[F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.

Earliest Messages Previous Messages Recent Messages Outline (157 previous messages)

rshow55 - 02:54pm Mar 3, 2002 EST (#158 of 180) Delete Message

That logic was very well illustrated in

Bush 2000 Adviser Offered To Use Clout to Help Enron By Joe Stephens Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, February 17, 2002

" Just before the last presidential election, Bush campaign adviser Ralph Reed offered to help Enron Corp. deregulate the electricity industry by working his "good friends" in Washington and by mobilizing religious leaders and pro-family groups . . .

From Stephens' article:

"Reed's memo stresses that his firm's "long history of organizing these groups makes us ideally situated to build a broad coalition" benefiting Enron. He said Enron's arguments for deregulation were less important than commanding attention by enlisting the aid of elected officials' friends and supporters.

" "There are certain people -- a friend or family member, key party person, civic or business leader, or major donor -- whose correspondence must be presented to the [elected] official for his personal reading and response," Reed wrote.

"Such prominent figures could act as surrogates for Enron while pressing lawmakers to rewrite statutes, Reed said.

""We have the capacity to generate dozens of high-touch letters from an elected official's strongest supporters and the most influential opinion leaders in his district," he wrote. "Elected officials and regulators will be predisposed to favor greater market-oriented solutions if they hear from business, civic, and religious leaders in their communities."

" Reed's memo said his organization had a record of harnessing the "minority community" and the "faith community" to support his clients.

" "Reed proposed two lobbying strategies, one costing $177,000 and the other $386,500.

" "I will assume personal responsibility for the overall vision and strategy of the project," he wrote. "I have long-term friendships with many members of Congress."

" Reed proposed sending 20 "facilitating letters" to each of 17 members of the congressional commerce committees that handle deregulation. Under the proposal, Enron would pay Reed's firm $170,000 for generating the letters, each signed by a third party.

"Reed asked Enron to pay his firm $25,000 to generate letters to the editors of newspapers, each signed by a prominent figure. "These op-eds and letters are then blast faxed to elected officials, opinion leaders and civic activists for use in their own letters and public statements." He said his firm had recently "placed" opinion pieces in The Washington Post and the New York Times.

"A $79,500 telemarketing campaign would have cold-called citizens and offered to immediately patch them through to Congress.

" "For one recent client, we generated more calls to a U.S. Senate office than had been received since impeachment" of President Bill Clinton, he wrote. "The result was a major victory for the client."

" Finally, Reed said he had enjoyed "great success" in using conservative news-talk programs to spread his clients' message to "faith-based activists."

" "Our public relations team has extensive experience booking guests on talk radio shows, and has excellent working relationships with many hosts," he wrote, proposing a $30,000 fee.

" We look forward to working with Enron," he said.

These tactics have long been used, to enormous effect, by people involved in military contracting and the "military industrial complex" -- and the incentives to bias action from the rational interest of the United States are great, with military expenditure amounting to about half a billion dollars per congressman and senator every year.

rshow55 - 03:02pm Mar 3, 2002 EST (#159 of 180) Delete Message

We should also understand that, to an important degree - - they are doing what most of their constituents want them to do -- according to patterns that have evolved since Truman's time. The "military industrial complex" is powerful, it has interests and patterns much different from the ones American usually express -- and it can go beyond the power of presidents.

An important fact about the military-industrial complex is its political history -- where, from Truman's time, and still significantly today, military affairs have been especially important to the politics and the economy of the American South -- and have been dominated by Southerners in the House and Senate.

Senator Zell Miller's The Democratic Party's Southern Problem makes interesting points about the South -- but one major point he does not make is the connection of the South to military interests that have been championed by the Republican party.

In important parts of the South, military interests have powerful backing - - and military expenditures - including "missile defense" expenditures in Newt Gingrich's district -- are politically very important. The political power is not only widespread -- it is also concentrated.

More Messages Recent Messages (21 following messages)

 Read Subscriptions  Subscribe  Search  Post Message
 Email to Sysop  Your Preferences

 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  / Missile Defense

Home | Site Index | Site Search | Forums | Archives | Shopping

News | Business | International | National | New York Region | NYT Front Page | Obituaries | Politics | Quick News | Sports | Science | Technology/Internet | Weather
Editorial | Op-Ed

Features | Arts | Automobiles | Books | Cartoons | Crossword | Games | Job Market | Living | Magazine | Real Estate | Travel | Week in Review

Help/Feedback | Classifieds | Services | New York Today

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company