The GOP's deficit-attention disorder.

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Dec. 21 2002 1:16 AM

Deficit-Attention Disorder

The Fray on the Republicans' new math.

(Continued from Page 2)

Since civil libertarians often defend pornography as protected freedom of expression, we clearly need to combine the elements of both the Ten Commandments and porn to create public edifices that are agreeable to all. For example, the next time someone feels compelled to put a couple of stone tablets up in front of the County Courthouse, make sure they contain a centerfold. (Hey, look! Rachel is Miss December. Man, no wonder she found favor in Jacob's eyes over Leah. Woo-woo!) Maybe some nice letters to the editor too. (Dear God, I never thought something like THIS could happen to ME!) ... Move over Michelangelo's David—Moses and the Ten Commandments are now welcome for display on walls in public venues ... as long as they are well hung. ... 9:45 a.m.

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Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2002

Simply MIRVelous: The Fray jumps all over Fred Kaplan's argument that the Bush missile defense system is impossible, untested, and unwise. One of the chestnuts of the anti-anti-missile defense argument is that ABM doubters ignore the relentless march of technology and innovation—"Man will NEVER fly!" in 1-2-oscar's post here:

Way to go, Fred! Your entire lifestyle is supported by technology once deemed "impossible."

Of course, there is another way to address this issue: Are we better off with a poorly performing defense system, which we can work to improve over time, or with NO defense system at all

BZaharoff provides one of the better answers:

Hey, you're just the person I'm looking for!! I've got a car to sell you. It flies! It doesn't fly far, only about 50 feet, then it crashes. But it will fly much farther, sometime, eventually. It's under development. I promise.

It will only cost you $990,000.

(For less pith, but more vinegar, see Lord_Wakefield's long post.)

Kaplan has responded to this by pointing out the essential difference between an arms race and the conquest of nature:

To those who put me in the same boat as the quacks who said we could never fly or go to the moon, the analogy isn't quite right. The laws of gravity don't change while you're designing an airplane. The moon doesn't suddenly shift position when your spacecraft is about to land. However, in a race involving human beings with considerable resources, one side can shift tactics if the other side comes up with a decent defense.

You can read Kaplan's full reply below the article; he also responds to critics such as DavidDavenport (here) who put their money on a boost-phase missile defense system.

As for Kaplan's argument that the ABM treaty was not an attempt to preserve MAD-based deterrence, DavidNYC asks the essential question: