People First
January 20, 2004, Times Record (Brunswick, Maine)

With such pressing needs on Earth, it is unconscionable for the White House to consider planning expensive adventures to the moon and Mars. President Bush's proposal would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to complete, saddling future administrations and the next generation with the costs and preventing other more worthwhile projects from being funded.

Didn't the president recently suggest cutting the country's record-setting budget deficit in half by putting the squeeze on housing vouchers, veterans benefits, job training and employment programs, for starters? And while the U.N.'s latest World Health Report notes that things are getting worse for the poorest of the poor on this planet, funding promised by the White House to combat AIDS worldwide is being held back.

This moon-Mars quest is just an extension of the same military-industrial world view that got this country to make its first pre-emptive strike on a sovereign nation and then offer to rebuild it. Now we'll make the moon safe for Democracy — "Operation Lunar Freedom" one editorial cartoonist dubbed it — and then on to Mars, with lives lost along the way.

The real goal, of course, is to dominate space militarily and to be the first to reap the economic benefits of anything that can be mined or drilled on the moon or Mars. Helium-3, for example, is a possible successor to fossil fuels, Bruce Gagnon of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space told The Times Record (Jan. 16, "Bush's space plan opposed"). He also noted that the United States didn't sign the 1979 Moon Treaty that was created by the United Nations to prevent land claims and military bases in space.

The moon-Mars program is a grand distraction with which the White House seeks to inspire younger voters while diverting attention from the jobless recovery in this country and U.S. casualties in Iraq, which just hit 500.

And it's puzzling that our faith-based, pro-life, compassionate conservative president doesn't see being our "brothers' keeper" as the priority.

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 729-0517
(207) 319-2017 (Cell phone)


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