News Item: Feb 24, 2012:
The space shuttle Discovery lifts off at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. Discovery, the world’s most traveled spaceship, thundered into orbit for the final time Thursday, heading toward the International Space Station with a crew of six on a journey that marks the beginning of the end of the shuttle era.
In the late 1970â€™s I sat around with a couple of NSA (not NASA) officers, both old friends, discussing ways government could â€œfakeâ€ the pursuit of certain mainstay traditions and institutions, especially those the American people had long honored and where they had found their heroes, while clandestinely skinning their budgets to the bones. Carter was in the White House so you can imagine why this conversation even took place at all.
Of course, national defense and its larder has always been the primary focus of the Leftâ€™s budgetary dreams. With the memory of Vietnam still fresh, a low-heat, no-win perpetual war, but one in which national honor was on the table, could be a great way to give the appearance of having a vigorous military while in fact depleting the defense budget to a bare sustainable minimum. All that would be required would be to keep the braying anti-war left more or less in check. Not quiet, mind you (a dead giveaway the fix is in), just not on the front page. Instead, keep that light at the end of tunnel on Page One.
Long term, that is at least one way to look at how the war of Afghanistan will develop, if not originally designed by the Obama White House.
Then there is space. What better way than to Hessianize it with Russian Soyuz rockets? Pay for play. After all, who donâ€™t we owe money or favors to? If they blow up, as they are far more likely to do, what the hell. Just that many more heroes to paint on postage stamps. By 2012 weâ€™ll be able to relocate the entire NASA program to a couple of abandoned Toyota sales lots in central Florida; one to train the astronauts and the other a planning center for 50-100 engineers, sitting around drawing up plans for space probes to Mars and Venus. Hell, why not Pluto or the 5th Dimension for all that it will matter, for it will be forever 20-30 years out, and forever on the drawing board?
Just like Jules Verne.