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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 - 08:22pm Mar 23, 2002 EST (#789 of 791) Delete Message

lchic 3/23/02 8:05pm . . should be much less of it. For that, we need to understand more, and use more of what we already understand.

Wonderful piece in the NYT today:

Debate? Dissent? Discussion? Oh, Don't Go There! By MICHIKO KAKUTANI http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/23/arts/23STUD.html

It contains a lot of wonderful stuff -- I was struck especially with this line:

" the Internet, which instead of leading to a global village, has created a multitude of self-contained tribes - niche cultures in which like-minded people can talk to like-minded people and filter out information that might undermine their views."

That explains a great deal about how the optimistic, bouyant argument in Thomas L. Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree falls short -- and the optimistic, simplistic claims for "globalization" have fallen short. Friedman and many others didn't think enough about the barriers to communication that the new communication technologies do not strip away.

We have to think about them now.

When facts matter enough for practical reasons, and involve large enough costs and risks to enough people, we have to find ways to keep people from filtering out information that causes dangerous misunderstandings. That doesn't have to happen too often - - but on key issues of missile defense -- the costs and risks are high enough. They are high enough in a number of other places, too.

For society to go on, people have to agree - and have to be forced , if necessary, to obey certain rules. We have laws, and must. People make no apologies about that, in many cases -- because it is necessary. On some key issues, where safety and reasonable function demand it -- people are going have to be forced to deal with the same information.

I think the last 30 posting on this thread have been especially interesting. Especially MD766 almarst-2001 3/22/02 12:54pm and MD 771 rshow55 3/22/02 1:39pm which cites a challenge that gisterme responded to.

When groups of people can "filter out" key pieces of information, the truth can be too weak, and results can be disastrous.

We have to learn to do better than that - because we have reason to know what incomprehension costs. TURNING AWAY FROM THE HOLOCAUST by Max Frankel Nov 14, 2001 .. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/14/specials/onefifty/20FRAN.html Survival, and much else we care about, rests in the balance.

When things are complicated enough, truth is our only hope of finding our ways to decent solutions. That means we have to find ways to keep people from "filter(ing) out information that might undermine their views."

Challenge, questions, and invokation of the need for force:
MD728 rshow55 3/20/02 7:58pm ... MD729 rshow55 3/20/02 8:32pm
MD730 rshow55 3/20/02 8:37pm

Counterchallenge:
MD764 gisterme 3/22/02 12:34pm

Comment and response:
MD780 manjumicha2001 3/23/02 1:28am ... MD783-784 rshow55 3/23/02 10:15am
MD84 rshow55 3/2/02 10:52am

rshow55 - 08:36pm Mar 23, 2002 EST (#790 of 791) Delete Message

You'd think that the information in the March 13 OpEd Advertorial http://www.tompaine.com/op_ads/opad.cfm/ID/5241 , along with the fine references from good sources that accompany it,, would destroy the "Star Wars" boondoggle. You'd think that the information in this thread, and the responses of MD system supporters would destroy "Star Wars." But it isn't going to happen without some more force behind it.

Here, in its way, was a very forceful statement, by a man who is a pillar of scientific and administrative accomplishment. A man with other things to do besides write on missile defense.

Can Missile Defense Work? by Steven Weinberg http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15132 The New York Review of Books February 14, 2002 ... Weinberg thinks that, in a weak sense, which he calls a "pure" sense, the programs might work -- that is, meet unrealistically defined program goals, rather than tactically interesting goals.

Weinberg ends:

" . . In seeking to deploy a national missile defense aimed at an implausible threat, a defense that would have dubious effectiveness against even that threat, and that on balance would harm our security more than it helps it, the Bush administration seems to be pursuing a pure rather than applied missile defenseó a missile defense that is undertaken for its own sake, rather than for any application it may have in defending our country. (emphasis added.)

Is this what you mean by work, gisterme ?

By sensible tactical standards, rather than "pure" standards. . . the MD systems, no matter how many billions are squandered on them, won't work at all. MD36 rshow55 3/1/02 8:12pm

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