Wednesday, February 16, 2005

W's Willing Deficits

A doctor friend of mine says that the first thing they teach you in medical school is that all bleeding stops eventually. Perhaps it’s the same with deficit spending. Will the last guy out please turn off the money.


Reagan’s Star Wars, in its scaled-down Rumsfeld-Lite version has been deployed; the Donald insisted on that and so we now have a missile defense system that can’t hit a bull’s ass with a manure shovel. Third miss in a row, although it can’t technically be called a miss because two out of those three times the interceptor missile simply failed to deploy, sulking on its finned haunches. It was also a deployment by appointment, which is not the likely way that an enemy would launch a missile if an enemy could be found capable of launching a missile, if our enemies were dumb enough to go through all that when they could just fill a U-Haul with fertilizer, if . . . you get my drift . . . whatever . . .


$50 billion earmarked over the next five years for this foolishness and so far they can’t coax this defender off the ground. How apropos, just in time to defend against the missiles North Korea has yet to develop, so our insanity increasingly matches theirs. What was it Lyndon Johnson used to say about dogs that won’t hunt?


Oh and in case I forget, please remember for me that W wants to be back on the moon in a few years, for reasons he can’t seem to name other than national pride.  So NASA’s diverting any and all monies that would keep the Hubble telescope delivering mind-boggling science and assigning it to that questionable project.


Now why would he do that? And why would Rummy keep lighting off duds at $85 million a pop? It makes no sense unless you understand that Rummy’s dream is for the United States to dominate space and thus to dominate (in Strangelovian fashion) the world immediately below that space. Our Secretary of Defense thinks this century’s wars will be fought from space (he may be right) and that America is only vulnerable in space (maybe right again) with its dependence on satellite technology for everything from the power-grid to the family Chrysler. 


And the world that is to be dominated by this flight-into-fancy by the most dangerous administration in memory, continues to fund our breakneck dash into unprecedented national debt. The chickens in this case are actually paying the fox to dismantle the fence around the coop.


Excuse me, Asia and Europe, for calling you chickens.


But space must be there for China and India, Australia and Bolivia, France and Canada as well as a couple hundred other sovereign nations who will depend upon a technological world. They’re not likely to act kindly to having to ask us for permission to put up a needed communications satellite. I know it’s very American to think of ourselves as benign protectors of freedom, the safe harbor for any and all worldly expectations, but our recent international involvements make that premise more than a little suspect. 


If I were the rest of the world, I’d be scared shitless.