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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 - 08:00am Mar 24, 2002 EST (#804 of 818)

    Fuller : ... & ... The people of the earth are in a most dangerous passage. We have only the barest knowledge of each other, after centuries of relative isolation. And a little learning is a dangerous thing. We must move rapidly to reduce the danger, so greatly enhanced by nuclear weapons technology, by learning enough more about each other to overcome the fright of first encounter. Paradoxically, it is technology that makes this awkward passage both necessary and possible.
    The global event here imagined could be financed with one percent of the world's defense budgets. Such an expenditure would surely enhance the security of individual nations, and that is precisely the purpose of national defense budgets.
    The age-old mechanism for transcending civil strife - aligning against an external enemy - is no longer workable. There are no external enemies for all mankind to unite against. Thus, we'll have to transcend global civil war not by allying ourselves with former enemies in the face of a new enemy, but by learning enough about our adversaries to establish forbearance for the differences that have, during these first close encounters, so scared and agitated us.
    The linchpin of forbearance for another people is to identify the truth or value their culture has borne forward through its particular history. And the key to evoking a reciprocal respect is to know the truths exemplified by one's own culture. Both sides must find what they love in what they may at first be inclined to hate. Then, and only then, can two cultures truly meet.

'Fuller by name & fuller by nature !
Showalter some of these points - you've made - do you agree with some/all/most of the above?

lchic - 08:47am Mar 24, 2002 EST (#805 of 818)

Two cultures ... going to .. war
The ARTISTS have seen it all before

rshow55 - 08:49am Mar 24, 2002 EST (#806 of 818) Delete Message

I agree with most, and sympathize with all. Since it is a special Sunday, I feel like posting this.

I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY Words: Henry W. Longfellow, Music: John B. Calkin (taken, with a few deletions, from the web site).

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”


Historical Note: This hymn was written during the American Civil War, as reflected by the sense of despair in the next to last stanza. Stanzas 4-5 speak of the battle, and are usually omitted from hymnals:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

We need to understand , much better than we do, why and how hate is strong. How hate and war happen - - happen so often -- happen so routinely, and stereotypically. Understand these things in sympathetic, but also in clinical and scientific detail. If we did, with communication as good as it is now, and with as much good will as there is around now (hate notwithstanding) we could be far safer than we are -- and the world a far less ugly place.

Lying is entirely natural human activity. So is fighting - including fighting when it is suicidally risky -- including fighting to the death. We need to understand, far better than we do, how human beings do these things -- and why.

The natural pattern is to dehumanize "enemies" and "jealots." That's very unsafe, and misleads us, too.

I thought that No Mere Terrorist By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN . . . was a powerful, constructive but incomplete piece. He is talking about many of the right things, but without more - - we'll have endless fighting - - and we can do better than that. To do so, we have to avoid, much more consciously than we now do, setting up situations where individuals and groups can be relied upon to fight to the death.

The warm human virtues are vital -- and if we are to survive, and do better, we need them to be as powerful as they can be. But they aren't the whole story.

lchic - 09:11am Mar 24, 2002 EST (#807 of 818)

Friedman might note that the word 'Terrorist' is NOT USED by some media outlets who say that a terrorist may be conversely regarded as a brave person, looking for 'change'.

lchic - 11:58am Mar 24, 2002 EST (#808 of 818)

Cp Forum: Global Warming : Talking Point BBC there is a sense of hopelessness amongst individuals who believe governments should do MORE and feel ashamed that they don't!

almarst-2001 - 01:27pm Mar 24, 2002 EST (#809 of 818)

In regard to Mr. Friedman' "solution" for Afganistan: Encountering the Taliban -,8599,219755,00.html

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