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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 - 08:00pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1628 of 1634) Delete Message

rshowalter - 06:07pm Aug 28, 2001 EST (#8212 of 8214) . . . Robert Showalter

There was a wonderful illustration in the paper on page A9, along with Crude Weapons Cited As Achilles Heel in Missile Plan shown in multimedia.

It uses words and pictures very well, though it might have used a few more words, some pointers, and more physical space before the eye, as an illustration for a jury.

Without the pictures, the illustration section reads:

Warhead: Sailing, Weaving, and Bobbing: The Pentagon's antimissile program is wrestling with how to have interceptors destroy primative enemy warheads that tumble through space.

STABILIZED: An advanced warhead is spin stabilized like a top to maintain its orientation as it moves forward. Sensors see a steady light.

( Line of pictures here.)

Tumbling: A primative, tumbling warhead can slip sideways, end over end, or numerous other ways. Sensors see a twinkling light.

( Line of pictures here. )

The pictures add a LOT -- especially for someone not initially persuaded, or someone who needs to remember, of someone who needs to get confident enough with the ideas involved to ACT on them.

It seems to me that many of the key arguments about missile defense are not getting through because they aren't being well enough explained - ideally with words, pictures, and ways of illustrating proportion together.

rshowalter - 06:15pm Aug 28, 2001 EST (#8213 of 8214) . . . Robert Showalter

Some of the standards that have evolved in technical presentations to juries are worth remembering -- and some are shown by example on this web site. .

People sometimes act as if they think "this thing has been fully explained" when the exposition, which may be perfect in some limited sense, as far as it goes, would never be considered sufficient before a jury, with real stakes.

There are real stakes on missile defense, and on the whole framework of military balances missile defense depends on politically.

How wonderful it would be if the key points related to The Coyle Report , which is practically unreadable to most people, could be clarified and illustrated to such clear standards!

It would be good to illustrate some of the technical arguments connected to lasar weapons, too. The viability of these lasar weapons is crucial to the military viability of the weaponization of space, which motivates so much that the Bush administration is proposing.

MD7136 rshowalter 7/17/01 12:05pm ... MD7137 rshowalter 7/17/01 12:08pm MD7139 rshowalter 7/17/01 5:24pm ... MD7140 rshowalter 7/17/01 5:25pm MD7141 rshowalter 7/17/01 5:26pm ...

rshow55 - 08:01pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1629 of 1634) Delete Message

rshowalter - 06:23pm Aug 28, 2001 EST (#8214 of 8220) . . . Robert Showalter

Illustrating the crucial points Dawn Riley makes in MD8202 lunarchick 8/28/01 6:29am would be wonderful, too. If only these points were widely understood!

Separate issues of technical reality ; paper pusher function and dysfunction ; chisling ; knowledge worker co-option and intimidation ; and auditing , both financial and technical . .

are IMPORTANT. And separate, though connected issues. Issues that need to be well explained, and illustrated, so that people can understand what is going on, at the levels that matter for checking and action -- for the real people involved.

If "the Emperor is naked" then that has to be shown - - so that people can see - and see clearly enough to check for themselves, and come to believe.

rshowalter - 06:42pm Aug 28, 2001 EST (#8215 of 8220) . . . Robert Showalter

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

Other issues can't be taken beyond politics, but technical issues, carefully handled, often can be -- except for a few "die-hards" . That is, these issues can be made clear to almost anyone who cares to look. And they can be clear to juries, or to the "jury of public opinion" nationally and internationally.

The level of exposition in Crude Weapons Cited As Achilles Heel in Missile Plan is an example of much of what that would take -- on a number of issues.

But there would have to be more.

Questions of fact would have to be subject to criticism from people with reasons to wish to contest those facts.

And if there were disagreements, decisions would have to be made, in ways most people could understand in large degree, by umpires with widely respected credibility.

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