Mark Drolette: Spaced Cowboy's Space Cowboys
Spaced Cowboy's Space Cowboys
By Mark Drolette
As any politically-minded American should know (which really should mean every American but is about as likely a scenario as George W. Bush correctly speaking English, even by accident, although, I suppose, if you put him inside a room with 1000 monkeys and 1001 typewriters and then locked the doors, you'd have yourself some mighty pissed monkeys), it's never a bad idea to regularly revisit the document that enumerates the core principles by which the American government operates.
With that in mind, it's time once again to delve into the Project for the New American Century's (PNAC) September 2000 report "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century." For those interested in history (before it's rewritten), it used to be, prior to 2001 B.F. (before fascism), America's bedrock principles had been laid out in an old yellowed piece of parchment that contained lots of funny letters and even funnier ideas, with its authors actually asserting (apparently in all seriousness) that said document had been "ordain[ed] and establish[ed]" to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."
Can you even imagine?
I don't recall its name, exactly, but it's not important anyway since we haven't used that ratty old thing for some time now and obviously have no plans of ever doing so again. I do think, though, that since "Rebuilding, etc." is now unmistakably el documento numero uno dictating American policy, it certainly could do with a spiffier moniker. Had I, like the Bushies, been using it as my blueprint to militarily take over the world, I'd likely have christened it "Ensuring Military Presence In Regions Everywhere," thereby providing it both title and acronym far more representative of the contents within.
Clumsy label or no, PNAC's RADSFARFANC (I'll do my darnedest to keep all those letters straight as we continue) recently came to mind yet again upon perusing a very brief article from Reuters on Yahoo. (Helpful hint #1 for budding political satirist/commentators: the shorter the item, the more important the topic.)
Headlined "Air Force seeks Bush nod for space weapons-NYT," it leads:
"The U.S. Air Force 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, the New York Times reported."
Later, it reads: "With little public debate, the Pentagon has already spent billions of dollars developing space weapons and preparing plans to deploy them, the newspaper said."
That darn Pentagon -- what a wacky bunch! They've already spent billions of our money pursuing space weapons before getting Bush's permission? (Although 'tis possible, I suppose, that when the Department of Defense boys dropped by to get W's "X," he was out riding his trike, er, bike.)
The item finishes: "Air Force officials said the directive 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. 'The focus is having free access in space.'"
Hmm, let's see: the Pentagon is "developing space weapons" but "not [for] putting weapons in space."
I take it back. With logic like that, Bush had to have been involved.
The Reuters article-ette addresses what I've always considered to be RATFINK's -- sorry, RADSFARFANC's -- most entertaining aspect (in a terrifying, global subjugation sort of way), first mentioned on pages iv and v:
"In particular, the United States must.[c]ontrol the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace,' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service -- U.S. Space Forces -- with the mission of space control."
Yes, fellow space cadets: U.S. Space Forces. Break out your Flash Gordon decoder rings and cast your orbs in wonderment to the peaceful heavens above while you still can before the term "shooting star" takes on a whole new meaning.
When I first read about the USSF in RATFART, I thought the deep thinkers at PNAC were trying to perhaps lighten the report's 90 pages of ponderous self-importance by inserting a welcome bit of levity.
Wrong-o! These guys are as serious as an unprovoked attack. Deep within RATFINKFART's overactive bowels, page 55 presents the following:
"For U.S. armed forces to continue to assert military preeminence, control of space -- defined by [existing U.S.] Space Command as 'the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space' -- must be an essential element of our military strategy. If America cannot maintain that control, its ability to conduct global military operations will be severely complicated, far more costly, and potentially fatally compromised."
Good point, 'cause we certainly wouldn't want America's global domination effort to be fatally compromised.
At first, I was a little disturbed, but then I underwent years of counseling and I'm better now. PNAC's dream world of weapons in space also bothered me until I realized that folks like Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, Elliott Abrams (all PNAC members), and others are certainly only concerned about what's best for our beloved America. Otherwise, why else would they assert in PNAC's "Statement of Principles" that "we need to.challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values..."?
Yes, I know: A cynic might propose these "values" now include torture and these "interests" seem to be those solely of corporations like, say, Halliburton's subsidiary KBR, which at this moment is pulling in billions of taxpayer dollars for building thirteen or so permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, but, hey, all you need to do if you want a piece of that action is, once you've ponied up the few extra thousand bucks lying around the house that have undoubtedly accrued during America's unrelenting economic boom thanks to Bush's U.S. Treasury raids, er, tax cuts, then go buy yourself some KBR stock and hop on board that PNAC-inspired gravy train.
