The moon ain’t Iraq

Staff Editorial The Crimson White (U. Alabama)

(U-WIRE) TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Load up the van, kids, we’re goin’ back to the moon!

Or at least that’s what President Bush said Jan. 14 as he announced his intrepid new vision for our nation’s beleaguered space program, a vision that includes a new generation of spacecraft, a moon base and an eventual trip to Mars.

Now, we’re all for it. We’ve got our pointy ears on and our phasers set to “extra crispy,” and we’re more than ready to go back to a place we haven’t seen since the height of the disco revolution.

In our minds, we get a moon base, then a Mars base, and then, ladies and gentlemen, we go looking for Klingons. Sounds like a brilliant plan.

Besides, our space program has already brought us innovations like Velcro, Teflon and Tang. Who knows what new round of inventions this will bring? We’re just hoping for jetpacks. Hover cars would be nice, too, but we think that’s too much to hope for.

Our geeky minds are salivating at the prospect of this new moon base. Apparently, this base will be America’s launching pad for deep space, and it will be powered by a nuclear reactor. A nuclear moon base? Now, that’s too cool. Throw in a frickin’ laser beam and we’re sold.

However, Bush’s baby does have some flaws. The plan details the retirement of our current space shuttles in 2010, with its replacement craft to be finished in the coming years.

In short, sometime in the near future, America, the innovator of space exploration, will be left stranded on terra firma. That just doesn’t sit too well with us.

To pay for his modern-day version of manifest destiny, Bush wants an extra $1 billion given to NASA and an additional $11 billion diverted from current in-house projects.

Yeah, so what about Iraq, Afghanistan and the ever-burgeoning budget deficit? We’re sure Bush will just have another billion printed up. No biggie, right, George?

And can we really get this new space program off the ground with just $12 billion? Bush recently gave more than 80 big, big ones to Iraq, and Iraq ain’t Mars. Compared to Mars, Iraq is within spitting distance, and that’s without any wind.

Think how many Republicans are opposed to this plan. So much for being fiscally conservative. Then again, Bush threw out the government’s ledger a long, long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away).

We like space exploration just as much as the next guy or gal, but come on, George, this smells too much of a political ploy.

We also think it’s a red herring to distract us momentarily from both the war and the jobless economy. But, surely Bush wouldn’t fool us like that. We know what he really has in mind.

You really do want the geek vote, don’t you?