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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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rshow55 - 08:02pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1630 of 1634) Delete Message

rshowalter - 06:53pm Aug 28, 2001 EST (#8216 of 8220) . . . Robert Showalter

There's a moral and practical question, too.

Crude Weapons Cited As Achilles Heel in Missile Plan by William J. Broad ends with this quote from Lt. Col. Richard Lehrner.

" It's irresponsible to launch off on more difficult flight tests before we've solved the fundamentals."

But isn't it also irresponsible to initiate, or continue programs where there are very good reasons to believe that the programs cannot meet objectives for fundamental and clear technical reasons.

Perhaps it isn't irresponsible. That can be argued in terms of what is actually involved.

Perhaps going forward in expectation of a "miracle" (compared to what could be done in the open literature) can be permitted for these military investment decisions.

Perhaps such gambles are permissible.

That's a judgement call, that has something to do with the numbers involved, and the technical experience and trends involved with particular technical questions.

But it ought to be clear what gambles are being taken.

It ought to be clear what the "miracles" that have to be conjured are.

Especially here, with so much riding on right answers.

With the whole world being put at risk by these decisions.

Some of these programs involve "long shots" in more ways than one.

Questions of how hard these technical jobs are ought to be answered, and illustrated, so that people can understand.

rshowalter - 09:34pm Aug 28, 2001 EST (#8217 of 8220) . . . Robert Showalter

MD5351 rshowalter 6/18/01 9:17am

People need to exercise judgement (and that includes a willingness to doubt) in senses that I feel were eloquently explained in a sermon that I've posted here a number of times. .

The point is made in the whole 20 minute sermon, and the sermon is largely secular after the first 9 minutes. The key point about judgement -- and that means judgement enough to check things, and make sure that we're right about what matters, is made especially in the last minute of the sermon, after minute 19.

The seconds leading up to the last word of the sermon, I believe, are eloquent persuasion.

When it matters, we need JUDGEMENT.

When the consequences matter, technical answers matter. Checking matters. A willingness to doubt pat answers, and make sure matters.

The Bush administration, it seems to me, is fooling around with mattes of life and death, and "taking matters on faith" that no serious religious person ought to condone. When facts matter enough, checking must be a moral obligation.

Whether you're a believer, or a nonbeliever.

I think Johnathan Edwards would have thought checking was morally forcing here, for all his superstition, with stakes like this.

rshow55 - 08:03pm Apr 21, 2002 EST (#1631 of 1634) Delete Message

rshowalter - 03:56am Aug 29, 2001 EST (#8218 of 8231) Robert Showalter

Treaties Don't Belong to Presidents Alone by BRUCE ACKERMAN ... raises key questions. Among them:

"If President Bush is allowed to terminate the ABM treaty (without consulting Congress) what is to stop future presidents from unilaterally taking America out of NATO or the United Nations?"

What is to stop this president from doing such things, or other serious things?

A related question is this. How far are NATO and the United States going to be able to trust the word of the United States?

Especially if checks and balances can be vitiated entirely by elections hinging on 535 much disputed votes, among hundreds of thousands or millions of questionable ones.

rshowalter - 04:06am Aug 29, 2001 EST (#8219 of 8231) . . . Robert Showalter

The connections to the world's historical experience with the Nazis is a disquieting one -- . . . .

During the Cold War, the association of the right wing of the Republican party with ex-Nazis, and the association of the Bush family with Nazis, was sometimes disquietingly close. The association of Nazis and ex-nazis with the CIA was close.

Some of the tactics of this administration bear a certain grim family resemblance to some tactics that the Hitler used with remarkable effectiveness as he subverted the democratic institutions of Germany. Hitler then went crazy, and made a series of decisions that did wrenching damage to the whole world.

Are the decisions of this administration always sane? If they were not, where are the checks and balances that could stop them?

There are nuclear weapons involved here, and the world could end if some key mistakes were made.

rshowalter - 04:12am Aug 29, 2001 EST (#8220 of 8231) . . . . Robert Showalter

Citations of Maureen Dowd's columns and ideas on this thread: rshowalter "Maureen Dowd" 8/24/01 9:04am

Citations of Thomas L. Friedman's columns and ideas on this thread. ...(92 cites) rshowalter 8/24/01 12:04pm

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