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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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rshow55 - 04:05pm Mar 14, 2002 EST (#538 of 547) Delete Message shows a very effective poster which includes this quote:

" Why of course the people don't want war -- but after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship . . Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country. ......... Hermann Goering - Nuremberg Trials.

The poster also includes passages from President Bush's State of the Union Adress.

We need a sense of proportion. Leaders may or may not be right, but it should not be "too easy" for a nation to be brought to their bidding.

On issues where facts matter, including missile defense, facts need to be checked.

lchic - 04:32pm Mar 14, 2002 EST (#539 of 547)

From the stance of power ...
looking down ...
watching the waterfall flow fast over the rocks of departments, services ..
government may look powerful and smooth.

From the stance of an individual ...
looking from the very bottom of the waterfall ...
UP ...
through all the government agents and servants ..
layers of departmental bureaucracy ...
looking up ..
it's complex ..
a climb ..
few footholds ..
water pounding on you ..
hitting you ...
knocking you back
to the bottom of the pool as you fall.
Looking up can be
filled with unknown maze routes ...
which lead through? ..
which a dead end cul de sac? ..
the ordinary citizen may have a very hard
time of it -
trying to negotiate
with or through power --
especially when a leadership isn't working for
improvements for the people.

almarst-2001 - 05:34pm Mar 14, 2002 EST (#540 of 547)

The American Way? 100,000 People Perished, but Who Remembers? -

rshow55 - 07:16pm Mar 14, 2002 EST (#541 of 547) Delete Message

It seems to me that many of the key arguments about missile defense are not getting through to enough people because these arguments aren't being well enough explained - ideally with words, pictures, and ways of illustrating proportion together.

We need some "islands of technical fact" to be determined, beyond reasonable doubt, in a clear context.

We need those "islands" to be clear, at a level beyond politics - - at a level where people with very different interests and feelings can refer to "the same page" - and a page including points that can be both widely understood, and widely trusted.

Here are key questions that I feel need to be answered and illustrated, to the standards of clarity that work for real clarity -- standards that are achieved in good, well illustrated science writing, and in courts of law:


. How technically challenging are the missile defense programs that have been set out in public (laser and midcourse interception ) in terms of what is known, and what has been achieved, in the open engineering and scientific literature? To work, these systems have to do specific things, and do these things together. Are the technical objectives these systems have to meet reasonable in terms of known laws of physics, and relevant experience in engineering?

. If function of these systems requires breakthroughs, compared to previous open literature theory or experience --- what are these breakthroughs? How do the results needed compare quantitatively to results that have been achieved in the open literature? If breakthroughs are required, how do they compare to test results that have been made available to date?

The MD programs need to be evaluated in a reasonable tactical context, subject to the countermeasures that can reasonably be expected and specified.

lchic - 07:17pm Mar 14, 2002 EST (#542 of 547)

I knew of the Dresden fire bombing ..

    Film: The War Game 1960's
    Announcing the decision to hold back The War Game in 1965, the BBC explained that the film was too horrifying for the medium of broadcasting, expressing a particular concern for "children, the very old or the unbalanced."
I was unaware of the fire bombing of Tokyo ..

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