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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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(1791 previous messages)
- 03:03pm Apr 26, 2002 EST (#1792
If we rule out the impossible, we eliminate many choices, and the
Possible solutions may practically jump out at us. Necessary
conditions for possible solutions will jump out at us. I thought the
OpEd page today was constructive, and was especially interested, at
the level of logic, by the advertorial by the Anti-Defamation League
Will the U.N. Fact Finders Seek All of the Facts in Jenin? http://www.adl.org/ads/israel_ad_042602.asp
The ad says some things that are right - - but not just right
from the ADL point of view.
In addition to finding facts regarding civilian casualties, the
U.N. team should investigate motivations and context that is
directly relevant to the civilian casualties. A thorough job of
doing that would make clear how "insoluble" the situation is, how
easy it is to take the facts involved, and from different points of
view, produce "perfectly logical" arguments for endless conflict --
and a clear sense of how many horrors the current situation has
produced, and may continue to produce.
There would be plenty of blame to go around -- fair allocations
of blame would not necessarily be balanced between the adversaries -
but there would be blame on all sides, and different weightings on
the blame, according to different perspectives and assumptions. ADL
asks (I'm deleting some "specially weighted" phrasing):
"Who is really responsible for the death and
destruction in Jenin? The Israelis . . . or the Palestinians . . .
How could that point be fully discussed? At the level of
objective fact, and at the many levels of opinion that are
Full discussion would only be possible, only be thinkable, if
different positions , including contradictory positions could
be stated clearly.
Stated in ways where they could be viewed side by side. Stated in
interaction with consequences that are traceable, potentially
checkable, and discussable.
At some levels of mechanics, geometry, and organization, these
things are possible using the internet, where they were not possible
before. Ideas and facts can be placed together in space and time
so that people can "connect the dots" to form patterns - and discuss
those patterns so that there is a reasonable chance for closure --
of for clarity about disagreements. Some patterns that make these
things more possible than before are illustrated and discussed on
- 03:05pm Apr 26, 2002 EST (#1793
As things clarify, situations may look more hopeless, and fights
may look both more inevitable and more intractable than before. But
clarification is a necessary stage. It is important to find out what
can be done. And what has to change for any humanly reasonable
Sometimes, there do have to be fights. At some level. But
when that happens, questions like "how much carnage is necessary,
why exactly, and who is responsible?" are well worth asking.
With objective facts mostly straight (and these can mostly be
agreed to) and differences about definitions and weights clear - -
and with consequences reasonably clear - - the situation becomes
4/26/02 11:19am includes this:
Paradigms are shifting , and the world is looking
at problems that are soluble , with attention and honesty. . . . .
"Connecting the dots" -- getting facts collected in space and
time, so that people can understand them, and check their
understanding -- that will permit real progress.
Am I being unbearably naive? Or asking for the impossible?
Perhaps. Here is what I believe. People, as individuals, and as
groups, have to learn to be logically better than they are.
We must do this if we are to have a better chance of surviving, if
we are to have less carnage and horror, and if we are to be more
decent and comfortable. The changes aren't especially complicated,
but some of them are wrenching, and connected to wrenching things.
When it matters enough, we have to do the work, and show the
honesty, that it takes to get consequential questions of fact
straight -- and logical structures related to a situation crafted so
that they fit people and circumstances workably.
We need to find or negotiate weights that might be "inconsistent"
from one place to another in the logical structure -- but that are
workable in the places of the logical structure where they actually
exist, as they actually exist.
Plenty turns out to be impossible. We need to find structures and
assumptions about morality and human conduct that are workable for
the people actually involved, in the situation as it is.
Is this impossible in the Middle East? I don't think so. Plenty
of people, on all sides of the conflict, know most of what needs to
be done, when they think straight, with their passions under
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