Then think about what it would take to contain this infectious disease:
"The Air Force, saying it must secure space to protect the nation from attack, is seeking President Bush's approval of a national-security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons, according to White House and Air Force officials.The clean flesh of space, of an entire ecosystem almost virtually unblemished by the black touch of human infestation, about to be contaminated in ways never attempted before. Then, in a bit of Kafkaesque comedy, we have this:
The proposed change would be a substantial shift in American policy. It would almost certainly be opposed by many American allies and potential enemies, who have said it may create an arms race in space.
A senior administration official said that a new presidential directive would replace a 1996 Clinton administration policy that emphasized a more pacific use of space, including spy satellites' support for military operations, arms control and nonproliferation pacts."
"Air Force officials said yesterday that the directive, which is still in draft form, did not call for militarizing space. "The focus of the process is not putting weapons in space," said Maj. Karen Finn, an Air Force spokeswoman, who said that the White House, not the Air Force, makes national policy. "The focus is having free access in space."No, we come in peace. No wait, we lied:
"With little public debate, the Pentagon has already spent billions of dollars developing space weapons and preparing plans to deploy them.This stuff has to be read to be believed: the pure, unadulterated paranoia, the unvarnished agression, the stomp-on-your-face exuberance of things like the quaintly-named "Rods From God" that "aims to hurl cylinders of tungsten, titanium or uranium from the edge of space to destroy targets on the ground, striking at speeds of about 7,200 miles an hour with the force of a small nuclear weapon." The laser beams bouncing off mirrors, the radio waves "whose powers could range "from tap on the shoulder to toast." Reading the plans and justifications of these toy soldiers reminds me of the big, bragging ideas that used to come out of my little-boy friends when we were all about 7 years old, except that these guys are decades older and still haven't learned anything.
"We haven't reached the point of strafing and bombing from space," Pete Teets, who stepped down last month as the acting secretary of the Air Force, told a space warfare symposium last year. "Nonetheless, we are thinking about those possibilities."
In January 2001, a commission led by Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the newly nominated defense secretary, recommended that the military should "ensure that the president will have the option to deploy weapons in space."
It said that "explicit national security guidance and defense policy is needed to direct development of doctrine, concepts of operations and capabilities for space, including weapons systems that operate in space."
It's a virulent disease, and the Bush administration is the nutritious culture in which it flourishes like never before. The question is, can a cure be found before it eats away so much healthy tissue that the whole organism finally bleeds out?