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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?
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(942 previous messages)
- 04:49pm Mar 29, 2002 EST (#943
We have to do a lot better than people did in the 20th century.
But I think we can. For peace, it is very good luck that so much of
the US military-industrial complex is in technical disarray, and
involved in frauds.
Patterns that permitted discussion, rather than cut it off, would
help, and we ought to insist on them. In the 1988 presidential
election campaign, George Bush Sr. was asked about "an American
naval blunder in the Persian Gulf (the shooting down of an Iranian
airliner and the abrupt murder of its 242 passangers) . . . . He
refused to answer on the ground that he would "never, never
apologize for the United States of America . . . I don't care what
the facts are."
Source: Lapham's Rules of Influence by
Lewis Lapham, Random House 1999 Introduction ,xxvii
George Bush Sr, president and father of the current president,
former head of the CIA and diplomat, was expressing some de facto
United States "establishment" doctrine. That pattern denies wrong,
avoids correction, and is tailor-made for the generation of bitter
And the costs of conflict are VERY high:
'Wilson's Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and
Catastrophe in the 21st Century' by ROBERT S. McNAMARA and JAMES
" As we look back from the 21st century on the
events of the 20th, we cannot help being struck by the enormity of
the human carnage . . . http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/29/books/chapters/29-1stmcnam.html
'Wilson's Ghost': An Anti-Machiavellian Handbook by JAMES
"Robert S. McNamara and James G. Blight's new book
embraces the Wilsonian notion that American foreign policy must be
grounded on the bedrock of morality .... http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/29/books/review/29CHASET.html
McNamara and Blight are clearly, inescapably right that morality
should be involved in American foreign policy decisions.
That isn't the way it is now. People ought to be outraged, and
insist on getting facts straight, and proportions staight. Some
power is going to be required, because patterns justifying the US
position can, too often, justify anything.
Reason helps here, but beyond a point, world leaders are going to
have to ask for, and insist on, clear and correct answers, involving
matters of fact and proportion. I think we're moving toward that - -
and perhaps the world has moved significantly in that direction in
just the last few days.
Missile defense would be a good place to start, because the
technical issues are so blatantly clear -- the only "hard" part
about understanding the US missile defense program is the "hard"
part of "understanding Enron." How could it be as bad as it
is? It takes some force, and some staff work, to simple, but
distasteful, facts clear. Understanding Enron http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/1/Transcripts/721/4/business/_ENRON-PRIMER.html
. . .
Facts have to be established, and emphasized, not "brushed off"
-- if workable human relations are to be possible -- and the facts
are important enough. Apology may not always be necessary -- but it
is frequently (putting the matter gently) an "option to consider."
- 04:51pm Mar 29, 2002 EST (#944
In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said this:
" I like to believe that people in the long run
are going to do more to promote peace than are governments.
Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these
days governments had better get out of their way and let them have
It has been a long time -- and perhaps, with enough people
interested, some leaders of nations could insist that we get some
facts straight - and figure out how to achieve real peace. For real
peace, as Bob Herbert says . . . "the many tribes that inhabit
this earth are going to have to figure out a way to forge some
workable agreements on how we treat one another."
It is high time, and the agreements needed ought not to be beyond
the wit of man. MD658 almarst-2001
3/17/02 11:06pm ... MD659 lchic
3/18/02 8:55am ... MD679 rshow55
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