they care enough about what I've said to check on some key things. It wouldn't be hard to do.

                                          commondata - 11:53am Oct 3, 2002 EST 4743^0@49758d@.f28e622/5995

                                          Understood, but if Gisterme is Rice then the president's not listening, he's laughing.

                                          _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

                                          I thought some who read this thread might be interested in this key information. I've been cut off from my email, for a time - but can be reached by phone.

                                          - - - - - -

                                            . It is now technically easy to shoot down every winged aircraft the US or any other nation has, or can expect to build - to detect every submarine - and to sink every surface ship within 500 miles of land - the technology for doing this is basic - and I see neither technical nor tactical countermeasures.
                                          That's a judgement - a statement about potential. I believe that the world would be safer and more stable if some key countries (say GB, Germany, France, Russia, China, and Japan) set up a cooperative program to design all the necessary equipment to convert this potential to a reality - and put the full designs, including workable manufacturing drawings and specifications, on the internet. Unless I've missed something, everything necessary could be accomplished using equipment that was militarily operational prior to 1970 (manufacturing drawings are available for such equipment), combined with the few new insights in 4533-4547

                                          Design work, competently done, might cost ten million dollars. Deployment for a country the size of Russia should cost between 2 and ten billion. These are substantial sums, and perhaps I underestimate them, but the probable costs do not seem large in comparison to the US military budget of 350 billion/yr.

                                          The idea of doing this design work openly and collectively may seem naive - but I believe that it would be both practical and efficient.

                                          This beautiful, profound (and award-winning) article says true things about human beings.

                                          Of Altruism, Heroism and Nature's Gifts in the Face of Terror By NATALIE ANGIER

                                          We all know that altruism has its limits. Even so, if the human ability to cooperate could extend this far - - the way would be clear for a much safer world - with very large resources freed up for human needs.

                                          Militaries would still be necessary - and have plenty to do. But I believe that if this were done the technical conditions for a much more peaceful, more stable and less wasteful world would be in place.

                                          lchic - 09:29pm Oct 3, 2002 BST (#331 of 331)

                                          The WHO (world health org) say the world is becoming a more violent place, deaths and beatings are on the increase.

                                          If the world attended to basics - letting everyone onto the bottom wrung of the Maslow ladder - (rather than emphasis on weapons, guns and violence) - it might start to be a better place.

                                          Can the patterns be changed?

                                          rshowalter - 10:13pm Oct 4, 2002 BST (#331 of 347)  | 

                                          The NYT forums are down for "urgent" - and, I assume, unscheduled maintenance. It seems to me worthwhile, under those circumstances to post some things that I referred to and linked to yesterday.

                                          4530 :

                                          What Nash's 'Beautiful Mind' Really Accomplished By DANIEL A. GRECH includes this:

                                            "But price theory can't explain the abundant real-world examples of market inefficiency. Nash approached this problem by reformulating economics as a game. .
                                            "To most people, a game is a way to while away a rainy afternoon. But to mathematicians, a game is not simply chess or poker, but any conflict situation that forces participants to develop a strategy to accomplish a goal.
                                          Nash approached the problem assuming a certain kind of "good information" in a terribly "oversimplified" and brutal world.

                                          Real strategy and tactics were considerably different, and more "sophisticated" than Nash's math - because b misinformation - psychological warfare, and deception, were central to what was actually done.

                                          The "game" was to terrorize and exhaust the Communists into collapse. The objective of the people in control of US nuclear forces, never clearly explained to the American people, and perhaps not clearly explained to some Presidents, was not containment, or equilibrium.

                                          The objetive was to defeat the Communists, using psychological warfare and terror, and survive while doing it.

                                          When I learned what was actually being done, I thought it was an astonishingly risky strategy. I refused to take an assigned part which I felt was wildly risky - much too likely to end the world.

                                          I learned that we really were trying to defeat the Communists, not just contain them, after I was told to claim to have solved the key problem of ground-air and air-air missile guidance - so that missiles would be as agile target interceptors as birds or bats, and seldom miss.

                                          Manned aircraft facing these missiles would be "militarily obsolete". Some other missiles would be, too.

                                          If the Russians thought we had that breaktrough operational, or would have it within months, my superiors felt, that might frighten the Communists into collapse. I felt sure that what they were asking for was likely to frighten too much - and lead, through patterns I'd thought carefully about, to the end of the world.

                                          So I refused an assignment - there was some unpleasantness -- and I found myself assigned to Bill Casey.

                                          I set out some of the story in reference to the movie Casablanca , in PSYCHWAR, CASABLANCA, AND TERROR Especially the core story part, from posting 13 to posting 23. There is a comment in #26 that I feel some may find interesting, as well. (For links, click rshowalter )

                                          I spend most of my time form 1972-1986 working on problems of optimal invention, coupled de's. mixing, combustion, and lubrication engineering. Working to make AEA successful for me and my investors. But I did some work on the logic of peacemaking, too. A problem "on my list" was this:

                                          Suppose people did want to take nukes down? How could it be done?


                                          I thought I had pretty good answers in an all-day session I had with " becq " on September 25, 2000.


                                          I still think the suggestion is basically the right one, both morally and practically.

                                          But I had forgotten something - and later, in some very interesting discussions, almarst explained it to me. I didn't have a stable, peaceful, robust equilibrium acceptable to all parties, in the dirty world as it was. Though I'd taken a step toward it. The problem was that conventional weapons could be out of balance - and out of balance so much that weaker powers would want nuclear weapons. Out of balance so much that there was no stable peace - in the real world where the complete hegemony of one power is not a culturally acceptable thing - with human diversity as it is.

                                          As of now, we'd be quite close to stability - with military technology and human patterns in place -- if we didn't have bombing. But you can't outlaw bombing today - because America has a monopoly on it, and wouldn't agree.

                                          That's anxious for other nations, and I don't know how to relieve the anxiety.

                                          But it occurs to me that some engineers (perhaps competitive teams of student engineers) might divert themselves from the discomfort that comes from that anxiety by playing some fairly diverting, inexpensive games with radio controlled model airplanes. Using components available from standard catalogs, and whatever they can whomp up from odds and ends, as students often do in engineering competitions.

                                          Why not make dogfighting between radio controlled airplanes a competitive sport, between engineering schools? Sounds like fun to me.

                                          Might get robot airplanes about as smart in their way as bats and birds are in theirs. Pretty quickly.

                                          Don't know if that would amuse Nash - but I like concrete things, myself 1566 -- I'm an engineer, rather than a mathematician - - though I do like equilibria.

                                          Hope nobody minds if I talk a little about some enginering games undergraduate teams could have fun with.

                                          rshowalter - 10:15pm Oct 4, 2002 BST (#332 of 347)  | 


                                          To play "dogfight" with model airplanes in the way I have in mind, you'd need some space and moderate equipment.

                                            A small field - maybe a baseball or soccar field. .
                                            At least two radio controlled model airplanes. .
                                            At least 3 "chirper senders" for microwaves- sending pulses out in the air, at specific frequencies, with pulses timed to .1 nanosecond accuracy with respect to gps or some such reference. (These "chirpers" might "chirp" every millisecond. ) (5-10 chirper senders, each with its own frequency, would be better than 3, because it would provide many combinations or three frequencies - each combination a crosscheck on the others.) .
                                            One reciever, with bands tuned to each chirper frequency, capable of timing incoming signals to .1 nanosecond resolution. (Light or microwaves travel 3 cm in .1 nanosecond.) .
                                            Antenna arrangements so that the "chirper" signals did not go from chirpers to the reciever directly, but only by reflection from a flying object. .
                                            Plus a small computer - - maybe two. (Computers made before 1990 would make the competition slightly more interesting, but not by very much.)
                                          Nothing fancy or expensive.

                                          Call the field an x-y plane, of altitude z=0 and say there are n chirpers, at points

                                          C1 at (x1, y1, 0)
                                          C2 at (x2, y2, 0)
                                          C3 at (x3, y3, 0)
                                          . . . and so on to
                                          Cn at (xn, yn, 0)

                                          The reciever is at point R with coordinates (xr, yr, zr) . and only gets signals from chirper Ci that are reflected from flying objects (z > 0 ).

                                          Say that a flying object (the metal motor of the radio controlled airplane) has position P with unknown coordinates (xp, yp, zp) . All the coordinates of all the other points are known.

                                          Distances along the two sides of the triangle from Ci to P to R are known by timing. (For .1 nanosecond resolution - these distances are known to within about 3 cm.) If triangles corresponding to 3 Ci's are available, with known distances, you can solve for the xp, yp, zp coordinates of point P.

                                          With this information, how far are we from achieving optimal dogfighting behavior, where the ability of the following model plane to track the target is limited only by the dynamic limitations of the model airplane propulsion and aerodynamic control - not by control logic?

                                          Not very far.


                                          So, for one model airplane, you could track x-y-z position, with respect to the reciever (or any other fixed point) - and plot that position, to ~3 cm uncertainty, every millisecond.

                                          Plotting position against time, for 20 past points, using diffterms, you could have a very good running polynomial approximation of the motion - (and polynomial approximation of its differential equation, with boundary conditions).

                                          A 10th degree polynomial approximation would leave enough points for noise subtraction (of "noise" in the sense of signal that didn't fit a 10th degree polynomial fit).

                                          Integrating the each monomial term of this polynomial differential equation "predicts that future" according to the differential equation - a differential equation that is continuously updated (say, every millisecond).

                                          You could do the same for 2 airplanes, or 3 or more - though sorting out which triangles correspond to which points would require logic, and the logic gets harder with the number of airplanes. Getting running x,y,z positions, polynomial approximations of equations of motion, and easily integrable polynomial approximations of the de's of the motion of each airplane.

                                          Getting these differential equations into handy frames of reference for "dogfighting" (for example, the frame of the individual model airplanes) isn't fancy.

                                          Now, suppose there is a "lead" model airplane that is "flown" -- either by hand, or by machine - without information about how flight path changes going to to logic controlling the "follower" model airplane.

                                          How well can the "follower" follow?

                                          Can the "follower" follow a moving, jagging target?

                                          That depends on how good the information processing is, and how good the maneuverability of the follower is, compared to the target.

                                          Here's a game that competing teams of engineering undergraduates could play, and compete in. With the setup blocked out here, with engineering that uses the simple relations set out in , target tracking for a "dogfighting" model airplane should be as good as that shown by animals - bats, for example.


                                          Bats catch moths all the time. Even for trajectories that look very tricky.

                                          That's because a bat can "guess" the future motions of both itself and the moth it is tracking (using a temporal ranging code), and makes "guesses" that get better and better - convergently - so that the bat catches the moth, rather than misses.

                                          Though if a moth hears the bat, and evades, that moth sometimes escapes.

                                          Moths that fly trajectories that the bat can follow become bat-dinner.

                                          They are bat-dinner because the bat can predict flight paths with respect to itself, and "knows" how to adjust its own flight precisely - so that the curve of the target motion and the curve of the bat motion intersect.

                                          To do this, the bat's "guessing" has to be very good - my own guess is so good that it has to be solving very good approximations of differential equations - in every way that matters for quantitative performance.

                                          Something that the model airplanes can also do.


                                          Now, for the first year or two (unless the engineering teams in schools are a little faster than I think they'd be) a "dogfighting" competition might require a "follower" to be MUCH more agile (capable of more accelleration, more speed) than the "target" plane.

                                          The engineering teams would need to get good "transfer functions" on how throttle and flap changes change follower flight paths, and get the following logic straight - but they'd know that if they did that - they could "follow" the lead plane almost perfectly - there would be no "misses."

                                          After a little while, that would get boring, I think. Every team would work out essentially perfect following - for followers much faster than the lead planes. That would be boring.

                                          But the game could go on, and would stay interesting, if in successive years the difference between the "lead" planes and "follower" planes got less.

                                          rshowalter - 10:20pm Oct 4, 2002 BST (#333 of 347)  | 

                                          Using the detection scheme of^999599@.f28e622/5726 is more than a game - the scheme would radically outperform our best current radars.

                                          The controls needed for dogfighting model airplanes are essentially identical to the controls needed to control air to air or ground to air missiles.

                                          "Chirpers" big enough to work to detect real combat airplanes at longer range, rather than model airplanes -- might cost less than $1000 each in production. The recievers aren't fancy, either. Nor are the control computations.

                                          The patterns of radio detection using timing, and passive "chirpers" set out in 4533 would detect "stealth" aircraft just about as easily as the unstealthy kind. The "stealth" coatings reflect just fine from indirect angles.

                                          We're talking technology much simpler than the technology we rely on to run our cell phone systems.

                                          rshowalter - 10:21pm Oct 4, 2002 BST (#334 of 347)  | 

                                          Yesterday I said this:

                                            . It is now technically easy to shoot down every winged aircraft the US or any other nation has, or can expect to build - to detect every submarine - and to sink every surface ship within 500 miles of land - the technology for doing this is basic - and I see neither technical nor tactical countermeasures.
                                          That's a judgement - let me review the reasons for that judgement.

                                            1. Except for the cost of the information-processing controls - missiles, including actuators, are inherently simple, mass producible, and cheap.
                                            2. The accelleration capacities of missiles available forty years ago far exceed the accellerations capacities of any manned aircraft - and also exceed the accellerations of useful unmanned aircraft that have been proposed. Ranges for those missiles were tactically ample - and are higher now.
                                            3. With guidance capacities even close to those shown by animals for millions of years - these missiles would essentially always find and destroy their targets. The approach suggested for "dogfighting model airplanes" above would provide guidance as good as that animals show.
                                            4. Countermeasures now used by aircraft against missiles would be ineffective with the new approach. Trying to ourfly missiles with near-animal guidance quality would be hopeless. Counterbattery fire can't work against the new scheme. Counterbattery fire now depends on the fact that radar sources are at the same place as recievers and missile controls. Turning on radars risks operator life and system function - so that the radars are far less effective in combat than might be expected on paper. In the arrangement described for "model airplane dogfighting" radar sources are not at the same positions as recievers or missile controls. Moreover, chirpers are expendible, and can easily be made too numerous to jam.
                                            5. Technical considerations applicable to ground-to-ship or air-to-ship missiles are analogous.
                                            6. Submarine detection according to an analogous scheme using sound waves rather than microwaves is entirely practical - inherently inexpensive - and would give resolution of x, y, z position of undersea craft to meters. Guidance of a torpedo by sound waves would be exactly analogous to missile guidance.
                                          Yesterday I also said this:

                                            I believe that the world would be safer and more stable if some key countries (say GB, Germany, France, Russia, China, and Japan) set up a cooperative program to design all the necessary equipment to convert this potential to a reality - and put the full designs, including workable manufacturing drawings and specifications, on the internet. Unless I've missed something, everything necessary could be accomplished using equipment that was militarily operational prior to 1970 (manufacturing drawings are available for such equipment), combined with the few new insights in 4533-4547 .
                                            Design work, competently done, might cost ten million dollars. Deployment for a country the size of Russia should cost between 2 and ten billion. These are substantial sums, and perhaps I underestimate them, but the probable costs do seem in comparison to the US military budget of 350 billion/yr.
                                          Perhaps, if the world wishes to "beat swords into ploughshares" people have to take steps to obsolete the swords.

                                          I was assigned to find a way to match animal guidance capacities in the late 1960's, at the height of the Cold War . People who guided me at that time were entirely sure of what would happen if our missile components could be guided with the facility animals show.

                                          The world has changed, and now I believe that it makes sense, for the whole world, to achieve that performance - and have the technology to do it widely known.

                                          Had I had a chance to tell my own country about this on a classified basis - I would have done so. But I've tried to do so steadily for a decade - and worked to do so - full time - for the last two years.

                                          Finally I was told, by gisterme , who seems plainly to be a well connected and high Bush administration official, to go ahead and obsolete what I could. Gisterme has posted more than 700 times on the NYT Missile Defense thread - and it was surely an informed permission.

                                          It is in the U.S. national interest, and the world interest, to have this information out, and widely understood. I believe the world would be a much more stable and safer place if this information was actually used.

                                          Here's part of an undelivered speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, written shortly before his death:

                                            " Today, we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships --- the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world, at peace."
                                          This quote was on the last page of the American Heritage Picture History of World War II , by C.L. Sulzberger and the editors of American Heritage , published in 1966.

                                          People have safety needs - and they are basic. . The world will be a safer place with defensive weapons much stronger, much cheaper, and much more widely available. Especially with the defensive weapons inherently stable, for basic physical reasons. I believe that these would be.

                                          rshowalter - 09:01pm Oct 5, 2002 BST (#335 of 347)  | 

                                          In 333, I review how coordinates of a target as a function of time, t can be accurately derived - perhaps once per millisecond. Call these points P(t) for a sequence of t 's. Suppose you have a sequence of the x, y, and z coordinates of P(t) . In 333 I then ask:

                                            With this information, how far are we from achieving optimal dogfighting behavior, where the ability of the following model plane to track the target is limited only by the dynamic limitations of the model airplane propulsion and aerodynamic control - not by control logic? .
                                          333 continues, assuming polynomial processing - including many details in .

                                          Three linked polynomial definitions of the x, y, and z coordinates of P(t) for past t's can be calculated for future t's to estimate future coordinates - and for polynomial fits of high degree (say 10th degree) and fast updating is likely provide excellent predictions for control and interception.

                                          Here are some details from , my PROPOSED SYSTEMS OF NEURAL NETWORKS FOR POLYNOMIAL PROCESSING . . and I include some passages here, to define what "diffterms" are. This paper was written in 1989, slightly encrypted in military terms, according to my instructions from Bill Casey - and posted on the internet shortly thereafter - in a manner consistent with my instructions from Bill Casey.

                                            " The arrays shown here convert patterns to codes. Matched and inverse arrays convert codes back to patterns. These matched arrays, along with some supporting arrays, make possible a broad class of geometrically, logically, and linguistically oriented . . . code systems. . . . .
                                            " The mathematical basis of these array systems is the very old mathematics of finite differences. In Napoleonic France, this math was used by teams under the great M. Legendre to construct many mathematical tables of high accuracy(7). In 1821, Charles Babbage used this mathematics to build his "Difference Engine #2," a forerunner of the modern computer (Bromley, 1982). Babbage based his machine on finite differences because "mathematicians have discovered that all the Tables most important for practical purposes, such as those related to Astronomy and Navigation can ... be calculated ... by that method."(8)
                                            " An example of Babbage's finite difference table organization is shown below. (Legendre's organization was the same as Babbage's.) The finite difference table sets out values and differences for the series x4 for integer x from 0 to 13. This organization is embodied in the mechanical linkages and dials of "Difference Engine #2." Notice that each column is one number shorter than the one to its left(9). .
                                            " Also shown below is a similar but usefully different array structure called a "diffterm structure" here. These "diffterm" arrays retain the top (italicized) numbers in the successive difference columns that are thrown away in the Legendre-Babbage formulation.
                                          Legendre-Babbage formulation
                                          x . . . x4 . . . D1 . . . D2 . . . D3 . . . D4 . . . D5
                                          1 . . .. 1 . . .. 15 . .. . 50 . .. . 60 . .. . 24 . . . 0
                                          2 . . .. 16 . .. . 65 . .. . 110. . 84 . . . 24 . . . 0
                                          3 . .. . 81 . . . 175. . . 194. . .108. . . 24 . . . 0
                                          4 . .. . 256. . . 369. . . 302 . . .132. . . 24 . . . 0
                                          5 . . . 625. . . 671. . . 434. . . 156. . . 24 . . . 0
                                          6 . . .1296. . .1105. . . 590. . . 180. . . 24 . . . 0
                                          7 . . .2401. . .1695. . . 770. . . 204. . . 24 . . . 0
                                          8 . . .4096. . .2465. . . 974. . . 228. . . 24 . . . 0

                                          Diffterm Formulation

                                          x . . . x4 . . . D1 . . . D2 . . . D3 . . . D4 . . . D5
                                          0 . .. . 0 . .. . 0 . .. . 0 . .. . 0 . .. . 0 . .. . 0
                                          1 . .. . 1 . .. . 1 . .. . 1 . .. . 1 . .. . 1 . .. . 1
                                          2 . .. . 16 . . . 15 . . . 14 . . . 13 . . . 12 . . . 11
                                          3 . .. . 81 . . . 65 . . . 50 . . . 36 . . . 23 . . . 11
                                          4 . . . 256. . . 175. . . 110. . . 60. . . 24 . . . 1
                                          5 . . . 625. . . 369. . . 194. . . 84 . . . 24 . . . 0
                                          6 . . .1296. . . 671. . . 302. . . 108. . . 24 . . . 0
                                          7 . . .2401. . .1105. . . 434. . . 132. . . 24 . . . 0
                                          8 . . .4096. . .1695. . . 590. . . 156. . . 24 . . . 0

                                            "Other array examples, generated by taking differences of the series 1,2,3,4,5,6,8 . . . to the 0th, 1st, 2d and 3rd power are shown in
                                            "All monomials (functions of the form x^n with positive integer n) have characteristic diffterm patterns - - including the numbers that the Legendre-Babbage form deletes, and the Diffterm pattern retains. These retained numbers occur in patterns that can be recognized as signatures. These signatures are separable, so that the diffterm of an unknown polynomial signal can be decoded to yield the polynomial coefficients of that signal. .
                                            " Diffterms arrays are therefore well adapted for storing geometrical information in compact coded form, for converting the stored, coded forms back into geometrical information, and for computations involving polynomial functions. Computations involving polynomial functions can have many, many applications.
                                            "Algorithms used in this paper are modifications of the finite difference mathematics of Legendre and Babbage(10). Additions permit rapid identification of the polynomial definition of a curve from data points. Modifications have also been added for frame of reference change, scale change, other transforms, and checking. All the algorithms proposed are adaptable to massively parallel computation. All can be mapped to plausible neural assemblies.
                                            "2. USES OF POLYNOMIAL SYSTEMS
                                            " Most of the relationships in physics, engineering, and other science-based fields involve polynomials. Polynomials are also useful for the encoding and manipulation of lines and images. . . . Polynomial coding also works for logical applications. Polynomial encodings form direct transitions between the smooth, continuous world of quantity and the lumpy world of the symbol.
                                          . . . .

                                          ] " In practical and scientific applications, by far the most important and most often used tools from calculus are the monomial integral and derivative formulas.

                                            dx^n/dx = n x^(n-1) . . . . and Integral x^n dx = {x^(n+1)}/(n+1}
                                          - - - -

                                          People with experience will see that the diffterm approach lends itself to rapid encoding of curves into polynomial form, and rapid manipulations - that can be even more rapid with special purpose circuit arrangements. Many of these details are discussed in enough detail for reasonably direct programming in . Noise subtraction may be particularly interesting to some specialists. .

                                          rshowalter - 09:03pm Oct 5, 2002 BST (#336 of 347)  | 

                                          Here is a simple Qbasic computer program calculating these diffterms, to illustrate some details. (Qbasic was standard for many years with DOS - and the DOS provided with the earlier Windows programs.)


