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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
(909 previous messages)
- 03:43pm Mar 28, 2002 EST (#910
rshowalter - 06:00am May 22, 2001 EST (#4136 of 4138)
Robert Showalter email@example.com
"Over the weekend, I was in Lafayette Indiana -- Sunday morning I
woke up before dawn, and for about two hours from dawn I had the
pleasure of walking around the Purdue University campus, and the
surrounding cities of West and East Lafayette Indiana. There's a
beautiful walking bridge across the Wabash river between West and
East Lafayette. As I walked, I wished some Russian and Chinese
officials might take a similar walk --just looking at the complex,
orderly, constrained structure in which so much worthwhile American
life goes on. Looking and thinking about how much accomodation might
be possible, but also how complex, in unanticipatable ways, some of
it might well have to be. I thought, as I often do, about nuclear
weapons. when looking at this meticulously laid out, orderly, clean,
"So much to admire here ! Such an interest in order here ! So
much good here.
"A terrible place for uncontrolled explosives intended to
destroy. A terrible place for a suicide bomber. A terrible place to
think of nuclear weapons.
"The people in Lafayette Indiana are, by and large conservative,
hardworking, and decent. By and large, as human animals, disciplined
and accomplished. They care a great deal about neatness in the way
they live their lives.
"Somehow, like other Americans, they feel that they can, morally
and operationally, project power on other people, and the
possessions and cities of other people, by bombing -- by not very
well aimied deliveries of explosives - from B-52's, and sometimes
including nuclear weapons.
Note: That's been moderated a little, in our
fighting in Afghanistan, but remains at the heart of our
willingness to use nuclear weapons -- even as we ask others to
renounce weapons of mass destruction.
"It is a stunning, wrenching blindness. It is, from my
perspective, breatakingly ugly -- and devalues much about America.
"I can't say that I know how Almarst and others feel about
it -- but I think I can imagine some of it, and I sympathize.
"Most Americans now don't have any idea how others feel about
this. The point, somehow, has to be put across - before certain
necessary accomodations, in the interest of everybody alive, are
going to be possible.
"And other nations dealing with the US have to take this
blindness into account, in dealing with us. This blindness, and a
great deal of dishonesty that defends it (for it is not quite
blindness - it is far from innocent) stains the many good things
about the United States, and denies, all over the world, chances for
good that could otherwise occur.
"If this blindness and ruthlessness was not a real concern,
missile defense would be just another technical idea, to be
considered in terms of ordinary risks and costs.
"But because this American blindness and ruthlessness IS an
issue, the whole world has to be concerned about what is being
discussed -- especially because of the inconsistency and evasion of
much of the discourse.
"It is a saving grace that America is now so very vulnerable. All
concerned would be safer if this were more widely understood."
- 03:44pm Mar 28, 2002 EST (#911
After September 11th, Americans understand this vulnerability
more clearly, and for many, as Herbert says, "The sense of horror
and helplessness in the face of unrelenting madness is becoming
overwhelming." I think Herbert is right when he says that
" it is time for all of us to begin searching
for alternatives, to take those first tentative steps toward
insuring that a world inhabited by billions of people remains
reasonably hospitable to life. . . . . . . We need to overcome our
feelings of helplessness, and channel our rage and our anguish
toward constructive ends. "
As of now, the many tribes that inhabit the world do
not have workable agreements on how they treat each
From where we stand, might we not be able to do much
better than we're doing? It seems to me that the answer is yes, and
that it may be a blessing that the missile defense boondoggle is the
mess that it is. Setting out the technical facts and historical
facts of how that mess happened might illustrate very well some of
the workable agreements that we need to come to.
- 03:47pm Mar 28, 2002 EST (#912
"American definitions of what terror is" whenit is
directed against "American interests".
It is anything else the speech writers may come up, if it is
usefull for "American interests".
And the particularely interesting point is the definition of
- 03:55pm Mar 28, 2002 EST (#913
3/28/02 3:42pm is important.
And the definition of "American interests" is vital, too.
US voters can't imagine why others think of us as
"neocolonialists." That needs to be explained.
But the situation is strange - - in some ways as strange
as Enron - - and some facts need to be set out.
Herbert's basic ethical point, which is consistent with much that
almarst has said, is essential.
As of now, the many tribes that inhabit the world do not
have workable agreements on how they treat each other. As of now,
the United States government is setting some terrible examples - and
people all over the world are getting clear about how unacceptable
some of these stances are.
There's reason to hope for progress, in the interest of all
people in the world, including Americans.
There are basic human needs MD667 rshow55
An essential one, for power systems, is a consistent set of
ideas. The current US military industrial complex is based on ideas
that are, in many ways, as corrupted as Enron's -- and that needs to
be made clear. If leaders of nation states outside the US want these
matters clarified, it will happen.
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