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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 - 08:16am Apr 24, 2002 EST (#1734 of 1737) Delete Message

You can always find more context -- in an endless regress. Questions of "what matters?" are important -- but to use them, the question "and how much do the things involved matter?" has to be answered, too. Language alone can't judge weights, because language, standing alone, isn't quantitative. A time comes where there has to be judgement.

rshow55 - 08:20am Apr 24, 2002 EST (#1735 of 1737) Delete Message

I thought George W. Sadat by THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN was a constructive piece, MD1412 rshow55 4/17/02 1:18pm . I think Friedman's piece today is constructive as well. Perhaps, in light of the whole situation, associating the words "europeans" and "fools" may be forgivable, if regrettable, when set beside the wrongs and infelicities of the ME situation, and the follies Friedman has had to listen to and deal with. He's maintained "a certain detachment" from the views of others involved, though no one really expects him to be completely neutral, nor reasonably expects the NYT to be entirely neutral, in the ME. Friedman is for peaceful solutions, he sees many points of view, and if there were many others with his respect for facts and context, we'd have less of a mess in the ME and elsewhere.

George W. Sadat ends:

"I believe one of Don Rumsfeld's Washington rules is: If you have a problem and you can't solve it, enlarge it. Either we now go all the way toward peace and demand that every party step up to it Palestinians, Israelis and Arabs or they will keep going all the way the other way, blowing out one civilizational barrier after another until their war touches us."

He's working for that, and it is a hopeful time, for all the terrors and strains we face. The forces and fictions that create and sustain war are more constrained, more vulnerable and more visable than they used to be. Friedman, and the NYT, are making those forces and fictions more vulnerable, and more visable.

Friedman's piece today, What Day Is It? addresses very practical imperatives -- leaders in the Middle East, and the nations they represent, must face the truth as it is -- including truths that are unpleasant, and that require self-examination. Friedman frames it in terms of time -

"Abdullah wants to ignore yesterday, Sharon wants to ignore tomorrow, and Arafat wants to ignore today."

Of course, these leaders are each ignoring important things that have to be faced about things past, present, and future - and ignoring many other things as well, but a single column can't touch on everything

rshow55 - 08:21am Apr 24, 2002 EST (#1736 of 1737) Delete Message

The current situation is ugly.

Is "going a long way towards peace, greatly improving on the situation now" thinkable? It is if the people involved are prepared to face facts, make balanced decisions, and examine not only the shortcomings of others, but their own.

In "Beauty" Mark Anderson quotes Heisenberg's definition of beauty in the exact sciences:

" Beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole."

Friedman's piece today ends with writing that I think is profound as well as artful:

"Bill Clinton said at Camp David, "We may not succeed but we're sure going to get caught trying." Mr. Bush cannot remake Abdullah, Sharon or Arafat, but he can get caught trying, by speaking the truth to them and their societies where there are still many, many people desperate to save the future from leaders who can't figure out what day it is. "

Native English speakers reading that will hear "get caught lying" in their heads. To "get caught trying" can be beautiful, in a limited way. The "get caught lying" is ugly. Lies are ugly, and lead to ugliness. There are too many of them.

Everybody makes mistakes, and if the sociologists are to be believed, everybody decieves both themselves and others on occasion. It is a good thing that imperfect people, liars, and intellectually and morally flawed human beings can sometimes get things right - for otherwise there would be no truth to be found.

The question isn't a simple "can we do better?" because people do do many of the things that make for peace, comfort, and prosperity very often.

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