                                          ' This demonstrates fitting a 4th degree equation
                                          ' to "data points" using a diffterm, and then reintegrating with
                                          ' an inverse diffterm array

                                          DECLARE SUB finiteint (order%, n%, zintegcoefs!(), zcoef!(), zz!())

                                          DECLARE SUB DIFTERM (za(), maxexp%)
                                          DECLARE SUB PARSE (zb44(), za(), zrawcoef(), zsib(), zzz44%)

                                          DEFINT A-Y

                                          DEFSNG Z

                                          REDIM ax%(100, 100), bx%(100, 100), cx%(100, 100)

                                          REDIM alist%(500, 4), xlist(500, 4), ylist%(500, 4), blist%(500, 4)
                                          REDIM xindex(200, 2), lengths(200), za(8, 8), zb(21)
                                          REDIM zrawcoef(21), zsib(20, 20), zfct(20), zcoef(6), zcoef2(6)
                                          REDIM zqwirk(400, 6), zintegcoefs(6, 6), zcoef(5), zz(100, 5)

                                          . . . DATA 1, .5, 1, .16666666666666, .8333333333333333, 1
                                          . . . DATA .04166666666666666, .5, .95833333333333333, 1

                                          FOR j = 1 TO 5
                                          . . . FOR i = 2 TO j
                                          . . . . . . READ zsib(i, j)
                                          . . . NEXT i
                                          NEXT j

                                          LET zsib(2, 1) = 1

                                          LET zfct(0) = 1

                                          FOR j = 1 TO 20

                                          . . .LET zfct(j) = j * zfct(j - 1)
                                          NEXT j

                                          DATA 24,23,12,1

                                          DATA 0,1,4,1
                                          DATA 0,-1,0,1
                                          DATA 0,1,-2,1
                                          DATA -1,3,-3,1

                                          FOR i = 6 TO 2 STEP -1

                                          . . .FOR j = 5 TO 2 STEP -1
                                          . . . . READ zintegcoefs(j, i)
                                          . . .NEXT j
                                          . . .PRINT NEXT i


                                          '!!!!!! you may choose other coefficients for the
                                          '!!!!!! 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, and 0th order coefficients below
                                          zzcoef4 = .946
                                          zzcoef3 = 2.472
                                          zzcoef2 = .35
                                          zzcoef1 = 37
                                          zzcoef0 = .034

                                          FOR i = 1 TO 5

                                          . . zi = CSNG(i)
                                          . . .za(i + 1, 1) = zzcoef4 * (zi ^ 4) + zzcoef3 * (zi ^ 3) + zzcoef2 * zi ^ 2 + zzcoef1 * zi + zzcoef0
                                          NEXT i

                                          CALL DIFTERM(za(), 4)

                                          PRINT " difterm array"

                                          FOR i = 1 TO 5

                                          . . .FOR j = 1 TO 5
                                          . . . . . . PRINT USING "####.### "; za(i, j);
                                          . . .NEXT j
                                          . . .PRINT
                                          NEXT i

                                          SLEEP 10

                                          PRINT : PRINT

                                          CALL PARSE(zb(), za(), zrawcoef(), zsib(), 4)

                                          PRINT " Coefficients for 0th to 5th orders for 4th degree equation"

                                          PRINT " 0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th "
                                          FOR i = 1 TO 5
                                          . . .zcoef(i) = zrawcoef(i) / zfct(i - 1)
                                          . . .PRINT zcoef(i);
                                          NEXT i

                                          SLEEP 3

                                          PRINT " calculated values"

                                          PRINT " ";

                                          PRINT zzcoef0;
                                          PRINT " ";
                                          PRINT zzcoef1;
                                          PRINT " ";
                                          PRINT zzcoef2;
                                          PRINT " ";
                                          PRINT zzcoef3;
                                          PRINT " ";
                                          PRINT zzcoef4; c PRINT " correct values"

                                          PRINT : PRINT

                                          order = 4: n = 8

                                          CALL finiteint(order, n, zintegcoefs(), zcoef(), zz())

                                          PRINT "reintegration from computed 4th degree equation"
                                          PRINT "numerical signatures corresponding to coefficients of the"
                                          PRINT "powers are placed in the integration array, then reconstructed."

                                          FOR i = 1 TO 8

                                          . . . FOR j = 1 TO 5
                                          . . . . . .PRINT USING "####.## "; zz(i, j);
                                          . . .NEXT j
                                          . . . PRINT
                                          NEXT i

                                          PRINT : PRINT

                                          SUB DIFTERM (za(), maxexp)

                                          FOR r44% = 1 TO maxexp + 2

                                          . . .FOR c44% = 1 TO 7
                                          . . . . .LET za(r44% + 1, c44% + 1) = za(r44% + 1, c44%) - za(r44%, c44%)
                                          . . .NEXT c44%
                                          NEXT r44%

                                          END SUB

                                          SUB finiteint (order, n, zintegcoefs(), zcoef(), zz())

                                          ' n is number of integration steps

                                          FOR i = 1 TO 5

                                          . . .zpart1 = zcoef(1) * zintegcoefs(i + 1, 2) + zcoef(2) * zintegcoefs(i + 1, 3)
                                          . . . zpart2 = zcoef(3) * zintegcoefs(i + 1, 4) + zcoef(4) * zintegcoefs(i + 1, 5)
                                          . . . zpart3 = zcoef(5) * zintegcoefs(i + 1, 6)
                                          . . . zz(i + 1, 5) = zpart1 + zpart2 + zpart3
                                          NEXT i

                                          IF zcoef(5) <> 0 THEN 'only needed for the LAST order in integration

                                          FOR i = 6 TO n 'algorithm setup
                                          . . . zz(i, 5) = zcoef(5) * zintegcoefs(5, 6)
                                          NEXT i
                                          END IF

                                          FOR j = 4 TO 1 STEP -1

                                          . . .FOR i = 2 TO n
                                          . . . . . .LET zz(i, j) = zz(i - 1, j) + zz(i, j + 1)
                                          . . .NEXT i
                                          NEXT j
                                          END SUB

                                          SUB PARSE (zb44(), za(), zrawcoef(), zsib(), zzz44%)

                                          FOR i% = 1 TO zzz44% + 2
                                          . . .LET zb44(i%) = za(i%, zzz44% + 1)
                                          NEXT i%

                                          FOR k44% = zzz44% + 1 TO 1 STEP -1

                                          . . .LET zrawcoef(k44%) = zb44(k44% + 1)
                                          . . . . ' PRINT USING " zrawcoef(k44%)=######.####"; zrawcoef(k44%)
                                          . . . . FOR z44% = 1 TO k44%
                                          . . . . . . LET zb44(z44%) = zb44(z44%) - zrawcoef(k44%) * zsib(z44%, k44%)
                                          . . . . NEXT z44%

                                          . . . . FOR j% = 1 TO k44%

                                          . . . . . . LET zb44(j% + 1) = zb44(j%) + zb44(j% + 1)
                                          . . . .NEXT j%

                                          NEXT k44%

                                          END SUB


                                          rshowalter - 09:04pm Oct 5, 2002 BST (#337 of 347)  | 

                                          Perhaps, if the world wishes to "beat swords into ploughshares" people have to take steps to obsolete the swords. I was assigned to find a way to match animal guidance capacities in the late 1960's, at the height of the Cold War .

                                          I believe that I have done so.

                                          People who guided me at that time were entirely sure of what would happen if our missile components could be guided with the facility animals show. It would become technically easy to shoot down winged aircraft. It would become technically easy to detect and destroy submarines. It would become technically easy to sink ships.

                                          The world has changed, and now I believe that it makes sense, for the whole world, to achieve that performance - and have the technology to do it widely known.

                                          I am doing my very best to do what I can to set up conditions for stable, durable, humanly comfortable peace and security - for the United States first and foremost, but with a decent regard for the needs of other other nations as well. I'm doing so, according to my promises to Bill Casey -- to the best of my ability.

                                          lchic - 01:07pm Oct 7, 2002 BST (#338 of 347)

                                          Bush speech USA - 5+hours time

                                          rshowalter - 11:01pm Oct 12, 2002 BST (#339 of 347)  | 

                                          On October 3, there was a sequence of postings on the NYT Missile Defense forum - and all the NYT forums were closed down thereafter for four days. I was cut off sometime less than an hour after I posted this

                                            " it is now technically easy to shoot down every winged aircraft the US has, or can expect to build - to detect every submarine - and to sink every surface ship within 500 miles of land - the technology for doing this is basic - and I see neither technical nor tactical countermeasures."
                                          All of the NYT forums were shut down for "urgent maintenance" shortly thereafter. Some of the material involved in that day's posting was set out, with supporting technical detail, in postings #330-338 of Psychwarfare, Casablanca . . . and terror , an International Talk thread (for links, click " rshowalter" ). Postings #330-338 of Psychwarfare have been referred to repeatedly on the NYT MD forum since it reappeared on the 7th.

                                          When the NYT forums reappeared, I was pleased that only a few postings after 9:14 am NY time were deleted, and that the last postings permitted to remain when the forums reappeared on the 7th were my 4739 and 4740

                                          4740 contained a reference I was glad was included - one that I feel sure was not missed by NYT staff: "4572 sets out a sheet . . that includes this: "On July 14th, 7:24 pm I asked this on the Missile Defense board – and the matter has been much discussed.

                                            " " Could things be arranged so that I could talk to ______, or some other professional, on technical matters, in a way so that I had reasonable confidence, and _________ had reasonable confidence, that, whatever other problems we might have, our conversation did not violate US national security laws?
                                          "It isn't possible yet. Assurances given me verbally by CIA, if they were really clear and checkable, would meet that need. But they are not clearly checkable, and not in writing. I need to get from an unusable verbal assurance from CIA that "CIA has no interest in any of my material" to an assurance, in writing, or checkable otherwise, that I can actually use. . . .

                                          " Links to CIA and my security problems, this thread: 3774-3779

                                          I believe that the details referred to would be of interest to people judging the the NYT's attitude to some things that I've said. I was grateful that those links were given prominance.

                                          Discussion on the NYT forums since Oct 7 have been careful - and I have reason to think that people at the TIMES and elsewhere have paid some attention to the MD forumt. commondata 's contributions have been very helpful and on point.

                                          Lchic's (Dawn Riley's) have been distinguised, as usual.

                                          I've been working hard on the NYT forums, and interacting with NYT people - for five years - - and the degree of effort (on my side, and on the side of the NYT) is unusual enough to be worth explaining.

                                          Yesteday I posted 4814 , including citation of a very interesting 38 minute speech from my old master:

                                          William Casey
                                          Director, Central Intelligence Agency
                                          Major Issues Lecture Series
                                          Asbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University

                                          Topic: The Status of U.S. Intelligence in the U.S. Today October 27, 1986


                                          Today, I posted 4823-4827 , which explains some basic reasons for my five year involvement with the New York Times. I hope 4923-4827 explains some of the reasons why I've been so grateful for help from the Guardian-Observer

                                          4824 refers to Psychwarfare, Casablanca . . . and terror #330-338 and includes this:

                                            " I've now taken steps where one can argue that I ought to be jailed (though I think Casey would argue otherwise). "
                                          I think there is good reason to expect that those steps have been noticed by the government of the United States. I hope they've been noticed by other people and other governments, as well.

                                          It may be that, considering everything, the United States led nearly the best Cold War possible. But the Cold War should be over - - - and there are messes to acknowledge, and clean up. I believe that if we did so - - we'd be living an a time of great, realistic hope.

                                          I'm deeply, deeply grateful to the Guardian-Observer for permitting me to post on these TALK threads.

                                          MD 4701-4702 include some history that I think ought to interest many, and "idealistic" language -- including this:

                                          "What would Putin want done? What would the leaders of the nations in NATO, and the other nations in the Security Council want done? What would ex-presidents of the United States, living and dead, want done, if they could think about the issues involved? What would the pre-injury Nash want done? What would "the average reader of the New York Times" want done? . "What would Casey want done (or forgive me for) ? . . . . "I think there's been a great deal of progress since then MD1999 - - but we've fallen short of hopes for real peace - after a lot of work from lchic , almarst and gisterme as well.

                                          " Groups of people go forward, on the basis of assumptions that are, based on knowledge available, entirely reasonable. But a time comes when the assumptions can be shown, beyond reasonable doubt, to be wrong in some decisive way. If people see no way to stop the work and the patterns they've been engaged in, they ignore the fact that they are no longer acting reasonably, and ignore the problem. I believe that, in the history of the nuclear terror, and in history since the Cold War should have ended, misakes such as this, which are only human, have been, nonetheless, very expensive.

                                          "I think some things are going very well.

                                          "Even so, it seems to me that it is becoming crucial that we sort some things out.

                                          " What a wonderful idea it is that nations should "beat their swords into plowshares" ! Wonderful ideas, backed only by idealism, don't prevail. Perhaps my duty now is to see that the swords in question become obsolete ? . . .

                                          "The US is making some very bad bets - and some trillion dollar procurement errors. Again: Perhaps my duty now is to see that the swords in question become obsolete ?

                                          " Anybody object? I'm in the Madison phone book.

                                          rshowalter "Science News Poetry" 2/10/01 2:05am is heartfelt praise for the New York Times fora - and the help they've given me.

                                          I've been trying to Send in clear for a long time. The poem of ends with this note:

                                            In clear: Lying is more dangerous than people think, and soaks up more attention than people know. We can do less of it. We can send in clear - the message, almost always, will be peaceful. And complex cooperation, now so often terminated with deceptive sequences, could happen more often.
                                          If the Guardian, the NYT, and some other first line papers got together (with foundation support if that was needed) and got some things checked we could live in a much safer and more humane world.

                                          Again: 4824 refers to Psychwarfare, Casablanca . . . and terror #330-338 and includes this:

                                            " I've now taken steps where one can argue that I ought to be jailed (though I think Casey would argue otherwise). "
                                          Often stories are left hanging, because they are not checked. I believe that the history of the Cold War, and the ways things have been "left hanging" since - - is a story worth checking - - worth telling - - so that we can make humane and efficient arrangements, tough enough under any conditions - that can only be worked out on the basis of correct information. My personal story may offer an interesting "window" on what happened, and what needs to be corrected - during the Cold War - and in the decade of murderous, gruesome muddle since.

                                          If these things were understood, I think problems like that of Iraq might be resolvable with more grace than would otherwise be the case.

                                          rshowalter - 09:40pm Oct 16, 2002 BST (#340 of 347)  | 

                                          Sometime on October 15th, a posting I made on July 25, 2001 in this thread and Paradigm Shift. . whose getting there? - Science was deleted by someone else. It was deleted, I believe, to alter the record of the work lchic and I have been doing on the NYT Missile Defense board and here for more than two years. The deleted link described, with many citations, a detailed briefing that I'd given almarst - - the MD board's "Putin stand-in" in March of 2001.

                                          I personally believe that Putin took time out of his schedule to attend to that briefing - a time-out referred to in Muddle in Moscow

                                          Perhaps I'm incorrect, but that hope still seems consistent with the facts - - and it seems to me that Putin's performance since that briefing effort is consistent with attention to the briefing.

                                          I comment on the deletion in MD4918

                                          The deleted link is reproduced in MD4919 - 4923

                                          For reasons that interested people can trace from links set out if they click "rshowalter" in the upper left hand corner of this posting - - lchic and I have been working under difficult circumstances, doing work we've felt a duty to do. My motives have been professional and economic, as well.

                                          The "briefing effort" that took place on March 17 and 23, 2001 is something I'm personally proud of, and sets out principles that I believe are useful in national economic policy, for Russia and for other countries. I'm posting them on the Guardian Talk thread - - Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness - Issues . I'm very grateful to the Guardian-Observer, and very much appreciate the postings I'm permitted to do here

                                          lchic - 10:29am Oct 21, 2002 BST (#341 of 347)

                                          Interesting psycho-games happening International Diplomatiques!

                                          rshowalter - 09:16pm Oct 21, 2002 BST (#342 of 347)  | 

                                          The NYT forums are again down for "urgent maintenance" - - as they were on October 3d. They have been for some hours now. Last time, the urgent maintenance lasted from Oct 3 to Oct 7th - days during which I posted some things here.

                                          Here are some things that I posted last night. They make points that are, no doubt, on some other people's minds as well. I make no claim that these postings, or related postings by lchic have had anything to do with the maintenance difficulty at the NYT - but do appreciate the chance to express my views here.

                                          10:08am Oct 20, 2002 EST # 5085 read as follows:

                                          "This is important.

                                          Iraq Announces Amnesty for Its Prisoners By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 8:32 a.m. ET

                                            BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The Iraqi government announced an amnesty Sunday for all Iraqi prisoners"
                                          after this, lchic did some lovely posts on empathy, incuding 5092-5094

                                          and I made 2 postings thereafter:

                                          5095 reads as follows:

                                          "When Dr. Rice wrote this, I believe she wrote something profound and hopeful.

                                            " Today, the international community has the best chance since the rise of the nation-state in the seventeenth century to build a world where great powers compete in peace instead of continually prepare for war. . . . . . The United States will build on these common interests to promote global security. " " The National Security Strategy of the United States ," . page 2.
                                          "The whole world hopes for that. But if hopes are to solidify into reality - we need to communicate effectively - - work enough things out between people and powers so that they know enough to compete in peace.

                                          "That takes a lot of talking - negotiation of a shared space - - communication good enough so that - when it matters for practical affairs intended meanings and percieved meanings match well enough to be safe.

                                          A communication model

                                          "For us to find that shared space - and maintain it - and know we have it -- - we need empathy.

                                          "Even for those we hate and fear.

                                          "Because we have things we have to communicate about.

                                          "And so "warm feelings" - at some levels - even if they are just "conventional" or "polite" - - are very practical -- matters of life and death.

                                          posting 5086 was something like this:

                                          "Perhaps things are going very well, and international discussions are going well. If you take Iraq at its word, subject to checking that if offers - - we are a long way from a justification for war:

                                          Iraq States Its Case By MOHAMMED ALDOURI

                                            }"After so many years of fear from war, the threat of war and suffering, the people of Iraq and their government in Baghdad are eager for peace. We have no intention of attacking anyone, now or in the future, with weapons of any kind. If we are attacked, we will surely defend ourselves with all means possible. But bear in mind that we have no nuclear or biological or chemical weapons, and we have no intention of acquiring them.
                                            ""We are not asking the people of the United States or of any member state of the United Nations to trust in our word, but to send the weapons inspectors to our country to look wherever they wish unconditionally.
                                          "They're saying "you don't have to trust us - - you can check us." We shouldn't be reluctant to do that - and to remember how many different ways there are to check and cross-check. If the UN gets something like active cooperation from Iraq - there may be some hidden residual capacities - but there won't be much - and Iraq will not be in a good position to use anything it has left in any militarily sane way.

                                          "Iraq has made a major concession - both moral and practical - in its amnesty.

                                          Iraq Announces Amnesty for Its Prisoners By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 10:59 a.m. ET

                                            BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- "The Iraqi government announced an amnesty Sunday for all Iraqi prisoners
                                          " One need not trust Saddam, nor like him, to think that Hussein and Mobs Virtually Empty Iraq's Prisons By JOHN F. BURNS reports an act of great consequence.

                                          "If Iraq can effectively reintegrate those prisoners, it will show a distinct "regime change" in the ways that matter to many, many people.

                                          . . .

                                          "Iraq has offered to be checked and tested. That testing is coming. It started today. Perhaps this is a time, not only for care, but also for hope. Secular Redemption rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Wed 16/10/2002 21:50 will be hard, this time - - but it is interesting that the leaders of Iraq are standing up to the challenge - not sitting passively by.

                                          - - - - -

                                          "Nor are the leaders of North Korea standing passively by. This seems like a time for hope, and care.

                                          North Korea Ready to Discuss Nuclear Arms With U.S. By SETH MYDANS

                                          lchic - 05:19am Oct 22, 2002 BST (#343 of 347)

                                          Krugman features in a thread here-International re income gap in usa -

                                          lchic - 05:21am Oct 22, 2002 BST (#344 of 347)


                                          are busily negotiating.

                                          rshowalter - 05:02pm Oct 23, 2002 BST (#345 of 347)  | 

                                          MD5144-46 is preceeded by links that make me think that the superpowers are negotiating - and maybe even noticing things said on Guardian Talk threads. And I hope so.

                                          lchic - 01:59pm Oct 24, 2002 BST (#346 of 347)

                                          NewScientist says the worldwideweb is suffering from hackers throwing spam into the system.

                                          NYT board is DOWN for the second time this week.

                                          lchic - 02:02pm Oct 24, 2002 BST (#347 of 347)

                                          Putin is said to be negotiating with those at the Moscow Theatre.

                                          Russia should say 'sorry' for the crimes it's army has committed there.

                                          rshowalter - 12:24pm Oct 31, 2002 BST (#348 of 350)  | 

                                          MD5395-6^745757@.f28e622/6760 is a "mirror image" of this posting on the NYT Missile Defense board, and with minor modifications reads as follows. It has the same references. Links to the Guardian Talk threads listed here work from MD5395-6^745757@.f28e622/6760

                                          To "connnect the dots" it is necessary to " collect the dots " - - and lchic and I have been working to show how "dots" of evidence and argument can be collected using the internet. Information can only be considered, weighed, focused, and used to draw conclusions when it is available together - closely and conveniently enough in space and time.

                                          Other people might collect other "dots".

                                          Different staffs, with different viewpoints, might collect different evidence and opinions - not just individuals.

                                          Patterns of umpiring can be fit into the crossreferencing format.

                                          This thread has shown some of what can be done - and some things about this thread are organized if you click "rshowalter" in the upper left hand of my postings.

                                          One point I'd like to emphasize is the mass of material that can be collected and organized - with a lot of potential for crossreferencing - with this thread as an example.

                                          Many postings have been made here - and many others have been made on the Guardian Talk threads - which are a more open format than the one here - one I very much admire.

                                          Since this thread was rebooted in March of this year, there have been more than 700 links to Guardian Talk threads. To get and example of the number of links, and the way they are used, I'm collecting this sample - the links to the Guardian since #5000 on this thread. I deeply appreciate the chance to post here, and on the Guardian.


                                          lchic "Anything on Anything" Mon 06/05/2002 01:39
                                          rshowalter "Anything on Anything" Mon 06/05/2002 03:37


                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Wed 16/10/2002 20:36


                                          rshowalter Mon 30/09/2002 10:53


                                          rshowalter Wed 27/03/2002 20:11


                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Wed 16/10/2002 20:50


                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Thu 05/09/2002 22:56
                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Wed 16/10/2002 20:36
                                          rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Fri 08/12/2000 19:08
                                          rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Fri 08/12/2000 19:05


                                          rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001 00:22


                                          rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001 00:22


                                          Anchorage "Chechen rebels have taken over a busy Moscow cinema and placed bombs" Fri 25/10/2002 03:09
                                          stampede "Mass Chechen hostage taking: female hostage killed." Thu 24/10/2002 17:59


                                          rshowalter Sun 11/03/2001 15:35
                                          rshowalter Thu 28/02/2002 00:30
                                          rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 20:57
                                          rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 21:27
                                          rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 22:13 .
                                          rshowalter Tue 19/06/2001 18:11
                                          rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001 00:22


                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Mon 30/09/2002 11:18


                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Sun 12/11/2000 17:11


                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Wed 23/10/2002 18:32
                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Wed 23/10/2002 18:33


                                          rshowalter Mon 30/09/2002 10:53
                                          rshowalter Thu 03/10/2002 20:17
                                          rshowalter Fri 04/10/2002 21:21
                                          rshowalter Sat 12/10/2002 22:01
                                          rshowalter Wed 16/10/2002 20:40
                                          rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Wed 16/10/2002 20:36


                                          rshowalter Thu 20/06/2002 19:21
                                          rshowalter Wed 31/07/2002 17:56
                                          rshowalter Thu 05/09/2002 20:39
                                          rshowalter Thu 05/09/2002 20:40
                                          rshowalter Wed 27/03/2002 20:11
                                          rshowalter Mon 30/09/2002 10:46


                                          rshowalter Fri 04/10/2002 21:13
                                          rshowalter Fri 04/10/2002 21:21
                                          rshowalter Sat 12/10/2002 22:01


                                          Anything on Anything - 70 posts from
                                          lchic "Anything on Anything" Mon 06/05/2002 01:39
                                          rshowalter "Anything on Anything" Mon 06/05/2002 03:37 on negotiating tactics that could use the internet.

