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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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rshow55 - 03:14pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1600 of 1609) Delete Message

rshowalt - 07:32am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#266 of 396)

Ridding the world of nuclear weapons, this year or next year. What would have to happen?

Given sufficient understanding (and hence motivation) among the main participants, primarily the U.S. and Russia, almost all nuclear weapons could be dismantled in about four weeks time, with rapid mop up and convergence to a nuclear weapon free world thereafter.

The massive arsenals of the U.S. and the former USSR could be dismanted by the military forces responsible for them, with the opposite side, in every case, observing and assured that the weapons could not be used as part of a first strike trick in the course of stand down. Trust or good will would not be necessary nor would they be assumed. Distrustful checking and deterrence would be used to provide the vital assurances the nation states would properly need.

Leaders would "live in a fishbowl" during the full nuclear stand down. Major leaders of each country would have to be "fully observed" by the other side during stand down, so that tricks large enough to constitute first strikes could not go undetected. Leaders would be wired for sound that the other side could monitor, and visual inputs also would have to be monitored by the other side.

Direct observation of nuclear weapon destruction by the enemies, U.S. and Russia, would be as open as it could be made to be, and still be fast.

Hostages from high status families in the two countries would be exchanged for the duration of the stand down, treated as honored guests who would nonetheless be killed if a first strike occurred.

These conditions, together, would rule out a first strike, and so make the nuclear weapon elimination possible. Conventional arsenals would remain intact.

rshowalt - 07:33am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#267 of 396)

After full nuclear disarmament of the U.S. and Russia, the US and Russia, working together, and with their conventional military forces intact, would see to it, through ordinary negotiation and the coordinated use of force, that other nuclear weapon holding nations destroyed their nuclear weapons, in ways that could be clearly checked.

Rogue nuclear forces would be hunted down, with Russia, the US, and other forces acting in coordination to confiscate their nuclear weapons, and with rogues punished in memorable ways.

Full nuclear disarmament that leaves other military forces intact is technically easy, and could be done quickly.

rshow55 - 03:15pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1601 of 1609) Delete Message

rshowalt - 07:35am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#268 of 396)

To motivate this nuclear disarmament, the following things would have to happen.

People would have to see how bad nuclear weapons are, and how first use of nuclear weapons is worse than anything that Hitler did. IT IS NOT ALL RIGHT TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

For effective elimination of nuclear weapons, and to establish conditions so that they stay eliminated, I believe that artists and other people must make it memorably clear how bad nuclear weapons are, so that no one wants to make them again. So that no one condones their use again. If people remember this, anyone trying to make a nuclear weapon is overwhelmingly likely to be caught and punished. It should be the tradition that the property rights and moral rights of anyone making nuclear weapons should be dismissed, and any and all force mobilized to prevent the building of nuclear weapons or their use.

The technical part of full world disarmament isn't especially difficult for the nation states that would have to do it. The motivation to eliminate nuclear weapons is the harder part.

rshowalt - 07:36am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#269 of 396)

Human actions work best according to the following pattern:

" Get scared .... take a good look ..... get organized ..... fix it .... recount so all concerned are "reading from the same page ...... go on to other things."

I believe that elimination of nuclear weapons should proceed according to this pattern, with details well crafted enough so that the pattern worked for almost all people in the world. It would be a major challenge to disarm in a way that was aesthetically pleasing, and understood to be honorable, by all concerned. I believe that people are artistically perceptive enough to meet this challenge.

I believe that we could do it soon, and that we should do it soon.

rshow55 - 03:16pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1602 of 1609) Delete Message

beckq - 09:19am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#270 of 396)

rshowalt - 07:36am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#269 of 269)

name any technology in human history that has been developed and then 'eliminated'.


rshowalt - 10:38am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#271 of 396)

That shouldn't be too hard - the history of medicine is full of technical patterns - which are technologies - that were used for a long time, found to be useless, or less useful than something new, and eliminated. The history of manufacturing is full of technologies that spring into use, and are then replaced, often in quite short times, by other technologies. Go to the Patent Office, search patents more than fifty years old, looking at patents that were actually worked, and you'll find that MOST of these patented technologies have been eliminated. How many do you want, and what do you want them for? Can I get something out of YOU (say your name, and some work, and some honest checking) if I supply specific examples?

You should have known the answer to that question, I believe. Was ths just hazing?

In the building trades, asbestos was much used for a long time. It was found to be dangerous, and it is being eliminated. Lead in pipes and paints is a similar case. Want more examples?

rshowalt - 10:41am Sep 25, 2000 EDT (#272 of 396)

Nuclear weapons are unacceptably dangerous, for reasons that have not been well enough understood - FAR more dangerous than asbestos. They've had historical uses, but they should be retired. It would take the militaries of the world a little time (though proportionately less inconvenience than the building trades have taken handling asbestos) to eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of the earth.

The damn things are dangerous, they have no workable military use, they are expensive, and they could destroy the world.

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