[Noisebridge-discuss] Sigh -- I'm not helping with Maker Faires this year.

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at appelbaum.net
Wed Apr 4 11:29:56 PDT 2012


On 04/04/2012 09:55 AM, Matt Joyce wrote:
> Jake military strength is not synonymous with capacity to kill.  That is a
> naive notion.  DARPA does have a fierce military role.  There is no
> questioning that.  However the thrust of my post was in pointing out that
> their goals largely are focused on preventing conflict.  In so far as the
> military does not act without orders from elected leadership this is a
> certainty.  All conflict is not of their design.  Preparing for it and
> ending it is their function.
> 
> Yes they keep the swords sharp.  But that in and of itself is an action
> open to a largely subjective prediction of consequence.  Peace can be kept
> simply by keeping everyone aware of negative consequences.
> 
> Really outside the scope of discussion though.
> 

Hi Matt,

( I'd be more inclined to buy your argument if I hadn't been to Iraq and
actually seen what the U.S. military does with that technological
superiority first hand. Our military is currently engaged in two major
conflicts (Iraq and Afghanistan) and to suggest that we're trying to
prevent conflict in any way is naive. Actually, it's blindly stupid
because WE ARE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN MURDERING PEOPLE IN THOSE COUNTRIES.
Ahem. My personal experiences isn't the point but I'm harder to convince
than most because of it. My statements are not meant as arguments from
authority but rather to give you perspective on why I find this
discussion less than theoretical. )

DARPA states nothing about prevention of conflict in their mission
statement. Thus, I think you lack evidence to support your assertion
that they are focused on preventing conflict. They expressly state that
they work toward the superiority of the U.S. military.

So without evidence, as the saying goes, one may dismiss without
argument, your assertions.

Now here's the thing: I really can't respect your position because
you're basically taking a cowardly position. You're constantly trying to
downplay the negative aspects of keeping "the swords sharp" without
acknowledging that this means murdering people.

I can respect DARPA funding in some circumstances - places where
rational adults are paid to do something that isn't ONLY useful for
killing people - as a really simple example. I have a much harder time
supporting what sounds like a moral vacuum, a propaganda exercise and
the construction of say, military vehicles.

It isn't that these things _can't_ be put to good use, rather one must
remember that their good use is not inevitable but their negative use is
actually inevitable if the project is successful.

All the best,
Jake


> -Matt
> On Apr 4, 2012 2:10 AM, "Jacob Appelbaum" <jacob at appelbaum.net> wrote:
> 
>> On 04/03/2012 09:42 AM, Matt Joyce wrote:
>>>
>>> And I want to remind you.  DARPA isn't in the business of killing people.
>>> It's in the business of engineering peace where there is none.  War and
>>> chaos do not achieve the objectives of DARPA or the US military.  Their
>>> goal is to END conflict.  They don't start it.  They get tasked to "end
>> it"
>>> usually on favorable terms.  You want to equate defense work with
>> "murder"
>>> I'd point the finger at the ambassadors, senators, and other political
>>> entities that allow war to happen.  Some of them will own that
>>> responsibility and some of them will shirk it.  But to place blame on
>> DARPA
>>> for it is somewhat absurd.
>>>
>>> Just some thoughts.
>>>
>>
>> Hi Matt,
>>
>> I just wanted to quote Darpa's home page[0] for you:
>>
>> "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was established
>> in 1958 to prevent strategic surprise from negatively impacting U.S.
>> national security and create strategic surprise for U.S. adversaries by
>> maintaining the technological superiority of the U.S. military.
>>
>> "To fulfill its mission, the Agency relies on diverse performers to
>> apply multi-disciplinary approaches to both advance knowledge through
>> basic research and create innovative technologies that address current
>> practical problems through applied research.  DARPA’s scientific
>> investigations span the gamut from laboratory efforts to the creation of
>> full-scale technology demonstrations in the fields of biology, medicine,
>> computer science, chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics, material
>> sciences, social sciences, neurosciences and more.  As the DoD’s primary
>> innovation engine, DARPA undertakes projects that are finite in duration
>> but that create lasting revolutionary change.
>>
>> So when you say they're not in the business of killing people, you're
>> almost right - they sub-contract it out. It's a distinction without a
>> difference for most people.
>>
>> ( I wrote a lot of other stuff but then I realized I originally just
>> wanted to correct your misstatement for the record of other
>> noisebridge-discuss readers and not to argue with you.)
>>
>> All the best,
>> Jake
>>
>> [0] http://www.darpa.mil/our_work/
>>
> 



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