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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?

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

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lchic - 01:52am Mar 13, 2002 EST (#427 of 484)

Greg Smith - genius for PEACE :

    ... Greg responded to the turmoil around him by using the world's interest in a child genius to campaign against violence. "There was enormous violence in my high school. Armed security patrolled the halls. Fights broke out," Greg remembers. When he started speaking out for peace, though, "a lot of people thought what I was saying was true and supported me."
    ... Until then, the family had eschewed publicity, but now, intent on promoting his cause, Greg began appearing on "Oprah" and "Letterman," where he smiled politely as his famous hosts fawned over the pint-size prodigy. It was only a matter of time before Greg drew the attention of a small group of Nobel laureates who saw in him their perfect spokeschild.
    ... Greg has made the acquaintance of a handful of Nobel peace laureates. Because Greg had a previous speaking engagement in Denver, he had to decline an invitation from the Dalai Lama, but he hopes to have another chance. He has discussed current events with world leaders, lunched with Mikhail Gorbachev and Queen Noor, shaken hands in the Oval Office with President Clinton, and been blessed by tribal elders in a desolate African village. His simple appeal for nonviolence and human rights for children has mushroomed into a philanthropic foundation called International Youth Advocates, with young representatives around the world speaking out on behalf of the world's innocents. Last year alone, Greg Smith traveled to six countries on four continents to lobby on behalf of children whose lives have been shattered by war and violence and poverty. He writes and delivers eloquent speeches and personally answers some of the thousand-plus e-mails and letters he receives each week.

wrcooper - 08:16am Mar 13, 2002 EST (#428 of 484)

MIT's Technology Review devotes a large portion of its April issue to missile defense. Read the intro to Theodore Postol's article critical of the program. You have to buy the mag or pay $4.50 online to read the entire ~5,000-wd piece.

lchic - 08:25am Mar 13, 2002 EST (#429 of 484)

    from above: On June 23, 1997, a prototype of a U.S. military “kill vehicle” designed to intercept nuclear missiles lifted off from a launch pad on the South Pacific atoll of Kwajalein. Its purpose was not to seek out and destroy. Instead, it was to fly by and observe a group of objects that had been launched into space more than 20 minutes earlier from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Santa Barbara, CA, almost 8,000 kilometers away—and determine whether it was possible to distinguish a cloud of decoys from the mock warhead they protected.
    It was a big day for nuclear missile defense. Since the decoys used in this experiment were of very simple design, if the experiment showed that the warhead could not be reliably identified, it could mean the whole Star Wars defense plan would for all practical purposes be unworkable, since the most primitive of adversaries could defeat it with the simplest of decoys. Of even greater importance, it would also be a clear demonstration of the fundamental physical reasons why any missile defense that relied on kill vehicles of this type could never be successful.
    It worked—at least that’s what we were told. But shortly after the experiment flew, three courageous people—a former employee of defense contractor TRW turned whistle-blower, a TRW retiree and a U.S. Department of Defense investigator—brought new evidence to light (see “Postol vs. the Pentagon”). Their information, coupled with my own investigation and repeated calls for a full accounting from U.S. representatives Howard Berman and Edward Markey, pointed to a different story—one of failure, a finding seemingly confirmed this February by a draft of a Government Accounting Office follow-on study, as reported by the journal Science. I believe that the top management of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (previously known as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization) and its contractors have misrepresented or distorted the results derived from the experiment and rigged the follow-on test program that continues to this day. These deliberate actions have hidden the system’s critical vulnerabilities from the White House, Congress and the American citizens whom the missile defense program was supposed to protect.

lchic - 08:30am Mar 13, 2002 EST (#430 of 484)

Four Corners asks whether the missile defence umbrella will fulfil its mission in stopping attacks on the US fr ... the physicist who first blew the whistle on alleged fraud in missile defence tests results, Theodore Postol. see 'Rogue State'

lchic - 09:06am Mar 13, 2002 EST (#431 of 484)

Postal spoke the truth
Postal spoke out
Postal was threatened
That his zone of MIT
Would have funding

almarst-2001 - 10:16am Mar 13, 2002 EST (#432 of 484)

"funding Removed"

Kill the messanger?

almarst-2001 - 10:25am Mar 13, 2002 EST (#433 of 484)

MD or Not, the Space is on the way to be converted from the Military Observation and Spying Post into the Ground Attack Base - "Odissey 2020".

almarst-2001 - 11:00am Mar 13, 2002 EST (#434 of 484)

MAD - The loaded GUN is the best equalizer between Mike Tyson and Woody Allen. That may keep both of them alive even if not being able to find a common langauge;)

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