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    Missile Defense

Nazi engineer and Disney space advisor Wernher Von Braun helped give us rocket science. Today, the legacy of military aeronautics has many manifestations from SDI to advanced ballistic missiles. Now there is a controversial push for a new missile defense system. What will be the role of missile defense in the new geopolitical climate and in the new scientific era?

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rshowalter - 03:46pm Feb 18, 2001 EST (#706 of 711) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

This still looks like a good solution to me.

The key good thing about it is that it assumes distrust , and works on the basis of that fact, not asking nation states to risk their survival, under circumstances of stark terror, on the fiction of "trust."

I think that a person who actually looked at Rehearsing Armageddon might find the need to acknowledge distrust especially compelling.

We need more than small incremental changes. The situation needs to be redeemed.

rshowalter - 03:52pm Feb 18, 2001 EST (#707 of 711) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The notion of redemption in the secular sense I mean is intensely practical, and in our dealmaking culture, redemptive solutions to problems happen many many times. When a situation is overconstrained, stark, beyond redemption the situation needs to be reframed -- constraints need to be removed. Here is the first part of an expository poem that expresses this very practical dream.

Secular Redemption

I am 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 am 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.


To get there, we have to have solutions that work for the military, as an organization, and for the human beings who live and risk their lives in the military.

The US military has very often been put in untenable and inflexible postions, in ways that are unfair to them, and inefficient from many points of view.

We have a system of checks and balances that, too often, classify good solutions out of existence. Many of the problems were well explained today.

rshowalter - 03:53pm Feb 18, 2001 EST (#708 of 711) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Getting More Bang for the Armed Forces Buck ...... by Steven Lee Myers The Nation WEEK IN REVIEW today includes this, in reverse order of occurrance:

"As Mr. Rumsfeld himself acknowledged, the present military was built for the cold war, not the threats of tomorrow. "


"revolutionizing the armed forces would mean defeating the nation's most determined foes of revolution: the armed forces and their allies. Members of Congress will fight to the death for weapons programs in their own districts, just as the services will resist upsetting the delicate funding balance between them."

The lead editorial in NYT today The Bush Defense Agenda admonishes the administration to find ways for good action - revolutionary action.

To get the changes the nation needs, and the military itself needs, we will have to find ways to treat the people involved fairly, and not force them into conflicts, where, according to the rules they live by, they must evade honest scorekeeping, or change in the national interest.

Losers, in processes of change have to be taken care of, not only in the simplest material ways (though that is very important) but also treated fairly in terms of emotional, intellectual, and status needs. And things have to be handled so that these people can become part owners of the solutions of problems, rather than stakeholders in obstruction. If the "game" is set up so that people are forced to stand in the way of the national interest, and that is how it is today, all lose.

rshowalter - 03:55pm Feb 18, 2001 EST (#709 of 711) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

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.)

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