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    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?

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rshow55 - 02:53pm Mar 5, 2002 EST (#220 of 235) Delete Message

An index, and a taxonomy, and a sense of how the human beings involved live -- in all the ways that matter -- and what one might do, practically, in a way acceptable to almost everyone involved, to move things step by step to better patterns.

Assistance needs to be timely, appropriately focused, and work for the people as they are, in the sociotechnical systems involved.

And at some level - over some time -- the patterns that improve things have to "pay their way" -- and be sustainable, and on balance, rewarding or satifying to all major players.

How do you make a society better - in really practical ways, for the people involved, and for where that society is?

rshow55 - 02:56pm Mar 5, 2002 EST (#221 of 235) Delete Message

I've been worrying about the following question, since it is very connected with wars and other horrors.

How do you avoid situations where fictions work very well, for the internal organization of a society -- for a while -- but do so on the basis of fictions and conventions that have terrible results later?

I find the question compelling -- because there are patterns that work "well" for economic growth, and for "social welfare" within restricted groups -- that are dangerous -- and the Nazis knew them well.

THE CASE AGAINST THE NAZIS . . . Week in Review January 13, 2002 http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/13/weekinreview/13WORD.html

contains this:

One of the leading United States investigators at Nuremberg, Gen. William J. Donovan Wild Bill Donovan of the O.S.S., the C.I.A.s precursor collected and cataloged trial evidence in 148 bound volumes of personal papers that were stored after his death in 1959 at Cornell University.

At Cornell, I spent perhaps 1,000 hours looking at those documents, and had just about any questions I asked about the Nazis answered. I wanted to know what could be used by Americans, to make things work in the national interest.

One thing that interested me a great deal is how the Nazis used the mechanisms of government power, propaganda, and inter-relations, financial and social, many informal, between political and business people.

At the level of corporate, government, and cultural relations, there are many similarities between countries -- many of the patterns that worked in Germany apply, at the level of structure, to the United States, too. Corporate and political forms were and are similar - and patterns of system control did and do have many similarities.

"Command economies" or parts of economies, are very similar from place to place, because the social arrangements and technical jobs to be done are similar from place to place -- and to answer almarst's questions about the US military-industrial-political complex, I've been thinking hard about previous such combines - including some before WWI, and those of the combattants during WWII.

I'm not sure anyone, no matter how much they learn, will ever be able to achieve much more sustained economic growth than the Nazis achieved from 1934-1941 . That fact isn't pretty, but it is a fact worth remembering.

Fictions, including insanely dangerous ones, can hold societies together for limited but still extended times -- and work very well.

Then explode.

Wars, horrors, and muddles always include a severe imbalance, or mistake -- based on one or more fictions.

A problem is that all societies, at one level or another, have unproven assumptions that can be, and often are "fictions." An open season on "fictions" isn't humanly workable. All societies would fall apart without "fictions."

But consideration of the consequences of assumptions needs to happen much more often than it does, if people are to live together, in prosperity and peace.

. . .

It would be much safer and better, for the US and other countries, if the assumptions behind "missile defense" and our nuclear arrangements were matched against checkable facts - - and made more clear, to all concerned.

rshow55 - 03:08pm Mar 5, 2002 EST (#222 of 235) Delete Message

My computer got shut down for me . . I feel this happens at nonrandom times.

rshow55 - 03:17pm Mar 5, 2002 EST (#223 of 235) Delete Message

The North Korean government is the monstrosity and horror that it is in large part because of fictions - - and is also an example of how people, when challenged, will fight, even when more peaceful alternatives would be far, far better.

Iran and Iraq are dangerous to us, and bad for their own people, for reasons that essentially involve fictions.

Al Queda is only sustainable by fictions .

And people all over the world are worried about some of the disproportions that have worried almarst , and that worry people at the New York Times MD150 rshow55 3/3/02 10:15am

The Uses of American Power http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/03/opinion/03SUN1.html

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