                                          lchic "Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there?" Fri 24/05/2002 01:27 to rshowalter "Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there?" Fri 24/05/2002 04:01

                                          MD5395-6^745757@.f28e622/6760 is a "mirror image" of this posting on the NYT Missile Defense board. It has the same references, with links that work there that do not work here. MD5395-6^745757@.f28e622/6760

                                          rshowalter - 01:57pm Nov 4, 2002 BST (#349 of 350)  | 

                                          The NYT forums go down for maintenance from time to time - and they've been down for scheduled maintenance since about 4PM NY time, Nov 1. In the days before that, I felt that the Missile Defense forum was being influential.

                                          One could look at

                                          Oct 30: 5380-81
                                          Oct 31: 5409
                                          Nov 1: 5437
                                          Nov 1: 5441
                                          Nov 1: 5442
                                          and think that the MD forum might be being influential in the discourse about Iraq at the United Nations. I hope so - and think that, at the least, lchic and I have succeeded in setting out some arguments congruent with some useful discussions going on at the UN.

                                          On the board, lchic and I have been advocating efforts to find shared space - - paths for communication - between adversaries, and enemies locked in impasses.

                                          For entirely hard-headed and practical reasons, and other reasons, we need to be able to communicate as human beings.

                                          The NYT is involved in such communication - sometimes including discussions between governments. Conversations between the NYT and N. Korea reported here were promising.

                                          The Bush administration is rejecting those offers, as it has many others - and in many ways, the administration stands, consistently, against communication patterns that can actually work for nations made up, as all nations are, of human beings.

                                          But the United States has limited power - and other nations are getting organized to the point where they may solve problems without the US - indeed against the efforts of the Bush administration. Although terrible things could easily happen, there is reason to hope that, with hard work, the horrors, risks and costs associated with the situations in Korea and Iraq can be gracefully and greatly reduced.

                                          The mid-term elections in the United States are important, and the way campaigns have been fought is important - there's been a deliberate, and at times astounding, avoidance of fundamentals. Over the years, progress in the "political technology" of the United States has reduced the level of discourse, and to some degree, degraded the American electorate.

                                          At the same time, some fundamentals seem to be getting better in the world. It may be that Europe, the United Nations, and the world community as a whole are "getting their act together" in necessary ways - after deferring too much, too long, to a United States that has many virtues, but not all of them.

                                          Since September 25, 2000, I've been working steadily on the NYT Missile defense board - - - I'd hoped after than one day meeting to have a chance to debrief face to face to the federal government . Instead, I've been "debriefing", in detail since that time on the MD thread, with enormous, much appreciated help from lchic , and some extremely interesting posting from a "Bush administration stand-in" , gisterme - and a "Putin stand-in" , almarst.

                                          Some of the most fundamental points on the thread were adressed in the first posting from gisterme , and my first response.

                                          gisterme - 01:09pm May 2, 2001 EST (#2997

                                          rshowalter wrote "...The US, perhaps with some help from other nations, has to admit to some lies, and some missteps done by a very small, extraconstitutional group..."

                                          Okay, Robert, I'll bite. What are the lies, the missteps and who is the very small extraconstitutional group?

                                          gisterme - 01:39pm May 2, 2001 EST (#2998

                                          juddrox wrote: "...Why is Missile Defense Technology even an issue?

                                          IT DOES NOT WORK..."

                                          Same arguement made against neary every new (not necessarily military) technology. Let's see...the internet and stealth technology are a couple I can think of right off. Resistance to change is a natural thing I suppose. However, even rshowalter, being a PE, should be able to tell you it's much easier to prove a thing feasible than not. Don't forget that for most of history it was believed that man could never fly. Heh heh, is that so surprising coming from a species that took hundreds of centuries to invent the wheel?

                                          Tell me, why should getting rid of half of my guns and putting bullet resistant glass in my house be such a threat to my neighbors?

                                          rshowalter - 01:41pm May 2, 2001 EST (#2999

                                          gisterme 5/2/01 1:09pm: "Okay, Robert, I'll bite. What are the lies, the missteps and who is the very small extraconstitutional group?"


                                            The United States, from the time of the Eisenhower administration on, had a policy of threatening - in effect, scaring, the Soviet Union into a situation where long-term collapse of the Soviet Union would occur. The Russians were vulnerable to this, and we knew it. We scared them to the edge of paralysis, and put their system under pressure that, over years, they could not withstand. .
                                            To do that, there had to be a great deal of deception and manipulation in our dealing with the Soviets -- it was in our interest to let them feel that we were, continuously and actively, plotting first strikes -- something that they did believe. .
                                            To make the strategy work, the United States government also had to overstate, continuously and often radically the extent of the Soviet threat to both the American people and to Congress, which, very, very often, funded the US defense system under false pretenses. ( The Soviet postion, monstrous as the society was in many ways, was usually defensive --- we were practically never "outgunned" any militarily significant way, from 1955 on. ) .
                                            There were many lies involved with this policy. Perhaps they were lies in a good cause, and justified. But a tremendous amount of deception, over long duration, and much manipulation of Americans in ways inconsistent with American ideals and institutions.

                                            There were a number of missteps, but I feel this one was the largest: .... When the Soviet Union did collapse, we did not turn our nuclear threats off, and the Russians have been near-paralyzed, as a result of psychological warfare that should have been ended, since.
                                          The very small extraconstitutional group:

                                            To run the very long term policy of getting the Soviet Union to break, by maintaining very high fear levels, and at the same time to minimize tensions on our own side, and to keep threats we were making, that our own people would not tolerate, from being known, a small group of military and CIA officers, initially very much influenced by Curtis LeMay, set up a long-term organization. The organization was extraconstitutional and in some ways informal, and very largely independent of political control. After the Kennedy administration, it was not entirely under the control of the President of the United States. At sometimes, almost independent of presidential will. The President did, in more than name, control the decision to actually fire nuclear weapons (LeMay had tried to take that unto himself) but LeMay and related people and their successors did, as a practical matter, control most nuclear policy, with little or no effective supervision, or really capable financial accounting.
                                          On these threads there's a good deal more detail, and I'll go after it -- but that's the gist of it.

                                          There were reasons why this happened. Some of them good reasons at the time.

                                          But the nuclear terror is an American invention and development. We've used threat and terror, very effectively, for a long time. If we took action, and acknowledged what we did, then effective nuclear disarmament would be possible -- at least to the point where nuclear risks were no larger than many of the natural disaster risks we cope with.

                                          . . .

                                          rshowalter - 01:45pm May 2, 2001 EST (#3001

                                          Acknowledging the past would be a lot safer, and much better, than a "Star Wars" that can't be made to work.

                                          If we made peace, the rest of the world could, too.

                                            - - - - -
                                          Since that time, there have been more than 750 gisterme postings on the NYT Missile Defense thread - and these references to gisterme here:

                                          #192 rshowalter Thu 17/05/2001 19:34

                                          #217 rshowalter Wed 18/07/2001 18:51

                                          #226 rshowalter Wed 12/09/2001 15:17

                                          #229 rshowalter Thu 27/09/2001 01:10

                                          #248 rshowalter Fri 04/01/2002 17:00

                                          #260 rshowalter Wed 13/02/2002 20:31

                                          #295 rshowalter Thu 20/06/2002 19:21

                                          #305 rshowalter Mon 12/08/2002 21:41

                                          #330 rshowalter Thu 03/10/2002 20:17

                                          #333 rshowalter Fri 04/10/2002 21:20

                                          #339 rshowalter Sat 12/10/2002 22:01

                                          rshowalter - 02:01pm Nov 4, 2002 GMT (#350 of 355)  | 

                                          I've often said that I thought gisterme was Condoleezza Rice - and I believe that Rice has written some of the gisterme postings. But looking at styles, it seems very likely that gisterme postings are done by several people - at least two. Not necessarily of the same sex - but perhaps very close personal friends. There is enough text that one might be able to make some very good statistical judgements - ruling "suspects" in and out as writers of that text. In my view, Bush is a suspect - something that might be worth checking.

                                          That's only inference - a "connection of the dots" that has some plausibility, some internal consistency - some structure - but that would have to be checked.

                                          I hope the inference is true - and that my inferenece that "almarst" has close connections to Russia is also true, because communication can find "shared spaces" where solutions may be found - where a lack of contact can close off hope.

                                          To "connnect the dots" it is necessary to " collect the dots " - - and lchic and I have been working on these TALK boards and on NYT forums to show how "dots" of evidence and argument can be collected using the internet. Information can only be considered, weighed, focused, and used to draw conclusions when it is available together - closely and conveniently enough in space and time.

                                          Other people might collect other "dots".

                                          Different staffs, with different viewpoints, might collect different evidence and opinions - not just individuals.

                                          Patterns of umpiring can be fit into the crossreferencing format.

                                          Steve Kline, my late partner, said this:

                                            "The human mind is a wonderful associative engine, but a weak logical engine. . . . We need to keep asking ourselves two questions: (i) What are the credible data from ALL sources? (ii) How can we formulate a model or solution that is consistent with all the credible data?
                                          All human beings can do is try. But the tools available make a difference. People "make sense" of their world in a kind of statistical way -- and it matters very much, whether the "information" they condense generalizations from is right or wrong. The only way to see is by crossmatching, and a good deal of intellectual work. This is work that all people, everywhere do, and have to do to be human. We make sense of the world, by a lot of talking, and a lot of thinking -- and bring patterns into focus. But to "connect the dots" into coherent patterns that can be checked, we have to "collect the dots" so that the pattern forming can take place. Patterns people form will often be wrong -- but when we look at the same information -- organized well enough, and looked at in enough related ways, most of us, most of the time, come to the same patterns. Sometimes new patterns. Sometimes patterns that are simple, and make things easier and better.

                                          Lchic and I are trying to making some difference, and sometimes we have reason to hope that we are.

                                          Oct 30: 5380-81
                                          Oct 31: 5409
                                          Nov 1: 5437
                                          Nov 1: 5441
                                          Nov 1: 5442

                                          I deeply appreciate the chance to post on these boards.

                                          xenon54 - 02:06pm Nov 4, 2002 GMT (#351 of 355)

                                          You're doing brilliantly. Great read and thoughtful, sobering content.

                                          lchic - 08:35am Nov 10, 2002 GMT (#352 of 355)

                                          Scientists are ....


                                          persiankitty - 09:10pm Nov 14, 2002 GMT (#353 of 355)


                                          lchic - 08:55am Nov 15, 2002 GMT (#354 of 355)

                                          Lots of Psychwarfare been happening in Iraq this week!

                                          rshowalter - 02:30pm Nov 17, 2002 GMT (#355 of 355)  | 

                                          For stability, a time is going to have to come where the key tactic of psychological warfare - immobilization by lies - is going to have to be set aside - at some levels - enough so that workable accomodations can be made.

                                          Or there will have to be fights - about ideas, at least. Enough consistency for reasonable stability is necessary - and that much consistency is worth fighting for. /FONT>

                                          persiankitty - 12:34pm Nov 18, 2002 GMT (#356 of 363)


                                          persiankitty - 08:13pm Nov 20, 2002 GMT (#357 of 363)


                                          inks - 11:19pm Nov 23, 2002 GMT (#358 of 363)


                                          lchic - 01:55am Nov 25, 2002 GMT (#359 of 363)

                                          psyche Saudi's getting cloudy

                                          lchic - 12:17pm Dec 2, 2002 GMT (#360 of 363)

                                          psyche news-twaddle issues delusion

                                          lchic - 04:26am Dec 11, 2002 GMT (#361 of 363)

                                          Cassablanca - due for a re-make?

                                          rshowalter - 01:18pm Dec 12, 2002 GMT (#362 of 363)  | 

                                          I think a lot of things have gone well this year on the NYT Missile Defense forum - (which prints out to twenty-three 1" notebooks of text this year.) I personally believe that the MD work has been worth the trouble - and I'm sure that it could not have been even half so effective had I not had the chance to post on the Guardian Talk - and refer to those Talk references frequently on the MD forum. Yesterday, Commondata , who lives in London, posted this ( ):

                                            "During the two and a half years of this thread, militarism increased, inequality increased, dependence on oil remained total, civil liberties suffered, ecological degradation continued at pace, a crazy cult declared war on the Western world, the "missile defense idea" is spreading and growing, and we never did quite manage to get rid of nukes by Christmas 2000, did we rshow?"
                                          Shortly thereafter, I posted a more optimistic assessment - and then a point-for-point response to Commondata's trenchant criticism of my "relentless optimism" - and I'm grateful for the chance to set it out here. MD6488-89

                                          "I think a lot of things have gone well this year, and I'd like to repost this - where Lunarchick and I say things that still seem right, and on track:

                                          - - - - -

                                          5441 , filed November 1, 2002, reads as follows:

                                          In negotiations going on, in rearrangements and adjustments that are going on, we want reasonable endings - good endings, endings as happy as we can make them.

                                          For that to be possible, we need to find shared space - shared understandings. . For entirely hard-headed and practical reasons, and other reasons, we need to be able to communicate as human beings. That means, for the highest levels of function (which can be practically essential) that we have to be able to find ways to communicate at the level of our separate aesthetics .

                                          Results on the basis of one set of assumptions or values may be beautiful - - and the very same result may be ugly in terms of another set of values and assumptions.

                                          If the values and assumtions are clear - these things can be discussed, and arrangements can be negotiated - even when feelings are very different.

                                          According to almost all standards, muddle is ugly.

                                          The beauty or ugliness of a treaty, or any other arrangement, can be judged in terms of the context it was built for, and other contexts, including the context provided by data not previously considered.

                                          As negotiations proceed - questions of what is ugly, and what is beautiful, in specific terms, can be very useful. Definition and discussion of these questions can avoid muddle, and produce arrangements that can be understood, remembered, and worked with for long times - in the face of the stresses, strains, and unforseen circumstances that have to be expected. MD5437

                                          It seems to me that the Security Council, and the nations involved, have a chance to make the world a more beautiful place than it is today in very practical, specific, and important ways.

                                          When the people involved have strong emotional feelings - strong aesthetic feelings - that is practically important - and to adress the reasons for those feelings - it seems to me that the formality of "disciplined beauty" described above, can be useful.

                                          lchic 5442 - November 1, 2002 ~~~~ It got understood and exposed ~~~~

                                          Showalter predicting 2002 as a DIPLOMATIC MILESTONE

                                          correction ...

                                          "' a beautiful diplomatic milestone '

                                          _ _ _ _ _ _

                                          It seems to me that if things unfold as they have been since November 1 - that may turn out to be true. I hope so. 6460

                                          People don't have to become either geniuses or saints for us to work out much better solutions than we have now.

                                          rshowalter - 01:19pm Dec 12, 2002 GMT (#363 of 363)  | 

                                          I then responded to Commondata in more detail:

                                          Charles Dickens is an author I admire - though George Orwell's reservations about Dickens' social criticism still make sense. Dickens felt that the world could be much better - if people were more sensitive - more fully alive -- more decent. Without major social change. Orwell pointed out that this was a viewpoint that was incomplete, at best - sometimes fundamentals had to change. But Orwell still granted Dickens' point, in large measure. The New York Times, a conservative operation - takes a pretty "dickensian" view most often, and so do its readers. Sometimes I do as well - though I think Karl Marx said some interesting and valid things.

                                          The first line of Dickens A Tale of Two Cities goes something like this:

                                            "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. "
                                          Plenty of bad in our times, as well. Let me annotate valid points Commondata makes , bolding Commondata's language, indenting my comments:

                                          "During the two and a half years of this thread,

                                          "militarism increased

                                            by some measures - but the acceptance of militarism decreased in most of the nations of the world - and in most human popultions. And discussions about the justifications of militarism have sharpened considerably. That can only tend to reduce unjustified military expenditures and activities. I personally believe that militarism can be reduced very substantially - simply by pursuing facts to closure - in public. In the "missile defense" area - that might be particularly easy to do. MD1075-76 cites a pattern of dicussion that I believe would go a long way towards delegitimizing most MD expenditure - and a great deal of other expenditure, as well. Alas, to execute the discussion would take some money and help.
                                          "inequality increased

                                            Yes, inequality did. But the reasons for inequality may be getting clearer - some of the false promises of globalism have been discredited - and people are getting clearer on problems that certainly going to be insoluble until they are better defined so that workable solutions can be proposed, debugged, and implemented.
                                          "dependence on oil remained total

                                            That's a relatively easy problem to solve (as global warming is, as well) if people were actually prepared to sit down and solve it. The technical parts of the solution are especially easy - and the socio-technical parts not too difficult, either. Ideas on this thread - if I could be free to pursue them, might help. It ought to be possible to get the world all the energy it need for human needs - forever -- and do it soon.
                                          civil liberties suffered

                                            in spots, that's true. In a world where 250,000 people die every day - and attention is limited - it is hard to get perspective. There are more examples of horrible violations of civil liberties than anyone can attend to. . . Whether civil liberties suffered overall, I'm not sure. The fact that Iraq emptied its prisons is an important example, I believe - of reasons to think things may be getting better.
                                          ecological degradation continued apace

                                            and will continue, till people do some "connecting of the dots" and some work to get some ideas to closure - - something that hasn't been done - but that is increasingly possble. The technical reasons for ecological degradation are shrinking fast - the challenges wouldn't be much of a tax on the human race - if we thought straighter. New technical means that can assist straight thinking are being worked out - with some of that working out being attempted on this thread.
                                          a crazy cult declared war on the Western world

                                            That crazy cult has been brewing for some while - and it isn't much of a challenge. Body counts, so far, are very, very low - - and the Islamic world, after some flopping around - is likely to clean some things up after taking a good look at the "logic" they're supporting that generates that crazy cult.
                                          the "missile defense idea" is spreading and growing

                                            Oh really? I wonder if you can find a single serving officer in one of the non-US NATO countries who has much faith in it - as a practical and tactical matter. My guess is that most of the US military - and Bush - knows how ineffective "missile defense" is - and will remain. The reasons for missile defense ,these days, involve bluff, and a need to continue paying a military-industrial complex that has grown so that it is now far bigger than it rationally should be. Political leaders face a big challenge dealing with the massive fact that the United States has committed its society to something like a trillion dollars worth of expenditure that no longer makes sense.
                                          and we never did quite manage to get rid of nukes by Christmas 2000, did we rshow?

                                            The first point answered a question Casey had put to me - - if the US and Russia wanted nuclear disarmament -- how could it be arranged? Some of the patterns set out have some resemblence to the distrustful checking process negotiated with respect to Iraq. .
                                            "I'd be grateful for a chance to come before you, or one or more of your representatives, and explain, in detail, with documentation and ways to check, how dangerous this situation is. " .
                                            Had I been permitted that audience (and a visit with a Light Colonel with a tape recorder might have done) a lot of things might have gone better. If I was being indirect, it was because I was protecting a secret, which I finally set out, after years of work, at gisterme's suggestion -- perhaps others wouldn't consider it worth so much trouble - but some people in my past taught me to care about it. Here is the thing I was hoping to communicate to a responsible officer - face-to-face: .
                                            . " it is now technically easy to shoot down every winged aircraft the US has, or can expect to build - to detect every submarine - and to sink every surface ship within 500 miles of land - the technology for doing this is basic - and I see neither technical nor tactical countermeasures." .
                                            That point, if understood by leaders of nation states - would go a long way toward making military agression a losing proposition.
                                          As Commondata points out " b and we never did quite manage to get rid of nukes by Christmas 2000, did we rshow? " Of course, we didn't. And the Clinton administration didn't do some things that it could have done to help get Gore elected, that might have happened otherwise, either.

                                          But has the time on this thread been wasted since? I think not. rshowalter "God is the Projection of Mans Unrealised Potential - Discuss" Mon 04/11/2002 14:16 includes this:

                                            Here are some things that lchic and I are working for - many of them expressed in various ways on the NYT Missile Defense forum, and on these Guardian-Talk boards.
                                            We hope to help other able, reasonably like minded people find a way to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction - in ways that are actually workable. Ways that may not be perfect, but that can take incidence of loss and death from such weapons far, far below the incidence of death and loss we have to live with from natural disasters. Ways that also eliminate any humanly workable reason for using them, even for people at their worst. Ways that have enough support from the human race that they are remembered, and effective, for as long as anyone can foresee. It looks to us like these things are becoming possible.
                                          Though the comments in^957969@.f28e622/7990 are right enough.

                                          - - - - - -

                                          It seems to me that people are getting clearer about their problems, and that things may go well. For all the valid reasons for fear that remain. But this morning, luncarchick , who is my superior in almost every way - and a marvel of both grace and erudition - pulled me up short with this: 6541

                                          Maybe there's hope. Sometimes I get a feeling (indirect, and perhaps wrong) that the work going on here, and on the NYT MD thread - is being useful.

                                          rshowalter - 08:03pm Dec 20, 2002 GMT (#364 of 375)  | 

                                ,%20Casablanca%20--%20and%20terror_files/mrshowalter.htm is under construction. an archive of the NYT missile defense thread - along the lines set out in will be available there - though the disk, updated and available on request, is better for searching.

                                          The New York Times - Science - MISSILE DEFENSE forum may be awkward for some people because the directories come up 300 at a time - awkward for a 6000 plus thread. Here are the directories, 300 at a time.

                                          Directory 1-300 -March 1-9, 2002
                                          Directory 301-600 - March 9-16
                                          Directory 601-900 - March 16-28
                                          Directory 901-1200 - March 28- April 8
                                          Directory 1201-1500 - April 8-18
                                          Directory 1501-1800 - April 18-26
                                          Directory 1801-2100 - April 26- May 8
                                          Directory 2101-2400 - May 8-27
                                          Directory 2401_2700 - May 27 - June 23
                                          Directory 2701-3000 - June 23- July 11
                                          Directory 3001_3300 - July 11-27
                                          Directory 3301-3600 - July 27 - August 10
                                          Directory 3601-3900 - August 10-22
                                          Directory 3901-4200 - August 22- September 5
                                          Directory 4201-4500 - September 5-24
                                          Directory 4501-4800 - Septemer 24 - October 11
                                          Directory 4801-5100 - October 11-21
                                          Directory 5101-5400 - October 21-31

                                          Links in to mostly work.

                                          - - - - -


                                          " There's a problem with long and complex. And another problem with short. . . . . The long and the short of it, I think, is that you need both long and short."

                                          Lunarchick poem: 6771

                                          v Pacing Cheetah

                                          Jayne goes with Tazan

                                          They swing
                                          untangling the vines
                                          where others
                                          just bungle!

                                          lchic - 01:18pm Dec 30, 2002 GMT (#365 of 375)

                                          The thought of world leaders saying 'yes' to button pushers is terrifying ....

                                          rshowalter - 09:32pm Dec 30, 2002 GMT (#366 of 375)  | 

                                          Some influential ones are saying no.

                                          lchic - 04:19am Jan 8, 2003 GMT (#367 of 375)


                                          Sounds right.

                                          rshowalter - 08:40pm Jan 13, 2003 GMT (#368 of 375)  | 

                                          It seems to me that negotiations in the world may be getting stabler, and better. I refer to this thread on the NYT MD forum again and again and again - and link to it very often. I'm grateful for it!

                                          Jotavitch - 08:29am Jan 18, 2003 GMT (#369 of 375)

                                          Very interesting discussions, more like those in ISSUES or SCIENCE than INTERNATIONAL. I'm sorry my only contribution is to post anything just to keep the thread active and avoid being deleted.

                                          Please don't comment on my post because I will delete after next post.

