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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 - 05:38pm Mar 17, 2001 EST (#1129 of 1130) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

War-vain glorious war gives silent approval to every sin on the face of the earth. It justifies acts against the enemy that are precisely anti-thetical to what is accepted inside the society.

The truth is bad enough and in some respects we must allow the truth hold center stage.

People can be guilty and victims at ONCE.

People can be monsters and good people at ONCE - in different aspects of their lives, or at different times.

An article that muddles this was published today

which argued that because the Poles were victims themselves, they weren't guilty, or anyway, not very guilty, about what they did about to the Jews in WWII .

Life isnt that simple. It isnt that easy. There is no contradiction. Only the compexities of the human condition.

The Japanese somehow feel that the horrors that they perpertrated in WWII - among them atrocious crimes against women,

Rape Camp -- by Dawn Riley

can't be remembered, because somehow that would make the good things in Japanese culture unthinkable. Japan may be having problems now, because, here and in a lot of other ways, they are telling lies. Lies that keep them from facing more complex realities.

rshowalter - 05:38pm Mar 17, 2001 EST (#1130 of 1130) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The problems of Russia, and the problems of dealing with the horrors of the Cold War, and the miserable way it is continued, are morally hard enough. Because much of the truth is ugly. But the ugliness is not unthinkable, if one recognizes that one is not dealing with contradiction, but complexity, then one is dealing with situations where there is some hope of better action in the future. The ugliness of the past should not be forgotten, and it must be dealt with -- but it need not paralyze us.

The ugliness may involve crimes that need to be uncovered and punished. Or situations where only a secular redemptive solution is possible, or reasonable. In the situations that Russia faces, and the world faces, and America faces, it seems to me that there are some of each kind, and problems that require both approaches.

But, so long as people can understand the past well enough so that they can learn from it, and react in terms of a workable system of agreed upon facts, society can function well, and justly. For complicated enough situations, the only safe and reliable "system of agreed-upon-facts" has to be true.

The Russians, for decades, have been insisting in nuclear arms talks on a clear statement of historical facts. Americans have resisted. The Russians have been right on this matter. To go on, one needs the truth. Anything else is too likely to mislead in an unpredictable future, where people must act and cooperate on the basis of what they believe.

A sense of odds, of the reasons why truth is needed, is partly a technical matter. Let me digress, and say a few things about "complexity" as Kline defined it -- a sense, I feel, that gives TECHNICAL reasons why lies are damaging not only morally, but practically, too.

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