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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 - 09:01pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#840 of 868) Delete Message

In the case of Iraq, as I understand it, they agreed , in an armistance, to not have weapons of mass destruction. The Iraqis have done a lot of fancy threatening, first and last. A pure argument of "nation-state sovereignty" moves me only so much with respect to Saddam - and I beleive the argument has limited appeal in most of the world.

In the case of N. Korea, we are dealing with a mess, where an ugly war was never ended. We're still at war with North Korea - and that ought to be changed. But for now, if they're threatening us and our allies with weapons of mass destruction, crazy as they are, we have a right, not only to be concerned, but to act if that is reasonable considering the whole situation.

My sense of reasonable scorekeeping matches Kristof's in A merciful war . . . What's wanted is a mix of reasonable self interest, and a reasonable concern for "the greatest good for the greatest number. By that standard there is a lot that the US ought to be sorry for -- and a lot it ought to repair.

But that's another question.

With respect to Saddam's Iraq, or Pol Pot's Cambodia, "the sanctity of sovereignty" is one issue - but not the only one.

Personally, I wish Saddam would open his country up to inspectors - UN inspectors - or Russians under very clear UN command - - who would make sure that Saddam is not preparing or stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. That would be a lot better than military action against him. Kristof suggested another alternative today in Try Suing Saddam - - - an alternative that might be well used to discipline the United States, on some other issues.

As for North Korea, diplomacy is making some limited progress. How wonderful it would be if the N. Korea agreed to make peace with the South, and as part of the agreement the US withdrew its troops. Withdrew the troops, and took the money it now spends stationing troops there, and spent it on the peace. Spent that money on a mix of aid and inspections. Inspections insuring that N. Korea did not threaten us or our neighbors, with the balance, if any, spent on aid that met the human needs of that ravanged and unfortunate country. Russian or Chinese inspectors, supervised by the UN, might do the inspecting. The mix of aid to inspections might be determined by treaty - in a way that insured the safety of all concerned, and made everybody better off, for no more money than the US is spending now.

Maybe that's pie in the sky - -but I'm not sure why, just now.

Almarst , we don't have to agree on all fundamentals to agree on enough for the world to be a whole lot better than it is.

It seems to me that we have to learn how to make peace better than we have in the past. You're right that nobody should start wars. But fights start. It seems to me that we need to control the damage, and keep fights from happening whenever we can.

Almarst , we don't agree on everything, but I bet we agree that there's plenty of room for improvement.

What would you think about peacekeeping troops in the Middle East ?

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