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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 - 10:22pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#853 of 868) Delete Message

almarst-2001 3/26/02 10:10pm

" I don't believe the problem can be solved untill the nations involved believe it's solved. They will not bend to the rules of peacekeeping army."

I agree. But this time, I think there's reason to believe that both sides would profit from peacekeepers. To deal with small but unruly minorities. For law and order - agreed to by all the major players.

A lot more stable with them than without them. You'll notice that I suggested Russian and American troops, under UN command - - not neocolonialism. And not there, except by the agreement of both the Israelis and the Palestinians. As stabilizers of an agreement such as that set out in Draft of Saudi Peace Initiative - - - with the parties in agreement -- I think peacekeepers might be an essential part of a workable package.

lchic - 10:24pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#854 of 868)

Michael Moore has Number ONE best selling book - on GWB,7369,674700,00.html

lchic - 10:27pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#855 of 868)

The book, serialised in Guardian Weekend on Saturday, is an energetic rant about the state of the nation with the president as its number one target. Moore calls for the United Nations to overthrow the "Bush family junta" and describes the president as the "Idiot-in-Chief".

    He tells his readers: "The bad guys are just a bunch of silly, stupid white men. And there's a helluva lot more of us than there are of them".
    Moore is elated by the success of the book. "People have had it with keeping silent for the past six months," he wrote in an email to supporters. "They resent having felt like if they chose to question what the government is up to or, God forbid, dissent, they would somehow be considered unpatriotic."

lchic - 10:31pm Mar 26, 2002 EST (#856 of 868)

Bush's nuke bandwagon
Richard Norton-Taylor Wednesday March 27, 2002
The Guardian

When America's new "nuclear posture review" was leaked last month, the Bush administration was furious. It let the cat out of the bag. Here was the Pentagon laying down policy in a classified document which blurs the long-accepted distinction between nuclear and non- nuclear weapons. It foresees the use of nuclear weapons against targets able to withstand attacks by conventional weapons - such as underground bunkers which could be attacked by the "mini-nukes" US scientists are designing.

It adds that nukes could be used "in the event of surprising military developments". Even more chilling, the Pentagon unashamedly seeks to embrace the moral ground - new kinds of nuclear warheads, it says, could actually "reduce collateral damage". What it is saying is that small nuclear weapons might kill fewer civilians than conventional weapons.

Such an assertion flies in the face of all scientific studies about the horrendous consequences of radiation, even from a low-yield nuke striking a deep underground bunker. It also ignores the huge dangers in lowering the nuclear threshold by treating nukes like any other war-fighting weapon, driving a coach and horses through the internationally accepted principle, based on both moral and practical considerations, that nukes are qualitatively different and - so nuclear weapons powers claim - are to there to deter, not to use.

A merican military commanders have for years contemplated the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear targets, including "non-state actors", ie terrorist groups which possess chemical or biological weapons. But as the defence analyst, Dan Plesch, put it yesterday, by developing a missile defence system and new nukes, the Bush administration is "extending the notion of casualty-free war to nuclear war".

Bush and the US Congress are warming to those military planners and scientists who were previously dismissed as off-the-wall hawks. Only last week John Foster, a senior American nuclear scientist, asked Congress to allow nuclear tests to start within three months, rather than three years, of a request (the US is not party to the comprehensive test ban treaty). The US, meanwhile, has stopped converting its nuclear cruise missiles to conventional weapons.

Washington's new policy directly contradicts the so-called "negative security assurances", the official policy of the US, whereby Washington has pledged to "not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear weapon state unless that state attacks the US or its allies in association with a nuclear-weapons state". Asked recently whether that was Bush's policy, John Bolton - one of the administration's sharpest-clawed hawks, despite his job as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, replied: "I don't think we are of the view that this kind of approach is necessarily the most productive... [It] doesn't seem to me to be terribly helpful in analysing what our security needs may be in the real world."

Far from distancing himself from his American counterparts, Geoff Hoon, Britain's defence secretary, is enthusiastically jumping on - or being pulled along by Bush's nuke bandwagon. Hoon told the Commons defence committee last week: "I am absolutely confident, in the right conditions, we would be willing to use our nuclear weapons." However, he also said he was less confident that they would deter "states of concern" - a reference to Iraq in particular - threatening or attacking Britain with weapons of mass destruction. On Sunday's ITV Jonathan Dimbleby show, he insisted that the government "reserved the right" to use nuclear weapons if Britain or British troops were threatened by chemical or biological weapons.

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