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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?

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rshow55 - 04:49pm Mar 29, 2002 EST (#943 of 960) Delete Message

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 conflict.

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 G. BLIGHT

" 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 . . .

'Wilson's Ghost': An Anti-Machiavellian Handbook by JAMES CHACE

"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 ....

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 . . .

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."

rshow55 - 04:51pm Mar 29, 2002 EST (#944 of 960) Delete Message

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."

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 12:58am
MD662 rshow55 3/18/02 8:55am ... MD679 rshow55 3/18/02 7:26pm

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