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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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almarst-2001 - 12:23pm Apr 6, 2002 EST (#1150 of 1164) - "America spends a staggering 40% of all the money the world spends on defence. The Pentagon's budget is now over ten times that of the next biggest military spender in NATO (Britain). "

What for?

rshow55 - 12:39pm Apr 6, 2002 EST (#1151 of 1164) Delete Message

Not even the Americans know.

Japan offers a clarifying analogy here, I believe.

Japan, with US guidance, set up a sociotechnical system, with careful rules and, within a certain pattern, checks and balances. For a time, it was THE great success story of Asia.

But a time came where the rules and patterns themselves started generating terrible decisions -- groups got themselves into cul-de-sacs - under rules where they couldn't turn around -- couldn't admit mistakes, couldn't change what had to be changed -- and for a decade, Japan has been an amazing example of an economy and society disappointing to its citizens, and to others.

The United States military, and the military-industrial-political complex, have gotten themselves in a mess -- in some ways "honestly" -- in some ways not honestly at all - - and the "system" is slambanging into disaster, setting up unnecessary fights and pain, and wasting astounding amounts of resources.

In my view, the United States, alone, can't fix some of its key problems unless other nation states ask some key questions - - and force some answers. Answers that would be distinctly in the interest of the United States as a nation -- but which, as of now, the US is incapable of getting alone, as it is.

Some of the biggest problems are "simple" once one finally understands some key truths, which may be distasteful to look at. The case of Enron is an example. In The Great Divide , Paul Krugman suggests that we're at "the ending an era of laxity." To some extent, in ways that are a credit to the United States (and the New York Times) I think that's proven to be true. But we've got farther to go.

The question "what for?" needs to be answered about US military policy - including missile defense, nuclear weapons, and much else. Problems Bill Casey was terribly concerned about remain problems -- and there need to be workable answers - in a workably true context. I've been trying to lay some groundwork toward that - and have sometimes had an anxious time while doing so.

rshow55 - 04:47pm Apr 6, 2002 EST (#1152 of 1164) Delete Message

MD1135 manjumicha2001 4/5/02 10:54pm . . asks

So who were your investors on the project with Cline? and how old are you now?

I'll be 54 this month. If someone were interested, for a reason they could explain to me, I would get them a list of my investors in the "Automotive Engine Associates" project, which went on (depending on accounting, but with carry-over of investors) between 1971 and 1984. And any background that might interest them, with ways to crosscheck much of it. Major investors and supporters were The Johns Hopkins University (I dealt a good deal with the Vice Provost of that time, Richard Zdanis), the Wisconsin Alumnae Research Foundation of the University of Wisconsin, and a some very fine people, some of whom I cared about a great deal as associates and friends. All of these people were honest, careful, and loyal. It was an honor to know them, and I wish, not only for selfish reason, but personally, that I could have done much better by them. Investers around the Madison Wisconsin area are a fair cross-section of the "establishment" in the area - and two of my largest investors, and for a time, close friends, were Frederick Mohs, an attorney and Regent of the University of Wisconsin, and John Petersen III, who chairs the committee that looks over the pension funds for the State of Wisconsin.

For a time, the partnership employed Thomas J. Feaheny. formerly V.P., Engineering, Ford Motor Company, as well as Steve Kline, who took a half time leave from his Stanford professorship to work on the project. In the bankrupcy, in 1984, Steve lost over 40,000 dollars in accrued salary, and I was most grateful that, from 1989 to the time of his death in 1997, he spent so much time working with me without pay.

I'm willing, if anyone has a reason to want to know, to discuss anything involved with the bankrupcy, and make all reasonably retrievable papers available.

I'd be glad to explain anything and everything about that partnership, and what it set out to do, to anyone who has a reason to want to pursue that matter for any honest purpose. I'm prepared to take some personal risks to do so. If there was any good reason to do it, I'd include details of the work that, in the early days of the AEA venture, was of interest to the government for military reasons. Some of the research was looking for, and sometimes found, answers that had both military and automotive purposes. If a reporter asked, I'd cooperate any way I could, and believe that others involved would, too. My phone number is 608-829-3657 I can be reached by email at

I asked myself who I'd want to talk to about this, if by some chance someone at the TIMES were interested. I'd be honored to talk to any NYT reporter. A name that occurs to me especially, that might not occur to others, is Rick Bragg. I have an idea that he's a hard man to lie to.

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