To the critics of the space program, greedy astronauts fill their pockets with our hard earned dollars and blast off into space, leaving our children with only rocket fumes for lunch. But to its proponents, space exploration represents a relatively small expenditure that brings positive real world impacts in the form of cutting edge research, crucial data on weather and climate change, thousands of jobs, and more than a few spinoff technologies. The truth is somewhere in between.
Four years after entering the Second World War, the United States and her allies had responded to an existential threat by defeating the enemy on two fronts on opposite sides of the world. Four years after preemptively declaring war on Iraq, we are still mired in a conflict that has taken 3,211 American lives and those of at least 60,000 innocent Iraqi civilians. While the initial military defeat of the Iraqi army was relatively well-executed, there was a total lack of planning for the reconstruction of a functioning society. Senior Defense Department management expressed utter disdain for State Department plans to rebuild Iraq, and many of the problems faced today can be directly traced to the inept decision-making in the first days of the conflict. With this kind of track record, we must not allow President Bush to expand the war to Iran.