                                          lchic - 06:14am Jan 23, 2003 GMT (#370 of 375)

                                          And grateful you should be :)

                                          The MD forum is ticking on .... working for peace for the world ... working to get negotiators to think smart and look for positive outcomes ...

                                          jer55 - 06:41am Jan 23, 2003 GMT (#371 of 375)

                                          I wish I could understand the ideas here. I went to the top of the thread but see no article on psychwarfare connecting it to Casablanca, etc.

                                          lchic - 12:24pm Jan 23, 2003 GMT (#372 of 375)




                                          "Casablanca summed up the morality of its time better, I think, than any ||




                                          lchic - 01:12pm Jan 23, 2003 GMT (#373 of 375)


                                          lchic - 01:52pm Feb 2, 2003 GMT (#374 of 375)

                                          How's life in the USA Showalter - any Psyche Warfare ?

                                          rshowalter - 12:14pm Feb 8, 2003 GMT (#375 of 375)  | 

                                          Work on the NYT Missile Defense thread has been intense - and has involved tremendous work - for me, for lunarchick for almarst , and for gisterme for more than 2 1/2 years now. The ability to post on the Guardian Talk threads has been essential - deeply appreciated, and I think very useful for the effort. I think that the effort HAS been very useful, and continues to be. MD 1999 The situation of the NYT MD thread has involved some awkwardness - which I explain here - in a posting modified from MD8558-59

                                          rshow55 - 06:10am Feb 4, 2003 EST (# 8558

                                 includes this:

                                            " Kalter , I think that you may know personally of some of the following circumstances. In addition to some extensive web postings on the math and related neural modeling, I had extensive and intense correspondence (many hundreds of pages) with a NYT associated writer, mostly paced by him, not by me. There was a period of many months when a NYT reporter asked me question after question, occupying essentially all my time, and much of his own. There was then a period where I was involved in dialog with TIMES writers and editors. That dialog was rough, and seems to have culminated in some "checking" by people the Times knew, though that checking was never made available to me in a way I could use. However, the following text appeared in a Feb 27,2000 Week In Review piece "Correspondence Uncovering Science; A Perpetual Student Charts a Course Through a Universe of Discoveries" by Malcolm W. Browne . . . " shows a piece of work I'm proud of - that represented a good deal of work, I believed, from George Johnson, too. When I first posted the link to on this thread - the part of my web site adressed by was taken down without my consent - and after some discussion on the NYT MD thread, reinstated.
                                          The situation involved between me and the NYT has been complicated and awkward - because I had a secret that I was duty bound to tell only under careful circumstances - and was keeping promises that Casey had been very explicit about - for what I thought were compelling reasons. I did the best I could - and when I told what I was keeping secret - at gisterme's suggestion, the NYT forums went down for some days. Perhaps that was a coincidence. rshowalter Thu 03/10/2002 20:17 and postings thereafter on the Guardian are clear about the point - and refer to many links clear about the point on this thread. Here is a summary of the point:

                                            . It is now technically easy to shoot down every winged aircraft the US or any other nation has, or can expect to build - to detect every submarine - and to sink every surface ship within 500 miles of land - the technology for doing this is basic - and I see neither technical nor tactical countermeasures.
                                          I was born in 1948 . My life circumstances, since I was nineteen years old, have hinged around the point bolded above. Some of my interactions with the Times have been awkward - I had promised to only give this information to a senior officer of the United States government - after establishing a relationship of trust. It was suggested that, if all else failed, the only way to do this - after my situation was clear enough - and I could explain some key things I was also assigned to do - was to get help from the New York Times. When I finally posted the information related to the bolded piece above - at gisterme's suggestion - I had been doing my very best to follow my orders, and keep my promises - for a long time. The promises I'd made, given the stakes as I understood them - did not seem disproportionate - and the things I did seemed to me to fit the obligations I was under. It still seems that way to me.

                                          rshow55 - 06:26am Feb 4, 2003 EST (# 8559

                                          8548 includes this:

                                            "it seems to me to be important for leaders of nation states to determine if I'm right that gisterme either is, or is close to, the President of the United States. Because if that is correct, we have on this thread a very good corpus of material on how Bush thinks - the kind of thinking he approves of, and the kinds of arguments he uses.
                                          I've said some negative things about gisterme , and I can't think, right off hand, of anything I'd like to take back (perhaps if I think a while . . . . . )

                                          But I'd also say this. If other nation states work as hard - and think through their interests with as much attention as gisterme devotes to his perceptions of the needs of the United States - we could sort the problems before us out much, much better than they look like they're sorting out now.

                                          Is gisterme a high officer in the Bush administration, or does gisterme have close connections to such an officer? I've assumed so. The government knows this answer. People at the NYT know whether or not they have assumed so, or known so. Legislators could probably know if they asked, and journalists could probably find out if they worked at it. . .. . . . By a reasonable "collection of dots" and "connection of dots," gisterme may reasonably be judged to have clear links, and high ones, with the Bush administration.

                                          People and organizations can't communicate, cooperate, or make peace "in general" - - - it has to happen specifically. At a time when so much hinges on the thoughts, intentions, and beliefs of the Bush administration, I believe that these posts by gisterme are a valuable resource. Gisterme is, at a conservative evaluation, close to the Bush administration, and trusted.

                                            Gisterme's concerned with the question "how does the US protect its interests - and make peace with the world?"
                                          I believe that staffs of nation states, from all over the world, who care about an analogous question could benefit a great deal by attending to these postings. Here is the question:

                                            " How does my nation further its interests - and make peace with the United States?"
                                          Gisterme and I have some disagreements - but it is clear that he cares about this question - and, within limits, is working hard to find answers that are, from Bush's point of view - orderly, symettrical, and harmonious.

                                          If other nations understood gisterme better, and understood themselves better, we'd have a better chance. I think that if staffs in other nation states worked as hard as gisterme works - and communicated - a lot of problems could be solved.

                                          The NYT Missile Defense thread is intended as a prototype showing what - with proper resources - could be done to make the world more orderly, more symmetrical, more harmonious in human terms.

                                          8368 links to 680 postings by gisterme prior to restarting of this thread on March of this year. All these posts are available by date at

                                          Each of these links connects to 20 links on the MD thread by gisterme:



                                          All these posts are available, either by links here, or by date at

                                          The ability to post on the Guardian Talk threads has been essential - and I think very useful, for the effort. I think that the effort HAS been very useful, and continues to be. MD 1999 I deeply appreciate the chance I've been given to post on the Guardian Talk.

                                          I posted MD7000 , on Christmas Eve - which ends with this:

                                          "We may be able to do better than Casey feared, if not as well as he sometimes hoped.

                                          " Someday At Christmas by Stevie Wonder expresses wonderful ideals - and is a great thing to read.

                                          " Maybe someday soon - if we keep our heads, and work at it.

                                          rshowalter - 12:39pm Feb 11, 2003 GMT (#376 of 381)  | 

                                          8796 includes this:

                                          We have a mess. It is in the interest of the whole world that it be fixed. By now, it can't be fixed, reasonably, without some leaders of other nation states asking questions - and insisting on answers.

                                          A great deal, for a long time, has been based on fictions. Sometimes, in some ways, the fictions have worked well. In other ways, the fictions have produced unnecessary death and agony.

                                          We can do better - without the agony - if we face up to what is happened - and sort out problems. The US has some problems. The Islamic world has some problems. If we lie somewhat less - face the truth more often, when it matters - we can do a lot better.

                                          Because questions of fact are now, so clearly, matters of life and death - there may be more hope of real solutions than there has been before.

                                          If nation states that have expressed concern about American priorities - notably Germany, France, and Russia - actually ask for answers - a great deal would sort out - in the interest of people of good faith everywhere. Very many such people are Americans.

                                          8802 ,

                                          8803 , and
                                          8804 are set out below:

                                          Spending Spree at the Pentagon

                                          A question arises whether there is anything in the way of logic or evidence that will get "members of the team" in the American military-industrial complex (including NASA) to admit to anything that might significantly change program priorities - or devalue programs. The questions make a big difference when the issue is money and status. Similar big differences - plus differences of life and death, when the issue is war.

                                          Shuttle Testing Suggested Wings Were Vulnerable By DAVID E. SANGER

                                            "As a result, said one engineer familiar with the discussions that took place at NASA in mid-January, the engineers who saw little risk from the debris that hit the Columbia's left wing had scant information to back up their assertion.
                                            "People came to the conclusion that whatever damage happened was tolerable, but it's not clear that was based on any solid data," said the engineer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because NASA had not allowed them to speak to reporters without prior authorization. "The testing data just wasn't there."
                                          Far too often - there is no decent reason save continuation of expenditure for programs that reinforce America's committment to conflict.

                                          Mystro a drum roll for these big-ticket items in procurement for the military industrial complex:

                                          F/A-18E/F Fighter

                                          F-22 Fighter
                                          Joint Strike Fighter
                                          C-17 Transport Aircraft
                                          V-22 Osprey Aircraft
                                          RAH-66 Comanche Helicopter
                                          NSSN New Attack Submarine ("Virginia" Class)
                                          Ballistic and National Missile Defense (BMD)

                                          Not a single one of them is worthwhile from the viewpoint of a reasonable United States citizen, unconnected with the military or military contractors. The aircraft are not needed to respond to any credible threat -- and with advances in radar that are now either in place or possible, none are even viable. The Osprey is grossly defective. We don't need another submarine for either defensive or offensive purposes -- though the Navy and the contractors may want it.

                                          NONE of the above are projects that American citizens are enthusiastic about -- the military doesn't even bother to "sell" them very hard.

                                          Missile Defense is different. It makes sense to people -- it promises something people would like to have. But it doesn't work technically, and can't -- (at least when reasonable countermeasures are considered) and it is associated with prohibitive diplomatic and financial costs.

                                          No winners in the list above -- except for the contractors.




                                          Is there anything that merits checking - that causes action to be taken? There needs to be.

                                          330 in Psychwarfare, Casablanca . . . and terror rshowalter Thu 03/10/2002 20:17 includes this:

                                            STATEMENT MADE, FINALLY, AT GISTERME'S SUGGESTION-INSISTENCE: It is now technically easy to shoot down every winged aircraft the US or any other nation has, or can expect to build - to detect every submarine - and to sink every surface ship within 500 miles of land - the technology for doing this is basic - and I see neither technical nor tactical countermeasures.
                                          "That's a judgement - a statement about potential. I believe that the world would be safer and more stable if some key countries (say GB, Germany, France, Russia, China, and Japan) set up a cooperative program to design all the necessary equipment to convert this potential to a reality - and put the full designs, including workable manufacturing drawings and specifications, on the internet. Unless I've missed something, everything necessary could be accomplished using equipment that was militarily operational prior to 1970 (manufacturing drawings are available for such equipment), combined with the few new insights in 4533-4547

                                          "Design work, competently done, might cost ten million dollars. Deployment for a country the size of Russia should cost between 2 and ten billion. These are substantial sums, and perhaps I underestimate them, but the probable costs do not seem large in comparison to the US military budget of 350 billion/yr.

                                          "The idea of doing this design work openly and collectively may seem naive - but I believe that it would be both practical and efficient.

                                          That information was discussed further - especially in

                                          334 rshowalter Fri 04/10/2002 21:21 ,
                                          339 rshowalter Sat 12/10/2002 22:01 ,
                                          363 rshowalter Thu 12/12/2002 13:19 ,
                                          and 375 rshowalter Sat 08/02/2003 12:14 , with links to the NYT MD thread.

                                          Within less than an hour after the STATEMENT MADE, FINALLY, AT GISTERME'S SUGGESTION-INSISTENCE was first posted here - the NYT threads went down for a number of days. Perhaps it was a coincidence. But there should have been reason to check it. If that statement is true - it is fraud for the United States to continue to sell much of its military hardware (at enormous prices) to other countries. When it matters, is there anything that the current military-industrial complex feels duty bound to check?

                                          We're talking about a trillion dollar error here - that's been discussed on this thread - and if nations that ought to be concerned with the issue faced up to the things involved and asked for checking - to closure - much good would come.

                                          Divisive Diplomacy With Europe says a "conventionally wise" thing - NATO should agree on something small - and postpone fundamentals until afterwards. The argument for postponement of fundamentals always looks good. But this time, problems should be faced. The corpus of things said to be facts on this thread and the NYT MD thread could be checked - and if it were - a great deal would clarify. In there's this

                                            But this has become a charged debate because it is a proxy for another more fundamental argument - whether our allies should be expected merely to accede to American policy.
                                          And an argument about whether there is good reason to believe in the good judgement and good faith of the United States. This is important - more important than an accellerated timetable for an invasion of Iraq that may well not be justified. It is not obvious that "Turkey should get everything it needs" right now.

                                          Here's part of an undelivered speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, written shortly before his death:

                                            " Today, we are faced with the pre-eminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships --- the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together and work together in the same world, at peace."
                                          This quote was on the last page of the American Heritage Picture History of World War II , by C.L. Sulzberger and the editors of American Heritage , published in 1966. This much, I believe, is clear. Facts matter as much as they happen to matter - and when key facts are in enough dispute - they should be checked - even if it gets, in somebody's opinion "far too personal." The issues here are personal - we're discussing the honor and judgement of the President of the United States under circumstances where there is much reason to doubt that honor, that judgement - and the honor and judgement of the people for whom he stands.

                                          If we could get some key facts checked - and the implications of them set out beyond a reasonable doubt - by the standards of jury trials - but publicly on the internet - so anyone interested could actually look - we could sort out enough to take the incidence of agony and death from war way down from where it has been. And we could learn enough to make the world a much more prosperous, more pleasant, more decent place.

                                          rshowalter - 06:15pm Feb 17, 2003 GMT (#377 of 381)  | 

                                          The NYT Missile Defense forum has been going on for three years now - and lunarchick and I have been involved with it since September 25, 2000 . A recounting of what this Missile Defense thread has done since then is set out in Psychware, Casablance - - and terror from #151 "Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror" Sun 11/03/2001 on. Links before March 1, 2002 are no longer on the NYT site. Discussion of the NYT MD thread continues from #265 rshowalter "Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror" Thu 28/02/2002

                                          Click " rshowalter" above for more details


                                          9004 Mar 1, 2001 EST...

                                          Here are the summaries set out in rshowalter "Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror" Sun 11/03/2001 with working links.

                                          Summary of postings on the NYT Missile Defense board between Sept 25, 2000 and March 1, 2001 :

                                          Part 1:

                                          Part 2:

                                          Part 3:

                                          Part 4:

                                          Part 5:

                                          Part 6:

                                          Also on March 1, 2001 there were postings on the Guardian thread There's Always Poetry about nuclear risks:


                                          1202 .. rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Wed 28/02/2001

                                          1203 . . bNice2NoU "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1204 . . . rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1205 . .Nice2NoU "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1206 .. rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1207 . . rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1208 . . bNice2NoU "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1209 . . rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1210 . . rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1211 . . . bNice2NoU "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1212 Our nuclear balances are less safe than people think ... rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001 02:29

                                          1213 . . rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          1214 rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 01/03/2001

                                          341 - 356 in Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - as Natural as Human Goodness? sets out a series of postings from March 17-24, 2001 the postings of a "Putin Briefing" set out after "Muddle in Moscow" , originally on the NYT Missile Defense thread - that were also described - with links to the original MD postings that work now - on July 24th in 7388-7390 below -




                                          I deeply appreciate these Guardian Talk threads - and think that the Guardian -and the NYT are together making a big contribution toward a more coherent, better world.

                                          lchic - 01:07pm Feb 25, 2003 GMT (#378 of 381)

                                          are they 'together' ?

                                          rshowalter - 12:19pm Feb 26, 2003 GMT (#379 of 381)  | 

                                          Not as "together" as I'd sometimes wish. The NYT is a business - it is many headed - it is multibivalent - but often - though not always - it tries to do the right thing.

                                          Here's a passage from a long time ago that I think still holds true - and a quotation from C.P. Snow's Science and Government that continues to haunt me.

                                          The issue is described, following C.P. Snow, in #84-85 of Paradigm Shift - whose getting there? ---- <a href="/WebX?13@@.ee7726f/105">rshowalter "Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there?" Sun 20/08/2000 14:43</a> - filed August21, 2000 - some weeks before I went to Washington D.C. - and got enmeshed in the mess-dialog-committment that has centered my work on the NYT MD thread:

                                            "For sheer tragedy, I'm more concerned with a bombing decision at the beginning or WWII than the bombing decisions right at the end of it.
                                            " Another tragedy-farce-crime, involving science in a classified government discussion, has psychological similarities, and is described in detail by C.P. Snow in Chapters 8, 0 of SCIENCE AND GOVERNMENT . That tragedy, again, would have been prevented if a sensible means of umpiring had been in place. Such umpiring, had it existed, might have shortened the "Hitler war" by a year or more, and saved millions of lives.
                                          (here are these references, with links - from June 4, 2001:



                                            "Let me repeat the part that haunts me most: "the prime importance, in any crisis of action, of being positive, and being able to explain it. It is not so relevant whether you are right or wrong. That is a second-order effect. But it is cardinal that you should be positive."
                                            "A crucial practical and moral problem is that people can be subjectively certain, simple, clear, and still wrong. So can groups be. This is a practical difficulty of crucial importance.
                                            "The difficulty has moral-operational and intellectual aspects. The problem is primarily an intellectual rather than a moral problem, in the sense that, if the difficulty was understood, the moral and operational solutions would be found directly.
                                            There would be many possible solutions, linked to circumstances.
                                            Some of the procedures on this thead, well enough staffed, might suffice in many cases.
                                          For many, many reasons - the truth is "somehow, too weak" and we live in a dangerous - but I still think hopeful time.

                                          rshowalter - 04:54pm Feb 26, 2003 GMT (#380 of 381)  | 

                                          Yesterday evening, the NYT forums shut down for "scheduled maintenance" - shortly afterward called "urgent maintenance" - and when I rechecked this morning, eight postings had been removed.


                                          On reposting a piece of what had been deleted on the NYT MD forum- I found that was blocked so that clicking the reference to it didn't work through the NYT thread - but did, a while ago, work here. (perhaps this link was blocked because of 312 and 315 by "becq" - who I believe was Bill Clinton )

                                 was also blocked in the same way - used to work here - but does no longer.

                                          These references - from Sept 27 and 28, 2000, can still be accessed from as of now.

                                          rshowalter - 05:00pm Feb 26, 2003 GMT (#381 of 381)  | 

                                          These are the postings that were removed.

                                          lchic - 08:02am Feb 25, 2003 EST (# 9281 of 9284) ~~~~ It got understood and exposed ~~~~

                                          UK BOOKPRIZE W I N N E R "" Moore told the Guardian: "I feel honoured, especially by the public vote. It says a great deal about how worried the British public is about what is happening in the US right now. "It is also indicative of their fears about the way their prime minister is acting - as Nelson Mandela put it - as the American foreign minister."

                                          rshow55 - 08:17am Feb 25, 2003 EST (# 9282 of 9284)

                                          A lot on Moore on this (NYT) thread (search Moore)

                                          Words count a little indirectly, but they count -especially lchic's words - and the words she finds


                                          I think some key things are going well.

                                          Have I been hallucinating that this (NYT) thread is useful? Maybe so. Cooperating with lchic is like a drug, a pleasure - maybe I've lost some equilibrium. Still, it seems to me that the estimates that I've made (that this thread may be, in an actuarial sense, saving something like a 1000 lives/hour) continue to make sense to me.

                                          A lot of things look like they are coming close to very good solutions - and then not quite closing.

                                          We might get there yet.

                                          The paper looks great today - and the Science Times section is beautiful !

                                          Sorry for being cheerful. For all the horror - a lot seems to be going better - in a world that has been very ugly for a long time.

                                          rshow55 - 08:26am Feb 25, 2003 EST (# 9283-9284

                                          Searching for "prisoner's dilemma" after rereading

                                          Why We're So Nice: We're Wired to Cooperate By NATALIE ANGIER found a reference on why we're not always so nice. And in some ways, consistently ugly - and cruel, and morally weak. If we knew that better - denied it less - we'd be less ugly, less cruel, and morally stronger.

                                          lunarchick - 09:38pm Sep 27, 2000 EDT (#317 Barrier Reef - not the place4 - NUKE SUBs !

                                          That's an ORDER! Milgram (1963) - the classic study in this area:

                                          (gone: http://www.fsu.u../_images/dept/psyc/southerl/prism/bill.htm )


                                          328-329 - Prisoner's dilemma - lies, negotiation - and the importance of ending up in the right place .


                                          Lecture Notes: Introductory Psychology by Prof. Evan Pritchard includes this:

                                          Milgram's Obedience Study

                                            "One of the most famous studies in psychology, if not the most famous, was conducted by Stanley Milgram in the early 1960s. Milgram was interested in obedience and conformity. Men were put in the position of being the teacher to another person (the learner). The teacher's task was to get the other person to learn a series of word associations. For each incorrect response, the teacher was to administer a shock to the learner with the flip of a switch. The learner was actually a confederate of the experimenter, and did not receive any of the shocks that the teacher believed were administered. The shocks began at 15 volts (indicated as "slight shock"), and got increasingly higher to an end of 450 volts (indicated as "XXX"). As the shock increased, the learner complained of pain, exclaimed his distress, asked to be released, pounded on the wall to get out, then stopped all activity. If the teacher suggested that the experiment end, the experimenter instructed the teacher to continue, and if necessary the experimenter said "the responsibility is mine, please continue."
                                            " Given this situation, most people believed that only a few teachers would administer shocks all the way to the end, that is would administer 450 volt shock, esp. given the learner's protesting. Indeed, Milgram himself thought that few people would obey the experimenter in this situation. Milgram's original intention was for this situation to be a control condition for further experimentation. Thus, most people hearing a description of the situation underestimated the influence of the situation (in this case, the expermenter's commands) on an individual's behavior.
                                            " There were 40 people in Milgram's study. How many do you think continued to administer shocks to the learner to the point that they did administer the 450 volt shock? A: 26 of the 40 people, or 68%, administered the 450 volt shock.
                                          (Comment: these were Stanford University undergraduates - able, selected people from good homes, by American standards)

                                            " Now, some subjects voiced their objections to the shocks, but they continued to obey the experimenter and administer the shocks (flip the switch). Generally, it doesn't matter to the person receiving punishment that the person giving punishment thinks the punishment isn't a good idea. All that matters is that the is not given. This is the "this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you...." idea to which one might respond "yeah, sure!"
                                            " This study was done in an established laboratory by a person with a white lab coat, which definitely created an atmosphere of authority. Often when people told they are the representative of an authority they will act as if their actions have already been determined by the authority's instructions. The people simply see themselves as the agents of the authority. That is, they continue to perform nasty actions, because they are just following orders.
                                            "Milgram did several variations on this study. He varied where the study was done, how much distance there was between the teacher and the learner, how much distance between the teacher and the experimenter, etc. Milgram found that obedience decreased when (a) the authority figure or authoritative institution is not present, (b) the connection between the action and the outcome is more salient, and when there is a cue for disobedience (either making the obedience norm less accessible, or the social responsibility norm more accessible). He found obedience increased when people feel less responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
                                            "Milgram's study would not be allowed today, as it violates current ethical guidelines for experimentation with people.
                                          - - -

                                          We can read inspiring and true statements about how good we are - and how we are good - and this one among the very best: Of Altruism, Heroism and Evolution's Gifts in the Face of Terror By NATALIE ANGIER but we have to remember, too, how moral we are not - how big and responsible we are not.

                                          People are doing some remembering - and I think things may be getting better.

