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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?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.

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lchic - 01:06pm Apr 11, 2002 EST (#1260 of 1264)

Letters/TheTimes, from

    I am quite amazed that no well-regarded investigative reporter has written about the enormous conflict of interest between the Bush-Baker-Saudi relationship and the national security interest of our country in combating the world-wide terrorism that has its origins in Saudi-financed militant Islam. Whenever I watch Baker and Scowcroft shilling for the oil industry on T.V., it recalls to mind Baker's infamous comment that "It's not about oil, it's about jobs" and want to barf. I have suggested that the Wall Street Journal take a shot at this subject, but it is too touchy for them in an election year.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


    I find your coverage of the conflict in the Middle East to be disturbing at best. Why is it that you feel that the Palestinians should be subject to relentless slaughter while the Israeli's should not suffer so much as a hang nail? Why is it acceptable that the United States should be able to arm Israel for the destruction of Palestinian bodies, infrastructure, and lives, but Iran should not be able to sell them weapons to defend against that? Your line of thinking is utterly hypocrtical. The United States is like Syria in that it inflames Israel's sense of self-righteousness and entitlement, it is like Iran for arming Israel to the teeth, and it is like Iraq for funding Israel. How wonderful it would be if the United States could use its influence to stop the killing, rather than simply paying lip service to the notion of peace?
    Israel reminds me of South Africa during apartheid. The pass system exists, the brutal massacre of civilians under the guise of "protecting the society," attempts a cramming the majority of the population on small parcels of lands (remember South Africa's infamous Bantustads scheme?), and the racial/religious caste system that exists. I am not surprised that Israel has an apartheid-like system in place, as it was the only nation that refused to comply with UN sanctions against South Africa. Even members of the so-called "Axis of Evil" complied. Israel is an apartheid state with a war criminal for a prime minister. Yassir Arafat may not be an ideal partner for peace, but neither is Ariel Sharon.
    Have you ever considered that the Palestinians are fighting for their homes, for their right to basic human dignity? Or do you see them as being unworthy of basic human dignity? Do you think that Israel should be able to continue to act in defiance of international law, such as the one that allows Palestinians the right of return?
    I agree that the killing is deplorable, but I deplore it on both sides. You talk on end about the killing of Israeli civilians, when a large majority of those who have died in this conflict have been Palestinian civilians. I get the sense that their lives are worthless to you because you think of them as little more than "Islamic fanatics."
    You try to portray yourself as a media outsider, but you are just like any other American media drone who unequivocally defends Israel's behavior.

rshow55 - 01:27pm Apr 11, 2002 EST (#1261 of 1264) Delete Message

While I'm responding to the hatchet job in MD1243 gisterme 4/11/02 3:24am I'd like to post a few things about "getting ideas to closure."

For some time, the basic facts of the MD boondoggle have been clear -- and ideas and presentations that in an ideal world would have finished the farce have been surprisingly ineffectual. Ideas that people may have expected to "blast right throught the problem" have fizzled . . and not because they were wrong -- but because there were too many barriers to propagation - of ideas that should propogate.

Chain Breakers

These postings include work, done by distinguished groups, and distinguished people, that "ought" to have "caught fire" -- but did not.

MD513^204626@.f28e622/631... MD790 rshow55 3/23/02 9:36pm

Can Missile Defense Work? by Steven Weinberg The New York Review of Books February 14, 2002 ... Weinberg's piece ends:

" . . In seeking to deploy a national missile defense aimed at an implausible threat, a defense that would have dubious effectiveness against even that threat, and that on balance would harm our security more than it helps it, the Bush administration seems to be pursuing a pure rather than applied missile defenseó a missile defense that is undertaken for its own sake, rather than for any application it may have in defending our country. (emphasis added.)

By sensible tactical standards, rather than "pure" standards. . . the MD systems, no matter how many billions are squandered on them, won't work at all.

The missile defense boondoggle is a very large problem - and an exemplar of a larger procedural problem. Much too often, the truth is "somehow too weak" for reasons that we need to understand, and change. At the most essential levels, these are only "hard" problems because capable people (for instance, the staff of The New York Times ) don't understand them. When getting facts straight matters enough, there have to be workable moral obligations, and patterns, to see that it happens.

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