Sunday, February 24, 2008

There's Sucker's Born Every Minute ...

We already did our riff on the shooting down of that wayward spy satellite (see Top Ten Cloves: Things About U.S. Plans to Shoot Down Broken Spy Satellite) last week.

First, there was the news that the Navy nailed it on the first shot.

Ooookayyyyyy ...There isn't, necessarily, independent verification of such, so, we'll take their word for it (but reserving the right to raise an eyebrow, or two).

And, I suppose, we can expect, certainly by November Sweeps, some major, blockbusting, television movie-of-the-week, hyping the shit out of this ...

Tight, close-ups of pensive actors wearing Admiral uniforms, with quick cuts to children frolicking in playground, and the new, young couple, with their 2-month-old baby, that just moved into their dream house - RIGHT IN THE PATH OF THE FALLING SATELLITE!

Then, the money shot, inside the Oval Office, the Mark Harmon-portraying-Bush, President giving the order, against a backdrop of "danger music" - "SHOOT IT DOWN!"
All with the prerequisite talk of "Emmy" before the first commercial break.

(If they really want to have some fun, bang out "Armageddon II", and bring back Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and the asteriod-drilling crew for another space adventure; Since the Bruce Willis character died in the first movie, the storyline will have to involve him not dying, but catching a ride and stowing away on this spy satellite, and it's up to his old crew to race up there and drill him out - he's gotten stuck - before the Navy pushes the button to shoot it down ... You can just feel the drama, and there'll be Oscar buzz, no doubt.)

Rather than big, or little screen heroes, we have the Rightwing Freakshow, the Ronnie Reagan groupies, taking center stage, and getting all excited and plump over it.

You see, shooting down this dead satellite is exactly, exactly the kind of thing Reagan had "the vision" for, with his fart-of-an-idea, his Star Wars Defense, otherwise know as The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

First up, is Little Billy Kristol's rag, The Weekly Standard, where Michael Goldfarb gushes;
"This is a major success for the Missile Defense Agency, the successor to Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, and it's going to be a tough pill for the program's critics to swallow.

The system will now be an easier sell to allies, and it should be a cudgel for Republicans in the fall. The "rogue" satellite cost more than a billion dollars. One suspects its destruction will be of greater value to this country than any mission it could have performed as a functioning spy satellite."

And the Captain Edward Morrissey, over on Captain's Quarters, was flying his Reagan flag;
"Eventually, this could end the ballistic missile era. If effective defenses become widely available, there will not be much point in maintaining ballistic missile inventories at all. Ronald Reagan had that very vision when he first proposed SDI and tried to get the Soviets to partner with him on it."

Much like Mary Katharine Ham, blogger and managing editor of Townhall.Com, this pair of Reagan worshipers must not be aware of "The Google".

For, it they had looked it up at all, or had a bit of memory to fall back on, maybe they would have chilled, just a little, on their untamed enthusiasm (then again, those on the Right don't, necessarily, bother themselves with facts).

The Star Wars Defense, SDI, was a hoax, a bluff.

The Reagan Administration was blowing smoke at the Russians, goading them into squandering budget in a non-existent space arms race.

From an NYT Editorial ("The Star Wars Hoax"), back in August 1993;
"The revelation on yesterday's front page was enough to rouse even the most cynical student of official mendacity: at great cost, The Times's Tim Weiner reports, the Reagan Administration back in 1984 designed an elaborate deception to mislead the Soviet Union about the "Star Wars" space-based missile defense. The scheme deceived not only the Kremlin but Congress, defrauding the American people of billions of dollars that could have been spent on real defense and domestic programs."
And the ruse wouldn't be complete without rigged tests.
"The rigging was done by transmitting a signal from the target missile to a receiver on the interceptor, in effect helping the interceptor to home in on the missile by broadcasting: "Here I am. Come get me."

Congress was not told the test had been rigged. It was also fed other phony data attesting to Star Wars's magical protective powers. These actions clearly crossed the line of normal Pentagon misrepresentation. They denied Congress the information it needed to exercise its constitutional authority over spending.:
"But more than Congress's pride and authority is at stake. The whole history of Star Wars is now thrown into question. Millions of Americans are still walking around with the impression that Star Wars was designed to protect them. But to some of its original proponents, like President Reagan's national security adviser Robert McFarlane, Star Wars was always, from first to last, an elaborate ruse to induce the Soviets to divert money and manpower into space-based defenses."

"A cudgel for Republicans in the fall"?

With the country in a recession, and the quagmire of Iraq, with billions being spent monthly, I'd love to hear Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney (presuming, that McCain sinks with his armada of lobbyists) fly this balloon out there.

As The Commander Guy would say - Bring it on!

Bonus Links

Noah Shachtman: Wham! Navy Blasts Rogue Satellite

Noah Shachtman: Video: Satellite Shoot-Down, Simulated (Updated)

Robert Burns: Video: Navy Missile Hits Spy Satellite

Top Ten Cloves: How Bush Administration Reacted To News of The Death Star Galaxy

A hoax, delivering a hoax

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