In other words: Quit yer sighin' and start yer buyin'. In fact, anything less than full-scale consumerism during this, our time of perpetual war, 'ppears patently un-patriotic; just pray peace doesn't break out (a prospect over which one shouldn't lose much sleep).
With RATFATBASTARDS now serving as this nation's guiding signpost (up ahead), its big, American, ass-kickin' footprint can be or will soon be spotted everywhere in the world the United States treads, which is, uh, everywhere in the world. Here's a small iron fistful of examples:
· Those thirteen-plus bases in Iraq, the establishment of which was the real reason from the get-go for invading Iraq? Page 14 states:
"Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in [Persian] Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
Much has been made by the foreign press about how the July 2002 "Downing Street memo" is the "smoking gun" that proves the Bushies' fabricated justifications for attacking Iraq. As you can see, though, almost two years prior, PNAC had already plainly and publicly provided the (ir)rationale. (American corporate media on the memo? Yawn.)
· How 'bout them adorable "baby nukes" Dubya wants the U.S. to produce (ooh, just makes you want to go up and squeeze the life out of 'em, doesn't it, before they vaporize same out of you?)? On page 7 of PNAC's 2000 tome, the authors lament that the U.S. has "virtually ceased development of safer and more effective nuclear weapons.," because, as we all know, you just can't make those darn things too safe or effective, or cute, even.
On page 8, they continue by stating that:
"there may be a need to develop a new family of nuclear weapons designed to address new sets of military requirements, such as would be required in targeting the very deep underground, hardened bunkers that are being built by many of our potential adversaries."
You know, I don't want to be the nuclear naysayer around here, but, if our enemies are hanging out in deep underground bunkers with stacks of unopened crates of box cutters, then why not just let 'em the hell stay there? Because, if we know these hideouts exist, then we just as surely know their addresses, so why not just nab the bad guys when they emerge to pick up their mail (you know, before their eyes adjust to the sun), instead of spending Allah knows how much on saddling the world with even more nuclear bombs that we're always being told these scary characters want to get their hands on to blow us up with? Hel-lo!
· Let us, in whispered tones, discreetly discuss the swollen, engorged behemoth that is the annual budget of the Pentagon, the place where, of course, the bigger the gun, the deeper the fun (please, address all complaints of overusage of lame, obvious adjectives and cheap phallic imagery to Homeland Security; just don't be surprised if they're already on it -- so to speak).
Page v of PNAC's masterpiece proposes to "Increase defense spending gradually to a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually."
But what's this? Dubya has out PNAC-ed PNAC! A reverse Bushwhack, if you will.
According to figures from the Congressional Budget Office, the annual increase since Bush's initial appointment for Department of Defense spending averages (approximately) $25.8 billion. This does not -- I repeat, does not -- take into account one penny of the trillion billion gazillion dollars or so (who knows anymore?) our apparently permanently drunken Congress has allotted for "operations" in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I know what some of you are saying ('cause I read all of my e-mail; hoo-boy!):
"There goes that America-hating, Marxist (for the last time, it's Mark) Drolette again, as he sarcastically compares those of us who stand firmly behind the administration to 'good Germans,' tears down our government, lambastes our wonderful, exalted, and glorious leader, Dick Cheney, er, George W. Bush, and paints us all as violence-worshipping, non-thinking, fascist-supporting meatheads. Heil, America!"
That is just flat out ridiculous. "Meatbrains," I would use, certainly, but never the way-overused "meatheads."
No, seriously, I know I'll sleep better at night knowing that, in addition to possessing the most unbelievably lethal stockpile of weapons of mass destruction humans have ever witnessed (as opposed to the ones in Iraq no one has yet seen), the U.S. military could today also very well be working on, for instance, space-based lasers so incredibly accurate they could vaporize me in a literally very hot second if I were, say, a terrorist or a suspected terrorist or had donated money to a legal organization that defended those accused of terrorism (that is, if such suspects were allowed trials and lawyers) or wrote about terrorism or Yahooed "terrorism" or looked it up in the dictionary or thought about it once . well, I think you see where I'm going with this. And if that's the case, you're probably at this very moment in violation of several provisions of the Patriot Acts, how many ever there are now.
So there you have it: the nut's hell -- I'm sorry, nutshell -- version of PNAC's 90 page game plan for a globally "preeminent" United States, our neo-Constitution, if you will, and its latest bit of manifested insanity: weapons in space.
Take that, Founding Fathers.
Bio: Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.