The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, March 10, 2006

Schmience Friday: Star Wars lives!

I've been a long-standing opponent of one of Reagan's most idiotic legacies: the Strategic Defense Initiative, aka SDI, aka Star Wars.

This utter boondoggle has been nothing more than a money sink since the eighties. It's undergone numerous reinventions-- each less ambitious but equally implausible. First there was the grand vision of an orbiting laser platform (hence the 'Star Wars' appellation). Now it's been pared down to a missile-intercept system. But after something like a hundred billion dollars spent on SDI's various incarnations, we have absolutely nothing to show for it but a series of tests that failed spectacularly in spite of the fact that they were rigged to begin with.

In a "post-9/11 world," as the Bushies are so fond of repeating, it seems strange to focus on a cold-war era program that would do nothing to prevent terrorist attacks even if it worked. Which it doesn't.

So the administration is doing the only sensible thing they can with 'Reagan's Folly': providing another $11 billion in funding! Yes, it's true. Although the Republican-controlled congress has denied increased funding for port security every year since 9/11 and even cut funding to first responders, they're ready, willing and able to spend billions more on a useless and failed weapons program that wouldn't do jack shit in any case. I feel safer already.

(The funding story was in physicist Robert Park's weekly newsletter. The venom is mine.)