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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 - 06:41am Mar 20, 2002 EST (#705 of 715)

boondoggle : -


    I'm wonder how the Republicans are going to try to cover their as*ses on this one. The anti-ICBM system has been a boondoggle and pipe-dream from the start, and it's continued funding has tested Clinton's pretence of being a liberal or progressive. He must kill the program now, but it would surprise me if he didn't. Money would be better spent developing a Zeppelin fleet. Keep up the good work, Jerry
    A zeppelin fleet would probably be more effective, as there would be a better chance of collision with the incoming missile due to the zeppelin's larger size. For more details, read here about the boondoggle.
    We assessed the full missile defense system the United States is planning - not just the first phase planned for 2005 - and assumed only that it is constrained by the laws of physics.

    lchic - 06:46am Mar 20, 2002 EST (#706 of 715)

      On visiting Troop Eight, the all-New York State-group, we were accepted into the "Order of the Boondoggle." We felt greatly honored as a boondoggle, a braided leather lanyard the famous product of the Rochester Scouts—was placed around our necks and we were greeted with eardrum-splitting yells. We were then released and permitted to see the camp with its clever arrangement of bakeshell tents and an ingenious shower-bath.

    lchic - 06:51am Mar 20, 2002 EST (#707 of 715)

    ti: To the Nuclear Lighthouse

      Nuclear weapons are irrational devices. They were rationalized and accepted as a desperate measure in the face of circumstances that were unimaginable. Now as the world evolves rapidly, I think that the vast majority of people on the face of the earth will endorse the proposition that such weapons have no place among us.
    former commander, Strategic Air Command

    rshow55 - 07:42am Mar 20, 2002 EST (#708 of 715) Delete Message

    There has to be a fight - with "real chips" and "real injuries" -- to get arguments well set out, thought out, and clear, from Butler and many others listened to and acted on.

    There has to be a fight. People have to stand. Decisions have to be come to.

    It doesn't have to be a nuclear exchange - or any military exchange.

    But it will have to take some force.

    And "Set 'em up, so they cannot run away" will be a crucial part of it.

    Since the very first day I've been on this thread I've been working to set up fights --getting them set up -- and finding that, lacking force - there would be no decisions - so patterns of ideas have been "set aside for further use" -- until thre is a way to get the relevant folks "pinned down" for treatment which Aristotle would approve of.

    The question isn't -- are we involved with fights? It is: What fights - - to what ends, and with what conventions and limits? We can't run away - and avoid fights. If we do, we are implicitly choosing the fights we'll be involved in -- and choosing to lose them.

    We're in a situation where one more eloquent and witty column by Dowd or Friedman isn't going to make a decisive difference -- though it may help set up conditions. There has to be a fight -- where the other side cannot run away.

    rshow55 - 08:36am Mar 20, 2002 EST (#709 of 715) Delete Message

    Last July 4th, lchic and I worked very hard - - - it was an interesting time on this board. On July 8, Serge Schmemann wrote a wonderful Week in Review piece:

    WORD FOR WORD / The Long Gray Line For Tomorrow's Army, Cadets Full of Questions by SERGE SCHMEMANN

    I found a lead in quote moving, and very relevant to circumstances at the time, and circumstances today. It seems to me that there needs to be a fight about matters of proportion -- and about things that have been done -- and that the ethical position in MacArthur's speech deserve careful considation --- because they express the role of a class that is important, but that needs to have a subordinated role. Here is MacArthur, speaking to cadets.

    " Your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable — it is to win our wars. All other public purposes will find others for their accomplishment. Yours is the profession of arms — the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that the very obsession of your public service must be duty, honor, country."

    MacArthur spoke those words after he'd been relieved of command by Truman -- for wanting to widen a war where he'd already ordered the fire bombing of cities, and the destruction of dikes, that killed more than 2 million Koreans in the North -- almost all of them civilians.

    Some reservations about MacArthur's position -- concern about its subordination -- a subordination that, in a sense, MacArthur assumes, were expressed in President Eisenhower's Farewell Address

    Schememann reported that cadets wondered, as they must continue to wonder, what MacArthur's words mean, and in what ways they should and should not be followed today. We should, too.

    MacArthur insisted on the importance of technically correct answers - clearly transmitted and WE SHOULD, TOO.

    We should also be concerned about a disproportion between war-fighting and "all other public purposes."

    The issue of subversion ought to be directly raised, it seems to me.

    The very worst things Eisenhower warned of have already happened.

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