                                          lchic - 08:41am Feb 25, 2003 EST (# 9285 of 9288) ~~~~ It got understood and exposed ~~~~

                                          AUS | Foreign Minister | North Korea

                                          "" "What motivates the North Koreans is a subject of endless discussion amongst diplomats but my own judgment is that they are motivated by regime survival," Mr Downer said.

                                          "They're concerned their regime might collapse under its own weight and maybe its regime might be subjected to an attack from the Americans, and so they're playing this game in order to try to get guarantees for regime survival."


                                          lchic - 08:43am Feb 25, 2003 EST (# 9286 of 9288) ~~~~ It got understood and exposed ~~~~

                                          former Australian ambassador to South Korea, Richard Broinwoski, says North Korea's missile launch is an attempt to gain the attention of the US.

                                          Mr Broinwoski says there is a strong possibility the North will launch another missile.

                                          "The Americans should really talk directly with North Korea because the North Koreans are getting desperate by being isolated, by being characterised as a rogue state and actually being threatened very strongly by the United States," he said.


                                          lchic - 08:47am Feb 25, 2003 EST (# 9287 of 9288) ~~~~ It got understood and exposed ~~~~

                                          UAE Cruelty to children in slavery - camel racing - Arab Status symbols

                                            “This is the worst job in the world. The people of this country – I give them work but they make me a slave” Jakir. UAE camel jockey. Now aged 8. Abducted at 2 years of age.
                                          lchic - 08:53am Feb 25, 2003 EST (# 9288 of 9288) ~~~~ It got understood and exposed ~~~~

                                          Mugabe criticises US and British 'Big Brothers' Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has made an outspoken attack on the United States and Britain, accusing them of acting like an interfering "Big Brother".

                                          He was speaking in Kuala Lumpur on the second and final day of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit.

                                          Mr Mugabe says Washington and London are starving the developing world of trade and denying it the right to develop nuclear arms.

                                          The Zimbabwean leader also called on the US to set an example to Iraq by destroying its own weapons of mass destruction.

                                          Iraq has welcomed the anti-war stance taken by the non-aligned countries.

                                          lchic - 12:14pm Feb 27, 2003 GMT (#382 of 384)

                                          Those 'Stupid White Men' must have removed the posts!

                                          Unless the thread reverted to the last backup.

                                          rshowalter - 12:02am Mar 1, 2003 GMT (#383 of 384)  | 

                                          I'm quite sure they were removed. In some ways, making them more imporant. Especially the links that seem to connect to Bill Clinton.

                                          rshowalter - 03:01pm Mar 1, 2003 GMT (#384 of 384)  | 

                                          I've been using my (very imperfect and incomplete) web site, especially and direct links - along with Guardian sites (that I reference many, many, many times ) to move some discussions along at the NYT MD thread. Here's a series of postings - using the links - and key links to the Guardian Talk - and connected to dialog just after 9/11. Parts with a lot of links are bolded -

                                          9355 starts:

                                          In 2000 and early 2001, I was concerned that he world might well blow up - for reasons I knew a good deal about. There's been some limited progress since 1999 and some progress continues. There's still plenty to fear, along with a great deal to hope for.



                                          Sometimes it seems that some things come into focus. And procedures get clearer. But reason is a weak reed, and there are ugly doings today.

                                          If leaders and other people in the world react in ways that they can be proud of, and explain to themselves and others, now and in the future - things could go well - but it is a very dangerous time.

                                          U.S. Says Hussein Must Cede Power to Head Off War By FELICITY BARRINGER with DAVID E. SANGER


                                          I'm posting some NYT postings of mine today, starting at 9385 , and ending with two from almarst - the NYT MD thread's "Putin stand-in" since March 2001.

                                          Missile defense systems that make no technical sense are being pursued - installed without testing - at a time when, if people were responsible and sane, we could do much better.

                                          Under the Radar

                                            "President Bush's passion for a missile defense system is a heavily budgeted priority despite the fact that the technology remains far from developed or proven."
                                          The Bush administration is taking some insanely irresponsible stances - and enough of them that the sad story of the recent Challenger disaster is looking like the norm in this administration.



                                          For US power to be operational for long, it is absolutely essential that we keep our word. Even a Superpower Needs Help By CHAS W. FREEMAN Jr.

                                          U.S. Says Hussein Must Cede Power to Head Off War By FELICITY BARRINGER with DAVID E. SANGER - basically renounces hundreds and thousands of public and private assurances, at the UN and elsewhere, over many months.

                                          If the UN is to function - members should do things that the members can reasonably be proud to do. This time - that should mean standing up to the Bush administration. If Turkey, as a nation, is to function - they should think about what it will mean to them, politically and operationally, to support the United States under these circumstances.

                                          We're squandering hard work - and masses of good faith built over generations - for nothing that can work stably.

                                          There are times when, try as I might - it is hard for me not to think in religious terms.

                                 sets out Detail, and the Golden Rule , which was a Guardian Talk thread, and includes this:

                                          "I think if Jesus was alive today, he might cry out.

                                            " Hey, you guys didn't get it the way I hoped you would about the Golden Rule -- you have to think , and think hard, to figure out how to make the Golden Rule apply to complicated circumstances, and real people. .
                                            And you have to check to see that you haven't missed something, if things matter enough to be careful about."
                                          "Maybe that'd be all the new message that'd be needed.

                                          Jesus is honored as a prophet, not only by Christianity, but by Islam, too.

                                          In a world where people have to deal with each other, and take actions on the basis of what people say - the United States is acting very badly - and endangering the world. World order is precious. It needs to be built, not thrown away.

                                          I posted this on Christmas day:


                                          I have been professionally concerned, for a long time, with human interactions. And the stability of human relations. I feel sure that these are key things to check, every which way, when stability matters enough to think hard about:

                                          Berle's Laws of Power Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs and The Golden Rule

                                          "Solutions" not consistent with these constraining patterns may work for a short time, or with great strains on parts of the human system involved -- but they are unstable.

                                          Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs by William G. Huitt . . . especially the image - which sketches out human needs in a heirarchically organized system..

                                          Berle and Maslow: MD667-8 rshow55 3/18/02 11:13am

                                          Could we be living through a time now where the human race is going to have to learn some lessons? It seems so to me. Perhaps God really does exist - and (s)He really cares - and is setting things up - giving lessons - with as little carnage and pain as possible, but with enough, hopefully, so that people learn things that decency and survival are going to require. If the world is to survive.

                                          There's a quote from Benjamin Franklin:

                                            " Experience keeps a dear school. A fool will learn in no other.
                                          I opened 2003 on the MD board with 7177

                                            "I think this is a year where some lessons are going to have to be learned about stability and function of international systems, in terms of basic requirements of order , symmetry , and harmony - at the levels that make sense - and learned clearly and explicitly enough to produce systems that have these properties by design, not by chance."
                                          Maybe I was wrong, and this is the year that it is shown that we're beyond redemption - even on simple things. But perhaps it will be a better, more interesting story. Here's a thought for a happier ending, based on the pattern in How a Story is Shaped rshowalter Wed 06/03/2002 23:45


                                          almarst2003 - 09:06am Mar 1, 2003 EST (# 9388


                                          Frantic US Envoys Circle the Globe Offering Bribes -


                                          UN: 10 Million Could Starve in Iraq War -

                                          almarst2003 - 09:15am Mar 1, 2003 EST (# 9389

                                          WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY???

                                          Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed Bombshell revelation from a defector cited by White House and press - Star Witness on Iraq Said Weapons Were Destroyed Bombshell revelation from a defector cited by White House and press

                                          After devoting thousands of network hours and oceans of ink to stories about "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, major U.S. news outlets did little but yawn in the days after the latest Newsweek published an exclusive report on the subject -- a piece headlined "The Defector's Secrets."

                                          It's hard to imagine how any journalist on the war beat could read the article's lead without doing a double take:

                                          "Hussein Kamel, the highest-ranking Iraqi official ever to defect from Saddam Hussein's inner circle, told CIA and British intelligence officers and U.N. inspectors in the summer of 1995 that after the Gulf War, Iraq destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks and the missiles to deliver them."

                                          - - -

                                          If the UN is to function - members should do things that the members can reasonably be proud to do. This time - that should mean standing up to the Bush administration. If Turkey, as a nation, is to function - they should think about what it will mean to them, politically and operationally, to support the United States under these circumstances.

                                          I wish I were more powerful. This is a time where people with power ought to think hard about how they can use it in ways they can be proud of - and do so.

                                          rshowalter - 04:53pm Mar 1, 2003 GMT (#385 of 387)  | 

                                          Guardian Talk threads I've often linked to the NYT Missile Defense thread are set out, with links, in 9393

                                          I deeply appreciate these TALK threads.

                                          3091 includes this quote from a past Talk thread:

                                            " There's a problem with long and complex. And another problem with short. . . . . The long and the short of it, I think, is that you need both long and short."
                                          From the long, quite often, the short condenses.

                                          rshowalter - 03:30pm Mar 4, 2003 GMT (#386 of 387)  | 

                                          I was glad to see

                                          Shuttle Myopia

                                            It increasingly looks as if NASA has forgotten the key lessons of the explosion that destroyed the Challenger in 1986.
                                          NASA is a superb example - and one with details easy, if painful to trace. But NASA ought not to be singled out - except as an important example of a much wider problem. The really important "key lessons" from the Challenger disaster, and countless other disasters, are very hard lessons for people and groups to learn. Always have been. If they were learned - many things about the world would get better. Many kinds of paralysis, and systematic bad decision making would be less - better controlled - and less dangerous.

                                          If we're "wired to be cooperative" - we're also "wired to be deceptive and stupid" whenever the immediate thought seems to go against our cooperative needs. 9354

                                          We're social animals - and with a little more knowledge - we can be wiser and better social animals. The insights and disciplines involved wouldn't be so hard 9363 - 9366-67

                                          9354 , 9366-67 and many other references on this thread refer to a fine web site Lecture Notes: Introductory Psychology by Prof. Evan Pritchard that Lchic found in September 2001. includes clear summaries of Milgram's Obedience Study what James Jones and his followers did at Jonestown that I believe many, many people ought to read.

                                          Here are other references to








                                          Shuttle Myopia could pretty easily be rewritten, in more general language, and titled "Human Myopia" . If people got the general lesson - there would be easy and humane ways for us to become less blind, safely, and step by step.

                                          If that progress ever happens, and it may - it may be because of the grace, brilliance, and hard work of Dawn Riley .

                                          Sometimes I've written poems to try to make simple points - and Dawn has collected some at 2599^2101811@.f28e622/3237

                                          Chain Breakers rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Fri 08/12/2000 19:05

                                          In Clear rshowalter "Science News Poetry" 2/14/01 7:18am

                                          Learning to Stand rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Fri 09/02/2001 18:44

                                          Secular Redemption rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Fri 09/02/2001 18:44

                                          We need to lie less - to send in clear more often - especially when it matters. And be more matter-of-fact at spotting deceptions, too. That's all we'd need to do a great deal better than we're doing - we have a mess - not beyond redemption - but redemption is what is needed. Facing up to what has happened, and what's been done, is what is needed.

                                          Maybe there's hope that it will happen.

                                          rshowalter - 06:20pm Mar 4, 2003 GMT (#387 of 387)  | 

                                          1526 rshowalter "God is the Projection of Mans Unrealised Potential - Discuss" Tue 04/03/2003 17:06

                                          1529 rshowalter "God is the Projection of Mans Unrealised Potential - Discuss" Tue 04/03/2003 17:26
                                          contain this and more:

                                          Lchic's Missile Defense posting 9401 of March 1st asked a profound question. . . . I'm going to modify her posting, in hopes of sharpening her vital, basic question

                                            If cultures are 'virtual patterns' of the mind that offer users basic order
                                            How are they ranked?
                                            Which best fit modernity?
                                            Where do they fall short - and why?
                                          - - -

                                          Lchic's posting had "religion" where I've substituted "culture" in the lines above - and the question about religion presses on the whole world now - as it has for many centuries.

                                          But many - even most - of the practical aspects of her question can be considered - more generally, and a little more coolly, in the more general case of culture.

                                          - - -

                                          We're living through a time when religious issues are pressing in on us. We need to handle these issues perceptively - and we can't ignore them.

                                          God, Satan and the Media By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

                                            Liberal critiques of evangelical-backed policies are fair, but mockery of religious faith is inexcusable.
                                          and dangerous.

                                          lchic - 12:05am Mar 14, 2003 GMT (#388 of 390)


                                          How much does the Psych co$t in ' Psych - Warfare'

                                          rshowalter - 02:46pm Mar 18, 2003 GMT (#389 of 390)  | 

                                          Since early March, the NYT MD board has been very active – postings printed out since then make a stack almost 10 cm thick. Has it been worthwhile, or any any way worth put into it? My own guess is that it may have been. It has surely kept me very busy – working very hard, trying very hard. Almarst , the board's "Putin stand-in" and gisterme , who I've sometimes thought well connected with the Bush administration, have worked long and hard, too.

                                          I've been preoccupied - and subjectively, it has felt somewhat like the preoccupation I sometimes felt in my hand-to-hand combat training - where I simply had to pay attention every second - lest predictable bad things happen. Maybe that's just projection. Anyway, I've been busy - and Dawn Riley has been superb.

                                          I've hoped, many times, that Tony Blair is listened to carefully. The US-British position, I feel - needs to be coherent - for the good of UK, the US, and the whole world. I've emphasized that in a number of postings, including these


                                          9895 includes points that I'd continue to make, that I think have been reinforced by all the confusion. If I had a chance to bias the negotiations and decision making going on now - I'd still to make these points, and particularly the point I made about Blair:

                                            I have some personal biases, some viewpoints different from the viewpoints of a lot other people, but I feel sure of this. If I were voting, just now, I'd vote with Prime Minister Blair. That is, if I had to hand anybody a proxy that matters to vote on these issues - I'd hand it to him. Blair's making decisions most coherently of any of the principles, so far as I can see. Maybe he's wrong in key spots. So are all the other players - one place or another. He's honest. He's a good negotiator. He's responsible, and being held responsible.
                                            People who oppose Blair should oppose him coherently. UK isn't like the US right now - rationality is expected, and to a significant extent enforced, within the UK system. In Blair's judgement now, things are fluid. They are fluid enough that a lot of good and necessary things could and should happen, if people keep their heads.
                                          In negotiations - once you get to coherence and clarity if facts can be checked - a great deal can sort out.


                                          I made postings today - that seem worth posting - that are especially linked to the need for care, and connected to a NYT OpEd page much influenced by a Cassandra theme

                                          War in the Ruins of Diplomacy

                                            "The country now stands at a decisive turning point, not just in regard to the Iraq crisis, but in how it means to define its role in the post-cold-war world. President Bush's father and then Bill Clinton worked hard to infuse that role with America's traditions of idealism, internationalism and multilateralism. Under George W. Bush, however, Washington has charted a very different course. Allies have been devalued and military force overvalued.
                                            "Now that logic is playing out in a war waged without the compulsion of necessity, the endorsement of the United Nations or the company of traditional allies. This page has never wavered in the belief that Mr. Hussein must be disarmed. Our problem is with the wrongheaded way this administration has gone about it.
                                          . . . .

                                          Cassandra Speaks By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

                                            On the eve of a new war, the remarkably preserved citadel at Troy is an intriguing spot to seek lessons from history.
                                          . . .

                                          Things to Come By PAUL KRUGMAN

                                          Victory in Iraq won't end the world's distrust of the United States, because the Bush administration has made it clear that it doesn't play by the rules.

                                          . . .

                                          Here's another fine variation on the Cassandra theme from last year - on the weekend where I met at a reunion in Ithaca NY with a many from the Cornell 6-Year Ph.D. Program - only two of whom, in the whole group, I had ever met before. At that meeting, where I thought the piece below influential - because one of the people I knew told me so. Schwartz's piece eloquently uses the Cassandra them Kristof uses so well today:

                                          Playing Know And Tell By JOHN SCHWARTZ

                                            But Cassandra's curse was one of the most ingenious of Greek myth.
                                            There she is, desperate to be understood, treated as if she is mad or insensible, but actually cursed. The god Apollo, in a twist, gave her the power to see the future but not the ability to communicate it to others: nobody believed her warnings.
                                            In the "Aeneid, " she tries to tell the Trojans that the giant wooden horse outside the gates was going to be a problem. "Cassandra cried, and curs'd th' unhappy hour/Foretold our fate; but by the god's decree,/All heard, and none believed the prophecy."
                                            Poor Cassandra. In Aeschylus's play "Agamemnon," she even has to predict her own murder.
                                            We all know the type: the kind of person who spoils a party by glaring at everone and muttering imprecations. By some accounts, Cassandra was a colossal pain, harping constantly in her frustration; one big, grating "I told you so" ever in the making. The fact that she turns out to be right seems only to make her even more irritating to those around her.
                                            Whistleblowers of either sex are a difficult breed, tending toward the quirky, anxious and irritable. Such is often the way with truth tellers. After all, if truth were easy or pleasant, it would not be in such short supply.
                                            Which brings us back to Coleen Rowley, determinedly unfashionable and determined to be heard, grinding away at the truth as she sees it at great length and accusing the top levels of the F.B.I. — at a time when the Bush administration has been stung by criticism that it did not act on warnings it did receive before Sept. 11.
                                            . . .
                                            Her prediction: "Until we come clean and deal with the root causes, " she told Mr. Mueller, "the Department of Justice will continue to experience problems fighting terrorism and fighting crime in general."

                                          rshowalter - 02:46pm Mar 18, 2003 GMT (#390 of 390)  | 

                                          Some interesting things happened at that Phud reunion, and there was a particularly Cassandra-like scene. One of the people I knew - and liked - had done his Ph.D. thesis on connections within the Cornell 6-Year Ph.D. program - (when I asked to see it, I was told he'd lost it). This guy was closely associated through consultancies with the US Army. We talked usefully - but just when it seemed that I might be able to actually have some time with him alone - and convey my need to debrief on some classified information - under circumstances that would have been easy for him - he ran away. Later, at gisterme's suggestion, I did debrief that information. I would have preferred a chance to do so privately - though under the circumstances taken as a whole - I felt it was my duty to do so publicly when I did.

                                          . . .

                                          I've been in a sort of Cassandra position - after a very careful extensive education - much of it supervised, I've said, by Bill Casey. Casey, if one thinks in graduate school terms - might be thought of as "the thesis advisor from Hell." Much of my study involved issues of combat - also the theory and practice of deception, where I made important contributions - and psychological warfare in all aspects and at all levels.

                                          After some difficulties described on this thread with some consistency over some time - I did as I had promised to do and attempted to "come in through The New York Times" - which I have done in a sense - not yet done in some other senses. Naturally, since my specializations have included psychological warfare, some of my postings have involved a theological twist.

                                          Details and the Golden Rule


                                          The golden rule is discussed from a perspective concerned about both God and man in God is the Projection of Mans Unrealised Potential - Discuss 9438-39 quotes passages that connect to issues of (technical and moral) right and wrong - and connect closely to war and peace.

                                          - - - - -

                                          Right now, it seems to me that things could go terribly - but they could also go very well, in many humanly important senses, if people try to do the best they can - in ways they can feel proud about, and can explain.

                                          I'm often afraid that I'm backwards - and just now - I'm very uneasy because it seems to me that if people work at it, a lot of things that need sorting out may sort out well.

                                          One thing's clear. Patterns are sharpening. That's often a very (good-bad) sign.

                                          If this is "N - dimensional chess" some patterns are condensing. (Search Wizard's Chess)

                                          I think it is possible that the Bush administration, wrong as it clearly is from some important perspectives, may be doing some other things very right from others. Contradiction can be a necessary stage in sorting things out - and a contradiction condensed and clarified can be a hopeful call to action. 9332-34

                                          At much lower priority, some significant deletions are noted in 9304 and there are many links mentioning Senator Carl Levin, who I saw and admired on television last night, in 9338-39

                                          Knife or sword fights are classic combat circumstances - and some basics haven't changed since Achilles' time. A few degrees of elbow rotation can make the difference between living and dying. Details matter. It is a good time for people to be careful - or at least as careful as they know how to be.

                                          I hope that Tony Blair survives, is listened to, and is successful. I might have chosen some different paths, as many others would have, including Blair himself.

                                          But now - if the world loses Blair in his current influential position - it seems to me that organizations and negotiations may go much worse for the UK, for the US, and for the world than they otherwise will. For whatever it is worth - just now - I say "more power to Tony Blair."

                                          We need solutions, not chaos. Blair is capable of getting a level of coherence to arguments and arrangements that will be sorely missed if he loses power and influence.

                                          rshowalter - 01:49pm Mar 20, 2003 GMT (#391 of 396)  | 

                                          Information Used As Weapon During War By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 7:22 a.m. ET

                                            "Want to rattle the enemy? Give him a sneak peek at a scary new weapon, pepper his commanders with e-mailed inducements to surrender, fill the airwaves with endless accounts of an awesome American army warming up for warfare. Make something up about his wife having an affair.
                                            "Need to rally the folks at home? Question the patriotism of the anti-war crowd, recite a grisly litany of the adversary's atrocities, maybe roll out the trusty comparisons to that mother of all evildoers, Adolf Hitler. Promise peace as the payoff for war.
                                            "During World War II, such tactics were called morale and subversion operations. Today, the voguish terms are information warfare and ``public diplomacy.'' But the basic principles of propaganda predate cable television news. They are as old as war itself.
                                          If we are to substantially reduce the incidence of death and agony from war - patterns that constrain lying and deception are crucial.

                                          An exchange on the MD board this morning:


                                          The Era of Preventive War

                                            The doctrine of preventive war offers carte blanche to use military might against hypothetical threats before all other avenues are exhausted.
                                          Carte Blanche? That's an important question. I think preventative war may be necessary on occasion - and have said so repeatedly. But as a pattern of exception handling - within a workable system of international law.

                                          The editorial raises very important concerns - and that is what editorials are supposed to do.

                                          almarst2003 - 07:23am Mar 20, 2003 EST (# 10254 )

                                          "but not necessarily to stop"

                                          Why to stop? There is still so many nations waiting in line to be "liberated".

                                          rshow55 - 07:26am Mar 20, 2003 EST (# 10255 .

                                          The Treaty of Westphalia has failed - and that is a question that has to be negotiated.

                                          If Russia, China, and France hadn't, in effect, said "no war, ever" - which is just what they did - this war wouldn't be happening.

                                          Now that it is - some serious people ought to think carefully about negotiating a workable international law into being.

                                          almarst2003 - 07:32am Mar 20, 2003 EST (# 10256 )

                                          "The Treaty of Westphalia has failed"

                                          Even if true, does it mean any small nation is now up for grabs by the mighty?

                                          rshow55 - 07:44am Mar 20, 2003 EST (# 10257

                                          It better not be as simple as that - and if Russia, China, and EU countries are at all careful - it won't be like that. But people - including leaders - and surely including Blair and Bush - have to be responsible for what they say and do - and there have to be some limits on the right to lie - that transcend borders.

                                          Unless we can anchor discourse on some agreed upon facts - set out and reinforced according to the standards that work for human beings (that is, the standards actually needed in jury trials) there is no solution.

                                          If the basic principle that the Treaty of Westphalia has failed is accepted - workable negotiations could begin immediately - and everything is in place for a very stable, much better set of arrangements.

                                          4419 includes a very wrenching quote from Goering - that illustrates how utterly unstable conditions are under current rules. We have to do better.

                                          When things are complicated, truth is our only hope:

                                          And a substantial hope.

                                          Almarst , Putin and others aren't dealing with Hitler - they're dealing with Bush and Blair who, faults and all - work hard for what they think is right. You may not like them. But if people have good sense, and negotiate decently - a lot could get much better.

