[F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    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.

Earliest Messages Previous Messages Recent Messages Outline (909 previous messages)

rshow55 - 03:43pm Mar 28, 2002 EST (#910 of 921) Delete Message

rshowalter - 06:00am May 22, 2001 EST (#4136 of 4138) Robert Showalter

"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, hardworking place.

"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."

rshow55 - 03:44pm Mar 28, 2002 EST (#911 of 921) Delete Message

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 other.

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.

almarst-2001 - 03:47pm Mar 28, 2002 EST (#912 of 921)

"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 "American interests".

rshow55 - 03:55pm Mar 28, 2002 EST (#913 of 921) Delete Message

almarst-2001 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 3/18/02 11:13am

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.

More Messages Recent Messages (8 following messages)

 Read Subscriptions  Subscribe  Search  Post Message
 Email to Sysop  Your Preferences

 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  / Missile Defense

Home | Site Index | Site Search | Forums | Archives | Shopping

News | Business | International | National | New York Region | NYT Front Page | Obituaries | Politics | Quick News | Sports | Science | Technology/Internet | Weather
Editorial | Op-Ed

Features | Arts | Automobiles | Books | Cartoons | Crossword | Games | Job Market | Living | Magazine | Real Estate | Travel | Week in Review

Help/Feedback | Classifieds | Services | New York Today

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company