conservatives have attacked the President's program as a wasteful extravagance
when every effort must be devoted to winning the war of civilizations against
Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaida, and militant Islamists. Similarly, liberals have
recycled their old arguments from the mid 1980s, claiming that the money
should be earmarked for social security, medicare, medicaid, AIDS, education,
war on poverty, the United Nations, aid to developing countries, and various
and sundry causes near and dear to them and to their voters.
Notwithstanding the arguments advanced by both conservative and liberal opinion-makers,
there is another compelling reason to support the space program -- the survival
of humanity -- which is never addressed openly by politicians lest it spook
the people. The possibility exists that a comet or an asteroid will hit Earth,
as described in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's classic novel Lucifer's Hammer or in the 1998 Bruce Willis movie Armageddon.
As a matter of fact, this past January, a 1,600 foot wide asteroid named
"2004 AS1" narrowly missed hitting Earth. Astronomers were afraid that there
was a 25 percent probability of "2004 AS1" striking Earth's northern hemisphere
and causing catastrophic devastation. The American people and their elected
representatives cannot evade the reality that human civilization is one comet
or one asteroid away from joining the dinosaurs and the dodo birds as extinct
for the moment the danger posed by asteroids and comets, it is very likely
that the blow against humanity will be self-inflicted by means of nuclear,
biological, and chemical weapons.
Unfortunately, all of humanity's eggs are in one small basket which is very vulnerable to suicidal madness.
to be that, for the past fifty years, the so-called intelligentsia, both
in the United States and abroad, were terrified of the American military-industrial
complex and believed that it was composed of trigger-happy generals in the
mold of Dr. Strangelove. Curiously enough, none of the Soviet premiers and
generals throughout the years were ever thought to be crazy or dangerous,
despite the upwards of twenty million graves filled by Josef Stalin with
the bodies of political dissidents or Nikita Khruschev banging on a table
with his shoe, promising to "bury" the United States, and precipitating the
Cuban missile crisis.
being one of the most murderous regimes in the history of the world, the
Soviet Union and its Warsaw Block underlings were run by rational decisionmakers.
Their leaders would have attacked the West in a heartbeat if they were sure
that they could get away with it. Hence, the doctrine of Mutually-Assured
Destruction (MAD) came into existence together with the Cold War. Paradoxically,
perhaps, the nuclear threat bought Western Europe nearly fifty years without
the regularly-scheduled war that the Continent has endured for many generations.
of the Soviet Union and communism on the watch of President George H.W. Bush
was indeed a cause for celebration by civil libertarians everywhere. Some
authors like Francis Fukuyama were caught in the grip of irrational exuberance
and called the collapse of communism The End of History. The euphoria
in the early 1990s was so pervasive that liberals and conservatives alike
were busy thinking about how to spend the "Peace Dividend." Maybe I was one
of the relatively few curmudgeons who were busy counting the teeth of gift
horses. I would tell everyone who would listen in law school that the Soviet
Union's arsenal of non-conventional weapons was likely to fall into the wrong
in the early 1990s, I thought that, within fifty years at the most, every
country on Earth could have at its own disposal non-conventional weapons
and that having many little Dr. Strangeloves would be far more dangerous
than two big ones. As the nuclear club increased its members, the number
of itchy trigger fingers increased exponentially without the relative maturity
and pragmatism that marked the superpowers and their European allies.
and with the hindsight of more than a decade, I am very concerned that I
was far too optimistic in allotting fifty years for the wide proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction. Now I believe that, within 25 years counted
from the early 1990s, third world countries as well as terrorist groups such
as Al Qaida, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, and their ilk will come to possess
nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
news that the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer ("A.Q.")
Khan, has been peddling nuclear technology to the highest bidder, including
Libya, Iran, North Korea, and possibly other countries and groups yet unknown,
ought to keep every rational person awake at night lest the nightmares become
unbearable. Many generations are liable to curse A.Q. Khan whether his cadre
of nuclear proliferators was a private one for fun and profit or whether
he was acting at the direction of any elements in the government of Pakistan.
do the coming fifteen years have in store for us? It is only a matter of
time before every Tomovia, Dickania, and Harristan, to borrow a phrase from
the incomparable Mark Steyn, obtain nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons
for attacking their neighbors or for blackmail against the United States.
What is there to stop the two-bit dictator of Tomovia, whose population is
starving because central control of its command economy has resulted in massive
shortages and distribution problems, from giving the United States an ultimatum:
"Feed us or else! We have nothing to lose!" Tomovia really has nothing to
lose, but the United States does.
inconceivable for Dickania to invade its weaker neighbors with whom the U.S.
has an alliance and to warn the U.S. that, if it intervenes, one of the former
Soviet Union's nuclear suitcase bombs will be detonated in New York City?
Would it be too far-fetched for Harristan to demand that the United States
"share its ill-gotten wealth" by increasing its foreign aid to Harristan,
forgiving Harristan's debts or sending Harristan more raw resources and finished
goods, with the alternative being Los Angeles wiped off the map?
we even discuss Al Qaida, whose stated aim is to launch a worldwide jihad
against the infidels, offering the West the choice of conversion to Wahhabi
Islam or death? If young Palestinian men and women's admission ticket to
heaven and cavorting with 72 dark-eyed virgins consists of attacking Israel's
civilian populations with explosive belts with nails dipped in rat poison
to prevent blood coagulation, there is no shortage of terrorists willing
to carry nuclear, biological, and chemical payloads into America's most populous
cities. Deterrence is meaningless against a cult of death whose adherents
fervently believe in their religious duty to bring Islamicism to America's
shores or to mete out divine punishment to the American people whom they
believe are composed of non-human pigs and monkeys.
of nuclear, biological, and chemical blackmail against the U.S. will take
place regardless of America's foreign, domestic, political or economic philosophies
and programs. American liberals will not succeed in buying off the blackmailers
with ever larger payments of foreign aid, for blackmail naturally adjusts
itself to the victim's full capacity to pay. Even if the U.S. were to adopt
Paleoconservative or Libertarian political philosophies and withdraw from
world affairs and entanglements, the blackmailers will still come after the
U.S. to loot it of its last available resource. As long as the United States
remains a pluralistic democratic republic and not a Wahhabi theocracy, it
will be classified as Dar Al-Harb, literally a house of war, a theater of war which must be cleansed with blood and converted into Dar Al-Islam, the house of Islam.
space program, most preferably private and in the best traditions of free
enterprise, must be in place as a make-shift insurance policy well before
the United States and the West are subjected to nuclear, biological, and
chemical blackmail and to the cult of death. President Bush's proposed space
program may be a good step in the right direction, but only if we follow
Marhoffer practices business, corporate, and real estate law for the Scottsdale,
Arizona law firm of Marhoffer & Rosenfield, P.L.L.C.
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