                                          Some old patterns, which have long paralyzed the world - are now broken. We need new patterns better patterns - and while they are being renegotiated there's reason to fear chaos.

                                          But we can do much better than that.

                                          _ __ _

                                          I'd repeat what I said on the 18th:

                                            hope that Tony Blair survives, is listened to, and is successful. I might have chosen some different paths, as many others would have, including Blair himself.
                                            But now - if the world loses Blair in his current influential position - it seems to me that organizations and negotiations may go much worse for the UK, for the US, and for the world than they otherwise will. For whatever it is worth - just now - I say "more power to Tony Blair."
                                            We need solutions, not chaos. Blair is capable of getting a level of coherence to arguments and arrangements that will be sorely missed if he loses power and influence.
                                          Right now - a lot is in disarray, and needs to be sorted out. I hope that, insofar as is possible - Blair has a dominant role in the negotiating positions of the UK and US together.

                                          rshowalter - 06:41pm Mar 20, 2003 GMT (#392 of 396)  | 

                                          The Era of Preventive War referred to above - was, for a time, the lead editorial for today posted on NYT on the Web, and has been replaced. I think it was a most interesting editorial. Here is is.

                                            " The war that is about to begin charts a new course for this nation. It is the first application of the Bush administration's ambitious new doctrine of preventive war. Everyone hopes that the Iraq war will be successful. But the new era it opens may not be.
                                            " The administration believes that the United States must be prepared to attack nations that pose a potential future danger, rather than waiting for them to strike and do incalculable damage first. No one can deny that in a world of international terror groups and sophisticated weapons, new strategies of national defense must be found. The risk of the Bush doctrine, however, is that it offers an administration carte blanche to use military might against hypothetical threats before all other avenues are exhausted.
                                            " Every unfriendly or unsavory government trying to develop unconventional weapons that could conceivably fall into terrorist hands is now, in effect, a declared enemy of the United States and a potential target of an eventual American attack. Iraq, which has used chemical weapons, twice committed aggression against its neighbors and repeatedly violated United Nations disarmament requirements, was an obvious first test, even though the administration never established that Iraq posed an imminent threat to this country.
                                            " Mr. Bush has already named Iran and North Korea as Baghdad's partners in an "axis of evil." Both have nuclear weapons programs far in advance of Saddam Hussein's and histories of international terrorism. In all, Washington lists 13 countries with active biological weapons programs, including Cuba, Libya and Syria, and 16 currently producing chemical weapons, including Pakistan, the former Yugoslavia and Sudan. All six have the same kind of indirect links with international terrorism that Iraq does. Following the doctrine to its logical conclusion would create a world in which the United States attempted to protect its security through military dominance, stretching ever further until the nation's resources and the world's patience were exhausted.
                                            " Meanwhile, the United States has not done nearly all it could to take peaceful steps to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Right now, the easiest place for terrorists to get their hands on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons ingredients is probably the former Soviet Union, where the world's largest known supplies of all three lie around, in some cases uninventoried and unguarded, and there are hundreds of unemployed or underpaid weapons scientists. The budget for threat reduction programs there could be tripled for less than a tenth of the cost of transporting American troops to and from Iraq.
                                            " To improve the chances of peaceful containment, Washington also needs to reinforce global police and financial cooperation against terrorist networks and strengthen arms control agreements and inspections. Trade in nuclear materials and other weapons ingredients should be much more strictly monitored.
                                            " In the uncertain world of the 21st century, the United States may be confronted with the need to fight a preventive war in the future. But we should regard it as a terrible last resort, to be avoided at all possible costs, as we do the use of nuclear weapons. It should never be the center of our defense policy."

                                          rshowalter - 03:51pm Mar 21, 2003 GMT (#393 of 396)  | 

                                          I have some significant reservations about what was, for a time, the lead editorial for the NYT yesterday The Era of Preventive War (text above). I discuss them, and some related things, in


                                          Those postings include text I'm proud of. 10292 ends with this:

                                            There's a good chance that we can take the incidence of agony and death from war way down from where it has been - and do it soon.
                                          10294 ends with this:

                                            We have to negotiate some workable patterns of exception handling into being. In any well set up heirarchical system with interfaces of mutual constraint - there are patterns of exception handling - and often enough, in the ways that matter in context - some statisitical variation, some coercion, and some deception are intrinsic parts of a workable system. How well that system works, in the ways that matter, depends on a great deal, and involves both practical and moral questions. In a context.
                                            Except at the cost of continued and escalating chaos, danger and ugliness, there is no going back to the Treaty of Westphalia. We can do better than that. If the US adn UK military does well, as it seems to be - and if Tony Blair is given enough backing by the US - the big things that need to fall into place for that to happen seem to be falling into place now.
                                          I could be entirely wrong, of course. But just now, I'm hopeful - and wish Blair well.

                                          rshowalter - 06:13pm Mar 21, 2003 BST (#394 of 450)

                                          It seems to me that it may make sense to offer a statistical sample - very small, but in some ways representative - of my posting on the NYT MD forum - that I've archived on my web site - with links available by date at

                                          I've felt, and continue to feel, that if we can find ways to check facts to closure - which will require some changes in usages, and some support - much greater international stability, efficiency, and justice may be possible. The links posted here are particularly keyed to that notion. Some summaries of what lchic and I have done on these threads can be seen by clicking rshowalter in the upper left hand corner of my postings.


                                          rshowalter - 05:41pm Aug 23, 2001 EST (#8067

                                            The NYT - Science - Missile Defense thread is ungainly, in the same kind of way that human memory is ungainly, in the same way that trial transcripts are ungainly. In part because there is so much in it. But with the net, the details in it can be brought up -- it is a sort of "associative memory." Things come into focus -- and extensive focused evidence, subject to supplementation and critique, is there to be brought to bear. Perhaps the format can be useful.

                                          rshowalter - 05:35pm Aug 28, 2001 EST (#8211

                                          From b Envisioning Information by Eward R. Tufte, p. 50

                                            " We thrive in information-thick worlds because of our marvelous and everyday capacities to select, edit, single out, structure, highlight, group, pair, merge, harmonize, synthesize, focus, organize, condense, reduce, boil down, choose, categorize, classify, list, abstract, scan, look into, idealize, isolate, discriminate, distinguish, screen, pidgeonhole, pick over, sort, integrate, blend, inspect, filter, lump, skip, smooth, chunk, average, approximate, cluster, aggregate, outline, summarize, itemize, review, dip into, flip through, browse, glance into, leaf through, skim, refine, enumerate, glean, synopsize, winnow the wheat from the chaff, and separate the sheep from the goats."
                                          Since so many ways of seeing and connecting to information are possible, how are people to agree?

                                          Especially when people have different basic beliefs, different interests, and come from different backgrounds and assumptions, both intellectual and emotional?

                                          At one level, people will NEVER agree about everything on any complex subject such as missile defense, and it would be both unrealistic and inhuman to ask them to, or force them to.

                                          At the same time, different people, with different views, have to cooperate in ways that fit human and practical realities, and it often works.

                                          Tufte quote:


                                          I think an "engineer's court" directed at getting the problems of missile defense checked to closure would be useful, for reasons set out in these links:


                                          - - - -



                                          Very interesting Gisterme quote: BMD as "training wheels for trust"







                                          After 9/11:




                                          Since the MD thread was restarted March 1, 2002:


                                          Basic Human Needs: Berle, Maslow:














                                          It has been my belief, for a long time, that the NYT MD thread (which now fills 100 1 1/2" notebooks) has been a useful conduit for conversation between the American and Russian government - and a test bed for the development of ideas. However useful it may be, I'm convinced that it could not have been half so effective without these Guardian Talk threads - which are referred to in the discourse again and again and again.

                                          I've posted this from time to time since Jul 29, 2001:

                                          " There's a problem with long and complex. And another problem with short. . . . . The long and the short of it, I think, is that you need both long and short."

                                          From the long, quite often, the short condenses.

                                          I’m hopeful that, in the course of all the writing on the NYT MD thread and these Guardian Talk threads, useful things have condensed, and will.

                                          Perhaps the notion of “connecting the dots” has been focused by the work. I think it has, and hope some other useful things may, as well.

                                          lchic - 03:16pm Mar 24, 2003 BST (#395 of 450)

                                          dot pictures

                                          sand pictures

                                          dot by dot

                                          grain by grain

                                          sand pictures

                                          dot pictures

                                          rshowalter - 12:29am Mar 25, 2003 BST (#396 of 450)

                                          Copyright laws, and usages are under all kinds of stress when you make a web site - and I've been consciously involved in a situation where

                                            "It is easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission . .
                                          If things are done gradually - it may slowly clarify that, in the ways that matter - you have permission - for an exceptional circumstance - bending but not breaking a more basic rule. The NYT forums are copyrighted.

                                          On Jul 19, 2002 EST I announced that I was archiving the MD thread, and making a disk available 3144

                                          I handed a disk to Rick Bragg, a senior NYT reporter -and it was clear that "powers that be" knew the disk existed. 4581

                                          After some while, and much discussion I set up the contents of the NYT MD thread on,%20Casablanca%20--%20and%20terror_files/mrshowalter.htm - immediately posting that on the MD thread (which is monitored). - Though much of my web site remains in partial disarray - it has been linked many, many times to the NYT MD thread - and often here, as well.

                                          Dates and numbers of parts of the MD thread that had been taken down have been made available in Calendar of NYTimes Missile Defense Discussion (to July 2002) and have been used.

                                          I'm using information available if one clicks my moniker on the MD thread on my web site, as Showalter Background

                                          "Putin" Briefing

                                          I've now set out full copies of some wonderfully useful, frequently cited and much appreciated Guardian threads - that may be useful to people who, I believe, have used the MD thread and followed these Guardian threads.

                                          The first Guardian thread I worked on was Paradigm Shift - whose getting there? "Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there?" Fri 28/07/2000 ; started July 28, 2000 - - On the Paradigm thread, I believe that Dawn Riley and I worked out basic issues about paradigm conflict, many summarized in links cited in MD116 that I hope will make it easier to solve paradigm conflict problems. The progress we were able to make on that thread (which would never have been possible without the erudition and grace of Dawn Riley) - made me think that it was time to "come in to the New York Times" - as Casey had suggested I might have to do. I tried to do that in September 2000 - and got "stranded". It hasn't worked as I'd hoped - but perhaps it will turn out well.

                                          After some difficulties, and an all day meeting with an imposing figure on September 25, 2000 Dawn Riley and I worked to convey information we thought vital to world security and decency in many Guardian threads, including especially these, that I've made available in full on,%20Casablanca%20--%20and%20terror_files/mrshowalter.htm - set up so that links work to the actual Guardian Talk threads.

                                          Psychwarfare, Casablanca . . . and terror Started Sept 26-27, 2000) is the thread most often cited on the MD thread.

                                          Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human breathing?'sInhumanity001_406.html started Nov 12, 2000 deals with an essential problem that need clarification if we are to learn to be more decent.

                                          God is the Projection of Man's Unrealised Potential started Nov 15, 2000 has many more postings by others than by me - and deals gracefully with many key philosophical and religious questions. I think the thread is a treasure.

                                          and a thread that has been discontinued, Details and the Golden Rule

                                          Bill Casey, years ago - was worried that we human beings - in our current state of culture "weren't playing with a full deck."

                                            There was reason to think something basic was buried, and wrong, in applicable math. I think I've made headway about that - and, with help from Lchic , may explain things that need to be understood.
                                            There was also some reason to think that things were going perversely wrong in problems of analysis, strategy and tactics that determined human actions - including the actions of nation states. Plato's problem was connected to that. Working inspired and guided by the brilliance of Dawn Riley, I think we've made some headway about that, to.
                                          Here's a dream. A question. What would it mean - and what would happen, if people finally were - "playing with a full deck" - in the sense that they knew everything useful, at the level of basic logic - that could be used for them to understand the world, and make reasonable arrangements in it?

                                          Sometimes it seems to me that we might be getting closer to that. Dawn and I are chipping away at it, anyway.

                                          I deeply appreciate the chance to post on these Guardian Talk threads, and believe that some good may come of it, fearful as times currently are.

                                          rshowalter - 06:49pm Mar 25, 2003 BST (#397 of 450)

                                          I don't know what's in this proposal, but the idea of making peace now - in ways that meet the reasonable needs of all concerned, looking at the situation as it is - makes great sense - and if it could be successfully accomplished it would be a great step forward for the world.

                                          Saudis Make Peace Proposal to U.S., Iraq By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 11:44 a.m. ET

                                            RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Saudi Arabia has contacted the United States and Iraq with a peace proposal, the kingdom's foreign minister told reporters Tuesday. He said he was awaiting a response.
                                            . . . .
                                            ``We'll be knocking on all doors to bring peace,'' Saud said Tuesday. ``It's too important to leave to just the gods of war to determine where this thing ends.''
                                          - - - - -

                                          The conditions ought to be in place for a win-win resolution - in terms of what the nations and people involved can reasonably expect.

                                          We're at a time where international law is being negotiated into being, and it would be a great milestone if this could resolve decently. Everybody involved now knows that everybody else will fight, can fight - and can impose costs that the parties care about.

                                          Everybody knows some key things about what will happen if the fight goes on. Some of the things that will happen will be very expensive from many, many points of view.

                                          If a deal can be struck - it should be struck quickly. If, at the end, Saddam and his entourage left - decently provided for and able to go on with their lives - and the Iraqi government could remain intact - subject to some international supervision by the UN - that would be a fine thing - and the valid interests of the United States and the UK could be well served, too. The interests of the EU, Russia, and China would be well served. The reasonable interests of the Iraqi people, and of Islam, would be well served. Interests broadly backed by Christians of most persuasions would be well served.

                                          A resolution that made a clear reality of these words from Iraq States Its Case by MOHAMMED ALDOURI would be a historical triumph. Here are those words from Aldouri:

                                            "After so many years of fear from war, the threat of war and suffering, the people of Iraq and their government in Baghdad are eager for peace. We have no intention of attacking anyone, now or in the future, with weapons of any kind. If we are attacked, we will surely defend ourselves with all means possible.
                                          Such a resolution could be good politics, by sensible standards, in terms of what anyone could reasonably hope, for virtually everybody concerned.

                                          - - -

                                          An impossible dream? Maybe, but a lot of unexpected things have happened lately.

                                          rshowalter - 12:21pm Mar 29, 2003 BST (#398 of 450)

                                          Islamic cultures have messes, inconsistencies, sureties that must be wrong - and that degrade those who believe them. We do, too.



                                          When it matters enough, for a practical purpose -i people can check things - and resolve issues worth resolving.

                                          (Clergymen, including my grandfather, have been clear about that for many generations. 7017

                                          Sometimes faith is indispensible. But sometimes, on practical things, faith is simply negligence . There needs to be an obligation to check - and check competently, when it matters enough. )

                                          When soldiers are terrified, and bullets are rending flesh, it ought to matter enough.

                                          lchic - 02:44pm Apr 4, 2003 BST (#399 of 450)

                                          Islamic cultures are quaint .... and querky

                                          rshowalter - 12:49pm Apr 11, 2003 BST (#400 of 450)

                                          I've been working desperately hard on the NYT Missile Defense thread since the war began, referring to Guardian Talk threads very, very often - and trying to be constructive.

                                          Sometimes I've been very hopeful. It seems to me that some things are going well. With plenty to be concerned about - much to fear - but some reasons for hope, too.

                                          I've felt overwhelmed - and indundated - trying to do a job that has been doable, it has seemed to me - and yet at other levels too big for me to do. A problem of showing patterns of order that apply generally - to a sea of cases.

                                          I don't know if I believe in miracles, except in the matter-of-fact sort of way that computer programmers sometimes think of "miraculous" results - in the sense of particularly good results. I sure do believe in mistakes. I know from bitter and repeated experience that I make them - and know how expensive and treacherous mistakes can be.

                                          A lot of ideas, that seem beautiful when you think of them - turn out to be wrong in crucial ways.

                                          But some results are very good - very useful - and the best of them are simple. And in retrospect, in Edison's sense - "obvious."

                                          They are as simple and useful as they happen to be - in clear contexts.

                                          The basic relations of Newtonian physics - the connections between force, mass, and accelleration - can be thought of as clarifications, condensations, of ideas that people have in some sense known about, and thought about, for a very long time. Quite similar ideas were discussed, more or less diffusely, by the ancient greeks. the basic relations of Newtonian physics are "known", in some basic operational ways, by the birds and the bees, the bats and certainly by all animals that have ever resembled human beings at all closely. Newtonian physics is not mysterious and not miraculous, but it has been mysterious and miraculously productive in operational terms over time, and in an almost countless number of different contexts.

                                          The definition, condensation, and clarification that went into

                                            f = ma
                                          has been enormously useful - and human technical achievements since Newton's time have largely hinged on a huge number of insights that have come when that idea - and other stark and useful ideas logically connected to f=ma - became part of the minds of many people. When the diffuse and muddled became stark and clear - on a matter of importance - a new world of possibilities opened up. Was this a "miracle"? Surely a particularly good result. Simple, too. Not easy to come by - but, after many people have worked at the focusing of it - "easy" to use, for populations who have mastered it.

                                          After that condensation-clarification - an enormous amount of muddle in technical reasoning and technical arrangements became accessible -and has been subject to improvement - in ways that were not possible before.

                                          An earlier condensation-clarification was necessary for Newton to do his work - and it may be "even simpler" - it is the idea that space can be thought of, usefully, clearly - in sharp three dimensional coordinates - the familiar x,y, z coordinates - and that the relations of algebra can be graphed, and visualized - in ways that unify many of the relatins (for instance, the conic sections) discussed since ancient Greek times. At some levels, an organized sense of three dimensions certainly exists in our animal equipment - the doings of birds, bats, and ball players would be unthinkable without that. The idea of graphs, and tables, and images that map from what can be seen to a plane are ancient, and involve issues much attended by many people, including many famous and brillian ones. And yet the condensation-clarification-recognition that DeCartes sharpened generalized, and made clear has been a fundamental part of human understanding since his time. The condensation is as simple and useful as it is. A young child, taught this relation - has very different conceptual possibilities than a child of the ancient world had.

                                          There are ideas about connections between math, logic, language discourse, and the physical world that have been much discussed since ancient times - with a lot of attention in the last few centuries, for all sorts of practical, intellectual, and emotional reasons. With all sorts of practical, intellectual, emotional, economic, and political connections. The word "dimension" connects to much of this discourse - both when it is clear, and when it is muddled.

                                          Are clarifications about these connections possible that are as simple, obvious, and useful as those of Newton and Descartes?

                                          I've thought so, and been working very hard on them. Plenty of people have hoped so, over the years. Maybe that's too much of a miracle to hope for. But these are miracles we cold use, if we could get them. Often, they've felt "close" to me. They do now.

                                          And yet I'm finding it hard to write them out - so I haven't gotten them clear enough - and maybe I'm chasing a ephemeral body of notions - for reasons I don't see.

                                          But if I'm feeling stressed, I'm feeling hopeful, too.

                                          lchic - 04:08pm Apr 18, 2003 BST (#401 of 450)

                                          "" space can be thought of, usefully, clearly - in sharp three dimensional coordinates - the familiar x,y, z coordinates - and that the relations of algebra can be graphed, and visualized - in ways that unify many of the relatins (for instance, the conic sections) discussed since ancient Greek times. At some levels, an organized sense of three dimensions certainly exists in our animal equipment - the doings of birds, bats, and ball players would be unthinkable without that. The idea of graphs, and tables, and images that map from what can be seen to a plane are ancient, and involve issues much attended by many people, including many famous and brillian ones. And yet the condensation-clarification-recognition that DeCartes sharpened generalized, and made clear has been a fundamental part of human understanding since his time. The condensation is as simple and useful as it is. A young child, taught this relation - has very different conceptual possibilities than a child of the ancient world had.
                                          There are ideas about connections between math, logic, language discourse, and the physical world that have been much discussed since ancient times - with a lot of attention in the last few centuries, for all sorts of practical, intellectual, and emotional reasons. With all sorts of practical, intellectual, emotional, economic, and political connections. The word "dimension" connects to much of this discourse - both when it is clear, and when it is muddled.
                                          Are clarifications about these connections possible that are as simple, obvious, and useful as those of Newton and Descartes?


                                          Where were others stumped - and why?

                                          rshowalter - 04:40pm Apr 22, 2003 BST (#402 of 450)

                                          I've been spending much of the last week thinking about. What STOPS people may be an easy question - though hard to face. We're attached to our fictions.

                                          This is important:

                                          The Citizen-Scientist's Obligation to Stand Up for Standards By LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS

                                            Confronting misconceptions is probably the single most important factor driving progress in science, and in a broader sense society.
                                          As of now, this is an easily frustrated, weakly supported obligation. If it were stronger, much could go better.

                                          If THAT were fixed, just about everything fixable would come to be fixed, pretty naturally.

                                          lchic - 02:08pm Apr 29, 2003 BST (#403 of 450)

                                          It's post war in the Middle East ..... 1946 but ....

                                          rshowalter - 04:11pm May 4, 2003 BST (#404 of 450)

                                          For the last three weeks I've been distracted. An in-law has cancer, and my wife and I visited him and other family. My father's turning 80, and the children have gathered to celebrate, mingle, take pictures and eat together. For me, it has been a time to think about basics.

                                          Powerful output from Bill Keller in the last few days.

                                          Digging Up the Dead By BILL KELLER

                                            Moscow: Among all the unfinished business in that capital of unfinished business named Iraq, an accounting for three decades of horrors may not be the most urgent. Unless you are one of those heart-sore Iraqis haunting the newly emptied prisons and torture chambers for evidence of your disappeared children, you are likely to agree that questions of guilt can wait until the electricity is restored and the crime is contained and the schools are working and somebody is governing.
                                            But a reckoning is due, and how Iraq faces its recent past will ultimately count for as much as the design of a transitional government or the divvying up of the oil.
                                          Here's a Model for How to Shape A Muslim State by BILL KELLER

                                          and a monumental piece,

                                          The Thinkable By BILL KELLER

                                          That piece includes a number of important ideas - and explains a lot of problems. I don't have time, amid family celebrations, to respond to things in it that I hope to. But I would like to deal with a fundamental problem relating to the beliefs, and failed hopes, surrounding the Nonproliferation Treaty.

                                            The essential bargain that induced nonnuclear states to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty was this: If you pledge to refrain from arming yourself with bad atoms, you will be rewarded with a supply of good atoms -- a peaceful nuclear energy program. Inspectors from the I.A.E.A. will drop by occasionally to make sure you stay within bounds -- that the nuclear fuel for generating electricity is all properly booked and sufficiently diluted. (The most difficult ingredient for a bomb maker to come by is not the design or the engineering; it is uranium or plutonium, distilled to a weapons-grade concentration.)
                                          At the time when that was sold, peaceful nuclear energy was thought to be a solution for the essential energy problems the developing nations faced then, and face now. For development to the standards of the rich nations to be possible for the poor nations - without an huge string to technical miracles happeneing together, there has to be much more energy available, and available cheaply, than is available now.

                                          Many, many people thought that problem could be handled by "atoms for peace." That hope is gone now.

                                          We need to find a workable substitute.

                                          Such a solution, no matter how techincally simple - will have to be "grandiose" in scale. Whether that's possible humanly, with checks and balances in place, I don't know. Technically, it doesn't even look difficult. Especially compared to the stakes. Certainly no harder than the American transcontinental railroad. The problems are similarly mostly issues of human organization of technically simple jobs on a large scale.

