By Chris Floyd - The Moscow Times
George W. Bush paid eloquent tribute to the seven astronauts killed in the space shuttle Columbia last week. Too bad he ignored the equally eloquent words of warning about impending disaster in the program from NASA's own panel of safety experts -- experts which the Regime fired after they dared bring their concerns to Congress.
"The Bush Regime's priority is the development of what Pentagon warplanners call "Full Spectrum Dominance": the projection of overwhelming military might throughout the heavens
And almost immediately after
this critical testimony, the panel's chairman was unceremoniously
ashcanned by Bush's choice for NASA director, Sean O'Keefe.
Apparatchik O'Keefe, who served as secretary of the Navy back in
Daddy Bush's day, might not have had any experience in the space
program, but he did have something far more important: a reputation
as "Dick Cheney's man," The Washington Post reports.
After letting O'Keefe wet his
whistle with a plum job in the White House budget office, Cheney and
Bush moved him over to NASA, with orders to change the agency's
focus from scientific exploration to the full-blown militarization
of space. He was also instructed to "streamline budgets," cutting
corners to increase the profit margins of the unholy alliance of
private military contractors who now control more than 90 percent of
the shuttle program. And here O'Keefe did yeoman service for his
corporate partners, bragging under oath last year that he had
"canceled or deferred" a number of expensive shuttle upgrades, the
But do let's be bipartisan
about this. For it wasn't Bush but Bill Clinton -- practicing his
vaunted "New Democrat" (i.e., "Old Republican") philosophy -- who
first abandoned the shuttle program to the tender mercies of the
arms dealers Lockheed Martin and Boeing back in 1996. The
privatization sweetheart deal (and aren't they all, really?) gave
the military mavens "wide latitude" to "set their own parameters,"
free from pesky government oversight. The result has been a steady
corrosion of safety standards, accelerated under the even more
corporate-chummy Bush Regime, who kicked in an extra $2.9 billion
for the LM-Boeing boys last year.
So where is all the money
going? Not to safeguard a bunch of pointy-headed science nerds
carrying out experiments in space, obviously. No, the Bush Regime's
priority is the development of what Pentagon warplanners call "Full
Spectrum Dominance": the projection of overwhelming military might
throughout the heavens in order to -- and here's a familiar theme --
"prevent the emergence of any global rival" to American hegemony.
"It's an "urgent mission," says the U.S. Strategic Command, to
"seize the high ground" and, in Donald Rumsfeld's words, "avoid a
space Pearl Harbor," The New York Times reports.
"Pearl Harbor" seems to be a
potent trigger word for the Regime, and for Rumsfeld in particular.
You'll recall our recent reports on PNAC, the Rumsfeld-led think
tank that spent the last decade drawing up plans for the invasion of
Iraq and the domination of Central Asia. One key PNAC concept was
the hope for a "Pearl Harbor-type event" that would sweep away
opposition to imperial conquests abroad and pave the way for a broad
militarization of American society. Who says wishes never come true?
Now a similar fate is in store
for the global commons of outer space, it seems. As with the
Regime's other plans for domination, Strategic Command's reports are
all couched in purely defensive terms -- as if some rogue state or
terrorist group were about to launch a multi-trillion dollar space
armada to encircle the earth with deadly intent. The truth is that
only one nation is capable of doing that: the Lord God's own U.S. of
A. And the array of whiz-bang weaponry being avidly pursued by the
Regime -- including space-mounted lasers, orbiting nuclear arms and
death-dealing solar magnifiers -- goes far beyond anything required
solely for defense. If implemented, "Full Spectrum Dominance" will
be an inescapable, unstoppable loaded gun pointed at the head of
every man, woman and child on the planet, giving new weight to
Bush's oft-repeated declaration: "If you're not with us, you're
O'Keefe too had bigger fish to
fry: After sacking the experts, he spent the summer on the campaign
trail, swanning around with Republican candidates throughout the
country, including the Bush satrapy of Florida. He was also
diverting NASA resources to a joint project with a private firm to
develop "brain-monitoring devices" that could supposedly "read
terrorists' minds" at airports, The Washington Times reports. To
help field-test the mind-reading gizmo, NASA recently "requested"
one airline to turn over all its computerized passenger data for a
What this vast invasion of
privacy has to do with space exploration is anybody's guess, but no
doubt the end product will prove profitable for the private firm
enjoying O'Keefe's largess. And who is this lucky company? That's
classified, of course. Why should American taxpayers know which
politically connected corporate player is getting the money that
could have gone to those safety upgrades that "Cheney's man" so
proudly "canceled or curtailed"?
And anyway, what are seven dead
astronauts compared to the rude financial health of crony
contractors? As always, the "bottom line" -- money and power --
carries the day. Right, Bill? Right, George?