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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 - 07:58pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1626 of 1634) Delete Message

lunarchick - 09:45pm Aug 24, 2001 EST (#8118 of 8127) . . .

So much American commentary re the progress of Bwsh is theatre critique. Just for interest, i'd like those Texan_Kids to sit around in a studio and discuss this Sheild matter. I wonder what concepts each individually had of the Sheild - from their diverse backgounds, pre Bwsh peptalk ... had they heard of it? Wonder what they understood when Bwsh put the policy matter to them. Wonder how they'd relate it, if they'd understand anything at all. Wonder how many come from paid up members of Greenpeace families. Wonder if they'd be more entertaining on The News Hour than the Bwshophile from the Wall Street j :)

If the kids made their stock-in-trade paper aeroplanes to launch around the studio .. would they see, in the practical sense, the shortcomings of the paper tiger?

almarst-2001 - 09:50pm Aug 24, 2001 EST (#8119 of 8127)

There is a wide-spread suspicion in Russia that a real aim of the NMD is to ensure the US military domination.

The good will toward the West was lost when the bombs started falling on Serbia.

rshow55 - 07:59pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1627 of 1634) Delete Message

- - - - - - four days later - - -

rshowalter - 05:35pm Aug 28, 2001 EST (#8211 of 8214) . . . Robert Showalter

From Envisioning Information by Eward R. Tufte, p. 50

" We thrive in information-thick worlds because of our marvelous and everyday capacities to select, edit, single out, structure, highlight, group, pair, merge, harmonize, synthesize, focus, organize, condense, reduce, boil down, choose, categorize, classify, list, abstract, scan, look into, idealize, isolate, discriminate, distinguish, screen, pidgeonhole, pick over, sort, integrate, blend, inspect, filter, lump, skip, smooth, chunk, average, approximate, cluster, aggregate, outline, summarize, itemize, review, dip into, flip through, browse, glance into, leaf through, skim, refine, enumerate, glean, synopsize, winnow the wheat from the chaff, and separate the sheep from the goats."

Since so many ways of seeing and connecting to information are possible, how are people to agree?

Especially when people have different basic beliefs, different interests, and come from different backgrounds and assumptions, both intellectual and emotional?

At one level, people will NEVER agree about everything on any complex subject such as missile defense, and it would be both unrealistic and inhuman to ask them to, or force them to.

At the same time, different people, with different views, have to cooperate in ways that fit human and practical realities, and it often works. It happens because, in areas where accomodation occurs, there are common bodies of fact , that people may feel differently about, but about which they agree in operational terms. So that people can be "reading from the same page" -- and with the pages objectively right.

We need some islands of technical fact to be determined, beyond reasonable doubt, or in a clear context.

We need those "islands" to be clear, at a level beyond politics - - at a level where people with very different interests and feelings can refer to "the same page" - and a page including points that can be both widely understood, and widely trusted.

Unless we can get these "islands of technical fact" we're very unlikely to reach good decisions. And the human stakes, and the stakes for the whole world, are high enough that we need good decisions.

Moreover these facts have to be understandable to, and persuasive to, the people actually involved , with the ways of thinking they actually have, the interests they actually have, the feelings that they actually have, and the level of knowledge and attention that they can actually bring to bear.

It isn't possible to get "everything" that clear on a complex subject -- or even most things. But getting a few key things clear would help a lot.

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