                                          The technical job of providing enough animal feed to permit the whole human population to eat at or close to rich country standards doesn't look technically hard either.

                                          But in a world where we haven't proviced 35$/person/year for basic medical care - what is and what "ought to be" are very different.

                                          Stalin to Saddam: So Much for the Madman Theory By ERICA GOODE is a fascinating piece. Suppose a leader empowered by a society, wanted to have the effectiveness that grandiosity permits, directed to solve problems that needed solving - under reasonable social controls? With the solutions then used? It might seem a reasonable idea, on balance.

                                          That idea was on Bill Casey's mind. One might even describe Casey as a "malignant narcissist." One might say the same of J.P. Morgan, Leland Stanford, Cecil Rhodes, and many other people. Some of whom did good as well as harm.

                                          We have some big problems that need to be solved - that are going to need "grandiose" solutions in a simple sense - the solutions, to work, will have to be sized to the problems.


                                          lchic - 07:01pm May 16, 2003 BST (#405 of 450)

                                          Cassablanca - currently home to at least one from Saddam's HOUSE OF CARDS

                                          lchic - 02:53pm May 18, 2003 BST (#406 of 450)

                                          At least 40 people were killed and about 100 wounded in a series of coordinated bomb attacks in Casablanca last night, according to a Moroccan government official. The targets included a Jewish community centre, the Belgian consulate, and a Spanish club and restaurant in the centre of Morocco's biggest city and economic capital.

                                          The attacks, which took place within 30 minutes shortly after 9pm (2200 BST) caused widespread carnage, with dismembered body parts scattered among the wreckage and television footage showing shocked, bloodstained survivors being treated at the scene.

                                          At the Spanish club, suicide bombers cut the throat of the porter as they charged in, Reuters reported. Witnesses said at least one attacker had blown himself up with grenades strapped to his belt.

                                          The unnamed Moroccan official told the Associated Press news agency that the dead probably included foreigners. He said that investigations had shown that the attacks were suicide bombings, although earlier government officials had said that three of the four attacks had been caused by car bombs. Residents had reported hearing a fifth explosion.

                                          No group admitted carrying out the attacks, which are the first in the kingdom in recent years. Morocco's interior minister, Mustapha Sahel, said the attacks bore the hallmarks of international terrorism. "These are the well-known signatures of international terrorists."

                                          Mr Sahel did not name the al-Qaida terrorist network, but the attacks reinforce fears that terrorists are planning to strike at "soft" targets. The bombs came only hours after the Foreign Office upgraded its travel advice to warn of a "clear terrorist threat" in six east African countries. Last week suicide bomb attacks on foreigners' compounds in Saudi Arabia killed 34 people and a terror warning on Kenya led to the cancellation of British flights.

                                          Morocco's municipal elections were delayed in April over concerns of growing Muslim fundamentalism.

                                          An unnamed diplomatic source cited by the Associated Press said at least one Spanish citizen was among the dead, but that could not be officially confirmed. Spain's foreign minister said there were no Spanish residents of Casablanca among the victims, but that Spaniards visiting the city could have been hurt.

                                          Mr Sahel said that his country would not be intimidated.

                                          "The Kingdom of Morocco will never surrender to terrorists and will not allow anyone to disturb its security," he said. The official Moroccan news agency MAP reported that three suspects, all Moroccans, had been apprehended, and that 10 of the dead were attackers.

                                          A spokesman for the Belgian foreign ministry, Didier Seeuws, told the Belgian news agency Belga that the Belgian consulate had been heavily damaged, and that two policemen outside the building had been killed.

                                          Morocco has been a staunch US ally, but expressed regret that a peaceful solution could not be found to the Iraq crisis, and large demonstrations against the war were held.

                                          King Mohammed VI had expressed concern the war could provoke the country's Islamic fundamentalist movement. Three Saudis were jailed for 10 years in February after being arrested in Casablanca last year for leading an al-Qaida plot to attack US and British warships in the Straits of Gibraltar.

                                          The Foreign Office website had not been updated by Saturday morning to take account of the attacks, but does say that "Morocco is one of a number of countries where there is an increased threat from international terrorism".


                                          lchic - 12:10pm May 24, 2003 BST (#407 of 450)


                                          2003 re-make of Cassablanca ..

                                          moved out
                                          vacated new sound stage

                                          relocated to


                                          rshowalter - 01:22am Jun 1, 2003 BST (#408 of 450)

                                          Waggy Dog Stories By PAUL KRUGMAN

                                            The movie "Wag the Dog" told a tale of an administration creating a war in order to divert attention away from scandal. The Bush administration seems to be imitating art.
                                          - - - -

                                          Save Our Spooks By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

                                            After 71 days of searching in Iraq, we have not found any weapons of mass destruction.
                                          - - -

                                          I've sometimes been too trusting.


                                          lchic - 01:35pm Jun 7, 2003 BST (#409 of 450)

                                          does the 'r' in your initial stand for 'Rick' ?

                                          rshowalter - 05:40pm Jun 8, 2003 BST (#410 of 450)

                                          I've been working very hard on the NYT Missile Defense thread, and lchic has, too. I've wanted to post eloquently here - and tried to collect the postings to the guardian and guardian talk that I'd cited since my last collection of Talk references. But after more than a day's work - found it was just to much - because they are so many - and these cites to the guardian are often decisively useful to an argument, or to establish connections through time. (go to the NYT thread, using any link, perhaps - and search "guardian" )

                                          Since around May 27th, I've been clarifying an essential part of my background - the fact that I was trained - under unusual circumstances - by Dwight D. Eisenhower prior to my relationship with William Casey. There's too much material to cite here, but it can be accessed by going to the NYT thread, using any link, perhaps - and searching "Eisenhower" )

                                          Today I posted this, which may be a fair summary of some key things.

                                          rshow55 - 06:18am Jun 8, 2003 EST (# 12394

                                          If the staffed organizations of nation states were to read these summaries of my work on this thread from its beginning, with a "willing suspension of disbelief" about my involvement with Eisenhower, from 1967, they might have more weight - though the arguments wouldn't change all - and the extent of the work, by lchic , the NYT, and other posters would not change at all.








                                          I'd like a chance to brief someone in Vladimir Putin's government - on the record, face to face - and respond to specific questions related in this "briefing." I should be able to do so, and do similar things, without violating any reasonable security laws at all. The "briefing" below might serve as a sample of my work product, and the subjects I'd like to discuss.





                                          I set out to do jobs where my own power would be limited - in some ways, nonexistent. But the assumption was that I would be able to communicate effectively with power.

                                          And I was encouraged to do things. I was assigned projects. Every single thing I was assigned to do required some essential support from a nation state in two ways.

                                            First of all, they all involved such complex cooperation that they were fragile - they could be stopped with "a few well placed phone calls."
                                            Secondly, they all involved such complex cooperation that occasionally, the idea that the government wanted the work done had to be conveyed.
                                          I have been working very hard to present technical proposals to the US government - so that I can hope to get the essential support described above. I've been rebuffed. It is reasonable - submitting to censorship on issues that are reasonably classified - for me to ask for assistance from firms with connections with other nation states - including Germany and France. I need to be able to work. The nation owes me that, at least.

                                          Some may argue - I believe that some on the New York Times have argued in internal discussions - "nobody owes Robert Showalter anything at all - he's crazy ."

                                          Crazy about what?

                                          Wrong about what?

                                          Irresponsible about what?

                                          Posting I did on Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror on Sept 26, 2000 may be an interesting reference,

                                          <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee7a163/0">rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 21:57</a> (up to 27)

                                          in light of my discussion with "becq" on this board of Sept 25, 2000 - especially #304, where I ask for a hearing (9003 links to that sequence - the request is shown at .

                                          My source of tactical, strategic, and disarmament talk information about the relations between the US and Russia was mainly Dwight D. Eisenhower - with some inputs from William J. Casey as well.

                                          - - -

                                          12396 deals with the lead NYT editorial today , Was the Intelligence Cooked? starts: and includes this:

                                            Leaders occasionally lie "in good causes" - and perhaps, in my small way I'm "trying to be a leader." -- I've written plenty on this thread that cannot be traced (at least, without the active cooperation of the CIA - and they may have destroyed their records.) But can anyone find anything I've written on this thread, regarding facts, that can be shown to be wrong - where intentional deception can be shown?
                                            I've tried to "tell the truth or nothing" - not saying everything I know, by a long shot - but not lying either.
                                          I also posted today references to a Talk thread I've deeply appreciated the chance to post on, with references to my involvement with Eisenhower that would, if believed, increase the weight of what I posted there:

                                            I'm very proud of what I wrote in Psychwarfare, Casablanca, and terror - - and I would have been very proud to have either Eisenhower read it - especially the part I posted on Sep 26-27, 2000, and especially the part from #21 <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee7a163/20">rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 22:50</a> on, including this basic point:
                                            . The only way to fix up the relation between Elsa and Rick, so they can stay sane, is a recapitulation of what happened. · ***
                                          #23 <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee7a163/22">rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 22:57</a>

                                            #24 <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee7a163/23">rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 23:03</a>
                                          There is a problem. The policies that won the Cold War were not pursued with the informed consent of the American people, or of most American politicians.

                                            I make statements about negotiation that I discussed in detail with D. D. Eisenhower, and deal with some things that happened after he died in #25 <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee7a163/24">rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 23:07</a>
                                            (#26 <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee7a163/25">rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 23:13</a> 08:26pm Sep 27, 2000 BST seems worth repeating. It recounts things D.D. Eisenhower discussed in copious tactical detail - where I worked to increase US understanding of tactics, perhaps with some success.
                                          I deeply appreciate these Guardian Talk threads.

                                          lchic - 11:22am Jun 15, 2003 BST (#411 of 450)

                                          Interesting to see the behind the scenes 'thinking' by the 34th President who wanted to improve people's economic standards globally.

                                            With all the knowledge now available .... some will ask - WHY is there a problem in giving people an improved standard of living and livelihood?

                                          rshowalter - 10:45pm Jun 16, 2003 BST (#412 of 450)

                                          We lack a common culture. We lack ways to coordinate - and common feeling.

                                          It isn't a strictly technical problem any more.

                                          And deception, or worse, is a problem.

                                          The Boys Who Cried Wolfowitz By BILL KELLER

                                          rshowalter - 05:29pm Jun 17, 2003 BST (#413 of 450)


                                          12439 includes this,

                                          My Sept 27 2000 posting <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee7a163/6">rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 22:11</a> on this thread continues with five partly true but partly misleading paragraphs - where I was "too easy on myself" and perhaps less courageous than I should have been.

                                          and I'll add a little detail in bold

                                            "Change a simple mathematical circumstance, or perceptions of it, and perceptions of military risk shifted radically. If we could lie to the Russians, and say we'd cracked the problem, we might scare the hell out of them, at trivial cost. Just a little theatrics in the service of bluff. Scaring the other side, with bluffs (lies) is standard military practice. I found myself asked by President Nixon to get involved in what I took to be serous Russian scaring. I refused to go along, after talking to some people on the other side, because of my old fighting experience. It was my judgement, right or wrong, that the Russians were already plenty scared enough, and if scared much more, they might lose control, and fight without wanting to. I may have made a big mistake.
                                          No doubt it is "a big mistake" to tell the President of the United States to "get f***ed" from my position - but I'm not the only person or organization to defy Nixon, and I felt - for reasons that I could not escape - that to go along would be to take a LARGE risk of an explosive instability that could have destroyed the world. It would have been, in my view, dereliction of duty . Whatever Casey promised Nixon I don't know. I've told the truth, insofar as I reasonably could, about my relationship to Casey.

                                          lchic - 10:37am Jun 23, 2003 BST (#414 of 450)

                                          Would RICK have said the same?

                                          lchic - 02:26pm Jun 29, 2003 BST (#415 of 450)

                                          Wouldn't RICK have said the same?

                                          [deleted user] - 02:39pm Jun 29, 2003 BST (#416 of 450)

                                          casa ; marry

                                          blanca ; white

                                          freedom fries :

                                          give up the fight.

                                          aint no iRAQi

                                          you can fright.

                                          (graffitti on a wall in a baghdad banlieue cite)

                                          [deleted user] - 04:38pm Jun 29, 2003 BST (#417 of 450)

                                          ever read the dangling man by saul bellow ?

                                          [deleted user] - 06:40pm Jun 30, 2003 BST (#418 of 450)

                                          billboard liberation front . . .

                                          rshowalter - 09:32pm Jul 1, 2003 BST (#419 of 450)

                                          In the last month - I've made a lot of progress toward getting "out of jail" - and a lot of problems are setting up so that they can be solved.

                                          We do need to make a breakthrough We have to show - so it is effective - that with enough "connecting of the dots" you can get to clarity.

                                          We are, still today, in a world that is too "Orwellian" - but there are openings.

                                          If It's 'Orwellian,' It's Probably Not By GEOFFREY NUNBERG

                                          and especially

                                          The Road to Oceania By WILLIAM GIBSON

                                            "Elsewhere, driven by the acceleration of computing power and connectivity and the simultaneous development of surveillance systems and tracking technologies, we are approaching a theoretical state of absolute informational transparency, one in which "Orwellian" scrutiny is no longer a strictly hierarchical, top-down activity, but to some extent a democratized one. As individuals steadily lose degrees of privacy, so, too, do corporations and states. Loss of traditional privacies may seem in the short term to be driven by issues of national security, but this may prove in time to have been intrinsic to the nature of ubiquitous information.
                                            . . .
                                            "That our own biggish brothers, in the name of national security, draw from ever wider and increasingly transparent fields of data may disturb us, but this is something that corporations, nongovernmental organizations and individuals do as well, with greater and greater frequency. The collection and management of information, at every level, is exponentially empowered by the global nature of the system itself, a system unfettered by national boundaries or, increasingly, government control.
                                            " It is becoming unprecedentedly difficult for anyone, anyone at all, to keep a secret.
                                            " In the age of the leak and the blog, of evidence extraction and link discovery, truths will either out or be outed, later if not sooner. This is something I would bring to the attention of every diplomat, politician and corporate leader: the future, eventually, will find you out. The future, wielding unimaginable tools of transparency, will have its way with you. In the end, you will be seen to have done that which you did.
                                            " I say "truths," however, and not "truth," as the other side of information's new ubiquity can look not so much transparent as outright crazy. Regardless of the number and power of the tools used to extract patterns from information, any sense of meaning depends on context, with interpretation coming along in support of one agenda or another. A world of informational transparency will necessarily be one of deliriously multiple viewpoints, shot through with misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories and a quotidian degree of madness. We may be able to see what's going on more quickly, but that doesn't mean we'll agree about it any more readily.
                                          But often - assumptions clarify - or there is common ground (especially on "simple" things, like engineering.) And idea that lchic and I have worked out - and illustrated on NYT and Guardian Talk threads - Disciplined Beauty is key. In the real world, there often are right answers - and people can find them.

                                          A central fact is that often - workable "connections of the dots" are sparse - so sparse that in the end, only one "connection of the dots" fits -and that fact is clear. When this happens, the truth can be found, and agreed on - enough for workable agreements.




                                          I think that Dawn Riley and I are making headway on problems that are "intellectual" but practical, too. Problems of key human importance. Historical importance. Rough as things sometimes are, I'm hopeful.

                                          rshowalter - 09:56pm Jul 1, 2003 BST (#420 of 450)

                                          The long term viability of the planet - from a human point of view - depends on our ability to get stable long term energy supplies.

                                          THE PEAK OF WORLD OIL PRODUCTION AND THE ROAD TO THE OLDUVAI GORGE Richard C. Duncan, Pardee Keynote Symposia Geological Society of America Summit 2000

                                          The issues involved in world energy supplies and global warming are large scale - but the engineering essentials are simple - and the human challenges are, as well. I've been working, with wonderful support from lchic to show that these problems can be solved.

                                          The NYT MD board is very extensive - but these postings may interest some people here:

                                          ---------------- -------------


                                          Gisterme raised some interesting points about global warming, and energy - and I've taken some time to block out a "briefing" that I'd like to give, not necessarily to gisterme , but to a real high-shot (say, the President, or the head of a movie studio).

                                          There are some issues of scale and basic geometry that help define the job. A good deal clarifies if one asks some simple questions:

                                            If you wanted to permanently solve the world's energy supply problem using a solar energy - hydrogen approach - what would it take? Could it be done from where we are - without any new research results - but with competent engineering? Are there jobs to do that ought to be started now, or soon? Would action now involve any significant loss in ability to accomodate opportunities from new photocell research?
                                            If you wanted fully control the CO2 content of the earth's atmosphere - so combustion of hydrocarbon fuels could proceed unimpaired without global warming - and with effects of CO2 accumulation reversed - and you wanted to do this using carbon sequestration - with the fixing of carbon done by photosynthesis - what would it take? Could it be done from where we are - without any new research results - but with competent engineering? Are there jobs to do that ought to be started now, or soon? Would action now involve any significant loss in ability to accomodate opportunities from new photosynthesis-carbon sequestration research?
                                          Some of the most basic answers to the questions above are clear - and essentially independent of additional scientific progress - though scientific progress can only help.


                                          We know enough now to solve these problems - the energy problem on a profitable basis - the carbon sequestration problem at a cost that ought to be satisfactory - far lower than alternatives I've seen - starting from where we are.

                                          Some things are clear.

                                            Both jobs need to be done at large scale - on equatorial oceans. That is where the sunlight is, where the calm conditions are - and where the area is.
                                            Neither job requires breakthroughs - the solar energy job could be done with photovoltaic efficiencies of 3% - for very cheap solar cells - (efficiencies now held to be too low to be commercial) - rather than the higher efficiencies now thought to be necessary. High efficiencies are plainly better than lower ones - but most of the engineering tasks required for large scale solar hydrogen would remain unchanged if 30% efficiency collectors were available to substitute for 3% efficiency collectors.
                                            The job of burying hydrocarbons made by photosynthesis is a straightforward one - and plants and equipment now available could be used, though improved plant selection, breeding, and harvesting machinery would reduce costs as experience accumulated.
                                          Both jobs require an appreciation of scale - and involve scales that FDR or Eisenhower would have understood and been able to handle very well.

                                          Big scales. Where essentially identical jobs are done - efficiently - many times. I'm taking a while trying preparing a better draft of the "briefing" I have in mind.

                                          A main message is this. The DOE and other agencies are doing excellent work - worthy of support, and maybe more support than they are getting. But some large scale engineering decisions are already well defined by circumstances - and these circumstances - which aren't likely to change - ought to be understood.

                                          - - - -


                                          I've been talking about large scale solutions to problems - problems that might be thought of as "Eisenhower scale" - for a long time. Two years ago I said this:

                                          <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee7a163/295">rshowalter "Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror" Wed 27/03/2002 21:20</a>

                                          "Here are things that I believe can be achieved --

                                            Very large area solar cells on the equatorial oceans. It should be possible to generate enough hydrogen to serve all word energy needs, forever. Hydrogen would interface well with existing energy sources and capital installations, from early prototype stage to the largest possible scale. This would be a practical and permanent advance in the human condition, and would reduce some major and chronic causes of war and conflict between nations
                                          The issue's been discussed on this board off and on since, including some very good discussion with Gisterme , and almarst , and now it seems sensible to get the idea more focused. On the 27th 12717 I said I was working to block out a "briefing" that might be given to someone with real power. That effort continues, and I've been working with engineering details, getting more sure of my ground. I find I'm rusty using some presentation materials, but I'm confident of some KISS level answers to what I wrote in now:

                                          If you wanted to permanently solve the world's energy supply problem using a solar energy - hydrogen approach - what would it take?

                                            Say the "permanent solution" collects the electrical energy equivalent of current oil production (75 million barrels/day - or 127 gigawatt/hrs/day.)
                                            It would take a lot of area. For 30% solar conversion efficiency near the equator - about half the area of Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Va - a square 230 km on a side. If collectors 1 km x 10 km were used - that would take 5,300 collectors. For 3% solar conversion efficiecy, ten times the area and ten times the number of such collectors would be needed. ( At 3%, - collector area would be about 75% the area of Texas.)
                                            It would take a lot of money, but it seems likely that the cost could be justified. At a shadow price of 10$/barrel energy equivalent, at the collector, a 30% efficiency collector would generate $5.15/square meter/year - or 51.5 million dollars per "collector"/ year. For 3% collector efficiency, values are 10 times smaller ( $.052/square meter/year ). My guess, which is only an estimate, is that collectors with efficiencies well over 10% and working lives longer than 10 years could be built for between 2 and 3$/square meter.
                                          Could this "permanent solution" to the world energy problem be done from where we are - without any new research results - but with competent engineering?

                                            Yes. It seems likely that the job can be done on a highly profitable basis - given organization.
                                          Are there jobs to do that ought to be started now, or soon?

                                          Would action now involve any significant loss in ability to accomodate opportunities from new photocell research?

                                            No. Collection units could be built with the collector efficiencies available - and improvements incorporated as additional units were built.
                                 makes the point that jobs happen in stages:

                                            There's one problem getting really sure of what needs to be done - and can actually work.
                                            A second problem actually doing it at full scale.
                                          With different costs. Different procedures that have to be applied. Different organizations needed. With interfaces that have to work.

                                          Stages have different costs. If a permanent solution to the world energy problem was pretty certain after a few hundred thousand bucks, nearly certain after a million or two - and very certain at all technical levels after a billion dollars was spent - but then required a very large investment (fully amortized in a few years) would it be worth doing? And actually doable?

                                          Perhaps the answer is "yes."

                                          For the answer to be "yes" - some political negotiations are going to have to be well led, and well and stably done.

                                          Patterns of psychological warfare - of evasion and lying - could keep that from happening.

                                          rshowalter - 10:05pm Jul 1, 2003 BST (#421 of 450)

                                          12743 :

                                          A posting from Jun 4 makes sense to repeat now, 12300

                                          If the staffed organizations of nation states were to read these summaries of my work on this thread from its beginning, with a "willing suspension of disbelief" about my involvement with Eisenhower they might give the postings more weight - though the arguments wouldn't change all. And the extent of the work, by lchic , the NYT, and other posters would not change at all.

                                          9008 set out summaries of work done here prior to March, 2001.

                                          I'd like a chance to brief someone in Vladimir Putin's government - on the record, face to face - and respond to specific questions related in the "briefing" below. I should be able to do so, and do similar things, without violating any reasonable security laws at all. The "briefing" below might serve as a sample of my work product, and the subjects I'd like to discuss.

                                          I set out to do jobs where my own power would be limited - in some ways, nonexistent. But the assumption was that I would be able to communicate effectively with power.

                                          And I was encouraged to do things. I was assigned projects. Every single thing I was assigned to do required some essential support from a nation state in two ways.

                                            First of all, they all involved such complex cooperation that they were fragile - they could be stopped with "a few well placed phone calls."
                                            Secondly, they all involved such complex cooperation that occasionally, the idea that the government wanted the work done had to be conveyed.
                                          I have been working very hard to present technical proposals to the US government - so that I can hope to get the essential support described above. I've been rebuffed. It is reasonable - submitting to censorship on issues that are reasonably classified - for me to ask for assistance from firms with connections with other nation states - including Germany and France. I need to be able to work. The nation owes me that, at least.

                                          Perhaps it could even be done gracefully. There've been reasons to think that might be possible in the last month, and I'm encouraged. 12000

                                          TECHNICAL DETAILS:

                                          Between 12763 and 12770 I dealt with questions from gisterme , a distinguished poster on the MD board - about the engineering details of solving the world's energy problems with a large scale solar energy approach..

                                          12765 discusses the physical construction of the collectors - and gives a sense of how simply and cheaply they might be constructed.

