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 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    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.

Earliest Messages Previous Messages Recent Messages Outline (5041 previous messages)

commondata - 10:05am Oct 19, 2002 EST (# 5042 of 5047)

Mirror of an NYT article

Col. Walter P. Lang, retired, the senior defense intelligence officer at the time, said he would not discuss classified information, but added that both D.I.A. and C.I.A. officials "were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose" to Iran.

"The use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern," he said. What Mr. Reagan's aides were concerned about, he said, was that Iran not break through to the Fao Peninsula and spread the Islamic revolution to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. ... The American intelligence officers never encouraged or condoned Iraq's use of chemical weapons, but neither did they oppose it because they considered Iraq to be struggling for its survival, people involved at the time said in interviews.

Another former senior D.I.A. official who was an expert on the Iraqi military said the Reagan administration's treatment of the issue -- publicly condemning Iraq's use of gas while privately acquiescing in its employment on the battlefield -- was an example of the "Realpolitik" of American interests in the war. ... One officer said, "They had gotten better and better" and after a while chemical weapons "were integrated into their fire plan for any large operation, and it became more and more obvious." ... The Pentagon "wasn't so horrified by Iraq's use of gas," said one veteran of the program. "It was just another way of killing people -- whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didn't make any difference," he said.

Former Secretary of State Shultz and Vice President Bush tried to stanch the flow of chemical precursors to Iraq and spoke out against Iraq's use of chemical arms, but Mr. Shultz, in his memoir, also alluded to the struggle in the administration.

"I was stunned to read an intelligence analysis being circulated within the administration that `we have demolished a budding relationship (with Iraq) by taking a tough position in opposition to chemical weapons,' " he wrote.

rshow55 - 10:35am Oct 19, 2002 EST (# 5043 of 5047) Delete Message
Can we do a better job of finding truth? YES. Click "rshow55" for some things Lchic and I have done and worked for on this thread.

Superb posts by lchic and commondata !

lchic 10/19/02 9:38am . . Turn the ideas inside out and every-which-way!

And check every which way !

(You can't check everything - but it right now people are afraid to check much of anything. If the checking starts - from several related but different approaches -- there's new hope. When facts get arrayed together - the chance for major misunderstandings to "hang together" according to fair tests gets less and less - and hit happens very fast.

This is a dangerous but hopeful time.

Basic rules and relations of international order -and morality - are being discussed, rethought, and renegotiated. Bits of language are going for government to government - being weighed and discussed.

From my own perspective, things are a lot safer, overall, than they were two years ago - because people are learning what there is to fear - what limitations are - - and what accomodations can be made.

I was impressed by "Understanding Iraq" and "The Real Saddam" on the Discovery Channel last night - and think that the NYT should be proud of its involvement.

It surely was wrenching to see that videotape of Saddam singling out 24 officials for immediate torture and execution. The consequences were so direct and clear.

A problem we have now - that is direct and practical, is how to understand and deal with other actions - other agonies - where the consequences are a bit more scattered - - a bit less direct - - but in the aggregate involve much more damage and agony than that particular (heinous) administrative action-crime.

(Here's a "very indirect" action that we don't much condemn - the tobacco industry spends 10 billion/year promoting smoking - - and kills millinos - but indirectly - in ways that involve much complicity - and (for a long time) without direct names - and consequences made vivid.)

The arts are essential - to touch minds and hearts - in populations, and across cultures, all over the world.

In the current coupled crises - there is much more, much more widely distributed discussion than there has been in past crises - and that gives us some reason to hope.

This board is part of that - and I hope that some staffed organizations are aware of it.

So that we can touch hearts and minds, in practical ways - when situations are complicated - - and when things have to be balanced.

lchic 10/19/02 9:38am . . . comedy can be most useful on things that are "no laughing matter."

lchic - 10:38am Oct 19, 2002 EST (# 5044 of 5047)
~~~~ It got understood and exposed ~~~~

laughing gas ?,3604,813189,00.html

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