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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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rshowalter - 08:54am Mar 14, 2001 EST (#987 of 994) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Crewman Testifies in Sub Collision Inquiry . ... . .. by ...THE ASSOCIATED PRESS is part of a larger story of how a major US military socio-technical system came to malfunction very badly. The story speaks, as others have done, about the strong and forceful ties that exist in the military, and of the terrible dangers of a "command style" that must, nonetheless, often be used in the military. Because, in battle, rapid and utterly efficient obedience is an imperitive. So there is a problem of balance -- and no perfectly satisfactory answer. Here is a case where, in retrospect, it would seem that a bad balance was struck.

. " A week before the USS Greeneville collided with a Japanese boat, a crewman aboard the submarine suggested the skipper tone down his forceful command style to let subordinates learn better but was rebuffed. ...........The Greeneville's navigator, Lt. Keith Sloan, testified Tuesday that Cmdr. Scott Waddle responded that junior officers ``would learn from him telling them what to do.''

Military forces can make mistakes, and do a poor job of handling technical problems, in part because coercion is essential in their function in battle.

For this reason, forceful expercises of "command style" have to be questioned, for specific fit to context.

The statement

- ``I would resist with all my moral fiber the idea that we would willingly or knowingly try to bring aboard a program -- the V-22 or anything else -- that we've so fallen in love with that we would put people at risk,'' he said. ``We just simply wouldn't do that, and I don't think we've done that.''

is a very forceful act that closes off necessary lines of question.

Similar forceful acts happen elsewhere, and when they do, the military cannot be trusted to get right answers, that serve either its own interests of the interests of the country.

A person in a military operation, who asked for "the truth above all" in such a circumstance would not be respected for his moral fiber. He would be laughed at.

almarst-2001 - 02:13pm Mar 14, 2001 EST (#988 of 994)


What do you think about this -


rshowalter - 04:21pm Mar 14, 2001 EST (#989 of 994) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

As a sighting shot, I noticed this in the article you sighted:

. Conspiracy theories are not irrational, per se: for, as Murray N. Rothbard pointed out, the belief that erroneous and harmful government policies are pursued as a result of intellectual error overlooks the reality that statism "a massive system of economic exploitation of the productive many by the parasitic few" is "in the rational self-interest of the exploiters." Somebody benefits from our foreign policy of perpetual war for perpetual "peace" and, in this case, it is Chevron, Exxon, BP Amoco, AMBO, etc. ad nauseum."

Is this true and balanced?

From where I sit, it is worth consideration (not deference.)

This seems clear to me - lies are dangerous, both when they result in irrational behavior, and when they result in predatory behavior.

We need to get clearer on how to establish the TRUTH - at the level of checkable fact - under controversial circumstances.

For example, the GUARDIAN reported on August 18, 2000 that Serb killings, which the Western press said were up to 100,000 dead -- were under 3000. (set out in THE KOSVO FRAUD - WILL THEY EVER ADMIT IT? )

It is vital, if the world is to run decently for us to do a MUCH better job of establishing facts than we have.

The obligation to determine facts, where the facts matter, should be morally forcing in proportion to the importance of the actions.

The question "How do you check?" should be asked much more frequently and effectively.

For all the problems of a new medium, and the diversity of voices, the internet is making this more possible than it used to be.

For PEACE, we need to be more open, and better informed. Lies are dangerous. Deceptions are dangerous. And mistakes are dangerous.

These are all VERY GOOD REASONS for getting rid of the most indiscriminate and destructive weapons - including nuclear weapons.

rshowalter - 04:35pm Mar 14, 2001 EST (#990 of 994) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

rshowalter 2/9/01 1:53pm 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.

Everything has to fit together (and, I think, be clearly describable in words, pictures, and quantitative descriptions, linked together comfortably and workably, both as far as internal consistency goes, and in terms of fit to what the theory (descriptive idea) is supposed to apply to in action.

Maybe we ought not to reject conspiracy theories -- which CAN make a lot of sense, and which, as a matter of history, DO explain a great deal. Maybe, by doing so, we shortchange ourselves, and the whole world. Maybe we ought to test such theories for beauty -- to fit with facts --- and take plenty of care to see that the facts fit together.

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