                                          - -

                                          On a lighter note, Fredmoore , who I sometimes suspect has a professional association with the NYT, wrote an "allegorical anecdote" that made me laugh and remember:

                                          rshowalter - 12:34pm Jul 8, 2003 BST (#422 of 450)

                                          Vietnam's Cyberdissident

                                            Vietnam's government should release all prisoners of conscience, including Dr. Pham Hong Son.

                                          WORD FOR WORD: The C.I.A.'s Cover Has Been Blown? Just Make Up Something About U.F.O.'s By STEPHEN KINZER

                                          <a href="/WebX?14@254.fQ6Eb5BWARV.34@.ee79f4e/758">rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 21/12/2000 03:41</a> . . . 235,000 U.S. servicemen were exposed to nuclear weapons testing during military duty. The people who gave the orders knew there were risks, but wanted numbers. Now, the danger is that we don't clean up our messes - and our corruptions.

                                          From the Onion - - and only so funny

                                          Bush Asks Congress for $30 Billion To Help Fight War On Criticism

                                            We can do better than that, and have to.
                                          the Onion often justifies its trademark as AMERICA'S FINEST NEWS SOURCE and did in the 15-24 January 2001 issue, which led with this:

                                          Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over

                                            "Mere days from assuming the Presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."
                                          Not such a "funny" prediction.

                                          Bush's Record on Jobs: Risking Unhappy Comparisons By DAVID LEONHARDT


                                          Bush Claim on Iraq Had Flawed Origin, White House Says By DAVID E. SANGER

                                          rshowalter - 01:09pm Jul 8, 2003 BST (#423 of 450)

                                          A lot has happened since Feb 18, 2001, when I wrote

                                            "My own view, now, is that we may be in the middle of the cleanest, neatest, fairest, most beautiful, most bloodless resolution of a paradigm conflict in the history of science. That would be something we could all be proud of, and, in my opinion, might set a precedent that would be of long service to the United States of America.
                                          "Something of the situation is described in a letter of explanation and apology I wrote rshowalter How the Brain Works 1/21/01 5:10pm

                                          How the Brain Works 1/21/01 5:10pm:

                                          Slow as things have sometimes been, the stakes are very big, and it seems to me that the work lchic and I are doing may be well worth it for society - and perhaps, in the future, for us as well.

                                          Script of Casablanca:

                                            "Here's looking at you, lchic ! "
                                          and to 1946.

                                          [deleted user] - 05:14pm Jul 8, 2003 BST (#424 of 450)


                                          don't you think it's time rshowalter had his ticket punched and sent packing to the nearest funny farm...he's obviously insane.....viz, "I'd like to brief someone in Vladimir Putin's government...My work for the Eisenhower Administration..." this poor chap needs real psychiatric help, not talkboard understanding...

                                          rshowalter - 06:02pm Jul 8, 2003 BST (#425 of 450)

                                          A "briefing" intended for Vladimir Putin

                                            Perhaps I'm incorrect, but that hope still seems consistent with the facts . . .
                                          The story of my relationship to Bill Casey includes this:

                                            I say here that I knew Bill Casey a little.
                                            And of course, everything's deniable - I'm not sure anybody has any records at all. Maybe I'm a literary figure -- call me Ishmael.
                                            The story I like best about me, in this regard, is that I'm just a guy who got interested in logic, and military issues. A guy who got concerned about nuclear danger, and related military balances, and tried to do something about it. Based on what he knew - with no access to special information of any kind, he made an effort to keep the world from blowing up, using the best literary devices he could fashion, consistent with what he knew or could guess.
                                            Let me go on with another story.
                                          I've "filled in" the "story" a good deal since then. I'm saying that it is a true story - and have asked to be checked, and provided supporting details, many times. True story or not - there is an enormous amount of work and argument on the NYT Missile Defense thread, and posted here. That stands quite independently of whether you "call me Ishmael" or not.

                                          Go the the NYT Missile Defense thread (plenty of references to it on this thread) - and search "Eisenhower".

                                          If anybody wants to check my story - that is, anybody with a name, and a reason to do so - they can contact me.

                                          Some references to my interactions with the CIA are in

                                          rshowalter - 07:26pm Jul 8, 2003 BST (#426 of 450)

                                          I trusted PM Blair too much.



                                            "At the levels I can judge - for the Azores meeting - President Bush and Prime Minister Blair and Prime Minister Aznar may have done as well as they could possibly have done- under circumstances where they surely know more than I can."
                                          That judgement depended on trusting their facts.

                                          In Blair We Trust By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

                                            Tony Blair dignifies his opponents by grappling with their arguments in a way that helps preserve civility — and that we Americans can learn from.
                                          In these postings - I was too trusting of Blair.

                                          389 rshowalter Tue 18/03/2003 15:46

                                          390 rshowalter Tue 18/03/2003 15:46

                                          391 rshowalter Thu 20/03/2003 14:49

                                          393 rshowalter Fri 21/03/2003 16:51

                                          lchic - 04:21am Jul 17, 2003 BST (#427 of 450)

                                          Americans love Tony ... more so than Euros :)

                                          rshowalter - 11:00pm Jul 22, 2003 BST (#428 of 450)

                                          Last week's Time Magazine had this cover story:

                                          A QUESTION OF TRUST: by Michael Duffy and James Carney

                                          This week's TIME Magazine also has fine stuff.

                                          The War Comes Home:,9171,1101030728-465797,00.html

                                            The White House launches a political counterattack as Bush's approval rating slides, casualties mount in Iraq and questions linger about the case for war
                                          and especially

                                          I N T H E A R E N A How Bush Misleads Himself By JOE KLEIN,9171,1101030728-465817,00.html which includes this:

                                            Why has the uranium story puffed up so huge? It wouldn't have been a very big deal without the deepening crisis in Iraq. But it also has ballast because it clarifies an aspect of George W. Bush's essential character — specifically, the problem he has with telling the truth. I am not saying Bush is a liar. Lying is witting: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." This is weirder than that. The President seems to believe that wishing will make it so — and he is so stupendously incurious that he rarely makes an effort to find the truth of the matter. He misleads not only the nation but himself. . . . .
                                            But the country can no longer afford the President's self-delusions. . . .
                                          - - -

                                          There are many interesting citations if one searches "UN or U.N." -on the MissileDefense thread that cast light, and give context, to and excellent editorial A Bloody Peace in Iraq

                                          Key phrases, from the NYT, a generally conservative and careful newspaper - state a case that is now clear:

                                            . . .the Bush administration grievously miscalculated the human and financial costs
                                            . . . the Bush administration exaggerated its central argument for the mission — the threat of Baghdad's unconventional weapons.
                                            . . . The administration seemed to think that when the war ended, Iraq's government institutions, ranging from the army to the waterworks, could simply be placed under new leadership and returned to operation, providing order and basic services to a free Iraq. Everything about the American plan, including the size and composition of occupying military forces, was misconceived.
                                            . . . There was also a naïve assumption that opposition would melt away once Saddam Hussein was displaced.
                                            . . . By invading Iraq without Security Council approval, Washington greatly complicated the task of enlisting foreign help
                                            . . . Nevertheless, establishing a free and peaceful Iraq as a linchpin for progress throughout the Middle East is a goal worth struggling for, even at great costs. We are there now, and it is essential to stay the course.
                                            . . . . It is not too late to set Iraq on a more promising course, but that will require the kind of staying power and cooperation with other nations that this administration has rarely shown much interest in mustering.
                                          The uses of words are nuanced, and often the interpretation least favorable to the administration is the fair one to use. - - - - -

                                          Disinformation - quotes "in error":

                                          BLACK OPS The Departments of Disinformation By MILT BEARDEN

                                          Is LYING about Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction an Impeachable Offense? by John Dean, former council to President Richard Nixon

                                          rshowalter - 11:01pm Jul 22, 2003 BST (#429 of 450)

                                          I've been working hard on the NYT Missile Defense board - and the significance of the effort depends on a judgement of how much rank and connection gisterme has. My own guess, based on what gisterme cares about, posts about, and effort level - is that gisterme is either George W. Bush, or very close to him. For a lot of reasons, including some expressed in 10063 .

                                          "What did he know, and when did he know it?" is an interesting question, and when I pointed out that the questions

                                            What did gisterme think and say, and when?

                                            Is gisterme President Bush?
                                          are coupled, and answerable, questions, gisterme came on the NYT Missile Defense board with some serious effort 16 (mostly evasive) postings just thereafter:

                                          To paraphrase Shakespeare, "I think he protests too loudly." - but that's something that journalists or politicians, if they wished, could check.

                                          rshowalter - 11:02pm Jul 22, 2003 BST (#430 of 450)

                                          Did Kelly actually kill himself?

                                          Well maybe he did .

                                          But a microbiologist who specializes in chemical warfare would have many, many easier ways to kill himself than the way "chosen" - slitting one wrist, five miles from home.

                                          Kelly, a microbiologist and toxicologist, would think, professionally, deeply, imaginatively, about the process of dying. He was also, by all accounts, a proud man. Put yourself in his position. What would his peers think of such a suicide? I should personally cower from the judgement of my peers were I to perpetrate such a botch.

                                          It is easy for me to imagine other stories to cover the known facts. To me, the idea that Kelly killed himself seems pretty similar to a scene in Chicago where the word was that "they both reached for the gun."

                                          They Both Reached for the Gun By FRANK RICH

                                            "To see why "Chicago" became the movie of the year in a year when America sleepwalked into war, you do not have to believe it is the best picture of 2002 . . . All you have to do is watch a single scene.
                                            "That scene is a press conference in 1920's Chicago. A star defense attorney, Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), wants to browbeat a mob of reporters into believing that his client, Roxie Hart (Renée Zellweger), did not murder her lover when in fact she did.
                                          13014 13015

                                          In Chicago , it is much too easy to get reporters to believe anything - but when intelligence agencies are involved, it is especially easy to get away with murder . - All the ordinary safeguards are far less reliable than usual.

                                          Evidence is hidden, and hidden in layers.

                                          When things are sensitive enough, and communication difficulties (or legal difficulties) are significant enough - - nothing at all is written down.

                                          In addition, it is illegal, in both UK and the US, to so much as name operatives - so that the procedures of ordinary detective work are classified out of existence.

                                          Under such circumstances - people have every reason to know that the government can "get away with murder."

                                          These postings refer to threats - or perhaps only "suggestions of threats" - directed to me:




                                          Here's an obvious fact. Not-very-veiled threats like delivered by or anonymous sources - inhibit actions. Similar threats, from known people working through known channels - stop them.

                                          The people involved in CIA and analogous agencies in UK and elsewhere do kill people.

                                          WORD FOR WORD The C.I.A.'s Cover Has Been Blown? Just Make Up Something About U.F.O.'s By STEPHEN KINZER

                                          rshowalter "There's Always Poetry" Thu 21/12/2000 03:41 . . . 235,000 U.S. servicemen were exposed to nuclear weapons testing during military duty. The people who gave the orders ( including Eisenhower at the top ) knew there were risks, but wanted numbers.

                                          In Kelly's case - there's good reason to look hard at the circumstances surrounding his very untimely death.

                                          [deleted user] - 11:09pm Jul 22, 2003 BST (#431 of 450)

                                          'a man who kills a man, kills a man. a man who kills himself, kills all men (as far as he is concerned).'

                                          gk chesterton

                                          did kelly kill all mankind ?

                                          [deleted user] - 09:48am Jul 23, 2003 BST (#432 of 450)

                                          some say not . . . woolie.

                                          rshowalter - 12:46pm Jul 23, 2003 BST (#433 of 450)

                                          I posted the following as



                                          White House Official Apologizes for Role in Uranium Claim By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

                                            WASHINGTON -- Stephen Hadley, President Bush's deputy national security adviser, on Tuesday became the second administration official to apologize for allowing a tainted intelligence report on Iraq's nuclear ambitions into Bush's State of the Union address.
                                            . . . Hadley, in a rare on-the-record session with reporters, said that he had received two memos from the CIA and a phone call from agency Director George Tenet last October raising objections to an allegation that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium ore from Africa to use in building nuclear weapons.
                                            . . .
                                            Hadley is the top aide to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
                                          I didn't come to the conclusion that gisterme was Bush quickly - and maybe I jumped to an incorrect conclusion. My early judgements were more guarded, and they were repeated. They were expressed as follows, in language that included deputy national security advisor Hadley.

                                 includes this:

                                          I've suggested in MD6808 rshowalter 7/9/01 4:43pm.

                                          . . that gisterme , who has posted so extensively on this thread, could not have done so, without the knowledge and backing of the very highest levels of the Bush administration, including Rice , Rumsfeld , Armitage , Wolfowitz , Hadley , and their bosses.

                                          In postings in this (MD) thread gisterme has often taken the position of an officer of state - with a treatening degree of power not far from reach.

                                          For example. I asked a question -- and the issue involved was whether I was committing treason -- a serious issue. MD6024 rshowalter 6/25/01 4:52pm ... It is a good question -- and short -- I asked: "What have I said that is not in the national interest? I still think that's a good question -- and I believe I've been serving the national interest to high standards.

                                          gisterme replied to the question directly in these posting, and doing so conceded that issues of technical feasibility and probablility of projects, based on the open literature, can be discussed in the United States.

                                          MD6028 gisterme 6/25/01 6:58pm ... MD6033 gisterme 6/25/01 7:45pm MD6060 gisterme 6/26/01 3:13pm

                                          That concession is important -- because the administration is advocating programs that are far fetched to the point where thoughts of fraud are hard to escape.

                                          If gisterme does not have high government connections -- and is not speaking with authority --- gisterme has often written to convey a sense that those connections exist.

                                          - - -

                                          I thought then, and think now, that if Hadley knows anything important, and politically sensitive, Bush knows it, too in all the ways that ought to matter in terms of leadership responsibility.

                                          Here are other links that cite deputy Hadley.










                                          I thought then, and think now, that Bush and his top people, definitely including Hadley, are responsible for right answers.

                                          If Hadley got the communication from Tenet that he now says, and didn't convey the substance of that communication to Rice - that's an outrage.

                                          White House Official Apologizes for Role in Uranium Claim By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

                                          I don't see how that could have happened. Rice and Hadley are both too competent to have that happen "by mistake.

                                          - - - -

                                          gisterme responded

                                            " government officials at the level that you're talking about have better things to do than screw around with web forums."
                                          Well, maybe.

                                          I've been working hard on the NYT Missile Defense board - and the significance of the effort depends on a judgement of how much rank and connection gisterme has. My own guess, based on what gisterme cares about, posts about, and effort level - is that gisterme is either George W. Bush, or very close to him. For a lot of reasons, including some expressed in 10063 .

                                            ( 13105 - 13106 offer additional reasons and it is surely true that If gisterme does not have high government connections -- and is not speaking with authority --- gisterme has often written to convey a sense that those connections exist. )

                                          augiemarch - 09:16pm Jul 23, 2003 BST (#434 of 450)

                                          public domain . . .

                                          rshowalter - 03:36pm Aug 2, 2003 BST (#435 of 450)

                                          A cautionary tale about media power, and the power of society over the individual, including a suicide. People are fragile and malleable, sometimes in surprising ways.

                                          Who's a Hero Now By JEFF GOODELL

                                            A year ago, nine Pennsylvania coal miners narrowly escaped what might have been their watery grave, and one man was hailed as their savior. Go to Article

                                          . . . .

                                          N.Y. Times To Appoint Ombudsman (Washington Post) By Howard Kurtz Page C01, Jul 31, 2003

                                            The New York Times said yesterday that it would name two new watchdogs, a public editor to critique the paper and a standards editor . . . ..

                                          The Quagmire Debate By Howard Kurtz Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, July 29, 2003; 9:03 AM

                                            The Bush administration's supporters have finally come up with an explanation of why things appear to be going so badly in Iraq.
                                            It's the media's fault.
                                          - - -

                                          Annan Warns of World 'Crisis' By FELICITY BARRINGER

                                            " Secretary General Kofi Annan called publicly today for a rethinking of the international institutions that were largely sidelined during the Iraq war.
                                            "Many of us sense that we are living through a crisis of the international system," he said. The war and more recent crises in Africa, he added, "force us to ask ourselves whether the institutions and methods we are accustomed to are really adequate to deal with all the stresses of the last couple of years."

                                          rshowalter - 12:42am Aug 11, 2003 BST (#436 of 450)


                                          What a Tangled Web We Weave By BRUCE KLUGER

                                            As anyone who has ever clicked a mouse knows, on the Internet, everything links to everything.
                                          And everyone "has links" to many things that can't be reasonably emphasized about them. For example, statistics make it likely that essentially every clergyman " associates with users of pornography" - because pornography is so widespread. (See Naked Capitalists by Frank Rich - NYT Magazine May 20, 2001. ) How significant those links are , and the nature of those links are valid questions - when asked of a clergyman.

                                          The questions about associations is how do they fit - and I'm proud of the work on the notion of disciplined beauty that lchic and I have done together.

                                          Bush Sees 'Good Progress' in Iraq but With Work to Do By ELISABETH BUMILLER includes a wonderful image from the Associated Press

                                            "President Bush, joined by Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and Gen. Richard B. Meyers, walked to a news conference at his Texas ranch Friday. He reported "good progress" in Iraq, but said more work needed to be done."
                                          13269 includes a phrase that I'd modify, in light of assurances from Gisterme that I'm taking into account, but not sure I believe.

                                          As Menken said

                                            It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
                                          Gisterme , I can't speak for almarst , but he might be (thinking, as I do, that you're a "stand in" for GWB, and therefore projecting ) and be feeling jealous of President Bush because Bush has such a beautiful, interesting, brilliant companion.



                                          12990-12993 might interest some, too.

                                          Menken said a number of interesting things - though he was sometimes much more cynical than I usually am. I remember he said something like this:

                                            "It is the firm belief throughout Christendom that when a man and a woman go into a room, and close the door behind them, the man will emerge sadder, and the woman wiser. "
                                          H. L. Menken was sometimes too cynical -

                                          it was a "trademark" pose for him - though he could be a man of great good faith, too.

                                          Dr. Rice is staying on Bush's ranch during his vacation. Others, with whom he also works closely, are not.

                                          I know this, if I had the affection of the main authoress of "The National Security Strategy of the United States," , and I were George W. Bush, I'd be proud. Maybe grateful, too.

                                          - - - -

                                          12603 includes some interesting references, and this:

                                          A reader of this NYT Missile Defense thread might guess that people care about it. 1235-7

                                          I sometimes wonder why, after the postcard described here was sent, things weren't handled more directly.

                                          A media stock analyst (or a customer - or prospective stock holder) might as such questions too. For a news organization - playing it straight - sending in clear - is generally safer - better - and better business.

                                          - - - - - -

                                          But there are other considerations, and perhaps some might be related to this fine article:

                                          Has Stanley Williams Left the Gang? By KIMBERLEY SEVCIK includes this:

                                            The arc of his life raises fundamental, perennial questions about human nature: . . . . . Can a person who is capable of tremendous harm also be capable of tremendous good?
                                          Obviously the answer is yes, and people should have sense enough to know that.

                                          There are people making decisions about Stanley Williams who may not wish to kill him, may appreciate some things he's doing, may not doubt the essence of anything he says, but don't want him "running around loose" either.

                                          There seem to be some significant analogies to my situation - but some significant differences as well. I haven't killed anybody. I was commandeered by Dwight D. Eisenhower , in 1967 - and if my work was illicit in some ways - I believe there were very good reasons for what I did, and what I was asked to do. 12402-12403

                                          - - - -

                                          Very good, dramatic flash link for the Movei 13 DAYS gives a sense of the pressures that generated some of the worlds key mistakes. Now, we ought to face and deal with some of these mistakes.

                                          rshowalter - 01:19pm Aug 14, 2003 BST (#437 of 450)

                                          The War Over the War By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

                                          Only future historians will be able to sort out the Iraq war's ultimate validity. It is too late or too early for the rest of us.

                                          If this piece were written by an officer of the Bush administration, rather than a journalist, it would be very close to a concession of the point that intelligence material was "sexed up."

                                          My own guess is that Mr. Friedman's contacts with senior officers of the Bush administration - and the Blair administration, too, are very good indeed.

                                          The piece, only a week old, has been archived very early - so that one has to pay for it - but for people interested in the Kelly matter - the text in full will be worth reading.

                                          rshowalter - 01:31pm Aug 19, 2003 BST (#438 of 450)

                                          This thread has been "hooked" from the beginning to Casablanca - - and some lessons Lchic and I have been trying to get across may be more vivid with some quotes directly from the movie script. Very consistently - a lot of human beings stand and fight - even to the death - rather than run. Psychwarfare, Casablanca - and terror rshowalter Tue 24/10/2000 21:57 has been ongoing since Sept 26, 2000. Postings 5, 6, 7 were quoted on the MD thread on Dec 24, 2002 EST (# 6997

                                          From the script of Casablanca p. 79-80

                                          (there's a fight that Rick breaks up: "Either lay off politics or get out." )

                                          Renault, Strasser, and the other officers sit down again.

                                            . Strasser: You see, Captain, the situation is not as much under control as you believe.
                                            . Renault: My dear Major, we are trying to cooperate with your government, but we cannot regulate the feelings of our own people.
                                          Strasser eyes him closely.

                                            . Strasser: Captain Renault, are you entirely certain which side you're on?
                                            . Renault: I have no conviction, if that's what you mean. I blow with the wind, and the prevailing wind happens to be from Vichy.
                                            . Strasser: And if it should change?
                                          He smiles.

                                            . Renault Surely the Reich doesn't admit that possibility?
                                          Renault lights a cigarette and puffs away.

                                            . Strasser: We are concerned about more than Casablanca. We know that every French province in Africa is honeycombed with traitors waiting for their chance, waiting, perhaps, for a leader.
                                            . Renault: . . (casually) . . A leader like Lazlo?
                                            . Strasser: Uh, huh. I have been thinking. It is too dangerous if we let him go. It may be too dangerous if we let him stay.
                                            . Renault: . . . ( thoughtfully) . . . I see what you mean.
                                          . . . . . . . . .

                                          From the script of Casablanca p. 92

                                          A group of German officers stand around the piano singing "Nacht an Rhein. "

                                          Cut to balcony. Rick stands at the balcony outside his office and watched the Germans below.

                                          Cut to main room. At the bar, Renault watches with raised eyebrow.

                                          Cut to main room. Lazlo's lips are very tight as he listens to the song. He starts down the step.

                                          Lazlo passes the table where Ilsa is sitting and goes straight to the orchestra.

                                          Yvonne, sitting at the table with her German officer, stares down into her drink.

                                          Lazlo speaks to the orchestra.

                                            . Lazlo: Play the Marseillaise! Play it!
                                          Members of the orchestra glance toward the steps, toward Rick, who nods at them.

                                          Lazlo and Corrina sing as they start to play. Strasser conducts the German singing in an attempt to drown out the competition.

                                          People in the cafe begin to sing the "Marseillaise."

                                          After a while, Strasser and his officers give up and sit down. The "Marseillaise" continues, however.

                                          Yvonne jumps up and sings with tears in her eyes.

                                          Ilsa, overcome with emotion, looks proudly at Lazlo, who sings with passion.

                                          Finally, the whole cafe stands, singing, their faces aglow. The song finishes on a high, triumphant note.

                                          Yvonne's face is exalted. She deliberately faces the alcove where the Germans are watching. She SHOUTS at the top of her lungs.

                                            . Yvonne: Viva La France! Viva la democracie!
                                            . Crowd: Viva La France! Viva la democracie!
                                          People clap and cheer.

                                          Strasser is very angry. He strides across the floor toward Renault who is standing at the