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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 - 03:38pm Apr 3, 2002 EST (#1034 of 1038) Delete Message

McNamara and Blight continue:

" (Kaplan) searched, " for "a paradigm for understanding the world in the early decades of the 21st century." He found none. He did, however, reach this conclusion: "We are not in control."

". . . . Other human beings, people like ourselves, are already burning in Dantean infernos. Whole nation-states are on the brink of collapse. At a minimum, they deserve our sympathy and whatever assistance we can give. But we must also consider the possibility that their fate and ours may be linked to a greater extent than we suppose. How much chaos, turmoil, and killing can occur before the cool islands of tranquility in which we live begin to burn? The Canadian journalist Michael Ignatieff has written that "most of us persist in the belief that while the fires far away are terrible things, we can keep them from our doors, and that while they may consume the roofs of our neighbors, the sparks will never leap to our own." We suggest that the figurative "sparks"órefugees, ethnic killing, disease, chronic political instability, perhaps leading to major war, even nuclear warówill begin to burn down (or at a minimum, severely damage) our own abode long before 300 million people are killed in war in this century.

Comment: This point, made before September 11, is reinforced now.

McNamara and Blight's first chapter ends:

" We propose to confront this danger by action based on a moral imperative.

Comment: Morality is essential. Some additional understanding may be essential too.

rshow55 - 03:40pm Apr 3, 2002 EST (#1035 of 1038) Delete Message

Comment: From the wide perspective McNamara and Blight offer, though the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a small proportion of the agony of the last 100 years (about .13% of the deaths) is is not small. The agony and ugliness is wrenching and beyond an individuals full capacity to understand. At the same time, it seems to me, the conflict contains elements of hope -- as well as much to fear.

Here are two things that give me hope:

1. Lying, deception, and dehumanization are all easy, and much on view in the Middle East, but they are less easy than they used to be.

2. People who, at important levels, want peace are finding that, as they are, and as their situation is - they can't do the things needed, in the real context, to effectively make peace. They are finding this in public, and under pressure. It is clear that good people using current understandings and procedures are getting stumped. The perception is widening and deepening that there is an unsatisfactory situation here that needs to be understood , dealt with , and solved.

What might have to be added to the argument that war should be obsolete, made 90 years ago, that would make that argument effective? Perhaps not so much. We need to be better than we are, when it counts, about facing facts. For technical reasons, and perhaps moral reasons as well, it is getting easier for us to "connect the same dots" so that, on issues that matter enough, we're "reading off the same page" -- whether we like the facts or not. We may also be getting closer to learning, really understanding, really facing, basic facts about how easily and brutally and bravely people fight - - how natural it is, under too-common circumstrances, for people to fight to the death, and kill effectively and coldly. If we understood this, we might master the basic etiology of war -- and make wars both less likely and less costly.

With weapons of mass destruction too-widely available, we've got good reasons to work to do this -- because we face risks that stunts like "missile defense" can't address
MD14-15 rshow55 3/1/02 6:07pm ... MD84 rshow55 3/2/02 10:52am
- but that more insight might be able to.

mazza9 - 04:07pm Apr 3, 2002 EST (#1036 of 1038)
Louis Mazza

lchic and Rshow55:

What is the justification for walking into a seder dinner and blowing up innocent men, women and children?


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