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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bush Protects Space From al Qaeda

Technorati tags: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; the administration's protecting us from the danger posed by 's program

Sometimes, the Bush administration doesn't even try to make up a good lie. They're so used to using terrorism for an excuse to throw money around that it's become the default position.

So, when I read this article, I wasn't really all that surprised to learn that we have to protect satellites -- way the hell and gone up in orbit -- from terrorists.

Associated Press:

The Bush administration warned Wednesday against threats by terrorist groups and other nations against U.S. commercial and military satellites, and discounted the need for a treaty aimed at preventing an arms race in space.

Undersecretary of State Robert G. Joseph also reasserted U.S. policy that it has a right to use force against hostile nations or terror groups that might try to attack American satellites or ground installations that support space programs. President Bush adopted a new U.S. space policy earlier this year.

"We reserve the right to defend ourselves against hostile attacks and interference with our space assets," Joseph said in prepared remarks to the George C. Marshall Institute.

I've got to keep better track of this stuff. Last I heard, Osama bin Laden was hiding out in caves -- now he's got a space program. Terrornauts will soon float around above the planet, messing with FOX News' broadcast satellite.

Of course, this doesn't have anything to do with terrorism or rogue states -- it's about wasting money. A few days back, I wrote that Bush's missile defense program's sole reason for being is to be expensive (The Only Purpose of Missile Defense is to Waste Money), so it's nice to have them come back and prove it so quickly.

Not that they haven't made this noise before; they just haven't dusted off the old terrorism excuse. Back in October, Bush signed a National Space Policy that, according to the Washington Post, "rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone 'hostile to U.S. interests.'"

In other words, space is ours.

"The document," WaPo tells us, "The first full revision of overall space policy in 10 years, emphasizes security issues, encourages private enterprise in space, and characterizes the role of U.S. space diplomacy largely in terms of persuading other nations to support U.S. policy." Seeing how China's space program has in mind a manned earth orbit platform, manned lunar missions, and a manned lunar base, supporting US policy doesn't seem very high on their list of priorities.

You've got to wonder if China's taking the threat of terrornauts as seriously as the Bush administration. My guess is no. They may be repressive, they may be corrupt as all hell, but the chinese governement is not crazy.

And nations like China and Russia aren't going to be too happy to find out that the US owns space and aren't going to be too likely to buy the idiotic argument that the US needs to weaponize space to protect satellites from orbital al Qaeda operatives. In fact, you've got to wonder if the Bush administration really expects anyone to buy this load. According to AP, Wade Boese, a spokesman for the private Arms Control Association, doesn't.

...He said rejecting additional international arms controls for space runs counter to U.S. security interests "because the United States has the most to lose from an unregulated space arena."

Boese said he believes the administration wants to avoid negotiations in order to preserve the possibility of deploying space-based missile defense systems, such as interceptors.

In a fit of irony, the State Department official who announced the administration's concern over terrornauts said, "We should concentrate on real threats," pointing to North Korea and Iran. Unfortunately, this was supposed to be an argument against criticism of the administration's move to weaponize space.

Apparently, 'real threats' include Iran, North Korea, and al Qaeda's space program.